Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill [Lords]
John Howell (Henley, Conservative)
I am looking for some reassurance about the process that will be usedhow the money will be delivered and how the grants will be givenand whether that will be entrenched in the strategic plan. The reason for seeking such a reassurance is because the experiences that I and my constituents have had on specific projects funded by the Big Lottery Fund, have not been particularly happy ones. It has been a bureaucratic and long-winded process. I appreciate the need to be careful and to undertake the necessary diligence where public money is involved, but on one occasion the process got close to breaking the project on grounds that proved unfounded in the end. The Big Lottery Fund has a reputation for a bureaucratic approach, and I wonder whether, in the strategic plans for the process, we can see some step change in the way that it deals with the people to whom it gives money.
Ian Pearson (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury; Dudley South, Labour)
As I understand, the process is this. The reclaim fund will transfer moneys to the Big Lottery Fund. Strategic direction will be given by the Secretary of State for the Department for Children, Schools and Families as the lead Department, based on cross-Government advice. The Big Lottery Fund will operate its normal approval procedures and processes.
We can debate the Big Lottery Fund. We believe that it has proved its worth over the years, and that it is the most appropriate body to have reclaim funds and to distribute them to worthy causes.