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It's time the Attorney General did something about this huge dormant charity

April 6, 2018 6:25 PM
By Richard Dickson

Liberal Democrats are asking why the Attorney General, Kenilworth and Southam MP The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, seems to continue to fail to do anything about the huge dormant charity known as The National Fund.

The charity, which was set up in 1927, has £475 million in assets but has never spent any money on the charitable purpose for which it was created, namely to pay off The National Debt. The charity's sole corporate trustee Zedra Fiduciary Services, formerly Barclays Fiduciary Services, has recognised that, with the size of the National Debt now nearly 4,000 times greater than the value of the charity's assets, it is unlikely ever to achieve its purpose. The trustee has said it approached the Charity Commission in 2011 to seek permission to close and give its money away. The Commission says that, for this to happen, the Attorney General's Office must make a decision to apply to the High Court for a ruling.

In the past eight years no decision about the future of The National Fund appears to have been taken by the Attorney General's Office. In the meantime, Zedra Fiduciary Services continue to charge the Fund for its administration services - £355,138 in the year ended April 2017. In the same period Barings Asset Management Services also charged the charity £589,807 for managing its assets.

Richard Dickson, Liberal Democrat spokesperson in Kenilworth and Southam, said "the Conservative party claims it can always be trusted in financial matters, but the lack of any action in recent years in resolving this matter is a national disgrace. Local communities are crying out because of central government's huge funding cuts, but the only people that seem to benefit from The National Fund are two big financial services companies. This case has been dragging on for far too long; it's time the Attorney General got it sorted."


Notes for Editors:

  1. The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, who was succeeded by Jeremy Wright as Attorney General in July 2014, said in 2012 in relation to The National Fund that "we're still considering a number of issues".
  2. For more details about The National Fund visit http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1046814&SubsidiaryNumber=0
  3. Richard Dickson spent 17 years working for major banks in the City and elsewhere and subsequently has worked in the charity sector, including for a grant-making charitable trust. For an interview, he can be contacted on 0771 359 4506.