National Lottery

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

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

I am sure that the proposal will be clearly stated in our forthcoming manifesto. It is not our intention to promote gambling. A lottery is the softest form of gambling, the hardest being casino gambling. Lord Rothschild described a lottery as "harmless entertainment". I think that many people see it as that. They consider it to be just a flutter.

The hon. Gentleman referred to causes that are not supported. In all the areas that I have mentioned—sports, the arts and our heritage—I think that successive Governments have always wanted to spend more than that which is available. We have spent substantial amounts, and a lottery will provide an opportunity to spend more.

It is true that the members of the board will have a grave responsibility when it comes to allocating moneys. It is the sort of responsibility that has been borne by those who have to dispense money that is raised by various forms of television charitable raising of money, such as telethon, the BBC's "Children in Need" appeal and red-nose day. Those who decide which organisations shall be the beneficiaries take tremendously scrupulous care in so doing. Charities are examined and those involved like there to be a national spread. The board will have to conduct its affairs as scrupulously as that.