The Northern Ireland Minister for Finance, Sammy Wilson, has announced his intention to channel dormant accounts funding in Northern Ireland as loans to social enterprise activity in 'faith based' organisations and for work with children.
The Minister said that up to £1.3 million would be available in the first year, considerably less than earlier estimates which indicated that up to £20 million might be disbursed in the first year with smaller amounts in subsequent years.
The announcement comes nearly two years later than expected following a public consultation in 2009. At that time a dormant account was defined by the legislation as a bank or building society account in which there has been no customer-initiated activity for a period of at least 15 years.
The original legislation relating to dormant accounts also suggested that the Big Lottery would distribute dormant accounts assets but the Minister indicated that an organisation that finances social enterprises would be better placed to judge the viability of recipient loan applications.
The Minister said that he hoped funds would be released early in this financial year but also said that funds could be carried over until the next financial year.