HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc1-3
1. Mr. Jenkin

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many charities have now been awarded funds from the national lottery. [16350]

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

The National Lottery Charities Board has made 2,460 awards, worth £159 million, to charities and voluntary organisations. In all, lottery distributors have made 4,394 awards, totalling £556 million to charities and voluntary organisations. That accounts for more than 85 per cent. of all awards made to date.

Mr. Jenkin

I thank my right hon. Friend for that staggering reply and draw her attention to the fact that the national lottery has meant a bonanza for my constituents, with more than £1.2 million spent in my constituency and the immediate surrounding region—and that achieved without any substantial fall in charitable giving for any significant charity. May I congratulate her on that excellent result?

Mrs. Bottomley

I thank my hon. Friend and congratulate his constituents. He has a formidable list of charities being supported by the national lottery. They include Homestart and church and sports projects. With other hon. Members, he is benefiting from the great national lottery. Contrary to expectations, the evidence is that contributions for charitable giving have not fallen.

Mr. Maclennan

To put this in perspective, what has been the Government's tax take in the period for which the right hon. Lady gave those figures? What study are the Government undertaking of the lottery's impact on people whom the charities board is most concerned about: the poor?

Mrs. Bottomley

I will write to the hon. Gentleman with figures on the tax take. Of course the Treasury would benefit from other ways in which the public spent their money if the national lottery did not exist.

As to the effect on charities, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware of some of the surveys of what has happened. A recent survey showed that, although 2 per cent. of people thought that they would give less, 4 per cent. thought that they would give more. Gallup found that 5 per cent. said that they would give more. The UK charities lottery and many of the people moving into scratchcards have benefited. The medical charities finally reported that, contrary to expectations, despite the lottery, they had had an extremely successful year. The Home Office is formally monitoring the position and that information will be available in due course.

Mr. Jessel

To put this in true perspective, is not the national lottery a brilliant national achievement that has given tremendous pleasure to millions of participants and has raised enormous sums for charities and other good causes? Is it not a fact that charities such as the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Appeal have increased their uptake since the national lottery started?

Mrs. Bottomley


Dr. John Cunningham

It is tempting to accept the right hon. Lady's suggestion that, under the national lottery, everyone is a winner, but the story beneath the headline numbers that she has given is not quite that good. More than 80 per cent. of all lottery funding has gone to voluntary organisations, but 40 of those awards total almost £1 billion. Traditional street collecting, fund-raising charities—the tin shakers and ticket sellers—have been most badly affected, as figures from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations graphically demonstrate. Sadly, many small and medium local and regional charities are adversely affected by the national lottery's impact and its huge success in gathering money. We need to consider much more carefully and closely those effects, especially on small revenue-raising charities.

Mrs. Bottomley

The right hon. Gentleman is correct to say that we need to consider keeping all aspects of the lottery under careful review. That is why my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary announced—as he said that he would do during the Committee stage of the Bill that introduced the lottery—that the Department is monitoring not only giving, but how much charities are receiving.

Charitable giving has fashions and although tin collections are not having an easy time, those organisations moving into scratchcards seem to be doing very much better. The British Legion, recently the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the United Kingdom Charities Lottery have all recorded considerable increases in the amounts being made available. A particular charity says that it is losing contributions and that turns out to be a reduction in legacies—it is hard to understand how it could be thought that the national lottery is responsible for that.

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