MAY 22, 2018
The UK government has asked the High Court to allow the National Fund to be released – Getty
90-year-old fund was meant to help pay off UK’s liabilities but trustees have previously proposed giving it to charitable causes
“I am applying to the High Court to ask that the Fund is released and if that application is successful, the Fund could be used to benefit the nation by helping to do what the original donors intended.
The fund was established after future prime minister Stanley Baldwin, then the financial secretary to the Treasury, used an unattributed newspaper article to announce he had donated a fifth of his wealth to the Exchequer and call on others to do the same. At the time Britain’s national debt had hit 150 per cent as it struggled to pay the costs of the First World War.
The current national debt stands at £1.7tn, meaning the National Fund money would reduce Britain’s liabilities by just 0.025 per cent.
Labour said the money should instead be given to charities.
Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society, said: “This £475m would be a tidal wave of support for small charities, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the national debt. In fact, the national debt is rising so fast that by the end of the same day this payment is made towards it, the debt will have risen by nearly the same amount.
“This government never misses a chance to sideline charities. Here’s a real chance to do some real good but the government is threatening to do nothing instead.”
The government said it had sought the trustees’ approval to apply for the money to be released. It is not clear whether this was received.
Courtesy/Source: The Independent