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Unclaimed Assets

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of unclaimed (a) dividends and shares and (b) assets in (i) national savings accounts, (ii) bank and building society accounts and (iii) life insurance policies; and if he will make a statement. (89076)

The Government and the industry have agreed that the definition of an unclaimed asset should generally cover bank and building society accounts where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years as that will best identify those accounts that are genuinely unclaimed. On this basis, initial record searches by the industry suggest that several hundred million pounds may currently lie unclaimed.

National Savings and Investments estimate the value of its unclaimed assets in savings accounts with no customer activity for 15 years to be £439.4 million.

The Government have made no official estimate of the value of unclaimed assets held in life policies.

The Government have also made no official estimate of the value of unclaimed share dividends or proceeds. This information is a matter between companies and their shareholders and is not held publicly.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what use the Government intend to put unclaimed assets funds in the next 12 months. (92000)

As set out in the PBR, the Government welcome the banking industry’s commitment to establish a scheme to allow genuinely unclaimed assets to be reinvested in the community. The Government and industry have agreed that the definition of an unclaimed asset should generally cover bank and building society accounts where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years as that will best identify those accounts that are genuinely unclaimed. The work on this scheme is ongoing.

The Government do not hold these unclaimed assets and so do not distribute them.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much is held by the Government in unclaimed assets. (92015)

The Government and industry have agreed that unclaimed assets should generally cover bank and building society accounts where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years as that will best identify those accounts that are genuinely unclaimed.

The Government do not hold these unclaimed assets.