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September 10, 2008

Dormant Bank cash should go to most needy

Newstart Magazine runs a piece this week about LPL`s proposal that Scottish Government should use the Dormant Bank cash to create 20 £2m endowment funds controlled by resident-led organisations in the most deprived areas. The Scottish Government is consulting with the Third Sector and will decide later this month


Scotland’s £40m share of dormant bank accounts should be used to usher in a ‘new era’ of community-led regeneration north of the border, according to a third sector coalition.

Local People Leading (LPL), which campaigns for a stronger community sector, said the money should be used to create 20 £2m endowment funds controlled by resident-led organisations in the most deprived areas.

The money would provide communities with a long-term source of income, helping them to become more independent. It would also give residents more power to tackle problems and greater control over the development of their neighbourhoods.

LPL, comprising the Development Trusts Association Scotland, social enterprise network Senscot, Community Recycling Network Scotland, and Community Retailing Network said the funds would reduce the ‘begging bowl’ culture undermining local organisations.

‘Underpinning this proposal is the principle that the people who live in a community are best placed to lead any process of change or renewal that occurs within that community and should always be given the opportunity to do so,’ LPL said.

The call is part of a submission to the Scottish Government on the consultation on dormant bank accounts, which closes on Monday.

The dormant bank and building society accounts bill, currently progressing through the UK parliament, aims to use money that has been dormant for 15 years to strengthen the third sector.

The money is due to be distributed by the Big Lottery Fund next year.

LPL attacked regeneration policy in Scotland over the past 25 years claiming it had achieved little. It said initiatives had been ‘without exception’ top-down, led by the local authority in partnership with other public sector bodies.

Schemes had resulted in short-term funding for community projects that had been unable to sustain themselves beyond the lifetime of the programme.

LPL added that regeneration leaders had failed to capitalise on examples shown by the Highlands and Islands on the benefits of community ownership and the importance of linking social and community development with economic growth.

‘The annual turnover of Scotland’s third sector is approximately £2.5bn,’ LPL said.

‘In relative terms, £40m is a small amount of money but there is a real danger that if it is committed along existing patterns of expenditure, it will generate little in terms of overall impact and additional value.’