Minister urged not to increase minimum 'good cause' percentage from lotteries

In a letter to Maria Miller, Peter Lewis (pictured) of the IoF and Clive Mollett of the Lotteries Council say the effect will be less money going to good causes

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis

The Institute of Fundraising and the Lotteries Council, a membership body for organisers that run lotteries, have criticised government plans to consult on possible changes to the minimum proportion of proceeds a society lottery must give to good causes.

In a joint letter to culture secretary Maria Miller, Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, and Clive Mollett, chair of the Lotteries Council, say that increasing the minimum proportion, which is currently 20 per cent, could actually lead to less money overall going to good causes and in the closure of many society lotteries.

The letter says that society lotteries raised £126.47m for good causes in 2012 and that any increase in their minimum contribution to good causes would be disastrous.

"While the average contribution of these lotteries to good causes is 40-50 per cent, this has only been achieved over the longer term and with investment in recruitment and marketing, which would have not been possible if the minimum contribution had been higher than 20 per cent," it says.

Although increasing the minimum percentage might be assumed to lead to more money going to good causes, the letter says, it is in fact likely that such a change would have the opposite effect. "We therefore urge you to ensure that the minimum percentage is not increased," it says.

A spokeswoman for the IoF told Third Sector it had met officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport at the beginning of March and made its position on the consultation clear. "And we have now gone further and written this joint letter," she said.

The government announced in December that it would launch a consultation to look at ways of ensuring the lottery market delivers the maximum benefit to good causes. Its move came in response to an increase in the number of professional lottery managers and umbrella schemes, such as the Health Lottery, which is made up of 51 society lotteries. 

The government said it would look into whether there was a case for changing the minimum percentage of proceeds that society lotteries are required to apply to good causes.

Miller said at the time that lotteries were hugely important in raising large amounts of money for charities and community groups. "But with a changing market, it is right that we make sure the main priority for each and every lottery is to raise money for good causes," she said.

A DCMS spokesman said the department planned to run a consultation this year in response to a changing lottery market.

"We want to ensure that the main priority for each and every lottery is to raise money for good causes," he said. "We will, of course, welcome all views on this as part of the consultation."

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