HC Deb 31 October 1994 vol 248 cc1204-5
17. Mr. Ainger

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage which bodies will be responsible for distributing national lottery funds to organisations seeking to promote and assist children's play in England and Wales.

Mr. Sproat

It is for all the national lottery distributing bodies operating in England and Wales to consider the eligibility of projects submitted by children's play organisations in the light of the requirements of the National Lottery Etc. Act 1993 and the policy directions issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State under that Act.

Mr. Ainger

Does the Minister accept that, now that we are a fortnight away from the introduction of the national lottery, it is unacceptable that organisations supporting children's play still do not know which distribution body will deal with play? Is it not outrageous that, literally 14 days away from the start of the national lottery, those many organisations throughout England and Wales do not know to whom they should apply?

Mr. Sproat

No, it is not outrageous. In practice, applications will be received from 4 January so there is plenty of time. The overwhelming majority of the 11 distributing bodies will issue their guidelines this month. The matter will then be clear. To be fair, a difference of opinion exists as to whether children's play comes under the Sports Council but it certainly comes under charities and the Millennium Commission. We shall sort out the Sports Council point in good time.

Mr. Ian Bruce

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is gratifying that hon. Members on both sides of the House—even the Liberal Democrats—are keen to see money from the lotteries that have been set up by the Government being spent? Will he take the warmest congratulations of the House on pushing forward with that policy? All hon. Members look forward to having the opportunity on 14 November to buy a ticket and to donate to a charity at the same time.

Mr. Sproat