HC Deb 20 November 1995 vol 267 cc321-2
4. Mr. Merchant

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to review the funding of medical charities from the national lottery. [484]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

All the independent distributing bodies will consider applications from medical and caring charities. The National Lottery Charities Board, for which my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is responsible, has decided to give a high priority to applications from charities working in health, in disability and in care. People suffering from long-term ill health; those with disabilities; people who care for the sick and elderly; and medical charities all stand to benefit from this programme.

Mr. Merchant

Does my right hon. Friend accept that, although many excellent charities have received generous awards from the lottery, nevertheless some of the beneficiaries that have been chosen have been remarkably strange? Would the public not benefit far more from popular awards to medical charities and other mainstream charities of that nature, which would help to give greater confidence in the lottery?

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend is right to say that many popular charities should receive help. That is why I am delighted today that the National Lottery Charities Board has announced a further 548 charities to be supported, to the tune of £35 million. They include a rehabilitation service for people with mental health problems in Birmingham; there is £384,000 for Arthritis Care; money for playgroups; and awards for Samaritans, Age Concern and self-help groups. I hope that when my hon. Friend has time to study the detail of those awards, he will find that a great number of them meet with his approval.