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1995 - Mr Major’s Comments on the National Lottery

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the national lottery, made in an interview on Friday 17th November 1995 at the Age Exchange Theatre Trust in Blackheath.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked why he had chosen this location to mark the first anniversary of the national lottery].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there are several reasons why I am pleased to be here today. I think firstly one has to remember what the lottery is about. I’ve always believed that areas such as the arts, sports and heritage are a very important part of the quality of life for literally millions and millions of people. They were never going to get proper resources from Government however, they never have and they wouldn’t in future because they have to compete with the health service and education. So the purpose of the lottery was to raise large sums of money for those particular causes. Now why are we here today? Several reasons, this is one of literally hundreds of thousands of relatively small causes that have been helped by the lottery. They’ve had a sum of money that will enable them to bring this particular enterprise about. So I wanted to see what is happening to the money on the ground and today is a very good example.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about what impact the lottery had had in its first year].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think it’s exceeded anything that anyone can imagine. Certainly it’s been far more successful. What we can now look to in the future I think, is a sum of around 300 million pounds a year going to each of the five good causes - sports, arts, heritage, charities and of course the millennium fund, and those are resources far in excess of anything that’s ever been provided before and will have a very dramatic impact over the years.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about whether he had misjudged the criticism to the lottery].

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t think so. I think success is always criticised by some people. But if you go round, if you were to ask this group here, if you were going to ask the hundreds of drama classes up and down the country, if you were going to look and ask the hundreds of rugby clubs, football clubs, athletics clubs, cricket clubs, all of whom had relatively small amounts of money to enable them to put down a pitch, to buy some nets or whatever it may be. I think you would get quite a different answer. An awful lot of people’s relatively modest dreams have been able to come true speedily because of the lottery. And perhaps a more important point that I think, a point that is fundamental to the lottery, when one considers what will be built up, particularly in sport and the arts over the next ten years, one can see a wholly new series of opportunities for recreation and enjoyment, literally for millions and millions of people.