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B&CE trustees should use funds


I READ with interest your article highlighting the residue of unclaimed funds for retired construction workers held in the construction holiday and benefits scheme, B&CE (Construction News, December 4).

I, with others in the health and safety field, have been endeavouring to access a proportion of the funds for some time with a view to using some of the reserves to fund an occupational health scheme for the construction industry.

The article mentions a figure of £1.1 million pounds, which can be claimed by eligible retired construction workers, but I wonder if those very same workers are aware that B&CE's current total reserves now stand at £540 million (1996 accounts).

My understanding of the method by which the reserves were accumulated was that unclaimed holiday stamp monies were invested on the money markets and grew to today's level by good management by the previous and present trustees.

This, however, does not mean that ownership has changed; all the reserves are still, in my opinion, the property of those building workers both living and dead who have contributed to the scheme since its inception in 1947.

The trustees are therefore the custodians of the funds, with a duty to administer them to the best advantage of building workers.

What is the board's view on this? I believe we need a public debate within our industry on how best these funds could be put to better use.

John Flanagan

Withnell Road