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Lords concludes examination of Dormant Assets Bill

24 November 2021

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The Dormant Assets Bill had its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Tuesday 23 November.

The Dormant Assets Bill seeks to bring more financial assets into the dormant assets scheme, allowing them to be distributed to good causes.

Final checks

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making any small changes to ensure it is effective.

No changes to the wording of the bill were put forward ahead of third reading. Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.

Get involved

Watch or read the debate

Catch up on  Parliament TV or read the transcript in Lords Hansard.

Explore further information

Read impartial research on the bill in the House of Lords Library Dormant Assets Bill briefing.

Next steps

Following completion of third reading, the bill now passes to the Commons for their consideration.

What's happened so far?

Report stage: Tuesday 16 November

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider at report stage. Members speaking discussed subjects from the amendment list and voted on two changes to the bill. 

Community wealth funds

The first vote was on amendment 1, which aims to create community wealth funds as a means of tackling deprivation and building social infrastructure in left-behind communities.

The government would be required to establish and review the effectiveness of one or more pilot schemes which would run over at least ten years.

Members voted 216 in favour and 195 against, so the change was made.

Government spending

The second vote was on amendment 6, which requires the government to certify that dormant assets money would be additional to, and not replacing, government spending.

Members voted 164 in favour and 192 against, so the change was not made.

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Committee stage day two: Wednesday 23 June

Proposed changes

Members speaking had put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to the bill to discuss. For example making new community wealth funds operate independently from the Big Lottery Fund and including charities and communities in the consultation process.

Catch up on Parliament TV  or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day one: Monday 21 June

Members speaking discussed changes on issues including a regular review of the dormant assets scheme, reclaim funds and community wealth funds to distribute money. 

Government amendments

The government regularly makes technical changes to bills in the House of Lords. It put forward amendments needed to ensure that the bill works properly as law. 

Members were critical of the technicality, number and the range of issues impacted by the amendments, saying clear drafting was not thought through properly at the outset.

Members asked the government to give further clarification on what some of the amendments really mean before report stage, which the government agreed to do.

Find out about all the issues members discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Second reading: Wednesday 26 May

The House of Lords discussed the key areas of the bill in the second reading debate.

Money for good causes

Members were generally enthusiastic about the bill's aim to extend the Dormant Assets Scheme and give more money to good causes.

How to spend the money

They discussed the the size of the assets that will be released, how the money should be spent and public consultation on the distribution of funds.

Reuniting assets with owners

Members said the bill should provide greater potential both to reunite people with their assets, with requirements to trace, verify and reunite the owner with their asset before transfer, and to release money for good causes

Too many powers?

Some members raised concerns about the number of delegated powers in the bill. 

Find out about all the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the transcript in Lords Hansard

Image: Unsplash / Colin West