Lottery Minister Estelle Morris has sought to allay charities' fears that the new Lottery Bill will restrict funding to good causes.
The Bill, published last week, was condemned by sector umbrella body the NCVO as giving the Government "far too much influence" over lottery money.
"All those who support the principle of a National Lottery free from political interference should have grave concerns about this Bill," said NCVO chief executive Stuart Etherington. He said the NCVO would be tabling amendments that would insert "guarantees against government interference and the erosion of lottery funding to voluntary and community organisations".
In an interview with Third Sector, Morris admitted that the Big Lottery Fund would have "more structure" than the old Community Fund, but less than the New Opportunities Fund.
She urged charities to stop fearing the loss of the fund's independence and to see the opportunities that the merger would bring. "There will be more chance of the sector being the partner for delivery in many New Opportunities Fund-type projects. In the past, the Government determined who the delivery partner would be, but now that's going to be a matter for the Big Lottery Fund."