Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
My Lords, it is a pleasure to open this debate on the National Lottery’s 21st anniversary. It is a story of transformation of our arts, culture, sport and heritage right across the country. I start by thanking noble Lords who will be speaking in this debate for the expertise and wisdom that they will bring, not least my noble friends Lord True and Lady Bottomley: the former ensconced at the very heart of Downing Street at the time that the National Lottery came about; the latter one of the first Secretaries of State for Culture Media and Sport, seeing fundamentally and at first hand the positive impact that the lottery had on culture, sport and the arts in those early years.
I am also very much looking forward to the two maiden speeches from the noble Lord, Lord Beith, and my noble friend the Duke of Wellington. In the noble Lord, we have someone whom we can congratulate on his 42nd year in Parliament, although it looked a little tricky when he began. In his first year as an MP, he had to fight his seat no fewer than three times. My noble friend the Duke of Wellington is well known as a patron of the arts, and his commitment to education is shown in no better way than the family’s connection to Kings College London. Having done some research, I found that he has not only a title as prestigious as the Duke of Wellington but another title, which I think any Brit would hold close to their heart: that of Prince of Waterloo. It is clear that in our two maiden speakers we will experience a very interesting Beith Wellington.
I could have picked almost any element of the lottery story and it would have been a tale of transformation, be it the £34 billion to good causes, the 450,000 grants up and down the country, or the line of beauty in all those buildings transformed through lottery grants. There is the Great Court of the British Museum and the marvel that is Tate Modern. Outside London, there is the Eden Project, and over in Margate, the Turner Contemporary, a fabulous new space, has had 1.8 million visitors, bringing £41 million to transform Margate’s local economy. I could highlight the more than 700 playing fields that have been saved or the £750 million that has been invested in renewing our parks and gardens. Each story is a local story which has a national connection to this greatness that is the National Lottery.
However, I want to focus on my lottery story as a recipient, a distributor, an administrator and, amazingly, on a midweek in May in 2006, I actually got to press the button to start the Wednesday evening draw. I did not win. When I was on the Great Britain swimming team, the lottery came in about halfway through my career, so I could see fundamentally at first hand the before and after impact on sport. Before the lottery, success in sport was largely in spite of rather than because of any funding. The SportsAid Foundation did a great job, but it could do only so much. We desperately needed a model if we were to stand on the world stage. If it could be made any clearer, in 1996 a sporting nation as great as Britain came back from the Olympic Games 36th in the medal table.
When lottery funding began, for understandable reasons it largely went into capital projects, both in sport and the arts. There was great nervousness about putting money into revenue or individuals, but we desperately needed it in sport if we were going to change that approach. When the athlete personal awards came in, they enabled sportsmen and women to wrap around them all the services and support that they needed to compete on the world stage, be that physiotherapy, dietetics, podiatry or video analysis—everything to enable that individual to give the best performance possible. That is what we needed; the transformation could hardly be clearer. In Atlanta, the Olympic team was 36th; in London it was third, and the Paralympic team was also third—impossible to imagine or achieve without that lottery funding.
New athletes coming on to the team now take lottery funding for granted, and so they should; they can concentrate 100% on giving the best performance of their lives. There could not be a clearer testament of the transformation of the landscape. The sport strategy launched this morning by our fantastic Minister for Sport will also add to this success. Clearly, the Minister understands the need for world-class performance and grass-roots funding; as the strategy sets out, it is about our sporting futures. Similarly, on Sunday we will have the “Sports Personality of the Year”; on that list of 10 who we get to choose to vote from, how different might the list look were it not for the National Lottery.
When I finished competing, I became a lottery distributor on the board of UK Sport, where we funded the athletes who were preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London 2012. Governing bodies run sport and athletes win the medals; our role was to put in place as efficient a funding stream and pipeline as we could to get the funds to the sports and athletes who could deliver on that world stage. At that time, UK Sport was the leanest and most cost-effective lottery distributor in the game, and it was fantastic to be part of it.
When I started at London 2012, again I became a lottery administrator. If noble Lords cast their thoughts east to the park, the stadia, the aquatic centre and the velodrome, none of it would have been possible without the Olympic Lottery Distributor. Nothing could have transformed east London like an Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the lottery was right at the heart of that. Similarly, it was a game changer for the Paralympic Games, with a huge grant from the OLD enabling the Paralympics Games for the first time ever to sell all the seats for all the sessions and to do a fantastic broadcast deal with Channel 4, which had 500 hours of coverage. There was complete commitment from Channel 4, broadcasting across Britain and rippling out around the world to make the Paralympic Games for the first time a world sporting phenomenon. The National Lottery was right at the centre of that project.
It was not just about sport. I was lucky enough to launch the unlimited art programme alongside the Arts Council England, with £6 million going into disabled arts programmes, funding arts such as the amazing Rachel Gadsden, who has also done a number of projects in Parliament recently. We launched at the Festival Hall with the noble Lord, Lord Hall, and as part of his overextensive biography read out by the organisers, they said that a long time ago he had written a book about coal. As the audience was quite young at this event, I felt it only right when I stood out to speak to point out that the book that the noble Lord had written was about the energy source rather than the “X Factor” judge.
Sport, art, culture and heritage are supported, transformed and enabled as a result as the National Lottery—stuff that would not have happened had it not come into play in 1994. But that is the upside. What about some of the clear and present dangers? There are plenty. The so-called “society lotteries” which have parked their tanks on this space, if not going against the letter of the law, certainly question the spirit of the law. The plan to increase the prizes that can be offered through those sources, potentially from £400,000 to £5 million, can only have a detrimental effect on the National Lottery. Where does it go in terms of the intent of Parliament? Parliament’s intent was to have one National Lottery, a focus for the nation’s heads and hearts, to get the maximum public interest, the maximum prize pot and the maximum funds to good causes with minimum cost, minimum red tape and minimum fraud. What do society lotteries contribute in this space? Let us look at the prize pots. The Health Lottery offers the minimum 20% and the People’s Postcode Lottery offers 27% while the National Lottery offers 41%. What about the flip side in terms of cost? The People’s Postcode Lottery’s costs are 35%, and the Health Lottery’s costs are an amazing 50%, which can be set against the National Lottery’s 5%.
Similarly, there has been a terrible blurring, a polluting, of the clear blue water which should exist between gambling and the lottery. It seems extraordinary that rather than simply playing the lottery with a chance of a big prize and knowing that your money is contributing to good causes, people choose to bet on the outcome of the lottery. This has been a problem since 1994, largely through betting shops, but the internet has enabled it to get to an industrial level, getting round, and in many cases, close to, the letter of the law and frustrating Section 95 of the Act. If we look at what is happening with EuroMillions, people are using a loophole to be able to bet on EuroMillions, and this is promoted outside the UK even though essentially it is one lottery across the whole European area. This has to be addressed if we are not going to see a cannibalisation of the National Lottery and the funds for good causes.
I have a number of questions for the Minister. What is the Government’s view on maintaining the current cap on lotteries other than the National Lottery and on putting a cap on the expenses that they can charge? What is the Government’s position on prohibiting all betting on lotteries? If they do not accept that, what view do the Government take about how and where such alternatives promote their betting products? We see a product such as Lottoland promoted heavily in the UK although it is based in Gibraltar. What does it contribute to good causes? What does it contribute to the United Kingdom? It heavily piggybacks on the language and the words “lotto” and “lottery jackpot”. Should this be allowed? What is the Government’s view on Lottoland and other agencies betting on the National Lottery? Finally, if there is no prohibition, would the Government consider using Section 14(7) of the Act to bring in regulations to ensure that betting on lotteries is seen as a pure lottery so that a licence would be required? Through that there would be much more control of this element of the market and, not least, a minimum return to good causes.
In conclusion, I turn to the father—the daddy—of the lottery, Sir John Major. What courage, what boldness to bring this into play. It shows the difference that one person can make if they have a vision, if they have a belief that something can be brought about in the face of opposition from all sides and all elements of society from Whitehall all across the piece. He believed it could be brought about, and so it was. A number of years later, I was talking to Sir John, and he said that on the day of the launch he went through Victoria station and bought a lottery ticket. He spent the rest of that week in a cold sweat thinking about what would happen if he had the winning ticket. How would he tell Norma and the family that he would not be able to claim the prize?
With £34 billion to good causes, an Olympic team lifted from 36th position in the medal table to third, and 450,000 grants to arts, culture, heritage and charities—grants that are transforming our communities, our cities and our country for the better for ever—that is a prime ministerial legacy and a very happy 21st birthday. I beg to move.
My Lords, I am sure that the whole House will applaud the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, for bringing this subject to the House today and the way in which he has introduced it. I have had the pleasure of seeing the noble Lord participate in the Paralympic Games; indeed, he stands out as one of the greatest British Paralympians, along with the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. We are very fortunate to have both of them as colleagues in this House, and indeed in this debate.
The long journey that the National Lottery has taken since its inception is indeed a remarkable one. When it began, it was not everyone’s cup of tea. Yes, both major parties espoused the concept, but on my side of the House of Commons we had to overcome a particular problem—namely, the football pools industry, based mainly though not exclusively in Liverpool, where the Labour MPs were naturally concerned about jobs and the potential damage to their communities if a national lottery was introduced, and about its impact on the pools industry. Those MPs’ voices were heard during the passage of the Bill—so much so that I, who led for the Opposition, insisted that we had a free vote at Second Reading. During the further stages, Labour made a series of amendments in an attempt significantly to improve the Bill as it stood. One of the most important points was additionality, ensuring that lottery funds would not act as a substitute for funds that otherwise would have been provided by conventional public expenditure.
Since its inception, the National Lottery has had lasting and positive effects on the arts, culture, sport and heritage, as the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, has already said. Indeed, some £34 billion has been raised for good causes, with 20% of that figure going to sport. Sport has benefited enormously by way of thousands of grants totalling some £5.5 billion. The effects of these grants has been enormous. The noble Lord, Lord Holmes, himself has been a beneficiary of the funding for elite sports, giving athletes like him the freedom to focus on their talents and perform at a higher level. Of course, this was not always the case. In 1992, the Olympic double bronze medal winner Simon Terry returned from Barcelona only to find that the Department of Social Security had cut his benefits. Not only was there little or virtually no support for athletes competing in the Olympics but, in the case of Mr Terry, he was subject to punishment by the then Government.
The National Lottery has helped to turn this around. As a result of the focus on elite athletics and high-performance sports, UK Sport has helped Team GB climb from 36th place in the Atlanta Games in 1996, where we won only one gold medal and a total of 15 medals, to a staggering third place—as the House knows—in London 2012, when we won 29 gold medals and a total of 65 medals. That is truly an astonishing feat. We hope of course that we will even surpass this at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The National Lottery has of course gone beyond focusing just on elite sports. Since 1993, some of us have argued for a more inclusive approach to sport funding by the National Lottery. I am pleased to say that since then the remaining four distributing bodies, including Sport England, continue to provide an exclusive approach to sport, focusing on promoting and increasing public participation. The House may know that I am president of the Football Foundation, and I can confirm the long-lasting impact National Lottery funding—a significant amount of money—has made through its investment via the foundation into improving the country’s local sports infrastructure. For example, a £30 million lottery fund investment via the foundation between the years 2002 and 2005 helped bring about partnership investments of an additional £16 million, thus turning that £30 million into £46 million of grass-roots sports projects. This was used to create state of the art grass-roots facilities that continue to provide sporting activity for thousands of regular users each year ever since.
We have come a long way in the last 21 years, but in order to ensure a secure and strong National Lottery that is truly “national” in its scope, which is beneficial to people across the UK through good causes, the Government must remain committed to pursuing policies which ensure that the lottery is properly protected. As Camelot points out, this should include, among other protections, safeguards against potential competitors by maintaining current safeguards. This would allow the National Lottery to continue to work by maximising funds for good causes.
In conclusion, we are grateful to the noble Lord for bringing this to our attention and enabling us to outline some of the most fantastic achievements of the National Lottery over the last 21 years.
My Lords, looking down this list I thought, “What shall I speak about?”, and thought, “Well, of course I normally talk about sport”. However, I saw that the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, would start the debate and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, would come very quickly after me, as well as the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, who has been talking about sport for longer than me—one of the few people who has. I will therefore try to go a little wider than just sport today, because the National Lottery has affected virtually all aspects of life.
When the lottery first came in—and whatever is said about Sir John Major, he will get a gold star for this—nobody was quite sure what was coming. There was a lot of fear: apparently it would lead to the entire nation becoming degenerate gamblers—you name it, everything was said about it. It has changed virtually all aspects of our lives, usually for the better, and has meant that we have a fund which has effectively guaranteed activity because there is a defence against the vagaries of politics. Sport is a very good example of that; we now have a bedrock of public money which is more difficult to manipulate than just about anything else. This is also true of most other aspects of the lottery expenditure, although there have been changes; the biggest one, which sport is probably guilty of, is the Olympics. However, would we have been able to do that without it? Once again, I am reminded that the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, has got there in front of me on this one. However, everything—heritage, charities—has been touched by the lottery and this underlying bedrock of support. Initially we spoke about additionality. This type of funding is not like putting a conservatory on a building; effectively it is like laying down an extra foundation beneath the building.
There is another thing that the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, beat me to, but it is going to be the theme of my speech—the question of how we ensure that the National Lottery continues at its current strength and in its current shape. The other lotteries, such as the Health Lottery, have already been talked about. If we allow these lotteries to come in, we must place the same restrictions on them and say that they must give the same proportion of money as the National Lottery. This, I hope, will mean that they do not bother but, if they do, they must be placed under an obligation to give.
In the case of the Health Lottery, what have we discovered is the best thing for people’s health? It is prevention, and apparently sport is the wonder drug. So why the hell do we allow something to call itself the Health Lottery and not fund sport, or at least grass-roots sport, in some way? If you want the clothes, you have to walk the walk. I know that I have mixed up two analogies there but there we are. If you are going to take on something that involves good will, you have to back it up. That is only fair. If you can do that and still make the business worth while, I do not mind, but you have to make sure that you support the good causes and the other things that go with that. Even the most ardent sportsman will probably agree that we should have a good heritage sector and that the arts are not a bad thing. We should go across the piece. Unless we protect the great legacy that the lottery has given us, we will lose out on its benefits.
Sports policy has gone through something of a revolution, and I congratulate the Government on at least coming forward with the idea of having such a policy. However, I am afraid that experience tells me that delivering on it, so that it goes across everything else, is slightly more difficult. There was a new announcement about starting early—that is, getting into the education system earlier, as opposed to concentrating on getting children involved at the age of 14. Possibly the change was more to do with austerity than anything else, but that is by the by.
All those things—all the new developments in sport—involve going into the other bits of government. Virtually everybody who has looked at this has said, “Oh, that’s a good idea”, and the same will be true of most of the arts and so on. If you want it to work properly, you have to relate it to other bits of government. The problem is that bits of government do not like changing what they do because they know what their priorities are, even when it is obvious that they cannot achieve everything that they want alone. The National Lottery is a wonderful vehicle for going across and through.
I leave noble Lords with this thought. The National Lottery has to be protected because it has the ability to reach slightly further than the ordinary concepts of government. It can go across the piece and is more difficult to counteract. If we can use the moral authority that comes with the National Lottery, we will achieve and back up the benefits that we get from purely financial gains.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, for tabling this debate this afternoon. It was a privilege to be on the same team as him—at least when we were playing sport together.
Celebrating the 21st birthday of the National Lottery is perfect timing for the launch of the Government’s new strategy for an active nation. I congratulate the Government on that. There are some really positive things in there in terms of encouraging physical activity. If we have more active children with better physical literacy skills, it will be good for our medal chances but it will also be good for the health of our nation. I am also delighted to be heading a working group looking at the duty of care. The work of that group is going to be quite wide ranging.
I have a number of current interests in sport and they are all listed in the register. I also have a number of historic interests. I sat on the Sports Council for Wales, the English Lottery Awards Panel and UK Sport, and I was a lottery-funded athlete.
The last 20 years have been an interesting time in the development of sport. We have gone from being the plucky British athletes who turned up and had a go to teams which are taking on the world—and lottery funding has done that. Lottery funding has changed the mentality of athletes.
If we look at the context, 20 years ago I was part of the Manchester bid that went up against Sydney for the 2000 Games. There was a very brief period then when I was disappointed that we did not win. It did not matter that we had 100 years of data to show that there was more rain in spring in Sydney than there was in Manchester in the summer—all they had to do was show a picture of Bondi beach and they came through on top. But I am glad that we did not win because, without the lottery funding and the time that it took to embed into sport, we would not have had the success that we did in 2012.
The Sports Council for Wales ran some innovative programmes, including the Elite Cymru programme, which supported young athletes but also looked at education and the transition out of sport. At one point, the English Lottery Awards panel had the enviable job of allocating £20 million a month to new sports facilities. But it also changed the ethos of a number of clubs. Some clubs that had a blackball rule were told that they could not have any money. When they realised that there was money on the table, clubs that only allowed women to use the back entrance suddenly decided that that was not a bastion they had to defend. We also realised that the clubs that were getting money were the ones that were really good at filling out forms—so the priority areas initiative meant that funding was equitable for sports clubs and initiatives.
In 1996, the Olympic team won a single gold medal; the Paralympic team won 39 golds and was third on the medal table. When it was announced that because of the poor Olympic performance we were going to have lottery funding into sport, I started to say, “Well, actually, the Paralympic team—”, and then decided that I would be quiet, because for me it was about driving change and promoting inclusivity. This was an opportunity to get national governing bodies to think about disabled athletes. Up until that point, they really had not considered it.
In the early years, there were a number of sports that struggled. Sports had not been used to writing performance plans or having to justify where their money went. Some sports embraced it early on, such as cycling and rowing; other sports took longer to get used to it. But look at the amazing success we have now across all the Olympic and Paralympic sports and wider. We are showing the world what a wonderful sporting nation we are.
There were national disability sports organisations, and unfortunately some of the work they did has often been forgotten. They did a huge amount of work in bringing on and developing young athletes, and they still have a really important role to play in multisport activities for young people. Lottery funding meant that national governing bodies that wanted money had to take on supporting Paralympic teams. There was some success. They were advised that they should be inclusive, and some have been better than others.
I would like the Government to ensure that there is genuinely equitable treatment within elite sport for disabled athletes. This goes beyond the provision of kit. It is about representation on websites and the promotion of athletes. The public expect it, especially after 2012. They do not think that disabled athletes should be treated as second-class citizens. Occasionally, that still does happen. I ask the Minister whether the equitable funding of disabled athletes is taken into consideration.
It is a hard balance. In a changing world of sport, programmes for talented athletes start younger and younger—my own daughter is on a regional talent programme. There must be balance between education, sport and the transition out of sport, to make sure that the athletes who leave are able to come back and work in the sport as coaches or volunteers. I have no problem at all with every last ounce of talent being wrung out of a sportsperson while they are on lottery funding, but the transition out of sport is incredibly important and is a difficult one for a lot of athletes to deal with. Sport teaches you so many positive things and we should be able to funnel that into other areas.
Lastly, along with other noble Lords, I pay tribute to Sir John Major and all those who campaigned for lottery funding. It has contributed hugely to our medal success, it has been an inspiration to young athletes, and it contributed to the success of 2012 and our reputation worldwide as an amazing sporting nation.
My Lords, what a privilege to follow a great Olympian and congratulate another great Olympian, my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond, for initiating this debate. As he and I share an office and he lives in my borough and has a vote in the local elections, I probably had to take part. But in fact it is an unmitigated pleasure to salute the lottery. I also very much look forward to the maiden speeches of my noble friend the Duke of Wellington and the noble Lord, Lord Beith. He will probably remember hearing his colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan of Rogart, liken Sir John Major to the Emperor Nero for proposing a lottery on the Second Reading of that Bill. However, that was long ago. I say to the noble
Duke that I never saw the first Duke of Wellington nipping out to buy a lotto ticket in the corner shop. However, having looked into it, I found that the great duke devised a lottery to dispose of jewels the British Army had won in the Mahratta wars. Unfortunately most of the tickets went unsold because he did not have a Camelot. The British Army is no Camelot, whatever other marvels it does.
I do not claim to be a progenitor of the National Lottery, although I did have a ringside seat in No. 10 in those days. From that standpoint I must reaffirm that there is absolutely no doubt whatever that it would never have happened but for Sir John Major. I remember at one time, in a Conservative Whitehall in 1991, it seemed that only the Prime Minister and my noble friends Lord Baker of Dorking and Lord Patten of Barnes were batting for it.
As the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, reminded us, when the Second Reading came in the Commons, introduced by another great supporter, the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, of Sutton Mandeville—it is sad not to see him in his place today as he is no longer a Member of this House, having taken retirement—the Labour Party Front Bench called it the unacceptable face of nationalisation.
I say these things—they may seem unkind—about Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour merely to point out that it needed great vision and drive to go through those doubters, and John Major had that. He once wrote, “Would it not be marvellous if Britain won the Davis Cup?”. What a ridiculous idea.
I won a fair prize for multiple numbers in the second ever draw but I have never managed to do better than the minimum since then. I do not know what that signifies. Perhaps the right reverend Prelate would say, “Lead us not into temptation”. However, I have supported the lottery.
Perhaps I may offer one slightly off-beam thought. I know the lottery is stretched and that there is no review until 2023, but might consideration be given to some gentle easing of restrictions on the support of overseas sites that are indisputably part of and projectors of our national heritage? The presence of the noble Duke calls to mind taxpayers’ money committed by George Osborne to restoration of the battlefield of Waterloo because he likes military history. Could not the Waterloo battlefield and such like it qualify as part of our national heritage which might merit support? What about the saving and documenting of monuments abroad, created by the British, which might be threatened by anti-colonial sentiment?
There are great academic and quintessentially British institutions which happen to be sited abroad—for example, the historic British School in Rome, in which I declare a paternal interest as I have come to know it and have a connection with it through my son, who is an academic. That school is housed in an amazing, huge and costly building designed by Lutyens as the British pavilion for the great exhibition of 1911. It was granted in perpetuity to the British nation on condition that it be used exclusively as a British research centre for archaeology, history and the fine arts, which it has been ever since. It is a home from which some remarkable breakthroughs in learning have been made and some of the greatest university teachers of the Commonwealth have emerged. It cannot be sold. It is inventive in raising resources, although its lease excludes commercial activity. It is an architectural jewel and an enormous and prestigious asset for our country.
That is just one example. If I had more time, I could mention other British institutions that I can readily call to mind. However rich in what they give, and although they may be seats of “soft power” for Britain—in the jargon—what they have represented in our heritage cannot be assisted, as they are our outside the United Kingdom. British schools and the field of Waterloo are just two examples of what I mean. Could we not look at easing the boundaries, in some small way, of what is defined as UK heritage? After all, it is a scant vision of our heritage and our future if we see it stop at Land’s End.
My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, for making this debate possible, and I agree with every word he had to say. I should declare a couple of interests as a former member of the Arts Council lottery panel and as president of the Film Distributors Association. I should like to touch briefly on three areas, which can be described as historical, numerical and philosophical. As the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, and others have made clear, this story has several heroes, chief among whom has to be Sir John Major, who managed to steer the concept through a largely sceptical Cabinet. I also mention Peter Brooke as the heritage Secretary and his Minister, David Mellor, who saw off what my noble friend Lord Pendry described as the “ambivalence” of our own party as well as the rather more vocal concerns of the faith communities. They were so concerned about the impact on charitable giving that in this House the legislation was described as being “morally flawed”. I hope that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester will be able to reassure us when he speaks that many of those earlier concerns have now proved to be unfounded.
It is my belief that the National Lottery has proved to be an unqualified success, not just in its impact on our arts, sport and heritage, but also as an example of the manner in which brave, well-considered and well-administered legislation can have a positive impact on the whole of civil society. It is worth asking in what other country could many billions of pounds be raised and spent on 450,000 projects both large and small without any accusation of corruption? It is an enviable record and one of which we as a country should be extraordinarily proud.
The Minister who took on much of the heavy lifting associated with the implementation of the legislation, the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, will be offering her own thoughts in a moment, but as one of her initial appointments to the Arts Council lottery panel, this is a good point for me to recall that much of the success of the lottery is a direct result of the courage and imagination with which she steered this unique initiative through some difficult early years, sometimes in an atmosphere of downright media hostility. We all learnt a lot, not least from the incredible tenacity of our fellow panel member, the late Paddy Masefield, who forced us to understand the imperative of enabling disabled access as an essential component of a grant and not just as a “nice to have”. The legacy of the noble Baroness for the incoming Labour Government was wonderfully well nurtured and, I would argue, well built upon.
As for the numerical evidence of the lottery’s success, noble Lords will not be surprised if I use the film industry as the example that I am most familiar with. Once John Major, as Prime Minister, had agreed with the late Lord Attenborough’s plea that the British film industry should qualify as a lottery recipient, new life was breathed into an industry that was in every sense on its knees. I shall let the numbers speak for themselves. Feature film production in 1994 stood at 46, while last year it was 222. The value of the UK spend on feature films in 1994 was £243 million, and last year it stood at £1.471 billion. UK box office receipts in 1994 were £356 million, and this year we estimate that they will touch £1.3 billion, the highest figure for 45 years. Lastly, UK admissions in 1994 were 123 million, while this year they are estimated to come in at more than 175 million. That is a staggering turnaround for which many will rightly claim credit, but I would argue that the success was kick-started by the confidence and the resources that were made possible by the National Lottery.
Lastly, I have a somewhat more philosophical thought. By far the greatest obstacle to the legislation we are rightly celebrating was the Treasury and its horror at the essentially hypothecated manner in which lottery money was going to be distributed. That was something it could not tolerate. I realise that the chances of any Back-Bench Member of your Lordships’ House persuading the Treasury to reflect on its orthodoxy are about the same as those of a snowball in hell, but if we are right in believing that a leap of imagination such as that represented by the lottery can deliver remarkable results, then surely there are real lessons to be learnt. Is it not just possible that the dead hand of orthodoxy could be lifted sufficiently, so as at least to look at other ways of achieving much-needed social benefits?
I am an unapologetic believer in firm regulation but I am also a supporter of well-targeted levies to achieve ends. By way of example, where will the resources come from to address the financial nightmare of unchecked levels of obesity? Surely, a levy on the type of foods that have been identified as its cause could be directed straight into the NHS, where the tragic results are being wrestled with daily. Valuable lessons can be learned from the success of the National Lottery but I fear that few of them have been taken up, let alone replicated. Like the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, at times I fear for the future of the lottery.
Finally, only 1.8% of the vast revenues that accrue to the English Premier League find their way into the development of that sport at its grass roots. If embarrassment or any other growing sense of unease fails to get the EPL to reflect on the inadequacy of that commitment, is it not time for this, or perhaps a future Government, to come up with an imaginative means of persuading the organisation to reconsider its priorities?
My Lords, most of us will remember the strapline which launched the National Lottery: “It could be you”. Well, I never quite believed that it would be me but, nevertheless, the lottery has had great success over time. Many people thought that it would slightly fade from view and lose some of its initial gloss. Indeed, people worked out that it probably would not be them at all. It is very interesting how it has become a national institution. In that sense, we have been led into temptation on a grand scale.
Understandably, over the years the churches and other faith communities have had a somewhat uneasy relationship with gambling, but quite soon the faith communities worked out that it would be entirely right to accept funding from the lottery for the preservation of the fabric of historic churches and for their adaptation for wider community use. In country areas in particular, the local church often provides the natural focus and perhaps the only building where community groups can gather. There are a number of examples in my diocese where lottery funding has enabled such church buildings to be adapted and freed up for wider community use through the addition of toilet and kitchen facilities, DDA compliance, decent chairs and so forth. As I recall, it was especially around the millennium that there was a particular focus on this kind of project.
Rather greater sums overall have been given to preserve the fabric of historic churches and places of worship. During the time of the lottery, grants for this purpose have totalled around £0.5 billion, including some very large grants to cathedrals. For example, the work on the great east window of York Minster is just nearing completion. Other cathedrals have major projects to improve what is called, in the tourist trade, the visitor experience. From my own cathedral at Chester, I know the importance that a cathedral often has in the wider visitor and tourist strategy of a city. A host of imaginative initiatives are undergirded by the contribution which the HLF makes to building maintenance.
Cathedrals readily catch our attention, but more than 40% of the grade 1 listed buildings in England are local Anglican parish churches. Many are grade 2 or 2* and I think the total is about 8,000. The HLF channels money to these churches through its grants for places of worship scheme. To give an illustration from the diocese of Chester, one of 40 dioceses in the Church of England, in the past three years 13 of my churches have been awarded grants, which typically are around £200,000 and total well over £2 million. That is serious money in anyone’s book. The work is often on roofs, spires, windows and stonework but sometimes, like cathedrals, the project has a wider focus.
Another example, which was just before the last three-year period, was at Daresbury, between Runcorn and Warrington, the parish where Lewis Carroll’s father was vicar and Lewis Carroll was brought up. Very imaginatively, a visitor centre attached to the church has been built to the same high standards as the fabric of this grade 1 church. Visitors come from all over the world to see the exhibit and the memorabilia in the church. In addition, the local community uses that room as a meeting point. The HLF contribution to this project was £370,000, but the parish itself raised more than that—£430,000—to fund the overall project. That illustrates a very important feature of the HLF grants to churches: typically, the funding is part of a wider project and corresponding amounts are raised locally and from other sources.
I have been involved in a number of fundraising ventures over the years, not least when I was vicar of Beverley Minster in Yorkshire. The general rule, of course, is that nothing succeeds like success—that is, it is much easier to raise money if you have a start and something substantial to build on. That is where the HLF grants have been particularly valuable. They have drawn in matched and other funding.
I end by speaking of a much smaller project, but one in my diocese, in the small village of Barthomley, near Crewe. Its population is two or three hundred but it has a marvellous grade 1 church building. I suspect that as HS2 comes to Crewe it will be caught up in the wider development and housebuilding in the area, but we will have to wait and see. The HLF grant enabled the church to tackle urgent structural repairs, but that also released the church to have a vision for other things: to establish a volunteer group to create and monitor a wildlife area in the churchyard and keep the whole churchyard in good condition, and to create in the church a timeline display of its long history. It is also notable because, quite without my agreement, they decided to add a gargoyle over an effigy of myself—I put that in for completion and declare an interest, but I hope that the HLF money was not used for the effigy.
I simply pay tribute to the hugely valuable contribution that the HLF has made to this feature of our national life.
(Maiden Speech) My Lords, I am very honoured to become a Member of your Lordships’ House and I thank all those who voted for me. It is a proud but humbling moment to sit in this House, carrying the name of my forebear, Arthur, first Duke of Wellington. He was made a Peer in 1809 after the Battle of Talavera in northern Spain. During the years of the Peninsular War, he was elevated through the grades of the peerage, and on his return to England in June 1814 he took his seat in this House on the same day as a Baron, a Viscount, an Earl, a Marquis and a Duke—surely a unique event in the history of this House. For the rest of his life he was an assiduous attender and, although a Tory, always considered himself first and foremost a servant of the state. By extraordinary good fortune for me, I hold the name in the year of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. Each day of my life I am conscious of what a privilege that is.
I must now pay tribute to my predecessor as a representative hereditary Peer, Arthur, Lord Luke. He was a Peer much loved and respected in this House. I am honoured to have taken his place.
I must apologise to the House that I may not be able to stay to the end of the debate. I have for many months been booked to travel this evening to South Africa for a family wedding. With my inexperience of your Lordships’ House, I had not realised that there might be two Statements today, which have delayed by a considerable margin this debate. I hope that the House will forgive me, as no discourtesy or disrespect is intended. I particularly wanted to contribute to this debate, and I congratulate my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond on not only proposing this Motion but introducing it in such an impressive way.
We celebrate today the National Lottery etc. Act 1993, which has turned out to be one of the most important pieces of legislation passed, as other noble Lords said, by the Government of Sir John Major, to his great credit. He could not possibly have foreseen how successful it would be. Very few parts of the country have not been recipients of benefactions of the lottery distributors. I will mention, if I may, three examples.
I had not realised that I would be following the right reverend Prelate, but the first example is the church in Colmonell in South Ayrshire, near where my family has agricultural property, which received a grant to help repair its organ. It could not possibly have raised the money without that help. Secondly, the Loddon School in Hampshire for children with severe autism, of which my wife is patron, received a grant to build a swimming pool for the children. My third example is Winchester Cathedral Trust, of which I am a trustee, which received a very large grant to repair the fabric and improve the educational and visitor facilities. These examples demonstrate the breadth of the reach of the grants, both geographically and quantitatively.
I hope that the Minister—the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe—will allow me, without being considered controversial, to make some observations about the process of the distribution of the funds. Ministers have directed that the distributors of lottery money should have total costs of no more than 8% of the money distributed, and I must say this seems quite high to me. Other non-departmental public bodies are cutting expenditure, and surely the distributors should be required to do likewise. The relatively well-paid officials will argue that costs are already tightly controlled and that no further savings are possible, but other public bodies have reduced costs and in the private sector there are grant-giving charities with lower cost percentages. All these distributors have become more bureaucratic since they were started and this might be a good moment to reduce the bureaucracy.
I have another suggestion. The Big Lottery Fund reports to the Cabinet Office, and the arts, sport and heritage distributors report to two different Ministers in the DCMS. Should they not all report to one Minister, probably in the DCMS? At the moment, all the trustees are appointed by government. The Government should consider appointing only a minority of the trustees and allowing the rest to be appointed by the bodies themselves. This would make each organisation feel more like a grant-giving charity and less like an institution under the influence of government Ministers. There have been occasions in the last 21 years when Ministers have been tempted to direct funds to particular causes, but the lottery distributors were always intended to be independent of government.
I conclude by saying that nothing I have said should detract from my great admiration for the founders of the National Lottery and everything which has been achieved in these 21 years. Long may it continue to transform so many aspects of our national life.
My Lords, it is a privilege and a pleasure to welcome my noble friend the Duke of Wellington to this House. He did not have to be introduced in the normal way because, in the quaint ways of the House, his title was already known to the House authorities. Of course, he may be the ninth, but he is the first elected Duke of Wellington to this House—we do not need to go into too much detail about the size of the electorate. We know, however, that during this year he has spoken with great force and passion about the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. We have only to step a little way into the Royal Gallery to see the magnificent picture and be reminded of all that that battle meant for the future well-being and prosperity of Britain, and how it changed the 19th century for us all.
I have known the noble Duke for many years since he was a Member of the European Parliament, when I first was a Member of Parliament for Surrey. I dare say that we will hear his views on that subject in our debates in the next year or two. However, he is also the most distinguished chairman of the council of King’s College London, a wonderful, world-class university, founded by his predecessor, the Duke of Wellington, and King George IV. It is the fourth oldest in the country, one of the top 20 in the world, with a formidable reputation. I think that we will hear from my noble friend his restless, relentless passion for excellence nationally and internationally. He may not always be an easy colleague but his heart and his passions will be in the right place. I am pleased, though, that the last time we heard a speech from a Duke of Wellington—in 1981, according to the Library—he was supporting the Government on the British Nationality Bill. I hope that my noble friend will follow that example as often as possible.
I want also to make a comment about the right reverend Prelate, because my father was chairman of the Churches’ Council on Gambling at some stage. When I took on the stewardship of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, it was rather different from the NHS, which was very heavy pounding all the time; this role, essentially, was about allocating resource, but as generously as possible. As the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, said, we took it extraordinarily seriously, in a very principled, independent style. The Secretary of State was most certainly not allowed to meddle; the distributors were independent and she was reminded of this frequently.
However, I did breathe on the chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund quite frequently. Lord Rothschild, as many know, is always a man with a plan and there were many plans to which he allocated the resource most skilfully. My strong view was that the Bible story is not that church congregations, of any denomination, should be building a preservation society; the work of the church, or any faith group, is about looking after the poor, the needy, the vulnerable and the dispossessed.
However, we love our church buildings in this country and the more the Heritage Lottery Fund can do to help preserve our magnificent church—and other faith—heritage, the better.
My other issue was on the nature of the millennium. It was not a state event, a celebrity event, or a military event; it was a faith event. The projects supported by the Millennium Commission were therefore very much about regeneration, building communities, and sustainability. Mention has been made of village halls and of churches—the focal points in people’s communities, where they could come together.
I spent many hours with the late Bishop of Liverpool looking for signs of compulsive gambling but I did not find them then and I have not found them now. I pay tribute, also, to some of the other particularly valuable individuals involved. The Millennium Commission greatly benefited from Sir Simon Jenkins and Jennie Page. She had been the chief executive of English Heritage and Sir Simon later became chairman of the National Trust. The investment in those wonderful, landmark projects, lasts to this day. Our colleague, the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, was a member of the Millennium Commission, as was this House’s current top star—if I may say so—the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, who has just been elected to become the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; a wise and good woman she was then. I had to spend a little time with Anthea Turner and Mystic Meg, but I will not expand on that in my short time now.
Sir John Major has also been given wonderful credit. He said,
“man cannot live by GDP alone … A country can only be strong, healthy, and contented if it burnishes its heritage, encourages its citizens to pursue excellence in sport, and cultivates widespread appreciation of the arts”.
It was beautifully put—and how wonderful those many investments have been.
The British Museum was built on a lottery originally. William Cobbett, a former constituent of mine, as it were, in the early 19th century, was furious about lottery money being spent on the British Museum. He said:
“Why should tradesmen and farmers be called upon to pay for the support of a place which was intended only for the amusement of the curious and the rich, and not for the benefit or for the instruction of the poor? If the aristocracy wanted the Museum as a lounging place, let them pay for it”.—[Hansard, Commons, 25/3/1833; col. 1033.]
It is, of course, now one of the most popular, visited institutions, with 7 million visitors last year and a further 43 million online. So many of our other wonderful projects can boast similar success.
It is not only London, however, and I must mention the Hull, City of Culture 2017. It has the university at which the Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, was educated; she launched the sport document this morning. With the City of Culture lottery resource, Hull is able to do in a very deprived area of the country all that we would hope for from our most prosperous regions.
This project has been shared by many. It has moved from cynicism to celebration. We need to be vigilant and watchful. I warmly congratulate my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond on a wonderful opportunity for us to have an excellent debate before we break for Christmas.
My Lords, it is a privilege to speak in the debate of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, and to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, whose role as a midwife to the National Lottery has already been acknowledged.
I have several interests to declare. Twenty-one years ago I was the recipient of a large grant from the then National Lottery Charities Board, later the Community Fund, which transformed the work that I was able to do for carers. I was then for six years the first, and as it turned out the only, chair of the New Opportunities Fund, an initiative of the 1997 Labour Government. Subsequently, I was a player in the merger between the Community Fund and the New Opportunities Fund, which resulted in the creation of the Big Lottery Fund. So I have a lot of baggage around this topic, and those experiences have led me to be an enormous admirer—I might say a fan—of the contribution that the lottery has made to our national life, and I am happy to wish it a very good 21st birthday.
No community in the United Kingdom has not benefited from lottery funding but, even 21 years after it started, it is frustrating that some of its true successes are too little understood. Some have a high profile; we have heard a lot today about projects in sports, arts, heritage and so on. But in my view, what should really be celebrated is the stunning contribution that big lottery funding has made to local community projects. It is no exaggeration to say that people’s lives, especially those of people who are in some way disadvantaged, have been transformed by lottery money. An example is projects that promote better mental health—everything from giving children the skills needed to cope with life’s pressures, to funding support groups for those suffering from mental health problems such as dementia.
The lottery has helped people and families who are caring for loved ones. Local arts projects, including community choirs and community theatres, help communities come together, celebrate their culture and learn new skills. We have helped veterans and their families to lead successful civilian lives and deal with issues such as physical injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. We have had projects that tackle health inequalities, promote greater well-being and support those suffering from poor health and conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Every aspect of British society, at all ends of the social spectrum and age scale, has had help from the lottery. I shall give two examples. Over the past five years, 150 projects have been set up across England to engage young people from all backgrounds to be part of a movement to drive local social action. At the other end of the age scale, the Silver Line has been funded, a freephone helpline open 24/7 all year round offering information and befriending for older people experiencing loneliness—a major problem in our society, as we know.
The New Opportunities Fund was a pioneer in funding innovative projects in health, education and the environment, some of which have become embedded in the provisions that we now expect in our communities. Breakfast clubs; after-school activities; older people’s centres, which encourage not only physical good health but emotional health by encouraging social contact and providing advice and support—all these have been set up through pioneering grants. The Big Lottery Fund has developed and improved on those pioneering projects, and now 12,000 projects are funded every year. Mostly, the grants are small; we should remember this, particularly as we have been talking about huge grants today. Most grants made are under £10,000, but they add up to £700 million a year given to local organisations that receive little or no government funding, local or national.
Little wonder, then, that with so much support for big social problems being dependent on the lottery, there was alarm—panic, even—at the thought that the Chancellor intended to raid the Big Lottery to solve a problem that he had with DCMS funding arts organisations. The Chancellor was well advised to retreat from this idea, if he had it. It would have been immensely unpopular with the voluntary sector at a time when it is badly hit by other funding costs. Every MP would have hated it, as every constituency benefits from lottery money. The public, who are now used to appreciating that their ticket money goes to good causes, would also have been extremely displeased. Everyone will understand that the billions in the lottery coffers are tempting to Chancellors, especially at times of austerity. But I hope that the Minister will assure the House, at least so far as it is within her control, that future Chancellors will not be tempted.
One of the criticisms often levelled at lottery funding is that the application process is too bureaucratic and cumbersome. This may have been justified in the early years, as I have reason to know, but I must take issue here with the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington. I am sorry to take issue with his maiden contribution but I must commend the Big Lottery Fund on the progress it has made in simplifying its procedures, especially by setting up a network of local managers across the UK who work with and in communities to help organisations apply for funding and make sure that money is channelled where it is most needed, and most simply. Can the Minister confirm that this approach of making it as simple as possible will continue to be encouraged? It will mean taking the risk that sometimes grants will go wrong, but that risk must be seen as proportionate. So I hope that that will continue to be the Government’s attitude: to ensure that the money is as accessible as possible to the many thousands of people who wish to make an application.
(Maiden Speech) The noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, was very kind and generous in his references to me and to the circumstances of my election, 42 years ago. It was with a majority of only 57 votes. I never imagined that I would manage such a long political survival, still less that I would find myself in this haven of political survival, the House of Lords. But I believe in the need for a Second Chamber and it will be an honour to serve in it, just as it was an honour to represent in the other House the beautiful Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, covering 1,000 square miles of Northumberland.
I am very grateful for the warm and friendly welcome I have received in this House from noble Lords and the very helpful staff. I am delighted to renew so many friendships with those on all sides of this Chamber whom I have worked with, taken evidence from or contended with in years gone by. As I seek to follow the slightly different ways of doing things at this end of the building, I have been allocated a widely respected mentor and guide who knows exactly how to keep me in order: the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, has been doing that ever since I married her.
I hope to be able to contribute to some of your Lordships’ deliberations on matters which engaged me as a committee chair and committee member in the other House—the justice system, for example, and the oversight of intelligence agencies, as well as issues of concern to the north-east of England. As someone who has always stressed within my own party the importance of political philosophy as a benchmark for policy and action, I may take the occasional opportunity to say why the fundamental principles of liberalism remain vital to our country’s future—but that is for another day.
Turning to today’s debate, I welcome the recognition that the Motion gives to the massive benefits National Lottery funding has brought to so many aspects of life. Others have dealt with sports funding, arts funding and the Big Lottery Fund. I want to refer, as the right reverend Prelate did, to the Heritage Lottery Fund. In doing so, I draw attention to my registered interests in voluntary roles as president of the North of England Civic Trust and president, previously chairman, of the Historic Chapels Trust. Both these bodies have used Heritage Lottery grants to restore and reopen buildings which would otherwise have been lost to the community.
The Historic Chapels Trust has rescued 20 disused places of worship of denominations other than the Church of England, which has its own Churches Conservation Trust. From a tiny Methodist chapel in the Cornish village of Penrose to a magnificent Gothic Unitarian church in Todmorden and a Catholic chapel inside a medieval pele tower at Biddlestone in Northumberland, the trust has restored buildings to communities that feared they would be for ever lost.
I have had few more rewarding moments in my voluntary work than the day we reopened the partially restored, massive Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. It had been boarded up and unsafe for 20 years, and in one afternoon, 1,000 people came through the doors, many of them clutching photographs of family weddings and christenings which had taken place in the building. This was possible because of HLF support, alongside local community effort. Similarly, in the heart of a deprived area of Sunderland, the North of England Civic Trust restored and opened up the Exchange Buildings, in which a diverse range of activities were able to take place. It was saved from demolition with a £2.7 million HLF grant.
HLF funding does not merely bring buildings back to life. It helps to regenerate areas. It helps to create employment and promote vital skills: the North of England Civic Trust’s heritage engineering programme, funded by HLF, created 38 bursaries, most of whose participants now have jobs in engineering. I find HLF a decentralised and friendly organisation, willing to maintain contact through the often challenging stages of a project and ready to commit at an early stage—a point that the right reverend Prelate mentioned—rather than wait in the wings. That means that projects can sometimes get off the ground because of that HLF commitment.
I have two suggestions for HLF. One is that it look again at its regional distribution of funds. Because budgets are on a per head basis, the north-east budget is one of the smallest, but the region has a disproportionately high number of historic buildings and buildings on the at-risk list. Secondly, all the grant-giving bodies and the DCMS itself need to recognise the financial sustainability problem for bodies like the Historic Chapels Trust, most of whose buildings are in its care because they are so special that it would be unacceptable to convert or alter them. Some of them, therefore, have very limited potential to create an income stream.
But alongside these suggestions I want to make it clear that funding through HLF has sustained and enhanced the character of many of our towns and villages. It has opened people’s eyes to the value of the built heritage and has made locations available for community activities. It has reached the parts that taxpayer funding would not have reached. It is not there to replace public funding but to achieve things which would never have survived the budget battles of Whitehall in a time of austerity. The Heritage Lottery Fund and the other lottery funds deserve these 21st birthday greetings.
My Lords, it is a particular pleasure to follow my noble friend Lord Beith—as I will call the noble Lord, Lord Beith—this afternoon. We became friends shortly after he entered the House of Commons following a memorable by-election. There were, if I remember correctly, three Liberal by-election winners that day, and he was the survivor. He was the survivor not only because we all need a little luck in politics but because it became immediately apparent to his colleagues in the other place that here was a man who was fundamentally decent and dedicated to responsible and proper values. He demonstrated that throughout his career in the other place. I hope that he is going to enjoy this place as much as he enjoyed the other one and that he will be able to make as lasting and important a contribution to our work as he did to the work of the House of Commons.
I was not going to speak in this debate after learning this morning that there were two Statements, but because I saw that I had been listed after my noble friend Lord Beith, I felt I must try. I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, who introduced this debate with great skill and great sensitivity, and I am grateful to the three Front-Bench speakers for accepting that I cannot be here for the wind-ups as I have a long-standing engagement—not in South Africa for a family wedding, but to preside at the annual Award for Responsible Capitalism in Lancaster House. As the Secretary of State for business and industry is going to make that presentation, I had better be there.
I first put my name down to speak in the debate because I was one of those who—along with Sir Ivan
Lawrence, who introduced a Private Member’s Bill on the subject—advocated a national lottery many, many years ago. I well remember the day when Sir John Major, who has been rightly praised during this debate, said yes, he did support it, he would support it and he would see it through. He was as good as his word.
Prime Ministers are remembered for different things, but very few Prime Ministers are remembered for founding institutions which have changed the shape of society. One is Harold Wilson. His Open University has brought enormous benefits to untold numbers of people. Another is Sir John Major, because the National Lottery has touched our national life in such a positive and vibrant way.
I will concentrate for the remaining 180 seconds of my speech on my home city of Lincoln, where I live within the shadow of the cathedral. We were the recipient of a grant for more than £12 million for Lincoln Castle. Some of your Lordships have been to see what was done—I see the noble Lord, Lord Lea, nodding. The castle, which was frankly run down, has been absolutely transformed. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips, has also seen it. Magna Carta has been given a special home. The trust of which I am chairman had to raise the money for that; and that is right, because there should be challenges and matching funding. For the first time ever, people can walk around the walls of Lincoln Castle and see one of the most significant Conqueror’s castles in the country in a way that they could not before.
Earlier this year, the National Lottery announced that, subject to our being able to raise £3 million in Lincoln, the cathedral—the incomparably beautiful Lincoln Cathedral—would also have £12.2 million. It is one of the most glorious Gothic buildings in the world. It is a cathedral which, in the words of John Betjeman, brings people to their knees when they enter it, whatever faith they have or have not. This £12.2 million will enhance and improve the visitor and educational facilities and enable more and more people to come to this great building and appreciate and enjoy it.
If the National Lottery had done nothing else, it would be remembered for ever by the people of Lincoln and those who visit it, but it has done so much more. The field of sport has been graphically and splendidly covered by my noble friend Lord Holmes and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. We can thank the lottery on a whole variety of fronts, but the heritage of our land has been preserved in a way that it could never otherwise have been.
I was chatting to the Bishop of Chester about his gargoyle over lunch, and we both said that, great as the need still is, the built heritage of our cathedrals, churches and chapels is probably in better shape than it has been for centuries. That is mainly due to the National Lottery. I am delighted to support the Motion; I am deeply sorry that I have to leave before the end; but I wish my noble friend Lord Holmes further success in his sporting endeavours.
My Lords, I am very glad to follow the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, because I did indeed enjoy a visit to Lincoln, which he organised.
I am one of the vice-presidents of the All-Party Group on Arts and Heritage. The cathedral is of course wonderful, he mentioned the castle and I recall the Wren Library as well.
I enjoyed both maiden speeches. I make just one remark on each, and say to the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington: I hope that when he boards his plane at Heathrow or wherever, he does not have to sit down and mutter, “That was a damn close-run thing”.
The noble Lord, Lord Beith, is very welcome. I can only conclude that he has finally realised that in the House of Lords the Lib Dems do not need to be too committed to the precepts of proportional representation. However, he made a very good point about proportionality with regard to regional expenditure through the lottery fund. Can the Minister confirm what I think is a good pattern of regional spend? I do not know whether she will have the figures available. That leads to a point that is in the back of my mind about Manchester, which I shall come to.
The noble Lord, Lord Addington, reminded us that the most wonderful transformation of the Great Court of the British Museum is a National Lottery Fund project—I think that that is what he alluded to. It is an uplifting experience to go into what had been a murky space, which now crowns the achievement of the British Museum under Neil MacGregor. We can now say that it is second to none—not second to the Hermitage, the Louvre or the Prado. It is absolutely wonderful. I can admire the new roof from my London flat; it is a great feather in the cap of the capital.
It is worth pausing on the dilemma in this country of the Great Wen. The noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, referred to the William Cobbett reference to the Great Wen. He was not a great admirer of it—the stockjobbers going down to Farnham, not knowing the difference between a stoat and a ferret, dressed up by the tailors of London in country gear. A lot of that still goes on. But outside of the Great Wen, we have a phenomenon of growing inequality between north and south, as everybody knows, which some people think insoluble. I shall make just a couple of remarks about that. The Minister comes from BIS, not DCMS, so perhaps she can echo the particular dimension of how the lottery fits into that picture.
There is another way in which big money is spent in this field—philanthropy. It is true of the British Museum and many other great institutions that there is private philanthropy, but it is right to suppose that it is very much London-orientated. I would be surprised if the Minister had any numbers on that, but I would be surprised if that was not the case.
One project that I need to mention is the People’s History Museum in Manchester. A few years ago it got a grant of £7.5 million from the HLF, and it was reopened in 2010. Its throughput of visitors is now four times what it had been before. I take that as an illustration of the fact that capital and revenue are really complementary to each other; there is no point in saying that capital is very important and sniffing about revenue grants. Could the Minister comment on that? There are many bits of lateral thinking going on about transitional expenditures, and so on, but the fact is that one cannot live from hand to mouth for ever. Some of us helped to raise £300,000 in the past couple of years for a gallery in the museum of heroes of people’s history. It is not just about the Labour movement, it is about people’s history. No fewer than 25 Members of this House each put in £3,000 among the £300,000.
Will the Minister ask her colleague, the noble Lord, Lord O’Neill, whether there is a heritage dimension of the northern powerhouse idea because I shall finish on an economics note? There is no doubt that in the great cities of the world there is now huge connection between the buzz of arts and culture and the buzz of the economy. I hope that in due course the Minister or her colleague will write to me on that point if she cannot respond to it today.
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, not least for giving me the opportunity that I had been hoping for to congratulate the National Lottery and its funding arm on its extraordinary collaboration with the British Film Institute. Not surprisingly, this was touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, in his speech, and I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, will agree. He has had a heavy day and has been in his place for many hours. He was a distinguished head of the British Film Institute at a time when things were much more difficult than they are now.
One of the great decisions that was taken—I hope that this is not a contentious remark—was when it was decided to say goodbye to the British Film Institute’s predecessor, the UK Film Council. What has happened since then has been quite extraordinary. One has to congratulate Amanda Nevill, the chief executive officer of the British Film Institute, on creating the extraordinary relationship with the lottery. Of course, the lottery does not go into film production finance but goes into development. The British Film Institute’s £40 million fund puts it in a position where it funds 30 feature films a year, but films the expensive development costs of 100 films are funded by the lottery. This has made an enormous difference to the number of films that are made.
I came into the House in 1984 when I was a callow youth of 49 years old—that is what it felt like in those days because the average age was rather higher. The leader of the SDP, who sat just below where the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, is sitting now, encouraged me to throw myself in rather early in my career, and the Films Bill of 1984, which became the Films Act 1985, was the first Bill I worked through all the way. I learned a great deal about the way legislation passes through your Lordships’ House. It was very memorable. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, was actually speaking of later, but in 1984 the audience was going down and the box office take was at an extraordinarily low level. It was around £84 million and now it is more than double that. I am talking about theatrical—that is, cinema—attendances.
People see films on many platforms nowadays, so there is a huge interest in cinema. This has resulted in a huge increase in the opportunities for young directors, producers and performers, and it has increased the reputation of our history in this area. Although our cinema has been predominantly commercial, it still has an astonishing history, with some enormously great films that have been highly commercial but have also been enormously inventive. I am thinking now of “The Third Man”, which crosses my mind as I speak. So the lottery has been an extraordinary lifeline to the film industry.
I consider, and I think many noble Lords feel the same, that film is very important. It has never been viewed, as it is in France and other countries, as essentially a cultural part of our life, but nevertheless it is incredibly important. People should read stories, see films and learn stories through the visual media. One has to say that the doom-mongers of those times were not right to say that television had wiped out cinema and that it would not survive. It certainly has survived, and so has television; I think everyone now realises that they are two different mediums.
This has been an interesting opportunity to listen to some very interesting speeches. I have to say that the maiden speeches were exceptional. I remind the House that the election of the noble Duke was an amazing result. A friend of mine in the House whom I shall not name and I often speculate on what the odds might be at hereditary Peers’ by-elections. Conservative odds are always the most difficult because that party has the highest number of people putting their names forward. However, this result was a racing certainty.
My Lords, I am not used to coming in batting at number 15, but I thought I would perhaps nudge a few quick singles and hope for the odd bonus ball by the end of today’s debate. I thank my noble friend Lord Holmes, a fellow Wolves supporter; he will be pleased to know that I have my badge on today in honour of Wolves. I think that he is a great case study in demonstrating good value for money from National Lottery funding. I am not so sure whether it funded his interesting sense of humour—I do not think that I can compete with the “Beith Wellington” quip, but I will do my very best.
We have heard inspiring speeches as openers from my noble friend and from my noble friend the Duke of Wellington. There is actually some cricket on in South Africa after his family wedding, but I am sure that that is sheer coincidence. I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Beith, and thank him for his warm speech.
But for that lottery funding, the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, might not be here with us. The House would certainly be a poorer place without his expertise—not forgetting his faithful guide dog Lottie. I presume that Lottie is the name given to her because it is short for “lottery”. Is that why? The noble Lord earned the status of legend with his international Paralympic swimming—a 17-year career, nine golds, five silvers and one bronze. I think he was being very modest in the mention of his achievements. Pre-lottery funding achievements included Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992, but achievements post-lottery funding for elite sport include Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
Apart from the elite lottery funding, we have heard that Britain zoomed from 36th in the medal table in Atlanta in 1996 up to third place in the Paralympics and Olympics in London. In those 21 years, the total sum of lottery funding of £34 billion has seen between £6 billion and £7 billion funding sport—it is rather a wide gap in billions between six and seven, is it not? Still, that is wonderful support for sport.
I join the Sir John Major fan club for his granting of the licence for the National Lottery. His vision supported his belief that sport, the arts, heritage and charities enhanced quality of life for millions of people but such areas too often missed out on realistic funding because of the perhaps indecent scramble for taxpayers’ funding from the Treasury. His inspiring solution, the National Lottery, sought to provide vital funding free of government interference. I received a note from Sir John this week to remind me to mention—and repeat—that this has to be more accepted so that the predators do not eat away at National Lottery funding as a substitute.
The lottery triumph provides welcome funds for grass-roots community sports and facilities. Sport England uses it to invest in 46 national governing bodies through its whole sport plan, which is geared to get more people of all ages playing sport. By 2017, £400 million will have been invested in this scheme. I will give noble Lords a couple of the myriad case studies from the England and Wales Cricket Board, of which I am a director, clearly to show what a difference lottery funding has made. The protecting playing fields programme granted £57,500 to Quatt Cricket Club in Shropshire to create a second ground, which has now led to a 59% growth in junior membership. The inspired facilities programme granted £75,000 to Yapham Cricket Club in east Yorkshire to create a dedicated programme for women and girls’ cricket, of which I slightly approve, and to build a new pavilion to serve all ages and genders.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance, in line with Sir John Major’s philosophy, asserts once again that there is a very important balance and differentiation between Exchequer and National Lottery funding so that the core functions of the lottery are protected and not considered a substitute for the withdrawal of Exchequer funds. With this protection in mind, the Sport and Recreation Alliance ran a dynamic campaign in advance of the spending review called “#GetYourKitOn” to make the case for the value of grass-roots sport and its funding. With an amazing number of 17 million Twitter timelines, the campaign had a total reach of almost 8 million, and it sent 1,300 direct messages to the Chancellor—I am sure he read every one—plus other actions on Her Majesty’s Treasury Facebook page and George Osborne’s Twitter feed. The wonder of modern-day communication has its uses.
The outcome for sport from the spending review was largely welcome and positive, and we now know that the Government recognise the vital distinction between Exchequer funding for sport and the funds it receives from the National Lottery. The Prime Minister says in the foreword of the new strategy for sport, published only this morning, that,
“we will change sport funding so it is no longer … about how many people take part, but rather how sport can have a meaningful and measurable impact on improving people’s lives”.
Another theme from there—a little nudge towards the lottery—is the establishment of a new governance code,
“mandatory for all sports bodies that want to receive public funding from 2017”.
What of the future? Can the Minister give her thoughts on inactivity, which is almost a national pastime in itself? I suggest that a ring-fenced National Lottery fund could be created to tackle this challenge. Secondly, could the National Lottery application funding programme be simplified? The funding landscape is far too complex and many volunteers find it extremely difficult to complete the application—note that the rigour is exactly the same whether it is for a £5,000 or a £1 million project.
Just to show that I am not just sport-centric—perhaps some people might say eccentric—I thank the National Lottery for the return of Victorian grandeur to the modern parks in Wolverhampton: East Park, West Park and Hickman Park, so that the locals say, “The National Lottery is awlroight!”. Still to be completed is the wonderful city-centre restoration of our historic Queen Street, with cash support of almost £2.3 million.
Therefore, a very happy birthday to the National Lottery—you have been transformational for sport, recreation and the community. On
My Lords, to change the metaphor deployed by the noble Baroness, in academic life when you are chosen to speak last in a debate at the end of a long day you call it the death slot. This will probably be the death slot for me in another way, because I will take quite a lot more of an interrogatory attitude towards the National Lottery and lotteries in general than any noble Lords have adopted so far. But I join all other noble Lords in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, on the exemplary way in which he introduced this debate and on his stellar Olympic career. He is the only student that I know of from my classes in Cambridge who won nine gold medals. Of course, plenty of students won six but that is not quite in the same league. He introduced his speech in a wonderfully lucid way.
Sociologically and politically, lotteries are an intriguing phenomenon. A large number of countries have national lotteries and most have embraced them enthusiastically. In the United States, $70 billion is spent annually on state lotteries. That is an amazing amount. It is half the budget of the largest state in the US—California, which has an economy almost the size of that of the UK. In the US, $1 billion is spent on advertising alone.
Lotteries are surrounded by humour and jokes, although my joke is not a very good one. Joking always denotes ambivalence, and there is a lot of ambivalence and criticism—quite rightly, I think—surrounding lotteries. Question: What is a lottery? Answer: A tax on people who are bad at maths. The chances of winning a jackpot are infinitesimally small: one in 40 million for lotto in this country and one in 260 million in the US. According to Camelot, 70% of the UK population regularly plays the lottery, but to me—speaking sociologically, I suppose—the question “Why?” is a very real one.
We can easily see why Governments like lotteries and we can see why noble Lords in this debate who have been recipients of lottery money like them. They provide a substantial source of revenue handed over in a voluntary, even enthusiastic way. They are very different from an orthodox tax in that respect. Yet I suggest that the respectability that they have achieved, which I think has been very visible in all the contributions in this debate, is odd for three reasons, which noble Lords will be glad to know I will not develop at length. First, it is a form of gambling. Secondly, it is regressive—that is, poorer people spend a far higher portion of their revenue on lotteries than more affluent people. Thirdly, lotteries—not always but quite often—fund elite projects which are remote from those punters. In addition, there is the issue of addiction, which the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, mentioned at the beginning.
Naturally, Camelot is anxious to downplay these issues. It has to be said that Camelot appears to be one of the best-run lotteries in the world. It is run in a fairly exemplary fashion and is very aware of its responsibilities. I accept all the wonderful things that have been said about what is achieved through the National Lottery. As it says on its website:
“We want large numbers of people to spend small amounts each”.
That is a very desirable and laudatory position. To me, however, two questions remain, and they should be asked and responded to: why do so many want to spend even small amounts on the lottery when they have a close to zero chance of winning large sums of money; and, are we doing enough to monitor its more negative aspects? I have been thinking quite a lot about why so many people are attracted to playing the lottery and the conclusion that I have come up with is that there is a cluster of motivations.
Most of the research that we have on this seems to come from the US, not from this country. For many who are really struggling, playing the lottery and hoping for the jackpot is a “hope for a miracle” position. When you have a fairly hopeless life, people are not stupid—they know that they are not going to win but they still think, “Well, I might”. For others—at least in this country—it seems to be a kind of glorified reality game show, creating a feeling of belonging. For others, perhaps there is an altruistic element.
Can the Minister first of all tell us whether there is any research on all this? I checked, and it was very difficult to find any systematic work on it. Most of the work we have comes from the US and is moderately negative in its conclusions. Secondly, can she tell us how much research is funded by Camelot or other organisations on the demographics of players and the prevalence of addiction? It is conventionally said, and said very assertively, that playing the lottery has no relationship to other forms of gambling. I cannot find the evidence for that, and evidence drawn from other countries seems to suggest the opposite—so I would be interested in whatever comments the Minister cares to make.
My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, for a wonderful personal introduction to the debate and for allowing us to indulge our enthusiasms and perspectives on the achievements of the National Lottery. This is really a very fitting pre-Christmas festive celebration of an extraordinary achievement—a national achievement, I would say. I very much agree with the noble Lord in his tributes to Sir John Major, and many noble Lords have paid tribute also to the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, for her contribution to the creation of the National Lottery.
I would also like to congratulate our maiden speakers today. It is not often that I welcome a Duke, let alone the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, who seems to share some of the attack of his distinguished predecessor. I am sure that he will be a great addition to our debates in this House, especially about education, the arts and heritage. I am also delighted to welcome my noble friend Lord Beith, an extremely distinguished member of my party who may be interested to know—he may even be horrified to know—that his by-election in 1973 was the reason I joined the Liberal party way back when. I very much welcome him to our debates, especially as part of what will now be, united in a single House, an even more formidable husband and wife team.
The figures quoted for the National Lottery by the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, and many others are, by themselves, extraordinary and bear repeating: 450,000 grants awarded in the last 21 years and £34 billion raised for good causes. As my noble friend Lord Addington said, indeed the National Lottery has changed our lives.
In the course of this, we should not forget that the operator has had a huge part to play. I pay tribute not only to the generosity of the National Lottery players but also to Dame Dianne Thompson, who headed Camelot for 15 of those 21 years. The noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, mentioned the former distributors such as the Millennium Commission, which need to take credit for the projects that they undertook. However, I want to recognise and acknowledge the role of the current lottery distributors, which have had the difficult job of making some of those funding decisions: Arts Council England and other national arts distributors; the BFI, which the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, and the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, paid tribute to; the Big Lottery Fund; the Heritage Lottery Fund; Sport England and the other national sports distributors; UK Sport, and so on. Many of those organisations have been mentioned by noble Lords today.
As so many noble Lords have pointed out, it is the individual projects funded in so many different sectors and regions of this country that stick in the mind and are the real cause of celebration. I want to mention some of the passions and enthusiasms that have been brought up during the course of the debate. The noble Lord, Lord True, oversees cultural assets, and there does seem to be a hole in the system there. The noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, covered carers and community projects. The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, and the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, talked about the film industry with great passion. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester, the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, and the noble Lord, Lord Cormack talked about historic churches and cathedrals and, in particular, the role of match funding. The noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, of course talked about Hull, the City of Culture. That is an extremely important project for which I share her enthusiasm.
Sports should have their own section. The noble Lord, Lord Holmes, elicited a brace of Paralympians, including himself, to take part in this debate, and the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, is never far away in talking about the sporting projects that she supports. Of course, the National Lottery contributed £2.2 billion towards the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games infrastructure—a huge achievement—let alone its support for all the athletes. My only regret is that noble Lords did not mention rugby in the course of the debate. Over the last 20 years, the National Lottery’s £202 million of support for grass-roots rugby, with the RFU, has been quite extraordinary.
As an inveterate Londoner I have my own favourites. I am an inhabitant of the Great Wen, as the noble Lord, Lord Lea, put it, and I am going to be a little parochial in my enthusiasms. In the past 21 years we have seen our London museums and galleries—which, to me, symbolise the huge improvement in the quality of our lives in this city—develop dramatically. Projects have included the spectacular Great Court of the British Museum, which many noble Lords have mentioned, the new World Conservation and Exhibition Centre, the Ondaatje Wing of the National Portrait Gallery and the Cutty Sark. Anyone who has been underneath the Cutty Sark will have seen its amazing new copper hull. Also included are the brilliant British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum which have allowed many more people to enjoy its collection. So it goes on, with new projects at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Science Museum and the South Bank Centre, all planned with National Lottery money.
There are also, of course, inspiring community and arts projects. As a trustee of the Barbican I am particularly interested in the CREATE London programme, run by the Barbican. I cannot omit to mention the bandstand on my local Clapham Common—no project is too small to have the attention of the National Lottery—which is one of the hundreds of parks and open spaces in Britain which have been revitalised using National Lottery money.
The Big Lottery Fund deserves a mention of its own. I admit to some scepticism and concern on its formation but it is now a vital source of funding for some of the UK’s most disadvantaged groups and communities. The noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, was particularly eloquent on that subject. As president of Ambitious about Autism, I appreciate many of the projects for the benefit of autistic children that have been funded by the National Lottery. I was interested to hear the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, mention a project in Hampshire. TreeHouse—now Ambitious about Autism—benefited from the “People’s Millions” in 2007. There are new projects such as Autism Ambassadors in Enfield and Speaking Up
Together run by Advocacy for All—all of which are directed for the benefit of autistic children and their parents. It is extremely important that we maintain those projects.
Such is the normally uncontroversial nature of the National Lottery that I think I last spoke in the House on this subject nearly 10 years ago when the National Lottery Bill, which created the Big Lottery Fund, was before the House. At the time the NCVO said that there should be three tests of any new lottery distributor: a guaranteed percentage of funding for voluntary organisations; independence from government; and grant making to remain additional to existing public spending. That was agreed by Ministers and their noble friends at the time we debated the Bill. I believe that all three tests have been observed by the National Lottery, but does the Minister believe that the principle of additionality still applies to all distributors, and that it is being observed by them and by government, in particular in relation to arts funding?
There are concerns about the future. We have to remember who is paying the piper: it is the public. In 2013 Camelot raised the price of a Lotto ticket from £1 to £2 and it was controversial. This October, Camelot said that a new millionaire raffle would guarantee at least one millionaire per draw and that the chances would be better of winning at least £1 million. But contradicting Camelot, statisticians suggest that the chances of winning the jackpot have actually moved from one in 14 million to one in 45 million, so there is much unhappiness. Do we know what the impact on sales has been? Is the National Lottery subject to the law of diminishing returns? After all, sales were at a peak in the 1990s.
Since its foundation, the Health Lottery has been cited as a possible threat, and it was mentioned in this debate. What is the approach of the Government to the National Lottery? Will they cannibalise it, as some noble Lords have said? Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, promised increased transparency for the distributors. What progress is being made on that?
My Lords, like everyone else I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, for securing this debate. As the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, said, he embodies the spirit and reality of the lottery and is a living example of what it can do for you. Indeed, his speech was, as always, so good that it is difficult to think of anything to say to follow it up. I was only a little surprised that he did not take a leaf out of another book and do a British bake-off to produce a cake with candles. I am still waiting for that because 21st birthdays would not be the same without a cake.
I congratulate the two maiden speakers today. Both noble Lords were able to pull off the difficult trick of respecting the conventions of the House while also raising some quite trenchant issues which will need to be addressed. They both left us wanting more, which is a wonderful trick to pull off if you can.
When you come to your Lordships’ House, you often find that bits of my life come back to confront you, and today is one of those days. I was a director of the British Film Institute, as has already been mentioned, at the time when the lottery was being conceived and developed. For much of the time I was at the BFI my Minister was the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, who spoke so warmly and well about the way she managed the lottery and how it has turned out. I have to say that she and I fell out a number of times. It is difficult to think that that could happen with someone so pleasant and who is such good company, but I wanted the BFI to be a lottery distributor and she did not agree. We disagreed, but actually it worked out well for me because it meant that I could apply for lottery funding, whereas as a distributor I would not have been to do so. I managed to persuade my governors that they should go for a huge amount of lottery funding during my final few years at the BFI, much of which we received.
One of the people who helped us was, of course, my noble friend Lord Puttnam, who not only was involved in developing the way in which funding could flow towards film making, but also was able to provide funds for the IMAX, which now stands on the London South Bank and is a great success. During that time I also went to see the noble Lord, Lord True, in his eyrie at No. 10, although he probably does not remember that. I tried to batter his ears about my problem with my then Minister, but he was very resistant. I thank him for that because again it worked out quite well.
As befits a 21st birthday party, the tone tonight has been celebratory. I think that we should recognise that the lottery had a difficult conception and birth, and those who were involved, including my noble friend Lord Pendry, have given some good examples of why that was. When I was at the BFI we had a problem with one of our board members, Alexander Walker, who was against the whole idea because he did not approve of gambling. Since he was the film critic of the Evening Standard at the time, it was quite difficult to persuade him to keep quiet when it was important that the voices speaking up for the lottery should come through.
But the lottery has grown up well and is now a fit and healthy adult. It is remarkable because it is flexible. It has been able to move and change with the ways in which public and political opinions have moved. It has produced a terrific slew of activity. It has transformed many places—the BFI would not be the place it is today without the funding that has come through that route. As my noble friend Lord Puttnam said, it has produced a range of incredibly good buildings and good works without scandal and without any problems, as far as we are aware.
As the noble Lord, Lord Beith, said, it has reached areas that central funds never would have reached, and that is an important part of it. The concept of additionality is important, but it is probably more abused than used in terms of how decisions are taken. What seems to happen is that, by keeping a separate funding structure for the lottery, decisions made by people involved in it are able to come through in a way that they would not have done if it had been done by central government.
The very distinguished speakers in the list have covered the field where the lottery currently funds and have highlighted the difference that lottery funding has made across sport, the arts, heritage, charity and voluntary work. I hope that the Minister will comment on the points that have been made. I will raise one or two myself and I am particularly interested in the point made by the noble Lord, Lord True, about the restriction on funding abroad, which seems quaint now. If he wants a list, I have one, but I want to add to it the Lines of Torres Vedras, which I raised in this House only a year ago. It seems extraordinary that that great achievement of the noble Iron Duke’s ancestor has been restored entirely without British contributions. There are many graves and memorials there that would benefit from lottery funding. I put my plug in now.
The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, made good points about the way in which sports funding goes, particularly the need to make sure that Paralympic athletes are given a fair crack of the whip at the same time as others are being considered. I should like to add a couple of points that we have made in previous debates about the differential support which appears to be happening in women’s sport, of which I think that the Minister is aware, and the problems that the current funding arrangements through the lottery have for team sports, which do not seem to do as well as perhaps they should, particularly compared to individuals.
We should bear in mind the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, about the risk to many particularly good small schemes. Probably, when looked at from the heights of Whitehall, they do not add up to very much and look very small, and could be scooped up and used for other purposes. Of course, they matter very much in the realisation of the projects that they do in communities up and down the country. It is very important that those of us who care about these areas fight for projects that the Big Lottery Fund and others are able to support.
I end with three issues that perhaps also could be picked up by the Minister. The first is small but important. In his maiden speech, the noble Duke mentioned that there might be an issue about the costs of distributors. We were warned by a previous Minister to have nothing to do with the way in which distributors organise and run things. I want to steer between those two positions. There probably is an issue that could be looked at. If the Minister is going to do so, could she look at the various remits adopted by the organisations concerned? I just happened to notice, for instance, that Arts Council England’s remit is a mission to provide “great art for everyone”. Obviously, the lottery side of that would be different but it is still within the overall ambit of the Arts Council England. The Arts Council Northern Ireland says that it is,
“the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland”.
There is a world of difference between those two approaches. I wonder whether that is being brought through in the way in which lotteries are being distributed.
Secondly, several noble Lords raised the matter of threats to the National Lottery, which is a nationalised industry in the sense that it is the one organisation which has the ability to raise funds for good causes and is protected by legislation for that reason. But it will come to nothing if the other society lotteries, such as the Health Lottery and the People’s Postcode Lottery, are to be given the same abilities to operate as the National Lottery. It would just mean that the money is not as well spent. If we do not attack the questions of cost base and profit making within those society lotteries, we will all lose as a result.
As the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, said, we need to think quite carefully about the connection now developing between lotteries and gambling. It has been going on for a long time and he was right to say that, but it has reached new heights and there is an issue here which could spoil what we have and we would not want to do that.
My third and final point is about the imbalance of spending by the lottery across the country. Although the lottery is very good at reporting back to the areas where it is spending money to make sure that those who buy tickets know where that money is going, recently there has been a report by Peter Stark, Christopher Gordon and David Powell which shows that spending by Arts Council England has consistently favoured the capital as against the rest of England. The report is available and should be read. The headline figure is that 61% of the spend currently goes to London and only 39% goes to the rest of England, but London has only 15% of the population. Something ain’t right there.
Anyway, happy birthday National Lottery. It was said, “It could be you”. It has never been me but the combination of a flutter and a feeling that, by playing the lottery or buying a ticket, you are helping good causes is a very powerful way to make sure that money goes in the way that it should to good causes—and long may it last.
My Lords, I also congratulate my noble friend Lord Holmes on securing this debate to celebrate 21 years of the National Lottery and I thank him for his kind words. Both his success on sports and disability bodies and his achievements in the field of sport are really remarkable—the only Briton to win six gold medals, in his case for swimming, at a single Paralympics. Both have benefited enormously over the last 21 years from the National Lottery.
I also congratulate my noble friend the Duke of Wellington, whose DNA is part of our national heritage, and the noble Lord, Lord Beith, on their excellent maiden speeches—a taste of the vim, vigour and wit they will bring to our House.
Like my noble friend Lady Bottomley, I love the Maclise picture of the Battle of Waterloo in the Royal Gallery—and, indeed, the one of Trafalgar—but I always feel faintly embarrassed when I bring French guests here and show them round the Palace.
I have to declare a special interest. I was working with Sir John Major at No. 10 when the National Lottery was launched in 1994. He said on the occasion of the first draw:
“The country will be a lot richer because of the lottery. It is in every sense the people’s lottery”.
It was, as many have said, a brave move and it has been an amazing legacy. I was delighted to hear the tributes from my noble friends Lord True and Lord Cormack, and from my noble friend Lady Bottomley, who has done so much for heritage. She and others have rightly mentioned so many others who have contributed to the lottery over the years. Successes always have many parents, quite rightly.
To try to respond to the philosophical question put by the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, some 70% of all UK adults play the lottery, no doubt in the hope that they might become a multimillionaire. It is regressive and the chances are slim, but it is a free country and people enjoy playing the game and the thrill of even a small win from the annual pot—£3.9 billion last year—of tax-free prize money. They also have the satisfaction of contributing with every ticket purchased to the national Exchequer via lottery duty, which currently amounts to £870 million a year, helping to pay for everything from schools to overseas aid.
They also play in the knowledge that they are thereby giving to good causes. As many have said, since 1994 more than £34 billion has been raised for arts, sports, heritage and charities in the United Kingdom. More than 464,000 projects have been funded—an average of more than 700 in each parliamentary constituency. These projects have together made a huge difference, as we have heard. Maybe this responds to the noble Lord: I am not aware of the kind of research that he inquired about, but I will talk to the Gambling Commission and to Camelot and, if I may, I will write to him after the debate.
In sport, funding from the National Lottery helped deliver the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and played a huge role in our medal success. The lottery funds more than 1,000 elite athletes, including our medal hopefuls in their preparations for Rio. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, about the importance of funding elite disabled athletes. Indeed, UK Sport is directly investing £355 million into summer Olympic and Paralympic sports during the current Rio cycle—an increase of 7% into Olympic sports and of 45% into Paralympic sports. The lottery has also helped to finance a vast array of community sports facilities.
Last week, I had the pleasure to hear one of our greatest sporting heroes, Sir Chris Hoy, speak at an event celebrating the anniversary of the National Lottery. Sir Chris spoke of how lottery funding enabled British cycling to become the best in the world. Since 2009, Sport England alone has invested more than £52 million of National Lottery money in the sport of cycling, allowing an extraordinary attention to scientific detail and leading to many successive incremental improvements in technique. It has supported facilities such as the Manchester and London velodromes and a National Trust cycling trails project, and there have been hundreds of small grants to help local cycling clubs.
In the House today we have a number of elite sportsmen and sportswomen. It has been good to hear how the lottery has benefited all kinds of sport, from rugby, where I endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said, to swimming and cricket. I pay particular tribute to my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint for the tireless work she has done, and continues to do, for women’s cricket—and I note what the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, said about women’s sport more generally.
Today is a good day for sport because Tracey Crouch, a great sportswoman herself and Sports Minister, published her strategy, with a foreword by the Prime Minister himself. It provides a way forward for public support for sport in the UK, drawing on the strengths of the lottery. Sport England will now be able to fund projects to promote wider physical activity as well as other sport. I will pass the comments of my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint to Sport England.
I pay particular tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, for agreeing to accept the challenge of chairing the independent working group on a new duty of care for participants in sport, which we also announced this morning. I am delighted that the Premier League has agreed to contribute more than £100 million to grass-roots football, which was a concern of the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam. This will greatly strengthen football at community level across the country both in terms of improving facilities and running projects that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.
It is £100 million. I think that it may have been trailed before, which is perhaps what the noble Lord is referring to, but I will clarify the position.
The lottery has provided much needed resources for the arts. It has supported national institutions, many of which have already been mentioned, including the Royal Opera House, and community arts, as well as British film, which the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, mentioned, with a fitting tribute to the work of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, at the BFI. To give ballast to the powerful comments of the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, lottery-funded films have won 32 Baftas and 14 Oscars.
A few months ago, I toured the lottery-funded Royal College of Music with Madame Peng, the Chinese First Lady, enjoying some wonderful performances and visiting its intriguing museum. This is one of our many world-class institutions, and it was a pleasure to showcase it to international dignitaries.
Turning to heritage, funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund has helped us as a nation to commemorate so many of our important anniversaries, including the First World War centenary. There is a very diverse range of funded heritage projects—that is very much a strength—and that represents the truly national nature of the lottery. As someone with a huge passion for cathedrals and churches, I was delighted to hear from the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester. I agree with him about Chester Cathedral and Beverley Minster. The noble Lord, Lord Cormack, rightly spoke of Lincoln Cathedral. As they said, what is good about the HLF is that it attracts matching funding from businesses and others in local communities, so that the money goes twice as far.
The noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, and the noble Lord, Lord Beith, rightly said that it was important that we have simple, non-bureaucratic arrangements for distribution. In fact, there is some good practice, although others have expressed concerns, I think notably in the sports area. I should add that I had the fortune of visiting the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent, where lottery funding has helped save this important collection.
One of my new responsibilities at DCMS is the National Archives, another recipient of lottery funding, and the noble Lord, Lord Beith, will be glad to hear that I admired the restoration of a large-scale map of Berwick, when I visited. At the micro level, Heritage Lottery Funding has helped to create the wonderful Blake mosaics under the arches over the river in Lambeth. It is worth noting that more than 40% of funding from the HLF goes to the voluntary and community sector.
My noble friend Lord True and the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, spoke passionately about the case for some overseas heritage sites attracting lottery funding support. I have always wanted to visit the Lines of Torres Vedras. At present, the Heritage Lottery Fund only funds projects based in the UK, as I think noble Lords know. However, funding may be available for activities outside the UK, including museum visits or travel to heritage sites. To date, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded more than £60 million to First World War projects in the UK. In addition, the Big Lottery Fund’s Heroes Return programme has enabled more than 58,000 World War II veterans to return with their families to the places where they served—so there is some activity, though admittedly at the edges.
From parks, to village halls, to sports clubs to charities, National Lottery funding has been at the heart of many wonderful community initiatives. Only 1% of grants are for £1 million or more. The great majority, some 71%, are for £10,000 or under. Seventy per cent of funding goes outside London and the south-east. Forty per cent of lottery good cause money—£670 million last year—goes to the Big Lottery Fund, our single largest distributor. This funding provides invaluable support to charities, community and voluntary projects up and down the country, such as pensioner groups, play schemes, allotments, community centres, scout huts and, indeed, the Clapham bandstand.
My noble friend the Duke of Wellington dared to offer an early comment on the machinery of government. He will be interested to know that the Big Lottery Fund was once within DCMS but that the sponsorship is now split with the Cabinet Office. I will certainly factor in his views in our ongoing consideration. I will also ask the distributors to see whether their administrative costs could be further reduced. These are currently set at a maximum of 5% for grant processing costs and 8% for administration costs. I note what he said about remuneration levels for distributor board members. Lottery money should, as far as possible, go to good causes.
In answer to the question from the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, as set out in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, there are no plans to reduce the Big Lottery Fund’s allocation. The fund will continue to receive 40% of National Lottery good cause money; sport, arts and heritage will continue to receive 20%. The noble Lord, Lord Lea of Crondall, asked about regional distribution. I have already said that our most recent figures show that 70% of good cause funding in England has been outside London and the south-east since the lottery began—I am happy to share more detailed figures with him and other noble Lords after the debate—though of course, many national charities and bodies have their head offices in London but use lottery money outside, so that complicates the picture.
To pick up on a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Beith, since 1995, more than £331 million of lottery money has been spent on heritage projects in the north-east. Distributors run specific programmes, such as the recent Doncaster activity pilot, to encourage applications from areas that currently receive lower levels of funding.
My noble friend Lord Holmes and the noble Lords, Lord Addington, Lord Pendry and Lord Stevenson, all expressed concern about competition for the National Lottery from society lotteries, particularly so-called umbrella brands such as the Health Lottery and People’s Postcode Lottery. In March, as many noble Lords will know, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, then under a very distinguished chairman, published their report on society lotteries, which covered many issues raised by noble Lords today, including caps on prizes and expenses, betting on lotteries and requiring large society lotteries to pay tax in the same way as the National Lottery. The Government are currently taking expert advice from the Gambling Commission on all those issues.
The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked about additionality. The Government are committed to that principle. Safeguards are in place, including the requirement for distributors to say in their annual report and accounts how the additionality principle has been applied. I am also a fan of transparency, which he mentioned.
Last month, Ed Vaizey—my ministerial colleague at the DCMS—unveiled a commemorative image celebrating 21 years of the National Lottery at the Lowry in Manchester, itself another great National Lottery-funded institution. The image has recently finished a tour of other National Lottery-funded venues, and shows over 50 projects, celebrating the great breadth and diversity of lottery funding support across the arts, heritage, sport, charity and voluntary sectors.
In celebrating 21 years of the National Lottery, we are celebrating not only our Olympians—some here today—and Oscar winners. We also celebrate the achievements of those in our communities who, with support from the National Lottery, have volunteered their time to make our country a better place—people such as Edna Smith from Leicester, who has been awarded a special achievement award for her work with the charity Home-Start, which provides support to parents experiencing difficulties.
The lottery is an established and popular British institution, for all the reasons we have discussed. Unlike the English State Lottery, closed down in 1826, it has become part of the fabric of our national life. Criticisms could be made but let us remember that, unlike many things involving government, it is entirely voluntary. We should recognise the pleasure that it gives in a sympathetic and positive spirit. I thank my noble friend for giving us the opportunity to set all this on the record today.
My Lords, it has been an excellent debate. I thank all noble Lords for their wit, wisdom and erudition, not least the two marvellous maiden speakers, the noble Lord, Lord Beith, and my noble friend the Duke of Wellington. I have one piece of advice for my noble friend the Minister: when she is showing French visitors around the Royal Gallery and is in front of that painting, perhaps she could say, sotto voce, “Quel dommage”.
The National Lottery is a national treasure. What a gift it is from Sir John Major, but we have to be constantly alert to the threat from those who would plunder and purloin that treasure. It has delivered across art, culture, sport, heritage and charities for 21 years. It should carry on flying high for decades to come if we keep that focus and attention, and ensure that we keep it in people’s heads and people’s hearts.