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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 Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 11:45 am, 25th October 2005

I shall concentrate on clause 19, which is grouped with the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for East Devon. Before I go any further, I would like to ask the Minister for a definition of the words ''benevolent'' and ''philanthropic'' for the purposes of the Bill. I see no definition in the Bill and I know of no definitions elsewhere in law. Perhaps other definitions exist. Perhaps the Minister will state whether he intends to apply definitions found elsewhere in law, but he is not applying any definition of ''charitable'' found elsewhere in law.

My hon. Friend the Member for East Devon has spoken of the danger of diverting money from charitable organisations to organs of the state, such as local education authorities. That is one of my concerns. Money may be abused if it is put under government control at a local rather than national level. I should like to examine the consequence of substituting a different definition for that of ''charitable expenditure'' in section 44(1) of the 1993 Act.

I understand that we were doing so badly in the Boer war that training men in the use of arms was defined as a charitable purpose. A number of gun clubs up and down the country were established with the function of training men in the bearing of arms. Recently, the Charity Commission decided that that was no longer a charitable purpose and those gun clubs have lost their charitable status. Under the definition in this Bill, it appears to me that although the clubs are no longer charities, they could apply for money from the lottery.

They could say that although they were not charitable institutions, the purpose to which they wished to put the money was charitable—not if it involved training men in the use of arms, but if it involved, for example, educating men in the habits of small furry animals, so that the men might more successfully pursue and kill them. That would be a charitable purpose, because education is defined as such a purpose. In case the Minister thinks that a far-  fetched example, let me substitute another. At the moment, the Conservative party is not a charitable organisation.