Lobby briefing: Tom Levitt, Labour MP for High Peak

The Labour MP for High Peak on getting extra money from the lottery to pay for the Olympics without damaging the voluntary sector.

Why have you written to Tessa Jowell, the culture, media and sport secretary?
As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the community and voluntary sector, I am calling for her to find a way of getting the extra money from the lottery to pay for the Olympics that does not damage the voluntary sector.

The Government has increased expectations of the sector, and some of the most important lottery funds, such as the Reaching Communities Fund, are already very oversubscribed. Any reduction in funding would kill off some voluntary projects, while a stately home can wait another year to have money spent on it.

Why have you waited until now to get involved?
I had a meeting with about 60 voluntary sector organisations in my constituency. They wanted to make it clear that they felt their funding was very vulnerable. Having talked to such groups as the NCVO, I felt that the sector had to be heard on this.

What feedback have you had from ministers?
I have spoken briefly to Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn, the sports minister, and they are well aware of how the sector feels. When will there be an announcement on where the extra funding will come from? We are talking about June, but that is just me reading the runes.

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