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New Clause 2 - DISTRIBUTING BODIES: CRITERIA FOR DISTRIBUTION

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 3rd November 2005.

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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 2:00 pm, 3rd November 2005

As my hon. Friend the Member for Bath told the Minister during the debate on the preceding clause, there has been disparity as to who is being prescriptive at various points. We address reputation by raising the profile of the lottery’s good awards and good work. Indeed, hon. Members will have received the briefing from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations on this matter. It states:

“We accept that there have been a number of high-profile controversies about some of the projects that the Lottery has funded — whether that is groups supporting asylum seekers or prostitutes — but this, in our view, serves to strengthen the case for improving public awareness of the true destination of Lottery funding.”

I suggest that that represents a good way forward. I stress the potential negative impact of adding the proposed new clause to the Bill. Reputation can be a subjective concept; one person’s view of what improves the lottery’s reputation may be quite different from another’s. It would be a dull world if we all shared precisely the same views about which projects were most valuable. That is why I hope that the television programme that will allow the public to vote on the people’s millions is going to be a success. The public will differ on which projects should be funded according to their views. Therefore, we should be careful not to impose the restriction that everything must be decided solely on the basis of reputation. That is subjective and might lead to risks not being taken. Sometimes, risks have to be taken with projects; that is nature of some arts and culture lottery distributors.