Big Lottery Fund can decide sector's cut

Nathalie Thomas

The Big Lottery Fund - and not the Government - will now decide what percentage of lottery income will go to the voluntary and community sector under the National Lottery Bill.

"We need to leave that flexibility for those who are making the decision," Richard Caborn, the lottery minister, told the standing committee, which met twice last week.

The Government has been accused of downgrading a previous agreement made during the second reading of the Bill. In June, Caborn said: "I give a guarantee that between 60 and 70 per cent of the Big Lottery Fund's income will go to communities or charities."

Pete Moorey, parliamentary officer at the NCVO, said: "There now appears to have been a significant downgrading in relation to that commitment."

Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, said Caborn's apparent volte-face caused "a lot of uncertainty" among committee members.

The Government's refusal to include the 60-70 per cent pledge in the Bill has sparked concern that the Big Lottery Fund could later alter this figure.

"Clearly it is possible for the fund to change that decision," Foster argued.

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