Booth criticises Tories' 'hostility' to the sector

Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, has accused the Conservatives of having a hostile attitude towards the voluntary sector and offered them a "seminar in elementary arithmetic".

Responding to criticism that the BLF had high overheads and was an "arm of the Labour Government", Booth said the Tories were using inaccurate figures and were "stuck in a time warp".

He said their proposal to return the lottery to the 'four pillars' - charities, sports, arts and heritage - would result in less money for the sector.

"They would protect the other causes and more lottery diversion funds would come from our budget," he said. "I don't understand why the opposition is so hostile to the voluntary and community sector."

Booth said he would tell shadow culture minister Jeremy Hunt at a meeting next month that he was "trapped in the past". He added that the meeting would serve as a "seminar in elementary arithmetic".

Hunt said Booth had failed to understand the Conservatives' plans. "It has never been our intention to divert money from the voluntary sector," he said. "Our proposals could see more money going to charities."

A Conservative spokeswoman said the figures were from parliamentary answers or freedom of information requests.

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