New Olympics raid 'could cost the sector £315m'

Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, has issued his strongest warning yet about the consequences for the voluntary sector if the fund is forced to divert more money from good causes to cover the extra costs of staging the 2012 Olympics.

A BLF statement said the sector would find itself "seriously under-resourced" if the fund were expected to cover a proportion of the reported £900m increased costs of the Olympics' infrastructure.

It estimated that the sector would lose about £315m if the BLF were raided to cover half of the increase: "The fund would not be in a position to develop and fund any new programmes until 2013, and would also need to make reductions of about £350m in current, published programmes open for business up to 2009."

Booth said: "Any further significant diversion of funds from the Big Lottery Fund towards the Olympics would be of serious concern and would have a damaging effect on the fund's ability to fulfil its mission to improve communities and the lives of people most in need."

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