The UK government has £738 million to spend on good causes
The best bit? You can decide how it's spent...
words Megan Wallace
Trying to make sense of whatever the government is up to nowadays is...kind of impossible actually. Between Boris's "sorry not sorry" resignation and what feels like a never-ending leadership race, it's a real struggle to keep up-to-date about the goings on in the topsy turvy world of Whitehall. But when you see something that looks too good to be true, you really do have to sit up and take notice.
Intrigued as to what's stopped us in our tracks? Well, as it turns out, the UK's notoriously stingy government has a lot of leftover pocket money up its sleeve. Around £880 million of pocket money, to be exact – and it's partly up to you how all that gets spent. Yep, you read that right.
Let us explain what the big deal is. Earlier this year, the government made changes to the Dormant Assets Scheme, a fund which takes money that has been lying unused in a bank account or building society and allows it to be redistributed to fund good causes. Don't worry, you have to be leaving your cash untouched for a looong time or become untraceable to have your money added to the scheme: your building society isn't going to do a Robin Hood every time you accidentally lock yourself out of your online banking.
Now, thanks to a 2022 expansion, insurance, pension and securities firms have also been added to the Dormant Assets Scheme, unlocking a huge wad of new cash; hence the aforementioned additional £880 million, which breaks down to £738 million to be spent in England. So all this isn't exactly small change, and the best bit is that it's guaranteed to go to a good cause.
Here's where you come in. Traditionally, funds have been divvied up across three major causes: youth (pretty self-explanatory), financial inclusion (aka providing lower income communities with affordable credit) and social development (aka giving money to charities). However, the government is contemplating changing how this is allocated in England. Long story short, they want to review whether these categories are still suitable and also float the addition of a new target for spending: community wealth funds, which channel money directly into communities for their own use in long-term projects.
All of these topics, as well as the opportunity to suggest new social or environmental issues worthy of investment, are up for discussion in a new consultation open to the public. Launched on 16 July for twelve weeks, it ends on 8 October and is a chance to have your say on the changes you need to see. Who knew surveymonkey could lead to institutional change?