Clark: the BLF should not 'spin for the Government'

Shadow charities minister Greg Clark has requested an urgent meeting with Big Lottery Fund chief executive Stephen Dunmore over the decision to "reprofile" £120m of voluntary sector funding programmes so the distributor can meet its contribution to the London 2012 Olympics.

"When deliberately confusing words such as 'reprofiling' are applied to large amounts of money, you know that something must be up," said Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells. "I wonder how Stephen Dunmore would feel if his salary was 'reprofiled'.

"It is not the job of the BLF to spin for the Government - its job is to be straight with the general public and the good causes that depend upon its funding."

Clark's response comes after Dunmore wrote to Clark and Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman, to explain the Big Lottery Fund's decision to delay Young People's Fund 2, a youth inclusion project, and the Research Programme, designed to fund medical and social research.

The delays come despite culture secretary Tessa Jowell's promise in March that voluntary bodies would be protected from the latest Olympic raid.

Foster, MP for Bath, said that any cut or delay in funding streams to the voluntary sector was a cause of "great concern".

In his reply to Dunmore, Foster wrote that, although a delay in funding would not necessarily constitute a cut, it would have a similar effect. "The postponement of the launch of the Young People's Fund 2 from April of this year has already caused much concern for those in the voluntary sector," he added.

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