Seized cash to help young people in Scotland

Image caption,
Projects have been given a total of £24m through Cashbacks for Communities

"Ill-gotten gains" seized from criminals are to be handed to youth projects in Scotland.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said an extra £1.5m would be ploughed into the Scottish government's Cashback for Communities programme.

The scheme uses money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act to fund projects for young people.

Through the programme, £24m has been given to projects that "simply would not have existed", Mr MacAskill said.

He added: "The Scottish government is rightly proud of its Cashback for Communities programme that seizes the ill-gotten gains of criminals and hands it to the young people of Scotland through a growing series of activities.

"Including today's announcement, we have now committed nearly £24m of crooks' money to Cashback, helping in excess of 300,000 youngsters expand their horizons by getting involved in projects that simply would not have existed otherwise."

Some £500,000 will be given to Youth Scotland to distribute to groups and uniformed organisations like the Boys Brigade, Scouts and Girl Guides.

New Year awards

Another £350,000 is to go to a pilot project run by Tayside Police which helps children under the age of three from deprived or vulnerable families enjoy healthy play activities.

The Prince's Trust is to be given £300,000 for small cash grants to help young people with the cost of going to school, college or finding work.

A Scottish Power-run project will get £200,000 to help young people at risk of offending find work while £150,000 will go to charity Working on Wheels.

Mr MacAskill said he anticipates making further awards in the New Year.

Earlier this month, Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group, one of Scotland's largest companies, had £13.9m of illegal profits confiscated for breaching UN sanctions on Iraq by doing business with Saddam Hussein's regime.

At the time, Mr MacAskill said a substantial amount of it would be used for the Scottish government's international development work.

Another £6.6m was seized from a Russian gangster earlier this year.

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