HC Deb 27 July 1993 vol 229 cc765-6W
Mr. Coe

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement about the benefits which may accrue to tourism as a result of the national lottery.

Mr. Sproat

I hope and expect that the tourism industry will benefit considerably as a result of funds arising from the national lottery. Fixed percentages of the net proceeds of the national lottery will be specifically allocated to areas which will enable British tourist attractions to be improved and enhanced. These allocations, amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds annually, and being additional to any spending otherwise available from the Government, will enable more capital provision to be made for both the natural and built heritage, for the arts, and for sport. For example, funds arising from the national lottery will enable further restoration, preservation and presentation of historic houses, historic sites, galleries and museums to be undertaken. They would also enable capital funding to be made available for visitor centres, designed to increase appropriate access to, and understanding of, our rich heritage. Again, extra funds would be available, for example, for improving existing theatres, or for building new theatres. Similarly, sports stadiums, and other sporting facilities, will be eligible to receive capital sums, which would not otherwise have been available, to improve existing sports facilities, or to add new ones.

Funds from the national lottery, however, will not be used to make direct grants to hotels or restaurants on the pattern of the old grants under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

In addition to funds arising from the national lottery which are allocated to the improvement of heritage, arts and sport, funds will also be allocated to the Millennium Commission, which is a new body established by the Bill charged with funding projects which celebrate the best of the old millennium and look forward to the new one. The commission will fund a number of visionary projects which, it is hoped, will attract interest worldwide, and thus add to tourist attraction for the United Kingdom.

Mr. Brandreth

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement on the timetable for the process of tendering for the licence to run the national lottery.

Mr. Brooke

The National Lottery etc. Bill has now been read the Third time in another place and the only stage remaining is this House's consideration of Lords amendments. Its passage is therefore virtually completed, and I expect the National Lottery etc. Bill to receive Royal Assent in the autumn. The director general will be appointed and the invitation to tender will be issued shortly thereafter.

It is, therefore, intended that urgent work on the preparation of the invitation to tender, and on the selection process for the national lottery operator, should now be set in hand, in consultation with the regulatory adviser whom I expect to appoint shortly.

Parliamentary approval to this new service will be sought in a winter supplementary estimate for the office of the national lottery vote—class XI, vote 8—the main estimate for which was presented to Parliament on 17 June. Pending that approval and Royal Assent to the National Lottery etc. Bill, urgent expenditure estimated at £200,000 will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund. The fact that the National Lottery etc. Bill has completed virtually all of its parliamentary stages is a material factor in the decision to seek recourse to the Contingencies Fund.

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