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1997 Onwards - Mr Major’s Comments on the National Lottery

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the National Lottery which were published on 22nd October 2004.


QUESTION:


Are you concerned that the "additionality" criterion of the Lottery has fallen by the wayside. In other words, the Lottery was set up to do what Government does not provide for?


JOHN MAJOR:


Sport, Arts and Heritage play a vital part in the daily lives of most  people and yet can never compete with the demands of health, education and defence for Government funds. I established the Lottery to provide the good causes with large sums of money with the express will of Parliament that this funding would be in addition to whatever sums the Government themselves had been able to allocate. This "additionality" criteria was fundamental to the establishment of the Lottery, yet has been seriously undermined by the present Government.


Since 1997, the Labour Government has increasingly ignored the additionality principle. First, by cutting back on even minimum levels of support; and second, by raiding the Lottery Fund for programmes that historically have been met out of central taxation. Overall, their behaviour has amounted to nothing short of grand larceny.


QUESTION:


Do you worry that 50% of the Lottery will now go to health, education and environment, which are areas that Government traditionally pays for?


JOHN MAJOR:


I am concerned that a huge amount of Lottery funding is now being used for purposes for which Parliament did not vote in the original Lottery Bill, and which at the time was felt to be inappropriate by both the Conservative Government and Labour Opposition. Although for the purposes of accuracy, I understand that somewhere between 70% and 75% of lottery revenue still goes to the original Good Causes, because the Big Lottery Fund uses half of its budget - about 25% of all lottery revenue - to fund charities and the voluntary sector, the remit of the former Community Fund.


QUESTION:


Have the original good causes been cast aside?


JOHN MAJOR:


I do not believe the original Good Causes have been entirely cast aside - after all, they still receive around 75% of all lottery revenues. But they have been very badly treated and given the Government's dismal record thus far, there must be concern about the future.


The Lottery is now being used blatantly for substitute funding and this is wholly unacceptable.


QUESTION:


Is the setting-up of the Lottery one of your proudest achievements?


JOHN MAJOR:


I am very proud to have established the Lottery as I believe it adds to the quality of life for many millions of people. However, when looking at the principal achievements of the previous Conservative Government, I would list the Lottery behind the establishment of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the total sea-change in our economic prospects.