Conservative manifesto pledges to remodel National Lottery

More money would go to good causes, it says; there would also be a 'big society bank', a 'National Citizens Service' and an annual 'big society day'

Conservative manifesto
Conservative manifesto

A Conservative government would remodel the National Lottery to make sure more money goes to good causes, the party's manifesto promises.

The Tories say they would ensure that the Big Lottery Fund would "focus purely on supporting social action through the voluntary and community sector, instead of ministers' pet projects, as at present".

Sports, heritage and arts causes would receive 20 per cent of the good cause money raised.

The document tacitly confirms that the party has dropped proposals raised in its draft manifesto for the sector, published in June 2008, to replace the Big Lottery Fund with a ‘Voluntary Action Lottery Fund', although the principles of reform to spending priorities remain.

It says the Conservatives would reduce the administration costs associated with the National Lottery and increase the amount of money that is passed to good causes. It does not set out how these savings would be achieved.

Many of the pledges in the manifesto, published today, repeat pledges already set out by the party.

Promises in the document to establish a ‘big society bank', a ‘National Citizens Service', under which 16-year-olds could take part in summer volunteering programmes, and an annual ‘big society day', which would celebrate neighbourhood groups and encourage more people to get involved in their communities, have already been announced by the party in the last two weeks.

Today's manifesto promises a "fair deal on grants" for voluntary sector organisations and reforms to public services that would "enable social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to play a leading role in delivering public services and tackling deep-rooted social problems".

It says people would be given a "right to bid" to run any community service instead of the state and promises a review of the vetting and barring scheme for people working with children and vulnerable adults, with the aim of "scaling it back to common sense levels".

The manifesto is silent, however, on subjects including the Compact and reform to the Gift Aid system.The proposal in the draft sector manifesto to replace the Office of the Third Sector with an Office for Civil Society is also not mentioned - this was set aside last year.

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