Big Lottery Fund's chief stakes his career on its independence

Joe Gill

Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, warned ministers last week that he will resign if they put him under pressure to spend lottery money on programmes the Government wants.

He told delegates at last week's Funding the Future Conference that the fund board had resolved at its meeting last week to defend its independence "vigorously".

"The bottom line is that if we come under unacceptable pressure from ministers I will resign, and I think most of the board will too. This was discussed at the board meeting yesterday."

Sir Clive also announced a new international programme and a research programme. He said there was not a budget in place yet, but funding for each would at least maintain existing lottery international and research budgets.

He insisted the board would honour its pledge that 60-70 per cent of funding would go directly to the voluntary and community sector.

Sir Clive also rejected criticisms of the summer consultation over the Big Lottery Fund's themes and outcomes (Third Sector, 18 August) and said that they were not written in stone. He insisted the fund would continue to support unpopular causes and had a "clear desire to ensure that money is additional to and not a substitute for government spending".

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