§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. Speaker
In view of the large number of right hon. and hon. Members who wish to participate in the debate, I propose to put a 10-minute limit on speeches between 11.30 am and 1 pm. I hope that the hon. Members who are fortunate enough to be called before that time will bear the limit in mind.
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I am delighted that the Bill has attracted so much interest and enthusiasm from my parliamentary colleagues that, unusually for a Friday, a 10-minute time limit on speeches has been proposed. I shall endeavour to comply, but I cannot guarantee that I shall be able to conform. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will not insist that I limit my speech to 10 minutes.
I hope that the House will think it appropriate that, having won the lottery of the private Members' ballot, I should devote the proceeds of my good fortune to a more glorious lottery. I look forward to the time—very soon, I hope—when a national lottery, so big that it will attract millions of players and tens of millions of pounds every week, will breathe considerable new resources into areas of British life which the taxpayers' money barely reaches—to the arts, to sport, to our national heritage, to charities and, of course, into the pockets of the lucky winners. The aim of the Bill is nothing less than to raise the quality of life in Britain to even higher levels.
When the political air is alive with the conflict of party politics, it is a real joy to be able to introduce a measure which has the enthusiastic support of Members on both sides of the House. I pay tribute to the Bill's distinguished sponsors.
Every country in Europe has a national lottery, except one—Albania. I say nothing against that fascinating yet unhappy country, but I do not recall any other area of national life in which we have claimed to be the equal of Albania. In all, 116 countries, at the last count, are known to have national lotteries. Why? It is because a large enough lottery raises huge sums which can be used to do a huge amount of public good.
A Gallup poll taken in October told us that 72 per cent. of the adult population of Britain would play a national lottery if we had one. If other national lotteries are anything to go by, we could expect to raise about £3 billion a year from 25 million to 30 million players. We could for example, split that sum three ways. We could say that a third would go to the beneficiaries—the Bill specifies the arts, sport, heritage, and charities such as medical research—a third could go to the prize winners, and the other third would be for operating costs and for the taxpayer.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.
1220 My hon. Friend the Minister might say that the taxman will not be interested in the lottery, in which case its beneficial results would be so much the greater. But I am not as confident as I should like to be about the Government's attitude, so I have taken the precaution of incorporating in the Bill an opportunity for the Consolidated Fund to work its way.
§ Mr. Skinner
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that, although a distribution into thirds may be the going rate, in the United States, where there are lotteries, some of the money finishes up in the pockets of politicians? In one recent case, a senator got done for corruption because he had been lining his pockets with money from lottery schemes.
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that the people behind the move towards a lottery in Britain are in no way connected to the United States lottery schemes that have been lining the pockets of politicians there? Apparently, money has been offered to the people who want to operate the lottery scheme in Britain. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman give us an assurance today that no money has been received from the United States for the campaign and that no such money will be used in future? Many suggestions have been made in United States newspapers that that is taking place already.
§ Mr. Lawrence
The hon. Gentleman brings his well-known anti-Americanism even into a debate on a private Member's Bill on a lottery. In presenting the Bill, I am not in a position to give any undertaking about details that still have to be worked out. I do not know whether Americans are involved in any offers that may be made in the course of the tendering.
However, I am sure both that the integrity of British public life is beyond question and that when my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary makes the necessary choices and formulates the necessary regulations for the national lottery regulatory authority he will certainly not do anything to encourage any kind of dishonesty or malpractice. We can all be confident of that—that is, all of us except the hon. Member for Bolsover, (Mr. Skinner).
§ Mr. Ray Whitney (Wycombe)
May I make a more constructive point than that made by the hon. Member for Bolsover? I very much support my hon. and learned Friend's Bill. He said that the lottery was likely to raise £3 billion. I wonder whether he has considered the findings of the Peacock committee, which in 1985 considered the possibility of a lottery for funding the BBC. It estimated that £500 million was the outside figure that might be raised. Grossed up in today's terms, that could mean £1 billion. I wonder whether that thought might allay the fears of the pools promoters. The lottery would open up a new market, so the football pools—with the good that they, too, do—may not be damaged as much as some apprehensions suggest that they might.
§ Mr. Lawrence
My hon. Friend has made a helpful point, and I am grateful for all such help. I cannot confirm anything about broadcasting history or public opinion polls of 1985. I shall try to explain to the House how we came up with our figure.
1221 We have observed a number of other national lotteries elsewhere in the world, especially in Europe. We have seen how popular they are and brought our estimates into line with that, and with the Gallup poll that suggested that 25 million to 30 million British people would take part, and told us the sort of price that they would be prepared to pay. Two rather good estimates have been made. The lower estimate—made by the Sports Council—is that £2 billion would be raised. Another estimate—that £4 billion would be raised—was also made by a reputable body. In my normal, moderate, middle-of-the-road way, I have taken the middle path and used a figure of £3 billion.
§ Mr. Howell
I need to deal with the regrettable interference of my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), and the suggestion that he made. I must declare that I am a director—unpaid, as we all are—of the National Lottery Promotion Company. In view of the suggestions that have been made, I wish to tell my hon. Friend that no director has received a penny from our activities, nor intends to do so. Our purpose would be at an end if a lottery were promoted. Secondly, no American money has come forward for the promotion of the national lottery. It is true that £20,000 has been paid towards our expenses, but that pales into insignificance compared with the expenditure on the other side. It was paid by a British company which is a subsidiary of an American company—[ Interruption.] I am telling the House frankly what has happened. If my hon. Friend says that there is anything wrong in British companies operating in this country supporting the cause, he has an extraordinary sense of values. I hope that that clears up the matter and that the debate can now proceed normally.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
I should tell the House that interventions will be a factor taken into account in determining who will catch my eye later.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell). Those comments could not have come from a more authoritative source than a former Labour Minister for sport. I am only sorry that, when I have come here in a spirit of ecumenicalism, expecting that there will be no conflict between the Labour and the Conservative sides of the House, it seems that our Labour friends are falling out among themselves. Please, gentlemen, maintain that spirit of ecumenicalism, which I want to encourage today.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)
I hope to develop some arguments later, if I catch Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye. On a point of fact, does my hon. and learned Friend agree that the net consumer spend on gambling and gaming is about £3,300 million a year? My hon. and learned Friend's estimate of £3,300 million being spent on a national lottery would be either an addition, thus doubling the amount of gaming and gambling, or a substitution.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I do not agree. It seems that the Treasury is not quite sure how much money it gets from gambling. There is a discrepancy of £3.5 billion between the figures at the end of 1990 and the figures at the beginning of 1991. I am sure that we can work rather more 1222 on that matter during our debate. For the moment, I say that my hon. Friend is wrong in suggesting that there will be no element of new money and no element of increased money to the Treasury, if the Treasury decides to take money from the national lottery.
§ Mr. Derek Conway (Shrewsbury and Atcham)
My hon. and learned Friend is very patient. I must tell the House that I act as adviser for the National Association of Bookmakers, as my hon. and learned Friend knows. He will recall that the Select Committee on Home Affairs produced a report on the effects of the levy which bookmakers pay to the Government. The figures in that report and Home Office figures often differ considerably. Will my hon. and learned Friend describe the impact of clause 2 on the licensed betting offices, which run gambling in a proper and regulated way and which have a genuine and understandable concern that the Bill will have a serious impact on their livelihoods?
§ Mr. Lawrence
I have nothing but the best regard for licensed gamblers. From time to time I have advised them on a legal basis and I must declare that interest. Some of my best friends are bookies. On the question of the Bill's effect on a particular interest, I am unwilling and unable to give an answer, simply because the Bill is an enabling measure. Everything is to be played for and everyone's interest is to be competed for. I have no reason to think that anyone's interest is likely to be excluded.
There is an important point for hon. Members of all parties about the financing and taxation of gambling. The figures show that the return from the sporting and gambling industry to the Exchequer outweighs the money that the Government spend on sport by about 8.5: 1. The more money that the Government put into sport, the more—eight and a half times more—will come back.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South)
Will my hon. and learned Friend underline the fact that, worthy as bookmakers may be and wealthy as they may be—the Rolls-Royces on the racecourses testify eloquently to that—the money paid under the Bill will come to the public good?
§ Mr. Lawrence
I know that it is sometimes to the public good that people win large sums with the national bookmakers. Let us not fall out over that. I think that the Bill will please everybody—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sure——
§ Mr. Lawrence
Having given way on half a dozen occasions, I am sure that I have your support, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in asking to be given the opportunity to make progress. In due course, I may give way to the hon. Gentleman when I feel like having a breather.
Why should the arts, sport, heritage and charities be the beneficiaries of the Bill? My answer is that they are areas of British life which are important to the character and reputation of our nation and to the quality of life, but which are not sufficiently well funded by taxpayers' money.
France has 20 times as many covered tennis courts as we have. Germany has 20 times as many covered 1223 swimming pools and 96 more opera houses. Our 50,000 competitive swimmers have to share only 12 Olympic pools. More amenities would not be just plain indulgence.
How many more of our children would spend time in sporting activities if there were more and better facilities for them? What is the curse on our children today? It is sitting in front of television sets and being subject to boredom. Most of us are parents and know that boredom leads to crime. It is no coincidence that the peak age of criminality is not the twenties and thirties, involving those who are unemployed, but the middle teens. Those kids are bored out of their little minds and find mischief to do. If we give them better swimming pools, better and more football pitches, more and better athletic grounds and gymnasia, and more local theatres and musical instruments to engage their interest and vitality, there is likely to be a reduction in juvenile crime. That is one way in which such expenditure would help British society.
That is why the Bill is backed enthusiastically by the Arts Council, the Sports Council, the Amateur Boxing Association, the Amateur Swimming Association, the British Music Society, the British Olympic Association, the British Ski Federation, the National Youth Orchestra, the Musicians Union, the Scottish Arts Council, the Welsh Arts Council, the great museums, the great orchestras, the operatic and dance groups, the National and Tate galleries, the Council for the Protection of Rural England and English Heritage. The list is almost endless. I give way to the great champion of the arts.
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
I am in favour of the principle of a lottery, but I find myself in a dilemma. I cannot support a Bill that proposes giving more money to the arts. It is clear that the arts get more than enough from the public purse. The weakness of the Bill is that it proposes spending money on the arts. I accept sports, but not the arts which get too much. I have had a letter this week from the great and good Sir Richard "call me Dickie" Attenborough asking for my support for the Bill. However, unless my hon. and learned Friend can guarantee that the arts aspect will be withdrawn, I will vote against the Bill.
§ Mr. Lawrence
As long as my hon. Friend votes for the closure, I do not mind whether he votes for or against the Bill. In the hope of winning over my hon. Friend, I must point out that few measures are 70 per cent. as we should wish them to be. Even if provision for the arts were deleted, the other 70 per cent. must involve matters of which he is in favour.
§ Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)
My hon. and learned Friend knows that I support the Bill strongly, especially on the question of money going to arts and charities. Does he think that he has got the percentages right? I should like a little more to go to charitable purposes, especially to help disabled people who have rather a raw deal in life.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I have not broken down the percentages except to suggest that 90 per cent. of the funds should go to art, sport and heritage in whatever proportion the Home Secretary or the national lottery regulatory authority decides. Up to 10 per cent. would be for charity. I must tell my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster 1224 (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) that there are problems. One is that many big charities do not want me to rain on their parade. They do not want to ask for money and then to be told that, because the national lottery will provide all the money, their finely tuned and dedicated activity will be less welcome.
On the other hand, I want something to go to charity, because the charities are concerned that some of them may be threatened, and I want to ensure that any likely threat is more than compensated for by what goes to them from the lottery. I quite understand my hon. Friend's feelings about these matters, however, and I am sure that they will be taken into account.
I reiterate that this is a skeleton Bill. It is an enabling Bill—in a sense, the worst possible kind of Bill to have to try to defend against the suggestions and attacks of others. But there is good sense in bringing an enabling Bill to the House because the concept is pretty simple—one is either for a national lottery or against a national lottery—and if I do not go into too much detail, many of the arguments and, perhaps, possible interventions can be avoided so that we can get on with the debate.
§ Mr. John D. Taylor (Strangford)
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain why he thinks that our experience in the United Kingdom should be different from that in the Republic of Ireland, where the emergence of the national lottery has severely hit the funding of charities?
§ Mr. Lawrence
That is an unusual intervention from the right hon. Gentleman, who usually makes very sensible contributions. With great respect, I draw to his attention the fact that, although it may be perfectly true that, since the introduction, in point of time, of the national lottery in Ireland, there has been a fall-off there in charitable contributions, there has been a similar fall-off in charitable contributions in Northern Ireland, where there is no national lottery. The one conclusion that one can draw from that is that one cannot draw the conclusion that the right hon. Gentleman suggests. There is probably no link whatever between the two facts; otherwise why has the same thing happened in Northern Ireland?
I shall come back to charities a little later; for the moment, I am dealing with the first limb of the Bill.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am sure that the House will look forward to hearing the right hon. Gentleman's answer when he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not want to be the only hon. Member to speak in the debate and I have already spent the best part of half an hour giving way and answering interventions. I hope that the House will be considerate and allow me to get on and develop my argument.
With such a fund, our cathedrals, churches, national monuments and works of art could be protected from destruction by the ravages of time and weather and from purchase and removal from Britain by foreign buyers.
Some people have asked why the Bill does not help the national health service, which it does not do directly. There has been much fuss about keeping the national health service a state concern and, although it is not remotely possible, and has been denied vigorously, that the Conservatives or anyone else will privatise the national health service—there is no merit in the suggestion at all 1225 —the very idea makes people very angry. It is clear, therefore, that everyone wants the national health service to be funded by the taxpayer and only by the taxpayer, and funding from a private lottery would be a strange way of maintaining a state health service, especially as we spend £33 billion of taxpayers' money a year on the NHS and the lottery would raise only 3 per cent. of that.
Nevertheless, the Bill will help the nation's health. First, it will help charitable research foundations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust, with which I am particularly closely concerned. There are also research trusts for diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis, which depend largely upon private contributions, and those would benefit from the £100 million a year that would be allocated to charity under the Bill, if the figures that I have put before the House are right.
Secondly, there is the money that the Exchequer will take from the national lottery—possibly hundreds of millions of pounds—which could be used to help to fund the national health service or to relieve the taxpayer of liabilities that give him a big headache and make him sick.
Thirdly, an improvement in the nation's health would inevitably result if we had more sports facilities such as squash courts, running tracks and football fields—the list is very long.
That is the first way in which the income of the lottery could be split between the beneficiaries.
In addition, the prize winners would obviously benefit. Many hundreds of millions of pounds a year—with my model, up to £1,000 million a year—would go to them. That would make a lot of people happy and would considerably improve the quality of life.
§ Mr. Graham
Would the money go only to private clubs, running private facilities, or would some of it go direct to local councils which provide sporting facilities? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain whether his Bill would channel any money into local government? And can the hon. and learned Gentleman tell me whether he gambles himself and what form of gambling he knows all about?
§ Mr. Lawrence
On the hon. Gentleman's first question, nothing has been ruled out. The local authorities have everything to play for in making their bids for the various activities involved in the national lottery, so I do not wish the hon. Gentleman to lose heart.
My own gambling proclivities are very modest and I have placed no bets on the outcome of today's debate, although I think that I can say that I am certain of success in the long run.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I do not do very much gambling of any kind.
Let me give some examples of benefits to the prize winners. In France, the lottery, now 15 years old, is a national institution, with draws twice a week, televised at peak viewing time, and an average stake of 80p per person. Some 50 per cent. of the population play and Today tells us this week that last year's big winners walked away with a £5.5 million jackpot.
In Italy, the Government raised £1.5 billion from gambling. Italy has 13 lotteries, and 40 million tickets are sold at £2.50 a time.
1226 In Ireland, 60 to 65 per cent. of all adults play regularly, spending about £3 a week—the cost of one newspaper a day—and £250 million has been raised over four and a half years. Yesterday, Ray Bates, the Irish lottery secretary, told a meeting in Committee Room 13, to which all hon. Members were invited, that a nun in full regalia—so much for religious objections—won £50,000 and a weekend for two in Paris, which she raffled to raise more money for her order.
In Spain, players spend £3 billion to £4 billion a year on the lotteria nacional, with a pay-out one Christmas reaching £115 million. I read this Christmas that a department store's employees—64 of them—won £16 million between them, or £250,000 each. The only person who did not join in was the English manager. If you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, can imagine what a sick parrot looks like, you can imagine how that gentleman must have looked when the lottery result was announced. In addition to the arts, sport, heritage, charities and health of the nation, ordinary men and women from one end of the nation to the other would gain from a national lottery.
The third way in which the national lottery income would be split would be among the operators and their workers, the taxpayers and the Exchequer. If my right hon. Friend the Chancellor wanted, several hundred million pounds could go to help to relieve the burden on the taxpayer or be used to improve the welfare state.
Some have said, "With so much good, where is the catch? Are not there any losers?" What objections are there to a national lottery, and how valid are they? The short answer is that, provided that a national lottery is properly, fairly, efficiently and honestly run, the only losses are the amounts voluntarily and freely placed in the purchase of tickets that do not win. Society still benefits, however, and one cannot really call the players losers in the sense that they have been harmed by the national lottery. I have heard some very feeble objections advanced by self-interested groups over the past few weeks. I have also heard some very old-fashioned ideas. No doubt we will hear more of them today as there are some very old-fashioned Members on the Opposition Benches and, perhaps, also behind me.
I have heard it said that the state should not engage in gambling or encourage it in any way. However, it already does that with regard to premium bonds, which are state controlled and state run. That is not the purpose of my national lottery. There are also quite lowly taxed gambling events such as horse racing and casinos. Low taxation is a form of encouragement for gambling by the state. I am afraid that the pass about the state's encouragement or otherwise of gambling has long since been sold.
A state lottery is not hard or addictive gambling. It is harmless gambling and it is fun. It is a very different kind of gambling.
I have also heard it said that the poor must be protected from the temptation to abuse their charity and that they must be saved from fecklessness. What outdated paternalism that is for the 1990s. It seems that people cannot be trusted to spend their money as they wish and that people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale must be deprived of entertainment and the chance to win prizes.
I am pleased to say that the Church of England no longer adopts that dated approach. It has a very laid-back attitude to the Bill and, as I am instructed to say by those who are knowledgeable about these things, the Church of 1227 England claims that the Bill is a matter for individual conscience—as indeed it should be. The Catholic Church exists side by side with some of the biggest national lotteries in the world.
If hon. Members are still in doubt about this, let me point out that in 1978 the royal commission on gambling, which examined all those matters and considered all the lotteries operating at the time, concluded:We have neither heard nor seen anything to suggest that its remarkable success"—that is, the national lotteries in other countries—has been accompanied by any socially harmful events.We have all been deluged with literature of a sort from the pools lobby—as unself-interested a body as it is possible to meet. I have nothing against the football pools or the pools promotion companies. Long may they all flourish and prosper. However, they should not insult our intelligence by claiming that a national lottery would kill off the pools in a few weeks. It has not killed off the pools in Italy or in any other country in Europe where football is a strong national game and where the pools are well run and efficient.
Why do our pools companies fear competition? Are they so feeble and weak that they will disintegrate if any other group is after their money? If they are weak, perhaps they should have spent more money on spectator facilities and less on high-priced players. I have advice for the pools companies. The picture of weakness and incompetence which they are apparently painting will not stand them in good stead when they bid to run the national lottery as an operator which they have said that they will if such a lottery is instituted, and as Vernons already does with other state lotteries in the United States.
§ Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the Treasury received £309 million from the pools last year? Is he aware that the pools give £40 million to football and £20 million to the arts and other facilities? Is he also aware that 6,000 jobs in Liverpool are at risk because of the lottery? Is he further aware that in Belgium the pools collapsed three weeks after a national lottery was introduced, that in Greece the takings went down by two thirds and that in Australia they fell by 50 per cent? That is the effect that a national lottery would have.
§ Mr. Lawrence
The hon. Gentleman has made several points on behalf of the pools promoters and I will deal with them seriatim. With regard to Belgium and any other country in which the pools have gone down, if those countries do not have a strong tradition of football—as those countries do not—and if their pools are weak and inefficiently operated, of course they will go out of business. However, the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) cannot be suggesting that that applies in Britain.
§ Mr. Simon Burns (Chelmsford)
Does my hon. and learned Friend accept that the football pools in Belgium and Greece were not based on the internal football matches of those countries in the way that pools are run in this country? Therefore, it is hardly surprising that there should be less interest in the pools in Belgium and Greece when there is a more attractive alternative. As we have a strong and fine tradition of football in this country, a lottery would not have the same effect.
§ Mr. Lawrence
As I expected, my hon. Friend has made the point so much better than I did. I hope that the hon. Member for Bassetlaw will be reassured. Indeed, I can reassure him further. If the pools promoters had bothered to commission Gallup or any other public opinion poll—although they do not always say the same thing—to carry out a poll on the threat to their survival, they would have discovered the following facts: first, 92 per cent. of pools players will continue to play the pools even if there is a national lottery. Only 8 per cent. of pools players would spend less on the pools. Secondly, only one in three people play the pools—fewer than one in five of women—while 72 per cent. would play a national lottery as would a much higher proportion of women. Why should women be discriminated against? They are as important in society as men and they have as much right as men to ease of access. Not all women are as interested as men in filling out complicated football pool coupons.
Most of the national lottery payments would be—[Interruption.] Due to the ribald behaviour of Opposition Members, I had better repeat that point. Most of the national lottery payments would be new money. The pools have little to fear, especially if they are planning to run the new lottery.
The pools promoters have also warned—and this point was supported by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw—that they would lose 6,500 jobs. No doubt many hon. Members will oppose the Bill because their local football clubs have written to them claiming that jobs would be at risk because of the lottery. However, the football pools have been losing jobs steadily over the past few years without a national lottery and they will continue to lose jobs as they modernise their systems and install on-line computers in place of people. Let the pools promoters deny that they have such plans.
Had the pools promoters and the hon. Member for Bassetlaw consulted the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, they would have been advised that once the national lottery achieves a turnover of £3 billion after three or four years, 85,000 jobs—and not 6,500—would be created.
Just think of the people who would benefit from a lottery. It has been suggested that there may be 25,000 outlets. Those may be in corner shops or village stores. Small business people would be grateful for an extra £100 a week to ensure that they remained in existence. What about the new employees in sport, the arts, heritage and related areas? Those people would not simply be working for the lottery office. Many more jobs would be created, and that is another answer to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw.
§ Mr. John Lee (Pendle)
With regard to outlets, my hon. and learned Friend may be interested to learn that my hon. Friend the Member for Hyndburn (Mr. Hargreaves) and I met the senior management of Post Office Counters earlier this week. Post Office Counters has about 20,000 outlets, 19,000 of which are sub-offices. If a national lottery was introduced, Post Office Counters would be very keen to participate. That is an indication of the scale of the potential.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee), who has done sterling work in support of this cause. He knows more about it than I do, and I am happy to rely on his advice and experience.
§ Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)
I am sure that, during his researches, the hon. and learned Gentleman has come across the cautionary tale of Skillball, which was also to install computer terminals in every corner shop, post office and village store, as a result of which the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) was to preside over a fund which also was to dispense millions of pounds to good causes. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman confirm from his researches that the founder of Skillball decamped to Barbados with a rather large sum of money, and that the right hon. Member for Chingford did not dispense a single penny to charity as a result of those terminals being installed?
§ Mr. Lawrence
I do not wish to discuss Skillball, about which I know nothing. Of course it is very important that the national lottery should be properly monitored and properly policed so that no possible element of fraud or dishonesty can be allowed to enter. I am confident that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary—he has sent me a note saying that, unfortunately, he cannot be present today, although he wanted to be, and I am most grateful for that—will be most astute to make sure that the regulations that he lays down and the people who are appointed to the national lottery regulatory authority will be of the greatest integrity, and will be sure to maintain that none of that criticism can arise. If the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) has any doubt about those matters, perhaps he should convey them to his hon. Friends who support the national lottery and are not dissuaded in any way by the hon. Gentleman's point.
The pools promoters have warned us—the hon. Member for Bassetlaw touched on this point—that they may not be able to manage the £60 million they give to sport and the arts if their income is weakened. I pass over the fact that that money is largely taxpayers' money, anyway—it is the 2.5 per cent. tax reduction deal that they struck with the Government last year, less tax and the money to sport and the arts. I have already said that, if they are more efficient, they will not be weakened.
In any event, is not it extraordinarily selfish—I am surprised that the pools promoters are not ashamed to make this point—to suggest that £60 million will be of more benefit to art and sport than the £600 million that they are likely to get from the national lottery? Also, the pools give nothing to the heritage, and the lottery will give a further £100 million a year specifically to charities. That is the answer to the points that the hon. Member for Bassetlaw has made.
I have heard—doubtless we shall hear it again—that the national lottery would be the ruination of charities. I have already dealt with the Northern Ireland point—the Irish point—which is very ill founded. The connection between charities and a national lottery, as suggested, is manifest nonsense. Other countries with successful lotteries do not appear to have had their charities obliterated. Why is that? It is because they are two different kinds of spending. One gives money to a charity—we play the lottery. That is a very different mental process, and it is very different money.
If I go up to somebody and say, "Will you buy a lottery ticket, or will you give to the local church group?", he or she is not likely, in common sense, to say, "I am sorry, I have already bought a ticket, because I am playing the national lottery." If I go up to somebody and say, "Will you help to stop water coming into the local scout hut or 1230 mend its windows and give some money to the lottery for that?", they will not say, "I am sorry, I have already given to the national lottery." The same applies to people who raise money for local hospitals. People who are committed to a particular form of charity will not say, "I am sorry, I am not going to give because I am already playing the national lottery."
The national lottery will not affect corporate giving to charity, which has risen by 50 per cent. over the past five years. It will not affect the giving of those who have never given to charity. In fact, 56 per cent. of the population do not give to charity. However, the national lottery will channel more money to charity. Charities that find that their income may have been adversely affected can put in their bids to the trustees for further charitable giving. I am very sorry that whoever it was from some kind of charitable body or institution who circulated a letter to every Member of Parliament last week—I do not have the letter with me—said that there is no provision in the Bill for charities. They simply have not read the Bill. It behoves everybody who circulates letters to Members of Parliament to make an important point to know what on earth they are talking about; otherwise we will never be able to trust such circulars again.
§ Mr. Stuart Randall (Kingston upon Hull, West)
I wish to comment on the figures that the hon. and learned Gentleman presented before he started to talk about charities. We should recognise that no hon. Member knows what revenue will emanate from a national lottery. We do not even know whether it will be viable because we do not know what tax regime will be in operation. We do not know what possible regulation will be in operation. We need also to take into account the fact that Britain is rather different in the sense that there is a far wider range of gambling opportunities here than in many other countries. Hon. Members must refrain from pushing figures on what we would like to spend, because none of us knows.
§ Mr. Lawrence
Of course I concede that nobody knows precisely the detail, but one conclusion to which we can come is that it will be a jolly good thing for everybody to whom I referred. Perhaps my figures are wildly optimistic, although they are tied to the Gallup poll findings and to what happens in other countries. I have already given an account of the massive incomes in other countries that are no more sporting-oriented than we are. Perhaps it is wildly pessimistic to assess that we can raise very much more money than I have postulated. I said that I have taken the middle line between the £2 billion figure and the £4 billion figure. If it is £2 billion, it will still be a fantastic advance in raising the quality of life in Britain. If it is £4 billion, it will be even more fantastic.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am sure that my hon. Friend will make his contribution. I must come to the end of my speech. I hope that he will forgive me. When he was at the Dispatch Box, he had many opportunities to be interrupted. From time to time, he had to take a hard line and refuse to accept interventions.
In summary, much of the criticism of the Bill is ill-informed, unsubstantiated and downright unlikely, and splendid examples of special pleading against the wider 1231 national interest. No one is perfect, and certainly no Bill is without fault, least of all mine. My Bill is enabling legislation. I doubt whether the Government will like it very much because it is enabling legislation. I have no doubt that that is why the Government have decided not to send Ministers into either Lobby: they are leaving the matter to us. This is a real Back-Bench day. I hope that Back-Bench Members will show the Government precisely how they feel about this matter.
This enabling legislation clearly sets out limited aims for the national lottery to help arts, sport, heritage and charities, and I have explained why that is so. It establishes the framework of the national lottery regulatory authority, which, under regulations to be made by the Home Secretary, will agree the kind of lottery, the proportion of prizes, the kind of game, the granting of an operator's licence, the selection of the operators, and the policing of the operation. I do not intend that that body should comprise civil servants because that would make it a state enterprise, which is not what I foresee. It must be totally private. However, I have no objection to a member of the civil service being on the authority to ensure for the taxpayer that the scheme is properly policed.
The Bill establishes that the lottery will be conducted by operators under regulations made by the Home Secretary. It sets up a board of trustees to allocate the revenue—90 per cent. to arts, sport and heritage and 10 per cent. to charities. It lays down requirements for monitoring activities and for ensuring that that monitoring comes before Parliament and the Home Secretary. It also provides for the Treasury to extract its share.
I have drafted the Bill in such a way as to avoid arguments and limitless interventions and interruptions—[Interruption.] It is not sensible to go into detail at this stage. Everybody's representations will be heard in due course by the Home Secretary and the regulatory authority. There must be more specific rules and regulations, and I recognise immediately that that means that there will have to be consultation and discussions between the interested parties. Everybody must have the chance to make his or her pitch. Those who are interested in running or taking part in such a lottery will have nearly everything to play for and can make their representations in due course.
What I want of the Government today is for them to face up to the necessity for a lottery and to the need to resolve its complexities speedily. Not only are we almost alone among the enlightened nations in not having a national lottery; if we are not careful, foreign lotteries will flood into the country in a few months, taking British money for other countries' good causes. I want to see—I expect that the House will want to see—British money going to British causes to improve the quality of British life.
Why might we lose out if we do not move soon? There are moves afoot in the European Community to harmonise the service industry. I know that the Government are not enthusiastic about giving up any British powers, and I want to ensure that that eventuality is narrowed, although, of course, sometimes we can do very little about the efforts that are made in the European Community. If hon. Members are not sure that that is what is happening in the European Commission, I refer 1232 them to a letter written by the Vice President of the European Commission as recently as 1 August 1991. It stated:Lawful gambling activities are considered service activities. The transfer of winnings linked to a lottery is therefore a current transaction and thus liberalised according to relevant provisions of the Treaty and Directive".The Vice President of the European Commission is saying that, as far as he is concerned, such activities are very much a matter of the removal of barriers because there will be a restraint of trade if the barriers remain. Even now, a committee is sitting to consider how far forward that point can be taken.
I realise that the Government do not propose to lose control of the area, but, if the Commission 'and our other colleagues in the European Community decide to dismantle the barriers and to allow the free play of lotteries, will they say, "No, this is a matter of such fundamental importance to the survival of Britain as a nation that we shall not go along with it or make that concession for the purpose of being communautaire"? I doubt very much whether this is the sort of issue on which the British people would expect the Government to stand up to the rest of the Community.
If foreign lotteries are to be available in Britain, the only effective way of dealing with that is to have our own domestic national lottery. If the Government feel that their position on this issue is stronger than some of us believe, I have two warnings for them. First, when asked in a Gallup poll whether they would buy foreign lottery tickets if they were available and if British tickets were not, 40 per cent. of people said that they would. That is strong evidence that the British public want to buy foreign lottery tickets if we do not have our own national lottery.
Secondly, because Denmark had been so slow to establish its own national lottery after international lotteries had been allowed into the country, even a year or two after the establishment of the Danish national lottery, 10 per cent. of the Danish money that is spent on lotteries still goes to the Germans. Even if European lotteries are not to be allowed in by law, who can stop them coming in illegally? Last year, our police and Customs and Excise confiscated 3 million lottery advertisements. They were not just for European lotteries, but for the United States and Canada where there are substantial lotteries. Who knows how many British people even now are playing foreign lotteries illegally, perhaps blissfully unaware that it is illegal? How many foreign lottery tickets are being sold in Britain? How much money is currently going abroad that could be used to raise the British quality of life?
§ Mr. Lawrence
While getting this Bill together, I have seen very many foreign lottery tickets that have not been stopped from entering the country by Customs and Excise. About 3 million tickets have been stopped, but many have not. I have heard stories of people playing foreign national lotteries, although that is unlawful.
For more than 200 years, lotteries have played an important part in the public life of Britain.
§ Mrs. Audrey Wise (Preston)
I have waited to intervene until it became clear that the hon. and learned Gentleman 1233 was concluding his speech because I have been expecting him to tell us where the £3 billion that his lottery would raise is being spent at present, but he has not done so. Will he enlighten us on this important point?
§ Mr. Lawrence
Perhaps I can answer the hon. Lady quickly with this statistic. An average of 27p per head of the population in Britain is now spent on the football pools. The average spend in Europe is £1 per head on lotteries and similar forms of gambling. Unless this country is a lot less sporting than European countries and a lot less liable to engage in a flutter, that means that there would be 73p per head of the population to be spent on the national lottery for a start. It would be new money. All our experience shows that, if people are presented with, a sensible, rational and inviting alternative, they can and do find the money for the causes that they think are right.
I am trying to come to my conclusion, Mr. Deputy Speaker——
§ Mr. Lawrence
I have given way many times. The hon. Member for Bassetlaw may well say, "Hear, hear", but I have spent about half of my speech answering the inane points that he has made on behalf of the Pools Promoters Association. If the hon. Gentleman had not made those points, I should not have had to deal with them.
For more than 200 years, lotteries have played—[Interruption.] Let us be ecumenical. For more than 200 years, lotteries have played an important part in public life in Britain. In 1569, a national lottery raised money to repair the Cinque ports. The British Museum was built with lottery money. Manuscripts and art collections have been purchased by public lotteries, which have numbered the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons among their patrons. From 1709 to 1824, a national lottery was authorised by Act of Parliament to raise money for public works. It was removed from the statute book by 19th century moralists, who are much reviled by Opposition Members, because it was thought to be a temptation to the indigent poor to be offered a lottery against which A was necessary to protect them and everyone else in our society.
Now the time for a national lottery has come again. It will be good for the poor and everyone else. It will strengthen the parts of our quality of life that taxes do not reach. It will be popular. Recent press reactions since I published the Bill proved that. The number of letters from the public proves that. The arguments put against the Bill, as the royal commission concluded as long ago as 1978, are feeble. There is no longer any excuse for not reviving the national lottery. In addition—I say this in all seriousness to my hon. Friend the Minister—a national lottery will be a vote winner for whichever party is in government and. implements it.
I ask my hon. Friend the Minister to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to the principle of a national lottery now and to give the House a copper-bottomed undertaking that it will be implemented soon. If he does not like my Bill—and I will understand why—let him say to the House that the Government intend to introduce a national lottery through their own Bill as speedily as can be arranged, following consultation and the acceptance of representations from all the interested bodies. As my offering to assist in achieving that end, I commend the Bill to the House and invite it to support it.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
May I remind the House of Mr. Speaker's earlier appeal for brief speeches? A large number of right hon. Members wish to take part in the debate.
§ Mr. Skinner
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Towards the end of today's proceedings it is likely that the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) will move the closure of the debate. I hope that you will bear in mind that Deputy Speakers and others take into account the nature of the debate, and the fact that a Member takes up 20 per cent. of the time in moving the Bill, in deciding whether a closure is warranted.
§ Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton)
The Bill is a dog's breakfast of a scheme and I am opposed to it. I hope that the Bill will be disposed of, not merely because I come from Liverpool, but because it is based on a string of fallacious propositions. The arguments made either today or in any of the lobbying briefings that I have received have not changed my mind one iota. It is argued that billions would be raised for art and sport and that no damage would be done to the pools, the lotteries or the general gambling industry. It is argued that somehow we shall be flooded with European lottery tickets post-1992, if not before.
It is argued that we shall get out of a lottery grand public works catering for sport, the arts and so on. It is understating the case to say that the various projections of income from a national lottery are open to question. To put it mildly, they are confusing. In his letter of 16 December, the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) said that the lottery might raise as much as £1 billion. The Sports Council briefing note claimed that the lottery would raise at least £2 billion. Not so long ago we were being told that the scheme would raise £3 billion. There is no guaranteed return on a national lottery and it is misleading to suggest otherwise.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I would not like the hon. Gentleman to make a bad point and I am sure that he would not want to do so either. If he reads my letter carefully, he will see that I said that £1 billion would be liberated for arts, sports and heritage. The total take would be £3 billion.
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
With respect, that is exactly what I am saying. But it still confuses the issue. The various parties that support the Bill cannot agree on the exact figure. The amount is limited. That is an important point to make. Not so long ago the hon. and learned Member for Burton suggested that somehow there is an unlimited amount of gambling take to be spread about. That is just not true. It is possible to speculate about what income would be generated for sports and arts projects, but it would be merely speculation.
The Sports Council is a strong supporter of the Bill. In its briefing note it could not even decide on the basis of its own projections whether sport and the arts would receive £600 million or £800 million from the scheme. The whole idea is based on over-optimistic and simplistic analysis of what people might spend on gambling in the future. Any national lottery scheme would have a devastating effect on other lotteries and the gambling industry in general.
1235 There is widespread opposition to the Bill among responsible bodies. We were given a list of people who support a national lottery but not of those who are against it, such as the Lotteries Council. The Lotteries Council represents bodies as diverse as the Children Nationwide Medical Research Fund, MIND, and the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. Professional rugby, football and cricket clubs are vigorously opposed to the Bill.
§ Mr. Ken Hargreaves (Hyndburn)
The Lotteries Council is not against a national lottery. I speak as president of it. The council is against this Bill because it believes that it would not help it.
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. The Lotteries Council is against the Bill, not a national lottery. Nevertheless, we are dealing with the Bill this morning.
Equally implacable in its opposition is the Betting Office Licensees Association. It is a major employer in Britain. Some 50,000 people are employed in betting offices around Britain. But obviously my particular anxiety is the effect that a national lottery would have on the pools industry. I make no apologies as a Liverpool Member of Parliament for arguing that industry's corner.
In Liverpool we have more than 4,500 people employed in the pools industry. Most of them are women. Indeed, some of my relations are employed or have been employed in the industry. An awful lot of those women are the only breadwinners in their household. In my constituency we already have the highest number of unemployed women in Britain. I do not want to see any addition to that number. I am absolutely convinced that a national lottery would have a devastating effect on the pools and would cost those women their jobs.
We are told that a national lottery will not impact on the pools industry. To me it is nonsense to suggest that. I was in Australia when the soccer pools were devastated by the national lottery scheme—Tatts Lotto. Anyone who suggests that one does not have an effect on the other is talking nonsense. Soccer pools in Australia were destroyed by the national lottery. Without a shadow of a doubt, exactly the same thing would happen to the pools industry in Britain. That has been independently confirmed by Coopers and Lybrand Europe. It was engaged recently by the European Commission to do a study on gambling in the Community. It was in no doubt about what the Bill would do to the pools industry. It said:A UK national lottery would effectively kill off the football pools in a period of weeks.It gave the example of what happened in Belgium. I have heard the contrary argument put this morning about that. Belgium's pools industry was killed off within three weeks. Coopers and Lybrand was particularly pointed about the effect that a national lottery would have on the pools industry in Britain.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
I shall speak against the Bill, if I catch Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye, but it is probably worth saying on the football pools point that because many people go in for a blanket entry, a national lottery could not possibly have the immediate impact that the hon. Gentleman suggests. Whether it would have an impact in the longer term is a matter for genuine debate. It is a weak point to claim that the pools would disappear so fast.
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
The hon. Gentleman may think that it is a weak point, but I am convinced that Coopers and Lybrand has a comprehensive view of the effect that a national lottery would have. It seems to be convinced that the effect would be fairly immediate. Certainly, the effect on soccer pools in Australia was immediate. All the statistics show that.
Gambling currently generates more than £1 billion in tax and duty for the Government. Obviously, that includes the element from the football pools. I believe that much of that will be imperilled by the scheme, especially if the football pools and small lotteries are damaged and the betting industry generally is damaged. I am sure that the Treasury would not want to lose the money that it already rakes in from the gambling industry.
§ Mr. Ashton
Is it not a fact that the vast majority of pools coupons are collected? Would not those collectors push state lottery tickets instead of collecting the pools? Is not that the reason why the pools would suffer instantly?
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
Yes, on commission. I assume that that is what hon. Members are talking about when they mention all the jobs that will be generated by a national lottery. The only alternative is to have on-line terminals of the sort promised with the Skillball game—or whatever it was called—which never came into being. I can see no other way round that and it will obviously cost those jobs.
§ Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North)
Does my hon. Friend agree that the fact that only 10 per cent. of pools entries are standard forecasts—where people do the pools several weeks in advance—negates the argument of the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) a few moments ago?
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
Absolutely. Also, it can be argued that some skill is involved in the pools. It is not the simple gambling trick that a lottery would be.
I am sure that the Treasury would want to make up any lost income. Surely, that will affect the portion set aside for tax anticipated in the briefing notes that I have seen. That would mean that less money would be left to be disbursed on the arts, sport and heritage. They cannot have it both ways—it is a finite piece of cake.
I am less than optimistic about the running costs and profit margins of such a scheme. The hon. and learned Member for Burton did not really answer the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner). I am concerned about the involvement of American companies such as Reebok and Control Data in promoting the proposals. We ought to know exactly how they are funding the campaign behind the Bill and what their future role will be. They do not put money in unless there will be some return for them. It is all very well and good to make snide comments about the pools industry. I want to know the exact position of those companies as regards the proposals. One thing that I am sure of is that if those companies have a future role of any sort in a national lottery, they will want a far higher return than the 3 per cent. which the pools companies take.
Those in favour of a national lottery say that we are about to be overwhelmed by foreign lottery tickets. A few 1237 moments ago, the hon. and learned Member for Burton said that that was happening already. Yet the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd), confirmed to my hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) on 12 March 1991 that that was not the case. Foreign tickets will not be allowed into the country. Whether the law is being broken now is immaterial. It was suggested that post-1992 we would be flooded by such tickets. On 12 December the hon. Member for Fareham confirmed that there would be no change in the Government's policy and that gambling controls are matters solely for national authorities.
Following the aforementioned Coopers and Lybrand report for the European Commission, it is clear that most European Community member states are totally against any cross-border sales of lottery tickets. Each fears the consequences for its own national lottery.
On 12 December the hon. Member for Fareham stated to the House in a written answer that a range of measures had been taken here and abroad to prevent the importation, promotion and sale of foreign lottery material. In short, the argument about post-1992 and the flood of foreign lottery tickets is unsustainable.
Despite the figure of 27p which was mentioned earlier, as a nation we spend far more on gambling than France, Germany, Italy or the Netherlands. In Europe, only Spain, Ireland and Greece spend more on gambling. Home Office figures that I have seen suggested that £4.50 per week is spent for every man, woman and child in the country. I do not believe that that amount can be substantially increased; nor ought it to be. That begs the question where the extra income will come from. The hon. and learned Member for Burton skirted round that. There is no doubt that it will come from other forms of gambling, whether from the pools, racing or small local lotteries. That is why many people have argued that this is a bad scheme. It will have a devastating effect on fund-raising activities at a small, local level. That must be unacceptable to the House.
There has been no mention of the potential effect of the Bill on football, our national game. Research at Leicester university shows that, on average, 10 per cent. of football's income comes from small lotteries. The smaller the club, the more dependent it is on lottery income and the more vulnerable it will be to competition from a national lottery. I want to know whether supporters of the Bill have taken that into account. Have they thought of the devastating effect that it will have on football clubs?
The game as a whole receives more than £40 million from pools-related sources. It has been computed that if the scheme went ahead, the Football Trust alone would have its income slashed from £33.8 million to just £6.5 million by 1994–95. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that that money would be replaced by a national lottery. It would be merely one of many interests competing for money from the proposed scheme. There will be no guarantee that our national game would have any prior claim to any part of it.
I am also sceptical about the grandiose claims that have been made about the benefits of the scheme for sport and the arts. The Sports Council has produced a long list of worthy projects to be funded by the scheme—it hopes. Frankly, I find it a sign of desperation that such organisations are seeking funds in that way. They recognise that grants in aid have declined in real terms and that local authority expenditure on sport and recreation 1238 has been slashed by more than 25 per cent. in the past five years, due to what they euphemistically describe as pressures on public finance.
The Government waste billions of pounds on the poll tax, yet cannot provide sports and arts facilities commensurate with a civilised society. We want them to go and I hope that the Bill will go with them.
§ Sir Richard Luce (Shoreham)
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) represents a Merseyside constituency and one would expect him to speak on behalf of football pools, but he did not do the promoters of the pools a great service by what clearly was a gross exaggeration about what might or might not happen. No hon. Member knows precisely what the effect of a national lottery will be on overall levels of gambling and how it might affect the football pools. To state that there will be a mass decimation of the football pools—which is what I think that he was implying—must be a gross exaggeration and does not do a proper service to the discussion of this issue. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that football pools and national lotteries co-exist in many countries successfully and examples have been given by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence).
I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton most warmly on his decision to introduce the Bill and on the way in which he has presented it, on his great good humour—which was much needed when dealing with some of the neolithic tribesmen who opposed him—his approach to the Bill, his profound hard work on it, his research and the rational case which he produced so sensibly and fully for the House. He has done a great service and I am proud to be one of the sponsors of the Bill.
Like the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), I should declare an interest, although it is unremunerated, as I am a member of the Lottery Promotion Board. It is a good thing that the board exists to collate all the facts and to put forward evidence about the advantage to the country of a national lottery.
My reasons for supporting the Bill go back to my experience as Minister for the Arts for five years. After two or three years I came to the view that it was vital to find new ways to finance the expansion of the arts in our country, and that it would not be right to depend solely upon the taxpayer or potential benefactors to support the arts and cover all the requirements of the arts in the long term. Bearing in mind the constant pressures and needs of our national health service, education system and road system as well as all the other areas which the Government are obliged on behalf of the taxpayer to support with public expenditure, I came clearly to the view that one had to look at new ways to find support for the arts and sport. The arts and sport need a substantial injection of extra resources, particularly capital sums to improve facilities, buildings and our heritage. That can be illustrated clearly. Above all, we need a large injection of capital funds to improve facilities. We need to follow the American example and establish endownment funds as the basis of funding and, in the long term, of running costs of many arts bodies.
§ Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)
Would the right hon. Gentleman support the concept of income from 1239 a national lottery being ring-fenced? I am a sponsor of the Bill, but many of us have reservations. A problem is that any Government will see the income as a replacement for central Government funding, so in the end the arts will not be a net beneficiary.
§ Sir Richard Luce
I understand that important point. The money must not be seen in any way as a substitute for public expenditure. It is important to find ways of strengthening that point in the Bill. It is absolutely essential that a national lottery should in no way be seen as a substitute for taxpayers' support. That is why it is right that as large a part of the proceeds as possible should be isolated for capital and endowment funds which are desperately needed in sport and the arts.
Many arts building were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries and need refurbishment. We need new buildings, such as concert halls. Our theatres undoubtedly need refurbishment. The south of England is much in need of a new dance centre. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) is not here. I know that he would not agree with that, but there is no doubt about the need and there is a great deal of discussion about using the Lyric theatre. Our cathedrals and churches need extra support, as do our national museums and galleries. The Museums and Galleries Commission estimates that we need capital expenditure of £300 million a year to get the fabric in good condition.
There is the whole question of works of art. There should be as much international free trade as possible, but it is absolutely essential to preserve some works of art for the nation. We cannot constantly make demands of taxpayers to save works of art. When one compares the price of a hospital with the price of a work of art, often the priority is to spend the money on the health service.
§ Mr. Cormack
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the present system has excellent rules, but has collapsed? Despite all his valiant efforts and those of his successors, the system is not working because the money is not there. Does he agree that a national lottery is one potential source of that money?
§ Sir Richard Luce
My hon. Friend, who knows so much about this subject and has been the Chairman of the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts, makes an important point. This is exactly where a lottery could assist and help to save important objects for the nation, thus lifting the burden from taxpayers.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
Although I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks), has my right hon. Friend seen table 32 on page 232 of the Rothschild report on the perceived appeal of a national lottery? It shows the groups most likely to take part and that 1 per cent. want to keep art treasures and stately homes intact and less than half a per cent. go to operas and theatres. I agree with my right hon. Friend that it is right that we should find the money for these good causes, but we should not go to a group where less than 1 per cent. wants the money to go to those destinations.
§ Sir Richard Luce
I know about the 1978 report, but I have not seen that specific page. More recent research by the Arts Council demonstrates widespread support for 1240 participation in a lottery, with money going to different types of arts and heritage causes. I have no doubt that that is the case.
Even if the predictions and forecasts are half true, a national lottery scheme would without a shadow of a doubt produce enormous extra sums which would help to improve the quality of life. The forthcoming millenium, with the targets set by Lord Palumbo and the Government that we should strengthen our heritage and the fabric of our buildings, is an added reason.
Many hon. Members will argue all the reasons why we need improved sports facilities, so I shall not detain the House on that. I believe that sport is as important as the arts. It is just that I have not had experience of sport.
§ Mr. David Bellotti (Eastbourne)
The right hon. Gentleman referred to sport. Would he care to comment on the local situation with Brighton and Hove Albion? The club says that it takes about £1 million gross in its bingo scheme, which is greater than the gate receipts from our joint local professional club and that that scheme would go by the wall if a national lottery came in. If that is the case, can he suggest another way in which we could jointly support our local professional club in Sussex?
§ Sir Richard Luce
The club should have regard to the views expressed by the Sports Council which strongly supports such a scheme because of the advantages that it would bring to sport. It has listed a whole range of facilities, from hockey to tennis and water sports to athletics, which would be advantaged.
It is important to keep our sights on the overall advantage to the nation of the introduction of a national lottery. Many people have, understandably, referred to the arts and sports foundation scheme. It is right that they should do so and right to welcome the scheme, but we need to look at the difference in scale. The money spent on that scheme is about £60 million, but a national lottery could bring benefits to the tune of £1 billion a year. We must keep our sights on the big issue. The scale of operation would be enormously enhanced and would bring dramatic benefits to the arts, sport and charities.
The arguments about football pools have been dealt with effectively. Of course there are fears and, naturally, we must abate them. The evidence from research that my hon. and learned Friend produced demonstrates that many people who do not take part in the pools would participate in a national lottery and that the vast majority who take part in the pools would also take part in a lottery. That is important evidence, as is the fact that in Italy, Spain and France the two schemes co-exist. We need to keep in perspective how a lottery might affect the other industries. Some competition is inevitable, but a great deal of complementary work will be done by the different methods of raising money.
Some charities have expressed concern because they operate local lottery schemes under the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976. About £23 million is raised in that way. It is right for us to have regard to that. My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right to provide in the Bill that 10 per cent. of the proceeds could be given to charitable causes. Certainly, it is important to monitor the effect of a national lottery on local lottery schemes to ensure that good charitable causes are not damaged. The Bill makes good provision to deal with that.
1241 To suggest that the Bill would encourage gambling is sheer nonsense. As everyone knows, we are one of the biggest gambling nations. What could be better than to channel those gambling instincts—I do not believe that the lottery represents hard gambling—into beneficial causes from which the whole nation would gain?
I am delighted to support my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton and I hope that the Bill passes its Second Reading by a large majority. We must keep our sights on the overall benefit that a national lottery would bring to the nation. Therefore, we must support the Bill.
§ 11.9 am
§ Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East)
I oppose the Bill and the principle behind it because I believe that it is a substitute for Government action.
The right hon. Gentleman for Shoreham (Sir R. Luce) was a distinguished Minister for the Arts, but, during his term of office and beyond, expenditure on the arts has been cut. Local government expenditure on the arts and sport has also been reduced with a detrimental effect on the number of playing fields and other sports facilities available. In Salford and Greater Manchester, there have been devastating cuts in arts facilities.
§ Sir Richard Luce
I must stress that there has been a real increase in the resources available to the arts in the past 10 years. The right hon. Gentleman should be fair to local government and accept that, during the same time, it has also given more money to the arts. The right hon. Gentleman is not using a good argument.
§ Mr. Orme
I think that it is a good argument. The ballet company based in Manchester was virtually driven out because the Arts Council had insufficient money and, therefore, expenditure on it was cut.
If we have a national lottery, the Government will no longer be involved in a proper sense in the financing of the arts and sport through direct taxation. Such money will, in future, be distributed in an ad hoc manner.
In common with many of my hon. Friends, I have a strong interest in association football. I have seen the letter from the Lotteries Council, of which the hon. Member for Hyndburn (Mr. Hargreaves) is president. That letter suggested that the council was basically in favour of a national lottery, but, two thirds into it, the council then makes out a devastating case against it. The list of members of the Lotteries Council includes all manner of sports clubs and football clubs that exist because of the funds that they raise through their own small lotteries.
It is not just small clubs that benefit from small-scale lotteries. The development association of one of the wealthiest clubs in Britain, Manchester United, has provided facilities to make Old Trafford one of the finest grounds in the United Kingdom. The national lottery would put all that in jeopardy. It would threaten small clubs such as Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers and Darlington, which exist because of their development associations and lotteries. It is also important to note that Manchester United has not just creamed off the money for its own benefit, but has helped local associations, charities and hospitals.
§ Mr. Tony Banks
My right hon. Friend knows that I am a passionate supporter of Chelsea football club and we receive a substantial income from our pools. Probably all the people who support their local football club pools do 1242 so out of loyalty to the club, not because of the prizes offered. In many cases, the income to the clubs is vast in comparison with the relatively small prizes offered. I do not believe that such club loyalty would disappear with the introduction of a national lottery.
§ Mr. Orme
I accept that, but we will not know the effects until the national lottery is in operation.
Sufficient account has not been taken of the fact that there is only a limited amount of money available for spending on gambling. However, I accept that we spend a far larger percentage of money on gambling than any other European country. If there is only a limited amount to go round, something must give.
Other factors also come into play. The pools are now contributing more money to football and to the arts than they have ever done. That money has been given under pressure and those in control of the pools do not like it, but to jeopardise that money would be fatal. I believe that the Bill will prove disadvantageous to football.
The Sports Council has expressed enthusiastic support for the Bill. I wish that it would campaign a little bit harder on the basis that it provides facilities for our society, which should be financed by the state. The provision of those facilities should not be left to a national lottery.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) said that the introduction of a national lottery would not affect the financing of the health service as it will continue to be funded nationally by the state. However, he then said that some of the money could be given to the Medical Research Council. That is the thin end of the wedge. In the past people used to raise money for the NHS to provide such things as televisions or a room for visitors; now that money is used to provide medical equipment. The same thing has happened in schools. In the past people raised money to pay for extra-mural activities; now that money is spent on books. We must take that into account when considering the introduction of a national lottery.
The Bill takes us down the wrong road. I support small charities and the moneys that they raise. It is essential that their work continues. I would oppose anything that was done to damage them. Therefore, I shall vote against the Bill.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
I oppose the Bill because the gambling principle lies behind it. Put simply, that principle works on risking something more or less valuable in the hope of winning more than one has hazarded.
I do not believe that gambling enhances human life. We already have enough outlets for gambling without the Government sponsoring further gambling. Whatever one expects from one's neighbour without offering an equivalent in time or money is either the product of naked theft or the principle of gambling in operation. Lottery tickets come into the same category. That which professes to bestow upon someone a good for which one gives no equivalent is the principle that we should be debating. The gambling craze is no new sprite but an old transgression that has come down the centuries, bringing with it a thousand woes.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) said that, as a nation, we have already sold the 1243 pass. I remind him that two wrongs do not make a right. He is now advocating that we should go all the way. I do not believe that that is a good policy.
The desire and aim to get money without doing the equivalent of necessary work strikes at the heart of the well-being of mankind. The man who works for what he gets is happy and contented. He is not shadowed with the frustration, disappointment, tension, agony and remorse of the gambler. A trade and occupation are ennobling things. They bring out, to the best advantage, the talents and energies of the individual. Anything that debases those talents and energies and puts them to a wrong use is not good for a person or humanity as a whole.
We are all aware—I am especially so from my pastoral work—of the power of the fever of gambling by mere chance. Even before the lottery begins, we have heard in the House charges of deception, cheating and corruption regarding its sponsorship. Whether those are real or unreal, they reflect what lies at the heart of the scheme.
Gambling tells against domestic happiness. The charms of the home do not satisfy the person caught up in this craze: he wants louder laughter, something to win or lose and excitement to drive the heart faster, fillip the blood and fire the imagination.
The Bill is serious because it would put the imprimatur of the nation on gambling. Some say that there are enough outlets and that enough is spent on gambling. Paraded by the other side is the fact that there will be a tremendous increase in gambling and that billions of pounds will be made available. I should like the House to consider what happens to those who do not retain their winnings. Often, a deeper craze grips them, so winning becomes a more entangling net.
What of those who do not hold the lucky numbers? They remain tied and fettered to the wheel of eternal fortune. I do not believe that a lottery is the way in which we should finance our arts, sports or any other part of our national needs. It is a poor community, surely, that cannot find a better way of obtaining money for those necessary matters. We should find a means of augmenting our national income that will do the decent thing by everyone.
Will these games help those whom we are told will benefit? I seriously doubt it. The additionality of EC moneys is a most controversial subject. Much of it is used to replace the contribution of the Treasury, not to enhance it. Will the Treasury further evade its responsibility by using money from the lottery kitty? The people whom I represent in Northern Ireland are aware of the cost of not getting EC money to take the measures that they need. Instead, the money is used by the Northern Ireland Office to finance its own programmes.
I ask the House and the sponsor of the Bill to consider some words of Holy Writ:He that getteth riches and not by right shall leave them in the midst of his days and at his end shall be a fool.Hon. Members, including myself, should consider that.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the House that speeches between 11.30 am and 1 pm are caught by the 10-minute limit imposed by Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)
I have already declared an interest that I have had for many years. It is the reason why I support the Bill, which I do not believe will go far in this Parliament. The vote, therefore, is not highly relevant, but the Bill offers an important opportunity for hon. Members to express their views.
The Rothschild committee on gambling was set up by the previous Labour Government, with whom I was involved. In 1968, it strongly recommended the creation of a national lottery. The Labour Chancellor included a lottery in the Finance Bill, but in a free vote it was turned down, mainly because of the arguments that we have heard today about small clubs and small lotteries. I congratulate the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on introducing the Bill.
I want to meet head on the arguments advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme), with whom I so often agree. I agree with him about the importance of Manchester United—second only to the importance of Aston Villa. If I thought for one minue that the Bill would affect its success or the interests of the workers in the sports industry, I should not support it.
The quality of life available to people is fundamental to a healthy social life. We must therefore promote sport, arts and our heritage. I agree with the right hon. Member for Shoreham (Sir R. Luce), who is a former Minister for the Arts, that the need to develop sport, the arts and our heritage is overwhelmed by the financial size of the task. The hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey), who is a former Minister for Sport, nods in agreement.
What do we want for sport? We want a national velodrome, a national ice skating rink, a national Olympic swimming centre and regional centres for athletics and football. A feasibility study is being carried out into Manchester's Olympic bid, which I have long said the Government should support and I hope that they will do so. But I ask my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East; even if Manchester gets the £900 million that it says it needs for the Olympic bid, who will take it over and meet the revenue costs of running it year after year? That cannot possibly be met by the Exchequer or local authorities.
The right hon. Member for Shoreham mentioned orchestras, ballets and opera, to which I would add street and community theatre and community art. We must maintain our cathedrals, historic houses and areas of natural beauty in good order. Our churches are falling down. No Chancellor of the Exchequer would be able to finance the colossal cost of meeting those needs and it would be false to say otherwise. The alternative is that we do not provide, unless we try to find other money.
§ Mr. George Howarth
Does my right hon. Friend seriously suggest that the long list of needs that he described would be funded by a national lottery?
§ Mr. Howell
Not at all, but there is a much better chance of getting £1 billion out of the £3 billion—or thereabouts—that is to be spent to help along the way. I agree that the task is gigantic, so let us start. The first step is very important.
I am sympathetic to local charities, as we all are. I am a member of two charities—Warwickshire cricket club and the Labour party—and I give to them out of conviction. It would not occur to me not to give to the Diabetic Research Association—I am a diabetic—or to Warwickshire cricket 1245 or to the Labour party merely because I wanted to buy a lottery ticket. People give to causes out of conviction, but I am glad that the Bill states that charities should be included. I welcome that, but an alternative is for charities to become agents for the lottery and they would probably make much more money if they did.
The arguments made by betting and pools organisations are ludicrous. Many millions of pounds have been spent on opposing the Bill by people who have vested interests. I am not against people with vested interests expressing their views—I have a lot of vested interests and they are perfectly legitimate—but we must deal with the arguments.
The arguments for the pools are best stated by Mr. Paul Zetter in a letter to The Times in December which contains a colossal contradiction. He begins:If we started a national lottery the turnover would be minuscule compared with European competitors and the prize money insufficient to attract people.Halfway through the letter, he states that a lottery would destroy the pools.
That is utterly absurd, but the absurdity is carried further by the Betting Office Licensees Association. That includes William Hill and Ladbrokes—they are good friends whom I have supported all my life and I shall continue to do so. The association said that the betting industry was delicately poised. When I see its accounts I cannot agree that there is any delicacy about the matter. The association also said that we should not bestimulating demand for betting and gaming".Let us remember that the association includes William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral. Every time I open the newspapers and see their adverts inviting me into their plush betting offices or to ring up to listen to their commentaries, it is not to encourage me to place a bet but to inform the nation who is winning the jockeys' championship or who has won the 2.35 pm at Sandown in which we have an academic interest. Let us put all such nonsense to one side and recognise the facts.
I am much more sympathetic to the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. That is why—as the lion. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) knows—on behalf of the national lottery I met representatives of the pools industry and told them that if there is any danger to their workers in Lancashire—we want to site the national lottery there—we are ready to talk to them about their running it. That is a reasonable and generous offer, but they turned it down.
I followed up that offer by writing an article in The Times which I concluded by saying that, based on the Italian experience, I am certain that pools and lotteries can run side by side. The organisations should be talking to each other to ensure that we do not put anyone out of work. That suggestion was not taken up, but, as far as I am concerned, it remains on the table. I am encouraged by the fact that the pools organisations—or some of them—say that if they lose the argument, they would like to run the lottery, which is another extraordinary inconsistency.
I can offer the workers some assurances. When we were discussing the Labour party's policy document on sport and the arts—which the Labour party has honoured and to which my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall) will refer—we arranged that we should come out not now but after the election—to quote the leader of the Labour party—saying that more of the money made out of sports should be put back into sports. 1246 That must be an acceptable proposition to everyone. We would put everything in the pot and consider all the issues together, including betting and gambling. I have always supported the idea of a national lottery, but I go along with the Labour party's policy in that respect.
I believe that the Government will say much the same today. I prophesy that they will wait, but, according to the leak in The Guardian, they will say that they do not like the Bill, but that they accept the principle of a national lottery. If they do, we shall be saying the same thing—we must consider how to get more money from betting and gambling which is made out of sport back into sport—that should unite us all—and to give the protection that everyone wants.
§ Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)
I apologise for not being here at the start of the debate. Most of us have received letters from the Lotteries Council. I know that my right hon. Friend has a special interest in Birmingham City and Aston Villa football clubs. They are among the number of small charities—they are run by the supporters' clubs—that believe that a national lottery would virtually put them out business and rob them of a very important source of money.
§ Mr. Howell
My hon. Friend has only just arrived, but if he reads Hansard, he will see that I have dealt with that issue. I shall move on to the main argument, which involves Europe.
The Minister said previously that European lotteries cannot operate in this country. Gambling is the twelfth largest industry in Europe and, given the terms of the European Community, it is inconceivable that when the Commissioners have finished their current review—it is likely to be finished during the British presidency—they will say that competition should not apply in the twelfth largest industry. We know that it will apply and that is another good reason for the pools industry and its workers to anticipate their future.
There is no doubt that in two or three years the European lotteries will come into this country because they cannot be stopped under the terms of the treaty of Rome.—[Interruption.] My hon. Friends are entitled to their views, but that is what we shall find. At the end of the day, the European Court will uphold the purpose of the treaty. In such circumstances, the question to be answered will be whether we want lottery tickets that are sold in this country to benefit European sports and arts or whether we want British people to be paying for British sports, British arts and British heritage.
The arguments in the Bill are overwhelming. We can protect the pools' interests. As a long-standing friend of the pools and one who acknowledges their contribution to the sports—especially when I was a Minister—I want to protect them. We can also protect the interests of the charities. Indeed, these issues will be in hand if the organisations walk side by side.
I appeal to my hon. Friends to stop saying—as Paul Zetter said in his letter—that it is either pools or the lottery but not both. That is a mistaken approach. It is political advice and I hope that the House will see the common sense in accepting the Rothschild royal commission's recommendation of 14 years ago and proceed to a national lottery which the sports, arts and heritage of this country desparately need if we are to expand and promote their interests.
§ Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)
I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on having won what is clearly the best prize of the many lotteries run by the House, in coming first in the private Members' Bill ballot. I congratulate him too, on his choice of a National Lottery Bill, which provides a long overdue opportunity for the House to debate gambling issues.
I understand, and have much sympathy with, the enthusiasm for a national lottery. However, on closer examination a number of factors argue against such a lottery, and Parliament must consider those before any lottery can begin. My worry is that if Parliament were to approve the Bill and set up the regulatory framework, that momentum would mean that we would end up with a lottery without proper regard having been had to the other crucial issues affected.
I shall examine some of the arguments in favour of a lottery—first, the European question. I do not believe that the flood of European lottery tickets is as certain as supporters of the Bill have suggested. Gambling is not covered by the single European market, as my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has often made clear. Even if the European Commission were to try to introduce a directive to free up the availability of lotteries and gambling opportunities across the Community, with this as with many other matters affecting society, the Government could argue the public good principle in order to prevent any lottery tickets from other countries from being readily available in this country.
There is much discussion about what can be provided as a result of a national lottery. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton spoke with his usual authority, and with considerable enthusiasm, about the many facilities that a national lottery could provide, and which many people, both inside and outside the House, feel need to be provided in Britain, and which are available in other countries, especially sporting facilities and support for the arts. I must tell my hon. and learned Friend that in Europe such facilities are often supported by central, local and regional government, not just from the proceeds of national lotteries. In fact, my hon. and learned Friend made a good case for our right hon. Friends in the Cabinet to look at our manifesto commitments on the provision of sport and leisure facilities. We should be doing more about that, although I accept that if a national lottery were set up it could provide a valuable source of funding.
I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) is not here, because I wanted to tell him how much I disagree with him about support for the arts. The Sports Council and the Arts Council were set up as the result of an imaginative joint initiative by the Government and the pools promoters. How glad we were at Opera North to receive an endowment of £250,000 for which no other funding was ever likely to be available. That demonstrates the opportunities, and shows why a national lottery has such a great appeal.
However, there are objections, and perhaps my hon. and learned Friend dismissed those a little lightly. First, we must question how much more money is available from the pockets of the British people for gambling. It has been suggested that £3 billion may be wagered. There is some difference of view on how much existing betting turnover 1248 amounts to. The Select Committee on Home Affairs carried out inquiries, and we were left in no doubt that the gross amount already wagered is about £13.4 billion. I believe that that makes this country the biggest gambling nation in Europe.
Supporters of the national lottery say that we should consider the next spend after prize money. No doubt many regular betting shop punters have a purple patch when they win more than they lose, but it may concern the House that the sum of money wagered by one individual or one family can already be substantial. That is why the Home Office is right to have a general policy of non-stimulation of gambling, betting and gaming.
I have yet to see how a £3 billion turnover could be achieved without changing that policy. Advertising and promotion of a national lottery would be essential to achieve such a turnover in a short time. My hon. and learned Friend agreed that lottery tickets would have to be sold at a large number of outlets, which suggests a considerable relaxation of current policy.
Only last summer my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary spoke to the Home Affairs Committee about outlets for the Tote. The Tote would like to run a national lottery, and, were that to happen, as its facilities are based in Wigan, Iancashire, the prospects of its being run from Lancashire are good. The Tote would like to locate betting terminals in high street locations, as does the French tote, the Paris Mutuel, which operates in cafes, bars and restaurants throughout France. In response to that idea my hon. Friend said:I think the problem would come if there is the possibility of making bets from terminals in cafes, bars or restaurants, and that would certainly breach the rules over gambling which successive governments have had and of which the Home Office is the guardian.The Select Committee has found many anomalies in gambling legislation which need to be re-examined. Betting shops operate under great restrictions. Evening opening of betting shops and Sunday racing are two issues affecting gambling legislation which Parliament should now consider. Pool betting on greyhound racing is not permitted either off-course or between greyhound tracks. Advertising and promotion of most forms of gambling is strictly curtailed. Lotteries used in sales promotion and those run under local authority licences face restrictions. In my constituency when a lottery was run by the Ryedale York rugby league football club, offering the prize of a motor car, the chap who won it was not allowed to have it because the prize was too valuable for a lottery licensed by a local authority. That was nonsense.
The Home Affairs Committee was in no doubt that all that needed to be examined afresh, and it made a sensible recommendation in its report on the Tote—that the Home Office shouldundertake a thorough review of the legislation to ensure that controls on gambling keep pace with changes in society and in technology.With regard to the effect on other forms of gambling and on charities, my right hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Sir R. Luce) put his finger firmly on the issue when he said that none of us knows what the effects of a national lottery on other forms of gambling and on charities would be. Many of us have genuine concerns about that. They go beyond special pleading, and should not be lightly dismissed.
Current legislation on gambling urgently needs a wide-ranging review. There are too many anomalies for 1249 comfort. Furthermore, the increase in the amount of money wagered that is contemplated by the proposals is of such magnitude that it could have an adverse effect on other charities, causing them to lose money. Some worthy causes could lose state support. Both those aspects must be considered before the House passes legislation for a national lottery, not afterwards.
§ Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)
A number of seductive but misleading arguments have been put by hon. Members, especially by the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), to support the idea of a national lottery. I hope that by the conclusion of our debate hon. Members will have carefully considered the implications of a lottery, not least the implications for jobs, and will recognise that this is one gamble which the House should not take.
Before turning to my principal reasons for opposing the Bill, I will address some of the bogus arguments put in the debate. One country that has been quoted as a place in which a national lottery co-exists with the football pools is Italy. Taking Italy as an example, with the dubious base of gambling there, reveals the reason why the football pools and the lottery are able to co-exist. Presumably, along with importing Italian methods, we shall also bring in some of the Italian family-based companies from Naples and from Sicily.
For months, many hon. Members have said that we must have a lottery because, come 1992, the European floodgates will open and punters will desert the pools for French or German lotteries. Huge prizes will lure away the stakes and British money will be sucked into a European black hole. That argument has seduced hon. Members and charities. Despite its obvious appeal to xenophobia, the argument, if true, would have to be taken seriously. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which works for the under-privileged and those at risk, responded to the original inquiry about a national lottery by saying, not surprisingly:as the Common Market will allow other countries' national lotteries to sell tickets in this country, it would be as well to have one established as a defence.In other words, if we are going to be bitten, it might as well be by a British snake rather than by a foreign one.
The myth that continental lotteries will flood the United Kingdom market needs to be destroyed once and for all. It was abundantly clear during the European Commission hearings on gambling that all member states were implacably opposed to the principle of cross-border trading in lotteries. Most lotteries are state monopolies, so it is hardly surprising that national Governments are extremely reluctant to put the proceeds of national lotteries which they run at risk in a single market. Our Government have endorsed that view, despite all that was said by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell).
We know the Government's view from the written reply that the Under-Secretary gave to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson). As recently as 12 December 1991, the Minister said that the Home Office had no proposals to include gambling within the terms of the single market. A flood of continental lotteries—[HON. MEMBERS: "Liberal Democrat policy?"] I can tell hon. Members what Liberal Democrat policy is because it was discussed at our parliamentary party meeting last week. I 1250 am glad to say that we have come out against the principle of a national lottery. A flood of continental lotteries, 1992 and the European Community are all imaginary windmills at which the House will, I hope, tilt today.
The second myth is the dreamland of unimagined riches. We are told that hidden pots of gold will be produced to provide £3 billion for Sports Council projects. Let us think of a figure—£2 billion or £3 billion every year, depending on the person to whom one listens—for the sum that would flood into the Exchequer. That would be the equivalent of 1.5p off income tax. That is the scale of the fabulous windfall. If the figures were true, Treasury Ministers would be queuing up to speak in the debate today and would argue in favour of a national lottery. In a country in which more than £52 billion of consumer debt is currently outstanding and in which economists are concluding that people cannot afford to spend their way out of the recession, where will the money come from?
The United Kingdom gambling market is already the biggest in Europe. The country spends more per head of population on gambling than the rest of Europe—£4.50 per head per week. If the new money is to come through extra gambling, who will that affect? All the figures show that it will be lower income groups who will be milked. They spend the most. Why should they disproportionately pay for Covent Garden, the National gallery or the Sports Council? Even if the figures could be believed, they are based on a regressive principle which the House should reject. Those are the flawed arguments of those who promote a national lottery.
There are other reasons why the House should decline to give the Bill a Second Reading, and the first is jobs. In Liverpool, 71,601 people are currently unemployed. Some 15,000 women are unemployed in Liverpool. They are bread winners for the family and they do not receive pin money; it is their livelihood. As the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) said when she came to open the new Vernons building in Liverpool, "three cheers" for the workers there, and for the excellence and standards maintained in the factory. Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters employ more than 6,500 people in Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and London. A further 70,000 are paid as agents collecting coupons every week.
By contrast, computerised and centralised national lotteries dispose of people. In France, just 400 people operate the national lottery, while in Germany one large lottery employs just 180 people. When we are told that jobs may come even to Wigan or to the north, let us realise that the substitute for jobs is a loss of almost 6,500 jobs compared with a maximum of 400 jobs needed to run the national lottery. At a time of increasing dole queues, is the House seriously going to gamble with the livelihood of more than 6,000 people?
Is not it also the height of irony that we have three successful private companies which will effectively face nationalisation without compensation if the Bill is successful today? That is what is coming from the champions of private enterprise.
In a letter to The Times, already quoted, on 26 December, Paul Zetter said:the choice is stark: football pools or a national lottery. You will readily understand why I oppose a national lottery.Malcolm Hughes, the managing director of Vernons, says:It is not possible to find an example anywhere in the world of a National Lottery and a Pools industry thriving side 1251 by side. In case after case, arrival of a lottery has squeezed out Pools Games and the examples of Australia. Belgium and, more recently, Greece all bear testimony to this fact.Malcolm Davidson, the managing director of Littlewoods, quoted from a letter to the financial director, Colin Thwaite, from Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte. We have already heard part of it. The letter says:A UK national lottery would effectively kill off the football pools within a period of weeks … A successful national lottery would act as a substitute for the football pools … as a result of this the level of employment within the industry will be dramatically reduced.In a letter to me on 16 December, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government see those implications. He said:I can assure you that we are very well aware of the potential implications for existing charitable lotteries and for the existing gambling industry, in particular the football pools who, as you say, are an important source of employment in the Liverpool area and who make payments to football and now more widely to sport and the arts via the new Foundation.Apart from jobs, a national lottery would also hit existing football clubs' lotteries and charities. The letter from the Lotteries Council has already been quoted. It says that some lotteries would face extinction from a national scheme. The Irish experience, to which other hon. Members have referred, points to that. In July 1991, 16 leading charities wrote to the Taoiseach saying that charitable lotteries had lost half their income and thatthe situation has reached crisis point.In other words, 50 per cent. of the money going into charities was lost as a result of the national lottery. Not only would our charities be hit, but sports, the arts and the Football Trust would stand to lose £100 million. The Treasury would say goodbye to the £300 million generated by the pools.
The third substantial reason for opposing the Bill centres on the undesirability of deliberately stimulating gambling as a way in which to finance public services and needs. If a hospital needs a dialysis machine, if a school needs a soccer pitch or if a community needs an arts centre, surely we should pay for it through taxation and voluntary effort, not by proliferating the modes of gambling.
By destroying the football pools, a national lottery gambles with people's jobs. It would undermine existing lotteries run by charities and football clubs. It would promise Alice-in-Wonderland gains, while risking the £300 million now generated by the pools. I hope that, in this pell-mell rush to a national lottery, the House will consider these matters and will vote against the Bill.
§ Mr. Richard Tracey (Surbiton)
I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on winning the ballot and on selecting this most important and interesting topic for legislation. I dare say that hon. Members who, like me, glanced at the sports page of The Times this morning, will have been worried to read the headline,England chances hit as Lawrence drops out".Fortunately for the supporters of the Bill, the story referred to Mr. David Lawrence, the England bowler—although, as a cricket fan, I cannot say that that is good news for the England team.
1252 The people of Britain are waiting for a national lottery whose time has truly come. A recent poll conducted by the Sports Council, one of the prime supporters of the Bill, showed that three quarters of the population want to participate in a national lottery and that 90 per cent. strongly support the idea that the proceeds from it should go to the arts, sport, heritage and charities. Those who talk the idea down should be aware that, in doing so, they could seriously hit the nation's expectations.
There has been much talk about how the Bill would extend gambling. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made much play of that, but a national lottery would not represent a form of high-level gambling that would corrupt our morals or our minds—rather, the spirit behind it should be seen as extending the fun of the flutter. In the minds of our people, that is perfectly right and proper, and we should not stand out against it.
§ Mr. Mark Wolfson (Sevenoaks)
Does my hon. Friend agree that, because of the intentions of the lottery and the use to which profits from it would be put, it would be a benefit rather than negative in moral terms?
§ Mr. Tracey
My hon. Friend is right.
It is extraordinary to think that, if the House opposes the Bill and frustrates the expectations of the British people, we shall be putting ourselves in the same position as countries such as Albania. The rest of Europe has lotteries—indeed, in all, some 170 nations run lotteries.
Given the success of the lotteries run by our European partners and neighbours, we should be extremely shortsighted if we stood in the way of a lottery here or delayed its introduction. In Denmark, the result of the delay was that the country was immediately flooded with lottery tickets from neighbouring Germany. Despite what some hon. Members have said, those who run foreign lotteries are already taking a great interest in getting into the market in this country through the post, and even though we hear of attempts to prevent such letters coming in, that often does not happen. My hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee) produced a letter posted in Brussels inviting him to participate in an Australian lottery. I regularly receive letters from Amsterdam inviting me to participate in a European lottery, which I do not.
I believe that we should have a British national lottery contributing to British national stadia and to the British arts. I want to be able to contribute to that. In that respect, my attitude is four-square with that of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), one of my predecessors as Minister for Sport, and agree with him that we should not allow contributions to foreign lotteries.
During the past week, we have heard from a number of sporting personalities and leading figures in sport and the arts who feel that there is a need for an extra contribution, over and above anything that the national Government can produce, to fund our sports and arts facilities. When I was Minister for Sport, I visited magnificent sports stadia, athletics tracks and swimming pools abroad, and I can remember thinking how ideal it would be if we could have them here. The secret of those facilities was that they were provided through a national lottery.
§ Mr. Tracey
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to speak when I have finished.
1253 The Sports Council has sent us a list of what could be done, which includes worthy proposals not only for Olympic facilities in Manchester but for regional facilities such as velodromes, hockey stadia, swimming pools, athletics training facilities and indoor tennis training facilities. To get those facilities, we need a national lottery. They are desirable, and we shall have them if we give the Bill its Second Reading and so set the climate fair for a national lottery.
What of the. attitude of our critics? I shall refer in a moment to the attitude of the pools companies, but, as we have heard about local government's attitude towards a national lottery, I wish first to tell the House that I have received a letter from the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, with which I sometimes disagree but which declares itself four-square behind the idea of a national lottery to give additional funding, over and above that which it expects to come from the Treasury, for sport and the arts. So we can again call in evidence the support of local authorities.
As a former Minister for Sport, I pay tribute to the pools companies for what they have done in support of the Football Trust and the Football Grounds Improvement Trust. I do not understand why they are so opposed to a national lottery. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) referred to Italy. I do not understand his view. Surely, the greatest pillar of society in Italy is the Roman Catholic Church and it must therefore be wrong for the hon. Gentleman to place a slur on the Italians. Italy has a strong national lottery and a strong national pools set-up, which contributes greatly to its communities and national life. I see no reason why this nation of ours, which so strongly supports football, should be any different from Italy or why the football pools should win any less support here than in Italy. The national lottery will interest those many thousands of women in Britain who would never even dream of sitting down and filling in a pools coupon. They will go into a post office or newsagent and take part in the national lottery, so enhancing the funds available to it. Finally, I remind the House that, in opposing the idea of a national lottery, the pools companies saw fit to say that, if the Government decided to introduce a national lottery, they would like to run it. Does not that fact speak for itself? Surely we need no more evidence than that.
§ 12.9 pm
§ Mr. Thomas Graham (Renfrew, West and Inverclyde)
Littlewoods provide 600 jobs in my constituency. Before I came down to London this week I spoke to some pensioners in my constituency about various problems that they were facing. They asked what I was doing as their Member of Parliament and what I intended to do this week. I told them that I hoped to speak in the debate on the National Lottery Bill. They said, "What's the National Lottery Bill?" I told them that it was a Bill to set up a lottery which would provide extra money for the arts and culture. Some of the pensioners scratched their heads and said, "Who are these people?" I said, "Well, the guy who is introducing the Bill is a big Tory barrister." They were a little deaf and got it wrong. One of them said, "I suppose they are all like that, Tommy." I said, "Well, some might agree about that."
Those pensioners then said that surely people must recognise that pensioners arc important to this country. They have given up everything and they now rely on a 1254 small pension which is being eroded by inflation and price rises. They stressed that pensioners need lifelines like the telephone. They said that elderly people cannot afford to buy television licences. The pensioners are not considered when money is directed towards arts and culture. Half the pensioners to whom I spoke earlier this week cannot afford their television licences. They cannot take part in the cultural or sports worlds.
Not long ago I saw the Prime Minister and many other political figures sitting in a park beside members of the royalty. It was bucketing with rain as they watched Pavarotti. The first time that I heard of Pavarotti I thought that it was a bar of soap or an eau de cologne. I later discovered that Pavarotti was a very talented man. The pensioners to whom I have spoken cannot afford that kind of culture, but they are desperate for lifelines like a telephone. Standing orders make no difference to the problems that they face.
The National Lotteries Bill will seriously affect my constituency. I have been unemployed. I know the stinking miserable feeling in one's belly when one cannot provide the wherewithal for one's children. I know what it is like. I would fight like blazes to give every unemployed man and woman in this country the right to employment.
The Bill will mean unemployment for at least 5,500 people directly or indirectly. It is ludicrous for a former Minister responsible for sport to plug a lottery. He should have fought to ensure that sports and culture were provided by the Government. It is disgraceful that any country as rich as ours should have a lottery to provide for sport to educate our kids and make them feel healthy. That is absolute nonsense.
§ Mr. Wilson
The jobs of some of my constituents are involved at the place to which my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham) has referred. Does my hon. Friend acccept that after that major fire which destroyed the Littlewoods factory in Glasgow, Littlewoods could have centralised the jobs in Liverpool and got rid of about 700 jobs in my hon. Friend's constituency? Instead, Littlewoods decided to maintain the level of employment not least because of its long-standing commitment to areas in which it has provided employment for many years.
§ Mr. Graham
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing that to my attention. I was very impressed by the caring attitude and tremendous enthusiasm of Littlewoods and the way in which it kept the girls in employment. Conservative Members may smile, but for people who live in Strathclyde which has one of the worst unemployment levels in Europe, a job and a wage packet are so important. When the girls saw the factory burn down, the broke their hearts crying. They thought that that was it. They thought that they would be back on the dole and back to that miserable pittance which the Government provide. The girls faced that before Christmas, but Littlewoods paid their wages and provided jobs for people who desperately needed them.
That is the kind and considerate face of industry that I appreciate. I wish that we were dealing with Littlewoods and not the black Scholey in respect of the Ravenscraig workers.
Unemployment is a scourge. Some single parent women at Littlewoods in my constituency receive quite good pay. Their working conditions are also good. Any woman in 1255 Scotland with a good job and quite good money would have nightmares if she thought that that job was to be taken from her. Those jobs will be lost if the Bill is successful. Thousands of people will be on the scrap heap if the Bill is passed. Thirty five thousand jobs have already been lost in my constituency. In Scotland we face the closure of Ravenscraig and Armitage Shanks. In the face of that, a rich Tory barrister who has probably been wealthy all his life and has never faced the possibility of unemployment—except perhaps at the next general election when the electorate will get rid of him—wants to introduce this Bill. I will fight for my constituents' right to work.
§ Mr. Bellotti
With regard to the hon. Gentleman's point about unemployment, is he aware that 50,000 people are employed in betting offices throughout the country? As there is a limited amount of money, if that money is not spent through betting shops, the jobs of those 50,000 people will be at risk. That is almost the same number of people at risk as in the football industry.
§ Mr. Graham
I am grateful for that point.
I said that I would fight vigorously to defend the right of my constituents to continue to work for Littlewoods. It is the Government's responsibility to provide cash for sports and culture.
§ Mr. Kilfoyle
Does my hon. Friend agree that many of the jobs in the pools industry in Strathclyde involve women who are the sole bread winners? If they lose their jobs, whole families will be destitute, not just the individuals concerned.
§ Mr. Graham
That is absolutely right. The 5,500 people to whom I have referred pay tax. That tax provides money for the local council. If those people are thrown on to the dole, they will stop contributing through tax and central Government will have to support them.
I have lived in Glasgow all my life. I could never afford private sporting facilities. My local council provided the wherewithal. It provided the soccer field, the swimming baths, tennis courts and bowling greens.
The Bill represents an abdication by the Government of their duty and responsibility to provide people with jobs. We should let lotteries remain in other parts of the world. We do not want to import lotteries from Spain with its bullfighting, and so on. Let us not support the alien concept of a national lottery.
§ Sir John Farr (Harborough)
I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) not only on being No. 1 in the ballot for Bills—something that many of us have sought to be—but on the subject that he has chosen. My hon. and learned Friend deployed his argument with great skill and persuasion. I support the Bill. I shall certainly go into the Lobby and give my hon. and learned Friend what support and encouragement I can.
However, that is not to say that the Bill is perfect by any means. All hon. Members could improve it. However, let us consider the Bill in Committee so that some of us who have a real interest in it may have an opportunity to deploy many of the important arguments that we have received. I 1256 am delighted to see my hon. and learned Friend still in his place. He is attentive today, and I do not blame him. It is important to state that several hon. Members have a few points of real concern.
One matter that springs straight to mind is the fact that my hon. and learned Friend is in danger of establishing one of the biggest quangos of all time. Perhaps that matter can be debated in Standing Committee. When he so skilfully introduced the Bill, my hon. and learned Friend said that some of the wording of the Bill was faulty. I have never been one to support state quangos. However, we seem unwittingly to be establishing the mother and daddy of all state quangos. We should consider that matter in Committee and see how we can improve it.
Like other hon. Members, I have had many representations about the pools. It is easy to say that the pools are part of the British way of life and so on. They are. Any threat to the structure of the football pools must be taken seriously. However, any such threat is not sufficient for us not to let my hon. and learned Friend's Bill through. Let us consider it in Standing Committee and make it possible for the existing football pools structure to continue in the United Kingdom as it has done so successfully for many years. Hon. Members have received letters from Zetters and Littlewoods, fearing the worst if the Bill is successful. The pools can still enjoy their traditional place in British society, unimpaired.
One of the most impressive documents that I have received was from the Advisory Forum on Gambling. Hon. Members know all about that forum. It had severe reservations about my hon. and learned Friend's Bill. However, its reservations can be put right in Committee. Some of its real fears can be satisfied if the Bill is carefully amended.
The real point in question is the Bill's purpose. My hon. and learned Friend mentioned that the Bill is to benefit the arts, sport and heritage. Who chose those subjects? Why must they be the only subjects? There may be an argument for some support, but one can make a strong case for health, medicine, pensioners and the elderly. Why are they not mentioned in the Bill?
If my hon. and learned Friend wants to go down in history—I know that he does—all that he has to do is to include a guarantee that all old age pensioners will have free TV licences, which would cost £.150 million a year. There would be a marble statue of my hon. and learned Friend in my constituency. Ordinary people are not so interested in football. They are not so interested in art galleries. They are not particularly interested in the arts. I expect that they may be interested in heritage. However, they are most interested in free television licences. If there were free TV licences, Conservative central office would also erect a statue to him.
I have received a letter from Tenovus. I have received several letters about the national lottery from such groups. Tenovus, of course, fights cancer. It is very worried about its position in the world. My hon. and learned Friend wants Tenovus to continue and to flourish. Let us consider the Bill in Committee and improve it.
I should not like to conclude without congratulating the research staff in the House of Commons Library. It may be unusual to do that, but I shall probably never get another opportunity. They do a wonderful job in producing the fantastic research documents that we take for granted and never mention. I pay tribute to Jane Fiddick, who has 1257 produced a document on my hon. and learned Friend's Bill. It is a masterpiece which sets out all the arguments for and against.
I have great pleasure in supporting my hon. and learned Friend's Bill.
§ Mr. Terry Fields (Liverpool, Broadgreen)
Just 24 hours after the announcement of an increase of 80,000 in the number of people on the unemployment register, and in anticipation of a rise in inflation today, millions of workers—and certainly my constituents and the people of Liverpool—will wonder why we are spending five hours on a Friday morning discussing a national lottery when the economic and social conditions in our inner-city areas demand the Government's attention.
Having heard the speeches of failed sports Ministers and failed arts Ministers, with confessions from their own lips that during their periods in office they failed to gain sufficient funding from the Government——
§ Mr. Fields
This matter is too important, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for me to rise to the bait of those who have failed this country not only in relation to the arts and sport, but economically and socially too.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) is weaving a tatty cloak to confuse people. Great play has been made of the fact that a poll has been taken and that huge numbers of people would support a national lottery. If somebody said to me, "How do you fancy winning £1 million every week?", I would, of course, say, "Yes"; but the lottery itself will still have to be paid for.
It has already been said that the lottery will not be run by the Government or the civil service. It will be a private lottery, which means that people could milk it and make profits from the greed and acquisitiveness that Thatcherism has produced in many people in the past 13 years.
At first sight, the detail of the Bill seems uncontroversial. It refers to raising large sums of money for good causes. The hon. and learned Member for Burton referred to £3 billion or £4 billion, but one of my hon. Friends has said that the hon. and learned Gentleman simply took those figures off the top of his head. In a debate on 16 February 1988 on establishing a national lottery in favour of the health service, initiated by the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns), it became clear that there is no substance to the idea that between £3 billion and £5 billion could be raised. As my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) said in 1988, the most that has been raised by the lottery in America is £200 million. The figure for France was £540 million; for Spain £690 million; and for Germany £910 million. Therefore, there is nothing to back up the idea of a potential revenue of £4 billion, which, I am sure, would be an attractive figure to many people. That is simply supposition and conjecture by the hon. and learned Member for Burton.
1258 The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to providing finance for good causes and to improving the welfare state. He even went as far as to say that some of the charitable donations would aid medical research. I find it disgusting and nauseating that people such as the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends who, in the past 13 years, have trooped through the Lobbies consistently to attack the health service, education, housing and the poor in our society, such as pensioners and the disabled, should now raise the spectre of a lottery as a panacea for the ills of millions of people in this country.
The hon. and learned Gentleman stated in The House Magazine not only that the lottery would raise £3 billion a year, but that it would not affect the low-paid because they do not buy lottery tickets. However, experience in Ireland disproves that contention. Fund-raising for charities has attracted money from low-paid families, thus causing even more financial distress to those who seek the pot of gold.
Apart from my concern about the social consequences of the proposed lottery, I speak with a vested interest because I come from Liverpool and Littlewoods Pools is based in my constituency. I live a stone's throw from the new Vernons complex. We in Liverpool are proud of our area. We already have high unemployment as a direct consequence of the Government's policies and the system that they represent. The Bill would jeopardise the jobs of 6,000 mainly female workers in Liverpool, many of whom already face the prospect of being their families' sole bread winner. That is the prospect for an area that has been evaluated as a centre of poverty, not only by those of us who live in Liverpool, but by experts.
I hope and believe that the Bill will be defeated today and that hon. Members will not support it. There are other ways of achieving what have speciously been referred to as "good social works". Such works will not be achieved by the Conservative party, a member of which has introduced the Bill. When one looks at the social and economic conditions that prevail in this country today, one sees that such people are not philanthropists. People talk about obtaining new money by the lottery. Where will the new money come from? Reference has been made to the poll tax. This week 135,000 poverty-stricken people in Liverpool are going through the courts. Where will they find the money to fund the arts? They cannot afford to go into galleries or even the bus fares to travel there. Yet those are the people who are supposed to be enamoured of the Bill.
The record of the hon. and learned Member for Burton on health, education, housing and funding local authorities, pensioners and the poor does not attract me to him or anything that he stands for. I believe that the House will reject the Bill today and that people in my constituency will be happy about that.
§ Mr. Simon Burns (Chelmsford)
May I first add my congratulations to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on winning the lottery of the private Members' ballot and introducing this Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) said, it is a Bill which has reached its time and is long overdue.
In order not to cause any confusion or fall foul of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), I should— 1259 although I am not sure that I must—declare an interest. After I introduced my 10-minute Bill on a national lottery in 1988 I spent a week visiting the United States sponsored by others to see how lotteries operated in certain states.
The people of Britain enjoy a justifiably high reputation for the generosity with which they donate money earned by themselves to good causes. The Charities Aid Foundation calculated in 1985 that there were 160,000 charities in England and Wales which raised over £12.5 billion for good causes. Since that date we have seen the phenomena of Live Aid, telethons and the Wishing Well appeal for Great Ormond Street hospital. That shows beyond any reasonable doubt that we are a nation of givers. In addition to those high-profile fund-raising activities, various forms of local lotteries have been permitted under existing legislation. They were consolidated in the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976. However, they have tended to be a failure.
In 1983–84 there were 4,045 local lotteries, with ticket sales of just over £40 million. By 1987–88 there were only 1,401 local lotteries, with sales of only £21 million. Those figures show a decline of 76 and 59 per cent. respectively. The cause of that decline is not the basic idea or principle behind the lotteries but that they are too small and fail to generate enough interest or excitement. Only a national lottery can achieve that. Furthermore, because there are so many lotteries throughout the country on such small scales, they tend to dilute their own effect. Similarly, the maximum prize money laid down by legislation is so relatively small that it does not attract enough people to participate.
If a lottery is to be successful, it is crucial that excitement be generated. Far too often, the time scale between purchase of the ticket and the draw in a local lottery is far too long to generate success. That is why I believe that my hon. and learned Friend is so right to seek to get away from the legislation that is failing and introduce a single national lottery that will generate interest, excitement and sales so that we can make a success of it and make available generous amounts of money for good causes such as sport, the arts, heritage and charities.
One of the main reasons for personal opposition to lotteries is that they encourage gambling. There is a great deal of contradiction and confusion in that position. I also suspect that some people in Britain always oppose lotteries and gambling for the same reason that they would like to see alcohol and tobacco and certain activities which they consider a vice banned. It is important to make a distinction for a national lottery.
All too often many people who say that a lottery would encourage gambling and, thus, is wrong will unwittingly contribute to gambling. For example, I think that I am right in saying that every major political party represented in the House generates some of its funds, either locally or nationally. through gambling. Any hon. Member who goes to church or party political fete will probably buy a raffle ticket during his or her political career—probably quite often. That is gambling. That is a form of lottery, yet the people who buy tickets and who may be opposed to gambling will not condemn such activities.
§ Mr. Bellotti
The distinction that I should like the hon. Member to tackle is what the proceeds of gambles are for. 1260 In the Bill that the hon. Member put before the House in 1988, he suggested that the proceeds of his proposal should go to the national health service. Does he still hold that view? Has he not come round to the view that the Government ought to provide all the funds necessary for the health service, and that we should not have a national lottery to support it?
§ Mr. Burns
The hon. Gentleman is trying to tempt me down a cul-de-sac off the Bill before us. However, he is incorrect. The Government have increased national health service spending substantially in the past 12 years. Furthermore, if he read carefully the reasons behind my Bill he would realise that it was to provide additional funds. For many years the health service has benefited from additional funds raised by leagues of friends and other interested parties.
To return to the Bill, a number of people who have strong religious convictions, which I respect, condemn gambling but are happy to buy raffle tickets at a church fete and take part in gambling activities to encourage the financing of their local church, a rebuilding project, or whatever else.
Before people strongly criticise gambling they should examine their own behaviour. They should not use that as an excuse—as what they believe is a respectable front—to oppose the principle of a national lottery. If they do so, they will be failing many organisations that could genuinely benefit from the additional money generated by a national lottery.
Like many other hon. Members, I have been bombarded with data, correspondence and lobbying by the pools organisations, which have been mentioned so often in the debate. In many ways they operate as a cartel and have a monopoly on a national lottery. I fully appreciate that they are fearful of any competition and that they want to defend vigorously their self-interest by throwing up some red herrings and some genuine causes for concern about a national lottery. If such a national lottery were to be successful it might well cause some decline in their revenue, although by nowhere near the amount that they are suggesting. They are defending what is, in effect, a monopolistic national lottery.
I do not see why we should automatically accept that a national lottery will ruin the pools system. The examples of Belgium and Greece have been bandied about the House, but that argument was effectively squashed because they did not run their pools on their own football games—it is obvious that that weakens loyalty to the pools system—whereas in this country the system is based on our football leagues. So in that respect I see no reason why a lottery should be detrimental. Similarly, pools promoters who oppose a national lottery are more deserving of being described as selfish—as they have accused others of being—because they seek to protect the pools, with their link to football, at the price of depriving the rest of British sports, arts and heritage of the funding, capital and endowment funds that they so desperately need. I do not see why they should be so keen to deprive others. There is more money to be shared. The cake should be widened and shared, so that everyone can benefit.
A national lottery would be popular and fun. It would generate income to help deserving causes. I greatly hope that my hon. and learned Friend's Bill will be given a Second Reading.
§ Ms. Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
I am pleased to have the chance today to contribute briefly to the debate. I have always supported the concept of a national lottery and I am even more convinced now of the need for one than I was 10 years ago.
Although I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) that the Bill is unlikely to become legislation in its present form, I am delighted that it provides an opportunity for people to hear the arguments on both sides, for us to air many of the misconceptions about a national lottery and for the Home Office officials to take lots of notes. No matter what Government are in power after the general election—I know that there will be a Labour Government—at some stage next Session Home Office officials will draft a proper Bill, so I hope that they are listening hard today.
It is particularly important that we are discussing this at the beginning of 1992. No matter what is being said, other European countries will undoubtedly find a way of getting their national lottery tickets sold here. They are already coming here and each year thousands of tickets are seized by Customs and Excise. The European gambling industry is large and I believe that it will not continue to be outside the terms of the single market. That is the context in which we need to consider the debate.
In Northern Ireland it is not so much poor people buying lottery tickets from southern Ireland as people in cars queuing up and going over the border to buy lottery tickets. Other countries' lottery tickets are already being sold in the United Kingdom. [HON. MEMBERS: "Illegally."] Yes, illegally, and that will continue until gambling comes within the terms of the single market, as I am convinced that it will.
This is an enabling Bill. It does not go into detail. There are different views about the details and how a national lottery would work, but the Bill does lay down clear areas for the proceeds—sport, the arts, the heritage and small charities. Lotteries should target particular projects. I have views on how a national lottery should work. We should not follow the example of some other countries. We should have lotteries aimed at particular targets, such as to build a velodrome. That will involve not just those who want to take part in a lottery but people with a particular interest in the project who will buy a one-off ticket because they know that their money is going to a worthwhile project. We could consider all sorts of possibilities for the detail.
National lottery proceeds are not a substitute for money that should come from the state. Lottery proceeds are extra money. All the sponsors of the Bill agree on that; there is no way that the proceeds can go to anything other than what has been mentioned here without a further debate in Parliament, a complete change and a new Bill. None of the sponsors wants that. We know clearly where the proceeds should go.
Last night at a Labour party ward meeting I spent £2 on a raffle ticket. I did not win—I never do. I do not believe that buying a lottery ticket or a raffle ticket is gambling. Nor do I believe that the average member of the British public believes that it is.
To buy a lottery ticket would be totally different from gambling on the pools or on horses or dog racing. To participate in a lottery is a harmless amusement, just like a raffle, and is far removed from the compulsive world of casinos, card houses and gaming machines. It is 1262 patronising to the poor to imply that they do not have the free will to make a choice about whether to buy a lottery ticket. I accept that some people are totally opposed to gambling, but I do not believe that a lottery would extend gambling as those people fear.
We have been inundated with literature about this issue from the pools industry. I wonder how much it has spent on that? However, it has the right to lobby for its industry. It is a question of balance. I do not believe that those who have done the pools for years will suddenly stop doing so because a national lottery has been introduced. I do the pools with Zetters, not Littlewoods—I am giving Zetters a plug—and I have done so for many years. I have never won a penny, but I shall not cancel my standing order simply because a national lottery may be introduced. I do not believe that others will stop doing the pools either. It is patronising to suggest that people are so easily persuaded to change a habit of a lifetime. People should have the choice about what they want to do.
One of the good things that has come from the debate on a national lottery is that the pools industry has started to realise that perhaps it has taken too much of the profits and that not enough has gone back into football. After all, most of those who play the pools have an interest in that sport. Perhaps the pools industry will now put more money back into football in an attempt to win the argument.
Our pools industry is unique, as it is totally different from that run in any other European country. It has a long history. I do not believe that it will be affected by the introduction of a national lottery. At the most, the effects on the pools industry will be slight.
I appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by those who represent Liverpool and Glasgow about the possible loss of jobs. However, I do not believe that those jobs will be threatened, because I do not believe that people will stop doing the pools just because a lottery is introduced. The people who will buy a one-off lottery ticket will be different from those who do the pools regularly.
I am pleased that small charities are mentioned in the Bill. I appreciate the anxieties that are felt by local football clubs and sports clubs that run small-scale lotteries. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) has said, people buy a lottery ticket in those circumstances out of loyalty to their club. In essence, they are giving a donation because they do not expect to win a huge amount of money. I do not believe that that loyalty will be put at risk by the introduction of a national lottery.
The debate has been useful because it has revealed some existing prejudices. Even if the Bill does not receive its Second Reading, no one can deny that the public would like a national lottery. However, that lottery must be carefully planned and scrutinised so that it can win people's confidence.
Those who are doing the pools this weekend have nothing to fear. If a national lottery were introduced, they would still be able to do the pools. I am absolutely convinced that the pools industry and the jobs associated with it are not threatened. Today's debate marks the beginning, because this issue will not go away.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Peter Lloyd)
Rather than my commenting individually on the many good speeches that have been made in this lively debate, the House might find it more helpful if I set out the Government's position.
I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on his good fortune in the ballot for private Members' Bills. As several hon. Members have said, it is appropriate that his success in the parliamentary lottery for legislative time should provide the opportunity to debate the introduction of a national lottery for good causes. The odds of winning a national lottery must be better than those of winning the ballot for private Members' Bills.
My hon. and learned Friend made a characteristically vigorous and full speech. I applaud his initiative in bringing the issue before the House. The Government warmly welcome the idea of a national lottery or lotteries. We recognise, as many hon. Members have, that they could raise substantial amounts of money for good causes. On the basis of experience abroad, estimates of turnover here range from £1 billion to £4 billion or more, although such comparisons should be treated with much caution. We have seen how other countries have managed to provide resources for valuable projects that would not, and probably could not, have been funded from ordinary public expenditure. Indeed, as my hon. and learned Friend said, apart from Albania, the United Kingdom is the only European country that does not have a lottery.
The first Westminster bridge in 1750 and the setting up of the British museum in 1753 were financed by lotteries. Despite such achievements, state lotteries in this country ended in 1826. However, there is no shortage of projects today that, with funds from a national lottery, could improve the quality of life in the United Kingdom.
The success of foreign lotteries provides an additional argument for having a national lottery here. It has frequently been predicted that we shall he forced to accept national lotteries from other EC countries on or soon after 1 January 1993. Indeed, that prediction has been repeated today, but the Government believe that the threat has been highly exaggerated. The programme for completion of the single market does not contain proposals for the harmonisation of gambling legislation. The European Commission is studying gambling in the single market, but no formal proposals have been made. We believe that our present prohibition on major lotteries, which applies equally to domestic and foreign ones, is compatible with EC law. By contrast, other EC countries have national lotteries, but do not allow foreign lotteries to operate in their territory.
§ Mr. Tracey
Will my hon. Friend confirm that between 3 million and 6 million unofficial lotteries come into this country by letter and are not stopped by Customs?
§ Mr. Lloyd
No, I cannot confirm that, because those that we do not catch we do not know about, but about 3 million forms have been seized by Customs in the past year.
Our policy is that controls on gambling should remain a matter for national authorities. We believe that many other countries will take a similar view. We cannot be certain of the final outcome, but it seems extremely unlikely, to put it mildly, that there will be a common 1264 market in lotteries in the foreseeable future. It is likely to become increasingly easy for individuals to participate in foreign lotteries. For example, satellite television provides new opportunities for foreign lotteries to promote themselves. Modern technology means that participation will become easier. Such developments may take a number of years to emerge, but their impact is likely to grow with time.
There are incentives for European countries to try to promote their lotteries here. Without a national lottery here, there will be incentives for people who wish to take part in other lotteries to do so. Those incentives would be considerably less if we had our major lottery in support of good causes.
Clearly my hon. and learned Friend, who is an experienced hand where private Members' legislation is concerned and a shrewd lawyer to boot, rightly recognises that there are many ways of providing and regulating national lotteries and that there are a host of practical considerations that have to be thought through and which it is not practicable to tackle in a private Member's Bill. That is why, I am sure that his Bill is deliberately designed—indeed, he said as much—as an enabling measure which provides a broad framework and leaves the Government to fill in by means of subordinate legislation not merely the gritty detail, but most of the substance.
Leaving aside for a moment whether that is a proper and desirable way for the House to bring in a measure which will have a very wide impact on a whole range of charities and businesses, the Bill nevertheless does in fact limit the range of possible options considerably more than might appear at first sight. The most important way in which it does so is by providing for a single lottery rather than opening up the opportunity for genuine charitable concerns—singly or grouped together—to run a lottery nationally, as they now do successfully locally. That is a very substantial issue with implications for many charitable interests, particularly for those who currently benefit from their local lotteries, but who feel that they may well not be high on the priority list for help from a single national lottery.
If we opt for a single lottery, decisions have, of course, to be made about who will benefit, and machinery has to be devised to share out the proceeds. The Bill proposes that arts, sports and the heritage should receive the lion's share. Charities are to get no more than 10 per cent., perhaps less. All these causes are undoubtedly worthwhile, but there are many who would argue that the proceeds should be split differently or that other good causes should be included.
One means of resolving these difficulties would be to allow a free market in major lotteries. In this way, the public could decide which good cause or causes they wanted to support. We already have a free market in small local lotteries. No charity would be excluded from the benefits of a major lottery if it could run one properly and cared to risk the considerable investment either on its own or—much more likely—in conjunction with others. While it is attractive for those reasons, I also acknowledge there are strong arguments the other way. The greater number of lotteries, at least initially, could mean that each one would have lower prizes and attract lower turnover and so raise less money in total than a single lottery. That need not, however, be the outcome. The merits of that approach, rather than the single national lottery proposed 1265 by the Bill, need further consideration and consultation before legislation is introduced which must inevitably close off one option.
Another way in which the Bill appears to limit options is that it seems to provide for the national lottery regulatory authority to run only one lottery at a time. Some countries, although they have a single authority, are able to run a number of different games at the same time. The question of the number and nature of the lotteries that may be run will affect the potential available for good causes. It would also have implications for other existing forms of gambling, particularly small lotteries.
The Bill also rules out a regulatory role for the Gaming Board for Great Britain which currently has responsibility for licensing small lotteries. I do not now claim that, if we had a single national lottery, there would necessarily be a substantial regulatory burden or that regulation must fall to the Gaming Board, but we certainly need to think carefully about, and reflect in primary legislation, where the responsibility for regulation should rest and how it should be conducted.
I mention these as areas in which, despite the care of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton, any enabling legislation must inevitably close off some important options. He might argue that some of these difficulties, though not, I suggest, all of them, could be overcome by amending the Bill in Committee to allow even greater flexibility. But rather than leaving even more out, I suspect that there are already a number of matters which the House might feel should be included in any well-formulated primary legislation on the issue.
For example, the Bill says nothing about the maximum proportions of total turnover which can be devoted to prizes or to expenses. This is not just a matter of consumer protection. If a national lottery is to fulfil its main charitable purpose, it is crucial to ensure that a minimum proportion goes to good causes. In relation to existing charity and local authority lotteries, no more than half the turnover may be devoted to prizes and no more than 25 per cent. may be used for expenses. Those limits are laid down in primary legislation. That seems to me to be right, both because it is a major aspect of regulation, and because otherwise we could be faced with constant pressure to keep changing the proportions. Equally, there would need to be careful study of all the evidence before deciding what the proportions should be for a national lottery.
There is also the essential bread and butter question, with implications for amending existing primary legislation, as to how a national lottery would fit into the wider framework of gambling controls. Lotteries have always been regarded as the softest form of gambling. They are the only form of gambling which may be advertised quite freely, including on television and radio. By contrast, all other forms of gambling are subject to varying degrees of control on the facilities they can offer to attract customers, and on their advertising. In particular, the broadcast advertising of all betting and gaming is prohibited.
The implications for advertising controls are, therefore, one obvious area requiring study. We need to consider whether controls on the extent and nature of the advertising of a national lottery are necessary. The controls on advertising of commercial gambling will also need to be considered. Some of these are contained in primary legislation. But there may be demands for other changes. Premises used for gambling might want to sell lottery tickets, which is at present unlawful. The pools 1266 companies would want the controls on them relaxed, perhaps by making coupons available in shops, and changes in the law to permit regular jackpots.
All those points must be examined. It may well prove that no changes can be justified. I suspect that many people would take the view that a national lottery for good causes can be distinguished easily from all other commercial gambling and there might be strong opposition to a national lottery if it were allowed to lead to a significant extension of commercial gambling. But many of the points that I have mentioned would require primary legislation. They need to be considered at the same time as the introduction of a national lottery, not as an afterthought.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I agree with all that my hon. Friend the Minister has said, and I am grateful for his remarks. But, as he keeps repeating that there would be a need for primary legislation, does he not agree that whatever may be added to the Bill in Committee or at other points in its passage through Parliament would become primary legislation? All the suggestions that my hon. Friend has made are no reason why the Bill should not go into Committee.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I have also mentioned many times the need for consultation, study and the taking of evidence. The time scale and methods of a private Member's Bill do not allow for that.
The question of gambling controls leads directly to the likely effect of a national lottery on existing gambling, particularly the football pools, as we have heard this morning. The supporters of a national lottery argue that it will tap a source of new money and that the existing gambling industry will not be affected. But the huge sums which it is claimed will be raised by a national lottery must come from somewhere, and that may well be from people who spend nothing on gambling at the moment, but who will be drawn to take part in a national lottery. Equally, it would be surprising if some people did not, in the event, divert some or all of their spending on existing gambling into a new national lottery.
It is, of course, difficult to tell in advance to what extent a national lottery would reduce expenditure on existing forms of gambling. The football pools are the nearest thing we have to a national lottery and I know that their organisers are very concerned. They even say that they could eventually be driven out of business and point to other countries where the introduction of a major lottery has killed or seriously damaged the football pools. At present, the pools companies employ about 6,500 people, mainly in areas of high unemployment. Those jobs, as well as those of about 70,000 part-time pools collectors, are thus, they insist, at risk.
The evidence of surveys about the likely effect on the pools is mixed. The survey conducted for the Rothschild commissioners suggested that about 25 per cent. of regular pools participants would switch to a national lottery. More recently, opinion surveys on behalf of supporters of a national lottery have suggested that under 10 per cent. of pools participants would spend less on the pools.
The conflicting evidence about the impact of a national lottery on the pools illustrates the need for a careful examination of the issues. We should not just brush aside their concerns, but we should not accept that a national lottery must mean major difficulty, if not the end, for the 1267 pools. We need to study the evidence carefully and to give those directly affected the chance to put not only their views, but the evidence on which they base their views.
§ Mr. Ashton
The Government have said that football grounds will have to be all-seater—as a result of 95 people having been killed at Hillsborough—by 1994 for the first and second divisions. The money for that will have to come from the pools and the Government are now blocking their contribution. If the football pools money were to collapse, would the Government still insist on the all-seater legislation being implemented by 1994?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Gentleman makes the assumption that legislation will be introduced which will cause the pools to collapse. The hon. Gentleman said that the money comes from the pools now, but would not come if the pools collapsed. The effect of a national lottery on the pools must be thought through and the question would have to be addressed before legislation went through the House.
To the extent that a national lottery would have an impact on the pools or, indeed, on any other form of commercial gambling, the Government must also take account of the revenue implications. In 1990–91, just over £1 billion was raised from betting and gaming duties, of which about 30 per cent. came from pool betting duty. In many countries, national lotteries are either taxed or the proceeds directly to the Exchequer. The Rothschild royal commission suggested that a national lottery should be taxed at 10 per cent. of turnover. There is certainly a strong case for taxation of a national lottery, although that, thank goodness, is ultimately a matter on which the Chancellor, rather than I, will animadvert.
§ Mr. Lloyd
It was not a Freudian slip. My hesitation means that I need a drink of water.
The revenue implications of a national lottery also need to be resolved before legislation is passed.
I come now to what may be one of the most important issues that need to be taken into account—the implications for existing charitable lotteries and charitable giving generally. Many European countries have long traditions of national lotteries, but weaker patterns of charitable giving than this country has. Although direct international comparisons cannot, therefore, be made, the introduction of a national lottery might affect charitable giving by individuals, estimated to be between £3.5 billion and £5 billion in 1989–90. Many national and local charities and sporting bodies promote lotteries under the current law. Such lotteries provide sums which, although small compared with the proceeds of a national lottery, are vital to the charities concerned. The Bill proposes that charities should receive no more than 10 per cent. of the proceeds of a national lottery. That may well be insufficient to compensate charities for what they might lose in revenue diverted from their existing small lotteries. Indeed, it may be impossible to ensure that all small charities that feel that they have lost out are compensated however high the percentage adopted, especially if a section of the public come to confine their charitable giving to the purchase of national lottery tickets.
1268 The supporters of national lotteries usually claim that experience in other countries shows that small lotteries have not suffered. Ireland has been mentioned as a country in which small lotteries have thrived following the introduction of a major lottery. In fact, Ireland seems to provide clear evidence that small lotteries have lost out. Last year, a number of leading Irish charities expressed their concern that the national lottery had cut annual sales of traditional charitable lotteries by as much as 50 per cent.
In part, that may be due to an unfair balance in the rules governing the two types of lottery—national and local—but it clearly raises the question whether a national lottery here should be accompanied by changes to the existing statutory controls governing small lotteries. For example, should the monetary limits on prizes and proceeds be increased and, if so, by how much? At present, the largest lottery has a maximum single prize of £12,000 and maximum turnover of £180,000. Many other aspects of the conduct of small lotteries, including their frequency, promotion and regulation, would also require study. In some areas, change would require primary legislation to amend the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I shall not give way because I know that other hon. Members want to speak. I have a bit more to say and I want to limit others as little as possible.
Unless those matters are tackled at the same time as legislation on a national lottery, we shall be in danger of putting some small charitable lotteries at a severe disadvantage. It would be unfair to press ahead without proper study of the consequences for them.
I have sought to illustrate that the introduction of a national lottery is a complex matter affecting many aspects of existing primary legislation on gambling. These issues have emerged from the Government's initial study of the implications of a national lottery during the previous Session and no doubt quite a number more would need to be resolved before we could come forward with a Bill which it would be right to put before the House.
As I made clear at the outset, the Government see attractions in the concept of a national lottery and we wish to examine further the issues that it raises. In doing so, it will be important to invite the views of all interested parties, particularly the charities, large and small, and the pools companies. We shall put that work in hand immediately and announce our conclusions as soon as possible. Although I said at the start of my speech that the Government welcome the concept of a national lottery, we must, I emphasise, seek evidence from all those likely to be affected before decisions are made about how best to proceed. The drafting of the Bill has sought skilfully to avoid those issues, but, as I have indicated, they must be resolved first.
However, I have sought to underline the Government's warm interest and our firm intention to take matters forward in the way that will give everyone a chance to put his views and for the important questions to be resolved. Until that work has been completed, the Government cannot give any final commitment about the outcome.
I hope that my hon. and learned Friend and the House will agree that the course that I have indicated the Government will now take is the right way of tackling this complex subject. We recognise the need to move quickly, but there must be proper consideration and consultation 1269 first. We owe that much to those who work in the existing gambling industries. We owe it to the good causes that stand to lose, as well as to those that stand to gain from a national lottery, and we owe it to the citizens of this country, for whom a national lottery, if it comes, should not be merely an extension of gambling but, in the words of the Rothschild royal commission,a harmless entertainment providing a rare opportunity to improve the quality of British life".Finally, I commend my hon. and learned Friend, not merely for his excellent speech but for providing the House with the opportunity to concentrate on the question. It will be clear from what I have said, however, that I cannot ask the House to support the Second Reading. However, it will also be clear from what I have said that, as a result of his energy and eloquence, my hon. and learned Friend has greatly added to the momentum of the cause that he is promoting.
§ Mr. Stuart Randall (Kingston upon Hull, West)
Like other hon. Members, I congratulate the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on doing so well in the ballot and on giving us an opportunity—whether or not we agree with a national lottery—to express our views in this constructive debate. I thank the Minister for his comments, which I read as being rather cool to the whole thing. I thank him in particular for implying that there will be a need for a considerable amount of work and analysis. That makes sense, and that clarification is welcome.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton has introduced a short Bill which, as he quite rightly said, is an enabling Bill. It gives the Secretary of State the power to decide how some of the highly complex issues surrounding the introduction of a national lottery should be dealt with. In particular, the Secretary of State would be empowered to decide how a national lottery would fit in to the existing gambling structure in the United Kingdom. He would also be empowered to take all the policy decisions to make a national lottery viable.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton has introduced a "feel good" Bill. It appears to be based on the question: who would like to spend lots of money on sport, the arts, heritage and everything else? The answer to that must be that we all want to see more money spent on the arts, heritage and other things. Asking that question is easy. We must then ask how that can be achieved. Apart from a few general and obvious points, the Bill ducks the question entirely.
As I said in an intervention, no one knows what income would be generated from a national lottery. It would be misleading for the country if any of us suggested what amounts of money might be spent on good causes. We do not know how much will be spent, especially when we bear in mind the fact that the Government's policy of not stimulating demand is still extant.
I do not want to speak for long, as other hon. Members wish to participate in the debate. However, it might be useful if I were to outline at the outset the Labour party's position with regard to funding sport and the arts.
We believe that there is a need to review funding arrangements for sport and the arts. In our policy document entitled "Charter for Sport" we stated:We will set up a major review of sport finance and sponsorship, levy, betting and taxation to ensure that a fairer proportion of the money taken out of sport goes back into sport.1270 In another policy document entitled "Arts and the Media: our Cultural Future", we stated in the section on private funding:We will give serious consideration to the proposal to establish a national lottery for the benefit of the arts. We will set up an inquiry to examine the means by which this could be achieved with the lowest possible administrative costs, whilst safeguarding the existence of established arrangements and employment.In practice, that means that when we form the Government in the next few months we will carry out a deep-seated review of the funding of sport and the arts and possibly other areas which will also protect the 4,630 jobs on Merseyside, the 730 jobs in Glasgow, the 640 jobs in Cardiff and the 500 jobs in London. The Labour party wants to protect the 6,500 full-time jobs in the football pools companies and the 70,000 to 100,000 part-time jobs—the collectors—associated with them. What I have referred to concerns the possible impact on jobs of the introduction of a national lottery.
Detailed answers need also to be given to questions regarding the possible loss of nearly a third of a billion pounds of revenue to the Exchequer arising from taxes on football pool stakes. If that were to happen, we would need to ask how the Treasury would be compensated. We also need answers to questions about current funding for the Football Trust, which amounts to more than £30 million per annum and which is vital to the improvement of our football stadiums, as proposed in the Taylor report following the Hillsborough disaster.
As a result of information made available to hon. Members, it is perfectly reasonable to argue that the piecemeal introduction of a national lottery could prejudice such funding. If so, where will the money come from to compensate for losses? What will be the rules for funding the Football Trust? How can we be sure that the trustees responsible for running the lottery, which essentially is a private system of funding, will be sympathetic to the Football Trust? There is nothing in the Bill which says that they should. My argument for the Football Trust applies equally to the Foundation for Sport and the Arts which receives more than £60 million per annum from the pools.
Those questions are fundamental. The reason why there are no firm answers is that the Bill is a private Member's Bill. That means that there has been no time—I agree with the Minister—for proper consultation on the matter. There is a range of unanswered questions. We do not even know whether a national lottery would he financially viable, as it can be argued that no other country offers the same variety of opportunities for gambling which would be in competition. Even more important, we have not the faintest idea of what tax regime a lottery would work under.
Successive Conservative and Labour Governments have consistently regulated gambling for two reasons—first, to limit gambling to adults and to exclude children, and, secondly, to prevent crime. The House should note that, throughout the rest of Europe, gambling is controlled by Ministers of Finance, rather than as it is in the United Kingdom, where control comes under the Home Office and Home Office Ministers. The reason for that is that we have always looked beyond the fiscal aspects of gambling and, instead, have regulated gambling in order to contain its social impact. A consequence of that consistent approach to regulation is that the United Kingdom has the 1271 lowest incidence of illegal gambling in Europe, in marked contrast to Italy, where gambling is in the firm grip of the Mafia.
§ Mr. Randall
The hon. Member for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) is making sounds. He should talk to people at the EC Commission who feel that they cannot get reliable statistics because of that impact.
The major factor in the central control of British gambling is that we should seek only to satisfy unstimulated demand. In practice, that means that the broadcasting media may not be used for advertising and that controls are placed on the number of sales outlets. Experience shows that existing major lotteries require heavy advertising to become viable. This Bill will probably need massive advertising on television and in the press and on radio and the use of direct mailing techniques.
It should be noted that the per capita stake in the United Kingdom is likely to be higher than in most European countries apart from Spain. That is based upon the Minister's own figure of £1.12 per week, which was included in the Library briefing on the Bill. It is reasonable to conclude from the Minister's figures, in both absolute and comparative terms, that the amount of so-called new money available for a national lottery in the United Kingdom could be quite limited. Its viability will depend to a greater extent on persuading punters to place their stakes in the lottery rather than using other gambling opportunities. That could mean that the departure from the existing policy of not stimulating demand would have to be substantial.
An important question that has not been addressed is whether Parliament is now prepared to drop the system of regulation that has been so successful and whether Parliament would accept that stimulating the demand for gambling is acceptable on the ground that the money raised would be used for worthwhile causes. We do not know the answer to that question. The Labour party believes that the country should be properly consulted before any such change in policy is made.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton has tried to bypass the arguments about stimulation of demand by saying:After 1992, the Government will almost certainly be unable to stop European lotteries from flooding into Britain … It would be absurd if British money were to be spent on good causes in Spain, Italy or Germany, but could not be spent to improve the British way of life".The hon. and learned Gentleman is looking bewildered. I am quoting from his article The House Magazine on 13 January. At the moment, that argument is unsustainable. I shall not go into the reasons why I think that, because the Minister's answers have made that point perfectly clear.
Apart from the Minister's comments on the unlikelihood of there being any immediate competition from the EEC as a result of the single market, I suspect that it will not be in the interests of member states to promote competition between national lotteries because punters will always tend to place their stakes with the biggest lotteries because they offer the biggest prizes. Certainly competition could result in a fall in the income to the Exchequer and in the investment made in good causes in 1272 certain member states because one national lottery may be smaller than those of other member states. The biggest national lotteries will always be the most successful.
If there were to be competition between national lotteries across the EEC because of the single market, it is probable that a new British national lottery would not be able to compete with the established biggest lotteries in the EEC entirely because of the size of the prizes. If, for argument's sake, we accepted the hon. and learned Gentleman's assertion that European lotteries would flood into Britain in about 12 months, the business risks associated with a national lottery could be substantial.
I turn briefly to the effect that a national lottery could have on the football pools. Would the pools really be able to survive? If the current system of regulation and taxation were to be retained for the pools, the purpose of which has been to curtail expenditure by the public on gambling, and if a national lottery were free to operate in the way in which the hon. and learned Member for Burton envisages—in a free market—the pools would probably either collapse or be severely damaged. They would be competing in an unfair environment. They would be heavily taxed at 37.5 per cent., whereas a national lottery would be taxed at an appreciably lower rate. In addition, the pools face constraints on advertising which a national lottery would not. It is inconceivable that the football pools could survive such a skew in the competitive environment.
§ Mr. Randall
I apologise to the hon. Gentleman, but I do not want to give way because other hon. Members wish to speak and I should like to conclude my speech as soon as I can.
I refer now to table I of the booklet from the Advisory Forum on Gambling, which I am sure all hon. Members have received. It shows that gross remittances would go from about——
§ Mr. Randall
I am quoting the forum. It is for the hon. Lady to know that it has interests in football. I accept that it has. But notwithstanding that—[Interruption.] The hon. Lady says that we should question the figures——
§ Mr. Randall
It is implicit in what I am saying that we should always question figures because those who produce them may have an interest.
The forum estimates that, if we started the national lottery this year, the gross remittances would fall from £866 million in 1991–92 to about £260 million in 1994–95. The duty to the Exchequer would fall from about a third of a billion pounds to £97.5 million. The donations to sport and the arts would drop considerably from just below £100 million to about £13 million. So the consequences are serious.
1273 I have a letter from Coopers and Lybrand Europe which other hon. Members may have received. II quote from a letter from Mr. Frank McFadden to Littlewoods Pools. It says:I have long ago formed the opinion that the introduction of a UK national lottery would effectively kill off the football pools within a period of weeks. This closely follows the pattern with regard to Littlewoods Pools in Belgium which, following the introduction of a national lottery, survived only three weeks.As you are aware, the UK has the largest gambling and gaming market within the European Community. In addition, however, it demonstrates a high propensity to bet, which is only exceeded by Spain, Greece and Ireland. Such propensity to bet indicates that there is a limited elasticity of demand for additional gambling and gaming products in Britain and, as a result, a successful national lottery would act as a substitute for the football pools.I shall conclude now because I know that other hon. Members wish to speak and I do not want to hog the time. As I have already said, the Labour party is committed to reviewing the system of and arrangements for funding sport, the arts and other activities. We shall do that when we form the Government in the next few weeks. We also believe that the private Member's Bill mechanism is not appropriate for introducing a national lottery. As the Bill is a private Member's Bill, it lacks depth and has involved little or no consultation. There is no way of assessing the viability of a national lottery at this stage.
We also believe that there are serious risks that the introduction of a national lottery could seriously damage or destroy our successful football pools system, which has great integrity and is held in such high esteem by the British people. That is not to mention the huge contribution that the pools make to the Treasury. Surely the time is ripe for much more thought to be given to the whole matter.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. The Standing Order on 10-minute speeches has been lifted, but if every hon. Member present is to be allowed to speak, I must ask for a voluntary restraint of five minutes.
§ Mr. Hugo Summerson (Walthamstow)
I will certainly abide by your ruling, Madam Deputy Speaker.
It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for the great city of Kingston upon Hull, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall). I agree with what he said about the effects that a national lottery would have on the pools industry. That is just one reason why I cannot support the Bill. I say that with some regret, because I have the highest personal regard for my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence).
I have other reasons for not supporting the Bill. First, I have an instinctive suspicion of any commercial enterprise by the state, whether actual or attempted, and a deep instinctive suspicion of a monopoly commercial enterprise by the state. Secondly, I question whether the state should encourage people to gamble. Encouragement there would be, because a national lottery would undoubtedly be widely advertised.
I am also worried about the effect that a national lottery would have on the greyhound racing industry. I make no apology for raising the subject of Walthamstow stadium, 1274 arguably one of the finest greyhound racing stadiums in Britain. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone in the House for a great evening out.
I am not opposed to gambling. That may be something to do with the fact that a few years ago I went to the races and was persuaded to put money on a horse called Dignity of Labour by Worthy Tryer out of Work Ethic. That horse threw its jockey at the first fence, missed the second fence altogether, caused a collision at the third, ran wide at the fourth and finally sauntered in last. So I have not had happy experiences and since then I have kept clear of betting at races.
I shall quote briefly from a letter sent to me by the Betting Office Licensees Association Limited—I suspect a different letter from the one sent to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell)—which says:The purpose of this letter is to inform you of BOLA's concern about the proposed introduction of a national lottery. We believe that the injection of a large-scale lottery into a complex and largely mature market which already offers horse, greyhound and football betting, plus football pools, gaming machines, casinos, bingo and local lotteries, would have a detrimental effect on the existing revenue-yielding betting and gaming activities.In BOLA's view, most damage would be done to football pool betting, but we would also expect off-course betting turnover on horse and greyhound racing to suffer, as it did in Ireland following the introduction of a national lottery in that country. Thus we would envisage the £1 billion a year generated for the Exchequer by the taxation of betting and gaming being seriously eroded.Supporters of the Bill state that we must establish a national lottery in Britain because the introduction of the European single market after 1992 will cause a flood of foreign lottery tickets into this country and that has already been debated.
What about the consequences of a lottery for other forms of gambling? On the assumption that a national lottery consisted of a numbers-based Lotto game—probably six from 49—and that it was promoted and protected effectively as a state monopoly, which is the almost universal pattern abroad, it is possible to state with considerable accuracy what would happen to other forms of gambling, especially the British football pools industry. The effect on the fund-raising efforts of charities, sports clubs and other voluntary organisations can also be calculated.
The setting up of a national lottery will have serious consequences for jobs and for sports and the arts.
In conclusion I shall quote from a letter which I recently received from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, which states:It seems a courtesy to let you know that tomorrow's list"—of grants—will include a sum of £300,000 awarded to the Waltham Forest Recreation Services at Forest Road, London Ell which I believe to be in your constituency. The purpose of the grant is for structural repairs at the Waltham Forest Pool and Track Leisure Centre, including access facilities for people with disabilities. The Trustees believe you will welcome this contribution to what is happening in Walthamstow.And so I do. Jam today is better than jam tomorrow.
§ Mrs. Audrey Wise (Preston)
I have listened carefully to the debate since 9.30 am and with especial care to the promoter of the Bill, the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), to hear where the money would come from. He did not tell us. So before he sat down, I 1275 made my only intervention this morning to ask him to tell us where the £3 billion will come from. What will people cease to spend it on in order to buy lottery tickets? Even when faced with a direct question, he did not tell us, but started to talk about figures in Germany and elsewhere. He did not tell us whether £3 billion is sloshing around, unused, in British pockets. That is a crucial question.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton did not answer, because there are only two things that he can say. Either it comes from present gambling or people will cease to spend it on something else, in which case he would have to tell us what—would it be food, mortgages, rents or clothes? He prefers not to answer that question and it has not been answered by any of the supporters of the Bill. It is a crucial question. It is important from both angles. As president of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and as a sponsored Member of USDAW, I am deeply worried about the job implications.
There has been mention of hon. Members being nobbled by the football pools companies. I find that a bit offensive, although in a sense I am nobbled by the work force, because it is important for all hon. Members to be concerned about jobs. As has been established, thousands of jobs are at stake, mostly the jobs of USDAW members, in areas of high unemployment. It is not only the employer who fears for the loss of trade, but the thousands of workers.
It may come as a surprise to some of my hon. Friends when I pay a compliment to the major company involved in football pools on a particular aspect of its policy. Littlewoods has an explicit policy of maintaining employment rather than making ever-higher capital investments. It would rather spend its money on paying wages than on installing machinery to force workers out. There has been no guarantee or even a hint from one of the Bill's sponsors that a national lottery would be run on those lines. Of course it would not and it could not. Littlewoods is efficient in the organisation of its work force. It is not simply a highly capital-intensive trade. That means that it is important as an employer of labour. As has been pointed out, all its workers, too, are paying taxes from which spending on all the needs of the people can be financed. Therefore, I am concerned about jobs.
One of the most outrageous arguments this morning came from the hon. and learned Member for Burton who said that the Bill would improve equality for women. He said with a straight face that the Bill would provide access for women who find filling in the football pools too complicated. Their tiny little brains do not run to that.
§ Mrs. Wise
No, I am not giving way to the hon. Lady. I have had experience of her before.
When the sponsors talk about the rights and position of women, let them remember that most of the jobs at stake 1276 will be women's jobs. Let them also remember that women in our society have less disposable income than men. Therefore, if the Bill encourages women to spend money on a lottery, it is even more likely to be at the expense of essential spending. Women have less of the £3 billion that is claimed to be sloshing around than anybody else.
If the £3 billion comes at the expense of the football pools, it will hit jobs in areas of high unemployment and women's jobs. On the other hand, if it comes from other sorts of spending, which will they be? There is already a recession in retailing because people do not have money to spend on food, clothing and household goods. If they choose to buy lottery tickets, there will be an even bigger recession in retailing and the other members of USDAW will be affected. Even more people will lose their jobs.
Lewis's, an important department store in my constituency, is likely to close on 1 February, not because it sells shoddy goods—it does not—but because people are short of money. The £3 billion needed to set up the national lottery is just not around.
People are facing the repossession of their homes and they have arrears in their mortgages and their rents. Thousands and thousands of summonses have been issued for poll tax arrears. However, the supporters of the Bill claim that they will get £3 billion of new money for the national lottery. Do they have a private arrangement with the Mint? That is the only way in which new money could be found; it would have to be freshly minted for the purpose. People will not receive huge wage increases so that they can contribute to a national lottery. There is not £3 billion available from ordinary people.
I accept that £3 billion could be raised from some sectors of society and I am in favour of them contributing—through taxation. However, they want to be able to say that funding for the sports and the arts can now be met without imposing any extra tax burden on them, the rich. They are looking for an easy way out and that is unacceptable.
The promoter spoke about the advantages of providing sports facilities as a means of preventing crime. The hon. and learned Gentleman painted a gloomy picture of young people with nothing to do. He said how important it was for society that sports halls, playing fields and other facilities should be provided for young people to keep them from delinquency. That is true. He also said that the national health service is important, but that a national lottery would be a strange way in which to finance it. If that is the case, why is it not also a strange way in which to finance all the things that would contribute to keeping down crime and keeping young people from committing acts of vandalism?
The Bill is a bad one. I do not believe that it can be remedied in Committee. I am not persuaded by the argument that it is an enabling Bill. I do not believe that the House should pass Bills that can then go off in all sorts of directions when they are amended in Committee. The promoter should get his Bill right when he introduces it. We do not want to pass Bills that are empty shells; that is bad legislative practice.
I oppose the Bill from a constitutional view. As a woman I oppose the Bill. As someone concerned about proper public provision I oppose the Bill. As someone with trade union interests I oppose the Bill. I am confident that the House will refrain from giving it a Second Reading.
§ Mr. Ken Hargreaves (Hyndburn)
I add my congratulations to those given to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on his success in the ballot and on choosing this particular Bill, of which I am pleased to be a sponsor.
My hon. and learned Friend reminded the House that, in Europe, only Britain and Albania have, as yet, not seen the need for the resources that a national lottery would provide. It is hard to understand why when, in all our constituencies, the need for increased resources for sports, the arts and the environment must be obvious.
In my constituency a national lottery could help to provide a new running track for the athletic club and a sports pavilion for Rhyddings county high school, whose playing field is half a mile from the school. It could also provide a lift for the civic theatre, so that the disabled and older people could see the excellent amateur and professional productions that are staged there. In common with other hon. Members, I could continue to list the various needs in my constituency. Those needs must be added to the impressive list of national projects set out by the Sports Council and the Arts Council.
If the Bill were passed it could help to provide m any of those facilities. Failure to pass the Bill could lead to those new facilities being established not in Hyndburn or Burton, but in Hamburg and Barcelona. Despite the efforts of Customs officials, tickets for the German, Austrian and Canadian lotteries are being bought in this country. Many of us have received mail shots which say:You've been declared eligible to win up to 50 million dollars tax free, lump sum cash, in the official Canadian lottery, plus special bonus prizes too. Just think what you could do with winnings like that.That is tempting to hon. Members with marginal seats and a general election looming. A magazine that was circulating in this country in December carried a full-page advert for the Austrian national lottery. With the increasing popularity of satellite television, people in this country will have invitations to participate in European lotteries beamed into their homes.
There is no doubt that, by one means or another, foreign lottery tickets will increasingly be bought in this country. We shall be using our money to improve facilities in countries with which we compete in sport.
Any non-United Kingdom scheme that issues promotional material here is breaking the law, but the Home Office says that it cannot prosecute foreign lotteries because they have no staff here.
A national lottery will increase jobs—not simply in running the lottery but in printing tickets and in building capital projects funded from the proceeds and in servicing those facilities when they are built.
If the advice of an opinion poll taken in November is followed, tickets for the lottery will be on sale in post offices, thereby helping to preserve jobs that could otherwise be lost in sub-post offices that are facing closure. As my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee) reminded us, the Post Office—24 million people use its 20,000 outlets each week—is a superb place to sell lottery tickets. It has integrity and credibility, which will be necessary if we have a national lottery.
I understand the views of the Lotteries Council. It has said that it is not against a national lottery but opposes the Bill because it does not specifically protect its members. Small lotteries have been extremely successful in providing 1278 resources that have enabled many football clubs to survive. It is not unnatural that the Lotteries Council should wish to protect its members. At our last annual general meeting, when we discussed the £10,000 lottery being run by UK Charities Ltd., members said that, far from harming them, the new lottery had generated new interest. I believe that the same would be true with a national lottery.
The objections of the Lotteries Council, like those of the pool companies, overlook the threat from European lotteries. Can anyone say with certainty that if we do not have a national lottery the status quo will continue and that foreign lottery tickets will never be available in this country? No one can give us that guarantee, so we take a risk—a risk which we should not take.
I wish the Bill success. I hope that if the calling of the election prevents it from becoming law, the Government will include a proposal for a national lottery in our manifesto.
§ Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead)
I want to explain why I have changed from supporting a national lottery to opposing it. It has been the duty of Labour Back Benchers to try to construct an agenda that leap-frogged Thatcherism rather than being part of a party that merely tried to adapt itself to Government successes after yet another general election failure.
In that context of thinking about the need for a national health service tax and the support that a national lottery could give the national health scheme, I supported that measure. Before the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) says that I am like everybody else who has spoken against the lotteries—a mere spokesman for the pools—let me say that I am critical of Littlewoods. Of course I am mindful of its good employment policies. Many of my constituents work at Littlewoods, but the way in which it has approached the issue in the past few years has been, to be gentle, lethargic rather than looking after the best interests of its members.
I thank the hon. and learned Member for Burton for giving us this opportunity. We are having a dress rehearsal of the real debate that will take place in the next Parliament, when hon. Members who are worried about aspects of a national lottery will have to advance better arguments than some that we have heard this morning.
We cannot rely on the shock-horror tactics which state that the whole of English national life will collapse if a national lottery is introduced. The public—the voters—will not believe us. We cannot rely on the arguments against more gambling—thank God we are a country in which most people believe that there should not be a group of people who put their sticky fingers into other people's private lives and dictate how they should behave or spend their money. That argument comes especially badly from the pools industry whose whole income comes from gambling.
Nor can we rely on the argument that it is bad to have a national lottery for sports facilities, for example, when we know that all the income of the pools industry—minus the prizes—goes into the pockets of the promoters. That argument does not stand up.
I am well within my five minutes so I shall tell the House why I have changed my mind. I can assure the House that it is not because in the past couple of years I have been on 1279 the receiving end of a particular campaign. Indeed, if one were trying to ensure that I did not change my mind, I should have to congratulate the organisers of that campaign. I changed my mind for one reason.
I said earlier that I was not a member of the puritan lobby which is against gambling, but I must now modify that statement. I am against one form of gambling—gambling with the jobs of some of my constituents. I thought that the hon. and learned Member for Burton was in danger of talking out the Bill because he spoke for so long, but not more than two minutes of his discourse were spent on the possible job implications.
We do not know for certain what the job implications will be. It is a gamble. The House should not take such a gamble with my constituents' livelihood especially as—as many hon. Members have explained—for many of the families involved it is their only gateway to a normal existence. For that reason—and for that reason alone—I hope that the House will reject the Bill.
§ 2.1 pm
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)
Many hon. Members have made some good points today. One of the advantages of being called late in the debate is that one does not repeat some arguments which have already been made.
I see the beginnings of something called the "Bottomley" law on detailed explanations. When a Minister gives a detailed reason why something is as it is, one can be fairly sure that the Government are likely to change their mind shortly afterwards. It has happened with such issues as compensation for haemophiliacs who contracted the HIV virus and it certainly happened when one Minister at the Department of Education and Science explained why polytechnics could never be called universities. It appears to be happening in this case.
On 13 January my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary—who I thought handled the debate very well—explained thatGovernment policy on all gambling, whether betting, gaming or lotteries, reflects two basic principles. The first is that controls are necessary to ensure that it is conducted honestly and fairly. The second principle is that demand for gambling should not be stimulated."—[Official Report, 13 January 1991; Vol. 201, c. 460.]It is agreed that net spending on gambling in this country is about £3,000 million to £4,000 million a year. The gross figure is larger, but much of horserace betting is recycled—people stake relatively small sums and get a fair amount of it back, although in the end they lose. Therefore, let us work on the net figure of £3,000 million to £4,000 million a year. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) said that the Bill would roughly double that amount. It is a major step for the House to take to throw away the principle that gambling should not be stimulated.
I accept what the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) said about job losses, but, in time, that problem will have to be faced whatever happens. I also accept what the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Ms. Hoey) said about the need for substantial extra resources for particular causes. It is crazy that we have not found a way—whether through the tax system, through hypothecated income in another way or by allowing another form of market to work, or probably a combination of all three—to put cultural 1280 centres, sporting facilities, the preservation of our heritage and funding for charities on a higher level than at present. I am not arguing for voluntary giving—whether through gambling, through charitable giving or in any other way—because it is always a substitute for state funding.
However, I counsel people who do not seem to have done their homework to remember that the Irish figures quoted in the European survey show that half of the Government funding that went to culture, heritage, sport and other good causes was withdrawn when funding began to come from the lottery. It is important that people do not consider only the good points without considering the bad. I oppose the idea of the House passing the Bill, because some of those considerations have not been talked through. But I hope that one of its results will be that in the country as a whole we shall accept that it is right to produce funds on the scale of £750 million a year for a combination of sporting, cultural and heritage activities. The question is: what is the best way of doing that?
If we believe that the money should come from people's pockets, either through extra taxation or through extra spending of tax-provided funds—that is a reasonable assumption, and it is reasonable to ask what the best way of providing £750 million is—we could, for example, add an extra 25p to the retail price of cigarettes. That would raise £750 million, but the disadvantage would be that it would put 0.3 per cent. on to the retail prices index, whereas gambling, betting and lotteries are not included in the index.
Such hypothecation is better than the almost non-hypothecation involved in saying, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton does, that we shall raise £3 billion and then give half of it back to some winners. That does not help to do much except to make some people very rich—although I have no special objection to that. Some of the money will go in expenses and a little bit will go to sports facilities, heritage or conservation.
It is not necessarily rational, economically efficient or even dignified to say that an extra £3 billion should be spent on stimulating gambling if what we really want to do is to raise £750 million a year for causes that we accept are good and reasonable.
It would have been nice to have a debate in which we could say, "Do we need £750 million for those causes?", but instead we are faced with a National Lottery Bill.
Paragraph 13.83 of the Rothschild report, on page 231 in the chapter entitled,A National Lottery for Good Causessays:Finally, the whole of this chapter is predicated on the assumption that the Government will not penalise those organizations which benefit from the national lottery by withholding funds which they would otherwise have got, or reducing them if they are already being supported by the general exchequer.I do not believe that any Government—Labour or Tory, now or in the future—when deciding how much provision to make for good causes, would ignore the other funding that those causes receive. In any particular year the Government may give permission for extra funds to be raised, but they will not go on doing that.
A table on page 232 of the Rothschild report, to which I referred earlier, shows that the vast bulk of the money raised is likely to come from people who do not support some of the causes to which the proceeds are to be dedicated. I do not believe that majority votes should 1281 always be required for good causes. Some are minority interests, but important ones should be imposed on other people by an overwhelming minority. It is not right to say that we should stimulate gambling.
I shall make one of my final points now, so as to allow others to take part in the debate. We have seen a number of examples in which a product banned from being advertised on television is assumed to be all right in news and current affairs coverage, and such coverage is manipulated by certain organisations. One of those examples is provided by the link between motor racing and alcohol. The regulations do not allow alcohol promotion on television to be associated with motor racing. But that did not stop a lager company in effect buying the British grand prix and having it broadcast by a major television channel. So much prominence was given to the name of the lager that—perhaps "scandal" is too strong a word, but it was wrong.
Given that major gambling is prohibited as a subject for television advertising, the House would probably want to give five hours to debating the single question of whether we could cheerfully accept the idea of the draw for million-pound prizes being shown on televison as a way of stimulating demand.
I do not believe that we should say to individuals in this country, "You must not do what I do not approve of." We should say, "Do we want to change the system from one of no stimulation to over stimulation?" The idea of doubling gambling in this country as a result of five-hour debate does not seem the best way in which to get £750 million a year for cultural, sporting and heritage activities.
§ Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)
I declare an interest as an unpaid director of Sheffield Wednesday football club. That is significant because three years ago, 95 people were killed at the Hillsborough ground—not because there was anything wrong with the ground. I do not have time to go into the details. Following those tragic deaths the Government, following Lord Taylor's report, insisted that football grounds had to become all-seater and that the bigger grounds had to comply by 1994.
There was no chance that the industry could find the money without the aid of the football pools, which are paying 70 per cent. towards the cost. It is impossible to build stands, to get planning permission and to begin work in a matter of months. It must take two or three years for that to happen. There have already been strong demonstrations about the cost. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) knows, there were riots at West Ham when the supporters protested that they would have to pay £750 each, not for the price of a season ticket, but even to be able to buy a season ticket.
The Prime Minister is a football supporter. He said that the Government would pay 2.5 per cent. of the tax on the football pools to top up the money that the clubs would get from the Football Trust. When the Tories came into office, the tax on football pools was 40 per cent. They lifted it to 42.5 per cent. To be fair to the Prime Minister, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, he said that they would give back the 2.5 per cent. to football to improve the grounds.
What will happen if the pools collapse? Where will the money come from to improve the grounds? Will the clubs 1282 be left with the bill? They will never be able to pay it, and they will he halfway through building the stands and halfway through the contracts when the money will suddenly dry up, if the Bill is passed. The clubs will find themselves in that position although a Lord Justice has told them that the work must be done and although the police have said that they will not police football grounds unless they are all-seater. That will he devastating for Britain's standing in world football because we shall not be able to stage the 1996 European football championships. The industry will be plunged into a trauma and it will not know the way out.
Conservative Members may say that that will not happen overnight and that there will be a gradual run-down. I do not believe that for a minute. There are 70,000 pools collectors. People no longer send in their pools entries through the post. Instead, the entries are collected by collectors who work on commission, sometimes 25 per cent. and sometimes 15 per cent. The collectors go round every Friday night. If there is a national lottery, they will naturally say to the old ladies who do the pools, "Why don't you try a lottery ticket as well as or instead of the pools?" Many who have done the pools for many years will say, "Why not? I have used birthday dates and door numbers, but they never come up. I will do the national lottery instead." There will quickly be a massive switch and the money that the Government get from tax will dry up.
The Government will have far less money to give for the improvement of football grounds. The pools will not be able to pay the 70 per cent. as has been promised. Those will he the consequences if the Bill is passed. Between now and 1994, all the football clubs will have planned, put out tenders and taken contracts. Manchester City, for example, complained to me that it made an application for the grant last July, but that the Minister for Sport is sitting on it. I do not know why he has not released the cash, because the Government continually complain that clubs are not getting a move on. Football clubs do not know where they stand on all-seater stadiums, which the Government have demanded, on which they have had little help and which will be damaged by the Bill.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) should read what the Select Committee on Home Affairs, of which I am a member, said about the Horse Race Betting Levy Act 1981. Sharing out the cash from horse racing has been a shambles. Once again, the Home Office has had to step in to sort out who gets what in horse racing between the owners, the trainers, the bookies and everyone else because they can never agree on the share of the cake. That is exactly what will happen with the national lottery.
§ Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)
My fundamental objection to the Bill is that it defines areas of public expenditure that I believe to be very important to the richness and well-being of a society as so marginal that they can be funded outwith general taxation and the normal means of funding things that society regards as important.
I strongly agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) about the proposals advanced in the Labour party's sports document. Of course we should look at the money that 1283 comes out of sport—and, no doubt, the arts—and give as much of that money as possible back to the sources from which it comes. I also agreed with much of what the Minister said, and I followed his speech with interest. But what is proposed in the Bill is one mega state lottery, with defined areas of expenditure, and that is what I cannot agree with.
Over the past few weeks, and again today, we have heard the familiar arguments. If I hear the tale about Britain and Albania once more, I shall be tempted to go to Tirana to check the facts. There is another side to the coin, even if it is true that the only countries that do not have national lotteries are Britain and Albania. In the absence of a national lottery here, other forms of fund-raising—and lotteries in particular—have developed. That problem—if problem it is—would not be confronted in countries with long-established national lotteries, but in countries such as Ireland where the lotteries are not long-established, exactly the problems that we fear are arising.
The term "small lotteries" is perhaps confusing because some of the so-called small lotteries are very large indeed. I have received two letters of which other hon. Members may also have copies. The example of Tenovus, the cancer charity, is an important one. The charity's letter refers to the fact that the charity has a £3 million income from lotteries and that £1 million of its funds depends upon that. The House must think carefully before taking a step that could contribute—and, in the experience of other countries, would contribute—to wiping out that source of revenue, which is what would happen if that relatively large lottery were subordinated to the great national mega-lottery.
The second letter was from Rangers FC Development Fund Ltd. Anyone who takes even a passing interest in Scottish football knows that Rangers football club has a splendid stadium, funded almost exclusively from two sources—first, the lottery that the club has run for many years and, secondly, the Football Trust, referred to today as a possible source of funding that would be endangered by the process. Mr. Hugh Adam, the director of Rangers, who is responsible for the development fund, writes:Indeed, it is now a matter of public knowledge that very few, if any, football clubs take enough money through the gate to exist from that alone. Small lotteries are probably the most important source of off-the-field revenue.While saying that we are acting in the name of sport, we are threatening on two fronts to remove the funding sources on which football clubs and many other sports and arts organisations now depend. I do not think that we should go into that lightly.
I came away from the British Columbia lottery presentation held in the House some months ago with two clear impressions. The first was that, in order for the British Columbia lottery to be the great success that it undoubtedly is—it offers huge prizes—all other lotteries, down to a very low level, had had to disappear to make way for it. That example is relevant. Secondly, as the gentleman who came to speak to us freely admitted, no matter how carefully one defines the causes that are to benefit from a lottery, as soon as it exists representatives of all sorts of other causes immediately come knocking at the door so that, in the end, no cause get as much as it at first expected.
1284 I want also to refer to a letter from Dr. Moran of Chase Farm hospital in Enfield, who is the chairman of the National Council on Gambling and the adviser on gambling to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He raised a point on which I agree with the Minister. There is a difference between a large number of lotteries offering relatively modest prizes, but raising a lot of money for many different causes, and the concept of one huge lottery on which the whole fix depends and the vast prize with all the hullabaloo surrounding it.
The professional view of Dr. Moran should not be taken lightly. He wrote:The existing lotteries law prescribes modest levels; this avoids stimulation and allows the smaller societies to compete with larger ones, when promoting lotteries. In large scale lotteries, the gambling element predominates over that of charitable giving.There is no po-faced moralistic view on the matter. I have nothing against gambling or lotteries. However, the House must consider today, as no doubt it will in future, whether we want to approach the matter in a way that does not wipe out other forms of income for good causes and which does not stimulate gambling, as the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) sensibly pointed out, in order to return through gambling a relatively small proportion of the money to the people who invest in it.
The scale is enormous. The Bill's sponsors switch between minimising and maximising the scale, depending upon which market they are appealing to. By creating a national lottery of £3 billion, we will be creating something new on a level that is double the existing expenditure in the United Kingdom on the pools and bingo combined. That is an enormous enterprise. I do not believe that that money can appear out of thin air. It will either destroy other lotteries or it will be new money which will be diverted from other forms of social expenditure.
§ Mr. John Lee (Pendle)
In the circumstances, I will be very brief. It is well known that I am a long-standing supporter of a national lottery, and I am delighted and proud to be a sponsor of the Bill. As a former Minister responsible for tourism, and as the present chairman of ALVA—the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions—I am well aware of the huge costs of maintaining the fabric of great museums, galleries, cathederals and historic houses.
For example, the British museum and the Tate, which are both ALVA members, require substantial funding. The British museum needs £80 million for conversion and refurbishment of the space that has been vacated by the British Library. The Tate needs £32 million to upgrade 21 galleries and to provide adequate visitor research facilities. Museums in Manchester could spend £20 million, and Merseyside could spend £27 million. Sports facilities are required throughout the country.
The Government and the Exchequer have a responsibility. Recent increases in spending on the arts are welcome. However, the Government must not believe that a lottery will allow them to dodge their obligations. The point that has been emphasised repeatedly today is the gap between what the Treasury under a Government of any political party is likely to contribute and what is actually needed. The difference is vast and that is where a national lottery has a role to play.
1285 I had hoped that a national lottery would be announced in the last Budget. However, the pools companies proposed the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and, bluntly, the Treasury fell for that. In the Budget debate on 19 March last year, I described the foundation as mere petty cash compared with what a properly constituted national lottery could produce——
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 84, Noes 35.1286
|Division No. 42]||[2.25 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Jessel, Toby|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Arbuthnot, James||Kilfedder, James|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Ashby, David||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Lord, Michael|
|Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)||Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard|
|Bendall, Vivian||Malins, Humfrey|
|Benyon, W.||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Mates, Michael|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Mills, Iain|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Burns, Simon||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Cash, William||Page, Richard|
|Cormack, Patrick||Rhodes James, Sir Robert|
|Devlin, Tim||Rooker, Jeff|
|Durant, Sir Anthony||Rost, Peter|
|Dykes, Hugh||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Farr, Sir John||Shelton, Sir William|
|Fatchett, Derek||Sims, Roger|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Forman, Nigel||Steen, Anthony|
|Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)||Summerson, Hugo|
|Glyn, Dr Sir Alan||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Thorne, Neil|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Tracey, Richard|
|Gorst, John||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Gregory, Conal||Waller, Gary|
|Ground, Patrick||Wardell Gareth (Gower)|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Watts, John|
|Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')||Whitney, Ray|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Wilkinson, John|
|Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Mr. John Bowis and Mr. John Lee.|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Anderson, Donald||Dixon, Don|
|Ashton, Joe||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)|
|Bellotti, David||Fraser, John|
|Cartwright, John||Graham, Thomas|
|Cohen, Harry||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Corbett, Robin||Kilfoyle, Peter|
|Cox, Tom||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Cryer, Bob||McCrea, Rev William|
|Maclennan, Robert||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Moate, Roger||Spearing, Nigel|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Straw, Jack|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Taylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)|
|Pendry, Tom||Wilson, Brian|
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Robinson, Geoffrey||Mr. Peter Bottomley and Mr. David Alton.|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
§ Whereupon MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER declared that the Question was not decided in the affirmative, because it was not supported by the majority prescribed by Standing Order No. 36 ( Majority for Closure).
§ It being after half-past Two o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed on Friday 24 January.