Jowell refuses to rule out using more lottery funds for games

Helen Warrell

The Big Lottery Fund has expressed concern about the possibility of more National Lottery money being used to fund the Olympic Games, after culture secretary Tessa Jowell reminded ministers last week that she had "never ruled out" that option.

A spokeswoman for the fund said its aim was to use good cause money "to benefit communities most in need", and that any reductions in its share over and above that already agreed in the funding package would cause concern.

"The fund will need to consider the implications of any changes to our share when they arise," she said. "We would expect the Government to discuss any proposed changes with us."

She added that the strategic allocation of lottery good causes funding was a matter for the Government. "We know that the shares to good causes across distributors will be revised in 2009, and that on current plans £410m will be diverted to the Olympics as a result," she said.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that any loss of funds for good causes would be offset by the advantages of Britain hosting the games.

"We remain confident that the benefits of holding the games in this country are significant," he said. "The Olympics will bring considerable benefits to many sectors in one of the most deprived areas of Britain."

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