New Clause 1 - GUIDANCE TO DISTRIBUTING BODIES

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:15 pm on 3rd November 2005.

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Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 1:15 pm, 3rd November 2005

Somebody has to define the concept for the purpose of day-to-day operations, but if the concept were tied down to a definition that would be challengeable in law, those funds might be put into all types of litigation. [Interruption.] Let me explain this very serious point. We believe that if we took certain courses of action, we would create a lawyers’ paradise. As previous Administrations have done, we believe that the best way forward is to put the fund at arm’s length from Government, which we have done, and to make it accountable back to Parliament, which it is. The broad direction given to the independent people working at arm’s length from Government is to receive applications and apply the principles that Parliament has asked them to apply. They report back to the Government in an annual report. The accounting officers are also responsible to Parliament through the Public Accounts Committee.

There are a number of checks and balances. How those people apply the principle of additionality or deliver on the rest of their remit’s broad themes—in the case of the Big Lottery Fund, those are health, education and the environment—is always open to scrutiny by Parliament. That scrutiny should continue to be carried out by Parliament rather than the courts   of law, where we believe the whole thing would get bogged down and could be very expensive and time-consuming.