HC Deb 25 January 1993 vol 217 cc701-2
10. Mr. Eagle

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of a national lottery on the pools industry in Merseyside; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Key

It is not possible to say what effect the national lottery might have on the pools industry in Merseyside. This will depend on the success of the lottery, on the sources of its revenue and on the management of the pools companies in responding to any changes in their market.

Ms. Eagle

I am surprised by the Minister's response. He did not acknowledge the report that his Department received, which estimates that the national lottery will lead to 1,000 job losses on Merseyside. Does he accept that many in Merseyside fear that up to 6,000 jobs will be lost? What is his comment on that?

Mr. Key

It is pure speculation. I cannot comment on a confidential report, which we shall not publish for the reasons that my right hon. Friend gave to the Select Committee on National Heritage. The community on Merseyside has responded remarkably to changes in the past and I see no reason to suppose that the pools industry will not continue to innovate in the way that it has in the past few weeks, after some 40 years of playing the sleeping beauty, and that there will be increasing success in other employment on Merseyside.

11. Mr. Ian Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many staff will be employed at the administration centre for the national lottery; and what consideration he has given to basing this centre in south Dorset.

Mr. Key

The national lottery will create a good many more jobs than just in its core operation. People will be able to run games under sub-licences by agreement with the main operator and all the games will generate new printing, marketing and retailing business. The location of the administrative centre will be a matter for potential operators to consider, but it is likely that the other operations will be scattered throughout the kingdom. It is not possible to say how many staff will be employed at the administrative centre of the main licence holder, as this will depend on the decisions of the operator.

Mr. Bruce

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply—and very informative it was. Will he say when he envisages a company being set up to run the lottery so that I can take my constituents to see it and explain what a wonderful place south Dorset would be to base such a company, both for the wonderful work force that we have and for the wonderful working and living conditions that we can provide?

Mr. Key

I compliment my hon. Friend on the way in which he has already made representations to my Department, as have a number of other areas in the United Kingdom as far apart as Cornwall and Scotland. The timetable will depend entirely on whether the Labour party can heal its divisions, support the national lottery and get it on to the statute book quickly.