Lords vote confirms transfer of lottery funds to Olympics

The House of Lords has voted in favour of transferring £1.085bn of lottery good cause funds to help pay for the London 2012 Olympics.

The £1.085bn comprises an original allocation of £410m and an additional £675m, which will be transferred in 15 quarterly instalments from February 2009 to August 2012.

The vote, which took place on 30 January, follows an announcement last March that the cost of the Olympics had risen to £9.35bn – almost four times the original £2.4bn estimate.

During the debate, Lord Clement-Jones suggested an amendment calling on the Government to guarantee that charities benefited from future increases in land value in the Olympic site, but later withdrew it.

Lord Davies of Oldham said: “The Government has thought carefully about these issues. We are concerned to minimise the impact upon good causes, and to indemnify them and advance their interests after the Games are over.”

He also confirmed that the Government will re-examine the case for a move to gross profits tax for the lottery, which could generate an estimated £45m each year for good causes.

He also suggested that the Government ban commercial lottery games. He said: “Independent experts have shown that if we can eliminate those games so that players switch back to the National Lottery, it would mean an extra £4m a year – more than £500m by 2019 – for good causes.”

The House of Commons has already voted in favour of transferring the £1.085bn to the Olympics. In a debate on 15 January, the Government won by a majority of 357 to nine after culture secretary James Purnell promised that there would not be a third lottery raid and that revenue raised by lottery games introduced specifically to raise money for the Olympics would be capped at £750m.

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