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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 06:03 GMT 07:03 UK
Bank for unclaimed cash proposed
Person holding crumpled 5 notes
The Treasury wants good causes to benefit from unclaimed cash
A new body should be set up to handle hundreds of millions of pounds lying unclaimed in dormant bank accounts, an independent report is expected to say.

The Commission on Unclaimed Assets is set to call for a "social bank" to be created to manage handing the cash over to charities and voluntary projects.

It follows calls from the chancellor for such money to be put to good use.

An estimated 400m is thought to be lying unclaimed in bank accounts that have not been touched for 10 years.

In his pre-Budget statement Chancellor Gordon Brown said a deal had been struck with banks and building societies to use these unclaimed assets to fund new youth and community facilities.

New bank

However, the commission's report is widely expected to call instead for the money to fund a new institution which will then lend money to smaller charities relying on donations to keep going.

The proposals will be set out in a 16-page document which will be published on Wednesday, followed by a six month consultation period.

However, the subsequent discussions will not be able to examine the technical aspects of the plans, such as the legal implications for consumer protection.

Meanwhile, banks and building societies are said to be undecided about how long accounts should lie dormant before the funds are used - with reports suggesting any period of between three and 20 years.

The commission - which was set up by the Scarman Trust and is backed by several other charitable groups, including the Rowntree Foundation - aims to help the UK make the most of the unclaimed assets in UK accounts.

A spokesman for the Treasury said it would examine the commission's ideas "in detail", but stressed that the report was done independently of the government.

The commission is expected to release its report at 1000 BST on Wednesday.

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