Big Society Bank

April 5th, 2012 § 0 comments

Something about this Big Society Capital or Bank (or what ever it’s called) doesn’t sit quite right with me. It’s not so much the idea itself, more of where the money is coming from.

The money to pay for all these social enterprises is going to come from dormant bank accounts. Accounts that have been seen no activity for 15 years. That’s the bit that feels a little wrong. Raiding bank accounts, albeit ones that haven’t been touched for a while.

It just feels, well, dirty.

The government can take money from dormant accounts after 15 years, but as banks can deem accounts dormant as soon as one year with no activity, how long is this 15 year threshold going to stay at that length?

Instead of dormant bank accounts what about Bona Vacantia?

“Bona Vacantia” literally means vacant goods and is the legal name for ownerless property that passes to the Crown. We administer the estates of persons who die intestate without known kin and collect the assets of dissolved companies and failed trusts.

The person leaving the assets is definately dead. There is a proliferation of companies tracking down possible inheritors (ata a price, obviously) and so the realistic timescale for putting those ownerless assets to good use could be dropped to ten years for a start.

Using unclaimed inheritence doesn’t feel like such a grab at private money. It seems a more civilised way to use money that has nowhere else to go.

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