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Orders of the Day — National Lottery Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Secretary of State for the Family, Culture, Media and Sport 4:22 pm, 14th June 2005

I doubt whether the consultations gave full support to exactly what is in the Bill. As for the Big Lottery Fund, we have seen what has happened over the past few years given the Government's stealthy encroachment on the lottery. The percentage of the lottery over which Government have potential control has risen from an original 13 per cent. to 33 per cent. and now to 50 per cent. That is what the Bill does. In establishing the Big Lottery Fund, the fund will take 50 per cent. of the lottery proceeds to be allocated for prescribed expenditure, that being

"expenditure of a description prescribed" by order of the Secretary of State.

On the maths that I have just set out, one does not have to be Carol Vorderman to see where the Government are taking us, which is to a single lottery distributor that is doing the bidding of Ministers. We believe that the lottery should be independent of Government but accountable to Parliament. It should not become a tool of Government.

I shall give some more specific examples. The Bill will change the meaning of charitable expenditure in relation to lottery funding from expenditure by charitable, benevolent or philanthropic organisations to expenditure for a benevolent or philanthropic purpose. We realise that the Prime Minister sees himself as a benevolent ruler, but as a party we are not prepared to hand over the purse strings of the lottery for the benevolent use of his Ministers.