National Lottery

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:59 am on 6th March 1992.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Kenneth Baker Mr Kenneth Baker , Mole Valley 10:59 am, 6th March 1992

That was one of the right hon. Gentleman's more memorable performances. He is a sourpuss—there is no event that he attends on which he does not cast a blight. In this case, he is a party-pooper.

In the past 18 months, during which the right hon. Gentleman has been my shadow, he has come forward with no creative idea. He could have committed the Labour party to a national lottery had he wanted to, but he has remained silent. There has been an absence of decision and a daily struggle in the right hon. Gentleman's frame between sloth and indifference.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about charities. I refer him to paragraphs 33 to 37 of the White Paper in which we discuss the effect upon large and small charities. We specifically say: The Government wants to consult widely with the major charitable interests and will pay careful attention to their views … The Government would welcome views on whether the monetary limits in the small lotteries on which some charities depend should be increased and, if so, to what level. We also mention the existing rules on small lotteries.

On the question of football pools, I refer the right hon. Gentleman to paragraphs 30 and 31. This morning my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State spoke to the Pools Promoters Association and to representatives of Vernons and Zetters, and I spoke to the managing director of Littlewoods. We explained to them what was in our mind, which they knew perfectly well. We say specifically in paragraphs 30 and 31 that we want to have meetings soon to consider their assessment of the effect of a national lottery upon their activities.

As the House knows, there are different views on the matter. The pools companies say that they would be seriously affected and quote examples from other countries. But in other countries with national lotteries the pools operation has not been affected. We want to make a proper assessment of that and want to discuss with the pools companies in the light of that consideration whether we should take steps to change the existing rules in relation to pools. The Government have no intention of forcing the pools companies out of business, and I do not think that that will happen. Pools can exist perfectly naturally and successfully alongside a national lottery.