Northern Ireland Green Party MLA Clare Bailey said she is “appalled” after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that around £10.1m, which is available to Northern Ireland under the Dormant Bank and Building Societies Act 2008, is still unspent.
The FOI was sent to the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland by Neil Irwin, founder of consultancy organisation niFundraising (www.nifundraising.org) which helps charities to raise money.
It was also revealed that a distribution of a further £9m for Northern Ireland is anticipated over the period to 2020.
A Department of Finance (DoF) spokesperson said: “As a result of there being no administration in Northern Ireland to establish a scheme to utilise the Dormant Accounts funds, the process of establishing the scheme has paused. DoF officials continue to examine the options available to the Department in respect of the Funds.”
No money has been spent from the dormant accounts allocation to Northern Ireland since the Act was introduced in 2008
Ms Bailey said: “I am appalled at this news. I am also not surprised. Political decision making here in Northern Ireland lacks ambition and is often short sighted.
“In the financial stress forced on us through the austerity programme it is tough to hear that public finance streams such as this are being blocked. I support the call for the Secretary of State Karen Bradley to release this funding stream in the hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.”
By 2020 the total distribution from dormant accounts will reach over half a billion pounds.