HC Deb 09 November 1992 vol 213 cc605-6
1. Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what effect he estimates the introduction of the national lottery will have on charitable income.

The Secretary of State for National Heritage (Mr. Peter Brooke)

Charities will be one of the main beneficiaries of the national lottery.

Mr. Hoyle

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that 85 per cent. of the money raised by the national lottery will go in taxes, administration and prize money and that only 15 per cent. will go not just to charities but to sports, the arts, heritage and so on? Given those figures, is it not right that charities should be alarmed that the introduction of a national lottery would mean a loss of £232 million which would not be compensated for by what they received from the lottery?

Mr. Brooke

I am conscious that statistics on the outcome have been bandied around, but, until we publish the Bill, people will not even be able to see the original indicative figures.

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern. Representatives of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations will see me this coming week, when they can argue their case. I shall listen to them carefully.

Mr. Alan Howarth

In welcoming the Government's intention that charities should receive a fair share of the proceeds of the national lottery, may I ask my right hon. Friend to ensure that the system for distributing the funds takes careful account of the interests of charities that have been in the practice of running lotteries and whose income could be significantly hit by the advent of a national lottery?

Mr. Brooke

I give my hon. Friend the assurance that that is one of the considerations that we will take into account.

Mr. Kilfoyle

Will the Secretary of State publish the GAH Group report, commissioned by the Department to inquire into aspects and effects of the national lottery?

Mr. Brooke

If I were to do so, I should be going back on an answer that I have already given in the House. That was confidential advice to the Government, to inform our decision making on the lottery.

Mr. Jessel

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if the national lottery is to flourish as we all want it to do, people must want to buy tickets and they must know, therefore, that a large proportion of what they are paying will go to charities, the arts or sport? Is he further aware that many of us feel that it is essential to make certain that the Treasury is not allowed to kill the goose that lays the golden egg by taxing the lottery too heavily?

Mr. Brooke

I would not for the moment trespass on the preserves of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but if my hon. Friend felt inclined to make a representation to my right hon. Friend, I do not think that it would do any harm to the cause.

Mr. Frank Field

Does the Secretary of State accept that if the national lottery is a rip-roaring success, that will bring little joy to those of our constituents who work in the pools industry? What representations has he received from those who promote that industry? Will he give them a guarantee that when the national lottery is set up, those people will compete with it on equal terms when selling tickets?

Mr. Brooke

I totally understand the hon. Gentleman's question, not least because of the part of the country that he represents. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has already met some of those involved, and I expect to do so, too. We shall pay close attention to what they say, but I shall not give advance commitments about the outcome.

Mr. Nigel Evans

I welcome the introduction of the national lottery. Will my right hon. Friend pay some regard to community sporting facilities in rural areas, particularly swimming pools, which are expensive for such areas, and community youth soccer sites, many of which are supported by thousands of mums and dads who need support from something like a national lottery?

Mr. Brooke

I understand my hon. Friend's interest, but the distribution of the funds that emerge from the lottery will be in the hands of other than the Government's and I am confident that those involved will receive many representations when their identity is known.