David Cameron will detail proposals to siphon off money from accounts that haven’t been used in the last 15 years or more, and use the cash to fund schemes in the voluntary sector.
A new wholesale bank will be responsible for doling out the money – thought to total up to £400m – to charities and other voluntary organisations that apply for grants.
Cameron is hoping the scheme, which will be announced at a speech in Liverpool later today, will prove that his plans for a “Big Society” have not been put on ice in the face of the tightest spending squeeze in Britain’s peacetime history.
“I can announce today that a [Big Society Bank] will be established using every penny of dormant bank and building society account money allocated to England,” the Prime Minister will say.
“These unclaimed assets, alongside the private sector investment that we will leverage, will mean that the Big Society Bank will – over time – make available hundreds of millions of pounds of new finance to some of our most dynamic social organisations.”
The government is using legislation passed by its Labour predecessor, which allows it to tap cash that has been lying in bank accounts that have been dormant for 15 years or more.
Labour was planning to hand the cash out alongside National Lottery funding.
Cameron will make the announcement on the eve of his first Prime Ministerial trip to Washington, where he will call for a realignment of the British-American “special relationship”.
Aides said he would reaffirm his position on BP, pointing out that the company’s financial strength is vital for Britain and pensioners.