HC Deb 28 April 1993 vol 223 cc1112-25

Amendment made: No. 192, Title, line 6, after 'to', insert 'private lotteries and'.—[Mr. Brooke.]

Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen's consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

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

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

It is a late hour, but there are courtesies to be observed, however briefly. The Bill has been the subject of much interest, both inside and outside the House. It has been subject to a thorough scrutiny by the Standing Committee and by the House tonight, and it has emerged from the Committee and from this evening's debate a better 13ill. I therefore pay tribute to all those who served in the Committee for their work on the Bill which, as has often been remarked, is almost unique in its combination of measures—establishing the lottery, making arrangements for the distribution of the net proceeds and taking the opportunity to help small lotteries.

It has fired the imagination and commanded, the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House. I congratulate all those involved and I think that we have a piece of legislation worthy of its task, one which I am sure will be looked at enviously by other lottery operators all over the world, and will produce a United Kingdom national lottery which is the best in the world.

In particular, I think that the whole House should be grateful for the sterling efforts of the chairman of the Standing Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack), and to the hon. Members for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) and for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) who were called upon to step into the breach when the chairman was sadly taken ill early in the Committee's proceedings.

They formed an admirable triumvirate, supported by the hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Coote), who was ready to assist but never called. We owe them our thanks. The same appreciation goes to those who in the chair in the House have presided over the Report stage with such benign authority that controversy melted away.

We also owe thanks to the Opposition spokesmen, the hon. Members for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) and for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), for their wise contributions in Committee, via probing amendments and through the fruits of their wide experience in the arts, sport and the heritage. They were joined tonight by the hon. Member for Cymn Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) and throughout by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton). They and all other members of the Committee were assisted by the excellent Clerk.

I also pay tribute to the skilful and tireless efforts of my hon. Friends the Minister of State and the Under-Secretary of State, whose diligence, constructiveness and good humour were greatly appreciated by the Committee. I also pay tribute to the massive work, done by our officials and advisers, which went on behind the scenes to sustain my hon. Friends.

1.30 am

I thank hon. Members who have helped to refine the Bill and speed it on, its way. At the risk of being quoted when the lottery becomes operative, I echo the dodo in "Alice": all have won and all shall have prizes. Through all its stages the Bill has been open to sensible amendment and hon. Members who participated have felt that the Bill has been further improved. It is not a lottery of excess; it is a lottery of access.

Finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to Parliamentary Counsel for the superb elegance of the drafting of the Bill, which presented many difficult and unusual challenges that the Bill solves with creativity and aplomb. The Bill is a model of modern legislation, to be admired for the skill, grace and economy of its structure.

I could say a great deal about the substance of the Bill which would reinforce this categorical eulogy. I propose to resist that temptation and hope that my abstinence will cause others to join me in the good wishes that I have expressed for the Bill as it is poised to leave us now for another place. I commend in particular the work of the Whip in assisting our progress.

1.31 am
Mr. Pendry

I will not thank all those whom the Secretary of State thanked by name, but I echo much of what he said.

On Second Reading I said that it was consistent to be committed to the idea of a national lottery but to retain some deeply held objections to parts of it. We thought that the Bill was flawed in many fundamental respects and we urged the Committee to vote for our amendments and to reject the Bill as it stood.

We said that, unless the Bill emerged on Report in better shape, we reserved our position. Since the Committee stage, there has been some hard bargaining. Following persuasive arguments advanced by my hon. Friends and some free spirits on the Conservative Benches, Ministers did listen to the genuine concerns expressed. To their eternal credit, they promised to reflect on the many points that we had to put to them. That promise was kept.

Since then, there have been a number of meetings with Ministers and some important changes, to the benefit of the charitable sector, the pools industry, and the small lottery operators affiliated to the lotteries council. The House would, I am sure, want me to praise my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme), the president of the council, who has done so much to highlight the problems of the small lotteries and to bring about acceptable changes.

I had intended to make a number of points in the Government's favour, but I judge that Ministers do not want me to at this stage. I will therefore spare their blushes and content myself with pointing out that the Government have made some important concessions. The Bill is still not as perfect as we would like it to be. As it travels to another place I am sure that it will be further improved.

The pools companies, for instance, would like more freedom to advertise on television and radio. In Committee the Minister said that he would consider that, but nothing has been translated into legislative form. We hope that the Secretary of State will fight his corner with the Treasury, because the 12 per cent. tax yield to the Treasury is far too high. I hope that at the end of the first year of operation that percentage will go down and not up.

I trust that the Bill will be improved in the other place because we wish to see a better lottery. The Opposition have always said that decisions on the Bill should be taken by a free vote. People who have fundamental objections to a lottery of any kind should be allowed to express them in the Lobby. However, if there is a Division, we on this Bench, who fought hard to improve the Bill, will vote for Third Reading. We recognise the strength of feeling of those who feel that they still cannot support the Bill and, as they know, they are free to vote against it. I wish the Bill well as it goes to the other place. I hope that it leaves there an even better Bill than it is now.

1.35 am
Mr. Kilfoyle

I was taken by the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), who said that we have a free vote. I like to think that Opposition Members are a little more democratic than Conservative Members.

I listened carefully to most of the debate, although not all of it, and four points convinced me that I should still vote against Third Reading. I have argued consistently against the Bill within my party, in Committee and on Second Reading. My opposition goes back about 16 months to the time of the Bill presented by the hon. Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence). What I have heard today does not dissuade me one iota from my view. Conservative Members will be pleased to know that I shall be brief.

The right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) intervened during the speech of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) and there was an exchange about "this great heritage" of Georgian and Victorian England and about the achievements brought about by lotteries and charities at that time. I remind the right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex that after the Napoleonic wars there was a long and involved debate which in 1823 led to the abolition of the lotteries that existed at that time. He will know that the last lottery was held in 1826 because it was felt that lotteries were not in the interests of the people of this land. The Bill breaks a 300-year-old tradition of not seeking to expand and encourage gambling in this country.

My second point is of special interest to the people of Merseyside because of the Bill's effect on the pools, but it also affects the many groups that lobbied Opposition and Government Members during the progress of the Bill. It is the vexed question of additionality. The Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd), was honest in his reply to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland when he said that he could give no guarantee about what any future Secretary of State or Government would do.

Experience in countries that have introduced lotteries shows that the principle of additionality goes out the window. As I said in Committee, whatever party the appropriate Secretary of State or Chancellor of the Exchequer belongs to, as sure as night follows day the principle of additionality will disappear and the lottery proceeds will be used as substitute finances, to the detriment of many of the good causes that are supposed to benefit from the Bill.

The Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage was also honest enough during the debate on, I think, new clause 4 about the siting of the national lottery headquarters to say that a guarantee could not be given on jobs. I accept that in the sense in which the Minister intended it. Jobs are of paramount importance to people who represent constituencies such as mine and those of other Merseyside Members of Parliament. We have hammered the point throughout the debate, and the Minister knows that we are sincere. In my part of the world, 4,630 jobs are at risk. I shall not go over the arguments again, but he knows how committed we are to protecting those jobs, and the livelihoods of the people concerned.

It would be naive in the extreme to believe that the tax take will remain at 12 per cent. What has happened in other countries shows that it is an unrealistic tax regime. I noted carefully what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, although this may not be the appropriate Bill on which to have a debate on the matter. However, it is germane to what the Bill is about. The Chancellor emphasised that the take would be 12 per cent. in the first year. If it came to the crunch and he has to decide between putting VAT on children's clothes and shoes, or raising the tax take out of the national lottery, there would be no contest. The tax regime on the lottery would go up, and that would have a detrimental effect on the charities and other good causes that expect to make money out of this ill-thought-out, ill-conceived proposal.

For those genuine reasons, which are shared by a number of Opposition Members, and notwithstanding the fine efforts of those on the Front Bench to amend the Bill —they have improved it in many ways—we, in conscience, have to vote against Third Reading.

1.41 am
Mr. Maclennan

I must freely admit that no amendments to the Bill would have satisfied me that it merited a Third Reading. Although I acknowledge the work done in Committee, notably by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Mossly Hill (Mr. Alton), and by the Opposition spokesman and many others to improve the Bill, and slightly to ameliorate the directly adverse effect that it will have on charitable organisations, it remains unacceptable.

This is the first time in modern times that the state has deliberately taken it upon itself to promote gambling. I regard gambling as a social evil, and one that will no doubt lead to an increase in crime, particularly among the young. It is not being a spoilsport to deplore that tendency. The Bill is a regressive measure that will hit hardest the least well-off. In a society where the gap between rich and poor is growing wider, the Government are doing more, deliberately, in the Bill to accentuate it. I find it morally repugnant, and I have no hesitation in saying so. I cannot, in the course of the Third Reading debate, confine myself to courtesies, although no doubt they are due.

I deeply regret that Parliament has descended to the depths of the Bill. Many have clutched at it, knowing that the Treasury was to tighten the noose on expenditure on arts and the sports, a process that has already begun, alas, under a Secretary of State for whom I had high hopes—[Laughter.] I believe that the Secretary of State has the interests of both sports and the arts very much at heart, but he did not devise the Bill. It was dreamed up by others.

The right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) was the first of several Arts Ministers who clutched at the rather vain hope that, for this declining nation, over which the Conservative Government have presided for 12 years, and this economy, which has failed to sustain the arts and sports in any other way, gambling would be the way out. The concept was promoted by a private Member's Bill, and in moving his own amendments tonight, the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence), in a very belated conversion, found occasion to draw attention to some of the dangers—[Laughter.] He must bear some of the blame when the consequences of the Bill are felt by charities.

The principle was supported by the right hon. Member for Mole Valley as some kind of bread and circuses to be thrown before the electorate at the general election.

Mr. Cryer

He was the author of the poll tax as well.

Mr. Maclennan

And now he has sunk without trace. Those who embraced his policies may find that they will follow a similar route.

This has been a regrettable episode. Many people who have clutched at the hope of salvation for the arts will live to rue the day, as they see the Treasury using the lottery as an excuse for cutting expenditure raised by taxation on the arts and sport. I shall have no hesitation in voting against the Bill.

1.45 am
Mr. George Howarth

As the Bill was extensively debated on Second Reading, in Committee, and on Report tonight, I shall not detain the House long. I have two main points—one is a form of concession, and the other is an objection to the Bill receiving a Third Reading.

As a result of amendments made in Committee and others telegraphed, if not passed, tonight, the Bill is better than it was, and to that extent I congratulate those of my hon. Friends involved on the success of their arguments, and the Government on having the generosity of spirit to accept them.

However, a number of serious questions have not been answered, and for that reason I find it impossible to vote in favour of a Third Reading.

The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) made a serious point—which was greeted with some hilarity by Conservative Members for some reason that escapes me—about genuine moral objections to state-sponsored gambling. Whatever gloss the Government put on the lottery, there are many well-considered arguments against state-sponsored gambling and a form of taxation—for it is that—that is regressive.

I and many of my hon. Friends are old-fashioned enough to think that the whole point of taxation is to redistribute wealth from one section of the community to another. The Bill will take from certain artistic and cultural events that are less well-off and give to the better-off. In due course, that inevitable consequence will be proved by the way in which the lottery, and the events that it sponsors, work out.

As the Government are unlikely to accept that argument, I will make other points concerning my constituents on Merseyside. At the beginning, I and many of my hon. Friends took the view that any development that would mean more job losses for a region already ravaged by recession and unemployment was unacceptable. It was estimated—this figure has not been disproved by any empirical evidence produced by Ministers or Conservative Members—that job losses across the country were likely to number 5,000 to 6,000 with 4,000 of them on Merseyside. Some of the amendments to the Bill—the levelling, to some extent, of the playing field—mean that job losses are likely to amount now to only 1,300 to 1,500, but those job losses are unacceptable to me and my hon. Friends.

For those two reasons—the moral objections, which still have not been answered, and the job losses that will inevitably result from the passing of the Bill on to the statute book—I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending my hon. Friends and any Conservative Members who feel so inclined to vote against Third Reading.

1.52 am
Mr. Alton

Before we proceed to a Division, I intend to put on record my objections to Third Reading. At every other stage I have voted against the Bill, for the reasons that the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth) and my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) have already given. Any hon. Member who represents pools workers will have no choice but to consider these reasons before deciding how to vote on Third Reading. There are serious job implications. The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) knows that when he introduced his private Member's Bill, many of us put forward similar arguments. They still remain.

I am particularly grateful to the Home Office Minister, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd), who has been present throughout most of the proceedings on the Bill, for trying to meet many of the industry's concerns. I am also grateful to the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key), and others from the Department of National Heritage, who recognise that there are implications for pools workers. None the less, there remain concerns within the industry that once the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, Zetters in London, Vernons in Liverpool and part of the Littlewoods operation will have to make people redundant. That will cause great hardship in areas where there is already high unemployment.

For the past 21 years I have represented many people —first as a councillor and then as a Member of Parliament for the past 14 years—who are employed by Littlewoods in Edge Lane, an inner city area of Liverpool. I am familiar with many of the families who rely upon the wages that they receive from that work for their livelihood.[Interruption.]

Although it is true that some of those jobs will undoubtedly disappear—the point which I think the hon. and learned Member for Burton is making from a sedentary position—because of the technology that is being introduced, I think he will be the first to agree that the number of jobs that will be involved in the creation of the national lottery, wherever its headquarters is situated, will be tiny, compared with the high level of labour-intensive work that is available through the football pools at present.

Sir Ivan Lawrence

indicated dissent.

Mr. Alton

We should not gamble with people's jobs and livelihoods, particularly at a time of very high unemployment.

Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)

I am pleased to hear what the hon. Gentleman says and I support him entirely. Does he also agree that the majority of the workers who will be affected are women and that in many cases these women are the sole earner in the family, on account of the high level of male unemployment on Merseyside? Those families depend upon the woman going out to work; many of them are lone parents.

Mr. Alton

Indeed. I specifically made that point earlier today in the debate on where the national lottery headquarters should be situated. If any area can prove —as I believe Merseyside will be able to prove—that it has lost jobs as a direct consequence of the introduction of the national lottery, we should ensure that its national headquarters is situated in that area, so that some of the women to whom the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) referred will have the possibility of finding employment there.

My second objection is the moral argument about regressive taxation. Is it right that people, who inevitably come from the poorest sections of society, should be encouraged to gamble through the state lottery and thereby subsidise to the greatest extent many of our great national institutions? There is nothing wrong with the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden, but why should people who are the least likely to use those facilities and who come from the poorest sections of society be the ones who most disproportionately will have to pay for those facilities?

Can it be right for the House actively to encourage more state-inspired gambling? More per head is spent on gambling in this country—about £4.50—than in any other country in Europe. Do we want to encourage more gambling and more of a chance society, in which people are encouraged to think that the only way out of poverty and the only way to succeed is by wagering a stake? Surely there are better ways of helping to succeed.

I conclude by recalling the words of William Wilberforce to his friend Henry Thornton in the aftermath of the abolition of slavery. He turned to Henry Thornton and asked, "What shall we abolish next?" The reply was, "The national lottery, I think." In those days, the period to which the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) referred, the national lottery was so full of corruption, abuses and the fear of syndicates, which has also been expressed today, that there was a national crusade to abolish it. I hope that there will not have to be a national crusade to undo what we are doing today.

1.55 am
Mr. Renton

I understand the concerns that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) has expressed so well. I shall be brief because it is late, but I must say that I think that he and the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) are wrong. The national lottery will be a great step forward and will do much for good causes in this country.

During my time as Minister for the Arts, I used all my influence to get the notion approved. I was delighted that it was in our election manifesto, and I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd), and the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of National Heritage on the way that they have argued for the concept today.

There were two good reasons why I was convinced about the idea. The first was that, when talking to other Ministers for the Arts—they are usually called Ministers of Culture in other parts of Europe—I was always struck by their telling me that they had been able to use the proceeds of their national lotteries so successfully. I remember Maire Geoghegan-Quinn in Dublin telling me of the refurbishment and restoration of the Irish national gallery, which was the result of the national lottery. I asked Mrs. Psarouda-Benaki, the Greek Minister of Culture, how she was doing for money. That was the usual question between Ministers for the Arts or for Culture. She said that she was saved by the national lottery.

Secondly, although my predecessor, Sir Richard Luce, and I were successful in getting increased grants from the Treasury for the current expenses of arts organisations, it was clear that there was not sufficient money available to build great buildings or for restoration and refurbishment. It was obvious to me that the large sums needed would come only from a national lottery. I believe that the national lottery will be a great success and that the concerns expressed are not valid.

I hope that when Oflot comes into being, and when the organisation that is to run the lottery has been chosen, they will concentrate on using small shops such as tobacconists' shops and sub-post offices as retail outlets. If anyone visits Wexford in Ireland, they will find three small shops in the high street, all displaying the lotto sign. That brings new customers into corner shops, and we all want to encourage the small shop rather than the supermarket. The lottery could be helpful in that respect.

I was disappointed by the gloomy view that the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) took of the millennium fund. It is a most exciting and imaginative project, which will contribute to the construction of great buildings by which the next generation will remember us.

After the great exhibition, spare money was used to buy the land in south Kensington on which now stand the Victoria and Albert museum, the natural history museum and the science museum.

Over the next six or seven years we can do something comparable, and I believe that it will be for that that the next generation will remember us. We should all be proud to be associated with the project, and I believe that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will carry it forward with great vigour and determination.

2 am

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead)

Although I respect the hon. Members who have taken a principled stand about the idea of the state organising gambling, I have to say that I do not care a stuff for that argument. I believe that in the country as a whole most people will fail to draw any significant distinction between gambling run privately and gambling run by the state. People may be able to make the case that they oppose all gambling, but it is a subsidiary matter whether the state or private organisations run it. Therefore, I have no wish to make more of that issue.

First, I thank the Secretary of State and his junior Minister for the changes that they have made to the Bill. I understand that the pools lobby is now much more satisfied with it. If the pools lobby consisted of Vernons alone I should be content with its response, for I have respected for some time Vernons' stance on the whole issue. However, Littlewoods' attitude over the long term has left everything to be desired in terms of how the company should have responded so as to shape the debate that culminates tonight.

I shall spend two minutes on the subject of jobs. We have had two good monthly returns for the unemployment figures, but two good months do not make an economic boom. Even if they did, we know from the past four or so booms that at the high point of each boom there are more people unemployed than there were at the equivalent stage of the previous cycle. Therefore, the issue of jobs is of immense importance.

Like many Merseyside Members, I represent a constituency in which one in four people are unemployed. Generally there are two reactions to unemployment in my constituency. One is for people to drive themselves demented as they search for that elusive job, and for their loved ones to watch them become demented and to go mad with them, believing that round the next corner, on the next card that they read in the jobcentre or in the next newspaper advert that they read, there will be the sign of a job, and they will be successful.

The other response, which I find even more alarming, and which is becoming more common, is that the only way in which people can survive with that level of unemployment is to wipe the idea of paid work out of their lives. That is the only way to organise and to keep sane. That is an extremely worrying long-term trend for the House to have to debate.

It is therefore immensely serious that at a time of near record post-war unemployment we are debating a Bill that will deny some of my constituents work. Some of those people will be bringing the only wage packet into their households and without those jobs they will join either the group of demented constituents who search vainly for work, or that growing group that can survive only by pretending that working is not an important part of our activities as responsible adults.

I therefore make a plea to the House. While we have that level of unemployment and while that curse is laid on so many of our constituents, although in other circumstances a national lottery would be welcome, and there can be no real worry about the fact that the state rather than private individuals is organising it, the effect on unemployment is a sticking point, so I hope that the House will refuse the Bill a Third Reading.

2.3 am

Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)

The House will be aware that I have a strong moral conviction concerning the subject matter of the Bill; I have expressed it in the House before. I have been in pastoral work for 46 years, and the description by the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) of the frustration of the unemployed is very real to me. It is far more real to me that the unemployed, in that state of frustration, turn to gambling and think that by the cast of the dice they will remedy their position. It is deplorable that the Government and Parliament now take it on themselves to lead the nation in the gambling menace. It is a menace to society. It is sad that the only way in which the Government can preserve our heritage is by inviting people to gamble. That is not the way to preserve the heritage.

I sympathise with hon. Members whose constituencies have a high percentage of unemployment, as we have in Northern Ireland. The jobs lost will not be found easily, as all hon. Members know. That is bound to cause concern to anyone who has a heart and who feels for the unemployed. Nothing devastates a family more than unemployment, and nothing devastates the moral life of people more than unemployment. Despite all the hilarity in parts of our debate, we are not going down a road that will help the nation. That is my personal conviction, so I must say that.

2.5 am

Mr. Cryer

There are a number of objections to the Bill. Although there have been some improvements, they will not provide the safeguards needed by the small lotteries. Ironically, the legislation that allowed small lotteries was introduced by Graham Page, the former Member for Crosby. I do not suppose that he envisaged that the idea would be taken up and converted into a national scheme by a future Conservative Government.

The Bill is intrusive and it will affect many reasonably well-established lotteries which are used for a variety of purposes. I received representations from Bradford Northern rugby league football club, which plays at Odsal stadium in my constituency. Its concerns are not satisfied. The national lottery will have an adverse affect.

The lottery will not be terribly efficient. Barely 25 per cent. of the revenue will got to the so-called "good causes". Some 50 per cent. will go on prizes, 12 per cent. will go on tax because the Government will use the revenue from the lottery for their own purposes, and 13 per cent. or more will go on administration. That leaves barely 25 per cent. —minority—of the total revenue to go to the good causes. The lottery is not a very effective way in which to raise money.

Some 20 per cent. will go on the dotty scheme on the millennium which will not have any clear benefit to the nation except that in the year 2000 there will be some junketing which is not clearly defined. A quango will set up the scheme and spend the money on it. There are better uses for the money. The reservation that I and many of my hon. Friends have is that the revenue will not supplement Government expenditure, but will supplant it. It will be used as a source of revenue to pay for things that could and should come from general taxation. That is the real fear.

There is also good and genuine tradition—Methodist, puritanical or whatever—among Labour Members. We have gambling because footbal pools are a form of gambling. That far and no further should we go. We should not expand it into a national lottery running alongside the football pools which would expand a society that is concerned with consumerism, with status and with a way out through the easy pickings of prizes in a national lottery. They are not easy pickings. Everybody contributes to the prizes. The vast majority will be losers. A tiny proportion will be winners, and the rest will be left with dashed hopes, illusions and the cynicism of a decrepit and corrupt society. Goods and services are out of reach for the vast majority because they have low incomes or no jobs in a society that has an economy that cannot provide for them.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Close the stock exchange.

Mr. Cryer

My hon. Friend talks about the stock exchange. That represents another form of gambling to which I am opposed. I do not see why we should expand gambling to consume the whole nation, with the posh gamblers in the City of London and the ordinary gamblers consumed in the pursuit of false hope. It is not by gambling but by organising together to secure a political victory and to elect a Government with the right priorities that we shall change and improve society. For those reasons, I shall vote against Third Reading.

2.10 am
Mr. Davidson

I oppose the Bill for many of the reasons that have already been given. I disagree with the assertion that it makes no difference whatever if gambling is organised by the state or by private individuals. If the state is seen not only to be condoning gambling by allowing it but actually to be promoting it, a different message is conveyed about the type of society that we want to see.

Ultimately, the money from the national lottery will be used not in addition to but instead of money spent by local authorities or the state. That money will be raised from those who can afford it least to be spent on those who can afford it most. I can imagine unemployed people living in damp houses in my constituency paying money in desperation towards a national lottery in an attempt to escape from their predicament, only to see their money spent on pleasures that are predominantly enjoyed by those who are much better off than they are.

The Bill is a redistributive measure: it will redistribute wealth away from those who have least and in the direction of those who have most. That is why I do not believe that it is morally just or morally sustainable, and I do not propose to vote for it.

I recognise that a great deal of work has been done by those on both Front Benches to make this a less bad Bill than it was, and I pay tribute to them for that work, but I still believe that charitable giving will suffer as a result of the lottery.

The Government have assured us that that will not happen. What do they propose to do if, several months or a year down the road, it is clearly shown that charities are suffering as a result of the introduction of the national lottery, and that local voluntary effort is being diminished as a result of money being bled away from that sector and into the lottery, which will be offering larger prizes? Will they be prepared to accept that something needs to be done to redress the balance?

What will the Government do if it becomes clear that the national lottery cash is being used as substitute for money from elsewhere rather than being additional to it? No doubt the assurances that we have heard have been given in good faith, but it would be much more reassuring to us to have a clear commitment from the Government that they would be prepared to redress any imbalance that developed.

I am worried that the lottery will result in the exploitation of misery by those who wish to reduce taxation and are looking for ways of funding what should be public works. The arts and sports lobbies are clutching at the national lottery in desperation because they see no other source of public revenue. In my view, that is the explanation for their enthusiasm.

On the question of jobs, I echo the anxieties and fears expressed by many of my hon. Friends. As I said earlier, in many families in my constituency, the woman working for Littlewoods pools is the sole breadwinner and she will have no alternative opportunity for employment if she loses her job. That has not been adequately dealt with in the proposals before us. For all those reasons—moral as well as economic—I find myself with no alternative but to oppose the Bill.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 130, Noes 39.

Division No. 253] [2.15 am
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Key, Robert
Alexander, Richard Kirkhope, Timothy
Amess, David Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Ancram, Michael Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Arbuthnot, James Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Ashby, David Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Legg, Barry
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Baldry, Tony Lidington, David
Bates, Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Beresford, Sir Paul Lord, Michael
Blackburn, Dr John G. Luff, Peter
Boswell, Tim MacKay, Andrew
Brandreth, Gyles McLoughlin, Patrick
Brazier, Julian Maitland, Lady Olga
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Malone, Gerald
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Browning, Mrs. Angela Merchant, Piers
Butler, Peter Milligan, Stephen
Butterfill, John Moss, Malcolm
Carrington, Matthew Nelson, Anthony
Clappison, James Neubert, Sir Michael
Clitton-Brown, Geoffrey Patnick, Irvine
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Pendry, Tom
Colvin, Michael Pickles, Eric
Congdon, David Ronton, Rt Hon Tim
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Richards, Rod
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Robathan, Andrew
Cran, James Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Shaw, David (Dover)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Dover, Den Skeet, Sir Trevor
Duncan, Alan Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Duncan-Smith, Iain Spencer, Sir Derek
Durant, Sir Anthony Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Elletson, Harold Spink, Dr Robert
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Spring, Richard
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Sproat, Iain
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Faber, David Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Fabricant, Michael Steen, Anthony
Forman, Nigel Streeter, Gary
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Sweeney, Walter
Freeman, Roger Sykes, John
Gallie, Phil Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Gill, Christopher Thomason, Roy
Gillan, Cheryl Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Gorst, John Thurnham, Peter
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Hague, William Tracey, Richard
Hargreaves, Andrew Trend, Michael
Harris, David Viggers, Peter
Hawkins, Nick Walden, George
Hawksley, Warren Waller, Gary
Heald, Oliver Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Whittingdale, John
Hendry, Charles Widdecombe, Ann
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A) Willetts, David
Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W) Wilshire, David
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Wood, Timothy
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Michael Tellers for the Ayes:
Jenkin, Bernard Mr. Andrew Mitchell and Mr. Sydney Chapman.
Jessel, Toby
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Adams, Mrs Irene Davidson, Ian
Alton, David Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)
Barnes, Harry Dixon, Don
Benton, Joe Etherington, Bill
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Coffey, Ann Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hall, Mike
Dalyell, Tam Hinchliffe, David
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) O'Hara, Edward
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Paisley, Rev Ian
Kilfoyle, Peter Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Kirkwood, Archy Salmond, Alex
Loyden, Eddie Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Lynne, Ms Liz Wallace, James
McCartney, Ian Wareing, Robert N
Maclennan, Robert
McMaster, Gordon Tellers for the Noes:
Mahon, Alice Mr. Bob Cryer and Mr. Dennis Skinner.
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Miller, Andrew

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.