«

»

Jan 14 2007

More Lottery funding for Harrow, and less Whitehall interference

Bob Blackman backs plans to increase funding for local good causes

Harrow East could benefit from an extra quarter of a million pounds in Lottery funding every year, under new proposals launched by Conservatives. Bob Blackman gave his backing to plans to reform the National Lottery, restoring its independence and increasing money for the good causes of sport, the arts, heritage and the local community. The Labour Government has diverted Lottery money away from these causes, including pouring £544 million of Lottery funds into the Millennium Dome.

Under the plans launched by David Cameron:

  • A National Lottery Independence Bill would free the Lottery from ministerial inference, return it to good causes and make it accountable to Parliament rather than the Government.
  • End the waste of Lottery funds going to dubious projects which undermine public confidence. All Lottery distributors would be required to take into account the reputation of the Lottery as a whole when deciding grants.
  • National Lottery distributors’ administration costs would be capped, and the savings ploughed back into good causes.
  • The way that Lottery tickets are taxed would be changed, moving away from a per-ticket tax to a gross profits tax on the Lottery operators. This would allow the operator more freedom to increase sales and therefore returns to good causes.
  • This package of measures could see an extra £182 million per year for grassroots sports, arts projects and the voluntary sector – equivalent to £280,000 per Parliamentary constituency, every year. This is enough money to pay for four grass pitches, two flood-lit outside tennis courts, or save an arts organisation which has experienced funding cuts by the Arts Council.

Bob Blackman said:

“Under Gordon Brown, Lottery money has been snatched from good causes by bureaucrats. The arts, sport, heritage and charities have all suffered. We need to give money back to local grassroots initiatives, and stop politicians in Whitehall interfering. I welcome these reforms, which could mean an extra quarter of a million pounds every year in Harrow East to improve quality of life.”
Notes to Editors

PLANS FOR LOTTERY REFORM

The National Lottery was established by the last Conservative Government to “enhance the life of our nation”. It was explicitly set up to support non-core areas of government expenditure which are none the less vital for the quality of the nation’s life. Since its establishment the Lottery has raised over £20 billion for good causes that would not otherwise have received funding. However, since 1998 the Labour Government has diverted £4 billion away from the good causes and into areas of Government responsibility.

  • National Lottery Independence: Conservatives will introduce a National Lottery Independence Bill to free the Lottery from ministerial inference, return it to the original good causes and make it accountable to Parliament rather than the government. This would champion that founding principle of ‘additionality’ – i.e. funds are spent in ways that are additional to the government’s own spending.

  • More money for good causes: These proposals could release an extra £182 million per year for good causes. The Big Lottery Fund distributes £630 million each year, with 84 per cent going to voluntary and community sector [VCS] projects. This means that 16 per cent or £101 million goes on non-VCS projects. We would stop the funding of non-VCS projects once existing commitments have been made, so freeing up £101 million. We calculate that £36 million can also be freed up through efficiency savings across the National Lottery distributors. An additional £45 million could be raised through the introduction of a Gross Profit Tax regime (according to calculations by Camelot and PricewaterhouseCoopers).

  • Accountability: Conservatives will end the wasting of Lottery funds on projects which undermine public confidence in it. We will ensure Lottery distributors follow a ‘reputational impact’ clause. All Lottery distributors would be required to take into account the reputation of the Lottery as a whole when deciding grants.


£182,000,000 divided by 646 Parliamentary constituencies (2005 election boundaries) equates to £281,734 extra for each constituency under the plans.