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National Lottery

Volume 512: debated on Monday 21 June 2010

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his long-term interest in sports and local sports in his constituency. We will reform the lottery so that more money goes to arts, heritage and sport, and we will examine the case for moving to a gross profits tax. We will also stop wasteful spending, by banning lobbying activities by lottery distributors and by driving down their administration costs.

I thank my hon. Friend the Minister for that response and I congratulate him on his appointment. I am sure that he will do a tremendous job. There have been concerns about the distribution of funds, however, and it has been alleged that the previous Government siphoned off funds from the national lottery to pay for their pet projects, with the result that some worthwhile groups have missed out. Will he assure us that the matter will be looked at, to ensure that the good causes and groups that need the funds actually get them?

Indeed, I can. As a result of the change in shares that will be introduced over the next two years, there will be £50 million more per year for each of the major groups of good causes—the arts, heritage and sport—from 2012.

In his answer, the new Minister did not mention the Big Lottery Fund. It has contributed to many good causes across the country, including the Peter Pan special needs nursery in my constituency, which takes profoundly disabled children from birth. Will he give the House some comfort that that sort of cause will continue to be supported as he conducts his review?

I am delighted to make that commitment, although I cannot make promises for individual good causes, as that is rightly a question for individual lottery distributors. However, as a result of the share changes and tailing-off of the Olympic top slice from the lottery funders, the total available to voluntary and community sector organisations of the kind he mentions, within the Big Lottery Fund, should increase over the next two to three years in cash terms.