Tories rethinking policy on lottery

The Conservative Party is drafting a new policy on lottery funding that would guarantee the voluntary sector at least as much money as it receives at present.

The previous policy, set out in the party's 2005 General Election manifesto, called for lottery funding for good causes to be divided equally between sports, arts, heritage and charities.

The Big Lottery Fund has calculated that this would have effectively amounted to a cut of up to 10 per cent, or £65m.

Last year, the Conservatives reiterated their intention to split lottery money between the four causes, but did not say what proportion each would receive (Third Sector, 11 October 2006).

But a number of key players in the sector, including the Big Lottery Fund, believed that the 2005 policy still stood.

"We will be saying that funding for good causes should be ring-fenced, but we have yet to decide how funding will be split," said Greg Clark, the shadow charities minister and Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells.

"My expectation is that at least as much funding will be going to charities - I want to see more going to them, not less."

A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund said it was in constant contact with all the main parties.

"We will be doing everything we can to ensure that, when the Conservatives decide how funding should be allocated, they can make an informed decision," she said.

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