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Clause 7 - National Lottery Distribution Fund: apportionment

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 11:45 am, 25th October 2005

I have a great deal of sympathy with the contribution just made by the hon. Member for East Devon and entirely share his concerns. In my brief contribution, I hope to suggest to the Minister a way in which he may assuage all the concerns but still accommodate some of the aspects that he wants to keep—in other words, how he can have his cake and eat it too.

A concern that has been expressed by many people is that the Bill would make it extremely difficult to guarantee that the voluntary and community sector would continue to be the prime beneficiary of funding from the soon-to-be-established Big Lottery Fund. The hon. Gentleman rightly says that in later amendments we will debate putting in the Bill a requirement that a significant proportion of BLF funding should go to the voluntary and community sector. Were the Minister to indicate that he would be minded to accept amendment No. 27, perhaps there   would be less concern about the definition of charity, which we are presently debating.

Amendment No. 26 would ensure that all BLF money went to charity, and voting against clause 19 stand part would clearly define a charity as an organisation rather than, as the Bill proposes, as a purpose. However, were the Minister to accept a clear requirement that voluntary and community organisations received money from the BLF—60 or 70 per cent., or whatever might be decided at a later stage—with the remaining 30 per cent., let us say, going to charitable purposes, I suspect that that would be acceptable to the Committee. Therefore, he may wish to reflect on the compromise that I am suggesting. He will have an opportunity to do so when we come to amendment No. 27.

However, if the Minister is not prepared to indicate at this stage that he will accept later amendments, particularly amendment No. 27, we will strongly support amendment No. 26 and will vote against clause 19.