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National Lottery Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 10:30 am, 25th October 2005

Mr. Cook, I welcome you and your co-Chairman, Mr. Gale, to our deliberations. Just before we began our proceedings, the hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) reminded me that on Committees such as this, I have from time to time—whenever I have been mildly successful in persuading Ministers to accept or at least consider amendments that I tabled—sent a letter to Mrs. Foster. She has got off to a very bad start on this Committee. The Minister has already blown the gaff by saying that I spend more time with him discussing these matters than I do with Mrs. Foster; she will certainly be very upset by that. She will be even more upset by the fact that in his opening remarks, the Minister said that the hon. Member for East Devon spoke eloquently on Second Reading but said merely that I spoke on Second Reading. Mrs. Foster will be deeply upset, but I shall not send her even a postcard on the subject.

We are debating the programme motion and I, like the hon. Gentleman, have agreed that that motion gives sufficient opportunity for Committee members to raise their concerns. We will use the opportunity given by the motion to draw attention to matters that we think need further discussion, particularly the principle of additionality. Notwithstanding the commitment made by the Prime Minister in 1997 that

''We don't believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities'', the Government have been getting their sticky little mitts on lottery money and we need find a way to prevent that happening in the future.

We shall also raise what we regard as unprecedented additional powers being given to the Secretary of State. Although we welcome public involvement in deciding how lottery money is to be spent, we believe that the way in which that is done should be considered in more detail. We are concerned about the new opportunities that the Bill provides to allow lottery distributors to be the promoters of the lottery and we shall raise that point through amendments.