HC Deb 21 July 1997 vol 298 cc680-2
9. Ms Dari Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to reform the national lottery. [7505]

Mr. Tom Clarke

My right hon. Friend will make a statement later this afternoon on the Government's proposals for reforming the lottery.

Ms Taylor

I hope that I will hear this afternoon that local applications are given equivalent consideration to applications made by quangos, if not more consideration. My question relates to my constituency, in which the Butterwick trust, a charity, wishes to open a hospice for dying children—anyone who goes through that period knows how traumatic it is. However, the trust has been turned down three times, and we know not why. It is important that the trust should know why.

Secondly, there is a commercial venture, proposed by Teesside development corporation, for a tele-ski development which nobody wants. Indeed, no local wants it. The question is clear: are people who put forward commercial ventures—quangos, non-representative of local communities—to be given precedence over local people?

Mr. Clarke

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing to the attention of the House concerns that many hon. Members on both sides of the House share. She will know that those decisions are taken—if the proposals are submitted individually—by a body that is independent of the Government. I assure her that the Government believe in the people's lottery and, therefore, we are concerned about obtaining a genuine public response. My hon. Friend and the House will not be disappointed when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State makes his statement in, I hope, a few moments.

Mr. Brooke

What is the Minister's current definition of additionality?

Mr. Clarke

I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman is planning to contest the Glasgow, Govan constituency, or is he asking a question relevant to a Department that he once headed? Well though I understand his worries about additionality, I do not recall that he did much about it when he was in government. If the right hon. Gentleman manages to catch your eye when my right hon. Friend makes his statement, Madam Speaker, I am sure that he will not be disappointed.

Mr. Maclennan

Does the Minister not recognise that less than a quarter of the money raised by the lottery for good causes has been distributed to those causes and that, in some cases, additionality has been helped by the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, whose position under the present Government's policies appears to be as parlous as it was under their predecessors? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the 27 per cent. pools betting duty, as opposed to the 12 per cent. duty on the lottery funds, will drive the Foundation for Sport and the Arts into the ground and that it has done more good in its lifetime than any of the national lottery causes have for the arts?

Mr. Clarke

The last question is a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

On the main question about additionality, clearly in the eight weeks or so that we have been in government, we have tried to give thought to various important matters including that one. I invite the hon. Gentleman to be a little more patient. In a few minutes, he will find out that that problem is tackled in the White Paper and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be happy to give his response.