New Clause 1 - GUIDANCE TO DISTRIBUTING BODIES

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:30 pm on 3rd November 2005.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 1:30 pm, 3rd November 2005

I find myself in some difficulty. The Minister said that in consultation the public say that they want additionality; then he told us that the principle had been broadly adhered to by past and present Administrations. I do not know how the Minister can come to that conclusion if we do not have some understanding of what we are talking about.

I accept that including a precise and tightly worded definition in the Bill could lead to problems—the Minister spoke of a lawyers’ paradise. I made it clear that the new clause would not place a definition of additionality in the Bill, because doing so would cause a variety of difficulties. The Minister told us that he assiduously studies the amendments that he wishes to resist, so he will know that the word additionality does not appear in the new clause. However, he has spent a lot of time talking about additionality and the problems that would arise if a precise definition were given. I suspect many members of the Committee   would be sympathetic to his views. My difficulty is that the Minister has not given any reasons why the new clause should be resisted.

I am very confused by the right hon. Gentleman’s response. When I was referring to the National Audit Office’s report I could hear the Minister berating me. When I quoted a section that talked about the issues of accounting practice and who would make announcements, he demanded from a sedentary position, “What’s this got to with additionality?” As the record will show he later said, “But this is about accounting practice.” Yes it was, because that is what the new clause was about. New clause 1 talks about the need for guidance from the Secretary of State including reference to

“the means of insuring transparency in the funding of projects which receive both national lottery and government funding in relation to accounting practice, and public announcements.”

I made the point that the NAO is deeply concerned that the Government do not have it right and so there is a need for guidance on this matter. The Minister has not told me why it would be a bad idea for the Secretary of State, after consultation, to give guidance on those matters.