The amendments would limit the arrangements under new section 36C of the 1993 Act for the Big Lottery Fund to work as an agent distributing money for other public bodies, the Government or private foundations. The suggestion for that provision came from the fund and it has been approached in the past to use the system to get things going quickly. As I explained when we discussed amendment No. 27, it does not have the power to distribute other people’s money, whether that is public or private charity money.
Amendment No. 41 would restrict the proportion of non-lottery business for the Big Lottery Fund to a quarter of total grant payments, while amendments Nos. 39 and 40 would prevent the persons providing non-lottery money from putting limits on the Big Lottery Fund’s freedom of action in distributing it. The new powers should not, in our view, be constrained in such a way. It would limit the potential to streamline and simplify a range of funding and limit further developments of specialism, skills and knowledge, as well as the potential reduction in the cost of distribution and grant management through economies of scale.
We do not expect the distribution of non-lottery funds to become a major part of the fund, so I am not saying that we wish to ensure that more than 25 per cent. of their business can be non-lottery. No one wants the fund to be distracted from its main lottery function, but there is a danger that amendment No. 41 would set limits that prevented good opportunities from being exploited. The fund must have the flexibility to get involved where it thinks that it can add value.