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

Clause 7 - National Lottery Distribution Fund: apportionment

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 25th October 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Whip 10:45 am, 25th October 2005

Thank you, Mr. Cook. I welcome you to the Chair. I am delighted to be serving on this Committee under your chairmanship and to see so many familiar faces from the Standing Committee on the London Olympics Bill.

We broadly support this group of amendments, some of which would clear up anomalies relating to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. However, the main thrust of the controversy is covered by amendments Nos. 24 and 25. We agree that it is unacceptable for the Secretary of State to have the power to make an order prescribing expenditure to good causes, because that is just another Government attack on the independence of lottery distributors. The whole Bill goes much too far in giving that power to the Secretary of State and I am sure that the issue will be revisited during our proceedings.

I shall demonstrate the extent of that power. During proceedings on the Gambling Bill, my hon. Friend the Member for Bath rightly criticised the Government for including so many opportunities to give the Secretary of State secondary powers. However, that legislation pales in comparison with the Bill that we are considering today. One in 10 clauses of the Gambling Bill gave the Secretary of State secondary powers, but eight of the 23 clauses in the Bill before us make provision for the Secretary of State to make secondary legislation. That is far too much.  

The hon. Member for East Devon illustrated the temptation of the Secretary of State's power to prescribe when faced with difficult budgetary decisions, whatever the Government's good intentions initially. The normal man or woman in the street who goes into their local corner shop to buy a lottery ticket knows that a proportion of the money will go to good causes and that independent bodies will decide which local organisations should receive money. The perception is not and should not be that the Secretary of State and the Government decide how to spend the money, which is why we must remove the power of prescription from the Bill. We support the amendments.