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Orders of the Day — National Lottery Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 3:32 pm, 14th June 2005

The Opposition have their views and will want to canter around the course on the basis of them. Let me be absolutely clear: the results of two consultations—the ICM and YouGov polls—were strongly indicative of public opinion. The Opposition are perfectly entitled to go against public opinion. That is fine, but it is also probably why Conservative Members sit on the Opposition side of the House and Labour Members on the Government side. It is entirely their choice, but life moves on.

It may well be that what happened in the mid-1990s was right and appropriate at the time, so let us examine the history of the lottery. Some mistakes were made over huge amounts of money, but the lottery has been more successful by any standards subsequently, with more money going to good causes. Yes, there were problems with revenue and capital, but we have dealt with them. Yes, there was a problem about geographical disparities throughout the country when judged against need, but we have dealt with that, too. We have tried at least to keep in line with public opinion, which is why we conducted wide consultation in 2002. We have not chucked it in the bin as a result of people's accusations, but used it constructively.

A further consultation has been held and its findings have been incorporated in the Bill, as has the information gleaned from opinion polls. If the custodians of wisdom on the Opposition Benches so choose, they can table amendments in Committee, just as they have done today. However, I believe that the Bill conforms to the wishes of people outside the House and that it will ensure that their money is spent as they want it to be spent.