Have your say on the Dormant Assets Bill
7 December 2021
Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Dormant Assets Bill [HL], which is currently passing through Parliament?
If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.
The Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the Bill line by line. The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Tuesday 11 January and the Committee is scheduled to report by Thursday 13 January. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 13 January. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.
Aims of the Bill
The current scheme
The Government defines a dormant asset as a financial product (such as a bank account) that hasn’t been used for many years and which the provider hasn’t been able to reunite with its owner despite efforts aligned with industry best practice.
In 2008, the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act (the 2008 Act) was passed to provide a system to distribute dormant assets to good causes. It applies to cash in UK bank and building society accounts which have been dormant for 15 years, and has so far distributed around £800 million.
The core principles of the current scheme are that attempts should first be made to reunite assets with their rightful owners before transferring them, that owners should always be able to reclaim their funds, and that participation is voluntary. Funds should also not be used as a substitute for Government spending.
In late 2015 the Government appointed an independent commission to advise on expanding the scheme to include other dormant assets. The Dormant Assets Commission recommended expanding the scheme. An “industry champions” report agreed and recommended a phased approach to expansion.
The Government launched a consultation in February 2020 on the list of assets it proposed to expand the scheme to, with a tailored definition of dormancy for each. The consultation attracted 89 responses, with “widespread support” for expansion.
The Bill would significantly expand the scope of the existing scheme to cover a range of financial products, being long-term insurance products, certain pension assets, collective investment scheme assets, client money, and proceeds or distributions from shares in traded public companies. The Government estimates that this could allow a total of around £880 million to be released to good causes.
It would also introduce a specific legal requirement for firms participating in the scheme to make attempts to reunite assets with their owners, before passing them into the scheme. In total, £2 billion of the £3.7 billion of dormant assets the Bill could cover are expected to be reunited with their rightful owners. The remaining £1.7 billion would be transferred to a “reclaim fund”, which would reserve a proportion of the funds to ensure it can meet future claims and pass the rest on to be spent on good causes.
The Bill (as introduced in the Commons), Explanatory Notes and Delegated Powers Memorandum can be found on the Bill page. It would extend to the whole of the UK.
Follow the progress of the Dormant Assets Bill [HL]
The Dormant Assets [HL] Bill 2021-22 (Bill 203) was introduced in the House of Lords on 12 May 2021. It passed Lords third reading on 23 November and was introduced in the Commons the following day. Second reading took place on Monday 6 December 2021.
- Bills before Parliament: Dormant Assets Bill [HL]
- Read Explanatory Notes: Dormant Assets Bill [HL]
- House of Commons Library Briefing Paper
There will be no oral evidence sessions.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
Deadline for written evidence submissions
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.
The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Tuesday 11 January and the Committee is scheduled to report by Thursday 13 January. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 13 January. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.
Your submission should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.
Image: Parliamentary Copyright