HL Deb 22 March 1999 vol 598 cc1110-23

1 a. m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 11th March be approved [12th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Lord said: The purpose of the order is to specify the three initiatives that will be funded by the National Lottery though the New Opportunities Fund. We published our proposals last November in the consultation document New Links for the Lottery and we received 328 responses. I am grateful to all who responded, the vast majority of whom welcomed our ideas.

Not knowing who else was to take part in this debate, I sent the draft directions to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St. Johns, and the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, last Thursday. They set out the framework for the new initiatives, which have been developed with the benefit of the many useful comments made. I included a summary of the responses to consultation.

We listened to the many respondents who were keen that we should not try to do too much with too little. I am pleased to inform the House that we have been able to increase the funding available to NOF for the initiatives from £400 million to £500 million. The extra money anticipates income that will accrue to NOF after the end of the current licence period.

The cancer prevention, detection, treatment and care programme will build on local fundraising to address local needs. That initiative will help to support the Government's aim of providing high-quality cancer services for all. It will strengthen health promotion by developing innovative techniques for giving information about cancer prevention and detection, and it will develop partnerships to promote healthy living. The initiative will improve access and awareness in communities of the benefits of screening and ensure that all programmes have modern screening and diagnostic equipment. It will reduce waiting times for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer by investment in replacement or additional high tech equipment that would not have been made otherwise.

That new lottery spending will be in addition to the settlement for health services agreed within the comprehensive spending review—additional to, not substituting for, Exchequer funding. The initiative demonstrates our commitment to seeing that the benefits of the lottery are more widely spread. The lottery's long-term success depends on retaining and reinforcing public confidence in its power to address issues that most concern people. That is what this and the other initiatives will do.

Some £150 million will be available to fund the initiative, which will build on the tradition of voluntary support and the £140 million a year already provided by charitable and voluntary groups.

The green spaces and sustainable communities initiative will help urban and rural communities across the UK to understand, improve and care for their natural living environment and improve the overall quality of their surroundings. The initiative will have two main strands: first, creating, preserving, improving and promoting access to green spaces of educational, recreational or environmental value to the community— including by the acquisition of land; secondly, encouraging small, community-based projects that engage local people in improving and caring for their environment and promoting sustainable development. The sum of £125 million will be available for that initiative, with 75 per cent. of that directed at the green spaces strand.

A theme throughout the initiative is meeting community needs. Communities attach high priority to the quality of their environment but that will mean different things to different communities. In a rural community, for example, access to open land may be an issue. For urban communities, providing safe routes to schools might be a higher priority. The initiative will address the dearth of playing fields that resulted from the policy to sell them off. It will help communities such as the Isle of Eigg in Scotland to acquire and care for land. It will help reclaim derelict parts of our country and to knit communities together as part of our agenda to bring about social inclusion. It is NOF's first environmental initiative and shows our determination to ensure that lottery funds make a real difference to everyone wherever they live in the UK.

The aims of the community access to lifelong learning initiative are to engage more adults in learning at community level and increase community access to information and communications technology. It will do that by supporting the development of a nationwide network of learning centres with ICT access to information and learning. Some £200 million will be available to support the development of community grids for learning and the equipping and networking of public libraries to provide learning centres for everyone wherever they live. Funding for community grids for learning will provide central ICT websites for "joining up" services—education, libraries, leisure, health, transport and the environment—at local level. The grids will provide community information for local people.

Community grids will link into the national grid for learning, the public library network and the university for industry so that local good practice and information can be shared nationally and in a variety of learning contexts. The public library network is a programme for equipping and networking public libraries to join them to the national grid for learning and the university for industry. This support for libraries will complement the equipping of schools under the national grid for learning. This initiative will unlock the potential of public libraries which are ideally placed to bring the learning age to every community. It builds on NOF's existing initiative to train teachers and librarians and digitise content to support lifelong learning and it will complement the learning centre programme launched by Gordon Brown and David Blunkett providing an extra £470 million of taxpayers' money to raise standards and increase learning opportunities.

In our consultation paper we also proposed an expansion to the existing NOF out-of-school hours initiative to fund 250, 000 new summer school places. Some £25 million will be set aside to achieve this as an expansion of NOF's existing out-of-school hours activities initiative. Summer schools include study support programmes run by individual schools and groups of schools and children's universities run by local education authorities and others. Activities may be subject-related or aimed at enhancing pupils' motivation and self-confidence to raise their levels of expectation and attainment. The long summer break can hinder pupils' progress, particularly for pupils from lower socio-economic groups whose reading ability can decline over the summer. Lottery funding will enable many more schools and others to offer exciting and effective learning opportunities to complement other summer provision. The Department for Education and Employment is to launch a summer school pilot this summer. The pilot will inform NOF's summer school initiative.

The order gives effect to policies announced last September. The National Lottery has been more successful than anyone imagined. We want the lottery to provide something for everyone and make sure that the extra money goes where people most want it and where it is most needed. We have created NOF to ensure that lottery money benefits even more people. The health, education and environment projects which will be eligible for grants under these new plans could not happen without lottery money. These initiatives will be additional to government spending and not a substitute for it. NOF will be able to start inviting applications under the new initiatives before the end of this year. I commend the order to the House. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 11th March be approved [12th Report from the Joint Committee]. —(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns

My Lords, again I thank the Minister for explaining the order to us tonight, and also on this occasion for sending copies of the directions to me. They were most helpful and I made efforts to ensure that some other of my colleagues were able to see them before the debate tonight.

We had the opportunity to examine the arguments surrounding the additionality principle on Thursday 4th February when the Minister laid a National Lottery order, and I do not propose to revisit the argument of principle in detail tonight, or rather this morning as it now is. This order diverts moneys which otherwise would have gone to the arts, sports and good causes, as originally agreed in Parliament. However, I confirm my hope that all the projects which will benefit from these diverted moneys will be of value to society in some way, and confirm my belief that some of them will indeed be invaluable to us all. I have merely argued in the past—and do now—that we should take care that we do not fund projects, services or the provision of equipment from lottery money which the public may have a right to expect to be funded on a permanent, reliable basis from taxation.

Section 3(1) refers to the allocation of NO funds to cancer care. I prefer to refer to this as NO rather than NOF, which, as the Minister will remember from the previous debate, sounds somewhat akin to a rude direction. Noble Lords had an opportunity for debate when a Statement was made to this House last Monday. I listened then with interest to the points made from around the House on the issue of providing lottery funding for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. The Minister, repeating the Statement made in another place, posed the rhetorical question: What better use could there be for lottery money". —[Official Report, 15/3/99; col. 534.] I was saddened by that use of rhetoric. It challenged us to dare to make invidious comparisons between the sufferers of different conditions and different diseases. I certainly would not contemplate making such comparisons tonight.

Responding to the Statement my noble friend Lord Howe gave a warm welcome to the prospect of more spending on cancer care but rightly sought assurances from the Government on the basis that he was always worried by the appearance of lottery money in this context. He sought reassurances that none of the proposed expenditure would represent what would normally be regarded as core NHS spending. All of us will have friends, family or colleagues who have been touched by cancer. We would not deny them help. We would do all we can to prevent others being touched by it. At the same time we recognise that the medical profession has to make difficult decisions day by day about who receives treatment and what treatment, and who does not.

The order imposes a responsibility on the managers of the NO Fund to make decisions about the disbursement of funds for cancer care. They will have to determine which organisations receive the funds and how they will be geographically distributed within the general guidelines of the legislation of 77.5 per cent. for England, 11.5 per cent. for Scotland, 6.5 per cent. for Wales and 4.5 per cent. for Northern Ireland. They have an extraordinarily difficult task. I note that the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, chairs the NO Fund—she is in her place—and I wish her and her colleagues well in the decisions they make. As I am aware that the written record cannot take account of inflexions of voice, perhaps I may say that there is no irony in that statement. I recognise the difficult task they face and I appreciate very much the efforts they will put into those decisions.

I have read both the order and the directions very carefully. Article 3(2) appears to take us into new territory. It grants powers to the NO Fund to allocate moneys for, the promotion and management of access to the countryside or to other land which is (or is to be) open to the public". This suggests that the order gives the NO Fund the power to allocate moneys to help to pay for some of the consequences of the statutory right to roam which the Government announced in a Statement on 8th March. The noble Lord, Lord Murray of Epping Forest, tried to obtain some enlightenment on that occasion about how lottery funds might be used to provide more access for disabled people and more facilities for them at points of access. The noble Lord, Lord Whitty—who is in his place tonight—pointed out that, the terms of National Lottery grants are, I fear, beyond the scope of this Statement". —[Official Report, 8/3/99; col. 49.] That is the precisely the problem. How can we scrutinise such proposals effectively and at what stage in the parliamentary process?

I intended that the main question I asked the Minister would refer to the Government's intention behind the order. I gave advance notice to the Minister's office that I would seek an assurance that the Government do not intend by this order to seek powers to use lottery funds in conjunction with the consequences of the statutory right to roam. I felt that if the Government were to seek to use the moneys allocated under this order in such a way before they had even presented a Bill to Parliament and given Parliament a chance to scrutinise the matter, then that would be a clear contempt of parliamentary scrutiny, a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

I was prepared to give the Government the benefit of the doubt on this matter. I was reassured when I read an article in this week's Sunday Telegraph. The department was quoted as denying that the order would influence any future legislation. The quote in the newspaper was from an unidentified spokesman on behalf of the department. It read: The idea that this is helping to fund any right-to-roam activities … is wrong". The new scheme, said a spokesman, would allow lottery funding for schemes designed to help communities, understand, improve and care for their environment". That is what the department said yesterday. Today is a very different story. Today I attended the debate on this order in another place. Today I heard my honourable friend James Gray ask the Secretary of State whether the order would be used to fund some of the right-to-roam provisions. Today I heard the Secretary of State say that it would and say that he was proud of this prospective legislation. The official record printed tomorrow will show just that.

So my question has already been answered by the Secretary of State. The Government have already disregarded the value of parliamentary scrutiny in this one respect. What else do we face in the future? I still do hold that scrutiny in high regard and I will continue to put some questions to the noble Lord the Minister. I note that the DETR's paper, The Government's Framework for Action, refers in paragraph 26 to lottery funding in the most general and speculative manner. It states that, the Government is keen to see Lottery funds being made more widely available to complement the statutory responsibilities set out in legislation". What legislation? Is this referring in particular to rights of way, or the right-to-roam, or what? Paragraph 26 goes on to state: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be asking Lottery distributors to see how their funding can contribute further in helping people from all walks of life to take advantage of the new opportunities for open air recreation in the countryside". How and what kind of recreation?

The order refers to the use of lottery moneys for the acquisition of land. That is an interesting aspect of the order. On what basis—as car parking or land to link areas which will be subject to the right-to-roam? What kind of land are we really talking about? Will it be for playing fields or will it be more directly linked to access matters under the right-to-roam? The order also refers to using money to promote access to the countryside. Is this a reference to advertising how to get access or signposting or way marking? What is involved? Which organisations will benefit from such moneys: the Ramblers' Association, the CLA, the National Trust, the RSPB or the Countryside Agency? What do the Government anticipate?

The final section of the order refers to the diversion of lottery moneys to the use of IT in education for those aged 16 and over and also to the out-of-school matters to which the Minister referred. Naturally, I support the promotion of initiatives that encourage more adults to take part in learning at a community level and increase community access to information and communication technology. That is a most welcome move. But hardware is notoriously short-lived in the IT world. After the Government have used up the lottery funds to set up new services, how do they expect those services to continue when the original hardware is obsolete? In addition, as software develops, the training that is provided has to be changed as well. It is notorious that people who provide IT training have to be continually subject to retraining themselves. Who will pay for that?

Overall, the order tacks together several important initiatives, some parts of which might well be expected to form part of core government funding and not be subject to the vagaries—the lottery—of lottery funding. It is the convention in this House that the Opposition Front Bench does not oppose the making of orders. On that basis alone, I would not oppose the making of the order. In addition, however, there is another imperative. I would not consider opposing this order because I would not oppose the grant of funds to such causes as cancer care. However, I remain deeply concerned about the manner in which this order is presented to the House and the statements made today by the Secretary of State in another place.

Viscount Falkland

My Lords, we on these Benches congratulate the noble Baroness on an excellent speech at this late hour. She raised many points that are also of concern to us. I do not intend to re-rehearse the arguments against the use of lottery funds for things which we believe should be funded from central taxation (Treasury funding).

Every time one criticises the actions of the Government in securing funding from the lottery in this way, one is sometimes accused of taking lightly the excellent areas to which these funds are directed. I can understand the importance of everything in the first part of the order, which has to do with the treatment of cancer, the delivery of modern screening in local areas and so on. But I take the noble Baroness's point that the choice of beneficiaries is a complex and worrying area. I find the part of the order dealing with the acquisition of land and the promotion of management of access to the countryside very difficult to follow. I have read it several times, and in conjunction with the excellent notes which are supposed to make matters clearer, but nothing is clearer. I do not like the brackets in the phrase, (or is to be)open to the public", and I do not like the connection with the statutory right to roam. It was excellently described by the noble Baroness.

The Minister, with his customary skill, makes the whole provision seem extremely attractive. He even refers to public libraries, which, thinking in an art sense, are a wonderful thing. My heart leapt for a moment. This is a time when, for some curious reason, funding for public libraries is being reduced. They are a fundamental need of our society. It is encouraging to think that public libraries will benefit in some way from this provision. But the way in which it is being done gives rise to great anxieties. The hour is late and I do not wish to repeat what has already been said in an excellent way.

Baroness Pitkeathley

My Lords, I must declare an interest. I am chair of the New Opportunities Fund. I merely wish to place on record my board's welcome for these initiatives and for the order that is before the House.

In carrying out the difficult task that is before us, we shall be working in partnership with other organisations, including other lottery distributors. It is important to emphasise that. We shall be supporting sustainable projects in the United Kingdom which improve the quality of life for individuals and communities, promote social inclusion, encourage community involvement and complement and enhance—but not substitute for— relevant national, regional and local strategies and programmes. We at the fund feel privileged to be playing our part in setting up this new organisation distributing lottery moneys to help education and environment projects. The programme is certainly a challenging one, not only for us but for all the other organisations with which we shall be working.

I wish to convey to your Lordships something of the public support and enthusiasm for this initiative that are fed back to me as I go through an extensive consultation process with the public throughout the United Kingdom. These initiatives were originally announced in September and we have already started consultation with many of the organisations to which the noble Baroness referred in the environment field and the cancer field, and in terms of learning.

In our original three initiatives we managed to consult directly with more than 5, 000 people. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm and support for the initiatives. Of course, everyone recognises that there are concerns about additionality, sustainability and how partnerships might work. My board is extremely concerned about that and particularly about ensuring that our provision does not in any way undermine the existing provision.

I reiterate that my board is determined to take advantage of the exciting new opportunity in a way which reaches out to the most disadvantaged people in our society. I am confident that we can meet the challenges presented to us and do exactly that.

Lord Rotherwick

My Lords, I shall not keep your Lordships long at this hour in the morning. I support my noble friend Lady Anelay on the Front Bench and am grateful that she covered nearly everything I wished to say, especially about the right to roam. That means that I do not have to repeat the points, although I have an interest as a landowner.

The point of my question is about the New Opportunities Funds. The Secretary of State described them best when he admitted that they had raided the National Lottery to fund the opportunities. Most of them are worthy causes and one must welcome the Government taking the initiative to identify such worthy causes, especially playing fields. I am pleased that that is happening.

My question is whether the money will be used to fund the mapping by the new countryside agency and the countryside council for Wales.

1.30 a. m.

Lord Rowallan

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, and the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, for telling us more about the specification of initiatives. Perhaps I am slightly cynical in thinking that the orders seem to be discussed late at night or early in the morning.

The lottery will only ever work properly and be appreciated by the people of this country if it has a few clear purposes and its image can be fully promoted to the public, with constant improvement in sales which will benefit everyone in all the causes. The order is so diffuse as to open the door to substitution, without creating recognisable improvements on any national scale. The presence this month of £3.7 billion unspent in the National Lottery Distribution Fund, of which £1.7 billion has not been committed to anything, shows the current mechanisms to be on the whole totally inadequate. No other lottery in the world has failed to use its money on that scale. Only 48 per cent. has been spent over the four-and-a-quarter years of its existence.

The most positive aspect of the order is its role in the prevention of cancer. But why just cancer? What about multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and Hodgkin's disease, to name but three debilitating conditions. They need just as much sorting out to ascertain what causes them.

The aspect that is vital is the business of trying to sort out what is the cause of cancer. I hope that we can guarantee at least 50 per cent of the available funds to be fixed and dedicated to that purpose. To that end, the use of the word "facilities" is not enough. We need research and instruction in order to touch the lottery-playing public. Prevention is better than cure. We must look at the research done by, among others, the Gawler Foundation in Australia, which has achieved many remarkable results in finding cures for cancer. We must find out whether what it is doing is right or just an Australian aspect. We must find out and examine in detail the extent to which toxins found in foodstuffs, the environment, viruses and other negative influences reduce the efficiency of our immune system to fight off cancer and other diseases.

Money raised by the lottery comes from the people and must be used to fund activities in which the NHS is not already engaged and which are new, innovative and useful.

Part II deals with the purchase of land. Provided the purchase is restricted to such land as is useful for playing fields, I totally support the order. On the same principle, preventive medicine should dominate the part dealing with cancer. It is right to have a right-to-roam Bill in your Lordships' House. I applaud it and have no reason to disagree with it. If we can persuade land owners to let people roam across their land so be it, but it should not be done with lottery funding for the purchase of land. It would be cheaper, surely, to pay landowners to have footpaths along and across their land.

The third problem is education. We are all very keen on education. I wish that I had learnt how to work my computer many years ago. If so, I would be a lot more efficient than I am today. Surely, this is a government problem and should be funded by taxpayers, not the lottery. Only if lottery money is applied where other sources have failed can it be recognised as a force for good in the land. At the moment, it has become a convenience for Treasury to offload problems. The lottery needs to concentrate again on the original five good causes. Many sporting organisations and arts bodies thought that they would find their salvation in the lottery but came up against blank walls at the end of the day. But others have succeeded in raising a lot of money and a marvellous job has been done by the lottery. Long may it continue.

This order will almost certainly be passed this morning, but I and many others are very concerned about the use of the people's lottery for government purposes. It is simply not good enough for the Minister to say—he has said it before and I am sure that he means it because he has always been extremely courteous, polite and truthful—that the original five causes have received their quota of money. They should be enjoying extra finance thanks to the success of the lottery, not the Government. That is why the good people of this country play the lottery. They do it to make money, always hoping that they will win the jackpot; they do not do it to boost government funds. We must always remember that this is the people's lottery, not the Treasury's.

Lord Annaly

My Lords, at this late stage I shall not detain the House for long. Cancer is a very worthy cause. My noble friend Lord Rowallan mentioned a number of other causes that would be equally worthy of support. I shall focus my few remarks on the acquisition of land for the public good.

This matter raises a few questions. Perhaps the Minister can throw light on the kind of land that is being considered. I cannot see a mention of games fields. Certainly, in my part of the world, which I believe is typical of the rest of the country, schools have been selling land on which to build houses. In Bicester half the rugger pitch has been built on in the past two years. I am aware that the same has happened round the country. Surely, it is up to local authorities to decide.

We need more games fields but I question whether they should be funded by the National Lottery. Is the compulsory purchase of land being considered? If so, who will identify the land to be compulsorily purchased? Will it be the county council? Are the Government thinking of using organisations such as the National Trust, which are supported by a number of people? I declare an interest as a member of the National Trust. Some suggest that they would be admirable people to run the land acquired. The National Trust opens houses and, with its land agents, would be well geared to manage land in the countryside and towns for the benefit of the public. Are the Government looking at organisations like the Woodland Trust, or the Badminton Conservation Trust which is geared up for conservation? What are we referring to? If someone wants to sell a grouse moor and wishes to put it on the open market, would the funds be used to buy that grouse moor? I am curious to know exactly what is being considered here.

Baroness Byford

My Lords, I thank the Minister for presenting and explaining the order to us tonight. I, too, an extremely concerned about the way in which the order is being used, as my noble friend Lady Anelay stated, with regard to prospective legislation. Other noble Lords share my concern that yet again parliamentary approval is being sought and moneys put aside even before legislation has come before either House.

Those of us who have taken part in debates on Bills recently have already expressed our misgivings about inadequately drafted legislation, or being without the necessary information in order properly to debate matters before us. Such disregard for parliamentary procedure is regrettable; and today we have yet another instance of disregard.

I have some questions on the order. Will the Minister inform the House what proportion of moneys currently held against the allocation for health, education and the environment will be used up by today's statement? Can the Minister assure the House that by paying the moneys to the New Opportunities Fund, under the provision made in Section 6(2) of the 1998 Act, he will not be depriving NESTA of its initial endowment provided for under Section 19(1) of the Act?

Is the Minister yet in a position to tell the House how much money he intends to pay across to NESTA, first, in the period from 1st July 1999 under Section 19(1); and, secondly, in the period between 2nd July 1999 to 31st December 1999 under Section 19(2)?

Does the Minister envisage, in the period 2nd July 1999 to 31st December 1999, under Section 19(2) of the 1998 Act, drawing on moneys originally intended for charities, the arts, sport or national heritage; and, if so, does he intend to do so evenly across the board?

The order includes the acquisition of land. Several noble Lords have spoken about that. In what geographical area will this be, and will the land be purchased freehold? How much does the Minister envisage spending on, helping communities acquire, control and develop land which is important to them"? Will that acquisition involve compulsory purchase?

Can the Minister also reassure us that all land acquired under the new opportunities initiatives will be subject to enduring covenants preventing its use, for example, for industrial or commercial development or for housing? Is part of that land to include land which would fall into the remit of the Government's proposals for access, an issue referred to by other noble Lords and my noble friend Lady Anelay. In a presentation last week in this House, the Countryside Commission put forward two papers: one on rights of way and the other on access. Perhaps I may refer to access first. I have a question I wish to ask. The order refers to the promotion of the use of land for the benefit of the community. In its presentation briefing, the Countryside Commission referred to developing, a bid to the New Opportunity Fund for the creation and improving of 'community greenspace' near people's homes". Have moneys already been allocated; and, if so, how much? Are the Government considering including allotments in the possible use of community green spaces? Many noble Lords will know that I keep raising in this House the question of allotments as they are being closed down and built on rather than preserved as an amenity for local communities.

In its presentation on rights of way, the Countryside Commission called for national targets to be set for the rights of way campaign in which local authorities update their statutory duties. Will any money from the New Opportunities Fund be spent on that?

I find it interesting that, on the one hand, money has been made available to promote the management of access to the countryside and that money has been made available for the acquisition of land under this order. But in the proposals for greater access to the countryside and the right to roam, it has been made clear that landowners are to receive no compensation and must carry third party liability. Perhaps the Minister will comment on those two different approaches.

I understand that £125 million has been set aside for the environment section. Will the Minister confirm that none of the green spaces covered by the 75 per cent. of allocation includes mountain, heathland or moorland, covered in the Statement on access debated in this House on 8th March? Lastly, will the Minister tell the House how the money allocated will be distributed geographically; whether it will be regarded as pump-priming or, as the noble Baroness said, it must be for sustainable development? If not, how will the Government ensure that those projects will be financially viable in the future?

Finally, I return to the underlying concern which my noble friend expressed so well; namely, that money is being put aside for projects which have not been submitted to Parliament and certainly have not been approved by Parliament—the Bill on the right to roam.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I am grateful for some of the comments made. That is as far as I can go in the circumstances. I say immediately to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and the noble Lord, Lord Rowallan, that there is no question of diverting moneys from the previous existing good causes. As has been made clear from the very beginning, the original good causes under the preceding Act will all receive more than the amount of money that they expected when the original allocation was set up.

The funding of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is from additional money arising from the fact that, fortunately, the lottery has been much more successful than originally expected.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said that she thought it right that some of the causes now being proposed would be of value to society. She thought the public had the right to expect that items would not be included that could be funded from taxation. She is entirely correct. I confirm that our position has not changed.

I shall try to deal with the issues across the range of speakers rather than go back between green spaces and cancer funding. I start with cancer. Two things must be said in response to the noble Lord, Lord Rowallan, and the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay. They asked why we have chosen cancer and not, for example, MS or schizophrenia. Cancer affects one in three people in this country and one in four deaths is from cancer. It is very different in scope from the other diseases mentioned.

I am delighted that, as a long-term project, over the next 10, 20 or 30 years it may be possible to tackle other diseases. However, cancer is the major killer in our society and is an area in which a great deal of research and care needs to be provided.

Secondly, historically, it is a mixed economy, so to speak, in the sense that a great deal of the most valuable work in cancer research and cancer provision is carried out by the charitable and voluntary sectors. About £140 million of charitable money goes to cancer every year. Those who are involved in such charitable activities for cancer have clearly welcomed the proposals for the extensions to be provided from the New Opportunities Fund. Nicholas Young, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Relief stated: This is a golden opportunity. We must make sure that this financial boost … is used effectively". Dr. McArmstrong of the BMA stated that the equipment and services are precisely the areas currently paid for through local fundraising or major cancer charities.

These are items of expenditure which it is impossible for the National Health Service to provide to the satisfaction of, and to meet the needs of, the people in this country who suffer from cancer. Those who know about it are determined that this is the right way to proceed.

I turn to the subject of green spaces and sustainable communities. I have been asked for assurances, to quote a spokesperson in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, that the suggestion that this is funding right-to-roam activities by the backdoor is wrong. That was true yesterday and is true today. There is no departure from that. The New Opportunities Fund moneys will not be used to pay for the new statutory right to roam. They will be used for purposes which are additional and complementary to the statutory functions. Perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, that there is no question of any disregard for parliamentary procedure and no question of money being put aside before legislation. In due course, when legislation is put before Parliament on the right to roam, those matters which will cost money will have to be funded. However, they will not be funded by money from the New Opportunities Fund which is being approved today. They cannot be funded in that way. There is no legal power, for example, for the compulsory acquisition of land in pursuit of the right-to-roam objective.

There is a whole range of things which the New Opportunities Fund can do. I can cite many examples: the creation of new powers; the upgrading of existing powers; the provision of facilities for those with disabilities; information about existing or new access opportunities; better way-marking and provision of local maps. The NOF can do all of those things. However, the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, asked me a whole series of precise questions about what has been committed now. The answer can and must be, in accordance with the arm's length principle, that these are not matters for government but for the New Opportunities Fund. It is in accordance with the general guidelines laid down in the orders that the New Opportunities Fund will be operating.

Indeed, if we were to seek to give very detailed answers to the questions which she asked—I understand her sincerity in asking them—we would be accused immediately by her Front Bench of breaching the arm's length principle and of going way beyond the legitimate separation of the responsibilities of the funds from the responsibilities of government.

I agree with noble Lords, and with the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, that the problem before the New Opportunities Fund is a difficult one. Only general guidelines and powers are being given to the New Opportunities Fund. They are not precise and a great deal of responsibility will be required.

Before I leave this point, perhaps I may assure the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, that this will have no effect whatever on the funding of NESTA. The funding of NESTA was set up under the National Lottery Act 1998. There is no diminution of that funding, which has already been established. At the same time, there are no plans at the moment to make any further endowments to NESTA under Section 19(2) of the Act; the £200 million is already there; it is one of the top grant-making trusts in the country and will receive up to £10 million a year under the guidelines.

The noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, asked me a very precise question about whether the funds could be used for mapping by the Countryside Agency. The answer is no; there is no power to do that.

The noble Lord, Lord Rowallan, made a number of wider points. He thought that these are diffuse powers. Indeed, they are guidelines, not detailed instructions. I can assure the noble Lord that, as my noble friend Lady Pitkeathley said, there is close collaboration between the NOF and the five original good causes. Where there is overlap between them, they are making sure that it is beneficial rather than damaging.

On the issue of unspent money, to which the noble Lord refers at what seem to be regular intervals. I can assure him that it is not the case that unspent money is greater for this lottery than for any other. The money in the fund is allocated to each good cause. It is committed to projects over the next few years but is not paid over until actually needed. Where it is kept in the National Lottery Development Fund—in other words, before it is paid over—it gains interest and all that interest goes to the good causes, not to the Treasury.

The noble Lord, Lord Annaly, asked about playing fields, which, if I may make a party political point, was unwise. Under the previous government, over 5, 000 fields were sold off and a further 2, 600 were under threat. We are determined to stop and reverse that. We are requiring the Secretary of State's approval for every proposal to build on a playing field. We believe that all young people should have access to quality facilities. The Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board have welcomed the proposals. The question of who gets the money, schools or local authorities, depends entirely on local circumstances, on who owns the fields and on who needs the money.

On community access to lifelong learning, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said—and I think that she is right—that the life of hardware can be short and that it needs to be updated. All lottery funding is finite; it does not go on for ever. If it did, after a few years there would be nothing left for new projects. However, I can assure the noble Baroness that the provisions for the learning centres will include not only the hardware but also the very expensive software, such as interactive learning materials, which have to be built up at the beginning, and can include provision for initial staffing.

I think that I have covered adequately the major points raised by noble Lords and I hope that I have given the assurance that our adherence to the arm's length principle and to the principle of additionality means that a very large number of the legitimate worries that have been expressed are the responsibility of the New Opportunities Fund, which is why we are moving the order in this form. I commend it to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.