HC Deb 25 October 1995 vol 264 cc1022-119
Madam Speaker

I have to inform the House that I have selected the amendment standing in the name of the Prime Minister.

3.29 pm
Dr. John Cunningham (Copeland)

I beg to move, That this House expresses its concern at recent suggestions that current Government spending on the arts be met by Lottery funds, and reaffirms its wish that funds raised for good causes from the National Lottery should be used for purposes additional to, and not in substitution for, items set out in the Government's existing expenditure plans; believes that when the current contract for the operation of the National Lottery comes to an end, the new Section 5 Licence should be on a not-for-profit basis; proposes that a Lottery Consumers Council should be established to oversee the work of the Lottery regulator; deplores the delay in establishing the National Lottery Charities Board; insists that the funds raised for good causes should fairly benefit every part of the country and every community; and calls for reform of the distribution mechanisms for Lottery funds in order to ensure that this is achieved. The national lottery was established by Act of Parliament in 1993, and began operating about one year ago. Its establishment met with widespread, but not universal, approval. It has quickly become very successful at raising funds and making huge profits for the operator. Camelot has a licence to print tickets, and another to print money.

The money for distribution is an important addition to capital available for the arts, heritage, sport, charities and, of course, the millennium fund. The lottery and the method of distribution of the proceeds have also quickly become hugely controversial, for several predictable and predicted reasons—perhaps none more so than the payments of huge sums of money to a family for papers that many people felt belonged to the state in the first place.

What has gone wrong? Quite a lot, and mainly because of Government stubbornness during consideration of the National Lottery etc. Bill, and Government inaction since. The present Secretary of State, to her credit, apparently recognises at least some of the failings and problems, and has the opportunity to make some changes. She can certainly have our support if she agrees to do so.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Blackpool, South)

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned profits. Does he accept that the lottery organisers, Camelot, had to take all the commercial risk? That is something that the Labour party simply does not understand. It does not understand the concept that a company must take risks, and is entitled to the profits if it is prepared to take those risks.

Dr. Cunningham

A rather over-laboured Conservative central office argument, I fear. There is no risk to Camelot. It is a one-way bet in a one-horse race with a national private enterprise monopoly, with a sweetheart deal with the BBC that, if it had been ITV, would have cost it tens of millions of pounds. I fail to see where the hon. Gentleman's argument stands.

Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Littlewoods Pools has made very successful profits on 2 per cent. of turnover in the many years that it has been in existence? The Government gave Camelot 5 per cent. of the turnover with no competition, exactly as my right hon. Friend says, and it has made an unbelievable profit.

Dr. Cunningham

What is more, it has been given tremendous advantages over the pools industry into the bargain.

The failures are too much profit-taking by Camelot; threats of Treasury appropriation of the proceeds of the lottery; damage to the fund-raising of many charities; confusion between capital and revenue implications of funding; required matching funding conditions that are too onerous, or simply not available to too many people who seek to benefit; the failure—so far, at least—for there to be any fairness in regional distribution; bureaucracy and inefficiency in the system itself; and no public voice or oversight or scrutiny of the process. I shall discuss those issues.

No one—with the possible exception of Camelot staff privately among themselves—envisaged or predicted that such excessive profits would go to the operator. Those profits are said to be about £1 million per week and increasing. The lottery is a national monopoly run by private enterprise. The Government gave a seven-year contract with no breaks for reconsideration, but the regulator apparently has the powers to act to end those excessive profits.

Part I, section 4 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 places overriding duties on the Secretary of State and on the regulator. Section 4(2) says: the Secretary of State and the Director General shall each in exercising those functions do his best"— [Interruption.] I am quoting from the 1993 Act. If the Secretary of State will forgive me, that is what it says. It continues: to secure that the net proceeds of the National Lottery are as great as possible. That is an overriding duty on the Secretary of State. Part I, section 6, of the Act gives the director general powers to vary any condition of a licence. So between them, the right hon. Lady and the director general can act on the problem now. Part I, section 11, gives the Secretary of State powers to issue a direction to the director general to this effect.

We know at the outset of the debate that, if the Government and the right hon. Lady want to take action to deal with excess profit-taking by Camelot, they can. The right hon. Lady has the power, and the option is available to her. What we on this side of the House want to know, and what the people of this country want to know, is whether she will use those powers to maximise the amount available for distribution to good causes.

The right hon. Lady inherited an unsatisfactory situation, but she can act now—or, let us say, at the end of the financial year—to correct the situation.

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)


Dr. Cunningham

I will give way in a moment.

I urge the right hon. Lady to do so—the question is, will she? I will be happy to give way to her first if she will answer that question. Well, Madam Speaker, that is the first question to be ducked. I will give way to her hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans), who may have more courage.

Mr. Evans

If the Labour party wins the next election, will the main thrust of its policy be to make the lottery less successful by limiting prizes, clobbering Camelot and interfering with the scratch cards? Is not the Labour party's problem that the national lottery is a great success?

Dr. Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman could not have been listening when I started my speech. I said that the lottery was a success, and added that it had widespread, but not universal, support. His questions were a complete misinterpretation of what I have said and what I am about to say. The hon. Gentleman—like his right hon. and hon. Friends—never seems to learn.

The experiences of the public being exploited as consumers of water, gas and electricity are being repeated by the lottery, and that is not what people want. People want to play the lottery for fun and enjoyment—I do so myself—and their first objective is to win. But they also hope and expect that the majority of what is left after the prizes are taken goes to good causes. That is the public's feeling on this issue, and they do not support the level of profits that are being made in the present monopoly.

Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham)

The right hon. Gentleman complained about the regional distribution to charities as a result of the lottery. Bearing in mind that the north-west region is second only to Yorkshire in terms of the amount received, how would he redistribute the money? What would his constituents think about the right hon. Gentleman recommending a redistribution away from their area?

Dr. Cunningham

The first weakness in the hon. Gentleman's argument is that my constituency is in the northern region and not the north-west, but we will set that little error aside. The hon. Gentleman is simply talking about the distribution of charity funding, and not the overall distribution of funds, so he is wrong on both counts.

The public strongly support the argument that much more of the money that is being taken as profit should go to good causes. They have a flutter to try to win, but they believe that their losses will help the good causes that they support. They do not believe that the creation of vast profits and huge salaries and bonuses for Camelot should be any part of the lottery.

The case for a not-for-profit operation, as our motion today sets out, is very powerful. The existing contract must be honoured—there is no doubt about that—but Labour in office will ensure that, when a new contract is due, it must be on a not-for-profit basis, thus releasing many more millions of pounds for the arts, sport, heritage and charities alike.

Mr. William O'Brien (Normanton)

Does my hon. Friend agree that charities distribution has overlooked a number of good causes? I refer particularly to the hospice movement. Will my colleague impress upon the Secretary of State that that is a good and a worthy cause that should receive prime consideration?

Dr. Cunningham

My hon. Friend has made his point very well, and I hope that the Secretary of State and those who are responsible for charities funding will take his point on board.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

The right hon.Gentleman's argument assumes that a non-profit-making organisation would run the national lottery as well as Camelot does. Will he acknowledge that the national lottery is the most effective lottery in the world? It is run more efficiently than any other lottery, and its administrative costs are one third that of other lotteries. The hon. Gentleman cannot guarantee that a non-profit-making organisation would do anything like as well for good causes.

Dr. Cunningham

I am prepared to make a concession to the hon. Lady, who is a constituency neighbour. She is correct to say that nothing can be guaranteed in such matters; there were no guarantees about the existing system, either. Camelot, as it presently exists or through some management buy-out, will be perfectly entitled to bid for the new contract when it becomes available. If it were successful, why would a new regime run the lottery less efficiently?

I now turn to the additionality argument, and we must put some more important questions to the right hon. Lady in that regard. From the outset, ministerial promises came thick and fast in order to reassure everyone that lottery funding would be additional to Government departmental spending programmes. That clear, essential commitment increased support for lottery legislation in the House and in another place.

When unveiling his national lottery plans on 17 December 1992, the then Secretary of State for National Heritage said: The national lottery will be an additional source of money for schemes that might otherwise never be realised. This money will not substitute for other Government spending Speaking at an English Heritage conference on 16 September 1994, the Prime Minister said: On the Government side"— then he paused and continued— Treasury please note—we will make no case by case reductions on conventional public spending programmes to take account of awards from the lottery. The money raised by the lottery will not replace existing Government spending". However, the Prime Minister's colleagues in the Treasury soon had other ideas. The Chief Secretary has already tried to raid the lottery funds, and we read that the Secretary of State is locked in a struggle with him. She made sure that we knew about that by leaking her letter to him all over the place; not only did we know, but he knew we knew.

In her letter, the Secretary of State said that this could not be countenanced, because it would be the clearest possible broken promise". That has never stopped the Government in the past, so I do not think that that is much of a guarantee. I ask the right hon. Lady to give the House an unequivocal assurance today that she has won that battle and that the lottery funds will always be additional expenditure. Can she give the House that assurance now? I am again willing to give way if she is willing to give that assurance.

Perhaps I can put it another way: will the Secretary of State confirm that her departmental budget is safe, and that there will be no cuts in her spending programmes in next month's Budget? Can the Secretary of State give us that assurance? I am pretty sure she cannot.

Perhaps the Secretary of State can answer an easier question. I refer her to a statement by her hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend), who is chair of the Tory Back-Bench finance committee. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Chairman."] Chairperson.

Speaking to Conservative students at York university on Friday 20 October about the right hon. Lady's budget and the Heritage Fund, the hon. Member for Bridlington said—I wonder whether he had the courtesy to tell the right hon. Lady— We should cut £200 million a year off the heritage budget, which is now over £1 billion. The arts are getting enormous sums of money from the National Lottery and therefore the heritage budget should no longer be a sacred cow. Does the right hon. Lady agree with her hon. Friend?

The Secretary of State for National Heritage (Mrs. Virginia Bottomley)

For the avoidance of doubt, I shall intervene, because it is clear that the right hon. Gentleman is struggling about what to say, and filling his speech with gaps. It may have been different when the right hon. Gentleman was shadowing the Deputy Prime Minister, but I intend to make my own speech in my own time, and I do not intend to help the right hon. Gentleman get through the time that has been allocated to him by filling up the gaps in his speech.

Dr. Cunningham

I am quite entertained by the right hon. Lady's intervention, because she is just like the Deputy Prime Minister. He never answered any questions, either.

Apparently there are great differences among Cabinet Ministers and between the right hon. Lady and her influential—we have to assume that the hon. Member for Bridlington is influential—Back-Bench colleagues. We shall wait to see who emerges victorious in this continuing battle about Government expenditure.

Apparently, there are also differences between the Secretary of State and her colleague at the Welsh Office about the status of lottery grants in Wales and awards to organisations in the Principality. The Secretary of State for Wales seems to have deemed it public expenditure. I wonder whether she agrees with her colleague on that.

Who is really in control of the decisions? The House was told by the Government, especially during the debate on Manchester's Olympic games bid, that it would certainly not be up to any Minister to decide whether Manchester's bid should receive money. However, the Prime Minister announced that £100 million from lottery proceeds would be available to fund a British academy of sport. We are not against such an academy, but who took the decision? Was it the Prime Minister or the Sports Council? It would be interesting to see the minutes of the discussion before that decision was made.

There is a real question to be answered, if any are ever to be answered. It is: are Ministers manipulating the lottery proceedings behind the scenes for political ends? There is a certain accumulation of evidence to that effect. Total independence in connection with the use of lottery proceeds was guaranteed to the House, but now the waters are being well and truly muddied. It is not as if the Treasury is not already doing well enough out of the lottery, because it is a substantial beneficiary. It took £410.7 million from the lottery between November 1994 and September of this year.

Before the lottery was established, there was wide debate about its impact on the revenue-raising activities of charities and on other businesses such as the football pools. There were clear and insistent warnings to the Government, but Ministers brushed them aside, and they still do.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has carried out its own studies, and it concludes that very serious damage to voluntary sector incomes is apparent. That organisation estimates losses of about £330 million in the first year as a result of the impact of the lottery. I shall shortly turn to grants to charities, but whatever the total at the end of this first year, they will in no way match the shortfall that is being experienced by charities.

The voluntary sector study confirms that the public are confused about the true beneficiaries of the lottery. It confirms that fewer people are donating, and that losses among fund-raising organisations are widespread.

The National Lottery etc. Act received Royal Assent in November 1993. The impact on charities was predicted then, yet only last week, after constant pressure from the Opposition Benches as well as from charities, was the Home Office moved to decide to investigate the position—too late really to repair or prevent the damage that has already taken place. Ministers in the Home Office have been negligent and dilatory, and the charities have had to pay the price.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

This matter was debated at some length in the House during consideration of the Bill. I was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman saying yesterday on the radio that the Government had not listened to what had been said by the voluntary sector during that debate, because his hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), in explaining why Labour supported the Bill's Third Reading, said: 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."—[Official Report, 28 April 1993; Vol. 223, c. 1114.] Who is right: the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde or the right hon. Gentleman?

Dr. Cunningham

Ministers may have listened but, in relation to this point, as the hon. Gentleman knows, they took no action to monitor the impact on charities' fund-raising until his ministerial colleague announced a decision last Friday. The Act received Royal Assent in 1993. Do not tell me that they listened on that point: if the hon. Gentleman says that, he has not got a leg to stand on.

Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund has announced a 17 per cent. increase in charity given to it over the past year, and the British Red Cross a 25 per cent. increase, and this is the first year of the lottery?

Dr. Cunningham

I am pleased for those charities, but has the hon. Gentleman heard about what happened to Tenovus, which lost £1.5 million in the first year—income that was wiped out by the introduction of the lottery? Of course some have done better, but there is no doubt that a much larger number have done and are doing much worse.

Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way, because I want to support his argument, not least because, just a few days ago, the Royal National Institute for the Blind announced that it had lost £500,000 since the inception of the lottery.

To close the gate once the horse has bolted is not good enough. Those of us who were on the Standing Committee that considered the National Lottery etc. Bill argued persistently throughout that money would be lost to charities as a result of the lottery, not least because of the experience elsewhere in countries such as Ireland, where 16 leading charities had written to the Taoiseach pointing out that their donations had been massively reduced since the lottery was established there, so they knew in advance what the impact would be.

Dr. Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman is right, and I am pleased to be able to agree with him on that point.

As the honorary president of a number of voluntary organisations in my constituency, I know from local experience the damage that has been done to the fund-raising activities of charities and voluntary bodies.

The National Lottery Charities Board is also controlled by the Home Secretary. Yesterday, I read in the Evening Standard that the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State for National Heritage is locked in a battle to wrest control from him. Why does she not just tell him that it is an operational matter? He would be bound to give it up then.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Timothy Kirkhope)

Ho, ho, that was a good one.

Dr. Cunningham

Pretty good.

The right hon. Lady described people in charities and voluntary organisations as "whingers", but they have a legitimate right to criticise the Government over the lottery's impact and the long delay in the announcement by the National Lottery Charities Board. Of all the funding bodies, it was the last to make any grants in one of the most crucial sectors and one of the sectors most affected by the lottery. It has been submerged in bureaucratic obfuscation and delay, and still, out of something in excess of £230 million available to it, only £40 million has so far been allocated. The right hon. Lady, to quote her, may be "bored with the whingeing", but the millions of people active in the voluntary sector are justifiably angry with the Government.

A Labour Government will seek a partnership with the voluntary sector on these matters. Those involved have enormous energy and initiative, and deliver excellent services and support to millions of people. They and the volunteers have been treated shabbily by the Government, who, according to successive ministerial statements, do not appear to recognise that, although voluntary bodies want to work in partnership with the Government, they fiercely defend their independence and wish to maintain it. The Labour Government will guarantee that they can do so.

The charities board announced grants this week of £40 million, and it has promised another £120 million by the end of the year. However, it must have more than £240 million available to it by now. Why is the money being held back? Why is the board being so dilatory, especially when the charities have been so disadvantaged? It needs a shake-up.

The board deserves some credit for working hard on an equitable regional distribution, and for ignoring the xenophobic ravings of the Tory right about who should be the beneficiaries of the grants.

Mr. Gyles Brandreth (City of Chester)

In fairness to the people involved in the charity distribution, will the hon. Gentleman recognise that the Sports Council and the Arts Council have had many years of experience in distributing funds around the country, and that the charities board was something new? The hon. Gentleman would have been the first to complain had not serious consideration been given to establishing it properly and doing it well. The hon. Gentleman is so carried away with wanting to denigrate a great success that his normal rationality has escaped him.

Dr. Cunningham

I rarely get carried away in this Chamber even after interventions from the hon. Gentleman. Of course, the hon. Gentleman is right to say that the board began from a standing start, unlike some of the other funding bodies.

I am not aiming my anger at individuals. What has the Home Secretary been doing all this time? He has ministerial responsibility. The Secretary of State for National Heritage is innocent of this charge, because she does not have any power, although I rather suspect that she wishes she did. On the whole, these decisions would probably be safer in her hands than in the hands of the Home Secretary. All sorts of things seem to slip through his fingers.

The system—I am talking about the system as a whole, not the charities board—seems much too time-consuming, bureaucratic and inefficient. That may explain the massive disparities between allocations in different parts of Britain.

Some counties—Surrey and Wiltshire, for example—have so far been given the equivalent of about £50 per head. In Cumbria, where my constituency is located, the figure is 90p per head. That is a colossal disparity, and is unsustainable. It is those disparities which are making people justifiably angry. Before Monday's announcement, the northern region had received £2.5 million in total, whereas the London region had received £141 million—almost 60 times as much.

Sir Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

Will the hon. Gentleman join me in congratulating my constituents on receiving £280,000 this year for a children's centre in Hebden Bridge? The hon. Gentleman's motion says that the funds should be "raised for good causes", and not for specific things. Does the hon. Gentleman think that all this bureaucracy would be washed away were the Home Secretary, either this one or a subsequent one, to chair the board? I think not.

Dr. Cunningham

I certainly would not want this Home Secretary to chair any organisation with which I had to deal.

I am making a different point. Part of the bureaucracy occurs when people want to make applications for grants. As the right hon. and learned Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) said on the radio the other day, people cannot find their way through the paper chase, and they are put off. They do not have the resources to cope, and they are disadvantaged as a result. I am, of course, delighted for the right hon. and learned Gentleman's constituents. Pica village hall in my constituency received about £9,000, and I am pleased about that, too. I was talking about disparities on a per capita basis as well as on a regional basis.

Mr. John Austin-Walker (Woolwich)

The charities board, alone of the distributing bodies, makes a distinction between grants made to national institutions and those that are made to local or regional institutions. Does my right hon. Friend consider that it would be advisable if the other distributing bodies were to take that approach?

For example, does anyone believe that the money made available for the Churchill papers was to the benefit of the people of Cambridge, any more than the Royal opera house moneys were specifically for the benefit of the people of London? Does my right hon. Friend accept that London has received £1.5 million of the £40 million of charitable moneys—less than 4 per cent? That is out of keeping with the level of social need and depravation within London.

Dr. Cunningham

I agree with my hon. Friend's comments about the Churchill papers. I do not suppose that the people of Cambridge have benefited from that grant in any way.

Mrs. Anne Campbell (Cambridge)

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will agree with me that the people of Cambridge did not feel that they were beneficiaries following the £13 million that was paid for the Churchill papers. Does he accept that there is outrage in my constituency? Most of my constituents feel that the real beneficiary is the hon. Member for Davyhulme (Mr. Churchill).

Dr. Cunningham

I agree with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hawkins

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Cunningham

No, I am not giving way. The hon. Gentleman must concede that I have been generous in my response to those wishing to intervene. I know that many Members wish to contribute to the debate.

Disparities are to be expected in the first year of operation. I support, and as often as I can enjoy, important international institutions in London. They are an asset to the nation as a whole. They deserve support for the excellence of their work. They attract visitors to Britain. They are usually beneficial to our economic and social well-being. I wish them well. It is essential, however, to have some fairness and regional balance in the allocation of funds over time to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England.

Many of our fellow citizens do not, and never will, have ready access to London institutions. That must be borne very much in mind. It must also be understood that there are many excellent theatres, orchestras and companies in the regions, as well as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that are equally as deserving of support as the London institutions. Their audiences and patrons are entitled to expect it.

Ms Liz Lynne (Rochdale)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Cunningham

No. I apologise to the hon. Lady, but I must move on.

The lottery was given a substantial competitive disadvantage over the pools from the outset. There has been a consequent loss of income to the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and to the Football Trust. Grants to rugby league, rugby union and county cricket—not only to soccer—are thus affected. None of these areas of expenditure is eligible for lottery funding.

Local authorities, too, have difficulties in promoting projects because of lack of matching funding. That is especially true of some of the hard-pressed inner urban areas, where problems of unemployment, homelessness and social neglect are at their very worst.

Funding for sports facilities, music and other education and community projects is desperately needed in the inner cities, but, as I have said, matching funding is not available. The Minister of State, Department of National Heritage said: I heard someone mention the selling of school playing fields…We also intend to allow schools, with their local communities, to buy back land to make even more sports facilities available for young people."—[Official Report, 16 October 1995; Vol. 264, c. 5.] That is fine, but where is that land?

Why were the playing fields sold in the first place? Perhaps the Minister would like to explain. If they can be bought back, what will happen to the supermarkets, car parks and houses now standing on them? They were sold for development and for profit. It is no good offering capital funding if no account is taken of the inevitable associated recurring revenue spending which necessarily follows. I urge the right hon. Lady to consider this issue. I know that many of the people in the funding organisations are giving her the same simple important advice.

There is one further point on capital grants. Why does the millennium fund have a £100,000 minimum grant? That requires the same amount of matching funding to be provided. In other words, nothing costing less than £200,000 can be proposed. At a stroke, hamlets, villages and small towns in rural areas are seriously disadvantaged as a result. They are simply not in that league of matching funding, and are therefore excluded from being beneficiaries. The right hon. Lady sits in the chair and can have that changed. I believe that she should do so as a matter of urgency.

To resolve some of the problems that I have described, the distributing bodies should be directed to identify gaps in geographical and subject provision. The boards must surely have some strategic sense of direction and purpose. Regional and local bodies, societies and groups should be encouraged to work together to find solutions where they cannot find them individually, and there should be some flexibility if they do in the requirements for matching funding to allow projects to proceed. The medical research charities should be included as potential beneficiaries, but I believe that some care is needed.

Of the 87 members of the Association of Medical Research Charities, 74 are fund-raising; the rest are endowed. Between them, they have a turnover of some £360 million, of which £200 million comes from fund-raising. Only five of them raise more than £10 million, and all but 13 are small charities spending less than £500,000. Their umbrella organisation has pointed out that some of them, as the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) reminded us, have improved their position, while others have seen their position deteriorate.

Big charities can afford to meet the challenge of the lottery by reorganising their fund-raising. The smaller ones have found it much harder to adapt. However, it is not an easy matter to make informed, quality judgments about scientific and medical research programmes. It may be necessary to set up either a separate body, or at least a separate mechanism, to deal with these important but complex issues. I should like to hear what the right hon. Lady has to say on that important point, and I am sure that the House would, too.

Many people feel excluded by the existing procedures from benefiting from the lottery, either as individuals or in their communities. They believe that they and their communities are unlikely to benefit in future, even though many of them buy tickets regularly. There is a case for much greater public involvement and scrutiny of what is happening. Not everyone, however, can afford to pay £400 to go to a seminar to learn what is going on with the national lottery proceeds and how to make applications for them.

We propose a lottery consumer council to involve people—[Interruption.] As this is the Government who have given more power and expenditure control to quangos than any Government in living memory, a period of silence from Conservative Members would be sensible.

We propose the council simply because people want to be involved. We propose that it should have a variety of duties, including scrutiny, and giving information and guidance to the public about what is going on. It would advise in the public interest, and it would work alongside the director general, but with different priorities and duties. The right hon. Lady should not underestimate the growing public feelings on these issues, expressed strongly on the social implications of gambling by the Churches as recently as yesterday.

I have one further proposal to make.

Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Cunningham

No, I am not giving way.

In this country, we have been inclined over many years and under successive Governments—I do not hold the Government or the Secretary of State responsible for any of it—to allow talented young people to struggle on alone, or with parental support if it is available. That applies to athletes, artists, musicians, scientists, inventors and designers, and it is well established as one of the gaps in our approach, whether in education, further or higher education, or funding.

We should consider the establishment of a talent fund from lottery proceeds to address that failing of the present system. I hope that the Secretary of State has already had that proposal put to her. It is worth serious consideration, and I urge her to give it some thought.

Our motion addresses the need to improve the way that the lottery is run and to improve the distribution of proceeds from it. We on the Opposition Benches support the lottery; we want to develop and build on its success. Our proposals would reinforce the best aspects of the lottery, and make it more open, fair and accountable. The Secretary of State has the necessary powers to make most of those changes now. She should do so.

4.20 pm
The Secretary of State for National Heritage (Mrs. Virginia Bottomley)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'welcomes the huge success of the National Lottery and the enormous sums of extra money it is raising for the Good Causes Fund to go to the arts, sport, the heritage, the caring charities and the celebration of the Millennium; believes that the operator, whose selection was endorsed by the NAO, is running the lottery efficiently and cost-effectively; congratulates the distributing bodies on making an excellent start in spreading the benefits of the Lottery throughout the land; and calls upon the Opposition to recognise this success and the opportunity it brings to improve the quality of life.'. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak in this debate about the national lottery, to answer a number of questions and to put the record straight. A great deal of misleading nonsense has been spoken, fuelled, I am afraid, by Labour Members. The facts are clear: the national lottery has been a tremendous success; it has been a tremendous success for the millions of people who play and enjoy it each week; it is a success for the good causes which are benefiting so handsomely from its proceeds; and it is a success which the Labour party's approach would ruin by denying an unprecedented opportunity for thousands of good causes to realise their dreams year after year.

The lottery has been with us for less than a year. As I speak, I am very mindful of the presence of my right hon. Friend the Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke), who steered the Bill through all its stages with great care, precision, attention to detail and a great degree of consultation. Having waited more than 150 years since the previous lottery in this country, the lottery has become a national pastime in a matter of months. The success has been built on the sound foundations which we put in place in the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The structure was agreed by the House after a great deal of careful debate and preparation.

Let me explain why the Labour party would destroy that progress. In the pursuit of ideology, about which I shall say much more in a moment, the Labour party would harm tens of thousands of retailers, thwart popular ambition and rob good causes of hundreds of millions of pounds. It would lose friends, lose votes and lose respect. I predict that its policy will change within a year—although I doubt whether even Mystic Meg would be brave enough to predict how many times it will change in that year.

Before moving on, I welcome the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) to his post. He is an experienced member of the House and I look forward to many a joust with him. As I said, the right hon. Gentleman is experienced; he knows the ups and downs of politics as well as most. I commiserate with him over the shadow Cabinet elections. Government Members know that Opposition Members cannot safely be let out to vote and put crosses by the right names.

Dr. John Cunningham

I am really charmed by the right hon. Lady's felicity. I have given a lot of thought to lotteries over the past seven days, as she can imagine. But as a lifelong supporter of the Labour party and Newcastle United, I am well used to dealing with both triumph and disaster. It is just that the disasters have been a bit too frequent lately.

Mrs. Bottomley

I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's remarks.

As for the operation of the lottery—

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

The Secretary of State has just said that Opposition Members cannot be relied upon to put crosses at the side of names. Only a few months ago, Tory Members of Parliament trooped up to the Committee Room upstairs. Ten of them went in and voted twice. Eight of them went in and did not vote at all. One of them, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie), did not go in because there were no cameras there. Two of them finished up voting for my right hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) and one of them has joined us already. Who is the other one?

Mrs. Bottomley

I suspect that it is something to do with the nature of the debate that there is such a spirit of enjoyment and levity in the Chamber today. I say that only as a statement of what the national lottery has done to our national life.

About 30 million people play the lottery every week—three out of four households. Few pastimes have attracted this level of participation. Some people have complained that we are encouraging people to spend money that they cannot afford on the lottery.

Dr. Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

The Secretary of State talks about the number of people who participate in the national lottery. Does she agree with me, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) and other hon. Members on both sides of the House who signed early-day motion 1268, which states that the sale of national lottery instants is inappropriate for normal retail outlets? In view of the decision of the Director General of the National Lottery that no licence should be granted for national lottery games that could encourage excessive gambling, will she consider the case for withdrawing the sale of instants to such ordinary retail outlets and confining them to establishments licensed for gambling? This is a serious point.

Mrs. Bottomley

It is a serious point, but the hon. Lady will understand that I hope to deal with it in a proper place later in my speech. I shall merely say in passing that the effect of her proposal would be to stop the British Legion introducing its new initiative, which is likely to result in great benefit for an excellent cause.

Let us go back to the previous scare story, namely, that people would spend more than they could afford on the lottery. Last week, the family expenditure survey showed that the average household spent £2.10 a week on its regular flutter on the lottery. That is not a large price to pay for the chance for people to dream about what they would do if they won the jackpot. As for what the right hon. Member for Copeland implied, the survey also showed that the better-off play more and the worse-off play less.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

It is the other way around.

Mrs. Bottomley

The evidence from the family expenditure survey—a very reputable survey—last week was precisely that the better-off play more and the worse-off pay less. Many hon. Members play. There was some debate—

Mr. Couchman

My right hon. Friend will have read the reports this morning of the Church of England's condemnation of the lottery. Would she find it more convincing if the Church of England followed the example of the Church of Scotland and abjured not only the lottery but claiming from the lottery? I believe that the Church of England has put in 267 applications for some £19 million, to follow the £1 million that it has already received. Does she agree that it must find itself in a considerable dilemma, as the Bishop of Liverpool has said?

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend is right. The Church and its organisations are likely to be major beneficiaries from the lottery, not only in terms of restoration of magnificent buildings but because the various branches of the Church are often involved in excellent causes to support families or promote sport in deprived areas or in artistic activities. The lottery is a great opportunity for the Church. As two hon. Members have raised that particular point, it is only right for me to deal with it now.

The lottery was set up with extremely careful regulation. We are virtually the last country in the world to have a lottery. It is one of the most successful lotteries in the world. We have learnt lessons from others about regulation. We have established the Office of the National Lottery and appointed the director general, who is charged explicitly with maximising the return for good causes, ensuring propriety and protecting the interests of those who play. In the report published last week, the director general referred to the work that he has undertaken to look for any evidence of excessive gambling behaviour in other countries as a result of the introduction of a lottery. He has not been able to find any evidence that the national lottery has led to excessive gambling. But those who are concerned about that, including the churches, should urgently seek a meeting with the Director General of the National Lottery, who is expressly charged with protecting the interests of the players.

Mr. John Sykes (Scarborough)

Will my right hon. Friend promise to ignore the sanctimonious claptrap that we have heard from the churches this week and the crescendo of whingeing from Opposition Members? Has not the national lottery been a complete success in Britain, particularly in Scarborough where work on the Alan Ayckbourn theatre would have been delayed had it not been for the £1.5 million from the national lottery? It has made a fantastic theatre available to the people of Scarborough and the many people from all over the world who come to visit us.

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend is right. The theatre in Scarborough is one of more than 500 bodies that have received an Arts Council award from the national lottery. There are 54 theatres throughout Britain that have received an award, giving them an opportunity to invest in local arts in a way that they would never have thought possible.

We are one of the last countries to have a national lottery and it is an especially successful one. I hope that I have dealt with the concern about some of the effects on people's behaviour and our commitment to entrust the director general to continue to monitor that, to look into the evidence and to be available to those who wish to discuss it.

There has been a considerable debate about the size of the prizes.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Bottomley

I have been permissive in the extreme in allowing interventions and I shall be abused by Opposition Members if I do not make more progress, because many hon. Members with constituency projects—

Mr. Banks


Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not be seeking to catch my eye at a later stage.

Mr. Banks

You know that I will, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Mrs. Bottomley

I appreciate your efforts, Madam Deputy Speaker, to maintain an orderly House.

There are those who carp about the prizes. I want the House to know that capping the prizes and cutting the prize fund are the route to an equal distribution of very little. It is big jackpots that are the route to generous distributions of significant sums of money. Evidence here, as around the world, is that a big jackpot increases participation and the sum raised. The whole point about the lottery was to maximise the amount coming through for good causes.

The Opposition cannot live with the fact that the results have so exceeded anyone's expectations at the start. In the weeks when the jackpot has rolled over, between 10 and 20 per cent. more has come through for good causes. That means, for example, that theatres such as the one in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough (Mr. Sykes) can benefit.

Sir Donald Thompson

The good causes do benefit, but does my right hon. Friend agree that when people buy a lottery ticket the good causes in which they are interested are themselves and their families?

Mrs. Bottomley

As ever, and acutely, my hon. Friend has a precise knowledge of human psychology, as befits a former Whip. If people wish to give to charity, they should give to charity. If they play the lottery, for the most part it is for the fun, the promise of a big win and the participation in a great national activity.

Some say—this is almost beyond belief—that huge prizes bring misery to the winners. Now we know that it was misery that led millionaires to give a reported £80,000 to Labour's leader in the battle to run his party. Wealth is not the source of misery for champagne socialists, so why should it be the source of misery for the rest of us?

In fact, the House will be aware that it is rare for one person to win the jackpot; it is generally shared by three or more people. Out of about 280 jackpot wins so far, only 18 have been for more than £5 million, and many such jackpots are shared by syndicates of up to 20 people. How many of those 18 have been made miserable by the experience, we do not know, but we can guess that there are many more people willing to change places with them.

Mr. Tony Banks

May I confirm what the right hon. Lady just said about the syndicate? My wife did not do the lottery, but she found that all her work mates did and realised that, if they won, she would be the last person left in her department, so she joined the syndicate as well.

Mrs. Bottomley

I am grateful to hear about the hon. Gentleman's domestic experience. When I review the working of the lottery, I will bear in mind his experiences and those of his wife before deciding on any modifications in the rules or arrangements.

The substance of the Opposition's gripe is their utter loathing of the private sector and outrage that the operator, Camelot, could have the nerve to make a profit out of running the most successful lottery anywhere in the world. The House and the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) might well benefit from hearing about the issues involved in deciding the operator.

In 1991, the Opposition said that they favoured a national lottery for the arts—they did not mention all the other good causes that have benefited. Of course, they wanted an inquiry—that goes without saying for an Opposition policy—to find out how that could be achieved with the lowest possible cost. We have the lottery with the lowest possible cost. That is what the Director General of the National Lottery was charged to do when considering the bids for the licence.

The recent report from the director general states that the Camelot bid offered the greatest contribution to the Good Causes … and retained the lowest percentage of turnover to cover its operating costs and profits". The report continues: More would have been kept by The Lottery Foundation … for operating costs and profit than Camelot proposed over the same range of revenue scenarios". So, in awarding the licence to Camelot, the director general chose the best deal for the good causes from the eight bids to run the lottery.

If that were not enough, the National Audit Office confirmed that the evaluation process was comprehensive, consistent, logical and properly controlled"℄ praise indeed from the NAO.

The operator has fully justified that decision. Camelot got the lottery up and running within six months of winning the licence—an achievement for which it should be congratulated. It has raised more than £1,119 million for good causes. Its bid had the lowest retention for operating costs and profits and was the best for good causes, which have benefited to the fullest extent. It is predictable that the Opposition would prefer an operating bid that would cut the cash for good causes but satisfy their ideological hostility to profit and the private sector. That is new Labour.

Dr. John Cunningham

That is not true. The Secretary of State chose not to listen, or is deliberately ignoring what I said. The reality is that our proposals were seeking, not to reduce the money available for distribution, but to maximise it. Under the Act, the right hon. Lady has an overriding duty to ensure that the money is maximised. Will she allow the excessive profit levels to continue, or will she use her powers to reduce them?

Mrs. Bottomley

I was going to avoid flatly contradicting the right hon. Gentleman, since it is our first debate and his first day on the subject. The licence will run until the end of its period and it is not within my powers to intervene during that time. The right hon. Gentleman fails to understand. Does he know that, in New Zealand, operating costs are 14.3 per cent., in Denmark they are 14.8 per cent. in Ireland they are 16 per cent., and in Holland they are 25 per cent? He is right—people dislike statistics when they know that they disprove their argument. Funnily enough, when the statistics go the other way the Opposition are only too happy to engage in a debate on the figures. In this case, the operator retains 5 per cent. over the licence period. That is a formidable achievement and no other lottery anywhere in the world has done it.

I ask people in the country more widely to hear the Labour party's loathing of profit and of the private sector. It is exactly like its rage about and wish to meddle with British Telecom and the cable companies. It seems to have no sense of honour or principle of maintaining contracts or of allowing the private sector, if it takes a risk, also to take the benefit that emerges if it delivers the most efficient lottery anywhere in the world.

Mr. Ashton

Is the right hon. Lady aware that Camelot conned Peter Davis? The impression was given that to install 10,000 terminals in newsagents would take two years and that the lottery would not make a profit, or break even, for two years. Those terminals were installed in less than six months. The Government and Peter Davis should have had the technical knowledge to know that 10,000 terminals could be installed in six months and that the lottery would be running at maximum profit from day one. That was a major mistake by Peter Davis and the Government.

Mrs. Bottomley

I tend to have more confidence in the commendation from the National Audit Office that the selection of the operator received than in even the distinguished judgement of the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Hawkins

Does my right hon. Friend agree that had Camelot not succeeded in getting the terminals into newsagents, the first people to criticise would have been members of the Labour party? Labour would have loved the lottery to fail. It cannot find anything, so it is just carping.

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend makes it all the more clear why I must make some headway with my speech. Clearly, interventions from Labour Members are going to take the debate much wider.

Several hon. Members


Mrs. Bottomley

I must make progress.

Let me move on to the next bright new idea from the Labour party—a quango to regulate the quangos. This is a familiar theme: along with a review, a quango. They like all those sort of concepts in the Labour party. It is unclear whether this would just be a kind of Walworth road imprimatur on all that happened through the lottery.

Oflot was charged with protecting the interests of those who play the game. The recent report demonstrated that there have been very few complaints from members of public. If there are any areas in which it can improve its responsiveness to those who play the game, it will no doubt do so. It is not right to compare those who play the lottery with users of water, electricity or gas since evidently, those who do not wish to play the lottery have a simple power at their disposal—to stop playing.

I shall move on to the comments of the right hon. Member for Copeland about additionality. It is the case, as my right hon. Friend the Member for City of London and Westminster, South said when he took the Bill through the House and as my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) has said on frequent other occasions, that lottery money is additional to public expenditure. It is additional to the money that would otherwise be provided for all those good causes. The national lottery money is clearly public money, however, and the good causes fund is managed by my Department, as is well understood.

The distribution of that money is the responsibility of independent bodies, as Parliament agreed. I may not always like the decisions that they make, but they are independent bodies, and my view—I think that the Labour party is quite wrong to meddle in the process—is that we should accept those judgments, difficult though they are.

There have been a number of cases, however, where schemes have had difficulty because there was a Government scheme, which was designed to lever in money from the private sector, and so they were unable to match this public funding with lottery money, which itself is public sector money. The most notable case recently was that of the Wales tourist board. I am pleased to be able to inform the House, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Wales, the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West (Mr. Richards), that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has made it clear that in future it will be possible for Wales tourist board projects to be matched with lottery money. That is an example of the pragmatic and practical way in which I believe we should see the lottery unfold. If there are problems in the early months and years I shall not be a bit surprised, but sensible solutions can be found. What is ludicrous is the idea of pulling the system up by its roots, changing all the rules and regulations and going off in a different direction.

Mrs. Jane Kennedy (Liverpool, Broadgreen)

Does the Secretary of State accept, despite the runaway success of the national lottery—which has been acknowledged on all sides—that among the losers are the 1,717 people in Glasgow, Cardiff and Liverpool who have lost their employment with the football pools companies? My colleagues on Merseyside are making strong representations about that. The lottery is having a damaging and long-term effect on the pools industry.

In the interests of consumers—if that is what we are to call them—in the gambling market, should not something more than a review be carried out? Should not the regulations be examined to ensure that the widest possible choice is available? The bingo promoters also claim to have been affected—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady knows that interventions should, by their nature, be short. I think that she has had long enough.

Mrs. Bottomley

The hon. Lady will be aware that a number of concessions were agreed to help the industry to which she refers. We shall continue to examine the issues that have been raised. One of the strengths of the lottery awards, however, is that they are going to many of the sectors—the arts, heritage and sport—in which there are rising employment and new opportunities. Seeing the regeneration of opportunities arising from the lottery is enormously exciting. It gives us an historic opportunity to change the face of the nation for the generations to come.

By enriching the cultural and sporting facilities of our nation and investing in our unrivalled built and natural heritage, we can create a springboard for success and endeavour as we move towards the new millennium. We are committed to that vision. As the lottery continues and more and more funds are distributed, I expect every man, woman and child in the country to have access to cultural and sporting facilities. That has been possible only because of the national lottery.

The Prime Minister's new sports initiative is set to transform opportunities for sports men and women, young and old, across the country. Schoolchildren will have the opportunity to become more involved in the living theatre, and in museums and galleries, thanks to the developments made possible by the lottery.

I endorse what the right hon. Member for Copeland said about talent and the possible establishment of a "talent fund". That is comparable to the initiative that I shall announce on Monday. The Millennium Commission is considering an award scheme enabling us to invest in the next generation as we approach the millennium.

The culmination of such investment will be the millennium festival. I have the honour to chair the Millennium Commission, and have been able to see the way in which we can fund projects that otherwise would not be possible: for instance, the 2,500 miles of cycle track up and down the country, the renaissance of Portsmouth harbour—a £40 million scheme—and the Doncaster earth centre. It is a wonderful opportunity. I wonder whether the hon. Member for Doncaster, North (Mr. Hughes), who voted against Third Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill, realised that it would bring Doncaster such a formidable opportunity for regeneration, and an environmental centre that will be known the world over.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Why is the Millennium Commission insisting on only one site for the festival and exhibition? There should be at least three sites—one in Scotland, which has a very different culture and whose people would want to celebrate the millennium differently from Londoners.

Mrs. Bottomley

Conservative Members believe that we are a united kingdom. We intend to make a celebration of the new millennium possible, and to mark the turn of the century in a single place that will be visited by people from all over the country.

However, by then there will also be the 12 landmark projects funded by the Millennium Commission, and many smaller projects throughout the country. As the plans unfold and we respond to consultation and debate, we shall ensure that the shared national experience at the festival site links in, as I believe that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) would want, with the many other projects throughout the country.

Mention has been made of the National Lottery Charities Board, which made its first award to caring charities this week. It has had an onerous task to reach this time. It was a new organisation, unlike many of the others, and it had a large programme of work. I believe that the announcements that it has made are welcome, but they are only the beginning. The charities board will make two more waves of announcements before Christmas and afterwards there will be further waves.

The right hon. Member for Copeland referred to the medical charities. He knows the obvious reasons why I have always supported their inclusion among groups that may benefit from the national lottery. I am pleased that, once poverty and youth have been considered, health and medical charities are among those to which the charities board intends to give priority in the new year.

The hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. O'Brien) mentioned hospices—a cause which he and I share. He will want to know that the Accord hospice in Scotland received £50,000 and St. Anne's hospice in Wales received £280,000 from the charities board.

There has been a great debate about the effect of the lottery on charitable giving. The evidence is mixed, to say the least. I looked up the evidence, such as it was, from Ireland. Independent research commissioned there by the Irish national lottery concluded that the majority of the charitable organisations that were surveyed had increased their gross private fund-raising income in real terms since the launch of the Irish national lottery.

In this country, there are examples—which my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) identified—of groups which have reported very favourable results this year. The last time that I mentioned them, I received letters of the nicest sort from some of them, saying that they preferred me not to mention them by name because it tended to discourage other givers if they were known to be having such a flourishing year.

I dare say that there has been an adverse effect on some groups—the right hon. Member for Copeland mentioned Tenovus—which had a comparable system of fund-raising. However, that does not explain why United Kingdom Charity Lotteries Ltd. has increased fivefold the amount of money that it raises for charities because it is using the interest in scratchcards—as is the British Legion—to join the latest craze in fund-raising. Sometimes we have flag days; sometimes we have coffee mornings; sometimes we have sponsored marathons. Scratchcards appear to be the most popular way of raising money for charities at the moment, and many of those enterprises are extremely successful.

Mention was made of the RNIB. What was not said was that it is its legacies that have decreased by £1 million. I do not think that at this stage the lottery can be blamed for a shortfall in legacies. Similarly, a recent MORI poll, organised by Comic Relief, showed that, of the people questioned, more people said that they had increased the amount that they were giving in donations since the introduction of the lottery than said that they had decreased their giving.

I accept that different groups will refer to different evidence on that matter. I welcome the fact that the Home Office is acting on its long-standing commitment to monitor the effect on charitable giving of the introduction of the lottery.

No one in the House can dispute the fact that the voluntary sector has had an enormous bonus in the past seven months: £1,190 million raised for good causes, the vast majority of which are voluntary organisations and charities of all sorts. It is not only the charities board that benefits disadvantaged or disabled people. Many of the arts groups and sports groups promote sport or art for disabled people.

The Jubilee sailing trust in Hampshire has been awarded more than £4 million to build a sailing ship for physically disabled people. The Quicksilver theatre for children—a touring theatre company—has been awarded more than £48,000 towards the cost of a new van with a chairlift to be used by performers with disabilities. Some £736,000 has been awarded by the Millennium Commission to the exemplary scheme in Northamptonshire for a park particularly designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. The first sign language video library for the deaf in Derby and a new school for the blind in Margate are among any number of awards which will help people with disadvantages and disabilities and which have been made possible because of the success of the lottery.

Mr. Stephen Timms (Newham, North-East)

The items listed, while very welcome, are all one-off sums. Does the Secretary of State agree that the arrangement for applying to the charities board by which it is possible to give revenue sums to organisations should be extended to other bodies to enable those and other facilities to be run as well?

Mrs. Bottomley

I made it clear in my earlier remarks that the Government and the chairmen of the distributing bodies are taking a long look at the lessons learnt so far. It is only seven months since we began to distribute awards, and to change direction suddenly after so short a space of time and in such a substantial way would seem to me to be folly.

The Arts Council has made 54 awards to theatres, and I have noticed that a number of theatres up and down the country have suddenly realised that, if they get their applications in, they too can have an opportunity to improve their facilities. Often there is a great need for capital investment in many of our arts, sports and museum facilities throughout the country.

That brings me to the other issue raised during this debate—the question of regional balance. There have been some magnificent flagship projects, and I appreciate the remarks of the right hon. Member for Copeland about the understandable need for projects in London to receive support. London is the nation's capital, and many of our greatest artistic organisations have their headquarters here. Those organisations are providing a service for the nation, and are often providing an international service as well. Many of our flagship institutions are themselves legacies of previous lotteries, including the British museum—the most popular museum in the world. The former Westminster bridge was one of many monuments to be funded by a lottery. We want a tapestry of provision up and down the country so that constituency after constituency has its own projects which people know have been made possible only by the lottery.

Ms Lynne

Does the Secretary of State realise that the north-west is not receiving nearly as much money as London? Does she agree with the remark of the chairman of the Arts Council, Lord Gowrie, that he would be angry if he lived in the north? He was referring to arts funding.

Mrs. Bottomley

The task for us all is to look at the allocations as they emerge in the first year. We will then discover which parts of the country need to make more of an effort and what issues are involved. It may be that people simply do not know that they will only get lottery money if they apply for it. It seems that some people think that they will get an award in the post. If the hon. Lady has good and popular projects in her part of the world, she should encourage the people concerned to apply for money.

In terms of the Millennium Commission, the regional balance has been quite different. Compared with the amounts spent on the millennium forests in Scotland and on cycle tracks in various parts of the country—or with the huge amounts spent in Doncaster and Portsmouth—a relatively modest amount has been spent in London. The task now is to encourage people to realise that this is a remarkable opportunity.

The day-to-day projects, of course, are benefiting, such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution collection at Chatham, which has received £335,000 towards the cost of housing the collection, and the Bennachie local community centre in rural Aberdeenshire, which has benefited to the tune of £311,000 from the Millennium Commission. An Arts Council grant has given young people in Downpatrick in County Down the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. A range of projects, such as the Millom amateur operatic society in Barrow, the Barrow and District table tennis club and the Kirkgate centre trust, have benefited. I regret that the right hon. Member for Copeland is so deaf to his constituents' interests that he continues to talk while I refer to just three of the 10 projects, amounting to nearly £250,000, in Cumbria.

Mr. Couchman

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the delight that the Gillingham Jumpers take in the £650,000 grant that will allow them to establish a national trampolining centre outside London, to the great advantage of their sport?

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend makes the point precisely. There will inevitably be controversy about flagship projects, but it seems to me that trampolining is an exercise in which all in political life should engage.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Lancaster university has been delighted to welcome a flagship project in the form of the Ruskin library. It is a magnificent project, which has enabled us to gather many documents together. We have also received wonderful grants for the youth theatre and for our sports facilities.

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend is a vigorous champion of the lottery and she alerts her constituents to the opportunities that it presents. She helps her constituents to access that wonderful new source of funding that enables people to realise their dreams. I am pleased that my hon. Friend mentioned a library, as there have been many inaccurate comments about libraries of late. Libraries can receive funding through a number of sources—through the arts, the heritage side and possibly through the Millennium Commission as well.

I am reminded of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mrs. Campbell), who I think was somewhat mean-spirited in her reference to the Churchill papers. Not only have those papers come to her city but she failed to tell the House that the Arts Council has awarded the Junction in Cambridge £95,000. The Cambridge Arts Theatre Trust has received £6.5 million, the Fulbourn parish council has received £19,000, the Over community centre has received £126,000, Hills road sixth form college has received £739,000 and St. Neots Museum Ltd. has received £50,000. That is a much fairer commentary on the pattern of funding provision from the lottery. We are ensuring that small groups—not just those that grab the headlines—have the opportunity to take forward their arts, heritage and education proposals.

The national lottery has changed the face of funding in the arts, sport and heritage. More than £586 million has already been awarded to 2,111 excellent projects—and that is just the start. Over the next seven years, the total contribution to the five good causes is expected to amount to more than £9 billion. It is the people's lottery: millions play, millions watch and millions win. In the years ahead, a bonanza of billions of pounds will benefit the causes that we value.

The national lottery truly is the "dream machine"—both for the 30,000 people who have a flutter each week and for those organisations that flourish as a result of that flutter. It has been an enormous success so far and that success will not be undermined by the cynicism and carping of the Labour party.

When we enacted the lottery legislation, Labour—after much wringing of hands—voted for it. Some of the wayward hordes on the Opposition Back Benches failed to do so, but many of their constituencies have received lottery awards just the same. The Government, the licensed operator and the distributing bodies have brought about a success beyond the expectations or the dreams of the lottery's most fervent advocates. It is a national institution devised by a national party in the national interests for our nation's future.

Labour looks to destroy, undermine and to belittle the success of our lottery. No lottery retailer, winner or person interested in good causes should support Labour's lottery policy. I advise those in the industrial and commercial sectors to take the Labour party's vituperative approach to the successful lottery operator as a very sinister indication of its gut feeling about the private sector.

We celebrate the lottery; we celebrate its success and we plan for its improvement. That improvement will be based on practical experience and constructive suggestions. We will not be driven by ideology or prejudice against success. The Labour party's line on the lottery is simple: snuff out success, punish profit and cheat the good causes of the deal that they deserve. I urge the House to recognise that sport, the arts and heritage have a wonderful opportunity. We are investing in the young and in the millennium and we are providing help to the needy. I commend the lottery and our amendment to the House.

5.5 pm

Mr. Bill Michie (Sheffield, Heeley)

I rise to speak for only a few minutes. I did get a little dizzy with excitement about the success of the lottery—although I have not noticed that success on the council estate that I represent. Undoubtedly, its success will trickle down to those who are out of work sooner or later.

I have put on record my opposition to the concept of a national lottery. I am still far from happy about it, but I accept that it is here. When the idea was first debated, I predicted that Governments of all persuasions might be tempted to dismiss their responsibilities by allowing lottery money to sort out the problems that are normally the province of central Government. I am not saying that that is happening too much at present, but I believe that it will occur.

I remind the House that when the Government first announced their plans for the lottery they claimed that its primary purpose would be to provide money for good causes: arts, sport, heritage, charities, the voluntary sector and the millennium fund. In other words, it was claimed that the money would improve the quality of life of those who were disadvantaged through poverty.

Of course, one of the first such disadvantaged families to benefit was the Churchill family, which received £14 million for papers that most of us thought already belonged to the state. Another poor recipient of a generous award was Eton college—every working class person gets there at some time or other. It is estimated that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will receive about £400 million, which is more than the combined allocation to charities and sporting organisations.

Mr. Brandreth

To be fair, I must point out that Eton college did not receive an award: the college was only one partner in a scheme to build an athletics track. The main beneficiary was the Windsor, Slough and Eton athletics club, which is open to and provides sporting facilities for the whole community.

Mr. Michie

I feel much better now, Madam Speaker. Although the lottery is probably here to stay, it has caused problems—despite the Secretary of State's good news. The Government have managed to unite the churches on the issue, which is a miracle in itself. The churches are united over the lottery mainly because they are working at grass-roots level. We are talking not about the churches that oppose gambling in principle—one certainly would not say that about the Catholic church, for instance—but about those that see the lottery's effect on poorer people.

The lottery is creating problems for those who can least afford it. I do not accept the Secretary of State's argument based on a survey that showed that, on average, people spend only £2 per week and, therefore, there is no real hardship. I do not believe in those averages. Some of my constituents, who can ill afford it, spend £2, £4 and £5 on scratchcards and lottery tickets. Those people are trying to find their way out of the poverty trap, which to some extent has been created by the Government. The lottery is also having an adverse effect on what I would call the good charities that do a damned good job of work and on those volunteers who do it free of charge.

The lottery has changed the ethos of charitable giving. In our communities, people in pubs and clubs may have won the equivalent of one or two pints of beer in a prize draw but they knew that they were buying tickets in support of the local football club, a local children's hospital or some other good cause. The ethos has changed, and that is having an effect on charities.

The desire to be rich quickly through a lottery or by gambling is, of course, a personal decision but, speaking personally and not on behalf of my party or anybody else, I think it is disgraceful that the Government encourage people to gamble, to get rich quick, without accepting the responsibility and the consequences that go with it. I realise that the lottery will continue, but there must be reform. I support Labour's motion, especially the parts about section 5 licences, about making the lottery non-profit making and about a fairer distribution of grants. That has already been debated and will continue to be debated.

I also suggest reducing the cash prize. I know that will be controversial but I cannot for the life of me think why somebody should want £27 million and can say, "It will never affect my life or my family." In time it will prove to have an opposite effect. Why cannot the prize money be distributed more widely if the lottery has to remain continue? That should also be taken into account.

In the past decade, the nation has been encouraged by the Government to take the attitude, "I'm all right Jack", and to look after number one. Fortunately, most people in this country still care about others and many of them care in adversity. It is the Government's duty to encourage that caring attitude by providing resources from the Treasury and not by way of scratchcards or Saturday night gambling.

5.11 pm
Mr. David Mellor (Putney)

It is a great pleasure to participate in such a good-natured debate, the character of which owes a great deal to the two opening speeches. I admire the skill and enthusiasm with which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage has addressed herself to her office. I hope that she knows that she has the enthusiastic support of us all.

I am also enthusiastic about the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham). I am genuinely surprised—and this is not a cheap crack—that the Labour party considers that it has so many able and professional spokesmen that it can discard the right hon. Gentleman. I am glad that he still speaks from a senior position on the Front Bench, and although I cannot pretend to agree with everything he said I enjoyed his speech. It is a tribute to his powers that he was able to make such a speech just a few days after taking up his post.

Whatever quibbles or fundamental differences people may have in the context of the lottery we can surely all agree that it has been a spectacular success. Nearly 30 million peopl—70 per cent. of the population—regularly play it. Some £1 billion has already been received in about a year, which is twice as much as was predicted. Much of that success is due to the efficiency with which the operator, Camelot, set about its task.

I am sorry that Camelot's role has become a matter of controversy. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State dealt extremely ably with criticisms of Camelot, thus sparing me the need to do more than say in the spirit of good fellowship to the right hon. Member for Copeland that surely the Labour party cannot have it both ways. If the National Audit Office had condemned the manner in which Camelot was awarded the contract Labour Members would rightly have jumped up and condemned it. They cannot dismiss as if it is a matter of no moment the fact that the National Audit Office commended in highly specific terms the reasoning of Mr. Davis and his team in preferring Camelot.

Dr. John Cunningham

I am grateful, if not embarrassed, by the tribute of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, for whom, as we all know, the Department was created. It is rather sad that he is not still in it. He is missing the point. Of course we accept the verdict of the National Audit Office: that is not and never has been in dispute and it is a complete verification of the decision. I am not arguing about the decision to award the contract to Camelot. The point is that in the first year Camelot is quickly into profit. In the second year it will have a very large profit, and from then on it will be into excessive profit.

We are saying not that Camelot got the contract unjustly or that the decision was wrong but that it is heading rapidly for huge, excessive returns on its investment. The Secretary of State and the director general have powers to take action to deal with that, and they should use them.

Mr. Mellor

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his clarification. The issue turns on what one considers to be excessive. As I understand it, although, of course, Camelot must speak for itself, over the seven years of its licence it anticipates raising some £9 billion through the lottery. As soon as £3.7 billion has been raised, which will happen quite soon, more than 30 per cent. of the take will go to good causes, only 1.5 per cent. will go to Camelot and less than 1 per cent. after tax is its profit. With the greatest respect, it is hard to see that as excessive.

We must recall that Mr. Branson, admirable entrepreneur that he is, lent his name to an application that was more expensive and would have cost more than the Camelot application. The right hon. Gentleman must be careful not to let it appear that the Labour party would prefer a non-profit making organisation, even an inefficient and ramshackle one, to an efficient, profit-making organisation.

We all feel some concern about the pools industry, about which the Opposition have made many genuine points. But it seems ironic that Opposition Members are ready to speak out for an industry that is entirely about private profit while condemning the lottery, in which only the operator makes what in the context of the turnover is a very modest profit.

Before leaving that issue, for the avoidance of doubt I should say that because I register an interest as an adviser to part of the Racal group it was erroneously suggested by one or two newspapers when the Camelot grant was made that I was in some way associated with Camelot because Racal is one of the participants. I have absolutely nothing whatever to do with that part of Racal and I never uttered a sentence to any Racal executive about these matters. I speak as I do because I genuinely believe that at a time when catastrophe can be seen in all manner of projects the fact that Camelot has worked quickly and efficiently should be commended. The future must look after itself.

A point that troubles me has not been mentioned much so far and it is the question of the tax take. I think that I can safely say that the Treasury's ambitions were rather larger than the 12 per cent. for which it was ultimately forced to settle. Because the lottery has been such a success the Treasury has done rather well. The right hon. Member for Copeland said that the Treasury would get over £400 million. I am not making a pedantic point when I say that I gather that the figure could be as high as £500 million and, of course, there will also be the corporation tax from Camelot's profit. Therefore the lottery is a nice little earner for our Ken.

One gathers that some senior figures in the Treasury still bear the bruises of what they regard as a defeat in failing to get a higher tax rate. However, if anyone is contemplating introducing a higher tax rate in the forthcoming Budget I urge them to think again because in the history of spectacular own goals that would merit a chapter all on its own. An increase in taxation is provided for in the rules and 60 per cent. of the cost of that would come out of the prize money and 40 per cent. would come from the good causes. That would damage the credibility of the lottery because international experience shows that it is the amount of the prize money that conditions the amount of interest in a lottery. Every time there is a roll-over week purchases rise by 20 per cent. and there is another £3 million for good causes.

Mr. Ashton

Was not the same mistake made when commercial television—a licence to print money—was introduced? The system has since been adjusted and now other companies bid for the franchise, as Carlton Television and Central Television did. Would it not have been much better—I know I am saying this with a bit of hindsight, but the system should be introduced—if people had bid to run the national lottery franchise? Five per cent. for running it was an arbitrary figure because it was not known how long it would take to install terminals. The Government passed everything on to the man giving the franchise—they took a step back and did virtually nothing—and we the public and Parliament are entitled to reconsider the whole system.

Mr. Mellor

The best time to reconsider it is when the franchise runs out. I am also enthusiastic about the hon. Gentleman, although not to the extent of wanting Sheffield Wednesday to win tonight—he is a director of the club if anyone has forgotten—but, if the Government had had anything to do with the allocation of the franchise, we know what would have happened: it would have been suggested that one of the component parts of the franchise made donations to the Conservative party and that the whole thing was another example of sleaze. It is just as well, therefore, that the Government kept out of it.

May I be forgiven for just going back to a fundamental point about the creation of the lottery? We need to understand that it was created to benefit good causes that could not expect to benefit, to the extent necessary to do the job that needed to be done, from the normal public expenditure debates that go on, whatever party is in power. People sometimes say, "The money should go to the health service." I believe in the health service being funded and the Government have a good record in funding it, but that is a matter for the public purse.

In normal public expenditure, one cannot expect the restoration of the Royal Opera house or the construction of a new opera house in Cardiff to take priority over the legitimate demands of the health service, and that is why the lottery was created and why particular causes were identified. Provided we do not lose sight of that, the lottery could be a great success, not merely in its ability to generate money but in the good that the expenditure of its money can do.

The fact that the lottery is a huge success in generating money does not mean that it will be such a success in the long run. It will be a huge success only if money is spent wisely. My enthusiasm for some of the ways in which the money is being spent is muted and I say that in all candour, not simply because we all have a duty, especially those of us who were implicated in the creation of this thing, to speak out if we identify certain things going wrong.

It is said that there is bound to be controversy over the allocation of money. Up to a point that is true, but only up to a point. I shall consider the four distributing bodies and forget for a moment about the national lottery charities board. I am not aware of and have not read a line of criticism of any of the distributions that the Sports Council has organised, so one must presume that, run as it is by a blunt northerner, Rodney Walker, from the world of rugby league, it has got it right.

The Arts Council has done a good job and some of the controversy that it has sailed into has been inevitable. Of course there are people who are going to object, for instance, to large grants being given to Covent Garden, and I understand that. Covent Garden has only itself to blame if it is seen as a elitist institution from which most ordinary members of the public, which includes practically all of us here, are disfranchised and it has become a place where wealthy business men take their friends and where the public is somewhere up in the gods.

With that history, Covent Garden cannot wonder about the controversy, even though it will place some of the blame on the fact that it has not received the same amount of public money as other international opera houses, but let us leave that argument on one side. If we are serious, however, about having international opera in this country, we cannot continue with a house where the scenery is moved by first world war submarine engines. In taking on public opinion, as to a degree the Arts Council did in making that award, it got it right.

We must ensure that the grants do not subsidise herds of white elephants, and anyone who is naive about this must study, as I was forced to and as no doubt my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is having to do even as we speak, the fate of the British library. Merely providing money for some grand construct does not guarantee that it is delivered.

I have a real worry: with all this money being handed out, who is monitoring how it is spent, who is ensuring that these wretched things are delivered and who is monitoring the time and the cost? I see scandals looming. I do not want to sound like Enoch Powell on a bad day, but one sees the River Tiber foaming with many unfinished projects and people must keep an eye on that.

If one were brash enough to give the other distributing bodies an end-of-term report, one would have to be muted in one's enthusiasm. Of course it is inevitable that the national heritage memorial fund should appear to be in the business of transferring resources from the have-nots to the haves as the people who own the heritage tend to be the haves and many of the people who buy the tickets tend to be the have-nots. In the face of that, it was courting disaster in making its first award the somewhat dubious purchase of the Churchill papers. I say that as someone who cares about the lottery's integrity. If the man in the street loses faith in lottery money expenditure being used for things that he and his family will benefit from, trouble and problems will arise.

The millennium fund proceeds at a stately pace, partly because of the rules that force it to go around the nation drawing in applications rather than more dirigiste principles. My concern sometimes is whether it is aiming for this millennium or the next one and what we will see in place when the great day dawns.

We are an age perhaps without a great deal of vision, in which people with vision are regularly trampled over by people who object because visionaries are uncomfortable people to live with and because this is the age of the nimby. The visionary therefore does not have much of a part to play, but it would be nice to use some of the substantial resources in the national heritage memorial fund to create buildings that people will look at in a couple of centuries' time with the same awe and wonder that they contemplate this place, Westminster abbey or some of the other great buildings around the nation. [Interruption.] I am sorry. I am bashing my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth)— it is nothing personal. I regret that such buildings will not be created.

May we go back to first principles? I remember, because I was there, when the proposition was first put that charities should be supported. It was never part of the original thinking of the lottery that charities would be beneficiaries. That was agreed because the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and others pointed out that charities would lose out—a rain shadow effect would be created by the imposition of the national lottery.

Sir Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

The proposal was in the White Paper and in my private Member's Bill.

Mr. Mellor

No, I am talking about before the White Paper. Before that, thank God, some thinking was done, as privately as leaks made possible in Whitehall.

During that process, it was determined that it would be appropriate for charities to benefit on the basis that nothing could be worse than debates in this place being disfigured by people saying that charities were going to lose out and so we should not have a national lottery. In other words, Paris was worth a mass and the mass was bringing in the charities.

The charities could benefit from that or it could be a Trojan horse—the jury is out on that. One of the things that saddens me—I fear that it is probably more the fault of the Home Office than the national lottery charities board—is that, somewhere along the line, people forgot that charities received money so that they could be recompensed for any losses. We have built a foolish rod for our own back in allowing it to be said that a cancer charity such as Tenovus, which raised £1.5 million a year for cancer research, will not get that money back from the lottery.

It is self-evident that, despite the efforts that were made to make the rules for small lotteries less oppressive, they are not of interest when big lotteries are around. I genuinely say that, if there is still time to rectify this, it would be sensible for national lottery charities board money to be distributed to charities that could show on any normal accountancy basis that they had made a loss.

I seriously think that it was an oversight that the Department that takes a lead on the national lottery was not given responsibility for the national lottery charities board and that it was left to the Home Office. The Home Office perhaps thinks that it has—and it probably does—bigger and more important things to do than dealing with the NLCB. When I contemplate the membership of the charities board and some of its operations, I realise that if the Home Office was a car factory the board would be a model made on a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday. Given the type of outfit that has emerged, which has taken so long to get its act together and has distributed the money in this politically correct manner, I am surprised that it was necessary to create such a bureaucracy. It could have been farmed out to Lambeth council, which would have done a similar job.

I do not wish to deal with some of the small, progressive charities that have benefited in this round. I have only one concern and it is that the national lottery should survive in its present form for long enough, without the money being taken for all manner of other things, to make a fundamental difference to the sporting and artistic fabric of the nation. If the board's actions undermine the lottery's credibility with the public, most of whom would not put money into the collecting tins of the organisations that have benefited in the handout, all of us who support the lottery have problems. I hope that something will be done to curb the excesses of the board before it drags the whole thing into disrepute.

It is easy to see what will happen because, alas, these things are all too predictable. The board has moved out into the more exotic fringes of charitable activity and it has been criticised for doing so. We know what will happen next. One or two of the operations will not be well run and perhaps some inefficiency or even a little fraud will creep in. The next story in the tabloids will be that someone has run off with some of the proceeds.

We are concerned that the national lottery should be something that our constituents—ordinary folk—think is a jolly good idea. Why, why, why could they not give the money to big mainstream charities covering a wide range of issues so that people could say, "Yes, that is where I want my money to go"? The failure to do that will cost the reputation of the lottery dear.

The one benefit that the national lottery charities board has over other distribution organisations is that it is able to give grants for current expenditure purposes. I know that the current-capital distinction is maintained in order to make it easier to defend the additionality rule that was negotiated with the Treasury when I was Chief Secretary. If the line is blurred, it is felt that the Treasury has a greater opportunity to get the money. Of course, people have failed to point out that the Treasury can cut sensitive grants and just say that it was not because of the national lottery. The Arts Council grant was cut two years ago, not because of the national lottery but because the Treasury wanted to cut it and the then Secretary of State agreed, I believe wrongly, that it should happen.

The plain fact is—I satirise only slightly to make this point—that there is no point having the best constructed theatres in this country if the troupes of players running around in them do not have the money to keep going. The additionality rule does only one thing—it protects existing public expenditure. It does not build in the sort of increases that will be needed if there is to be proper growth in the performing arts and other sensitive areas. If the best one can hope for is an Arts Council grant that does not increase in real terms, we will have problems unless there is a breach in the dyke. I hope that it will come.

5.33 pm
Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

I am diametrically opposed to the right hon. and learned Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) on the principle of the lottery, but he has done the House a service by the way in which he has presented the arguments for improving the lottery and for ensuring that it delivers what it was established to deliver. He was right to draw our attention to the need to compensate those charities that have lost out. I am glad that he touched on additionality, a point which was put to the Secretary of State earlier. I am glad that he reminded us that even the 12 per cent. figure which is taken by the Government is an underestimate and that, with the additional tax placed on the profits of Camelot, nearer to 14 per cent. goes into the Government's pockets.

From the Secretary of State we heard the litany of good causes—many of them are extremely good causes—which have been beneficiaries. Surely the philosophical issue which many hon. Members will want to address is whether it would be better to fund a hospice directly from the health expenditure budget or through a national lottery. At least the former would be based on the ability to pay through income tax. Rather than just pretending that anyone who does not like the national lottery is, ergo, opposed to funding hospices or any of the other good causes that the Secretary of State mentioned, the House should address that moral and philosophical question

The Secretary of State reminded us that this is not the first time that we have had a national lottery. It is worth reminding the right hon. Lady that a study of history does not augur well for the lottery. The previous lottery collapsed amidst allegations of corruption and with a loss of public confidence. The Conservative social reformer, William Wilberforce, having successfully abolished the slave trade in 1807 said to his friend, Henry Thornton, Well Henry what shall we abolish next? The lottery, I think". I wonder how long it will be before the House has to consider the desirability of funding so much of our national programme of good causes, charitable works, arts, millennium expenditure and sports from something that is fuelled by gambling.

In April 1993, I was one of the 39 Members who voted against the national lottery in the final vote. I also opposed earlier attempts at introduction by the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) who is here today and by the right hon. and learned Member for Putney. In Committee, I raised a number of concerns. I am grateful that today provides an opportunity, in Opposition time, to look at those questions again. I shall have no hesitation in going into the Lobby to support the Opposition's motion, although I wish it went even further.

Mr. Maxton

I am trying to follow the hon. Gentleman's arguments. Is he speaking for his party? Is he saying that the Liberal Democrats want to abolish the lottery? I want to know that, as do others.

Mr. Alton

If the hon. Gentleman had followed the party conference in the autumn, he would have seen that the Liberal Democrats debated the national lottery and produced some thorough-going proposals, some of which are similar to those in the Opposition's motion, to improve and change the lottery. The party is not opposed to the national lottery. It was a free vote issue when we discussed it in the earlier part of the 1990s and it remains so today. I am speaking on behalf of my party today by voicing my concerns about the lottery.

Mr. Jessel

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Alton

Let me advance my arguments and then I will give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Jessel

How do we know what the policy is?

Mr. Alton

I am coming to that.

In Committee I tabled amendments to ban scratchcards, to prevent the roll-over of obscene amounts of prize money and to impose limitations on advertising, especially those targeted at young people and those living in poorer areas. Even before the national lottery, the United Kingdom had the highest per capita level of gambling anywhere in western Europe. A total of £4.50 was spent per head every single week.

Mr. Tony Banks

I know the hon. Gentleman's views on this morally, but why did he describe the prize levels as obscene? It is rather patronising. I should like to win an obscene amount of money. The bigger the top prize, the more that lottery ticket sales increase. It is why people buy tickets.

Mr. Alton

That is precisely what I intend to deal with. It builds up an element of hysteria and frenzy. One winner obtained £17 million, which seems an extraordinary amount of money. That creates a frenzy which fuels the national lottery.

People do not consider the odds against winning. Vast numbers of people throughout the country pay massive amounts of money. The lottery is targeted at people who live in poorer areas. They think that somehow they will escape from their poverty or the conditions in which they live because of their stake in the lottery. There is nothing patronising about holding that view, because it has been demonstrated by research the world over. Indeed, the Secretary of State boasts that about 75 per cent. of the population have at some stage played the lottery. Anyone who dares question the premise on which the lottery operates is branded as a killjoy or, as implied in one or two interventions, a whinger. These are issues that are worthy of serious parliamentary debate and should not be so lightly dismissed.

In America, in 1989, Clotfelter and Cook published their study of lotteries, entitled "Selling Hope". They stated: We can conclude with considerable confidence that the lottery is a powerful recruiting device, which in 1974"— that was the year on which they focused— was responsible for inducing about one-quarter of the adult population who would otherwise not have done so to participate in commercial gambling. In other research, Professor Ernest Mittler states that the trend has been away from traditional lotteries towards the introduction of casino-style devices such as video lottery terminals. In turn, this has spawned the usual growth of organised crime associated with gambling.

I am cynical about the calls that I hear for research to be commissioned into the links between the lottery and gambling in the United Kingdom. The findings of American research that is already available are extensive and conclusive, but plenty of research has been undertaken in the United Kingdom. I draw the attention of the House to the work of Dr. Sue Fisher. In the 1993 edition of the "Journal of Gambling Studies" she examined the level of gambling among British children. She found that in one secondary school, 62 per cent. of children gambled on fruit machines, 17 per cent. at least weekly and 5.7 per cent. pathologically.

In August, the British Medical Journal reported that since the inception of the lottery and the relaxation of controls on gambling, there has been a 17 per cent. increase in calls to Gamblers Anonymous. Expenditure on the national lottery is more than £100 million every week, of which £40 million is spent on scratchcards. The accompanying hype, frenzy and even hysteria all underline the potential of the lottery for good and for evil.

When people are asked why the lottery can do good, they invariably reply that it helps charity. That argument has been trotted out from those on the Government Front Bench today. The stark truth is that only about 5 per cent. of the take goes to charity. We know that 85 per cent. of the charities that applied for funding in the first tranche were disappointed. On Friday, the Government announced that there would be more research into whether charities are losing out. Research is not needed. The Royal National Institute for the Blind has made it clear already that it has lost £500,000 since the launch of the national lottery. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimates an overall decline of about £276 million.

The Secretary of State has alluded to the Irish experience. Trocaire, the largest third world charity in Ireland, saw a massive reduction of nearly two thirds in its income once the national lottery had been established there. In January 1992, I told the House that 16 leading Irish charities had written to the Taoiseach to tell him that charitable lotteries had lost half their income and that the situation had reached crisis point with 50 per cent. of charitable donations being lost as a result of the Irish national lottery. Why have we had to repeat the experience? What will more research tell us that we do not know already? Is it not another example of wilfully allowing the horse to bolt when it was within our power to shut the gate?

Mr. Richard Tracey (Surbiton)

The hon. Gentleman is pretty scathing about the lottery. Many of us heard him speak in Committee on these matters. Has he made the same criticisms of the pools companies? The pools provide the same sort of gambling and the same inducement to gamble. Has he said the same things about horse racing at the grand national and all other meetings?

Mr. Alton

I shall move on to the liberalisation of gambling laws. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's question is straightforward. The pools and horse racing—I am not per se against any form of gambling—are not sponsored by the state. The national lottery is, and that is why it is fundamentally different.

What money goes where and who decides to give it to whom? There seems to be a gaggle of the politically correct and the chattering classes that is virtually unaccountable to the House or to those who buy lottery tickets. There is the suspicion that everything is worked out in an Islington wine bar. The regional discrepancies bear out that argument. Merseyside knew in advance that it would be a lottery loser for reasons to which the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) alluded. It was known in the area that there would be a loss of jobs in the pools industry. Jobs were bound to disappear, and they have.

It is arguable, therefore, that there should have been a bias to compensate for Merseyside's job losses. Instead, the region has received the smallest percentage share of lottery handouts, only 1.8 per cent. compared with London's 25.5 per cent. If the House studies the charts setting out regional giving and population, it will find the discrepancies extraordinary. For example, some 9.4 per cent. of the population lives in the north-west of England, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) said in an intervention, only 4.5 per cent. of total lottery money has come to the area. Similarly, the area's application to the Millennium Commission for a national museum of sport to be established on Merseyside—the idea was supported by political opinion across the spectrum and by local authorities throughout the area—was rejected out of hand. That was at least an opportunity to sweeten the pill. Instead, there has been the inevitable bitter reaction that the process of dispensing funds is being distorted.

In July, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published a report that warned that the public's support for the national lottery would be lost unless the questions that I have outlined were properly addressed. It stated: The National Lottery is in danger of losing public sympathy. It stands accused of transferring money from poorer communities to benefit the rich, of not providing enough new money to good causes and of leading some people into addictive patterns of gambling. It added: The report also proposes new safeguards to ensure that inner cities and other disadvantaged communities receive their fair share of an estimated £32 billion sale of lottery tickets during the first seven years. My last quotation from the report warns of a possible public backlash—with disastrous consequences for charities and others who will increasingly depend on the lottery—unless there is action to reassure the public that its benefits outweigh any harmful social consequences.

Mr. Brandreth

The hon. Gentleman and I are neighbours from the north-west. We want, of course, to see a fair share of lottery proceeds coming our way. I think that he is being a bit churlish in not recognising how much is already coming to Liverpool on the sports side, for example, with the Greenbank project receiving nearly £500,000. St. Helens council—on Merseyside—is receiving nearly £1 million. Brouhaha International, on the arts side, is receiving nearly £33,000 and the Everyman theatre in Liverpool—it is one of our favourite theatres—is receiving nearly £100,000. We should recognise what is being achieved while, of course, asking for more for the north-west.

Mr. Alton

Of course I accept what the hon. Gentleman says. I shall take as an example one of the projects to which he referred. The Greenbank project relates specifically to disabled and handicapped people and—he would know this if he were familiar with its work—has lurched from funding crisis to funding crisis as its statutory funds have been reduced over the past few years. That raises the additionality argument that the right hon. and learned Member for Putney was talking about.

Public confidence will be sapped by the behaviour of the Government and by that of Camelot, which is known in Liverpool as Cashalot. It is unjustifiable that Camelot's five directors all received a bonus worth 50 per cent. of their salaries because the lottery started on time. In addition, they stand to collect a further 140 per cent. bonus if they meet their target figures by September 1997. What sort of good cause is that? That will bring the whole scheme into disrepute. Camelot's profits over the first five months amount to £4.5 million. The Government have taken £169 million over that period. What has that to do with good causes or the impulses on which the lottery was established in the first place?

An alternative bid was put forward by Richard Branson. He proposed that the money would go back into other charities. That would have been a better approach than that adopted by Camelot. No profit should be involved in the administration of the lottery. There is no need for there to be.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Under Richard Branson's scheme, the administrative costs would have been very much higher. Had the hon. Gentleman listened to a newsflash that arrived a moment ago, he would know that the profit made by Camelot is only 1p in the pound. It is making large sums because it is supremely efficient.

Mr. Alton

Nevertheless, in the first five months, it made a profit of £169 million. It is a monopoly. There is no reason why it should make such sums. The money could have, and should have, gone to charities.

In this context, I should like to mention the role of the BBC, which has effectively given Camelot the equivalent of £120 million of free advertising since the lottery was conceived. When the BBC's charter comes before the House, as it will in the next parliamentary Session, many of us will ask why a public corporation has been fuelling the national lottery.

It is also worth pointing out that the relevant BBC programme is watched by 27 per cent. of all children from the age of four to 15. Primary school teachers are increasingly reporting how children talk of nothing but their parents' stakes and, when asked to do imaginative writing, they write about what they would do with the money if they won.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

Given that the programme is watched by children of an impressionable age, is it wise for the BBC to feature the Secretary of State for National Heritage on it?

Mr. Alton

The hon. Gentleman's question raises an important point about how the lottery can be used to create what the Government initially thought would be a feel-good factor, how it can be manipulated for political purposes and how the funds can be used like a pork barrel for the dispensation of goodies to favoured people in various parts of the country.

The lottery is a poll tax in carpet slippers. Once the word "fun" is attached to something, people queue up to surrender their money, which is then dispensed by unaccountable people to people and causes over which the House has no control.

The controversial payment of nearly £13 million for the Churchill archives followed soon after by the suicide of a man who had forgotten to buy his ticket; the repetitive stories of how undreamt of riches have led to broken marriages and families; the obscenity of pay-outs of up to £18 million; the lottery's regressive impact on the poor; its stimulation of gambling; its adverse effects on charities; and the creation of an entire culture based on chance rather than thrift, effort or prudence should surely make us think more deeply about the corrosive effects on British society of what the Secretary of State very foolishly described today as a dream machine. I and my right hon. and hon. Friends will be supporting the motion.

5.52 pm
Mr. Tim Renton (Mid-Sussex)

I find the morality of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) extraordinarily hard to follow. Why should the lottery have such a corrosive effect on poor innocent Britons when there has been a lottery in Spain, France and virtually every other European country for a great many years?

The hon. Gentleman uses the analogy of the United States. I was there at Easter, and I know that virtually every state has its own lottery. Some of those lottery proceeds are used to fund state expenditure, and I cannot say that people there seem especially corrupted or unhappy as a result. What is especially wrong with the lottery that is not wrong with horses, the pools, greyhounds or every other form of betting?

Mr. George Galloway (Glasgow, Hillhead)

It is state-sponsored.

Mr. Renton

Yes, but what about the tote? That is supported by the state, and it is a quango. The hon. Gentleman should think through his argument.

All of us wonder whether it is the policy of the Liberal party to do away with the lottery. We should be grateful for some clarification.

What is fascinating to hon. Members of all parties is that we are for once debating a huge success, but Opposition Members clearly find it hard to come to terms with that; hence the concentration on the charity issue. That is important —

Mr. Tony Banks


Mr. Renton

I shall deal with charities later, but I wish to make some other remarks first.

The difference between this debate and one that I might have had when I was Minister for the Arts three or four years ago is that then I would inevitably have been apologising to every hon. Member who asked, like my hon. Friends the Members for Twickenham (Mr. Jesse]) and for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman), why some money had not been made available for a particular theatre, dance hall or gallery in his constituency. Today, almost every Back Bencher has said thank you to the lottery, via the Secretary of State, for favours received or favours expected. Leaving charities on one side, the change in the amount of funding now available for the arts, sports, heritage and the millennium is of an astonishing order.

When I was the last Minister for the Arts, between 1990 and 1992, I remember fighting the Treasury and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), who was then Chief Secretary and who has now left the Chamber. I fought to get a £28 million, or 14 per cent., increase in the Arts Council's budget. When I got it, it was considered so astonishing that it merited a cartoon in the Evening Standard, which I have of course pinned up in the loo at home. Today, that £28 million represents almost exactly what is generated in one day by the lottery for the five good causes.

It must not be forgotten that our ability on the back of the lottery—which I, for one, certainly do not find evil—to do constructive work for the cultural and sporting infrastructure of this country is almost infinite. Members of all parties are right to say that we have a golden opportunity, and that we should not make a mess of it.

We have to come to terms with the fact that we are living with a fantastic success. Who would have thought, a year or two ago, that on the corner of almost every street, like a favourite pub sign, one sees the placard with the navy blue male fist and crossed fingers welcoming us in to the shop to buy a lottery ticket? It has become a familiar household insignia, and is potentially very productive for this country.

When I was Minister for the Arts, I had no doubts about the benefits of a national lottery. I knew very well that there was no other possible way that I could get from the Treasury a reasonably large increase for the arts, museums or galleries. I was taken around the Victoria and Albert museum by Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, the museum's brilliant director at the time, who has since retired. She pointed out to me the holes in the roof, from which water was dripping into buckets between the statues. I was taken to Sadler's Wells, and shown the site where the company would have loved to build a new theatre, although there was no possibility of it at that time.

I went backstage at the royal opera house, and was shown the submarine engines, to which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney referred, which were used to move the scenery up and down. People backstage told me that, amazingly, there had been only one fatal accident. That has all changed greatly for the better, as a result of the money available from the lottery.

Also in my position as Minister for the Arts, I remember visiting the Minister for Culture in Greece, who wanted huge sums of money to rebuild the classical amphitheatres along the Mediterranean coast, for the benefit of tourism but also for the sake of Greek history. As we drove from the airport, I asked the question that Ministers for the Arts always asked each other in those days which was, "How are you doing for money?" She said that she was saved by the lottery. It was a phrase that I never forgot.

Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton)

The right hon. Gentleman described a moment ago how the lottery and its sign was taking over from the corner pub as something with which people identified, and I am sure that that is true in many areas. Apart from that, what percentage of his income does he spend on lottery tickets?

Mr. Renton

That is a most extraordinary question. I do not think that it is of any relevance at all, but I take it that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the Church's complaint that those people on lower incomes are spending too much of their money on lottery tickets. He should be reminded of the remarks made by the Secretary of State when she quoted research which showed precisely the opposite: the evidence so far is that the amount relatively being spent on lottery tickets by those on higher wages is very much greater.

I shall return just for a few moments more to the period four or five years ago. I remember being absolutely thrilled when I was able to persuade my right hon. Friend the Member the Mole Valley (Mr. Baker), then the Home Secretary, that we should look seriously at the question of a national lottery, and when in turn we persuaded the Prime Minister to follow that line.

We faced, I may say, very strong opposition from Treasury Ministers throughout, including the Chief Secretary, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney, because they quite simply do not like hypothecation of revenue. They do not like money being raised which is going to go to specific causes without going through the Treasury maw en route. But I am delighted that we got the lottery. I know that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence), the Chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs, played a large part in that process too, with his private Member's Bill.

Sir Ivan Lawrence

I thank my hon. right Friend for his support.

Mr. Renton

Not at all.

All the things on the arts front with which I was concerned, which seemed impossible, are now possible, and they are not going to happen only in London, since clearly there is a limit to the number of tattered opera houses to be repaired in London. I have no doubt that, in future grants from the Arts Council, we shall see an increasing spread of the money available throughout the country.

Mr. Robert McCartney (North Down)

Do I understand that the argument being propounded is that the ends justify the means? I know from experience in Northern Ireland, which has one of the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in the United Kingdom, that the most excessive gambling, the greatest gambling and the largest amount of money spent on gambling occurs in areas where there is—literally—no hope of employment. The greatest amount of money is being spent on the lottery in such areas, because it offers a dream or a hope which the Government do not offer through employment and thrift.

Mr. Renton

The hon. Gentleman is trying to make a totally different point: to get the Government to spend more money on encouraging employment in Northern Ireland. I see absolutely nothing wrong at all with a lottery offering hope, fun, and the prospect, if one is lucky, of winning a lot of money, and if one is not lucky, of a reasonable proportion going to good causes.

Mr. Tony Banks

The right hon. Gentleman said that we have run out of decrepit opera houses in London to patch up. If he were devising the scheme for handing out the money, would he change any of the rules to, for example, enable revenue funds to go to arts institutions rather than to the buildings?

Mr. Renton

I think that such changes are on the way already. I know that the chairman of the Arts Council was in the Gallery listening to the debate, but has now left. My understanding is that the rules have been changed, to the degree that, in an application for capital funding—capital funding going on at the moment—20 per cent. of the money allocated can be used for current expenditure. That change has taken place.

If anyone reads the Arts Council News National Lottery Supplement of August and September, they will see that there is a huge disbursement of Arts Council money, to, for example, theatres up and down the country. When I was Arts Minister, the Arts Council had no capital expenditure money available for theatres whatever.

I used to be taken to see beautiful Victorian Matcham theatres whose roofs were falling in, which needed x millions of pounds for repair and had no hope of it being done. Against that background, I persuaded Lord Wolfson to make £1 million available for a theatre restoration fund, which we matched with £1 million of Government money, in order that there was some money to repair and restore the great Victorian theatres of this country.

Now, there are 12 or so theatres on the list of organisations receiving grants. They are in west Oxfordshire, Bradford, Rossendale, Norwich, Southampton, Hull, Nottingham, Leeds, Sudbury, Bishop's Stortford, Barnsley—all theatres receiving lottery money for repair, rehabilitation, new projects. It is a tremendous development.

I turn to the charities. It was obvious that the charities would always be the difficult part of this exercise, because everyone has or should have their favourite charity or two, and we always think that the ones that we back or are involved with are the best causes—that is why we get involved with them.

The right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) forgot to mention that the director general, or whatever he is called, of an individual charity, has an enormous effect on its fund-raising power for the time that he is in office. Why are people employed at reasonably high salaries to run the fund-raising operations of a charity? It is because such people have a track record of raising a lot of money. Some of that salary is often based on the results they achieve. I shall refer to the Royal National Institute for the Blind in a moment.

We should not put all charities in precisely the same box—all suffering, or all benefiting. My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham pointed out earlier that the British Red Cross has increased its receipts this year. The Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund has increased its receipts. New charities spawn all the time, and in the past year I have become chairman of one new charity and gone on the board or become a trustee of two others—all unpaid, of course. Only a few days ago, I refused to become chairman of yet another charity, because they come along all the time, they always have brilliant ideas, and we are all trying for the same sources for money.

It is not surprising, therefore, that, in the story of charities as it develops, there are failures and there are successes. Many now benefit from quite a different source of money other than the lottery: gift aid, introduced by the Government. The minimum gift is £250, but for every £3 that one gives within that minimum gift of £250, the charity collects another £1 from the Inland Revenue, and—if one is a top-grade taxpayer—the donor gets 60p back. That is also an important new addition to the funds available to charities.

Of course it is a pity that the National Lottery Charities Board did not get going earlier. Many of us would have welcomed the first lottery awards going to charities from the NLCB. But surely, now that it has started, it would be a huge mistake not to allow it to operate for a year or two, but to insist on changes immediately. It would be a huge mistake to dig up the plant and look at the roots to see whether it was living or not. We must let it get on with its job, and trust that, as it gets to know its task and gain experience, it will act not only in a thoroughly responsible way, but in a way with which all of us interested in charities can be satisfied.

I have great sympathy with the communications director of the board, who I heard say on "Call Nick Ross" yesterday that enormous care had been taken in examining the 1,500 submissions received by the board, and that it had taken a great deal of trouble in how it awarded money. Obviously, those who do not get any complain, and those who do feel very satisfied. That is the way of the world.

It is important that not receiving money from the charities board or, indeed, feeling the pressure from the lottery, should not be used as an excuse, a scapegoat, for difficult decisions that charities should have taken some years ago. I refer specifically to the RNIB, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Mossley Hill, and also by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

I have a constituency interest to mention, because the RNIB has just announced that it intends to close the Sunshine House school in East Grinstead that looks after children who are not partially but totally blind.

The children who go to the home are often unable to walk, but, through intensive treatment, they are taught to walk. One parent who came to see me at my advice surgery last Friday said that, when their four-year-old daughter went there, she could not walk at all and was likely to sit on a bean bag for the rest of her life. Thanks to the equipment there, such as multi-ply standing frames and custom-built wheelchairs, she and others are slowly learning to walk. Through learning to walk, they start to communicate, play in groups and so on.

It has been mentioned twice already that the RNIB's income this year has fallen by £500,000, but that is £500,000 out of a total revenue of £42 million. It is using that as a reason for closing the Sunshine home. It has given the parents only six months' notice. It is impossible for the parents to find other appropriate schools for their children by Easter next year. It takes 18 months to have the children re-statemented—to use the official term.

The absence of lottery funds is being used as an excuse for taking a difficult decision which has been in the offing for a long time. I should like to think that the parents could persuade the RNIB to postpone the decision, and to work with them on a business plan and a means of funding the £300,000 deficit in the home. The institute could then wait to see whether, in next year's round of grants from the charities board, it got the money that it needed. There is a possibility that it will do so, and it would be a great mistake if the home was closed in a hurry.

The Millennium Commission has had its critics. It started as a piece of paper from my desk in 1990 or 1991 to No. 10 Downing street suggesting that it should be set up. I had in mind what had happened in South Kensington after the Great Exhibition, when the spare funds were used to start the building of that great collection of museums. It is enormously important that the funds should be used to build monuments or buildings that will be not only representative of our lives in the year 2000 but signposts for generations to come. In that context, I recommend to my hon. Friend the Minister of State the project at Wakehurst Place gardens, a satellite of Kew gardens, to set up a millennium seed bank.

One specimen each of all British flora and 10 per cent. of the world's flora will be collected, including many of the plants that are now threatened with extinction in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Thus, a source of flora will be created that could be of immense help to future generations. People will be able to go to Wakehurst for seeds for propagation.

That will be not only a fantastic memorial but a great help to future generations in the propagation of plants. It will also meet our commitments under the convention on biological diversity agreed at the Rio de Janeiro conference. It seems to me exactly the sort of project that the Millennium Commission should be involved with. It would be a signpost for future generations of what we are doing now, and it would look ahead to the spirit of the future. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will support it.

6.13 pm>

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I declare that I was one Opposition Member who voted for the Second Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill. I would do so again if a similar Bill came before the House. I am in favour of the lottery. It has been a success, although it has its drawbacks. I am an occasional partaker in the lottery. I do not buy a ticket on a weekly basis. When I do, if am in on a Saturday evening, I watch the results. I get a buzz out of the fact that I might just win a large sum of money. As my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) says, I am not averse to winning a few million pounds if the opportunity arises.

I believe that the odds against winning the lottery are slightly similar to those that we would get if we walked into a bookmakers and asked what odds they would give on a spaceship landing and Elvis Presley getting out. Those are the sort of odds we are talking about, but I still get a buzz. I still think that there is a chance that I will be the one who will win this week. I enjoy it. I think that a lot of people enjoy it.

I accept that there will be some problems with addiction. I also enjoy a glass of wine on a Saturday evening, often at the same time as I watch the lottery results, but I am not an alcoholic and nor are most people who enjoy a drink. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) suggested that we should get rid of the national lottery because it encouraged gambling. I am sure that he is not a prohibitionist and would not seek to ban alcohol or tobacco.

Mr. Alton

I would ban tobacco.

Mr. Maxton

There might be a case for banning tobacco, but there certainly is not for banning alcohol.

It is remarkable that the Government are in such deep trouble that, even with a success story, they still manage to come out smelling not of violets but of the reverse. Somehow, the press has picked up the story that the lottery is not a great success. It is constantly on about the failures rather than the successes of the lottery. That may be because the Government are now doomed to failure.

I read things, particularly in the Scottish press, which are entirely wrong. I notice that the leader of the Scottish National party has now disappeared. His spokesman on the lottery carped on about the large sums of money that went to the opera houses in London as if that was money of which Scotland was deprived. She does not even understand that there is a separate Scottish arts fund which has nothing to do with London or the distribution of money in England and Wales. We distribute our own money through a separate arts council. I wish that the SNP would stop that sort of carping, but it is typical of narrow-minded nationalism that is based on hatred and envy of one's neighbours rather than love of one's nation. The SNP shows that symptom on all occasions.

Scotland has its own allocation of money for arts, sports and charities. Those funds are separate from funds for England. If London was given millions of pounds more or less, it would not make a blind bit of difference to what happened in Scotland. So perhaps some of the press and the SNP should get their facts right before they make the comments that they do.

The lottery is far from perfect. I join my hon. Friends in their criticisms of the profits that Camelot has made. They are excessive. They are not the level of profits that the Government expected Camelot to make when they established the lottery. We may be gambling when we buy a lottery ticket, but no one seriously thought that Camelot was gambling when it was given the right to set up the lottery. If it was, the gamble has paid off enormously.

I tried to intervene in the speech of the Secretary of State to ask her a simple question. She was strong in her defence of the system that we have in place. If she believes that it is so right and if by some very strange mischance—I do not think that it is likely to happen—she was Secretary of State when the contract came to be renewed, would she renew it on exactly the same terms or would she reduce the profit that Camelot could take? Perhaps her deputy will answer that question when he replies to the debate.

I have reservations about the rolling over of the large prizes. I take the Secretary of State's point that when the prize is rolled over there is a 20 per cent. increase in the number of people buying lottery tickets the following week. That may be correct. I gather that that is roughly some £4 million extra, which the right hon. Lady said went to new causes. However, we could do things in a better way. Many people might buy a lottery ticket because they hope to win £27 million but many people still feel that it is wrong. Most people feel that they could get by for the rest of their lives on £9 million and do not really need £27 million. Therefore, we should look at different ways of using the roll-over.

I want to put a proposition to the House that I do not think has been put before. The first prize should not be rolled over or redistributed among the other prizewinners in that particular week. We should take the £9 million or £10 million, which is the first prize in any one week, and simply give it to the charities board for allocation to the charities. That would be simple and clear. It would require a change in the legislation, but it would be immensely popular with the British people and would solve many people's objections to the large rollover prize the following week. Far from £4 million going to the good causes, £9 million or £10 million would go to the good causes, and I should have thought that that was a good idea.

We must also change the rules on revenue and capital spend. The lottery is a bigger success than anyone thought in terms of raising money and the money that it has to give to the arts and to sport. But, as a result, we shall be building and renewing theatres, sports halls and running tracks. I holiday on the Isle of Arran which has a population of 5,500 and, believe it or not, it has been given £650,000 to build a theatre. That is great. It is wonderful. But it is a small area receiving a large sum of money. When all the capital projects have been completed, what will the money then be used for?

In Glasgow—I use Glasgow only as an example, not to suggest that Scotland is in any way being deprived—Scottish Opera is in dire financial straits and Glasgow Citizens' theatre, because of changes in local government, is facing cuts in its grant from local authorities. Strathclyde region is disappearing and it is a major contributor to the Citizens' theatre. There is no guarantee that the money given by Strathclyde region will be given by the much smaller local authorities that have been created which may well be more concerned with arts in their own areas than arts in Glasgow.

Neither of those bodies has any capital projects in mind. They do not need money for that. Scottish Opera does not want to build a new theatre and the Citizens' theatre has just completed a major overhaul and renovation without the lottery money. What they need is extra money for revenue spend—more grant for the sort of productions that they want to put on.

I accept the argument that even some of my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Opposition Front Bench have put to me, that the great danger of using such money for revenue is that the Government may say that the Scottish Arts Council or the Arts Council for England do not need any Government grant and can just take funds straight from the lottery. That involves the great risk that if the lottery started to lose money it would not be able to supply the funds.

I hope that we shall have a change of Government in the near future. The Secretary of State may not give a guarantee that that would never happen, because Tories are a bit like that, but my Front Bench can give me a guarantee that if a Labour Government were in power they would not do that.

However, we should also consider how organisations could acquire specific money for specific revenue projects. For instance, if Scottish Opera wanted to do an international tour and needed money for that, perhaps it should be able to go to the lottery fund for a specific grant for that purpose. Or perhaps it could obtain specific grants for the training of its orchestra. That would remove the worry about a general grant.

In sport, I want to see the United Kingdom, its component parts and the British team, enjoying great success. One way in which we encourage more sport in Britain is by building and providing more facilities for our youngsters. But that is not enough. We need good coaches. We need to be able to tell good youngsters coming up that they will be given proper coaching and that they will have an income that will enable them to survive while they are learning to be top sportsmen. The lottery fund should be used for those purposes as well. Those are only some of the ideas that must be considered with regard to the lottery.

I finish as I started. There are criticisms to be made of the lottery, but in the main it has provided valuable income for the arts, sports and some charities, although I accept that there are problems there. I voted for the Bill on Second Reading and I would do the same again.

6.16 pm
Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) who made a notable contribution to today's debate, as he does to the Select Committee on National Heritage on which I serve with him. He makes a regular and sound contribution to the work of that Committee.

I want to return later to the hon. Gentleman's point about Camelot's profits at the beginning of his speech, but towards the end of his speech he mentioned the training of orchestras. I should declare an interest as a member of the council of the Association of British Orchestras, which has recently received an Arts Council national lottery grant of £22,000 which will be useful to the association in its promotion of the work of British orchestras.

That is just a small illustration of the lottery's tremendous success and the grants that it has been making. I am particularly glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke) has returned to the Chamber because it was he who masterminded the introduction of the lottery, the placing of the Bill before the House and the setting of its course. I know that neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State who took office about three months ago, nor my hon. Friend the Minister of State will mind my saying that. It really has, in the words of the Government's amendment, been a "huge success". It has exceeded all expectations.

I can remember my right hon. Friend the Member for two cities saying, when the Bill was before us, that he anticipated that the yield for good causes would be, on a cautious estimate, £400 million a year—£80 million for each of the five sets of good causes. We are not far short of three times that yield.

When we debated the national lottery in December 1994, we were told that the weekly average for good causes would be £12 million, which would have amounted to about £600 million a year or £120 million for each of the sets of good causes. The latest figure that we have been given is £1,100 million for about 10.5 or 11 months and it looks as though it will be £1.2 billion over the 12 months, which will produce upwards of £200 million for each of the sets of good causes, and perhaps more like £220 million or £230 million in a complete year. That is a tremendous success and it is a great pity that anyone should want to disparage it.

Nearly 30 million people in the over-16 age group who are entitled to play the lottery do so each week, which is about 68 per cent. of the population. Without doubt, it gives widespread pleasure to those who participate and a substantial yield in tax to the Government—at least £500 million a year in direct tax and another considerable sum from the corporation tax levied on Camelot, quite apart from what it throws up in value added tax and the income tax paid by those who work for the lottery. We are approaching a figure of £600 million, which is not far short of 0.5p in the pound on income tax—a worthwhile return to the Government, at which no one should sneer. The lottery can provide a significant contribution to the funds that the Government have to spend on education, health, pensions and so forth. It really is a brilliant national achievement.

The Opposition know perfectly well that the lottery has produced massive new support for the arts, sports and heritage and for the millennium fund and the caring charities. They also know perfectly well that it has produced a big tax yield, that it is highly popular and that it gives pleasure to a great many people. The Opposition also know that we would have had to introduce a national lottery because if we had not done so, under European Union law, continental countries could have sold their lottery tickets in Britain and siphoned money off to continental good causes—money that should have gone to good causes in Britain.

Mr. Tony Banks

May I take the hon. Gentleman back a couple of sentences? Why should the Government get a tax yield from the national lottery? It then becomes a form of taxation.

Mr. Jessel

Because the national lottery undoubtedly takes some money away from the football pools, on which the profits went to the Government. If the lottery had not yielded any tax, revenue to the Government would have been lost. It had to be done, therefore, and it was right that it was done.

The Labour and Liberal parties know that people like the national lottery, so they do not want to attack it in principle—except for the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton), who is always serious, earnest and sincere in his approach, although I could not accept his failure to reply when challenged about the moral issues he raised. He said that the lottery is immoral because people bet on it and so it reduces the income of poor families. When challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) as to the difference between the lottery and betting on horse racing and football pools, which are very popular in Liverpool, the hon. Gentleman was able to say only that those are provided by private enterprise, but the national lottery is provided by the Government, which seems to make no difference.

Mr. Alton

The hon. Gentleman has distorted what I said. First, I did not use the word immoral. I made it clear that I am not against gambling per se. I objected to the fact that the state is involved in a national lottery, takes substantial amounts out of it and, in the process, is destroying things like the football pools. The hon. Gentleman must be well aware that many jobs have been lost at Littlewoods, Zetters and Vernons and more will follow.

Mr. Jessel

So, the hon. Gentleman accepts or tolerates the football pools, but that form of betting and betting on horses and dogs is more likely to involve a heavy wager, which can bite substantially into the weekly or monthly wage of someone who might not earn very much, than the purchase of a lottery ticket. Very few people bet heavy sums each week on the lottery because it entails filling out many forms and most people cannot be bothered. If one is trying to protect the welfare of families, one ought to welcome any transfer of betting away from the heavier wagers that are likely on horse racing and football pools.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) mentioned jobs and some may well have been lost in Liverpool, but think of the jobs that have been saved in village shops. The lottery has been the salvation of many of those and has provided an enormous number of new jobs, which are spread throughout the country—the others are only in one city.

Mr. Jessel

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Village shops, small shops and corner shops in outer London areas, such as my constituency, are a central part of local community life. People like to go into small shops, not only to purchase their lottery tickets, but to have a chat. They are part of the fabric of local social life, which is good, healthy and sound. Hon. Members on both sides of the House should welcome that.

The hon. Member for Cathcart mentioned Camelot and its profits. Historically, Opposition Members have tended to find the very notion of profit somewhat offensive. Hon. Members shake their heads, but a large proportion of Opposition Members dislike the idea of profits. We are told that, apart from the 12 per cent. going in tax, upwards of 50 per cent. going in lottery prizes and 30 per cent. going to good causes, 5 per cent. goes to Camelot. Two thirds or three quarters of that goes on operating costs, such as printing tickets, paying commission to small shopkeepers and on the promotional side. The remaining quarter of the 5 per cent.—or one eightieth of the turnover—is profit.

I believe that Camelot is running the lottery efficiently. If it is not, the contract will not be renewed at the end of the seven years. If it is running it efficiently, which it shows every sign of doing so far, how can it be in conflict with the public interest for one eightieth of the turnover to go in profit to that company, especially when that is subject to corporation tax, which again is a tax yield to the Government? We should welcome the fact that such a tiny fraction of the entire turnover is going to an organisation that is probably running the lottery very efficiently indeed. We should accept the American doctrine that, "If it ain't bust, don't fix it".

I have met very few members of the general public who really mind about Camelot's profits. It is much more Labour Members and some of the media who are trying to create a news story out of it. Stories come and go. I remember that when the lottery was introduced last winter, there was a great deal in the media about the privacy of winners and whether they were entitled to keep their winnings private. There were some lapses of privacy and Labour Members were jumping up down in indignation about it. People have half forgotten that now; it is hardly ever referred to these days. I think that the same will happen with the story about Camelot profits.

The vast majority of those people who participate in the lottery are concerned mainly about their chances of getting a winning ticket and a large win. Admittedly, the churches have been saying that people have fantasies about winning but I believe that people get pleasure from those fantasies. I certainly do. Some people do win, so they are not fantasies

Mr. Tony Banks

What other fantasies does the hon. Gentleman have?

Mr. Jessel

They are my own. I am prepared to talk about my fantasies about winning the national lottery but not about any others.

The other thing that Labour Members seem to have got excited about is distribution. Another look needs to be taken at the way in which the charities section is working. I rather agreed with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), who thought that more of the charities money ought to go to the great, established charities and less to small charities. There are about 1 million charities in the country. I happen to be a trustee of three small ones. They go on and on and seldom get wound up. A lot of them are much better than others.

I remember that some years ago, I was asked by a friend to subscribe to a charity for the deaf. I sent a small amount to it but the charity was unwise enough to send me a copy of its annual report, which I happened to look through and saw that 55 per cent. was spent on administrative costs and only 45 per cent. on the deaf. So I stopped sending it money and sent a small sum the following year to something else instead.

It is a fact of life that not all charities are anywhere near equally efficient; they go up and down like other forms of enterprise and activity. Not all charities are equally meritorious. I hope that the National Lottery Charities Board, in dealing with lottery money, will be critical to the point of ruthlessness in following up the grants that it gives to make sure that they are well spent.

I warmly welcome the sums that have been provided for the arts. The so-called flagship arts bodies receive money because they affect the general standards of the arts. Standards percolate down from the great arts bodies—the great opera houses, orchestras, ballets, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. That being so, one must expect funding for the live arts to be concentrated in the large centres of population because, almost by definition, performances in theatres, concert halls or opera houses have to be before a large number of people. Therefore people have to be bunched under the roof where the performances take place. Those grants are bound to be centred on large cities. If people do not live in cities or towns they will have to make a journey to go to such performances. People should expect that; it is entirely reasonable. Grants to other sections, such as charities, sports and heritage, can be spread geographically around the country more evenly than grants for the larger arts can be.

I hope the lottery goes from strength to strength. It is a tremendous feather in the cap of the Government to have brought it in. It is a brilliant national achievement. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Mossley Hill would not come off the fence and tell us whether he was in favour of it or whether his party was in favour of it because I think that the public are entitled to know. It seemed as if he was, on balance, rather against it. I hope that the whole House will vote with the Government tonight and make sure that the lottery goes on.

6.44 pm
Mr. George Galloway (Glasgow, Hillhead)

The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) is a gifted parliamentarian and a highly intelligent man. I therefore find it difficult to believe that he cannot follow the point of view of some of us that there is something inherently wrong about the Government—the state—encouraging and organising gambling. I cannot believe that he does not understand the difference between that and private citizens choosing of their own volition to have a flutter on a horse or the football pools.

The argument that the state's involvement is justified by the ebullient tax yield that results is extraordinary. Even the most rapacious free marketeers among Conservative Members would not argue that the state should encourage or organise the smoking of cigarettes or the drinking of alcohol on the basis that large sums of tax would thereby be yielded to the Exchequer. Whether or not they accept that argument, it is incumbent on Conservative Members to acknowledge that there are a considerable number of people, and I am one, who are distinctly uneasy about the state encouraging gambling, just as we would be about the state encouraging smoking or drinking.

It is a measure of what the Tory party has become, and of its garagiste mentality, that we heard earlier—not from the hon. Member for Twickenham, for no musician as distinguished as he could be called a garagiste—two Conservative Members sneering at the churches' views on gambling and the misery that it causes to a significant number of people. I thought that that was telling. The Conservative party should know that there are a significant number of people who agree with the churches' expression of unease, to put it no higher, on the issue.

I have listened to speakers on both sides of the House and been amazed at the poverty of the social lives of some hon. Members. Perhaps I have a much more exciting life than many hon. Members. I see that Conservative Members seem to agree with that. The idea that one could spend one's Saturday evening huddled around a television set getting a buzz from watching one of the most asinine, banal television programmes ever is ridiculous.

I watched the first programme and wrote about it. It was possibly the most ghastly televisual experience that I have had. The idea that one would stay in on a Saturday night—instead, perhaps, of going to the theatre—to discover whether, on a 14 million to 1 chance, one had become rich seems extraordinary.

The Minister suggested that sad little newsagents, with their boards outside, had taken the place of the local pub or hostelry as a focal point of community involvement. How anyone could compare sitting with friends in a pub in a warm, communal atmosphere, enjoying a Saturday night, with standing in the corner of a newsagents store filling in numbers and crossing one's fingers in the hope of becoming rich as a result is beyond me. I am sorry to say that that shows the poverty of imagination of many hon. Members.

The hon. Member for Twickenham confessed to having fantasies about winning the lottery. My fantasies are a lot more enjoyable and colourful than that. I can only sympathise with anyone whose life has begun to revolve around this rather sad little gambling addiction that is growing in the country. That is my essential point. I do not believe that gambling is fun. The fact that many people do it does not mean that it is fun.

People gamble for two reasons. They gamble to try to escape from desperate financial circumstances at a stroke, so that in one bound they may be free. If I may briefly make a party political point, there have been far more people like that over the past 16 or 17 years. They also gamble out of greed—the greed fostered by the philosophy of the Conservative party during those years, which involves knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. It is the "get rich quick" mentality that equates human happiness with the acquisition of pound notes and other material things.

Conservative Members sneered at the possibility that people who became rich from gambling might eventually become miserable, but a considerable body of evidence, from Viv Nicholson—as in "spend, spend, spend"—onwards suggests that those whose lives revolve around the wish, the hope, the prayer, the fantasy that they will become rich are likely to be disappointed when they do become rich, and will be no happier as a result.

Mr. Stephen Day (Cheadle)

What the hon. Gentleman says may well be true, but surely it is a matter of personal decision. Let the people choose whether to do it.

Mr. Galloway

That is a legitimate point. I am not arguing for the abolition of the lottery; I voted against it and would do so again, but I must accept that it is here. If it were to be done, `twere better that it be done well. The hon. Gentleman, however, has missed my essential point. He has spoken of the freedom of the individual, but there is a profound difference between people choosing to have a flutter and the state actively encouraging and organising gambling.

If, as I contend, gambling is a drug, the scratchcard could be described as the crack cocaine of the lottery business. Forty per cent. of the lottery yield comes from the card. Notwithstanding some of the statistics that were bandied about earlier, which I consider questionable, anecdotal evidence—backed up by many who have written about the subject—suggests that the scratchcard is bought by the poorest and most desperate people who engage in gambling. A good deal of evidence tells us that the poorest newsagents on the poorest housing estates in the poorest cities draw a huge proportion of their weekly take from the proceeds of scratchcards sold to the poorest people.

I confess that I do not know when the scratchcard provisions were passed by the House. I should, but I do not. They may have been part of the original Bill. In any event, I feel that the House should have paid more attention to the issue at the time, and should pay attention to it even at this late stage.

Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North)

I am enjoying my hon. Friend's speech, although I do not agree with part of his main premise. I am, however, inclined to agree with what he says about the scratchcard—not merely on the basis of anecdotal evidence. Scratchcards are normally purchased when people visit the newsagent or grocer, and the fact is that people visit the grocer more often when their incomes decrease. People who are buying small amounts every day are much more liable to buy the card every day, paying for it out of an income that is already low, than those who buy their groceries at the end of the week or month. To that extent, the scratchcard is a separate issue from the national lottery.

Mr. Galloway

As always, my hon. Friend has made a good point—better, I suspect, than I was making it myself. The scratchcard is indeed a separate issue, and I hope that the Government will listen to those who hold that view.

The scratchcard has, to a large extent, become a tax on the poor. Others have spoken of the use to which the "good causes" money is being put. It is easy to argue that the tax on the poor constituted by the daily purchase of a scratchcard by a poor person on a poor estate from a small newsagent in a poor city helps the contribution to, for instance, the Churchill papers and the Royal Opera house; but such a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the much better heeled should make even Conservative Members sit up and take notice. I believe that the "crack cocaine" effect of the scratchcard—a quick hit, and the hope of an escape from what are probably dismal personal circumstances—marks a profound coarsening and brutalising of our national life.

As I have said, there is no going back; we are not going to abolish the lottery. I therefore think it important for people to argue constructively—as all hon. Members have today—about possible changes to the regime. I see no contradiction in that. It was suggested earlier that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) had contradicted himself by arguing about the distribution of proceeds, but I consider that a utopian point of view. I was against the lottery, but I think that I am entitled to have views about how the money is distributed.

The distribution of that money is now a matter of national debate. The amounts involved are badly skewed. I cannot imagine how a jackpot of £1 million is not enough for anyone: I do not believe that anyone needs more than £1 million to enjoy even my life style—although some Conservative Members have gone through their millions. A cap of £1 million on the top prize would be a popular move. For those of a gambling bent, £1 million would be a prize well worth winning; I do not think that people would stop buying lottery tickets because they could no longer win £7 million or £8 million.

Some would argue that the balance should be redistributed among smaller prizewinners, but I do not agree. Much more should be given to the charities that have suffered. There is much statistical evidence to prove that the total yield of charitable giving has fallen by £300 million. The reason for that is obvious. First, people have less spare cash to give, because they are spending it on the lottery; secondly, they have been seduced into believing that by buying lottery tickets they are discharging their charitable responsibilities.

Mr. Tony Banks

Does my hon. Friend think it appropriate for him to comment on how the funds are to be distributed? He will merely express his own feelings. Would it not be far better to let people who are spending their own money decide where that money is to go?

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (Colchester, North)

If the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) accepts his hon. Friend's suggestion, Glasgow may not receive so many lottery grants.

Mr. Galloway

There are many lottery grants in Glasgow—but not as many as there are in London, and not as many as were given to a single member of the Conservative party who, perhaps judiciously, is not present this evening. I do not consider the hon. Gentleman's intervention a serious one, and I do not consider myself to be disqualified from expressing an opinion about how the lottery—if we are to have it—should be organised.

I believe that far more of the total take should be given to charities. There is widespread agreement about that. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks), I do not think that the Government have any real right to take a tax yield from the proceeds: that strikes me as a contradiction in their position, especially as they are likely to use that yield to give tax cuts to rich people—as they have for the past 17 years—in a vulgar attempt to win votes and hold seats in the general election.

Mr. Jessel

Do the Government have the right to take a tax cut from the proceeds of football pools?

Mr. Galloway

They obviously do. I have already argued the difference, in principle, that exists between gambling per se and state-organised and state-encouraged gambling. However, I shall move on, because I have already detained the House, to some quick arguments.

I do not believe the Government should take a tax yield. The prizes should be capped at £1 million and the money should be given to the charities.

Obviously, there is something wrong with the decisions that are being made about the distribution of the money for good causes. I hope that hon. Members accept that I am by no means a Philistine, but I really do not think that Conservative Members have fully comprehended the national outrage at the many millions of pounds going to rarefied institutions in London which they will never travel to visit, whose portals they cannot afford to enter and which, in any case, often exude an ambience that they feel excludes them. Conservative Members are making a mistake if they do not comprehend people's feelings about that.

It is an extraordinary notion that Eton college can be described as a good cause worthy of the distribution of good cause money.

I shall close on a subject that I mentioned earlier. Most people are astounded by the very idea that £12 million should be given to an hon. Member of the House for papers. Most people in the country believed that they owned those papers already. There is also an overwhelming belief that the person whose papers they were, the most distinguished parliamentarian ever to sit in this building, is probably turning in his grave at the idea that his less distinguished grandson might have made off with such a bonanza.

Mr. Jenkin

The argument that the hon. Gentleman has just made emphasises his misunderstanding, not only of the national lottery but of the country's history. If there is one person who would be absolutely delighted that his own writings were making some money for his family, it is the former Member for Woodford, Winston Churchill. He spent his entire life scraping together his living by writing. He would have been delighted that his family had made something out of it at the end of it. There is no doubt that his family had the right to the copyright of those papers, and that they were entitled to sell them to the highest bidder.

Mr. Galloway

I have a very much higher opinion of the late Winston Churchill than does the hon. Gentleman. He was a man who spent his entire life working to earn his own living and certainly did not sit back, haggling over the papers of a grandfather in order to make off with the riches. Perhaps the hon. Member for Davyhulme (Mr. Churchill) is not in his place tonight because he is cruising in the Caribbean, or elsewhere, on the public money that was given to him for those papers.

To some extent that is a sidetrack, except that I should say that, despite what Conservative Members say, in their self-congratulatory back slapping this evening over what a great success this has all been, there is national unease about the notion in the first place, there is much greater national unease about the distribution of the cake and there is a great deal of unease—I believe in the House as well as in the country—about the way in which the lottery will go from here. I hope that Ministers and the Government will take note of many of the suggestions that have been made this evening.

7.3 pm

Mr. Gyles Brandreth (City of Chester)

May I begin by setting the record straight? Eton college was not a recipient of an award. It was a partner in a scheme to build an athletics track on land donated by the college. The main beneficiaries of the award that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) mentioned are Windsor, Slough and Eton Athletics club and members of the local community, including disabled people and children's voluntary groups. It is important to set the record straight.

The hon. Member for Hillhead referred to the national lottery as a "sad little" enterprise. I believe that I am right in saying that he comes from Glasgow. I wonder whether the Young Men's Christian Association in Glasgow resents the sad little enterprise that has just awarded it £37,000. I wonder whether the East End Leisure Centre in Glasgow regards the lottery as a sad little enterprise when it has awarded it £280,000. Glasgow Academical Club has received £15,000, Glasgow Museums has received about £83,000, the university of Glasgow has received about £900,000 and the Glasgow Film Theatre has received more than £750,000.

Mr. Galloway

Read your own speech.

Mr. Brandreth

I am correcting the hon. Gentleman's speech, in the pursuit of accuracy and information. Obviously he does not want his constituents to know what the national lottery is bringing to Glasgow, and they deserve to be told that he would have denied Glasgow the bounty that it is receiving.

Scotland,' with 8.9 per cent. of the country's population, has received about 15 per cent. of the grants awarded to date. In addition to all the munificence that I have mentioned—and I have mentioned only a fraction of what is going to Glasgow for the arts, sports and heritage—there has been about £17.5 million from the charities board.

I am delighted to be making what will be quite a brief contribution to tonight's debate to salute the outstanding success of Britain's national lottery. Unlike my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), I was a little disappointed by the speech of the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham). I felt that it was uncharacteristically sour and grudging. He gave the impression of having had a disappointing week, which surprised me because I should have thought that to be invited to speak on heritage matters is to have won the first prize in the lottery of life.

I certainly know that that is how my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State feels. She must be feeling good, not only because she is now in harness with the Minister of State, one of the finest members of any Government in the history of parliamentary democracy— [Interruption.]—there are times when nothing but hyperbole will do—but because she presides over what is a national and international triumph.

The national lottery provides an unprecedented boost to the quality of life in the United Kingdom and generates wonderful new funding for important good causes. Greatly in excess of £1 billion has been raised for those good causes in the lottery's first year.

It is the most efficient lottery in the world. No other lottery has raised so much for so many good causes from start-up in such a short time. That is a national success but, as always, all that Opposition Members can do is carp, complain and talk the nation down.

Mr. Tony Banks

Heaven forfend; I would never do anything like that.

Has the hon. Gentleman any idea why that should be so? The lottery is very much like other lotteries throughout the world. Why have we become so obsessed by the lottery? What does it tell us about the people of the country?

Mr. Brandreth

It tells us that they enjoy a good flutter and enjoy supporting good causes. It tells how well the national lottery has been managed and how successful it is. The distributing organisations have already made about 2,111 awards to the five good causes, totalling hundreds of millions of pounds. All we have heard today is carping about the way in which those distributor organisations have undertaken their work.

Those organisations have done rather a good job under trying circumstances and under close and critical scrutiny from the press. Believe it or not, the members of the distributing bodies are not paid. They are volunteers, some of whom receive expenses. They act out of the goodness of their heart to ensure that money is spread fairly across the country and is seen to support worthwhile causes. That is good news.

Following Opposition Members' carping criticism of those volunteers, I marvel that anyone is prepared to give public service in this country. Their criticism is very disappointing.

Every area in the United Kingdom has benefited from the lottery. Scotland, as I mentioned a moment ago, with 8.9 per cent. of the population has received nearly 15 per cent. of the awards.

Mr. Tony Banks

The hon. Gentleman has said that already.

Mr. Brandreth

Indeed, because I can hardly believe it. Coming from the north-west, I am a little resentful. Wales, with 5 per cent. of the population, has received about 10 per cent. of the awards and Northern Ireland, with 2 per cent. of the population, has received more than 6.5 per cent. I welcome that, but I hope that in the fulness of time the distribution of awards will become more even—except in the north-west, which naturally deserves the most.

Mr. Jenkin

What about Essex?

Mr. Brandreth

Essex can look after itself.

More than 200 million individual prizes have been won—just think about that. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) and other Opposition Members seemed to resent the idea of the big prizes. I have to tell you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I like the idea. "Who wants to be millionaire?" I do. Candidly, I believe that I could cope. When I win the big prize, I shall send you a post card from Hawaii, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to inform you of how well I am coping. You may come out and give me counselling to ease me through the difficult transition from my current position.

The approach of the Liberal Democrats was wonderfully patronising and sanctimonious. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"] They are out eating humble pie. "Oh," they say, "the little people cannot cope with those big prizes". I am reminded of the fact that I number among my many marvellous constituents His Grace the Duke of Westminster, who has in many instances won first prize in the lottery of life. He is a young man who seems able to cope very well with his great wealth, and he is very generous with it. Opposition Members appear to feel that the toffs can be allowed to manage their money, but the little people cannot. I must say that I resent that patronising approach.

My other constituents include the parents of the deputy Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott). I know these people, and many good things have come from Chester. That was why I backed the deputy leader so assiduously for the leadership of the Labour party and, given time, he may make it. When the party divides following the next election, the right hon. Gentleman may be able to run the rump. The point that I am trying to make is that Opposition Members would deny Mr. Prescott senior and Mrs. Prescott the opportunity to spend a large sum of money, while allowing my other constituent the Duke of Westminster to spend his money.

That attitude is patronising and sanctimonious, and it is not in the interests of the good causes. The roll-over means that if the main prize is not won in any given week, the prize is "rolled over" to make a significantly larger amount. The roll-over prize increases the number of lottery tickets sold by between 20 and 25 per cent. on average. Ultimately, with the roll-over and the bigger prizes, more money will be raised for the good causes. That is more good news, and it is no wonder that Opposition Members are so agin it.

The right hon. Member for Copeland made a number of charges and criticisms, and he clearly loathes the notion of profit. He cannot cope with success, but then he has not had the option this week. But it is sad and sorry, because the right hon. Gentleman is proposing a non-profit-making lottery. There were a couple of splutterings of policy from the Opposition—it has been a surprising debate in many ways—one of which was that Labour would make the lottery a non-profit-making operation. A less efficient lottery that raised less money for the good causes would be all right by the right hon. Gentleman, so long as it was non-profit-making.

I want the lottery to be a success, and I want it to raise money for the good causes. I think that a company that does well deserves its success and deserves its profit.

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)

My hon. Friend and I served on the Committee that examined the National Lottery etc. Bill with other hon. Members present in the Chamber. He will recall that we went into great detail on the profitability of the company operating the lottery. Looking around the world—as the Department of National Heritage did—we saw that non-profitable or charitable lotteries simply did not work. People did not buy the tickets and there were no beneficiaries.

Mr. Brandreth

My hon. Friend speaks true from his experience.

The National Audit Office endorsed Camelot's selection, and considered it to be the operator that would retain the least in costs and would provide the most for the good causes. A recently published report by Oflot—the independent regulator—confirmed that the lottery is well run. The amount of revenue retained by Camelot to cover operating costs and profits—5 per cent. of gross revenue over a seven-year period—was the lowest of the eight applicants for the section 5 licence.

Camelot's application maximised the return for the good causes and, of course, as revenue rises, so does the percentage that goes to the good causes. To be fair, Camelot has also invested heavily in the lottery. It installed 10,000 retail terminals for the launch at operational centres in Rickmansworth and Aintree, and the company recruited 300 staff. The lottery is good news, and it deserves success. Long may it flourish.

The right hon. Member for Copeland expressed a lot of concern about charities, and he was right to do so, but research shows that charities increase their incomes when lotteries are in operation. An independent report by a group of consultants showed that most Irish charities have increased their incomes by around 19 per cent. in real terms since the inception of the Irish lottery, while the top 20 charities increased their incomes by 30 per cent. in real terms. Inevitably, the charities market is like any other market—it will change, develop and respond to new products.

A few years ago, fundraising through television began with events such as Live Aid, and charities thought that those events would do them infinite damage. But that did not prove to be so. As the charity world evolves, people will respond to the different challenges that face them. It is too early to make a realistic assessment of the effect of the national lottery on charities, but I am pleased that the Home Office intends to monitor the matter.

Recent research conducted by MORI for the Comic Relief charity showed that only 2 per cent. of those polled claimed to have reduced their charitable donations because of the national lottery. Most people know that when they buy a lottery ticket, they are having an enjoyable flutter while helping some worthwhile causes. Most people I know who give seriously to charity continue to do so, and it is a voluntary endeavour. Some people claim to have increased their donations since the advent of the lottery. That does not surprise me, because the oxygen of publicity that the good causes have been given will have increased public awareness of what they are doing and of the contributions they make to the infrastructure of the United Kingdom.

One or two hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), pointed out that a number of the caring charities—notably Cancer Research and the Red Cross—reported a substantial increase in income since the national lottery was launched.

This morning, we debated the contribution of volunteers to our society. I am pleased at the number of voluntary organisations that will benefit directly from the lottery—a lottery that Opposition Members said they would again vote against if they were given the opportunity. Opposition Front Benchers have carped at, criticised and poured cold water on the lottery, but a wonderful range of volunteer organisations in my part of the world have benefited from it. Age Concern is one of those, and has received a number of impressive grants totalling more than £100,000. Allerdale Disability Association received more than £44,000, Victim Support received £44,000, the citizens advice bureau received almost £100,000, and Campus Children's Holidays, a parents' support group, and Crewe Womens Aid received assistance also. That is very good news.

Mr. Tony Banks

Yes, but they are people in the hon. Gentleman's area and not in mine.

Mr. Brandreth

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman and I could have a job share arrangement and I could come and help him out. Perhaps the good news in Chester—the epicentre of all that is best in this country—could be sprinkled about in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, wherever that may be. I am sure that it is quite nice in its own way.

I shall list some recipient organisations, not simply because I want to celebrate the lottery, but because I want it known that, contrary to what we read in the press or what we hear from the rumour machine, worthwhile causes are being supported in the north-west. Liverpool Mencap has received £146,256—the hon. Member for Mossley Hill did not mention that—and the Liverpool Voluntary Society for the Blind received some £24,000. The list is impressive, but I shall not detain the House by continuing it tonight. A couple of million pounds has been allocated to the north-west: good money has gone to good causes and this great lottery has made it all possible.

The lottery aimed to provide additional investment in the nation's cultural, sporting, heritage and charitable infrastructure—and it is doing exactly that. I believe that in future we shall want to find ways of developing the lottery in order to achieve even broader aims. The Sports Council has explored interesting ways of using lottery funds to encourage excellence in sport.

I am reminded of the triumph of the Minister of State and the Prime Minister in releasing the publication entitled "Sport—Raising the Game". That will give British sport its biggest boost for decades. It sets out the broader framework for Government policy on sport and emphasises the ways in which we can maximise sporting opportunities for young people within and outside formal education. It also proposes the establishment of a British academy of sport for our top athletes, which would be funded by the national lottery.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will use that initiative as a model to be explored in the arts field as well. Just as our country's sporting infrastructure comprises our sports men and women as well as our sporting facilities, our cultural infrastructure comprises not only the range of theatres, opera houses and venues for ballet and the enjoyment of the arts, but also the artists themselves.

We must develop excellence in our young dancers, actors and musicians. There is no doubt that, if we wish to remain world competitive in the artistic sphere, we must give every opportunity to the brilliant young talent in this country. I look forward to exploring all sorts of initiatives, perhaps including the establishment of endowment funds using lottery money. Such funds could be developed over a number of years, and it is only one idea that I hope that the Secretary of State and her Minister will consider.

I was delighted to hear the Secretary of State give the lie to the claim that libraries are ineligible for lottery funds. It is interesting how that sort of rumour escapes into the ether and is believed by our constituents. I am a library enthusiast and, as such, I am among that half of the population who use libraries. Consumer surveys consistently show them to be among the most popular of all public services. United Kingdom public libraries issue more than 550 million books each year—that is almost 10 for every man, woman and child. It is estimated that 24 million men and women of all ages and backgrounds use public libraries each year.

The Department is undertaking a comprehensive review of the future role of public libraries in meeting community needs and in responding to new, exciting technological developments. That could have implications for the national lottery. I was delighted to hear the Secretary of State make such a firm commitment to the principle of a free core library service. That is very important, because our literary heritage is a vital component of our cultural heritage.

The national lottery is simply a triumph. It has enormous potential to assist good causes in my constituency, such as playing fields, sports clubs and youth groups. I am very excited when I think about what the Gateway theatre, the Chester in concert project and what our great cathedral may receive. Tonight I do not simply decry the whingeing, carping, negative and disappointing approach adopted by Opposition Members: I celebrate the success of our lottery and the success of the good causes. I also celebrate the success of the Minister of State.

Mr. Galloway

Stop crawling, for goodness sake. It is making me sick.

Mr. Brandreth

I will not. I celebrate also the sensational success of the Secretary of State. We have such good news that we cannot resist the temptation to celebrate; we are happy.

7.26 pm
Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford, South)

The contribution by the hon. Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth) was outrageous because of the way in which he addressed the issues that genuinely concern many of our constituents. Most Labour Members do not wish to condemn the national lottery: we simply want to review the working of the lottery in the light of experience. That is what the Labour party motion says.

We accept that the national lottery is established. We can understand why Conservative Members wish to shout from the rooftops about having one successful policy in 16 years—what a record. The stated objective of the national lottery is to benefit every man, woman and child in Britain by creating funds for good causes. The heart of the question today is whether the lottery is meeting its objective. Based on the evidence that has been presented in today's informed debate, I maintain that it is not.

Gameshow Government has been with us for many years. "Competition" is a key word in Tory ideology. Competitions in local government, such as city challenge and compulsory tendering procedures, have created winners and losers. Winning and losing should not form the basis of policies to improve the decaying structures and framework of our society. If something is in need of repair, it must be mended before it is damaged permanently—and the lottery is in urgent need of repair.

Our nation has always enjoyed a flutter. That is evident on big sporting occasions, such as the running of the Derby and the grand national, and nearly everyone has a dream of winning the pools. People will always cling to the dream of winning the big prize, so it does not surprise me that the lottery has taken off on that basis. But is it really in our national interest to develop a culture that relies on the "big win"?

In a letter to me dated 30 March, the sports Minister said that the Government believe that the national lottery is a harmless form of entertainment at the softest end of the gambling spectrum. Like other hon. Members, I am concerned that those people who buy weekly lottery tickets are now being encouraged to buy instant scratchcards also. The Home Office has described scratchcards as "hard gambling" because they allow people to chase their losses on the spot. We must pay attention and take great care to ensure that the vulnerable are not exploited. I think that we may live to regret the decision to increase the number of scratchcard licences.

I have often tried to find out where spending on weekly lottery tickets is concentrated on a geographical basis. I believe that in areas such as my constituency, people who cannot afford it are buying those tickets. They do it in the futile hope that somehow., miraculously, they will become winners. I am told that the figures are not available in detail because of commercial considerations.

I agree with the Council of Churches that there should be a gambling research centre to look at gambling trends and the impact of gambling on community life. Some 16 years of individualism has left its mark on our society. The get-rich-quick philosophy underlies the reality of the world in which people have to live and the Government cannot and should not be allowed to let the lottery develop in isolation. It has an effect on all aspects of community life.

Nobody forecast that the lottery would have been so financially successful. The profits alone are in real need of greater scrutiny. As we have heard, 30 million players take part in the lottery each week and there is an average spend of £2 a week on scratchcards. That has produced for Camelot profits of more than £300 million on an investment of only £50 million in the first year. That again shows how the regulators have got it wrong.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) spoke about computer terminals. The operators told Oflot that, as part of the operation, 24,300 terminals would have to be in by the end of 1996. Camelot put them in within months of being awarded the contract. Profit should be related not to turnover but to the capital that is employed, because that is what is meant by risk.

The Government made a clear statement when they chose to award the contract to Camelot. Britain is the only country in Europe to have a private lottery run for profit and one that links profit to turnover as opposed to profit to capital employed. The lottery is a licence to print money. An efficient non-profit-making operator distributor would have raised more money for good causes. We have heard how charities have been affected by the lottery and, as the right hon. and learned Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) said, it would have been more sensible to compensate at local and national level those charities which could easily prove that they have been financially affected by the lottery. That would be fair and reasonable.

As the House has heard, many charities contribute effectively to the lives of our communities and they should not have to apply through a bidding process that means that they have to be re-evaluated. That is an insult to many of our leading charities. The charities board which distributes lottery funds has an advantage over the other four boards. It has the opportunity to consider capital and revenue projects and does not require matching funding. However, the disadvantage of all the boards is that there is no overall strategy for co-ordinating bids. There is no discussion: each board welcomes individual bids, each has its own application form and there is no requirement for local discussions with bodies such as local authorities on matters such as planning or community issues.

Unnecessary bureaucracy is developing in the analysis of the bids. That is regrettable because it means that money is not going where it should go. The Sports Council is presently considering the siting of a new national stadium. Bids were invited and came in from many areas, including Bradford. I understand that the rules of the game have been changed because those bodies have no accountability to Parliament or to anybody else. There have been regional variations in distribution which outrageously favour the south, to the detriment of the north.

There is no point in reading out lists of grants that have been received. While it is good in itself that individual bodies have received the grants, that must be seen not in isolation but in the context of what is available overall.

In my area of Bradford, we receive from the Arts Council board 33p per head compared with £2.66 nationally. That is grossly unfair and the public have been rightly annoyed by the sizeable and extreme grants that have been given to projects from which the majority of people do not always benefit. We have heard about the outrageous £14 million for the Churchill papers and the £55 million for the Royal Opera House. Such grants have incited people to oppose some of the happenings within the lottery.

Everybody wants the dispersal of funds from the lottery to be equitable and to be prioritised to meet real social need. In an area such as mine, which has high unemployment and social need, people want a fair distribution and do not want making bids left to those who know how to go round the circuit. If the boards are to continue, they must look at what is needed in particular areas and do so on a structured basis. It cannot be left to a system under which the regular winners continue to win and the losers continue to lose.

The lottery has been going for several months and we must try to look at it as it proceeds. When concerns are highlighted, we must do something about them and not merely review matters in seven years, at the end of the contract. [Interruption.] We are discussing the contract that has been given to Camelot and the problems surrounding that, and also the way in which the boards distribute the funds. Bids from target-based areas should be considered. The Department of the Environment has an urban deprivation index. Perhaps some of those areas included in that should bid for lottery funds in the short term.

There needs to be an overall strategy, a district and a regional approach to the allocation of funds, and that should involve all agencies, both public and private, to make sure that the money is used efficiently. The list of good causes should include medical research. Many people feel that it is underfunded and that we need to try to find new ways to benefit the whole of society. The lottery could be used for that.

The lottery has had a dramatic impact on people's lives. In the light of the number of people who are prepared to play the game, it is here to stay. The money should be used wisely but the Government have not done so. Instead, they have left the lottery to run its own course without the accountability and sensibility that are needed to make sure that we address the issues of concern in society. Many people are playing the lottery to realise the dream of getting out of their everyday mundane problems, but the odds that are stacked against them are 14 million to one and the reality is that most people will never win such money.

The lottery has had an effect on the lives of people within the betting and gaming industry. The Henley study on bookmaking has shown that profits have fallen. The Government are against anti-competitive practices but they are protecting the lottery. We are told that the lottery has been very successful but perhaps we should look at the number of jobs that have been lost in the betting and gaming industry. Let us have a level playing field for those who compete with the lottery. It is important for the House to look at what is happening to national institutions, which is what the lottery has become. We must make sure that its administration and development are in line with the principle that everybody in the country benefits from it, and not just a few.

7.37 pm
Sir Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

I suppose that the action of which I am most proud in my twenty-one and a half years of selfless service in the House, to my constituents, my party and the country was my rejection of the pleading of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor to use my good fortune in the private Members' ballot in 1992 to present the Bills of Lading and Carriage of Goods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. Instead, I presented the National Lottery Bill, on 17 January 1992. After the general election, it was followed by the Government's Bill, which established the national lottery. So, perhaps I may be permitted to deliver a simple message. It is, "For goodness sake stop knocking the national lottery."

The lottery was long overdue. Britain was the last of 117 countries in the western world to introduce a lottery. We were to be the country before Albania, but it got in ahead of us and I am not sure that we are all that proud of being beaten by Albania, however wonderful a country it might appear to its inhabitants.

The lottery promised enormous advantages for British society, not just for the winners of millions of prizes and the people who became millionaires and multi-millionaires, not just for the good causes that have benefited—through that, jobs in the construction and other industries have been created—and have had to spend the money that had been given to them, and not just in taxation, which the Government received directly or indirectly as they reaped the benefit of corporation tax from Camelot and taxation from the distributors, many of which were to be kept in business by the lottery. There is also the advantage of the reduction in crime that will result from the building of more sports and arts centres for our children, who can be deflected from mischievous behaviour and the evil deeds that might otherwise overwhelm them if they are bored. Those were all massive advantages that we foresaw when the issue was debated in 1992.

All those advantages and more have come, or are coming, about. We said that 72 per cent. of the adult population would play the lottery each week, and the number is up to 68 per cent. after only 10 months. We said that it would raise £3 billion a year and it has raised £4 billion. We said that that would mean £1 billion a year for good causes, which will have received well over that figure by the end of this year.

In my Bill, I suggested a three-way division: one third for prizes, one third for good causes and one third for operating costs and the taxman, yet the Government improved on that break-down. As a result, the lottery is much more generous to prize winners and good causes, and taxation and operating costs have been kept well below the level that was originally envisaged.

I am delighted that my right hon. and hon. Friends, many of whom were dubious about the national lottery when my Bill was first published—I recall that I received no support in the Lobby from the Government on the Friday when the matter was discussed—came around and, like all converts, became super-enthusiastic, and with good reason because the results have shown how much their confidence has been justified.

Mr. Tony Banks

When the hon. and learned Gentleman's Bill was presented, did he not have all-party support and did not a number of Labour Members enthusiastically support his Bill?

Sir Ivan Lawrence

There were indeed, and I was about to express my sadness that what had once been an all-party occasion has seemingly, this afternoon and this evening, shown divisions between the parties. That is bad but inevitable; I can understand it. Opposition Members cannot bear the fact that a Conservative Government have chosen something that is popular and successful with the British public. It must niggle deep in the gut of Opposition Members that the Conservative party should have chosen to introduce the lottery. I remember them saying that if the Government did not support my Bill the Labour party would bring in a national lottery in due course. Having listened to the speeches this afternoon, I think that it would have been difficult for it to have maintained a majority on such a measure, unless the whining and the whingeing that we have heard was caused just by bitterness because the Conservative party had introduced the lottery and were not a result of the merit of the case.

This has therefore become the most successful lottery of all time, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage has said, and that is mainly because it has been well marketed and brilliantly operated by Camelot. There can be no better example of how the profit incentive generates success, and of how the free enterprise capitalist society benefits the whole of the social fabric of a nation. We should be proud of its success. We should not whine and whinge about it in the British way, by which we always modestly disclaim all our achievements, however considerable they are.

I feel sorry for Opposition Members, who have a problem. They know that the lottery is a runaway success and that it is popular with the country and, as I have said, it must hurt them to see that success redounding to the Conservative Government. It is true that, when he presented his case, the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) was struggling—although not as much as the Opposition Front-Bench Home Office spokesman, the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) last Thursday. I do not make that sort of comparison—that really was struggling. The struggling today, however, involved a confusion between a feeling that this had been an outstanding success and that the Labour party had to make noises to discredit the Government's enthusiasm for the cause.

Of course I concede at once that there is a downside to the national lottery. As every cloud has a silver lining, so every golden cornucopia has some darker aspect. It is not popular with everyone. It is not popular with some Opposition Members or with the churches, which are ambivalent because, like the Labour party, they are caught on the horns of a dilemma that involves benefiting from the lottery and the appalling immorality of it all.

There are people who are jealous of Camelot's success so they decry its profit, and the people who have not so far benefited from the arts, sports, charities, heritage and the millennium output are impatient. Some charities have declined, and they are fearful, but we knew that that would happen, which was why the charities were part of the beneficiaries planned at all the stages. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) was wrong. My Bill, the White Paper and the Government's Bill provided for charities—we had long discussions about them.

One of the points that keeps being repeated is that some charities went to the Taoiseach in Eire and said that, since it had had its lottery, their income had fallen, and from that it was concluded that the lottery was bound to have an adverse effect on all charities. The answer to that was that the contribution to charities had fallen in Northern Ireland, where there was no state or national lottery, so that cannot have been the whole explanation. We have learnt today and over the past month that the position of a number of charities has improved and strengthened since we have had the national lottery, just as there have been some charities that have lost and are fearful.

Some individuals, it is true, have personal problems. We do not know whether that would have happened anyway, but there are obviously temptations in relation to the lottery and we must consider caringly those who may have fallen into misery and sadness as a result.

We in Burton—I cannot speak for everywhere else—have massive parking problems because of the lottery. When one is trying to buy one's ticket on a Friday or a Saturday, the cars are packed two and three to one side, which is a problem. All those problems, if one adds them up, whether they are personal or involve parking, fear, disappointment, jealousy or ambivalence, pale into insignificance beside the lottery's monumental success. Many of the fears that were originally uttered were unfounded and many of the potential benefits were underestimated.

I buy a weekly ticket in a newsagent in my constituency. There is always a queue for tickets. The people in that queue are always delighted to see me. The lottery has made people happier—perhaps they were happy before, and keeping it to themselves. People get fun out of the lottery, not just from watching the programme in the evening, but from putting their money in and even winning a tenner here or there.

Mr. Tony Banks

How much does the hon. and learned Gentleman spend?

Sir Ivan Lawrence

I put on a fiver a week. I have won eight times, with a total of £80. I suppose that I have invested £140 or £150 in the lottery, and I hope that one day I will be able to entertain the hon. Gentleman, whom I have known for many years in the House, to a slap-up dinner as a result of the success of my lottery ticket—he can hold me to that. Perhaps I will be able to present the hon. Gentleman with some bottles of champagne in recognition of the support that he has always given. He could then stand up in the House and say that he was a champagne socialist.

I am not unhopeful about the success of the lottery. The newsagent from which I buy my ticket sells about £12,000 worth of lottery tickets a week. It means that its slice of the cake is £600 a week. I wonder how many small newsagents, corner shops and village shops have been able to keep going and remain profitable as a result of their distribution of lottery tickets. There must be tens of thousands of small businesses which would not exist without it. The small newsagents that I visit is located in the centre of urban Burton, which is where my working-class constituents live, and it has paid out £750,000 in prizes.

So far, we have not been such massive beneficiaries as Glasgow and other places. However, one of our parish cricket clubs was happy to receive £5,500 and this week the Burton Young Men's Christian Association received £80,000. Up the road in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie), which draws support from Burton on Trent, the Gresley band and male voice choir has received £30,000 over the past year. We have put in bids about which we are optimistic for the Burton arts centre in the Brewhouse as well as countless other good causes, including health research projects—I agree with what has been said by many other hon. Members on both sides of the House about that.

I have every expectation that such juvenile delinquents as there may be, sadly even in Burton, will be encouraged off the streets by the arts, sports and charitable groups whose improved facilities will undoubtedly bring benefits in the months and years ahead.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will continue, as did his predecessor, to remind all the lottery benefactor groups that one of the contributions that they can make to the welfare of our society is to help to reduce crime. Many youngsters in our society today are engaged in crime and we are looking for ways in which we can deter them. We should realise how the benefits from the lottery could help to deflect them from crime.

It is true that some things could be improved, that there are imbalances between regions and that there may be hitches, delays and distortions. It is true that there have been public relations failures and that, to date, there has not been sufficient concentration upon medical research. I hope that we will move towards providing some running-cost funding as well as capital funding. It is also true that I have been disappointed at not being able to see Burton town hall as the venue at which the lottery performance takes place on a Saturday night. I hope that those who read or listen to my speech will see how important I believe that that would be to my local area.

The lottery has been going for less than a year. It is only just getting started. One does not decide after the first 10 yd whether my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) has got into his stride to win the race. It is ridiculous for us to be critical of the lottery at this stage. We should not say that this charity or that charity has not succeeded or that a certain part of the country has done better than another. It is too soon. There is plenty of time for it to go right for everybody.

The Labour party was premature and misjudged in tabling this motion. It is ill-timed. It is important to get the public relations right because the lottery's popularity is an important generator of its money. If there are imbalances, distortions or things going wrong, they should be looked into in due course when the lottery has been given a chance.

I believe that the public should be given some say. I hope that the Select Committee on National Heritage will have a say. For goodness sake, let us not have any more quangos. I would have thought that both sides of the House would be united on that. I have no idea what Opposition Members were doing by suggesting that a quango should look into this.

Give the people's lottery a chance. Stop knocking it and stop knocking Camelot, which is a wealth and happiness creator. What the national lottery is achieving for the quality of life in this nation has been, and will continue to be, nothing short of phenomenal.

7.55 pm
Dr. Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) has told us about the fun he gets from the national lottery. I am sure that I am not alone in having noticed that, whenever the Secretary of State talks about the lottery, she tells us what a lot of fun it is, Today was no exception. In fact, even she excelled herself when she referred to the lottery as a dream machine. I do not know how the Secretary of State gets her fun, nor do I have access to the content of her dreams—and nor would I want to.

I have never bought a lottery ticket and I should like to assure the House that my life is not devoid of pleasure—far from it. I join my hon. Friend for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) in expressing wonder at the state we are in, when such a large proportion of the nation's social life is centred around the national lottery.

I worry about the fact that so many people in our country today no longer feel that they can get on in life by their own efforts. They feel that they have to look to the national lottery to escape from poverty or unemployment. It could be said that the tax that the Chancellor takes from the lottery is a tax on hope. At the risk of being accused of being a whinger or even a killjoy, I must say that I am worried that the national lottery has brought about a change in the way in which we view gambling, and that that will lead to more people becoming addicted to gambling.

I am not saying that somebody who has a flutter on the lottery or on the pools, or who gambles on horses, is likely to become a customer of Gamblers Anonymous. That is no more true than somebody who has a glass of wine, as has already been mentioned, becoming an alcoholic—or even, dare I say it, that somebody who experiments with pot is likely to become a heroin addict. Having said that, it is strange that Conservative Members and some others have a completely different attitude to those matters. I think that we can all agree that we would not wish to see activities of that sort promoted in such a widespread way, or by the state.

The right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) said that lottery signs are almost replacing pub signs. One sees those signs not just on street corners but virtually everywhere one goes. As a result, there has been a sea change in our attitude to gambling. Previously, there was public policy against the stimulation of demand for gambling. It was something to be tolerated, but not encouraged. Gaming legislation provided a framework for that.

I would not argue that we should ban gambling or do away with the national lottery. The widespread promotion worries me, together with the relaxation of restrictions on other forms of gambling which is now occurring. Hon. Members are being bombarded with mail from the Bingo Association of Great Britain, the British Casino Association and the pools to relax restrictions on the promotion of their form of gambling. They refer to the process as modernising British gaming laws.

Far from modernising our laws, we would be taking a step backwards to anarchy. I hope that no one in this place would suggest that some of the activities that the organisations to which I have referred represent should be promoted in the same way as the national lottery with television advertising, but that is what is happening elsewhere. A relaxation of restrictions would make it likely that other forms of gambling would be advertised.

My main concern is scratchcards and the very nature of the type of gambling that ensues. I am worried also at the ease with which adolescents are buying scratchcards. A recent survey undertaken by a children's charity, Children's Express, revealed that 62 per cent. of stores visited by young people sold scratchcards to the under-16s, even to some in school uniforms.

A similar campaign carried out by my local Sunday newspaper, the Birmingham Sunday Mercury, showed that in Birmingham about a third of outlets were willing to sell scratchcards to children who looked under 16 years of age. These children are growing up with the belief that gambling is socially acceptable. The link with good causes reinforces that perception.

The accessibility of lottery tickets, especially scratchcards, is so wide that it is difficult to avoid them in most shops, including corner shops, newsagents and supermarkets. Scratchcards are being sold everywhere we go. Before the introduction of the national lottery, we spent about £1 million a week on scratchcards. We are now spending about £50 million a week on them. That is a massive amount of money on that form of gambling.

The distinction between scratchcards and the weekly national lottery must be emphasised. It is important that we take note of evidence that is accumulating about the addictive nature of the cards. I shall quote from an article written by Mark Griffiths, who is an expert on gambling, from Nottingham Trent university. It is useful to get information on the record. Mark Griffiths distinguishes between scratchcards as hard gaming, as opposed to soft forms of gambling such as the national lottery and football pools.

He states: Like fruit machines, scratch cards have a payout interval of a few seconds between the initial gamble and the winning payment. Three factors are inextricably linked with such a characteristic. The first of these is the frequency of opportunities to gamble. Logistically, some gambling activities (e.g. the National Lottery or football pools) have a small event frequency—there is only one draw a week—making them soft forms of gambling. However, in the case of scratch cards there are few constraints on repeated gambling as limits are set only by how fast a person can scratch off the covering of the winning or losing symbols. The frequency of playing, when linked with the two other factors—the result of the gamble and the actual time until winnings are received—exploit certain psychological principles of learning. This process, called operant conditioning, conditions habits by rewarding behaviour. Reinforcement occurs through presentation of a reward such as money. To produce high rates of response, those schedules which present rewards intermittently have been shown to be the most effective, and since scratch cards operate on such schedules it is not surprising that excessive gambling can occur. We have read anecdotal evidence in newspapers of people, especially young people, spending large sums on scratchcards.

The paper continues: Promoters appear to acknowledge the need to pay out winnings as quickly as possible, thus indicating that receiving winnings is seen by the gaming industry to act as a reinforcement to winners to continue gambling. Rapid event frequency also means that the loss period is brief, with little time given over to financial considerations and, more importantly, winnings can be regambled almost immediately. Another related aspect to operant conditioning is the psychology of the near miss, which can act as an intermediate reinforcer. A number of psychologists, including myself, have noted that near misses—that is failures that are close to being successful—appear to induce continued gambling and that some commercial gambling activities (particularly fruit machines and scratch card lotteries) are formulated to ensure a higher-than-chance frequency of near misses. Mark Griffiths gives the example of the fruit machine-type paying-out line that is horizontally located in the middle of a three-by-three matrix. He states: When three winning symbols are displayed, the jackpot is won and thus reinforces play. However, a near miss—such as two winning symbols on the payline and the third one just above or below—is still strongly reinforcing at no extra expense to the machine's owner. Therefore the player is not constantly losing but constantly nearly winning. With scratchcards, there is a 1:5.46 chance that a person will get his money back, whereas there is a 1:2.4 million chance of winning the £50,000 jackpot. Unfortunately, people tend to concentrate on the amount they think they will win, rather than on the chance that they might win.

When arguments about scratchcards were put to the Secretary of State this afternoon, she told hon. Members that they should take the matter up with the Director General of the National Lottery. It is outrageous that Ministers are constantly ducking their responsibilities for public policy by referring matters to quangos, such as how widespread should be the advertising of scratchcards and the type of game that should be permitted within the national lottery. Those matters should be determined by elected politicians. It worries me that the Government seem unwilling to take responsibility for such serious matters.

I am disappointed that we, the Opposition, have not taken up the issue. I am not entirely with the proposal for another quango. Decisions should be taken by those who are elected and publicly accountable. I wish that my right hon. and hon. Friends would join more forcefully me and others who have expressed great concern about the national lottery scratchcards. It may not be appropriate for the cards to be withdrawn completely, but it is appropriate that their sales should be restricted to licensed establishments. We should seriously consider restrictions on advertising of scratchcard gambling.

8.8 pm

Mr. Sebastian Coe (Falmouth and Camborne)

I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate. I come to it from three different directions. I was vice-chairman of the Sports Council from 1986 to 1989, when, in sporting terms, the concept of a national lottery gathered considerable momentum. I was a member of the Committee that considered the Bill that eventually, when enacted, produced the national lottery. I was chairman of a campaign group in Cornwall called Cornwall First, which set about the difficult task of trying to gain for the county the headquarters of the national lottery.

The national lottery is not a new concept. I think that it was my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth) who reminded the House that Westminster bridge, the Cinque ports and, I think, the British museum, were all recipients from a prototype lottery. The concept is therefore not alien to this country.

The speed with which the current national lottery has gained public praise and acceptance, with a few exceptions, is a tribute to the way in which the House as a whole and the Standing Committee debated the National Lottery etc. Bill, and the issues raised by the many interested organisations which would be the future recipients of national lottery money. It is also a tribute to the way in which hon. Members with specific interests debated the distributing bodies.

As a competing athlete a few years ago, it was with an envious eye that I travelled abroad, in competition or training, and used facilities that other countries had built with the support of state or national lotteries. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton), a previous Minister for the Arts, said that he had visited Greece and met the then Minister for Culture, Melina Mercouri. She said that she had had no major funding problems since the Greek national lottery had been established. It was odd that, until Britain published the relevant legislation in 1992, we alone in western Europe did not have a recognisable national lottery.

The motion is a curious one. It stands in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and his deputy. It appears that their concern is that lottery money should not be used to replace existing Government funding, and certainly not for the arts. That idea has already been knocked down.

The Department of National Heritage and my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have made it perfectly clear that lottery money will not replace Government funding. Lottery money is new funding, and that will remain the case.

In a sense, I am disappointed that this debate is taking place. Although it is probably fair to say that we should at some stage in the future be discussing the national lottery—indeed, it is perfectly legitimate and laudable for the House to monitor with some regularity something that plays and will continue to play such a profound role in the lives of our constituents—it is a little premature to do so now. I hope that today's debate has not been instigated in a chase led by the tabloids.

I have recently read much about the lottery with which I disagree. At his party conference in Brighton, the right hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) threw out two vague thoughts about the national lottery. In fairness, I would not describe them as policies, and nor would his colleagues.

The first idea was that an expiry date of the year 2000 should be given to Camelot or any other successful bidder. It is very unlikely that any company would have been prepared to make the necessary investment for a contract that would barely have seen it through three or four years. In the real world, that was not very likely. Colleagues have already said that the National Audit Office gave Camelot a pretty clean bill of health.

With hindsight, it is far too easy to say that the company that won the bid knew that it was likely to have a licence to print money. It was never going to be a precise science. If the result had been so copper-bottomed, and if the guarantees were so clear, why did the other bidders not make more competitive bids? When the National Audit Office examined the bids, two points emerged. First, it was clear that Camelot planned to keep back the smallest amount for operating costs. One could not run a low-cost supermarket on an operating margin of 5 per cent.—

Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle)

You can at an Aldi supermarket.

Mr. Coe

I do not think so.

Secondly, Camelot was identified as providing the greatest level of benefits to sport, the arts, good causes and heritage. I have noted with great interest the recent comments of Richard Branson. It was clear from the National Audit Office's report that the Virgin organisation was not making a tighter bid in as far as operating costs went, and would certainly not have produced the same benefits as Camelot. I am not an apologist for Camelot—I have no links with the organisation—but we must be clear that Camelot underwent close scrutiny, and came through it pretty well.

Mr. Maxton

We are not disputing whether Camelot set up the lottery to work efficiently—that was the National Audit Office's remit. We are concerned that Camelot knew that it would be able to set it up very much more quickly than it had said, and is now making excessive profits. The NAO is not interested in whether Camelot is making excessive profits.

Mr. Coe

My point is that Camelot will be producing its end-of-year accounts in a few weeks. Many Opposition Members have been saying that they are not anti-profit or anti-business, but, when Camelot announces its profits, I shall be interested to see whether Opposition Members still adopt that attitude. I rather fancy that they will not, but will use the results for political purposes. The point that I think the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) is making is that Camelot will be making profits that it knew would be forthcoming, but I am not sure that that is so.

As chairman of the Cornwall First campaign, I sat down with every bidder to try to persuade them all to establish their headquarters in the county. I do not believe that any of them genuinely thought that the lottery was going to be the success that it has proved to be.

It is not a precise science; we are talking about human attitudes. With the best will in the world, I do not think that most of the bidders thought that they would be into the scene that the company that made the winning bid is now into. But I do not have any more insight into that than the hon. Member for Cathcart.

I also noted that, in his speech to the party conference, the right hon. Member for Sedgefield mentioned that it was not unreasonable to start directing or guiding some of the organisations responsible for distributing the funds on where the funds should be distributed. In fact, I was not quite sure whether he was suggesting that we should bypass those organisations entirely. Of course, that is the way in which many foreign-operated lotteries work.

I am a past vice-chairman of the Sports Council, and I happen to think that the Sports Council, for better rather than for worse, is by far the best organisation to distribute sports funding. The right hon. Member for Sedgefield might say that I would say that, but I do not want the' money to be handed straight over to some Government organisation, and then to witness the kind of wrangles that would occur across the Floor of the House on where that funding should go. I like the idea of arm's-length organisations making these decisions.

I have worked with the Sports Council, and I am not going to stand here and say that there were not areas of its administrative processes and cost centres which could not have been tightened up. But it would be very dangerous to start suggesting that expert organisations out there in the field—autonomous, independent—should in any way be held back in choosing where they deem it fit to place lottery money.

On the discussion about the areas in which funding should be allocated, I speak as somebody who has sat on grant assessments panels and had the difficult job of deciding between many competing bids in a sporting context. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House have had to try to distribute funds, and know that, effectively, one is looking down the barrel of a gun.

One can never satisfy everybody. There will always be arguments about—in sporting terms—whether the funds should go to participation or excellence, and we have heard the same points applied to the arts in this debate. There is an argument that holds for the arts and sport. It is my experience that the best way in which to bring about an increase in participation in any activity is to ensure not only that we fund participation, but that we are not afraid properly to fund the excellence; the shop window.

If the Lawn Tennis Association were given a straight choice between a Wimbledon winner—man or woman—from this country or £10 million or £20 million for some development programme at the grass roots, I think that I know what it would go for: the Wimbledon winner. We know, and the hon. Member for Cathcart knows, the result of excelling so obviously in the shop window. One would not be able to get on a tennis court for the following 10 years for youngsters wanting to play tennis. It happened in Sweden and in Germany; it is a well-travelled line.

Mr. Maxton

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, but does he not agree that, if we want not to be able to get on to a tennis court for 10 years, those tennis courts have to worth being on—they have to be good tennis courts? Not only that, but coaches have to be available to coach those people, and they have to be able to spot the excellence and know how to move those people on to the next stage, so that there is a gradual build-up of such people coming through in tennis. There is no point in having one tennis champion if we cannot follow up the success with a whole list of others.

Mr. Coe

The hon. Gentleman pre-empts what I hope to be able to move on to in a few moments.

Dr. Reid

Lest this becomes a debate confined to the healthy minority of athletes, may I speak on behalf of the slothful millions of Britain? The hon. Gentleman has discussed the allocation of resources with reference to two bodies—the state and the institutions, such as the Sports Council and so on. There is one other body, however, that should perhaps have some say: the consumers, the people who pay their money into the lottery.

Given the support of the Conservative party for consumer choice, is the hon. Member opposed in principle to some mechanism whereby those who pay their money into the national lottery could exhibit a general preference for the areas into which they would like the profits to go?

Mr. Coe

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. I, like other Conservative Members, of course believe that the consumer has inevitably to be sovereign. That is the basis of much of the Conservative philosophy. But what is the reality of what the hon. Gentleman said? Would everybody who contributed to a national lottery ticket somehow be provided with a mechanism by which they could specify where part of their £2 would go? I just do not think that that is workable or pragmatic.

Under the current structure of organisations with experience in the field and a proven track record, whether in the charities, arts, sport or heritage, the consumer's best interest is protected. I would not go much further, other than to say that the mechanism in place is certainly the best that we can summon at present.

Mr. Jenkin

Does my hon. Friend agree that one thing of which we could be pretty sure is that consumers would not vote to limit prize money? Indeed, the danger would be that, if they had the choice, they would probably vote to divert more of the money away from good causes to increase prize money. The opinions of the consumer are not necessarily the best guide to what would be the best product, not only for the consumer but for the nation as a whole.

Mr. Coe

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. I am not sure that I am qualified to trespass quite that far into human attitudes. I not sure, either, that I would want to put that to the test in my constituency—his may be a little different.

I come to a point which has already been discussed. I am certainly not in the mood to bash the Church of England or any of the other church organisations which put their name to the sentiments expressed yesterday, but I would find the situation a little easier to comprehend if the churches had not already received £1 million of national lottery money. I would find it a little easier to comprehend had the churches not already submitted bids for between £17 million and £18 million of lottery money. I will pull back from saying that it is hypocritical, but only a little way back.

The churches have fallen into the trap into which many of the tabloids and—I have to say—some of the more learned leader writers have fallen: assuming that all discussions about the national lottery take place around Islington dinner tables. The reality is that the national lottery has been a huge success. It has profoundly changed the outlook, the ambitions and the realisations of organisations the length and breadth of the country.

Sport is no different from any other area of the voluntary sector. Hundreds of people are prepared to give up hundreds of hours of their spare time every year to support talent, grass roots and excellence in sport, as they are in the arts and a myriad of other activities.

We are incredibly lucky in Britain to be the inheritors of one of the most successful and soundly based voluntary sectors anywhere in the world. If it were removed, vast areas of activity in this country would be unrecognisable. The voluntary sector underpins sport. It is not unreasonable, when we consider the future of the national lottery, to look hard at the balance between capital and revenue spending.

The hon. Member for Cathcart made the point earlier, in a speech that I thought was sane, that if we are to support excellence, it is not just about bricks and mortar. It is about making sure that there are coaches out there who can inspire and coach to the very highest level. I think that we can, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will, examine the balance between capital and revenue. I am heartened that I think he is mindful of that, and will try to move towards some change.

As we enter a key period, as we do in any Olympic year, we have to recognise that we are sending a lot of competitors to Olympic games next year, for whom a little revenue funding would be helpful. The capital funding that is available from the national lottery moneys will make a massive difference—hon. Members should not kid themselves about that.

Yet the Linford Christies, Daley Thompsons, Steve Ovetts, Steve Crams and Tessa Sandersons are the product not of some happy sporting accident but of sensitive, long-term coaching. If we are to maintain the pre-eminent position that Britain has enjoyed for a long time in sport—I do not wish to intrude on Friday's debate—we need coaching of the highest level. That will inevitably come from some form of revenue funding.

I do not think that a decision has ever been made in the House that has more profoundly affected the life and the quality of life of so many people. It is interesting that those who criticise the national lottery and debate it on occasions at the most esoteric level are often those who have never worked in any of the organisations out there in sport and the arts, many of which live from hand to mouth. It is interesting to me that much of the debate has been concentrated on the mechanism, the distribution and profits, not the changes that lottery money has brought about.

Let me assure the House that hundreds of thousands of people out there do not share the current narrow perception of the national lottery. In my constituency, from art galleries through to sub-aqua clubs, people's dreams have—it sounds dreadfully clichéd—come true in the past few months and the past year. The contribution that the national lottery will make in future years is at a level that I did not fully comprehend a year or so ago, and few hon. Members on either side of the House were able to comprehend in the build-up to the legislation.

8.34 pm
Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

I am very pleased to follow such a distinguished Olympian and fellow Chelsea supporter. We all know that the hon. Gentleman has no need to win the lottery. We must have so much gold stashed away in his cupboards that if he is ever short of a few bob he could just melt it down. He made, in his usual exceedingly thoughtful way, some excellent points. I look forward to hearing him again on Friday in the sports debate.

I should like to make a few comments about the lottery and, first, to make it clear that I entirely support the lottery. I have heard a lot of Conservative Members saying that we do not. I was one of the sponsors of the original private Member's Bill and I have supported the lottery both by my actions in the House and by my activities in purchasing lottery tickets. I want to win. I desperately want to win because, apart from anything else, it would mean that I could escape from having my bottom bored into rigidity by having to listen to another interminable speech by the hon. Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth). I do not think that I would have any difficulty in adjusting to being filthy rich. After all, enough Tories have managed it. I see no reason why I could not do the same. It would be pina coladas all round.

I am with those who believe that there should not be an upper limit on the top prize. Who are we to say that people cannot manage that amount of money? Of course, if one won a great big bucket of money—as I have already said, I hope that I do—one would seek some decent financial advice. It is not a normal, everyday event suddenly to find that one has 17 million quid in the bank, but it is something that I am sure I could manage and I sure that most people could. I do not see why we should say that there should be an upper limit.

I should prefer to see the £10 prize scrapped. I have won a few tenners, but I do not go into the lottery to win a few tenners and nor do most people. We should do away with those prizes and have a few more middle-ranking prizes so that the large rollover could be kept, but far more substantial prizes could be available rather than handing 10 quids out. People do not go into the lottery to win a tenner.

I agree with my hon. Friends who have said—I have not heard any Conservative Members say this—that they do not like scratchcards. I am assured by those who followed the legislation far more closely than me that instants were included in the Bill. I must confess that they were slipped through and escaped my attention.

Scratchcards are different. They are not the national lottery. They seem to me just another way of milking the people who go into shops. After all, as several of my hon. Friends have said, the lottery is a weekly event. People do not go into the shop or outlet every day to buy yet another lottery ticket. The vast majority do it once a week. Every time people go into the newsagent's or grocer's, those scratchcards are there. I have watched people in my area go into a shop, buy a card, come out and, if they have won, go back and buy more cards. I have watched people in the Forest Gate area, which I know exceedingly well because I represent it and live in it, going backwards and forwards. Scratchcards are a curse and they were not part of the national lottery set-up. They show how greedy Camelot has become.

I have some criticisms of the national lottery. It is not the same as whingeing to want to see something improved. How can that be whingeing? The Secretary of State was asked—or, if she was not, she should have been—whether she would replicate exactly the set-up of the national lottery if she was designing it now. I do not believe that anyone would. I have heard even Conservative Members say that they would make adjustments and improvements. So when we criticise, we are not whingeing. We admit and accept that the lottery is a success. We supported it. But we can improve even on success. Therefore, the criticisms should not be dismissed as whingeing from embittered old Socialists on the Opposition Benches who cannot stand the possibility of success. Opportunity in electoral terms, of course, would be a fine thing for us.

There are two huge winners week in and week out. They do not need two fingers to come pointing in through their roof saying, "It's youhoo". They know that they will win every week. One is Camelot and the other is Her Majesty's Government. For Camelot, it must be like having Christmas every day of the year.

I refute absolutely that there was any risk involved. As we have heard said many times, the lottery really was a licence to print money. The matter was gone into carefully. Given the propensity of the British to gamble, there is no way that a national lottery would lose money, particularly given all the backing that would be available through the media, all the hype on the television and all the statutory support from the Government. It is, after all, a Government-sponsored lottery. Camelot knew that it could not lose. Unfortunately, the Government were not prepared to be rather more guarded in the setting up of the lottery.

Camelot misled the Director General of Oflot, Peter Davis. It said that it would make no profits until the fourth year of the lottery's operation. Camelot is either a fool or a liar. To suggest that means that it does not know what it is doing, except that it will make money. But it has made money hand over fist. In those four years, it is likely to make profits in the order of £300 million, from a £50 million investment in the first year. Instead of the Government congratulating themselves, they should be asking themselves where they went wrong on that point. How did Camelot pull the wool over their eyes so successfully? How come Camelot did not give accurate answers to Peter Davis at the time?

The Government have locked us into an absurd unfair arrangement with Camelot. The Secretary of State referred to the lottery as being a dream machine. For Camelot, it is certainly a money machine. I accuse the Government of failing to look after the interests of the consumer in giving Camelot the deal that they did.

I am with those who say that the lottery should be administered by a non-profit-making organisation. Most charities are supposed to be non-profit-making organisations. They bring the money in and they spend it. They need a certain amount for their administrative costs, but they are not described as profit-making organisations. When we say a non-profit-making organisation, we mean in terms of those operating and administering it. It would get its administrative costs, but it would not be able to bank millions of pounds obtained through the sale of tickets in areas such as mine.

Mr. Jenkin

If the hon. Gentleman was running a charity, would he never use a private fund raiser who might be taking a cut himself; never use a professional fund raiser in order to gain extra funds despite their being widely used now? Does he not understand that incentive is the key to success in fund raising for charities just as much as in any other sphere of life?

Mr. Banks

The answer to that, as the hon. Gentleman must know, is yes, of course, one would use professional fund raisers. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman asked me a question and wants to answer it as well. The Labour party, as far as I am aware, uses professional fund raisers. The point that needs to be made is that they have to go out and work for their money. Camelot was given it on a plate. That is the difference between using professional fund raisers and handing over a mulch cow to a professional organisation such as Camelot.

I have heard people say that they will wait to see what the profits are like. I give hon. Members a tip. Go out and buy shares in Cadbury Schweppes and De La Rue and the other companies involved in the Camelot consortium because the profits of those companies will receive a great boost when the money works its way through.

Mr. Maxton

The hon. Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin) is making a note to make sure that he does.

Mr. Banks

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is rich beyond the dreams of avarice, so he does not need to win large amounts of money. It is poor buggers like me who need to win large amounts of money, a point that I have already made to some effect.

The lottery should have been run by a non-profit-making set-up, whatever methods it used to inspire sales, although that has all been done for them. One need only consider the advertising that it gets on the Saturday draw. That is banal. I just want the numbers. I do not want all the twaddle beforehand with people bouncing around. People watch only to find out the numbers. If I want some cheap entertainment, there is plenty on television or in the House of Commons. All I want is to be given the numbers and to look at my ticket to see whether I have won the biggie. Unfortunately, as yet, I have not. In that respect, Richard Branson had a good idea and we should explore his proposals because that is the way for the lottery in future.

The other big winner, as we all know, are the Government. The Government receive 12 per cent.— about £400 million. The lottery was not supposed to be a fund-raising mechanism for the Government. That makes it simply another form of taxation. Why should people have to pay more taxes? They are already more taxed by the Government than they have ever been in recent years. In those circumstances, why give the Government another great big bucket of money? If one adds on to the Government's rake-off the additional money that they get from taxation on Camelot's profits—assuming Camelot ever gets round to paying any tax because as far as I can see corporation tax is paid only by idiots these days—one sees the lottery becoming nothing more than a tax-raising measure, and a regressive tax-raising measure, on behalf of the Government.

I come now to the distribution of the lottery money. That is decided by too many middle-class people, often hand picked by Ministers favouring their own pet interests. Who are those people? Why should they decide which organisations will be funded? There was a lot of anger about the £55 million that went to the Royal Opera house and the money that went to Sadler's Wells. I am not against them securing finance.

I was not much impressed by the former Minister for the Arts, the right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton). There was that sob story about how he went round the Victoria and Albert museum and saw the roof leaking, and how he went to the Royal Opera house and saw the creaking scenery. What on earth was he supposed to be doing? He was the Minister. He should have been getting the money out of the Treasury in order to make the necessary improvements to the fabric of those wonderful buildings, whose legacy we have been living off for so long. Why wait for the national lottery to turn up? All he was doing was admitting that he was derelict in his duty.

Mr. Jessel


Mr. Banks

Of course I will give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Jessel

As the former chairman of the Greater London council, the hon. Gentleman will no doubt remember that, despite the fact that the roof of the Victoria and Albert museum, a listed building, could be seen only from a helicopter, not from the street, first the GLC and, after its abolition, Kensington and Chelsea council and the Department of the Environment—so it was an all-party matter—all flatly refused to allow repairs to be carried out to the roof which would alter its appearance. Was that not ludicrous?

Mr. Banks

That was probably more to do with English Heritage or whatever conservation body was concerned at the time. The refusal of bodies such as the GLC or Kensington and Chelsea council to give any money to the museum for repairs to the roof was, I suspect, because it is a national institution, so national funds should have been provided for such work.

It is no good saying that the lottery has now galloped to the rescue of such institutions. Governments—not necessarily just Conservative Governments, although the hon. Gentleman would be the first to admit that we have had rather more Conservative than Labour Governments during the past 15 years or so—have failed in terms of their responsibility to the fabric of those buildings that we have inherited. It is our responsibility to pass on those great institutions in a more enhanced state than that in which we inherited them. We were derelict in our duty, but I specifically name the right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex who gave us that terrible heart-wrenching story about the buckets of water that he witnessed in the Victoria and Albert museum.

I am not opposed to the Royal Opera house or Sadler's Wells getting finance, but that money will do nothing further to improve access for my constituents. Even at the concessionary levels that the Royal Opera house or Sadler's Wells charge, people in my area—where many live on basic state pensions, are unemployed or students—simply could not afford to go there anyway. So, the money that they are raising is going into a building that, admittedly, needs to be repaired and should have been many years ago, but they will still not be able to enjoy the benefits.

That is the cruelty of the thing. It is not that Opposition Members are anti-opera or dance, but that we simply cannot get that access because people do not have the income to get it. That is why I would like institutions to be able to get direct revenue funding from the lottery, if it would provide access for the people I have just been describing.

Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)

Is not my hon. Friend, like me, concerned about the grant to the Royal Opera house, bearing in mind the fact that the party giving the grant—the Arts Council—is a part owner of it? I thought the principle was that the distribution bodies gave the money to independent bodies, not to themselves.

Mr. Banks

That is a moot point at this stage because the grant has been challenged on precisely that basis. It might become a matter for the courts to decide, if anyone wants to push it to that extent.

If money was to be given to the arts, how on earth could it have been disbursed, other than through the Arts Council? That is one of the problems. The charities board has been criticised for being slow to set up and to hand the money out, but it had to start from scratch. The Sports Council and the Arts Council were already in existence and had the mechanisms and vetting arrangements that enabled them to process applications. So it is a little unfair to criticise the charities side for being slower than the more established bodies.

Mr. Jenkin

The motion does so.

Mr. Banks

Perhaps so, but I do not care what the motion says. I did not draft it. This is my speech, which I did draft and, under the circumstances, that fact does not impress me, although I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Dr. Moonie), the spokesman for the Opposition, that I will be supporting him in the Lobby—I am nothing if not fodder.

Frankly, I object to money being raised in areas such as mine, where people are very poor and spend a higher proportion of their income on the lottery than the wealthy. They see that money going into areas from which they will not directly benefit—indeed, from which they will not benefit at all.

Someone asked why the lottery has been such a success. We are a nation of gamblers—that is undoubtedly so—but the fact is that people are desperate. I make a bit of a joke about it, but I am scratching quite a reasonable living and I probably earn far more as a Member of Parliament than the majority of people in my constituency. Given the area that I represent, where more than 20 per cent. are unemployed, I am lucky to have a job.

I know why people play the lottery. It is not necessarily—perhaps not at all—to give money to good causes, but because they are desperate to get out of the situation that they are in. Scratchcards play on that desperation, which is why I particularly oppose them.

One must consider carefully the way in which money is being spent in areas such as mine. When one turns a switch, the Secretary of State comes out with all the statistics. I once likened her to a dalek on Prozac—it is difficult to stop her when she is in mid-flow. She goes on about averages, which are a curse because, by definition, one cannot find out what is really going on. Ask people in a meeting whether they are on the average wage. It is funny, but one can never find anyone who is and that is the point about averages.

We must look into areas such as mine—I specify my area because I know it well—and find out how much of their disposable income people are spending. It must logically follow that people on low incomes spend a greater proportion on the lottery than those with large incomes. One does not need a PhD in statistics to work that one out. I hope that, if the Government will not do it themselves, they will at least get some of the agencies to gather the statistics objectively—usually more than the Government are prepared to do—to find out what is truly going on in those poorer areas, especially in the inner cities.

Conservative Members are wrong if they do not believe that there was great anger over the way in which some of the money was spent. It is all very well for hon. Members to deceive themselves—do not try to deceive the people as well. There was great anger in my constituency when people found out that £14 million had gone on purchasing Churchill's scribblings. There was intense anger. They thought, "Are we are putting in money to get that sort of thing—to benefit some well-heeled Tory Member of Parliament?"

Mr. Coe

I never thought that the hon. Gentleman was a killjoy. Is he really suggesting that he would take innate pleasure away from generations of young children who are probably scrabbling around in their lofts at this very moment looking for letters from fond grandparents?

Mr. Banks

I have a few letters from my fond grandparents, but I doubt whether I will get £14 million for them. If the hon. Gentleman wants to buy them, he can have them.

Mr. Maxton

As someone who owns the papers of my late uncle Jimmy Maxton, although they are in a public library—they might not have the historical significance of Sir Winston Churchill's papers, but they certainly have historical significance and some value—I would never accept one penny for them. It is not that we should not have spent the £14 million. The disgrace is that anyone took the £14 million and then claimed to be a great patriot and that their grandfather was the greatest Englishman who ever lived.

Mr. Banks

I yield to no one in my admiration for Jimmy Maxton—an even more distinguished parliamentarian than my hon. Friend, but then are not most? No, that is not fair. My hon. Friend takes the honourable position.

We hear this great story about the market and what would have happened had we not stepped in. We know why people bought the Churchill papers. They thought that they would touch the patriotic fervour because it was the anniversary of the end of the war. They thought that people would throw their sweaty hats in the air and say, "Hurrah for the Churchills. We have given another 14 million quid to an undeserving descendant of the great Winston." They did not. They were intensely angry.

Frankly, no one in Newham will spend much time consulting the Churchill scribblings. Those papers are for the benefit of academics, who travel almost as regularly as Members of Parliament on factfinding tours these days. If they had been sold to a Texan university or wherever, academics would still have had access.

What on earth were we doing? It was middle-class people saving other middle-class people, in the mistaken idea that they could touch the patriotic fervour of this country when we were commemorating the second world war.

There are other examples. I know what the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) said about Eton college. I cannot believe that there is no benefit at all to that pre-eminent public school. That grant sends all the wrong messages. Whatever the truth of the matter and whoever was saying that it was a wrong accusation, there was intense anger in my constituency.

A lot more anger is coming the way of those who are so reckless with other people's money, for example when they realise that a lot of public money is to be spent on putting the royal yacht Britannia in Portsmouth harbour without its engine as part of its millennium site. I noticed in the Daily Mirror today that the Duke of Edinburgh has somehow managed to negotiate a deal whereby the yacht will be towed, because the engine will have gone, to Cowes each year, so that he can have it there for Cowes week. Again, that does not send the right message.

We know that the Palace has been plying Ministers with letters, asking why more money is not being given to the national maritime museum. The whole thing looks like a rig as far as we are concerned and that is why people are intensely angry.

It is nonsense to try to second-guess the punters. Money from areas such as mine should go back to areas such as mine because that is where the money was originally raised. If money is not being raised somewhere else, that means that the people there are not spending money on the lottery so why the hell should they get anything out of it? It is as simple as that.

People play the lottery because they want to get a prize back; at least they would know when they spend their money that if they do not win a prize, their community will get the residue back to improve facilities, whether that involves sports or arts facilities or other good causes. That is the way to do it. The technology to provide that choice should not be beyond the wit of Camelot. It could be done. On the back of ticket there should be a series of suggestions so that people could specify where they want their money to go.

I am about to be dragged off by the Whip so I must conclude. The charities are losing out but it was logical that they would. The Arts Council and heritage and sports bodies were not relying on charitable handouts. They were already getting funds. The lottery provides additional funding for them. There is only a certain amount of money going round. It is therefore right for the Government to discover how much the charities have lost and compensate them accordingly.

Of course the lottery is here to stay but let no Conservative Member accuse the Opposition of whingeing when we say that something as successful as the lottery is not beyond improvement. Improvements should be made and when Labour is in Government, those improvements will be made.

9 pm

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (Colchester, North)

The hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks), as always, spoke with passion and sincerity on behalf of constituents. I congratulate him on the manner in which he did so.

The hon. Gentleman's speech contained a general criticism that, as he said, anybody might make about the national lottery. Anyone can have ideas about how the money is distributed. Indeed, I may have one or two of my own. It seems extraordinary that that has been the basis of all the hullabaloo surrounding the national lottery despite its fantastic success.

The Opposition have chosen to devote a whole day's debate to the subject. I am delighted that we are having this debate, because any extra publicity the national lottery gets, particularly if people are complaining that the prizes are too big, must be good for it; the more people who hear that the prizes are too big, the more people will buy tickets and the more money will be raised for good causes.

In the speech of the hon. Member for, Newham, North-West we again heard Labour's gtA reaction vendetta against anything that makes a profit. We heard it about all the privatised industries. We heard the same story about handing them profits on a plate. It was not evident when we privatised those industries that they would be easy to run and as profitable as they have been. It is the same with the national lottery. It has been far more successful than anyone dared anticipate when it was launched. Of course there were risks, risks such as the hon. Member for Newham, North-West. Goodness knows what subject he will blow up about next, and goodness knows what hare he might have started running that could have damaged the launch of the national lottery. Happily, it went extremely well and better than expected and so Camelot has been more profitable than expected.

The national lottery was a completely new product in the British market. It was a virgin, untested market and there was a risk involved in its launch. It could even have been a disaster. In the hon. Gentleman's speech we had a hint of what has motivated his politics throughout his political life when he said that it was a case of middle class people spending money on middle class people. I suppose that it would be exceptional if we got through a debate on the distribution of national lottery money without somebody trying to reopen the class war debate.

Mr. Bermingham

Does the hon. Gentleman know anything about what has happened in other parts of the world? Could he name one national lottery in Europe, America, the far east or anywhere else that has ever failed?

Mr. Jenkin

I am sure that the most successful national lotteries have been those that have been commercially operated by profitable companies where the incentive motive has been applied. The lottery launch might not have been as successful as planned, in which case Camelot might have made a loss far into the future. It planned to make its first profit in the fourth year on a lower turnover than has been achieved.

Mr. Tony Banks

indicated dissent.

Mr. Jenkin

If the hon. Gentleman was so confident that turnover was going to exceed what had been expected, why did he not raise the matter when the Bill was passed? Of course, he was not concerned about that then.

I shall briefly deal with comments of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Dr. Jones). She made a great many complaints about the national lottery. She did not explain to the House or her constituents what her constituency is receiving from the national lottery. I note two grants to Birmingham of £3.7 million, one for the City of Birmingham symphony orchestra and one for Birmingham's gallery, as well as grants to charities. That is a huge benefit for Birmingham and one for which the hon. Lady should be more grateful.

The lottery was initiated by the Government and it is a Government success that, so much is now raised for good causes. I confess my own interests and prejudices in the matter. I am a concert and opera-goer. Two of my sisters are professional musicians who may well one day benefit from funds that have filtered through from the national lottery. I would have been a musician myself had not politics grabbed hold of me.

I am a member of the National Trust and look forward to it receiving funds from the lottery. I am a fan of English Heritage and look forward to it getting similar funds. There was always every expectation that the pinnacles of artistic achievement in this country were going to benefit from the national lottery. It ill befits even the Opposition to throw up their hands in horror because we have finally decided to give the Royal Opera house a decent amount of money to take it into the 21st century.

Every major opera centre in the world benefits considerably from public funds. It would be extraordinary if we did not devote considerable sums from the national lottery to such institutions. One may complain about elitists—and they are unashamedly elitist—getting money, but opera has become a very popular medium now that commercial radio stations such as Classic FM have made it even more popular.

The great pinnacles of artistic achievement used to be funded by private individuals before Labour Governments taxed them to death and destroyed the country's private wealth base. If we are going to tax heavily people who become wealthy, the state must take over the role of major patron of the arts. Haydn's patron may have been an Austrian prince with fantastic wealth; the Haydns of today have to depend on state funding to create their art.

In any event, funding is also going to other things such as the millennium fund, sport and the caring charities. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) on an exceptional and thoughtful speech.

I add my thanks to the national lottery and to the Government for the grants that my constituency has received. We have had £15,000 for the Wivenhoe sailing club and £11,550 for Lexden Springs school for children with severe learning difficulties. The university of the Essex is getting a £45,000 grant for a rock climbing wall. There are not many cliffs in Essex and that grant will help to develop a good sport. Far the biggest grant, however, has gone to an exceptional charity, Colchester Homestart, which received £121,000 from the lottery. I do not complain about that success; it is a tremendous boost for Colchester. No doubt I am not receiving a fair share of the handouts, because so much is going to Scotland and Wales, but I do not begrudge them that. We are in the early stages of distribution: there is much more to be distributed in the years ahead.

Perhaps more Labour Members are present now, but, given that this is an Opposition day, Labour attendance has been pretty thin. In his conference speech, the Leader of the Opposition presented slight but damaging proposals to undermine the lottery's success by limiting the prize money and creating an extra tier of bureaucracy in the distribution of funds. Of course, we can all make our own points about how those funds should be distributed.

The desire to control, the desire to interfere—it has all come out in Labour speeches today. There is a feeling that the state should not promote a form of gambling—a prejudice that winning large sums is sometimes bad for people. I congratulate the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on putting that point in context. There is a feeling that it is wrong to want to win large sums—that it is the Government's job to decide what is and is not good for individuals, even if that damages the objective of the lottery, which is to raise money for good causes. I am grateful to the Government for not listening to that advice.

Today's debate is intended—needlessly and pointlessly—to tease away at the lottery's teething problems. Of course there will be teething problems; the lottery has been going for only a few months. Yet, as my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne pointed out, the whole debate has been constructed on the basis of chatter around Islington dinner tables and the complaints that we have seen in The Guardian.

Of course we have much to learn about how to distribute lottery funds. To decide that funds are to be distributed to elitist causes such as the Royal Opera house and that handouts to charities are to be delayed sometimes requires considerable political astuteness. That is a problem; but, in future years, we shall have money coming out of our ears to devote to good causes, because the lottery has been such a success.

The debate says a lot about the Labour party. Concerns have been raised by the chattering classes; a whole debate has been constructed on the basis of a few minor amendments and talk of room for improvement, but there has been little to say on that subject. The motion calls for reform of the distribution mechanisms for Lottery funds to ensure a fairer distribution, but Labour is not proposing anything concrete. It has damaging plans for a vendetta against profit. Why do Labour Members stand up to defend Littlewoods pools—the Moores family has enjoyed a monopoly for many years and has made a great deal of money out of it—while saying that they do not want the lottery to make a profit?

Complaints about the delay in the establishment of a National Lottery Charities Board is hardly an adequate pretext for a whole day's debate. If this is the most pressing issue with which Her Majesty's official Opposition can occupy a whole day's debate, it is quite extraordinary. I wanted to speak in order to make my point about that useless lot over there.

9.12 pm
Mr. Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Small Heath)

The speech of the hon. Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin) spoke volumes about the Tory party's attitude. Our reasoned motion points out the success of the lottery; it also makes some suggestions for its improvement. I support the lottery. I think that its introduction in this country was long overdue, and I voted for it.

The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) reminded us that he introduced, in 1992, the private Member's Bill calling for a lottery to be set up, which had all-party support. He paid tribute to the support that he received at the time. During this debate, the Government have attempted to turn the lottery into not the people's but the Tories' lottery. Apparently, it somehow belongs to them: they thought of it, and they should take all the credit.

If Tories wish to make that claim, that is their business. All I can say is, it speaks volumes for the paucity of Tory success stories that they need to do that. Nevertheless, if they want to, they are welcome to it, because the lottery has been a great success.

What surprises me, however, is the fact that the Government cannot accept the reasonable and sensible motion, and I wonder why they cannot do so. Undoubtedly, out there in the real world, in the shops or supermarkets where people buy their lottery tickets, the overwhelming public perception is that the lottery is a good idea, but people have three great worries.

First, the public perception is that the operators of the lottery take too much profit. It does not matter what any Member of the House tries to say to dissuade them. The public perception is that Camelot makes a fortune from the lottery. We have heard certain hon. Members demonstrating why they believe that that is true but, whether or not it is true, the public perception is that Camelot is on to a good number and makes a fortune.

The second perception out there, among the wider public, the people who buy the lottery tickets, is that the money is not fairly distributed and that certain causes appear to have a fast-track approach, such as the Churchill papers. Perhaps that is unfair, but that is the public perception.

The third public perception is that, in spite of their vehement denials, the Government will try to use lottery money to substitute for public expenditure. Of course, no Minister will stand up and say that that is what they will do. No one will do that. However, I suggest that the Treasury will put pressure on the Department of National Heritage and the Department will freeze certain budgets and will not make additional moneys available to compensate for inflation in costs, wages and so on. Then it will say, if there is criticism, "But we have not cut the budget." It simply will not have provided for natural growth. That is when lottery money will begin to be diverted. The Department of National Heritage will say, "We have not cut the budget, but if you wish to top up existing programmes there is, of course, lottery money." That is the way in which it will be done.

The public are not daft. They know that it will be done. They know perfectly well what the game is about; it is about the Budget in November. It is about the tax cuts, the 1p or 2p off income tax and the other tax cuts—the tax bribes. The electorate are not daft. They play the lottery and they will take their chance of winning, but they realise exactly what it is.

What surprises me most of all is the fact that not only does the Tory party claim that it is its lottery but the party does not wish to improve it in response to some of those public worries. It would be an act of sheer stupidity for the Tory party to say, "The lottery as it stands is wonderful and could never be improved. If we could set it up again, we would set it up exactly as we have set it up now. We would allow Camelot to make the money that it makes. We would allow the money to be distributed in the way in which it has been done." Nevertheless, that is what the Government are saying—otherwise, they would accept the sensible suggestions made in the motion.

Mr. Bermingham

Is there not a fourth concept—jobs for the boys? Take, for example, the south bank project, which just happened to be designed, if I remember correctly, by the vice-chairman of the Arts Council. The acoustics of the building are not up to international standards and never can be, and it is only a facade. It is a classic example of jobs for the boys—and a mere £60 million is involved.

Mr. Godsiff

My hon. Friend gives an excellent example of the way in which the wider public perceive some of that money being distributed to those who have inside knowledge and the fast-track approach. There are many other examples.

The Churchill papers have been mentioned, and I make no apology for mentioning them again. The purchase of the Churchill papers was greeted with absolute derision and disgust by the wider public, and Conservative Members will know that from what they heard from their constituents.

I do not take a moral attitude towards gambling, and while I respect those people who argue against gambling on a moral basis, I do not agree with them. I find the attitude of the Church of England—which used to be known as the Tory party at prayer—if not hypocritical, then somewhat contradictory. The Church of England has pontificated about the lottery while encouraging its churches to put in applications for grants.

I want the lottery to be a success, but I want the people who contribute their money to the lottery to be the beneficiaries. There is no doubt that the public's perception is that Camelot has got a nice little earner. Reference has been made to a "licence to print money", a remark which goes back to the introduction of commercial television. Lord Thomson knew what commercial television was all about, and the same arguments advanced today about the lottery were advanced then—it is a new venture and a risk. Lord Thomson had no inhibitions about commercial television. He said that it was a licence to print money and that he could not lose, and he has been proved correct.

The lottery is exactly the same. There is no way in which Camelot could lose, and the idea that Camelot could muck up the whole thing, go into liquidation and have to be rescued by the Government to save the national lottery is nonsense. It was a licence to print money, and frankly the Government got taken for a ride. They did not drive a hard enough bargain with Camelot.

I would like to refer to a couple of by-products of the lottery. I am a supporter of the national lottery, but I am extremely concerned about two particular repercussions from it, one of which is the pools industry. I am not here to defend Littlewoods pools or any other firm, but I am here to express concern for our national game, which is football. Football is still the biggest participatory ball game in this country. Millions of people go to watch every week, and hundreds of thousands of people play football every week.

Professional football has had a huge influx of money at the highest levels following the deal with Sky, but public action has assisted in providing the money for the Football Trust to carry out much-needed improvement programmes at many grounds. The Government have helped by reducing betting tax. The Football Trust has been a huge beneficiary of money from the pools, but that money has been badly hit by the lottery.

I fear that, although the top clubs in this country—the Manchester Uniteds and Arsenals—have received Football Trust money and have carried out developments at their grounds, the smaller clubs, which are very much part of the fabric of their communities, will not have the money available to carry out much-needed improvements. That is a direct result of the impact of the lottery.

Reference has been made to the impact of scratchcards, and they have had an effect on the money that is coming into the Football Trust. They have also had an effect on the money coming into professional, part-time and amateur football clubs throughout the country, because many clubs relied on the income from their weekly scratchcards to make ends meet. I hope that the Government will accept that a by-product of the lottery will have a potentially enormous effect on our national game. I hope that the Government will take full note of that fact and that the Department of National Heritage, in discussions with the Chancellor, will seek to ensure that the enormous benefits that have accrued to football through the implementation of the Taylor report's recommendations do not disappear because money from the Football Trust—which is funded by the pools companies—is cut drastically as a result of the national lottery.

I have said that I support the national lottery. St. Peter's college in Saltley in my constituency applied for funds to build a new gymnasium, and the grant was awarded. The college is grateful for that award, and so am I. I hope that many more applications from my constituency will be equally well received by the various boards. I hope that Birmingham's bid for the millennium money that is needed to regenerate a desperately poor part of the city—which happens to be on the edge of my constituency in Digbeth—will also be received favourably by Government. I pay tribute to the benefits that have flowed from lottery money.

Mr. Iain Mills (Meriden)

Is the bid not for Solihull?

Mr. Godsiff

Birmingham made its own bid for millennium money; perhaps the hon. Gentleman has other information.

I hope that the money raised by the lottery will flow to those areas from whence it came. My hon. Friends the Members for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) and for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) referred to the fact that it is the poorer people who play the lottery. Camelot has the figures to show exactly where the lottery money comes from. There is nothing to stop it producing figures that show that the largest amounts of money are raised in places such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow.

The Government could issue directions to the boards to ensure that those places from whence the money came will benefit most of all. That would be a fair and an enormously popular move. It would also head off the argument that lottery money goes only to prestigious, elitist projects.

I am surprised that the Government will not accept the very sensible and reasoned Opposition motion. I am sorry that Conservative Members have chosen to try to hijack the lottery as the Tory lottery. It is not; it belongs to the people and it originated in the House on an all-party initiative. I hope that Conservative Members will rethink on the matter. They must realise that there is bipartisan support for the lottery and that Labour Members' criticisms are not carping, but genuine and reasoned.

9.28 pm
Dr. Lewis Moonie (Kirkcaldy)

I pay tribute to today's long and interesting debate and, in particular, to the excellent speeches of my hon. Friends, even though I disagreed with them on occasion. I recognise that they were constructive and sincere.

I wish to start with a confession: I like the lottery and I play the lottery. I regret that I have another confession to make: I have yet to win a brass farthing. If the lottery is, as Adam Smith described: A tax on all the fools in creation", I plead guilty to being one of that number—if only in this instance. Illustrating the old maxim about remarriage—the triumph of hope over experience—there is no doubt that the hand in the sky has pointed at me from the advertisement. Unfortunately, it has used the wrong number of fingers—think about it.

There is also no doubt that the national lottery has caught the public's imagination. More than £4 billion has been wagered so far on the main lottery and its supplementary scratchcards. I think we all accept that that success is wildly beyond the expectations of the lottery's strongest supporters, among whom I happily number myself. In view of that success, it is important to get it right, to examine any shortcomings as they arise and to try to correct them.

Much disquiet has been voiced over the past few weeks, generally with some justification. The purpose of the debate has been to highlight the problems that we see as critical to the lottery's long-term success and to offer our remedies for consideration by the House. My right hon. and hon. Friends have sought assurances from the Secretary of State on many points. Sadly, she has in the main failed to provide them. At one stage she resorted to the tactic that she used in the Department of Health of bombarding us with misleading statistics and bland assurances that all will be well. How foolish of us to expect anything else.

I shall recap on some of the most obvious areas of concern in the hope that the Minister of State can do better in his speech. I shall deal first with the Treasury and the attempt by the Chief Secretary to offset lottery income against Arts Council grants. The Secretary of State rightly took action against that to defend her corner through the letter that was leaked to The Independent a few weeks ago.

The Government's initial position was absolutely straightforward. The then Secretary of State said in 1993 that the proceeds would not be brought within the control total and that the Government would not make any case-by-case reduction in conventional expenditure programmes to take account of awards from lottery proceeds. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) has said, that was followed by the Prime Minister's statement to the English Heritage conference in 1994 that the Government would make no case-by-case reduction on conventional public spending programmes to take account of awards from the lottery.

Surely the position is clear enough, but the Government amendment makes absolutely no mention of it, although we have mentioned it in our motion. I have carefully read their amendment but, alas, it contains no reference to this robust defence of the arts or of any other sector covered by the lottery. However, I am quite prepared to take the Secretary of State's word that she is fighting her corner and to wait until the figures are before us at the end of November to see what transpires. I accept that with the Budget coming up she may be constrained in what she can say, but I suspect that we may find that the position is not nearly as rosy as she would like us to think.

It is not as though the Treasury has done badly out of the lottery over the past year. I reckon that by the time of the Budget the Government will have taken more than 500 million quid out of our pockets and put it into theirs. They have done well out of the lottery and I see no need for them to come back for more. Surely what they have had is enough.

The action of the Wales tourist board in refusing to fund a jazz festival showed that at least one Department had not adhered to the spirit of the original commitment. The position had to be clarified and clear guidelines issued, and I welcome the Secretary of State's assurances in the debate that she has confirmed the original position and that the Department has agreed that in future it will apply.

The next issue is the profit accruing to the operator. Conservative Members always salivate when Labour Members start to talk about profits—as if they would defend any level of profits in any circumstance at any time. As a generality, at least to those who have brains, that is not the case. It is clear that the profits are wildly in excess of the original predictions. I fully accept that they match the success of the lottery and I also accept that success deserves some reward, but I warn Conservative Members that as the profits ring up from £100 million to £200 million, £300 million, £400 million, £500 million they will have much more difficulty than the Opposition in defending their position before the public.

Mr. Jenkin

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the Government chose the wrong lottery operator?

Dr. Moonie

No, I am saying that it is possible with hindsight to say that perhaps mistakes were made. I accept that it is always easy to argue in hindsight. We are arguing in hindsight. All modifications to schemes, after all, are carried out in hindsight. I am saying that the Government may have been taken for a ride by the lottery operator, which would not surprise me, and that the Government should, in turn, recognise that its profit is higher than a fair return on the risk that has been taken—effectively nil—and on the capital deployed, which is very much less. That is what profit and risk are based on: the capital deployed, not business turnover, as Conservative Members would like us to accept.

The return that the lottery operator will make on capital deployed in the next seven years will be indefensible, and Conservative Members know that just as well as Labour Members. Tonight's defence of that position is a sham.

Once again, a private monopoly is being allowed to take too great a share of the proceeds. We have said that, when we are in power and the contract comes up for renewal, we will ensure that a non-profit-making body will be set up to run the lottery. Meanwhile, I urge the Secretary of State to take what action she can to restrain Camelot's profit to as reasonable a return as possible, although, given the wording of the legislation, I accept that that may not be easy. It requires action and the involvement of the better nature of Camelot and, when it comes right down to it, I shall not place too much faith in its better nature,

We want transparency in decision-making. What is wrong with that? We want clear guidelines for the disbursement of money. Adequate accountability to the public is not unnecessary bureaucracy, but a necessary adjunct to the whole process. It is far superior to the use of whines and threats by Tory Members in the past week or two, and the disgraceful and covertly racist articles in some newspapers about some of the grants that have been awarded.

Those Conservative Members chose to criticise awards to the Somalia fund and the Vietnamese, but what two peoples in the world have experienced worse problems in the past two or three decades? In those circumstances, how could anyone possibly criticise the awards that have been given? It is a disgrace.

Let the public see that the process is fair. If suitable checks and balances are instituted, many of the misunderstandings that have arisen in the past couple of weeks will be avoided. That is all that we are asking for in the motion.

In the latest allocations, there have been winners and losers, which is inevitable in a lottery—trite but true. I am happy to say that my constituency has been a winner: the awards have included one substantial grant to the Cope centre of £159,000. I am proud and surprised to say that I was its referee. I should not be saying that as a great party of organisations will no doubt beat a path to my constituency surgery door next week to try to take advantage of my obvious skill in picking winners, at least on someone else's behalf, if not on my own. There have been other grants in my constituency, which I also welcome wholeheartedly because they will provide great benefit to communities there.

Other organisations, sadly, have not been so lucky, which again is inevitable. About 600 bids have been successful and 15,000 have either been unsuccessful or are yet to be processed.

Mr. Kirkhope

So far.

Dr. Moonie

So far. I recognise that more money is to come and that other organisations will be pleased in the coming months. The Minister must remember that he is no longer a Whip; he is not allowed to speak from a sedentary position.

Although I recognise the problems of maldistribution—all odd distributions may be ironed out in future allocations—it might be better if the Secretary of State considered having greater regional input in the selection process. I am not proposing how that could be done; I am merely suggesting that it might improve the overall allocation of money in regions. Many people and organisations have been disappointed in the present round. Let us hope that many of them will be satisfied in the rounds to come.

We need clear guidelines to ensure that the chance of success is maximised and applicants need a prompt explanation if their application has been rejected. [Interruption.] My right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland explained why he would be unable to attend all the debate. He will return as soon as he can.

Several other problems require urgent action, but I recognise that since my time is drawing to a close I shall have to touch on them briefly. The system is inflexible and I can give two examples of that. At present, Scottish Opera is ineligible for funding. It desperately needs funding to keep going because it is impossible to keep a full opera company going in Scotland. It is trying to commission a new opera and project funding would go a long way towards meeting the shortfall that it is likely to face this year. I hope that the Minister will take cognisance of that and do something about it.

In the same way, the Festival theatre in Edinburgh is facing problems. It incurred huge capital costs before it was eligible for grant. It will have difficulty in keeping going.

I regret that in the time available I am unable to say what I would like to about the problems facing medical charities, the football pools—the Chancellor may well cast a friendly nod in that direction—what to do with the millennium fund after it has been wound up and, last but by no means least, what to do about the social effects of the lottery on its users and those with gambling problems. We cannot take £4 billion out of the economy without some noticeable effects and it is about time that we thought about how to investigate what they are.

Let us remember that without the lottery we would not be having this debate because there would not be any money to disburse to good causes. Let us accept that it has been a good thing and that the Government have learnt something from the debate, but that may be a bit too much to hope. Let us hope that even now they can learn from the mistakes and act promptly rather than risk the whole thing turning sour in the long term.

9.41 pm
The Minister of State, Department of National Heritage (Mr. Iain Sproat)

I welcome the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Dr. Moonie) to the Dispatch Box for his first national heritage debate. I thank him for the extremely pleasant manner in which he made his speech and I hope that it will be ever thus. I can confirm that the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) courteously explained why he would not be able to be here, and I accept that.

I want to answer one or two of the general points that arose several times during the debate and, if there is time, I shall answer some of the specific points raised by hon. Members.

One of the first things that struck me was how, so often, Opposition Members raised points to which I thought that the answer had been given clearly and irrefutably. For instance, they raised the question of whether jackpot prizes should be capped. Let me explain as calmly and clearly as I can that the whole point of not capping the jackpot is that if there is a roll-over, more people buy tickets in the lottery that week and that means more money for good causes. That is the simple and irrefutable reason for that. The hon. Members for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) and for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) mentioned that. I am not sure whether that is the Labour party's policy at the moment. That is why it would be wrong in simple arithmetical and financial terms to cap the jackpot.

The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy raised the question of additionality. Let me say beyond any doubt that the Government never had, and never will have, any intention of substituting lottery funding for what would otherwise be paid for by the Government. That is absolutely clear, and there was no need to put it in the motion.

Mr. Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff, West)

If there was no need to put it in the motion, why did the Wales tourist board withdraw the offer of grant to the Brecon jazz festival information centre in the first place? The decision was reversed only this afternoon.

Mr. Sproat

There is a simple reason for that. That grant had to be matched by private sector funding. That was stated specifically. The lottery funding was not private sector funding. However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has considered the matter and agreed that the Wales tourist board should be in parallel with all the other tourist boards. The position has been changed. That has nothing to do with additionality. There are a number of Government schemes where there has to be private sector money. For example, Sportsmatch has to have private sector money levered in, as do environmental action grants. There was nothing dramatic about the matter to which the hon. Gentleman referred. I think that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State acted extremely swiftly in responding to what he thought was an anomaly. Opposition Members should be happy about that.

The Opposition state in their motion that they want the lottery to be run by a non-profit-making organisation. They fail to understand that it is precisely because Camelot is a private sector organisation that the lottery has been so successful. The more successful the lottery, the more successful the good causes, and the more successful are Camelot and its shareholders. It is exactly right that the general good is benefited by the private sector good. I do not know whether Opposition Members realise that, despite the short time that the lottery has been operating, it is about to become the most successful national lottery in the world. That is because of the excellent way in which Camelot has managed it.

Camelot has not made the massive, unfair and unjustified profits that Opposition Members have chosen to portray. In fact, profits are less than 1 per cent. of the turnover of the lottery, and are likely to remain so. That is a small amount of profit. If Opposition Members study what I believe is known as the bible of the lottery world, "La Fleur's Lottery World", which records all that happens in all the lotteries round the world, they will find that Camelot has been judged by that bible as No. 1 in the world league of efficiently run operators. It is the slimmest and cleanest lottery operator in the world. Camelot has built up almost the largest national lottery in the world—it is now No. 2—by operating the most efficient lottery.

It is argued by Labour Members that there was no risk attached to the lottery and that Camelot was given a licence to print money. I remember that when the relevant legislation was passing through the House, all the estimates of the turnover of the lottery were a little over £1 billion. Camelot bid on the basis that the lottery would not be the huge success that it has become. It was thought that the turnover would be very much less. There were eight bidders and Camelot offered the most money to good causes. If it was such an obvious no-risk business, why did the seven other bidders not do as well? In fact, there was a serious risk and, as I have said, Camelot offered the best deal for good causes.

We have been reminded that Mr. Richard Branson submitted a bid. If Opposition Members take the trouble to read page 33 of the National Audit Office's account of the matter, they will find that Mr. Branson did not offer as much to good causes as did Camelot. He was not even second. Indeed, he was not even third. The bid, as the NAO stated, was conducted in a manner beyond reproach. It said how well the bid was done, as did La Fleur's, the bible of lotteries around the world, which also said that we have the most efficient lottery in the world. Not even a year after its establishment, our lottery is the second biggest national lottery in the world. I think that we should be extremely pleased and proud of what Camelot has managed to do.

I said that in the short time available I would try to go through some of the points raised today. I shall do it in order, as that is perhaps the fairest way. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie) referred to what the churches have said about the national lottery in the past day or two. I shall not say too much about what I think about what the churches have said except that I believe it to be completely wrong. They are entitled to their view and I am entitled to mine, but it seems odd to say that the lottery should never have happened and that it is damaging society but then to take lottery money. I understand that the Church of Scotland said that it does not condone gambling and has refused to take the money, which seems the honourable thing to do.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), who had so much to do with starting up the lottery in the first place, said that the purpose of the lottery was to make a fundamental difference to the sporting and artistic fabric of the nation. That was the purpose and that is what has happened.

My hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe), a man whose credit in the sporting world none would venture to dispute, said that the difference made by the national lottery is incalculable. Hon. Members have only to look at the figures; they do not need to take my word for it. The Sports Council gets almost £50 million a year and will continue to get something of that order. However, the national lottery gives £200 million a year to sport and will provide more when it gets even better. The lottery is therefore giving four times as much to sport as the Sports Council was ever able to do and the Sports Council goes on giving. A similar thing is happening with the Arts Council. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney was right to say that the lottery has made a fundamental difference to the way in which the arts and sport are handled in this country, let alone the national heritage millennium fund and charities.

My right hon. and learned Friend also said that perhaps the National Lottery Charities Board should give more money to mainstream charities. I know that that view is widely held in the House. No doubt the NLCB, which is responsible for making such decisions, rather than the Government, will have heard what has been said and will act accordingly.

The hon. Member for Mossley Hill made a moderate and interesting speech. He mentioned Richard Branson, to whom I have already referred. He said that the charities have lost out but I have two responses to make to that point. First, the research done so far into what has happened to charities since the lottery was established is extremely mixed. Money given to the Red Cross has increased, as has the money given to the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund. However, the Royal National Institute for the Blind said that its income has dropped considerably, although it turns out that the drop has been in legacies, which are not affected by the lottery.

The Irish lottery carried out some research into what had happened to Irish charities and found that the majority had seen an increase in their income since the lottery had been running. There is no proof in what has been said, and it is perfectly proper for the hon. Member for Mossley Hill to keep his viewpoint at this stage. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has instituted research into what exactly has happened since the lottery began.

Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth)

At last.

Mr. Sproat

One cannot undertake research into the lottery's effect on charities until the lottery has had an effect on them. Once the research has been done, we shall see whether the hon. Member for Mossley Hill was right.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton), who had so much to do with promoting the lottery in the House, mentioned the tremendous change in the funding of the arts and sport and the fact that we are living with a success. How pleasant it is to debate something whose absolute success cannot be disputed. We thought that we would be turning over £1 billion a year—we find that we are turning over almost £5 billion a year. We thought that the arts, sports, national heritage and the charities would have some £80 million a year to spend among themselves—now we find that they have £200 million or perhaps £300 million a year. It is a marvellous success.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) made a very supportive speech, and one that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne said, was extremely interesting. The hon. Gentleman began by criticising the Scottish National party for saying that the money which went to the Royal Opera house in London somehow did Scotland out of money. Perhaps there could be agreement across the Floor of the House on how that shows appalling ignorance about the way in which the lottery is run, because of course Scotland has its own Arts Council with its own money from the lottery for it to distribute. The Royal Opera house lottery money, whatever anybody may think about it, came from the Arts Council of England and not the Arts Council of Scotland.

As to whether the Government would offer the same contract to Camelot again, a question asked fairly by the hon. Member for Cathcart, the answer is that the matter will be for the recommendation of the Director General of Oflot; but I do not dodge the question. Since the lottery has been running for less than a year, I would not say what my attitude would be when the franchise came to an end. Let us see what happens. At the moment, I think that Camelot has done an absolutely wonderful job, and with net profits as a percentage of turnover of less than 1 per cent., it is giving remarkably good value.

The hon. Member for Cathcart mentioned the important matter of capital versus revenue, and asked whether we should spend all the money on capital or allocate some for revenue. My hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne also mentioned that. I would like to find a way of funding revenue, but it is extremely difficult. It is almost a straight banking problem: if we fund revenue, if we fund the coaching which my hon. Friend says is so vital—I agree with him—to sportsmen at the highest level, that means that revenue funding has to be spread over at least three, and perhaps five, years for it to bite. Of course that means that we would be undertaking to spend in years one, two, three, four and five money that we do not have at the moment. That is the problem.

We shall try to find a way round the problem and we have already said that certain capital projects can have a revenue tail to them. That is a start. I promise the hon. Member for Cathcart and the House that we are trying to find a way to solve this important matter in a manner that is financially prudent.

My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) made his usual incisive speech—[Laughter.] It was a very good speech and it ill becomes hon. Members who were not even in the Chamber at the time to laugh at one of the outstanding contributions to the debate. My hon. Friend said that we should look again at the way in which the charities board is working. I shall draw that to the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, who is responsible for the charities board, to ensure that it understands that there is some feeling in the House that mainstream charities should be supported a little more, but it is for the board to make the decision.

My hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth), in an extremely amusing and powerful speech, made the essential point of which the House must not lose sight—already some 2,111 awards have been made. We are talking about a great success, and it really was a little dispiriting to see, on an Opposition Supply day, first that the Opposition Benches were almost empty for most of the afternoon, and, secondly—apart from one or two speeches such as that made by the hon. Member for Cathcart—that, without doubt, the general tone was of a rather whingeing, carping nature. I hope that that will stop when Opposition Members have it explained to them that Camelot is not making the excessive profit that they thought it was.

I congratulate my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence). As we all know, he was one of the great originators of the lottery. He deserves great credit and I am sure that in his speech he felt a great deal of pride knowing that what he helped to begin has become a great lottery.

With those few words at the end of a debate about one of the great successes of this country, I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to reject the Opposition motion, a motion that has shown clearly that the Opposition have no idea what the lottery is about. I invite the House to oppose the motion and to support the amendment in the name of my right hon. and hon. Friends.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:

The House divided: Ayes 264, Noes 302.

Division No. 224] [10.00 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Church, Judith
Adams, Mrs Irene Clapham, Michael
Anger, Nick Clark, Dr David (South Shields)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Allen, Graham Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Alton, David Coffey, Ann
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Connarty, Michael
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Corbett, Robin
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Corbyn, Jeremy
Ashton, Joe Corston, Jean
Austin-Walker, John Cousins, Jim
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Cummings, John
Barron, Kevin Cunliffe, Lawrence
Battle, John Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Bayley, Hugh Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Dafis, Cynog
Beith, Rt Hon A J Dalyell, Tam
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Darling, Alistair
Bennett, Andrew F Davidson, Ian
Benton, Joe Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Bermingham, Gerald Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth)
Berry, Roger Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Betts, Clive Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Blunkett, David Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)
Boateng, Paul Denham, John
Bradley, Keith Dewar, Donald
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dixon, Don
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Dobson, Frank
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Donohoe, Brian H
Burden, Richard Dowd, Jim
Byers, Stephen Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Caborn, Richard Eagle, Ms Angela
Callaghan, Jim Eastham, Ken
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Etherington, Bill
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Evans, John (St Helens N)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Fatchett Derek
Campbell-Savours, D N Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Cann, Jamie Fisher, Mark
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery) Flynn, Paul
Chidgey, David Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Chisholm, Malcolm Foulkes, George
Fraser, John MacShane, Denis
Fyfe, Maria Madden, Max
Galbraith, Sam Maddock, Diana
Galloway, George Mahon, Alice
Gapes, Mike Mandelson, Peter
Garrett, John Marek, Dr John
George, Bruce Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Gerrard, Neil Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Martin, Michael J (Springburn)
Godman, Dr Nomian A Martlew, Eric
Godsiff, Roger Maxton, John
Golding, Mrs Llin Meacher, Michael
Graham, Thomas Michael, Alun
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Milburn, Alan
Grocott, Bruce Miller, Andrew
Gunnell, John Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Hain, Peter Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hall, Mike Morgan, Rhodri
Hanson, David Morley, Elliot
Harman, Ms Harriet Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)
Harvey, Nick Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Henderson, Doug Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Heppell, John Mowlam, Marjorie
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Mudie, George
Hinchliffe, David Mullin, Chris
Hodge, Margaret Murphy, Paul
Hoey, Kate Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld) O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)
Home Robertson, John O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Hoon, Geoffrey O'Hara, Edward
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A) Olner, Bill
Howarth, George (Knowsley North) O'Neill, Martin
Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Hoyle, Doug Parry, Robert
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Pearson, Ian
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Pendry, Tom
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Pickthall, Colin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Pike, Peter L
Hutton, John Pope, Greg
Illsley, Eric Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Ingram, Adam Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H) Prescott, Rt Hon John
Jamieson, David Primarolo, Dawn
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Purchase, Ken
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Quin, Ms Joyce
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Radice, Giles
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Randall, Stuart
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW) Raynsford, Nick
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Reid, Dr John
Jowel, Tessa Rendel, David
Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S) Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n) Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Khabra, Piara S Roche, Mrs Barbara
Kilfoyle, Peter Rogers, Allan
Kirkwood, Archy Rooker, Jeff
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lewis, Terry Rowlands, Ted
Liddell, Mrs Helen Ruddock, Joan
Litherland, Robert Salmond, Alex
Livingstone, Ken Sedgemore, Brian
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Sheerman, Barry
Llwyd, Elfyn Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Loyden, Eddie Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lynne, Ms Liz Short, Clare
McAllion, John Simpson, Alan
McCartney, Ian Skinner, Dennis
McCartney, Robert Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
McFall, John Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
McKelvey, William Smith, Llew(Blaenau Gwent)
Mackinlay, Andrew Soley, Clive
McLeish, Henry Spellar, John
Maclennan, Robert Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
McNamara, Kevin Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Steinberg, Gerry Wareing, Robert N
Stevenson, George Watson, Mike
Stott, Roger Welsh, Andrew
Strang, Dr. Gavin Wicks, Malcolm
Straw, Jack Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Sutcliffe, Gerry Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Wise, Audrey
Timms, Stephen Worthington, Tony
Tipping, Paddy Wray, Jimmy
Touhig, Don Wright Dr Tony
Tyler, Paul Young, David (Bolton SE)
Vaz, Keith
Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold Tellers for the Ayes:
Wallace, James Mr. David Clelland and
Wardell, Gareth (Gower) Mr. Dennis Turner.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Colvin, Michael
Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan Congdon, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Amess, David Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Ancram, Michael Cormack, Sir Patrick
Arbuthnot, James Couchman, James
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Cran, James
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Ashby, David Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Davis, David (Boothferry)
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (M Valley) Day, Stephen
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Deva, Nirj Joseph
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Devlin, Tim
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Bates, Michael Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Batiste, Spencer Dover, Den
Beggs, Roy Duncan, Alan
Bellingham, Henry Duncan-Smith, Iain
Bendall, Vivian Dunn, Bob
Beresford, Sir Paul Durant, Sir Anthony
Biffen, Rt Hon John Eggar, Rt Hon Tim
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Elletson, Harold
Booth, Hartley Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Boswell, Tim Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Bowden, Sir Andrew Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Bowis, John Evennett, David
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Faber, David
Brandreth, Gyles Fabricant, Michael
Brazier, Julian Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bright, Sir Graham Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fishburn, Dudley
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Forman, Nigel
Browning, Mrs Angela Forsythe, Clifford (South Antrim)
Bruce, Ian (Dorset) Forth, Eric
Budgen, Nicholas Fowler, fit Hon Sir Norman
Burns, Simon Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Burt, Alistair Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Butcher, John Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Butler, Peter French, Douglas
Butterfill, John Fry, Sir Peter
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Gale, Roger
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln) Garnier, Sir George
Carrington, Matthew Garnier, Edward
Carttiss, Michael Gill, Christopher
Cash, William Gillan, Cheryl
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Chapman, Sir Sydney Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Churchill, Mr Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Clappison, James Gorst Sir John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Coe, Sebastian Grylls, Sir Michael
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Luff, Peter
Hague, Rt Hon William Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Hamilton, Sir Archibald McCrea, The Reverend William
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Hampson, Dr Keith MacKay, Andrew
Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy Maclean, Rt Hon David
Hannam, Sir John McLoughlin, Patrick
Hargreaves, Andrew McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Harris, David Maitland, Lady Olga
Haselhurst, Sir Alan Major, Rt Hon John
Hawkins, Nick Malone, Gerald
Hawksley, Warren Mans, Keith
Hayes, Jerry Marland, Paul
Heald, Oliver Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Hendry, Charles Mates, Michael
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Hicks, Robert Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence Mellor, Rt Hon David
Hill, James (Southampton Test) Merchant, Piers
Horam, John Mills, Iain
Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Nelson, Anthony
Hunter, Andrew Neubert, Sir Michael

Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Jack, Michael Nicholls, Patrick
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Jenkin, Bernard Norris, Steve
Jessel, Toby Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Oppenheim, Phillip
Jones, Gwilyrn (Cardiff N) Ottaway, Richard
Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr) Page, Richard
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Paice, James
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Patnick, Sir Irvine
Key, Robert Patten, Rt Hon John
King, Rt Hon Tom Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Kirkhope, Timothy pawsey, James
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Pickles, Eric
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n) Porter, David (Waveney)
Knox, Sir David Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Powell, William (Corby)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Rathbone, Tim
Lamont, Rt Hon Norrnan Redwood, Rt Hon John
Lang, Rt Hon Ian Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Richards, Rod
Legg, Barry Riddick, Graham
Leigh, Edward Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark Robathan, Andrew
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Lidington, David Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Lightbown, Sir David Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Lord, Michael Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Sackville, Tom Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Thurnham, Peter
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shaw, David (Dover) Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Tracey, Richard
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Tredinnick, David
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Trend, Michael
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Trotter, Neville
Shersby, Sir Michael Twinn, Dr Ian
Sims, Roger Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Skeet, Sir Trevor Viggers, Peter
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Walden, George
Smyth, The Reverend Martin Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Soames, Nicholas Waller, Gary
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Ward, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Spink, Dr Robert Waterson, Nigel
Spring, Richard Watts, John
Sproat, Iain Wells, Bowen
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Whitney, Ray
Steen, Anthony Whittingdale, John
Stephen, Michael Widdecombe, Ann
Stern, Michael Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Streeter, Gary Wilkinson, John
Sweeney, Walter Willetts, David
Sykes, John Wilshire, David
Tapsell, Sir Peter Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd) Wood, Timothy
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Yeo, Tim
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomason, Roy Tellers for the Noes:
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V) Mr. Derek Conway and
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Mr. Roger Knapman.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments) and agreed to.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved, That this House welcomes the huge success of the National Lottery and the enormous sums of extra money it is raising for the Good Causes Fund to go to the arts, sport, the heritage, the caring charities and the celebration of the Millennium; believes that the operator, whose selection was endorsed by the NAO, is running the lottery efficiently and cost-effectively; congratulates the distributing bodies on making an excellent start in spreading the benefits of the Lottery throughout the land; and calls upon the Opposition to recognise this success and the opportunity it brings to improve the quality of life.