Thousands of families could get extra help under plans to dish out £880million of forgotten money

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HARD-UP households could get extra help as the Government consults on what to do with £880 million of forgotten cash.

So-called dormant assets include money in bank accounts that has been left untouched for a long period.

The government is consulting on how to distribute £880m in dormant assets

Banks, building societies and other financial companies must try to contact the account holders of any dormant assets.

But if they are unable to track them down, the money goes to the government to be distributed for good causes.

The Dormant Assets Scheme was recently expanded to include money in pensions, insurance products, investments and wealth management, and the securities sectors (a type of investment).

This expansion is estimated to have unlocked a massive £880million in dormant assets.

And the government is now consulting on how best to distribute the cash.

With millions of people struggling to cope in a cost of living crisis, there are calls for the money to be distributed to low income families and those who are financial vulnerable.

Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, said: “This consultation will allow everyone’s voice to be heard so that the Scheme can make a difference where it matters.

“With the cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever that we hear views from communities up and down the country on what causes we should support.”

Some £892 million has already been distributed through the scheme, including £44 million allocated this year to tackle youth unemployment, support communities in deprived areas, and give people people in need access to finance.

Another £100 million has been put towards increasing access to fair and affordable financial products for vulnerable people, and £485 million to funding charities and social enterprises.

The government is asking for views on the causes the money is used to support – you can have your say through its survey. The consultation will run until October 9.

Not-for-profit organisation Fair4All Finance chief executive Sacha Romanovitch said: “Some 14 million people – often families in the most deprived communities in the UK – are unable to access fair and affordable financial products and services to help them manage life’s ups and downs.

“With the first tranche of Dormant Assets funding, we have started to make significant impact to improve people’s lives – this work must continue.”

Caroline Siarkiewicz, chief executive at the Money and Pensions Service, added: “People hit hardest by the pandemic are now facing further financial pressures with increased costs of living.

“Long-term funding will benefit the most vulnerable in society and those financially at risk.”

The government has been under pressure this year to help UK households through a cost of living crisis.

Inflation has already hit 9.1% as petrol prices soar to record highs and energy bills are forecast to hit £3,200 in October.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to help Brits, but some commentators are calling for more.

What help can I get if I’m struggling with the cost of essentials?

If you are struggling to cover bills and essentials, you may be eligible for extra help.

A good first step is to use a benefits calculator to see what you qualify for.

Millions of people on means-tested benefits are starting to receive the first half of a £650 cost of living payment.

Many low-income pensioners will get an extra £300 of bill help this winter, and millions of people with disabilities will get £150.

You could also be eligible for help from the Household Support Fund.

This is a £1.5 billion of money dished out to local councils to help people in their area – contact yours to find out what’s available.

Parents of young children could also qualify for supermarket vouchers – the Healthy Start Scheme is worth as much as £442 a year if you have two kids.

If you need more support and advice, there are a number of places where you can get debt help for free.

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