National Lottery

BBC – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 18th January 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 2:30 pm, 18th January 2010

What proportion of national lottery income has been spent on heritage in each of the last three years?

Watch this
Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website

Hide

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Culture and Tourism)

Since 1997, the national lottery has raised more than £3.3 billion for the heritage sector. The Heritage Lottery Fund spent almost £1 billion of lottery money in the last three years, equivalent to 26.2 per cent., 21.3 per cent. and 22.3 per cent. of total lottery income during those years.

Watch this

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

That is all very well, but the Minister knows full well that, in 2008-09, the Heritage Lottery Fund distributed £88 million less than in 2005-06. One of the reasons for that, as she knows equally well, is that, consistently over the years, the Government have raided more than £3 billion to shore up their own pet projects. Is it not time, in the dying days of this Government, for them to support the Conservative policy of having a new national lottery independence Bill, which would stop the Government sticking their sticky fingers into lottery funds?

Watch this

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Culture and Tourism)

It may be "all very well", but it is actually true that the percentage of the lottery fund that went to heritage during the three years that the hon. Gentleman asked about exceeds the percentage that the Conservatives would give under their proposals. The way in which we currently administer the lottery fund is in the interests of the country. Were the Conservative party's proposals to be put in place, investments in community libraries and other good causes would go. Furthermore, the money that goes to heritage is only partly funded through the lottery fund. More than £660 million comes directly from my Department, and £130 million comes from the Big Lottery Fund. Under the Conservative party's proposals, those amounts would be-

Watch this

Photo of Dari Taylor Dari Taylor Labour, Stockton South

Does my right hon. Friend know that the university of Sunderland is exhibiting its glass in the Upper Waiting Hall? I hope that the ministerial team will visit the exhibition and congratulate the university on it. In what way is her Department supporting the brilliant work that is being done by universities such as Sunderland? It is internationally renowned and now, through the national lottery, has accepted responsibility for the National Glass Centre.

Watch this

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Culture and Tourism)

I will indeed to try to visit the exhibition by the university of Sunderland. Many of our universities have excellent museums, and I consider at regular intervals how they are to be funded and sustained to ensure that we maintain the excellence that many of those university museums promote.

Watch this

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Vice-Chair, Conservative 1922 Committee

As well as the consternation felt about the cut in the amount of lottery income going to heritage and at the absence of the draft Heritage Protection Bill, is the Minister aware of the consternation in the heritage sector at the original draft of planning policy statement 15, which the Royal Town Planning Institute called

"a charter for people who want to knock buildings down"?

Can she confirm that she is talking to the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the redraft offers historic buildings in this country the protection they need?

Watch this

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Culture and Tourism)

I am indeed in constant conversations with my colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government about their review of such planning guidance. I hope shortly to bring forward a statement-a cross-Government statement-about the importance of heritage. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we should try to reintroduce the lost Bill as soon as we possibly can because it is an important Bill that would demonstrate our commitment to heritage. Until that comes about, however, I hope that my statement about the value of heritage and the work I do with colleagues across Government will reassure the heritage sector that we value its contributions.

Watch this

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

As well as cutting the funding to heritage, does the Minister take note of the report of the Public Accounts Committee, which pointed out that the Department's targets for broadening the audience were unrealistic, obsolete, set without clear evidence and that free education visits to heritage sites had fallen by 20 per cent.? Is that not another damning indictment of her Department's heritage policy?

Watch this

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Culture and Tourism)

At a recent speech, Mr. Hunt quoted Harold Pinter as saying

"as important as what is said, is that which is left unsaid".

I urge Mr. Vaizey to have regard to those words when he sets his questions. The PAC report was not about the heritage sector as a whole; it was about English Heritage. English Heritage contributes to the targets we set across the heritage sector as a whole. Those targets are important, because we want to see who participates and enjoys the vast array of heritage on offer in this country. We will continue with those targets, although we will have regard to the PAC recommendations on other matters that pertain to English Heritage alone.

Watch this