Government and sector at odds over Lottery Bill

Lottery minister Richard Caborn has admitted there is no "meeting of minds" between the Government and charities over the future direction of the National Lottery.

At a meeting with voluntary sector umbrella groups at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last Thursday, Caborn also dismissed the case for a definition of additionality, saying any attempt to define the principle would result in a "purely academic debate".

The NCVO has been pushing for additionality to be defined in the National Lottery Bill.

But Caborn, the minister responsible for the Bill, set his face against this proposal and also dismissed the idea of monitoring breaches of additionality as excessively bureaucratic.

According to those who attended, Caborn's attitude at the meeting was dismissive and off-hand.

Nick Aldridge, director of strategy at Acevo, said: "We are disappointed that widely shared concerns at the gradual erosion of the lottery's independence have yet again been rejected by the Government.

"We want the lottery to provide genuinely additional money for communities and third-sector organisations, not to plug holes in departmental budgets."

Caborn also rejected demands to rewrite the clause in the Bill that gives the Government the right to dictate "persons and purposes" to which the Big Lottery Fund may or may not give grants.

But he indicated that the forthcoming Olympic-theme lottery tickets could be shelved sooner than anticipated if they succeed in raising their £750m contribution to the games ahead of time.

Officials from the Big Lottery Fund reiterated a pledge to ensure that the voluntary sector receives 60-70 per cent of funding. They said a demand-led grants programme would be established as soon as possible, but did not give a timetable.

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