Bubb 'out of touch with reality' on the Health Lottery

Jeremy Muller of the Health Lottery says Acevo chief's criticisms are unfounded

Sir Stephen Bubb
Sir Stephen Bubb

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of charity leaders organisation Acevo, is "out of touch with reality", according to the Health Lottery.

Jeremy Muller, one of the directors of the 51 community interest companies that manage the Health Lottery, made the accusation at a conference run by the lottery in London yesterday, in which he responded to criticisms Bubb had made about the organisation on BBC Radio 4 and on his own blog.

In his blog Bubb argued that the Health Lottery, which was launched by the media owner Richard Desmond last year, was trying to persuade people to switch their custom from the National Lottery. "If they do, only 20p goes to charities, not the 28p from the National Lottery," he said.

Bubb said he hoped that Desmond would "announce he will cut his profit margin and give more to health charities by at least matching the 28p of the national lottery".

Muller told the conference that Bubb’s statistics on the National Lottery were "inaccurate and disingenuous".

He claimed that in the year to March 2011 the National Lottery gave 17p in the pound to causes such as the Olympics, the arts, heritage causes, sports councils and the National Lottery Distribution Fund; only 10p went to "charitable causes", he said. He estimated that 60 per cent of the National Lottery’s funding was distributed inside the M25.

Muller told the conference that since the launch of the Health Lottery, National Lottery ticket sales had increased.

Responding to criticisms by Bubb of the lottery’s structure, he said: "Looking at the curriculum vitae alongside Sir Stephen’s blog it would appear he has never been in business, having built his career through unions such as the TGWU, the NUT and the AMA. Had he been in the for-profit sector, he might appreciate that you cannot build a national network of businesses overnight."

Muller’s statement distanced the lottery from Desmond. "Mr Desmond’s business does not receive any money directly from lottery ticket sales. Lottery ticket sales revenue goes directly to the community interest companies, which administer all funds. The Health Lottery organisation receives a weekly fee paid by whichever CICs are promoting a lottery that week."

In response, Bubb said Acevo’s concern had always been that the Health Lottery risked resulting in less money going to good causes overall. "We have seen plenty of evidence that the Health Lottery is seeking to draw people away from the National Lottery; we have seen no evidence that assuages our fears about the consequences."

A spokesman for the National Lottery said that its latest annual report showed that 28.4 per cent of lottery ticket sales went to good causes.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that increasing ticket sales for the National Lottery suggested the public regarded the National Lottery very highly.

"There is no way of working out how much money has been awarded inside the M25 because the boundaries in our lottery grants database do not follow the M25," she said. "Many national charities have head offices in London, but bid for money to do work in other regions of the UK."

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