Government to raid dormant bank accounts to fund charity

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the UK Trade & Investment Business Summit at Lancaster House, in central London July 14, 2010. REUTERS/Anthony Devlin/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Money from dormant bank accounts will be used to help fund community work by charities and voluntary groups which would otherwise struggle to secure funding, Prime Minister David Cameron will say on Monday.

As the coalition government slashes public spending to try to tackle a budget deficit running at 11 percent of national output, it has encouraged community groups and businesses to take on new powers to provide local services.

“We will create a Big Society Bank to help finance social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups through intermediaries ... it will be established using every penny of dormant bank and building society account money,” Cameron will say, according to extracts from his speech.

“These unclaimed assets, alongside the private sector investment that we will leverage, will ... make available hundreds of millions of pounds of new finance to some of our most dynamic social organisations.”

Cameron will say the government needs to get rid of inefficient, centralised, bureaucratic ways of providing services, as well as doing more to foster a culture of volunteering and philanthropy.

“We’ve got to give professionals much more freedom, and open up public services to new providers like charities, social enterprises and private companies so we get more innovation, diversity and responsiveness to public need,” he will say.

Speaking at the launch of a volunteer programme in Liverpool to keep local museums open for longer, Cameron will also say that officials from the Department of Communities and Local Government will be made available to help such groups establish themselves.

“This is a big advance for people power,” he will say.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan