HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc80-1W
Mr. Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if he will take steps to ensure that the Gedling Borough Council area receives a comparable share of the lottery money per capita to other parts of the country; [91561]

(2) what steps he is taking to address the unequal regional distribution of lottery grants, with particular reference to the East Midlands. [91560]

Mr. Banks

We recognise that some parts of the country have done less well than others from Lottery funding. We are determined to ensure that Lottery money is allocated more fairly and equitably in the light of need across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The National Lottery Act 1998 contained a number of measures designed to bring this about. Distributors must now examine the needs of their sectors systematically and draw up strategic plans which reflect those needs and their proposals for addressing them. They have new powers to encourage specific applications where these are not forthcoming spontaneously, to delegate decision-making closer to the grass roots, and to enter into joint schemes. Revised Policy Directions issued to the distributors last year also stressed the need to ensure that all parts of the country have access to Lottery funds.

Last November, my Department hosted a conference in Barnsley to discuss how the Lottery can assist in the regeneration of coalfield communities. In addition, we are working with the distributors to examine the reasons for the low take-up of funds in many coalfield areas. The results of the first phase of this research, which establishes the extent of the problem, were published on 13 July 1999. We are currently analysing these results and are about to commission further work to consider what needs to be done to ensure that such areas receive their fair share of Lottery money.