§ Order for Second Reading read.3.45 pm
§ The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Chris Smith)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I am very pleased to open this debate on the National Lottery Bill. It is a Bill of which I am extremely proud, both for what it contains and for what it symbolises. It contains an agenda for radical reform of the way in which the lottery is regulated and the way in which lottery money is distributed. It is a very tangible example of the Government's commitment to reform and to keeping their election promises. The themes that underpin the Bill— excellence, access, education and the recognition of the value of creative and cultural activity to the country's economic and social well-being—are also the themes that run through all my Department's policies. So the Bill sets the stage for use of the lottery to assist more people in more ways and with greater fairness. I am astonished that Conservative Members cannot see the value in that.
I have two very simple aims in seeking to reform the lottery: first, to ensure that people have confidence in the way in which the lottery is run and regulated, and, secondly, to ensure that people have confidence that the money that it raises goes where it is needed and to meet their priorities.
§ Mr. Hawkins
Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that many of us on the Conservative Benches have reservations about what he is doing, because he is setting out to undermine the additionality principle on which so many of his hon. Friends, particularly the Minister for Sport, insisted when the lottery was set up?
§ Mr. Smith
I should have run a sweepstake on when that question would first arise in the debate because, of course, it is the common and rather tired theme of Conservative Members. I shall quote to the hon. Gentleman a passage in the reply given to the Select Committee on National Heritage, as it then was, in July 1996 by the then Secretary of State for National Heritage, the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley). She said very clearly —this is the precise definition of additionality:
Lottery funds are not intended to substitute for funds which would otherwise have been provided by conventional public expenditure".We stand firmly by that principle; there is nothing in the Bill that undermines it.
The Bill goes a long way to creating a lottery that achieves the aims of greater confidence that I have set out. As I shall point out, there is much else that we are doing besides legislation to bring about our vision of a people's lottery. I should like to deal first with the operation and regulation of the lottery.
163 The national lottery has generated nearly £5 billion for the good causes since its launch in 1994, and we confidently predict that that will rise to £10 billion by the end of Camelot's licence in September 2001.
I pay a word of tribute to the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), whom I am pleased to see in his place, for having had the courage to come forward with the proposal for the lottery in the first place. The lottery has become part of national life, and it is vital that it be an enterprise that we can be proud of, not one that provides a constant stream of headlines for the wrong reasons.
There has, I fear, been a shadow hanging over the lottery since the libel trial involving Branson and Snowden earlier this year. I am determined that that shadow shall be lifted. We have long been concerned about whether the arrangements set in place by the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 were the best guarantee of effective regulation, and whether they provided the objectivity, independence and transparency that the public rightly demand.
The Bill, as introduced in another place, recognised the importance of widening the experience and expertise brought to bear on the selection of the lottery operator. It therefore made provision for an advisory panel to help the director general with that task.
Re-examining the matter, however, and in the light of recent events, I have concluded that there is more that we can do to ensure that the public can have confidence in the independence and objectivity of the regulator. In particular, I have concluded that a move away from a focus on a particular individual will help to remove any possible criticism to the effect that conflicts of interest, actual or perceived, threaten effective regulation.
I therefore intend, as I announced in reply to a written question from my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Caplin) last week, to introduce amendments to the Bill to replace the post of director general with a new National Lottery Commission. The commission, which will consist of five members, will take on the same statutory functions and duties as the director general now has. Its role will be to ensure that the lottery is run and promoted with all due propriety, and that the interests of all players are protected—and, subject to those duties, to do its best to secure the best possible return for the good causes.
In appointing commissioners, I shall look for people with a mixture of relevant expertise, knowledge and experience—of the lottery market, of business and industry, of consumer representation and of the interests of players. Above all, I shall look for people of the highest integrity. They will be responsible for awarding all licences, for ensuring compliance with the conditions of those licences, and for maintaining the nation's confidence in the institution of the lottery.
1 shall ensure that the commissioners are appointed following an open and transparent selection process. The commission will be the people's watchdog, the guardian of the people's money.
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
I am sure that the commission that my right hon. Friend has in mind will remove some of the danger of conflicts of interest. However, as I am sure he is aware, questions are now being asked about the National Audit Office's rights of access, not to Camelot but to documentation and records 164 held by the regulator, who is a public servant. That is a new issue. I shall not go into detail at this stage, but will my right hon. Friend ensure that the matter is clarified before the Committee stage, so that we are sure that the National Audit Office, the watchdog for Parliament, has full and appropriate access to the regulator's records?
§ Mr. Smith
Yes. We intend to address that matter in detail in Committee. The precise provisions have, of course, to be agreed by the National Audit Office and to be properly put together—but we shall introduce amendments to secure the sort of access that my right hon. Friend and the Public Accounts Committee have in mind.
The commission will be supported in its work by the existing Oflot staff, and the amendments will provide for their employment by the commission on the same terms and conditions as govern their current employment.
None of what I propose should be taken as any criticism of the acting director general or his staff, whose professionalism and commitment are not in question. Through all the recent events, John Stoker has acted effectively and professionally. I had every confidence in him when he took over in February, and that confidence was not misplaced. He has taken a properly robust approach.
I am glad that Camelot has sensed the mood of the country and decided to remove GTech as a shareholder and board member. The new commission will have in its armoury the power already contained in the Bill to fine licence holders. That fills a gap that was highlighted by the Public Accounts Committee, and any fines levied will go to the good causes, not the Treasury.
§ Mr. Damian Green (Ashford)
The Secretary of State said that he expects £10 billion to be raised over the course of Camelot's licence. Given what he said about GTech, does he think that that £10 billion will still be raised if the acting director general decides that GTech is no longer fit to be a supplier of equipment to Camelot?
§ Mr. Smith
The acting director general is currently considering that matter, and we expect his judgment very shortly. Until then, it would not be sensible to consider such hypothetical matters.
Before Opposition Members do so, let me draw attention to something that is not in the Bill. Look as hard as one will, one will not find any mention of a not-for-profit operator; nor will one find any mention of a for-profit operator. We said in our manifesto that we would seek a not-for-profit operator for the next licence, and we remain committed to that objective.
There is no need to change the existing legislation to bring that about. We can achieve our aim entirely within the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. Let me stress that, in seeking a not-for-profit operator and assessing any other proposals, the National Lottery Commission will have one overriding aim: to ensure that the lottery delivers the best possible return for the good causes. I remain committed to our manifesto pledge, and that will be clear when we advertise the next operator's licence.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
I welcome the proposal for a commission of several people to regulate the lottery, but is the Secretary of State willing to consider separating the 165 function of selection of the operator from the function of regulation? In a written answer, he said that he was aware of the risk of regulatory capture, and it is desirable that the regulator should be seen to be at arm's length.
§ Mr. Smith
The right hon. Gentleman is right to raise that point, and we considered carefully whether we should have one body, person or system for selecting the operator and another for monitoring the continuing operation of the lottery, but there are two problems with such a solution.
First, during the lifetime of a licence there will be other licences, particularly section 6 licences, to be determined, and the question would arise whether the original body or the continuing body should make those decisions.
Secondly, the information that a regulator gathers during the decision-making process on the selection of the operator is invaluable in protecting the interests of the public and informing the regulatory process through the course of the licence.
Because we were concerned about regulatory capture, we decided to adopt the proposal of a commission rather than a single regulator. It is much more difficult to secure such capture when one has a commission rather than a single person to deal with. Though the right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) has a valid point, we have considered carefully the arguments for and against proceeding down that road. We think that our solution is the best in the circumstances.
§ Mr. Smith
I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman.
The Bill establishes a sixth good cause and a new lottery distributor, the New Opportunities Fund. The new good cause will direct lottery money into projects related to health, education and, in due course, the environment. The first three initiatives supported by the new good cause were announced before the general election and massively endorsed by those responding to our White Paper last July. Only yesterday, I was at a meeting of voluntary organisations in Telford and received overwhelming support for our precise proposals.
§ Mr. Hawkins
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way a second time. Before he moves too far from the issue of a not-for-profit operation, will he acknowledge that, when the lottery operating bids were considered, it was clear that the not-for-profit bid would not have raised as much money for good causes as the bid that was selected? Is not the most important thing how much money goes to good causes, and not his party's dogmatic opposition to the concept of profit?
§ Mr. Smith
Just two minutes ago—I can quote it exactly—I said:Let me stress that, in seeking a not-for-profit operator and assessing any other proposals, the National Lottery Commission will have one overriding aim: to ensure that the lottery delivers the best possible return for the good causes.I cannot answer for the hon. Gentleman's hearing, but his intelligence seems to be lacking.
We have already made much progress in setting out the detail of the initiatives under the New Opportunities Fund that we want to undertake: £300 million will be available between now and 2001 to train teachers and librarians in the new information and communications technology so vital to our children's futures in the next millennium; £50 million of that will help to digitise learning materials for use in schools and libraries, to be available free through the national grid for learning and the public libraries network. There will be £400 million over the next five years for out-of-school activities, including child care. That will ensure new and exciting out-of-school opportunities in at least half our secondary schools and a quarter of primary schools. They might provide maths, language or homework clubs, or the chance to take up new sports, get involved with local drama groups or learn about the local environment.
There will be £300 million to establish a network of healthy living centres to provide practical help and advice on health, diet and fitness, on the high street or the local estate, accessible to at least 20 per cent. of the population. Only a few weeks ago, I visited a healthy living centre in Meadow Well on North Tyneside which is already helping to transform the confidence of which hard-pressed community, and the health and life expectations of many of its people. These initiatives command widespread public support, and will do much to help the lives of real people.
That is an ambitious programme for the New Opportunities Fund. To help it get off to a flying start we have established a shadow fund. The interim chief executive took up his post last week, and other key staff have been identified. We have also advertised for the chair and members of the fund. The response has been overwhelming: more than 300 expressions of interest, the vast majority from well-qualified, experienced people eager to be part of this new and exciting enterprise. One or two of the expressions of interest have come from former Tory Members of Parliament—so perhaps the well-qualified epithet needs to be revised in a few cases.
Unfortunately, I fear that the surviving Conservative Members have signally failed to share in the popular enthusiasm for the new good cause. They take every opportunity to tell the world that they do not like it. I am sure that we will hear the same old arguments from the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude). He will say that we have ditched the additionality principle—indeed, we have already heard that—implying, strangely, that anything proposed in health or education must be funded by the taxpayer, while arts, sport, charities and the heritage have never ever been Government responsibilities. What nonsense.
The principle is clear. Lottery money must not replace Exchequer spending—it must add new value. We stand firm by that principle. Let us consider what the Conservatives would have done had they, by any remote 167 chance, been re-elected on 1 May last year. On BBC's "Sport on Four" on 7 March this year, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon said:Had we won the last election, one of the things I wished to do, once the Lottery was established, was to see whether the resourcing was there to actually put sports teachers back into schools.Never mind the split infinitive; the Tories clearly were planning to use the lottery to pay for teachers' salaries—and they have the gall to criticise us for breaching the additionality principle.
I also anticipate that the right hon. Member for Horsham will continue his party's pointless nitpicking about the shadow accounts that we and lottery distributors have set up, in line with the changed percentages proposed by the Bill. These arrangements are simple to understand, and just plain common sense.
§ Mr. Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire)
Does the Secretary of State understand that the additionality principle becomes impossible to determine in circumstances where both the Exchequer and the lottery are funding an activity? The Secretary of State talks about information technology training for existing teachers, but he must be aware that about £300 million is spent on training for existing teachers, 5 per cent. of which goes on information technology. How are the public to determine what is existing funding and what is additional lottery funding?
§ Mr. Smith
The hon. Gentleman clearly is unaware of the fact that the Arts Council receives £190 million from the Exchequer each year and, in addition, receives about £250 million each year from the lottery. Yes, of course, there are organisations that receive money from the Exchequer and some additional money from the lottery, and there is no difficulty in determining which money comes from which stream.
If the Bill is passed—as I hope and expect it will be—each of the good causes will be guaranteed at least £1.8 billion from the lottery over the lifetime of Camelot's licence; exactly what they originally expected. The extra £1 billion that we now forecast will be allocated to the new good cause and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. In the interests of good planning, the distributors therefore agreed to run shadow accounts which show what money will be available to them if the Bill is passed. If the Bill is not passed, the shadow accounts will be ripped up.
Money is flowing in accordance with the law as it stands, and will then flow in accordance with the changed legislation. There is no problem. However, for the Tories, there is a problem. They say that we are somehow acting unlawfully, and that the retrospective nature of the provision is entirely reprehensible. That is rich of Conservative Members. Several times in the past 18 years, the previous Government adopted an identical approach.
Perhaps the clearest example relates to the Stamp Duty (Temporary Provisions) Act 1992. The Minister proposing that Bill told the House:
It is not retrospective in a substantive sense in that it does not have an effect on matters which took place before the announcement was made; so everyone who has made a transaction since we made the announcement has done so in the full knowledge of what we propose and what the consequences of his actions will be."— [Official Report, 15 January 1992; Vol. 201, c. 1074.]168 The Minister who piloted that Bill through the House, and who said that to the House, was none other than the present right hon. Member for Horsham.
On 1 October 1997, I announced our intentions. Shadow accounts were put in place from 14 October 1997. All the key players were aware of what we were doing. Parliament was informed. The distributors agreed. Lottery players knew where there their money would be going.
§ Mr. Maude
I anticipated that the Secretary of State would raise that issue, and I can imagine the thrill of delight, in the team meeting that he must have held at the Department, on the discovery of that fascinating precedent, which he must have thought proved his case. Sadly, it does not, because it is an utterly different case.
On that occasion, I was talking about a retrospective measure which decided not to take from people tax that would otherwise have been taken. The Inland Revenue has always had a power, by way of extra-statutory concession, to do that. There is nothing revolutionary about that, and what I said at the time was correct.
However, it is unprecedented for the Secretary of State to take a decision without parliamentary sanction—without legal backing—to take money from existing good causes to give to a good cause that has not even been set up. It is not even a question of waiting for the ink to dry; the thing was not even written.
§ Mr. Smith
I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman is wrong—and he has not been listening. We are putting in place a shadow accounting procedure, which will be activated only with the authority of Parliament—if the Bill is passed and receives Royal Assent. No money will be spent, and, if the Bill is not passed, nothing will change.
§ Mr. Maude
The Secretary of State is being slightly disingenuous; he is saying that this is a paper transaction. We are discussing real money, which would otherwise be available to the existing distributors to distribute, and which, because of his executive action without legal backing, will not now be available to them. There is nothing shadowy or technical about this; this is real money.
§ Mr. Smith
This will be real money when the Bill becomes law. At present, it is simply an accounting procedure in preparation for the event of the Bill's becoming law. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman—who, supposedly, has a financial background— cannot understand the simple process that is in operation.
169 I shall now say what we are doing to improve the way in which lottery money is used to benefit good causes at the moment. The third section of the Bill—clauses 8 to 12—requires all lottery distributors to produce strategic plans showing how they intend to address the needs of their sectors. It also gives them new powers to solicit applications; to delegate decision making; to support projects in more flexible ways, such as by providing vouchers instead of grants; and to work together on joint schemes.
§ Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)
Those clauses are very important. Is the Secretary of State aware that, in constituencies such as mine, we have not had enough resources to make bids in the first place, and that we want help to ensure that lottery money is directed to where it is most needed?
§ Mr. Smith
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Our proposals are designed to ensure that lottery money not only gets distributed more fairly around the country but goes to meet real needs on the ground.
Taken together, our proposals mean that we are asking and helping distributors to be more strategic and proactive in their use of lottery money. We are streamlining the applications system and helping to cut through the bureaucracy to make it easy for small community groups to find out about the lottery and receive grants.
§ Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhondda)
This is an extremely important point. Although the lottery officials in my constituency are extremely helpful in providing advice, at the end of the day, the organisations must find substantial sums of money to work up their individual schemes. Sometimes, the technical demands are such that organisations must raise the money before they are included in the selection process. As I understand it, those moneys are attached to the grant that is finally awarded, but, as my right hon. Friend said earlier, many small organisations cannot afford that seedcorn. The Rhondda and other valleys in south Wales receive little lottery money because of that problem.
§ Mr. Smith
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The changes that we propose in the Bill will tackle those problems precisely. It is extremely interesting that, while Opposition Members are concerned—and wrongly concerned—simply about the theology of the principle of additionality, Labour Members are worried about real people in real communities up and down the country.
§ Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)
When my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) and I took the original legislation through the House, we acted on the best evidence provided by our officials. Our decisions were based not on some dogmatic dislike of what the Secretary of State is now proposing, but on strong evidence from lotteries around the world as collated by our officials. That led us to conclude that breaching the principle of additionality would reduce the revenue from and attractiveness of the lottery. That was our principle and that is why we always entrenched additionality. What has changed?
§ Mr. Smith
For a start, we are not breaching the principle of additionality. I am sure that the hon. 170 Gentleman and his right hon. Friends brought forward the original legislation acting on the best advice available and on the best assumptions made at the time. However, I am afraid that they did not get it completely right. We are trying to correct some of the problems that have arisen since then.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
It must not become part of House of Commons folklore that, somehow or other, the Tory Government ensured that everyone got a fair crack of the whip on a regional basis. The truth is that my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Barnes) checked the figures in the Library not long before the general election when the Tories were running the show. He found that the three constituencies of North-East Derbyshire, Bolsover and Chesterfield—which were represented by three left-wing Members of Parliament—were in the bottom l0 per cent. of recipients of grants handed out in Britain. On the other hand, Westminster received grants left, right and centre. The Tory party handed over the money—£12 million—for the Churchill papers. I am looking to my right hon. Friend to change that bias and award some grants to constituencies represented by my hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Smith
No, I must make progress.
We want to ensure that decision making on lottery funds is pushed down nearer to the grassroots. All that has been welcomed by the distributors, but another element, which is not in the Bill, is equally important if we are to ensure that people have confidence that lottery money is going where it counts.
Under the 1993 Act, I can direct distributors on various matters that they must take into account in distributing lottery money. The policy directions that were introduced by the previous Government set a framework that is no longer appropriate. They restrict much of lottery funding to capital projects; they fail to tackle the social and geographical inequities in the system of distribution, which are apparent to us all; and they place too great an emphasis on the need for partnership funding.
I am, therefore, pleased to announce that I have written today to the Arts and Sports Councils, the National Lottery Charities Board and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to open formal consultation on a new package of policy directions that will reflect new priorities. I am publishing those letters and the draft directions today—copies will be available in the Libraries of both Houses. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland will be writing in parallel to their arts and sports distributors with draft directions.
The new directions establish a completely different framework for lottery funding. They shift the focus from the capital revenue debate and concentrate instead on ensuring that lottery money addresses the real needs of communities and that projects will make a real difference 171 over a specific period. They encourage the distributors to lend support to people and to activities, not only to bricks and mortar. They highlight the importance of promoting access to the arts, sport and heritage for people from all sections of society, wherever they live. They acknowledge, in particular, the need to focus on children and young people. They are intended to ensure a fairer geographical spread across the country.
The directions remove the requirement for significant levels of partnership funding in every case, emphasising instead the importance of assessing each application on its merits and on the scope for in-kind contributions—for example, by involving volunteers. The directions will, for the first time, require distributors to consider how their strategies will contribute to sustainable development, and encourage them to look at what contribution they can make, through the good causes, to reducing economic and social deprivation. I am confident that the distributors will respond positively to those opportunities.
The new framework, which I hope will be in place before the end of May, will open up the lottery for the benefit of everyone. That will mean more projects focusing on people, rather than on buildings, such as the Sports Council's support for amateur coaches or the Heritage Lottery Fund's £7 million for museums access, which is complemented by the Government-funded £2 million challenge fund to secure free admission to our great non-charging national collections.
Part II of the Bill creates NESTA—the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. The creativity of the British people is second to none, but we do not encourage, develop or exploit it as well as we should. Too often, the talented are unable to win through, or have to go abroad to do so. NESTA will help to put that right. Following debate on the Bill in another place, we have tightened up NESTA's remit. Its aims are simple: to support and promote talent, innovation and creativity in science, technology and the arts.
To do that, NESTA will be able to help talented individuals or groups of individuals to realise their potential and to turn good ideas into good businesses. It will also help to make everyone aware of the essential roles that science, technology and the arts play in our lives, and it will, I hope, help to break down those artificial barriers that have existed for too long between the arts and sciences. Those were false barriers in C.P. Snow's time, and in a multi-media world they are now even more irrelevant.
We are giving NESTA a kick start with an initial endowment of £200 million from the lottery, which will immediately place it among the top 10 grant-giving endowments in the UK. NESTA will also raise funds from elsewhere and share the profits earned by individuals and projects that it has supported. The Bill allows it various tax exemptions—hard won from the Treasury—in recognition of its unique funding structure and its similarity in purpose to a charity. As with the New Opportunities Fund, we have already advertised for a chairman and members, and received an overwhelming response. Although I have often said that NESTA is a project for the 21st century, its foundation is being firmly laid in the 20th.
Our vision for the lottery's future shows a clear difference in our politics from those of the Conservative party. It also shows how we are meeting change. 172 The Conservatives presided over a back-to-front lottery distribution process, which too often favoured big projects proposed by well-connected people with highly paid consultants. They did nothing to end the imbalance of lottery funding across the country. They were and are thoroughly hypocritical about additionality, especially given that most people in this country want their lottery money spent on projects related to health and education. Moreover, they are being insincere about their support for arts, sport and heritage, given that the Tories cut arts spending by £14 million in real terms over the past three years.
By allocating an additional £5 million to the performing arts two weeks ago, I have been proud to be able to increase the arts budget for the first time in years. Today, I set out our programme for reforming the lottery to ensure that it benefits every community in the UK. Our framework will inspire confidence in the way the lottery is run and regulated, and in how the money is used. I am sure that Opposition Members will do their best to rubbish the Bill, because it is full of good ideas they wish they had thought of, and because they cannot accept that there is any room for improvement in the flawed model that they launched in 1994. There is, and I have shown exactly how we intend to go about improving it.
Our proposals have already won wide support throughout the country. The Bill passed virtually unchanged through another place, and I hope that it can pass quickly onto the statute book so that we can get on with the job. I commend it to the House.
§ Mr. Francis Maude (Horsham)
May I join the Secretary of State in the generous tribute that he paid to my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major)? It is good to see my right hon. Friend here, together with my right hon. Friends the Members for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) and for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley). Against the background of much criticism, knocking and denigration, they did a huge amount to make the national lottery such an extraordinary success. It is ironic that their success enables this Government, with the Secretary of State as the hapless tool of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to treat the lottery as their re-election fund.
Contrary to what the Secretary of State says, no one claims that everything about the lottery as originally set up was perfect. It would be astonishing if it were. Obviously there is scope for change and improvement. It is hundreds of years since the last national lottery in this country, and it would be extraordinary if we had got everything right the first time.
Some of the changes in the Bill are welcome. We support some clarification of the regulator's powers, and we shall look carefully at the Secretary of State's plans for the new commission. There are clear arguments in the later part of the Bill for allowing the distributors to delegate grant making in some circumstances.
However, most of what the Bill proposes is wrong, because it attacks the very basis on which the lottery was founded and which made it so successful. It puts at risk the success of the most successful national lottery in the world, and we shall oppose it.
Please, let the Secretary of State spare us this insulting rubbish about it being the people's lottery supported by popular acclaim. Let us be quite clear: it is the 173 Government's lottery—by the Government, of the Government and for the Government. If his new commission is, as he so portentously claims, to be the people's watchdog, it is lamentable that he has now become the Chancellor's lapdog. It is the Chancellor's lottery.
I shall speak briefly about the part that the Secretary of State rightly prefigured—a matter of some interest, the dog that did not bark, the most startling omission. Labour's manifesto contained a commitment toseek a not-for-profit operator".In July 1996, Labour had said that the lottery
should be run efficiently but not for profit.There was no "seeking". It was a clear, hard-edged commitment. It was not at all equivocal. It was an uncharacteristically clear commitment, and, poor sap, the Secretary of State, thought so, because he doggedly went ahead and prepared the Bill on the basis that it was to enact such a provision. The real powers in the Government had not told him that they did not mean it. It was just for the birds. It was only a manifesto pledge. It was just a vehicle for
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it a parliamentary epithet that the House would regard as acceptable to describe an hon. Member as a poor sap?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)
It is not unparliamentary, but I suspect that it is not language that the House would expect.
§ Mr. Maude
If it is at all unparliamentary, I immediately withdraw it. It was not meant to be a phrase to denote insult; it was one of sympathy for the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State went ahead with the desire to enact the commitment, regarding it —as most people would have done—as clear. He had not been told that it was only a vehicle to extract every last ounce of cheap politics from the jibe about Camelot fat cat salaries. The Government did not mean for the commitment to be implemented. It was just their little joke.
The Secretary of State had to be put right by those worldly folk at Downing street, in a letter that appeared in The Sunday Telegraph last July. It was quite a polite letter, so it probably was not written by Alastair Campbell. It made it clear that the Downing street priority—I agree with them—was to maintain the proceeds for the good causes, and any nonsense about eradicating profit was to be very much second place to that. I think that the phrase was that the new system must retain "proper incentives" for the operator to be efficient and to raise much money for good causes. When pressed, it was quite clear that what they meant were financial incentives. So we have an interesting situation: profit is definitely out, but financial incentives are in.
The outcome of that interesting dance was a fudge so exquisite in its contradictions that it deserves to stand as a monument to new Labour's approach to government. The White Paper, when it eventually emerged, restated the manifesto pledge. It was perfectly clear, but in inverted 174 commas, as though it was not really to be taken too seriously—as though it were a slightly decomposing relic from the past.
The text was far different. In place of "not for profit"—the phrase that Labour had used previously—there was now a commitment to
removing unnecessary profit margins".We have waited with bated breath for the Secretary of State to disclose how he plans to accomplish this astonishing goal. We have waited and waited. There is nothing in the Bill, so we assumed that there would be Government amendments, but there have been none so far. Now he tells us that there is to be nothing. The Bill will remain silent on it.
So what is the answer? They have discovered something remarkable, that there is a way to remove unnecessary profit margins: invite potential operators to put in competing bids, and select the one that offers the best proposal for the good causes, with least profit to itself. It is called a tender process. It is a process which the Act already provides.
We now wait—without much hope—for the Secretary of State to say that he is sorry; that, on reflection, the current system is fine, and he was wrong to say that the Government had changed it. What happened to the humility that was to be the hallmark of new Labour in government? Or was that just for the birds, too?
§ Mr. Lansley
My right hon. Friend has referred to the existing system. The Public Accounts Committee examined the way in which the director general applied that system, and, in its report of July 1996, made clear the director general's view that applicants' intentions regarding the use of profit—and, indeed, whether a profit was made, and whether it was handed to charity—were not relevant considerations under the Act.
§ Mr. Maude
It appears that there is now no agreement. I do not know why Labour had to make such a fuss about the profit element before the election, given that it has now utterly resiled from its former position. What we want is a system and an operator that will maximise the proceeds for good causes: that is what the lottery is for, for heaven's sake, and that is what the Act provides for. It is not a particularly revolutionary process. It is in the Act already, and the Secretary of State should now apologise for having run that canard so vigorously for so long.
The Secretary of State spoke at length about additionality. I appreciate that additionality is not a subject of discussion in pubs and clubs up and down the land, but people know what is straightforward and what is not, and the introduction of the lottery was always going to be controversial. As well as concern about the endorsement of gambling, there was bound to be anxiety about how the proceeds would be used. It was possible, however, to win widespread support for the lottery, and essential to that support were its two founding principles.
No one was more enthusiastic about those principles than the Labour party in opposition. Labour Members supported the lottery; indeed, they pressed us further, tabling amendments to entrench the system and make it more difficult for Ministers to abuse lottery money.
The principles were clear. First, lottery proceeds should not be used to fund projects that were mainstream Government responsibilities: that is the additionality 175 principle. Secondly, the recipient projects should be chosen not by Ministers, but by distributing bodies operating independently of Ministers. That is the arm's-length principle. It is richly ironic that those twin principles, so passionately espoused by Labour in opposition, should now be so cynically betrayed by Labour in government.
No one contends that we could never contemplate the addition of further good causes to those already established; that would be absurd. But Labour warned us when in opposition that it was the ambition of every Finance Minister throughout the world to deploy lottery proceeds on mainstream Government policies.
What is so obnoxious about the Bill is the combination of theft and deceit. If the Government have got themselves into a tangle through policy commitments that they cannot fund in the usual way, let them be brave enough, and honest enough, to say so. Let them admit that they over-promised, and that they need to make up the shortfall from elsewhere.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
The right hon. Gentleman's remarks are rather ungracious. First, the only items that we propose to fund through the Bill are those that we committed ourselves to funding with lottery money at the time of the election. Secondly, we entirely agree with what the Conservative party spokesman in the House of Lords, Lady Trumpington, said in November 1996, when she spoke approvingly ofthe use of lottery funds to secure projects or programmes beyond the scope of foreseeable affordability but similar to those hitherto financed by public expenditure."—[Official Report, House of Lords, November 1996; Vol. 575, c. 567.]Does that not drive a coach and horses through the right hon. Gentleman's argument?
§ Mr. Maude
The Secretary of State is now employing a wriggling, slippery, lawyer's argument to extend the definition of additionality far enough to encompass everything that he wants to do. The Prime Minister's words in the White Paper are in inverted commas, so the Secretary of State may want to distance himself from them. He said:We don't believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities".That is perfectly clear—no ifs, no buts, no maybes and no provisos—but it is ignored in the Bill.
§ Mr. Maude
I should like to make progress.
Many of the headlines in the White Paper say one thing, but the fine print says another, which is the technique used by the dodgier timeshare salesman. How can anyone seriously argue that policy initiatives to be funded by the New Opportunities Fund are not Government responsibilities—in their own terms?
Far from arguing that plans for out-of-school-hours clubs are not a Government responsibility, Ministers are desperate to take the credit and to boast about them. The Chancellor, announcing the scheme in his pre-Budget statement, said:A national child care strategy is no longer the ambition of workless parents; it is now the policy of this country's Government".—[Official Report, 25 November 1997; Vol. 301, c. 777.]176 Why have the Government taken credit for the scheme if it is not their responsibility, and why are they paying for it with taxpayers' money?
Ministers have made it clear that the Government provide money through training and enterprise councils to fund their out-of-school child care initiative, and that the scheme announced by the Chancellor would be an extension of it—financed with lottery money. Why are the Government spending taxpayers' money if it is not their responsibility? By the Prime Minister's own criterion, lottery money should not be used if it is a Government responsibility.
§ Mr. Hawkins
Does my right hon. Friend agree that Labour Members said one thing in opposition and are doing another in government, a practice with which we have become all too familiar? Will he confirm that out-of-hours school clubs are not new? The Secretary of State repeatedly says that they are, and did so again on the "Today" programme this morning, but is he not ignoring the previous Conservative Government's support for the Kids Club Network and after-school clubs, with which I am familiar because I visited some with Conservative Ministers?
§ Mrs. Mahon
Has the right hon. Gentleman, like me, had playing fields and libraries in his constituency closed down wholesale because local government funding has been cut? How many homework clubs and healthy living centres were funded by the previous Government, and where are they?
§ Mr. Maude
The hon. Lady makes my point exactly—in her eyes, those are Government responsibilities. To say that they are extras that are nothing to do with the Government and should be paid for by the lottery is rubbish. I know of playing fields that have been closed down; sadly, too many Labour councils were not interested in sport in schools, and sold them off.
§ Mrs. Mahon
Does that not show that the right hon. Gentleman is not committed to after-hours activities for children?
§ Mr. Maude
I do not know how the hon. Lady draws that conclusion. My point is about who is responsible; if she does not detect the deep inconsistency and danger in the proposals for those who look to the lottery to fund additional activities, she should look more carefully at the fine print of White Papers and Government announcements.
Information technology training for teachers and for librarians is another so-called extra that is to be funded by the New Opportunities Fund. My hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) made the point that it is already funded by the taxpayer, but the Secretary of State tried to wriggle out of that when he wrote to me last year. He said:The Lottery-funded training will not support the basics of operating the technology, but will focus on helping teachers to use the technology in the classroom".177 That is not true. Only a month later, the Minister for School Standards admitted that the Government spend £50 million on exactly that.
On Second Reading in the other place, the deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords announced that the scope of the initiatives would be expanded to pay for digitisation of educational and learning materials for schools and libraries. It is to be used not only for paying for training teachers and librarians, but for the materials they use in classrooms and libraries. Exactly as we predicted, every step taken by the Government takes lottery money further into their own responsibilities.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he assumes that the Government have no responsibility for arts funding, sports funding and heritage funding?
§ Mr. Maude
I simply go by what the Prime Minister said—he, I assume, sets out policy for the Government. I assume that what the Prime Minister said is the basis on which the Government are operating. He said:We don't believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities.That is not my definition, although it is not a bad one to be going on with. I am surprised that the Secretary of State does not feel able to support the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Tom Levitt (High Peak)
Cannot the shadow Minister distinguish between a relatively small annual figure that is required for training new teachers in new technology and the relatively large one-off sum that is required to deal with a huge backlog in new technologies training and to get teachers up to speed for the new educational circumstances in which they will work?
§ Mr. Maude
The hon. Gentleman seems to be saying, "Forget the principle; let's argue about the price." I should be interested in his view. Does he think that either amount—the large amount or the small amount—is a Government responsibility? If he accepts that either of them is, according to the Prime Minister's own words, lottery funding is not appropriate.
§ Mr. Maude
The right hon. Gentleman may think that it is game, set and match, but he has not even picked up the racket. I remind him that he is the Secretary of State, and that Labour Members form the Government—they are setting policy, and must answer the questions. The Prime Minister has made a broad and clear statement of policy. Are those activities to be funded by the New Opportunities Fund? Are they Government responsibilities or not?
178 The White Paper makes it clear that healthy living centres are to be part of the Government's health care provision. It states:
healthy living centres will play an important role in the Government's public health strategy".It is funny that they should be paid for from the lottery if they are not a Government responsibility.
It is insulting for Ministers to continue to go through the absurd charade of pretending that the basic principles of the lottery are being maintained. Put simply, no one believes it, because it is demonstrably untrue.
§ Mr. Maude
I should like to give way, but many hon. Members wish to speak.
Peter Riddell, never new Labour's strongest critic, is not the only one to spot what is going on. In The Times yesterday, he wrote:
But a Treasury raid it still is, to evade tight limits on public spending and to find new sources of revenue without having to raise taxes.That puts it pretty clearly. In reality, Ministers are condemned time after time out of their own mouths—we know what is going on, they know what is going on, and the Secretary of State knows what is going on.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Caplin), who was present earlier, is not here. He knows what is going on, and spilled the beans the other day—he must have left his pager at home. Commenting on additionality, he said:
I think what we said in opposition was clear".It was—uncharacteristically so. He continued:
it was right at the time that the National Lottery was introduced, but what we have now is a situation where the budget, the public spending level is set, and we have said that we are going to stick to that level for two years.Not much gloss is needed on that.
It is all different now. What they now say—the hon.
Gentleman made it unusally clear—is: "It was all right to make these noises about additionality when we were in opposition, and we hadn't yet thought of passing ourselves off as fiscally responsible.
But we have now, so we'll go back on everything we said then, and use the Lottery for public spending.The hon. Gentleman served the cause of truth and honesty well. It may turn out to be the last thing he is allowed to say, but it was a good way to go.
The Government are determined to have it both ways, but they cannot square the circle. Old Labour wants higher public spending; new Labour wants to steal the money from the lottery.
I appreciate that some people may ask whether this silly technical argument really matters.
§ Mr. Maude
The Minister for Sport is beginning to get interested. 179 The fact that the Government are so concerned to argue this case and to stretch it to its limit shows that they think it matters. It also matters because the existing good causes will be short-changed as a result of the Government's lightning raid on the lottery. In Labour's original plans, the New Opportunities Fund was to succeed the millennium fund, but that was not soon enough for them. Now they cannot even wait for the Bill to receive Royal Assent. The money is being grabbed already, and as the Secretary of State, in a pre-emptive but ineffective strike, has sought to establish, the Government have introduced a provision retrospectively to legitimise this unlawful act.
The result of this precipitate greed is that £1 billion will not now be shared among the five good causes. We are familiar with the arguments: this £1 billion sprang from nowhere and is a bonus, so they will not miss it, as they were not expecting it.
Yes, they will miss it. For some time now, £10 billion has been the expected total from the lottery. Up and down the country, charities, sports clubs, heritage sites and arts projects have been expecting this larger pot to be shared among them, as was promised. That is what the recipients and the distributors expected.
Indeed, that is what many Labour councils expected. The Labour leader of Amber Valley borough council said in a letter a few days ago:
News that the Sports Lottery planned to introduce a fund for the refurbishment of existing leisure centres… had been widely welcomed in the Borough. However, the scheme has not been introduced reportedly because of the need to divert resources to the New Opportunities Fund.That is a dissatisfied customer, I am afraid.
This money is being very directly taken from these recipients, without recompense and even without an apology. It is such obvious humbug. The lottery is now expected to raise not £1 billion but £3 billion more than originally estimated. Why does the Secretary of State not take all £3 billion, because exactly the same arguments apply? It is just a windfall tax on the good causes. He knows that there is no logical reason not to take all £3 billion: it is simply that the Government thought, in their cynical way, that £1 billion was the most that they could get away with for the time being. So much for high principle and integrity.
What happens if the revenue estimates are wrong? Experience elsewhere shows that lottery revenues may plummet after a time. As the economy turns down, lottery proceeds may also turn down. Will the Secretary of State guarantee that existing good causes will receive the absolute sum to which he has referred, with the New Opportunities Fund bearing the shortfall? Or will he, when it suits him, discover that percentages matter after all? Is it a windfall tax, or is it just a tax? What if the proceeds exceed £10 billion? Who will receive the money? There are no prizes for guessing that. The good causes will not get it, not even a share of it.
Previously, these questions would not have mattered so much. The original share-out was among five good causes, which, with the temporary exception of the millennium fund, were outside ministerial control. The principle that distributors should be independent of Ministers is important. That is not always convenient for Ministers, as my right hon. and hon. Friends know well. That independence meant that Ministers did not have an interest in changing the system year by year.
180 That has all changed now, because the provisions of the Bill increase ministerial control. The Bill is shot through with specific measures, which look innocent in isolation, but put together create a thread of control running from the Secretary of State's office to the ultimate recipients.
Let us consider the New Opportunities Fund. Clause 6 states that it may make grants to projectswhich are designed to give effect to such initiatives concerned or connected with health, education or the environment as may from time to time be specified in an order made by the Secretary of State.That does not sound terribly independent to me.
The fund will clearly have an incredibly wide discretion to support any project, with just one proviso: it must be approved by the Secretary of State, blessed by a Cabinet Committee, endorsed by Labour's publicity machine, and milked by Labour's spin doctors for every ounce of political advantage. Why bother to go to the trouble and expense of establishing this body? Would it not be quicker, simpler and more honest to say that this money is in Minister's back pockets, and that they will hand it out wherever they think they will get the best political payback?
The hon. Members for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Barnes) and for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) misunderstand their position. If my hon. Friends had had the power to make these dispositions, they would have given them lots of support, because we think that they are great national treasures. The threat to them comes from the Labour Government.
The Secretary of State is giving himself a straightforward piece of ministerial patronage.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
The right hon. Gentleman's argument becomes more absurd by the minute. The broad objectives of the New Opportunities Fund will be set first in this legislation, and secondly by subsequent orders debated, analysed, scrutinised and passed by Parliament. Individual decisions that are made within those broad parameters will be entirely up to the members of the New Opportunities Fund board, without any interference from Ministers.
§ Mr. Maude
We have been given an absolute commitment that every order will be fully debated, either 181 in Committee or on the Floor of the House. That is encouraging. I see that the Opposition Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for West Derbyshire (Mr. McLoughlin), is making a careful note of that. We shall look forward to debating the orders at considerable length.
The next clause that raises concern is clause 11. It is a nice clause: it is about strategic plans for distributors. When the Government spokesman on culture, media and sport in the House of Lords introduced the Bill on Second Reading, he was kindly patronising about this provision. He said:
This has been sadly lacking in the past and I know that the distributors welcome the new approach. But I should stress that these plans will belong to the distributors."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1997; Vol. 584, c.735.]Many distributors want to have strategic plans, but what prevents them from having such plans at the moment? Nothing. There is only one possible explanation for this provision: it is to enable the Government to exercise more direct control over what the distributors do. It is the direct arrogation of power to ministerial offices that makes us concerned about clause 8. Under clause 11, what do the distributors have to do with the strategic plans? They have to prepare a draft and send a copy to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)
Order. Hon. Members are responsible for the documents they use, and from which they quote.
§ Mr. Maude
I think that the provision is the same: it is in the same form. The Minister cannot have read it, or he would not speak so glibly about the independence of the distributors.
Subsection (5) states that the distributors must
"(b) prepare a draft of the proposed plan,
(c) send a copy of the draft to the Secretary of State, and
(d) after consultation with the Secretary of State, make such modifications to the draft as it considers necessary or expedient."
That does sound independent, does it not? Let us not hear too much about independence after that.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for allowing me to intervene again. He is getting the Bill wrong from start to finish. The strategic plan will be drawn up by the distributing body, not by the Secretary of State. If he cannot see the word "it" in the relevant subsection, I am afraid that his eyesight must be rather poor.
§ Mr. Maude
I think that the Minister objects to the fact that I have read the Bill and the fine print. We are not satisfied with just reading the headlines that his spin doctors create in the newspapers.
182 We want to be sure about the Bill, which states that the distributors have to prepare a draft, give it to the Secretary of State, talk to him about it, and amend it. If he does not appreciate that the only reason for that provision is to exert greater control over the distributors, he has not read it properly. If the provision were entirely innocent, and only about being strategic, everyone would support it. Why cannot the Government recognise that? Of course they could: it is just a fiction.
The direct arrogation of power to ministerial offices makes us concerned about the clause that gives distributors the power to solicit applications. I know that the distributors want that, and, on the face of it, it is innocuous. However, when combined with all the apparatus of massively increased ministerial control of the distributors, the clause is the final link in the chain of control between Ministers and recipients. If it is abused, it will effectively enable Ministers to decide who gets what, when and where. It amounts to a nationalisation of lottery proceeds.
If the direction of the Government's intentions needed any clarification, the way in which the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is to be set up provides it. The advance billing was that NESTA would be, in the words of the White Paper
a National Trust for talent and creativity".That is set out in a nice big headline—the Government are good at headlines— but the fine print makes it look rather different. We thought that it would, like the National Trust itself, be independent. After all, why endow it with scarce capital unless it is genuinely independent?
As a trust, NESTA could be accountable to trustees in the same way as other independent truts, but, as before, the fine print belies the headline. It will not be independent at all: it will be a quango. Its board will be appointed by the Secretary of State and his cronies, and its staff will be civil servants on the public payroll. It will have no freedom over how it invests its endowment.
§ Mr. Maude
No, it is rather different. Those bodies do not operate endowments.
NESTA is meant to be independent, but it will have to invest its money with the National Debt Commissioners. That money will never leave the Treasury. Clause 19(2) states that investment will be by the National Debt Commissioners
in accordance with any instructions given to them by NESTA.However, before NESTA's fledgling hopes rise too high, it should be noted that subsection (3) states:
NESTA shall comply with any directions under section 20 below.Guess who is to give those directions Yes, it is the Secretary of State. Subsection (1)(a) states that he can require NESTA to comply with directions
in connection with the management, control or investment of their endowment or any other money held by them;".As a former Treasury Minister, I could not have put it better myself. The clause contains a list of devices to make NESTA yet another outpost of the ministerial empire. 183 No one can seriously contest the statement that those changes would hugely increase the powers that would be at the disposal of Ministers. Of itself, that would not be disastrous, except that all the evidence shows that, even without the Bill, Ministers have already been intervening, and have shown their contempt for the arm's-length principle. I shall give two examples of that, the first of which relates to the access fund for museums.
Everyone knows what a terrible mess the Secretary of State got himself into over museum charges. Labour told everyone before the general election that a Labour Government would end museum entrance charges. After the election, the Secretary of State asked the Chancellor for money to carry out that pledge, and the Chancellor, with his well-known sensitivity to the Secretary of State's predicament, told him to get stuffed. A public bidding war ensued. I do not know what the No.10 press spokesman thought about that, but I should not think that it was very polite.
There were carefully placed stories of funds for this and funds for that—£40 million here and £80 million there. There were so many funds that the Secretary of State's head must have been swimming. What did all that amount to? There was to be a fund: it was announced by the Chancellor in his Budget. It was nice of him to share the credit, but, on examination, it was apparent that it was not even his money. The amount was £9 million, of which £7 million was from the lottery.
In these cynical days, it warms one's heart to think of the spontaneous telepathy that prompted the Heritage Lottery Fund managers to conclude that a museum access fund, amid all the competing claims for their scarce funds, was after all what they particularly wanted to support. It was lovely that they felt—again quite spontaneously—that they would much prefer the Chancellor to announce it. That way it would seem to be a Government policy, and they really wanted to help the Government out of the embarrassing fix into which they had got themselves. It was all terribly convenient, and, of course, completely spontaneous and independent. It is nice when fairy tales come true.
There was an even more remarkable coincidence. The Arts Council, the Sports Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Lottery Charities Board all decided on the same day that they each wanted to chip in £25 million to help with the millennium celebrations. There was not quite as much in the millennium fund as the Government had hoped. First, it has been raided for the Government's re-election fund, and secondly, it seems that events at Greenwich are turning out to be more expensive than envisaged. Therefore, the millennium celebration, for which the millennium fund was set up, would need a bit of help from its friends.
It was not the Secretary of State's reputation but that of the Minister without Portfolio which was under threat, and that Minister has real clout. How delightful, and what a huge relief for the Minister, when the four distributors had a good look through all their pockets and found that they could each rustle up £25 million after all. Hey presto! There was £100 million to rescue the reputation of the Minister without Portfolio. It is the splendid independence and spontaneity of it all that makes one feel so glad.
If that is what Labour can contrive with a statutory framework that is designed to minimise ministerial power, there are no prizes for guessing what the Government will 184 do if the law is changed to maximise that power. That is why we oppose the Bill. It is unprincipled and cynical. It gives unprecedented power to Ministers who have shown by their every move that they are unfit to be entrusted with it. They are treating the lottery in the way that Robert Maxwell treated pension funds.
Does not the Secretary of State realise how humiliated he has been? He is meant to be the champion of sport, charities, the arts and heritage, but he is taking money from those causes so that the Chancellor can dispense it to other more favoured colleagues. I am afraid that the Bill proves the Secretary of State's reputation beyond question. He is now the Chancellor's patsy.
§ 5.9 pm
§ Mr. Tom Pendry (Stalybridge and Hyde)
I am delighted to be called to take part in this important debate on what I consider to be one of the most important Bills that the Government have introduced in this packed Session of Parliament.
I recall vividly during the passage of what was then the National Lottery etc. Bill some three years ago, when I led for the Opposition, pledging on behalf of my party full support for a national lottery, but expressing many doubts about the way in which the legislation had been drafted. Many people within the parliamentary Labour party also had reservations about that Bill. Nevertheless, we set about finding ways to improve it, and we were successful in obtaining several amendments.
For example, we managed to give some kind of level playing field to the pools companies. I say "some kind" of level playing field because it certainly has not been a true level playing field to date, and the pools companies have been hit enormously hard by the national lottery. However, we did obtain for them the ability to roll over prize money, the legalisation of the sale of coupons in shops, and permission to be allowed to sponsor television and radio programmes. Nevertheless, the pools have been significantly affected by the lottery. For example, in 1994, the pools companies paid £350 million in betting duty, but the figure has shrunk to £131 million today.
We also sought and achieved concessions to enable small charities and the lottery to compete, by raising the limit on the size of small lotteries to £1 million, and to prevent the national lottery from selling door to door in order to protect public collections. We also sought certain social safeguards. Whereas we wanted the sale of lottery tickets to be restricted to 18-year-olds and above, in line with the restriction for the pools companies, the then Government brought down the age to 16 in both cases—that was some kind of level playing field, but not the kind that we sought. I could go on about the improvements that we made to the National Lottery etc. Bill, but we did not stop there.
In 1995, my right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), the then shadow Secretary of State for National Heritage, set up an advisory committee on which I served along with representatives of business, local government, Churches and charities. Its remit was to examine the lottery and suggest ways to improve the running of it. We consulted, we shared ideas, and we listened; we then published the best ideas in a paper entitled "The National Lottery Initiatives and Recommendations".
I remind the House of some of the recommendations. They included the creation of new beneficiaries from lottery money, more flexible distribution, the development 185 of a strategic approach to distributors, fast tracking for small grants, giving access to children's play, and introducing a national endowment scheme, all of which have been included in this Bill, which tells me that the Government are listening to those who are making constructive suggestions.
At the same time, however, I want to put on record a few issues that I trust the Government, in the spirit of openness that they have shown so far, will deal with as the Bill progresses through the House. I have only 10 minutes in which to speak, so I shall confine my remarks to one issue alone—sport and the lottery.
My major concern is quite simply that the Bill represents a watering down of Labour's previous commitment to sport. Although sport has been one of the great beneficiaries, and sport's governing bodies have always placed on record their strong support for sport being one of the good causes, I trust that it will remain a permanent good cause after 2001. I am disappointed that the Government have not made such a firm commitment in the Bill.
All I ask is that we adhere to our promise in the manifesto, which I launched with numerous sports stars during the general election. It states:
Sport will continue to be a permanent good cause for the purpose of Lottery Funding".All I ask is that when he replies, the Minister for Sport spells that out once and for all.
I welcome the New Opportunities Fund, because it addresses the Government's and the people's priorities, but I hope that the Government will recognise that sport and recreation are very much a people's priority. It is estimated that each week more than 22 million adults and 7 million children participate in sporting activity—that is almost 60 per cent. of the total population. However, I heard what the Secretary of State said today, and I am sure that his words address that point. I want to see those figures increased.
One of my top priorities was to promote sporting opportunities for all areas. Access was the watchword. I am glad that the Government have got off to a pretty good start by accepting some proposals, such as that to protect some playing fields. However, there is more to be done in that connection—for example, I believe that the playing fields of colleges of further education should be included. However, I must chide the Government for removing sport from the list of compulsory subjects on the national curriculum without even consulting the interested sporting groups. That has to be rectified.
I hope that the New Opportunities Fund will not neglect the impact that sport can make on the twin priorities of health and education. Academic success is enhanced through physical education. A recent study concluded:
Students who are involved in sport tend to perform as well, or better, academically than less active students, even though academic curriculum time is reduced.I am especially concerned that no urban primary school has yet received sports lottery money. In total, just eight such schools have received that money, but all have been in leafy shire districts—none in deprived urban areas.
I should like to make another practical suggestion to improve sports funding. In our sports manifesto "Labour's Sporting Nation", we promised that the National 186 Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts would offer support for sportspeople. Page 10 of that document states:
The endowment will not focus solely on excellence, it will be inclusive in its approach, encouraging access and partnership across the whole range of earth sciences, humanities, sports and arts.I am highly disappointed therefore that that commitment to sport, which I personally wrote into that document, is being dropped by the Government. If they are intent on doing that, I have a suggestion as to how they can assist sport through NESTA in another way.
If the Government are determined to exclude the development of sporting talent from NESTA's remit because of the Sports Council's involvement with existing sports organisations, using lottery funding for such development, I suggest that the Secretary of State can nevertheless find a useful and worthwhile sporting role within NESTA's remit—it can ensure the development of sports science, which is crucial for the enhancement of world-class sport within the United Kingdom sports institute network. It could also play a key role in the development of sports information technology, providing coaching and advice on nutrition and medicine for our potential world-class performers and, indeed, for our schools.
I mentioned the impact of the lottery on the football pools, and at this point I should like to declare an interest. As the House may know, I have recently been appointed chairman of the Football Trust. In the run-up to the general election, the trust campaigned to secure national lottery distributor status. Having lost some 60 per cent. of its annual income as a result of the lottery, that represented the most straightforward way of ensuring that the trust could continue its essential work for football throughout the United Kingdom.
Labour's proposal for the development of sport in "Labour's Sporting Nation" included the following commitment:
We'll make the Football Trust the recipient of Lottery money so it may continue its essential work for football at all levels throughout the United Kingdom".Once in government, rather than extend distributor status, Labour decided that it would be appropriate for the trust to form partnerships with the Sports Councils in order to have access to lottery funding. I am pleased to be able to tell the House that in England the Sports Council and the football authorities have shown a great willingness to enter into partnership. As a result, the trust is able to continue to help the game at all levels in England.
We are also, we hope, in the last stages of putting together a successful partnership in Scotland, and I have opened discussions with the Sports Councils and the football authorities in Wales and Northern Ireland. It is essential that those also result in the formation of successful partnerships.
The trust's contribution to the game throughout the United Kingdom is vital. It has a huge part to play in maintaining football's place in the community. We are not only about bricks and mortar, but can handle grant-aid programmes of every sort, including revenue grants for community involvement and player development. If we are to continue our important work, the Sports Councils must play their part, which means that they in turn must continue to receive the resources to enable them to do so. The creation of the six good causes is to be welcomed, 187 but we must ensure that sport continues to benefit from lottery funding to the appropriate degree and that the Sports Councils channel football's fair share of it through the Football Trust.
I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not think that I have been anything other than constructive, because I welcome the Bill and certainly give it two cheers. I trust that the Government will listen to what I have said and, more particularly, to what sports bodies on the ground have said, and recognise the strength of their case. I hope to come back to the House in a few months' time and give the Bill three good cheers.
§ Mr. John Major (Huntingdon)
I think that it is common ground among hon. Members on both sides of the House that the lottery has been a stunning success over the past few years. The very fact that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is introducing a Bill that re-regulates the lottery in some fashion and that makes other changes shows the extent to which it has become a national institution in a short time.
Let me say at the outset: I am not opposed to any changes to the original Bill that was presented a few years ago. The situation is evolving. It was an evolutionary scheme. It was expected to evolve, and some of the Secretary of State's changes, subject to more careful examination, I have no qualms about at all. It is sensible for him to look at new regulatory provision in the light of experience, and I am delighted that he has introduced measures for us to examine.
The Secretary of State announced that consultation would take place on policy directives. We have not, of course, seen those directives yet, so I do not intend to give them blanket approval. If I heard him correctly, there is the prospect of moving rather more from capital funding to revenue funding, which was always envisaged at the outset and, again, is perfectly sensible. The only points at issue are the specific details of what is proposed and the timing. It is, I think, a natural evolution.
The Secretary of State will forgive me if, having said that, I make the point that to issue more directives of this sort flatly contradicts what the Government said in opposition, when they remarked repeatedly and powerfully that decisions of this sort should be left to the distributing bodies. That was their position in opposition. They wanted the then Government to be at arm's length from the money.
I had much sympathy with that view and did not dispute it when the Opposition made it a particular cause of theirs during the passage of the first Bill, but we now know that what they meant was that they wanted the Conservative Government to be at arm's length from the money, while the incoming Labour Government should get their sticky fingers on it, either by directives or directly, as speedily as they could. No wonder the Secretary of State had his tongue so far in his cheek during his speech. I was surprised from time to time that he did not choke.
I shall refer to some of the background, and then I have a couple of specific questions to ask, which are pertinent to lottery fund distributors and beneficiaries. When we decided to establish the lottery, there was much opposition to it. I should like to explain briefly why I thought that it was the right thing to do; this Bill illustrates why we thought that it was important, although we oppose some tiny elements of the Bill.
188 I believed, and still believe, that the arts, sport and the built heritage enhance the quality of life for everyone. They are part of a rounded life, yet the opportunity for everyone to enjoy them was clearly not there. Some people were more capable than others of viewing or taking part in sports and the arts.
I was concerned to ensure that a child who lived in a tower block had the same opportunity in arts and sport as the child who was the heir to rolling acres. It was part, if I may return to an old phrase, of what I thought of as a classless society. That intention was always implicit in our Bill.
We wanted to help small charities, particularly unfashionable small charities, which do tremendous work and have such dedicated supporters, but find it difficult to raise money. We also wanted to prepare for something that we shall never see again in our lifetime— the millennium—and ensure that it could be properly celebrated, as it should be. That is how the five good causes were born in the original Bill, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) piloted superbly through the House; my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) carried forward its ideas during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Why those causes? Why those of all the other good causes, some of which every hon. Member could name? It was largely because they were under-resourced and would always be under-resourced by any Government. For any Government—Conservative, Labour or mishmash — the competing demands of health, education, pensions and defence will always come first, because that is where the pressure and the need have always traditionally been. The purpose of the lottery was to raise funds without taxation for those essential components of our national life. British talent in the arts is immense. Much of it is tapped; much of it is still untapped. The lottery is helping to tap it, and the British affection for sport is not doubted by anyone in the House.
I believed that the lottery and the funding flow that would follow, were it to be successful —and it has been stunningly successful—would revolutionise both sport and the arts and preserve for future generations much of the built heritage that would otherwise disappear. That is what the lottery has achieved and will go on achieving if the flow of funds continues, as I expect that it will.
For those reasons, the lottery was underpinned by two objectives: first, that resources should be additional to existing public expenditure; and, secondly, that other areas of expenditure—very important, but legitimate taxpayer-borne expenditure—should be specifically excluded. Despite what the Secretary of State has said, in some aspects— not all, but in some aspects—of the New Opportunities Fund, he has strayed across the line into new areas of funding.
The argument about additionality is being conducted on the wrong basis. The point is: are the Government now using money for areas that are beyond the remit of the original five good causes? In one or two restricted areas, they are, and I shall try to set out later what those areas are.
This new money—this lottery money—was never expected to be just for professional arts or professional sport; indeed, the contrary is true. Some of it was, of course, but it was mainly for schools, clubs and local arts 189 groups. I am delighted that the vast majority of the awards have been made to local groups and have been for under £100,000, which is small in the context of Government expenditure, but massive in the context of what those small groups and clubs were doing to provide a cricket pitch, a swimming pool or a new arts club. Throughout the country, there was a revolution in facilities for people to enjoy, through either participation or watching.
Lottery money was intended as capital provision in the first instance, for sound reasons that the House well understands. The aim was to build the facilities, but the implication was always there, that we would move beyond capital funding to revenue funding in due course. I thoroughly agreed with that, in certain cases with individual sponsorship as well. I have no objection to that in certain cases.
No greater pleasure is given to people than when a great athlete or artist thrills the world with their particular abilities. I remember how the House practically came to a stop when Torvill and Dean mopped up, winning gold medals all over the place. I have no objection to individual sponsorship to produce more Torvills and more Deans and, if we could find a few fast bowlers as well, I should be even happier.
The lottery has been a huge success throughout the country. Look, for example, at the Derby dance centre, the Cambridge Arts theatre, which I know extremely well, or the arts for everyone express scheme. Look—this lies within the responsibility of the Minister for Sport—at the national stadium or the UK sports institute. It is unthinkable that they could have been established without the lottery over recent years.
Everyone in this debate wishes that to continue, but, for it to do so, two conditions are necessary: first, lottery funding should continue to be additional and, secondly, it should not be reduced and siphoned off to some other sector. The Secretary of State has re-endorsed the additionality principle. I shall not go through the debate between my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) and the Secretary of State and others. The Secretary of State has re-endorsed the additionality principle, and I welcome that. When he says it, I hope that the Treasury means it and will not come back to him later to change his mind directly, by pager or in any other fashion. I hope that he will stick to the additionality principle. If there are arguments to be had, they should be at the margins.
A small part—or perhaps not so small; we do not yet know—of the New Opportunities Fund will use lottery money for what I envisaged would always be tax-based expenditure. I have no problems with some elements of the New Opportunities Fund, but expenditure on children's play, coaching in literacy and numeracy and science and technology —all of which are worthy areas for expenditure—should properly be tax-borne.
The lottery is substituting for what we all, including the Secretary of State, know should be tax-borne expenditure. That is a source of grievance to us and to the distributing bodies. Although they have had their hands twisted up their back to agree with what they know that the Government, with their tame majority, will do, they feel strongly that the money has been taken from them for other purposes. Those areas of expenditure are not, not, 190 not in the original spirit of the lottery. They infringe the principles that Labour demanded of the previous Government when the original Bill went through the House. Demanding something in opposition and ignoring it in government is not the way to receive support and inspire confidence in those who are distributing lottery money.
The Government are raiding the lottery, raising the fear that they will do it again— and possibly again and again. The danger of that is self-evident. One virtue of the lottery was that people could see continued funding that would enable the distributing authorities to think big, to think long and to be ambitious in their spread of spending over several years. The Bill and the New Opportunities Fund—I ask the Secretary of State to reflect on this and not to react immediately—have created uncertainty where there was confidence. I hope that the distributors have said that privately to the Secretary of State. They are saying it privately to us. They are uncertain where once they were certain. It is in the Secretary of State's power to remove that uncertainty. I hope that he or the Minister for Sport, who will wind up the debate, will do so.
Many of the fears of the distributing bodies and much of the controversy of the Bill would be removed by assurances on two questions, which I shall spell out for the Secretary of State. As a result of the New Opportunities Fund, the share of lottery funds for the other good causes will fall from 20 per cent. to 16¾. per cent. The Government have always said that that does not matter because the good causes will still receive the £1.8 billion each that was originally envisaged. The Government claim that they are merely redistributing the funds raised by the extra success of the lottery. It has raised £10 billion instead of £9 billion and the Government claim to be taking only the extra £1 billion.
I shall not repeat the excellent arguments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham on that, but the Secretary of State must know that his argument is pure sophistry. It is spurious. When the 20 per cent. level was agreed, no one knew what the cash figure would be. The percentages were always at the heart of the proposals, because nobody knew what future revenue would be. Suppose that the economy begins to contract and the excellent growth rate that the Government were fortunate enough to inherit begins to slip away. That would have many effects on the economy, including a reduction in lottery resources, resulting in a smaller pot from which to distribute to the five good causes—now to be six. The reduced percentage would then really begin to bite and resentment would grow. The Secretary of State should reflect and instruct his colleague to remove that apprehension this evening.
I do not think that the new estimate of £10 billion will be an underestimate. If more than £10 billion is raised, where will the extra go? Will it go to the original good causes, to the New Opportunities Fund or to both? That is highly relevant to the fears of the arts and sports distributors. The Government know that it is more than likely that the £10 billion estimate will be exceeded. The Minister for Sport nodded when I said that, so the Government are clearly aware of the issue and have considered it. They must know what they plan to do with any excess. I waited for the Secretary of State to tell us, but he did not mention the subject. I hope that he will have decided before the end of the debate. Who gets any money over —10 billion and in what proportions?
191 My second question is equally straightforward. The distributing bodies need security to plan ahead. That is not a wicked point from the previous Government, but one of the points that were implicit in the White Paper, "A People's Lottery". I hope that the Secretary of State will forgive me if I digress for a moment, but I hope that the Government will grow out of their silly sloganising. We have long known that any country that is called a democratic republic is notably undemocratic. Anything called the people's something gives the people a good deal less say than they had before. We have a people's lottery, a people's money and cool Britannia.
I am sure that the Secretary of State is ambitious—although I am not sure whether it is to be Prime Minister or mayor of London. Does he think that Mr. Attlee would have used such sloganising? I hope that he will decide that it is undignified and will drop it. It is not doing the country or the Government any good. When I hear Ministers producing such claptrap, I blush for them. When the Secretary of State came to the part of his speech about the people's lottery, he buried his head in his script. I am short-sighted—an accusation that was also levelled at my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham—but I thought that even the Secretary of State's ears went pink.
Will the Government guarantee the percentage for the good causes beyond 2001—for 10 years or some other period? If not, why not? The White Paper said that the distributing bodies needed to be able to take a long-term view and that they needed certainty. There is only one reason why the Secretary of State is not prepared to give that guarantee—the Treasury will not let him. The Treasury must be keeping open the option of a further smash-and-grab raid on the existing good causes.
Given the Government's substantial majority, the Secretary of State will get the Bill through the House. However, a failure to answer my question will cause disruption and concern for those who make the lottery live by distributing the money to the good causes, severely damaging their confidence in their future and what they can do with the long, continuing flow of lottery resources.
I have asked the Secretary of State two clear questions. If he is not clear about them, I shall speak to him or his officials outside, so that he can be absolutely clear about what I seek. I am going to a significant arts event elsewhere this evening, but I shall miss most of it because I want to come back for the winding-up speeches to hear answers to my questions. I hope that the Government put at rest the minds of those who distribute money throughout the country. [Interruption.] I did not hear what the Minister for Sport just said.
§ Mr. Major
Where have I heard that before? "No new taxes—trust me," said the Minister for Sport's boss. The Government have broken promise after promise. We shall soon find out about the Minister for Sport. I know that he will be here at 9.30 this evening because Chelsea are not playing. I shall be here to hear him answer my two questions.
If the Minister is in answering mode, perhaps he can answer one or two other questions. Who will bear the cost of setting up the New Opportunities Fund? I hope that it will not be the other good causes, for that would rub salt into an already open wound. Will the Minister answer that 192 at 9.30? Will he also confirm whether there will be further endowments to NESTA at the expense of the other good causes? He must know the answer to that. He cannot ignore the question: either he answers it, or everybody will make the only assumption that they can, that the Government will take more money away. I hope that, in the interests of arts, sports and other fund distributors, the Minister will give us unequivocal answers this evening.
I shall reiterate one point. I am not, in Luddite fashion, opposing any changes, because I was particularly in favour of the National Lottery etc. Bill, which was introduced when I was Prime Minister. Times change; we learn from experience. There are changes are to be made, and I shall support them, but some of the Secretary of State's changes are wrong. I would have made other changes—he mentioned one of them. He was right; I would, for example, post millennium, have devoted the sums that are going to the millennium fund to the provision of sports coaching and arts teaching, across—as far as the money would stretch—our mainstream education system. I want us to win the World cup, the five nations trophy, the test matches, the Davis cup. Rooting a love of sport and the arts in schools would have been the right thing to do. Even though the Secretary of State used that suggestion to make a false point, it is absolutely consistent with the sport and arts element of the existing good causes. I was proposing to use money after the millennium fund ended, in order to extend the principles. However, in advance of it ending, the Government have got their sticky fingers on the cash.
Despite the Government's astonishing honeymoon, we are coming to know them and how they manoeuvre whenever they are under any pressure at all. They are never too scrupulous in pursuit of their own interests. I hope that, this evening, they will redeem themselves just a little by giving clear-cut answers that show that they will not further pervert the original intention of the lottery, which has so far proceeded with outstanding success.
§ Mr. Ben Chapman (Wirral, South)
I very much welcome the Bill. It is important that people have confidence in the lottery, and that means proper regulation. I say with absolutely no embarrassment that for me, the lottery is the people's lottery, as it reflects the people's priorities as they have expressed them. I particularly welcome the New Opportunities Fund, which will put money into healthy living centres and out-of-hours primary and secondary school clubs. That is in line with our manifesto promises, for which people voted.
Part of the Bill provides for a more even distribution of lottery funding. It gives distributors new rights to assess local needs and to solicit applications from organisations where too little lottery money has been spent. I welcome clause 12, which provides for strategic plans, as the piecemeal approach adopted hitherto has not always resulted in the best or fairest use of lottery moneys.
If you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will forgive me, I shall use the example of my constituency to make points about distribution. It is necessary to highlight the way in which my constituency has—or, rather, has not—been the recipient of lottery funds. In the ranking of the number of awards to constituencies, it comes 628th, and 636th in terms of the value of the awards. In other words, 193 however one slices the cake, the situation is not good. My constituency has been inequitably treated. It is no wonder that the Tories lost the seat at the by-election in 1997.
There is an apparent general mismatch between the allocation of lottery funding and the areas in greatest need of assistance. Since the lottery began, my constituency has received just short of £400,000—none of which has come from the Millennium Commission, the national heritage memorial fund or the Sports Council. That compares with an average lottery money distribution per constituency of £7.5 million. My arithmetic is not very good, but I think that that is a ratio of 20:1—despite a desperate lack of, for example, sport and youth facilities across my constituency.
Recently, the West Wirral Trust for Sports submitted an application for a much-needed project, but with no success. The project would, I believe, have benefited not just my constituency, but those of my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) and my hon. Friends the Members for Wirral, West (Mr. Hesford) and for Wallasey (Angela Eagle). The trust was told that its application failed because it was not in a priority area. Apparently, the west of the Wirral is judged to be relatively well off. However, the constituency has major areas of need, not just financially, but functionally.
The problem with judging applications on a competitive and piecemeal basis is that, too often, those who are best at putting together applications, rather than those who have the greatest need, get the rewards. The situation compounds itself. Thus, for example, areas that have resources to put together expertise to bid successfully for city challenge funding use those resources to bid successfully for single regeneration budget money. With the skills base further enhanced, they can bid for European funds and then lottery moneys. Money, as they say, goes to money. With the need for matching funding and, often, a partnership approach, that is increasingly so. It results in funding not necessarily going to those who need it. That is why I welcome the Secretary of State's announcement today.
My constituency fundamentally comprises small communities rather than large towns or a city. It does not have a preponderance of professional organisations with expertise in fund-raising. That does not, of course, mean that the need does not exist—quite the reverse. Only 12 applications from groups or organisations in the constituency have been successful. That represents less than a quarter of the applications made. In the rest of the Wirral, just under half the applications submitted have been successful—even though the constituencies there also receive less than the national average.
§ Mr. Chapman
I do not accept that point at all, as I shall explain later.
If the House will forgive me, I shall go through a few figures. My constituents receive on average £5.71 per person compared with £14.01 per person across the 194 north-west of England. The north-west receives 16.8 per cent. of lottery money, while Wirral, South receives 0.41 per cent. and Merseyside 1.4 per cent. That distribution cannot appropriately reflect needs across the communities. Wirral, South gets less than the people in the rest of the Wirral; Wirral gets less than Merseyside as a whole; Merseyside gets less than the north-west; and the north-west gets less than the rest of the United Kingdom. That cannot be right. It puts us at the bottom of the heap.
There is imbalance not just when comparing constituencies. As in other spheres, there is a major north-south divide. In the past, the bulk of resources went to what are called "national institutions" in London. However, many arts and cultural organisations, including museums, in the provinces, for example, are in dire crisis and need money just to stabilise and survive. I recognise the importance of what is in the Bill for community groups, for example, but let us not stop considering—if we can—giving help to organisations outside London. Let us consider, for example, organisations such as the national museums and galleries on Merseyside, the Williamson art gallery and the royal Liverpool philharmonic orchestra. Such organisations are crucial to the quality of our lives.
Many groups bring their problems to my attention weekly. As I have said, the need is clearly there, and as the Bill says, we need to help small community groups—but the methods and skills required to secure funding are often lacking. We should turn our attention to that. That is how my constituents could get more money, despite the additional distribution proposed in the Bill. Groups and organisations need to co-operate, not to compete, for funding for the same type of provision.
There are many reasons why lottery bids fail. Incorrectly and poorly filled-out application forms are the most common. The National Lottery Charities Board needs, of course, to know that its criteria are being met, but organisations often fail to convey that when they complete their applications. Less experienced groups and organisations inevitably tend to be unaware that they must convince the NLCB that they can handle the additional funds and are legally entitled to receive them.
To ensure that a more equitable and balanced distribution is achieved, those issues, so vividly highlighted in my constituency, must be addressed. More help, guidance and instruction needs to be obtained for the smaller groups and those that are not "professionalised" in that sense, so that they can compete for the vast but finite resources available through the lottery.
§ Mr. Hawkins
In talking about the difficulties of smaller groups, will the hon. Gentleman not pay tribute to those who work for the lottery distributive bodies, who have always been prepared to give freely of their time and talents to help groups put sensible and acceptable bids together? Does he accept that the real role of all of us as Members of Parliament of all parties is to encourage those groups to work with the lottery distributive bodies and other organisations in putting together acceptable bids?
§ Mr. Chapman
I readily accept that that is so, up to a point—but it has not happened enough. Many groups are unaware of the opportunities and of how to proceed. The measures that will allow distributors to assess local needs will address those problems. I welcome them, and know that my constituents will do so too. 195 The Tories oversaw the crazy lottery distribution process that we have seen hitherto. I am thankful that those days are over and that the lottery is being returned to a more sensible basis of allocation. The Bill is good news, and will bring back to the lottery the confidence that was so undermined by the Tories. It deals with people's needs and tackles the problems of distribution. I commend it, and am delighted to support it.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
The debate is novel in a number of ways. Perhaps the most gratifying novelty has been the opportunity to follow a speech by the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), from the Back Benches on a major Bill. I have always thought that he missed his vocation, and that the role of constructive opposition was one that he could fulfil without challenge and without peer.
The right hon. Gentleman made the best possible case for the lottery—a case which has not always been made so strongly or clearly—and about why the particular heads of expenditure originally conceived made some sense. However, it could not be said, and cannot be said by the present Government either, that those necessarily conformed with the people's perceptions of their priorities for public expenditure. Indeed, the very converse of that is the justification of the peculiarities of the particular good causes that the lottery funds. It is because the Government are, in a sense, trying to have their cake and eat it, that the contents of the Bill are not entirely welcome.
I must admit that, as the Minister is well aware, I come to the debate with a studied ambivalence, for I was not one of the proponents of the Bill in principle. There I differ again from the former Prime Minister, in that I do not see the lottery as the archetypal exemplar of the classless society at work, or even as something that would greatly assist the achievement of the classless society.
I fear that, although it is a voluntary levy, the lottery bears hardest on those least able to pay. I admit to a certain moral revulsion when I see people whom I know are in deep poverty spending money that I doubt whether they can afford on the lottery. In taking that view of the lottery, I am no killjoy. I realise that hope lends encouragement to such poor people—but their hopes of being richly rewarded are slender indeed.
The second novel feature is that we are debating a Bill that will be very different from that which concluded its passage through the House of Lords, in that, since then, the Government have announced a major change in the regulation of the lottery, and seek to substitute a commission for the role of the director general. In an intervention, I have already welcomed that move. Indeed, I put the proposal to the Minister across the Floor of the House a few weeks ago, and I am pleased that he has seen the merits of the argument made with considerable force by, among others, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts.
The management experienced under the former director general, Mr. Peter Davis, was one that I, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, could not regard as exemplary. I understand why the Secretary of State said what he did about Mr. Peter Davis's tenure. None the less, that tenure fell far short of what the House expected of the regulator.
196 To avoid problems of regulatory capture, the possibility of behaviour that suggests an identity of view between the regulated body and the regulator, and a certain loss of awareness of the need to protect the beneficiaries of the lottery and the clients— those who spend on the lottery—the widening of the regulatory body is important.
The third novelty—although it is perhaps not quite so novel as the others—has been the announcement in the debate of a wide-ranging directive from the Minister that will redirect the expenditure by the funding bodies. Like the former Prime Minister, I do not wish to jump to too speedy a conclusion about what the Secretary of State said. It sounded much in line with the priorities that I would have for redirecting the funding, but I should like to examine it more closely.
It is sensible to have a wider geographical spread. Many of the causes that the Minister appears to espouse—such as the importance of access and of facilities for young people and children—are priorities which no one would quarrel with. I know that the distributing bodies have endeavoured to make some of those priorities a feature of their performance.
Part of the difficulty was the need to get off the mark quickly with very large sums, which could most easily be deployed by bodies with well-established development plans. It is, therefore, not entirely surprising that major capital expenditure went to some of the best-financed bodies because they were already sitting there ready for development.
Some of those major bodies in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke), which were noticed by another hon. Member, were national bodies from which people from the whole of the United Kingdom, including my constituents in the far north of Scotland, have derived benefit. Geography cannot be more than a factor in deciding the appropriateness of particular directions.
I have expressed my moral tentativeness about the lottery, but I accept that it has provided much cash for the arts, as well as for charities, heritage support and projects to mark the millennium. The lottery has enabled many activities to take place throughout the country, but there have been victims, such as the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, which, before the lottery's establishment, supported many projects and exemplified in its distribution of funds the priorities that the Secretary of State's new direction to the lottery appears to embrace.
The main fact remains that the lottery, having provided a welcome source of alternative funding for areas such as the arts, is covering an unattractive trend in arts expenditure, for which, I regret to say, the Secretary of State is in part responsible. Since 1992, central Government expenditure has increased by about 15 per cent., whereas spending on culture has fallen by 23 per cent. I am informed that the Department's arts budget for last year constituted only 0.073 per cent. of total Government spending: one of the lowest figures in Europe.
That is a somewhat depressing state of affairs. It is tempting to eulogise what the lottery has done in raising significant sums to be spent on the arts and sport. We must recognise, however, that the prospects are for considerably reduced expenditure from what was anticipated when the lottery was set up and, indeed, during its more recent operation.
197 I do not quarrel with the Secretary of State's figures or deny that the lottery has, in some ways, been more successful in raising funds than was anticipated, but I think that the right hon. Member for Huntingdon was right to draw attention to the percentage of expenditure as the crucial key to giving security to the grant-giving bodies. Like him, I will listen carefully to the Secretary of State to hear whether we are to be given any assurances on that point.
There was a passage at arms between the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) and the Secretary of State about whether the Government might freely change further the direction of expenditure in the course of the development of their thinking about where the people's priorities might lie. There was a somewhat technical and legalistic argument about whether that would be done with or without the approval of the House.
It seems to me that clause 14 contains a requirement for an affirmative procedure for any such change, but in a House in which the Government have a majority of 179, the Secretary of State or, perhaps more important, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, would probably not find that an obstacle to implementing changes such as those already outlined.
Those changes, it is true, will not have the authority of a party manifesto, but I have never known that to stop a Government enunciating what they perceive to be the people's interests. That argument from the Government must be challenged head on. It may be true that healthy living centres are close to the heart of the people, but so are bobbies on the beat and 101 other matters, such as cutting hospital waiting lists and improving local medical facilities.
There is nothing in the Bill's drafting to curtail in the slightest the possibility of raiding the lottery to fund central essential services that are close to the perceived wishes and needs of the people. If that happens, the lottery will have served its time, and it will be better for the House to revisit the whole issue and consider whether it is not more equitable and less regressive to raise taxation directly to pay for the central funding of centrally provided services.
The Secretary of State kindly responded to my intervention about whether it would be preferable to entrust a separate body—or an individual supported by advisers— with the task of choosing the new lottery franchise holder, and to separate that function from the subsequent regulation. He has demonstrated his open-mindedness in his approach to the Bill.
With the best will in the world, and notwithstanding the undoubted integrity and independence of the five good men and women whom the Secretary of State will, no doubt, appoint shortly, they are bound to be influenced by the consequences of their choice in considering the behaviour that they witness. They will find it difficult to stand totally at arm's length from the company that they are regulating and not to give it the benefit of the doubt. That is a well-recognised feature of regulation, of which the Secretary of State is obviously aware. I do not make the point with dogmatism, but merely ask him to reconsider it as the Bill proceeds.
Members of the Public Accounts Committee are certainly aware that, under Mr. Davis's regime, when there was any discretion on what to do with unexpected 198 funds released by the lottery, that discretion was almost invariably exercised in favour of Camelot, and not of either the good causes or the punters. That is partly an institutional problem, and not entirely Mr. Davis's fault.
The Government must come a little further with us on the new good causes and the New Opportunities Fund. At least at this stage, in widening the causes, they are relying on utterances made before the general election, but it cannot be said or thought that that is without cost. The new activity will take away about 20 per cent. of the money that would otherwise have gone to the arts, sports, charities and heritage.
The Arts Council budget for this year has been cut by £8Million in real terms and, in conjunction with the Bill's proposal to remove another £50 million a year from the lottery proceeds for the arts and other causes, that means that the balance sheet is becoming less obviously weighted in the direction of the arts. For the majority of our arts organisations, this is the sixth consecutive year of either a cash standstill or a cash reduction, equivalent to an 18 per cent. cut in real terms.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
I gently point out to the right hon. Gentleman, for whom I have considerable respect, that two weeks ago, I was able to announce an additional £5 million for the performing arts, which somewhat changes the picture—not completely, but it helps.
§ Mr. Maclennan
It would not have been fair of me not to acknowledge that point, but it does not rectify the decline in real terms of the Department's expenditure on the arts.
I listened with particular interest to the former Prime Minister talking about how he has witnessed lively developments in the arts due directly to the intervention of the lottery. Like him, I have visited the Cambridge arts theatre. Like him, I have also visited Greenwich theatre with great pleasure, but it is now condemned to death. The Secretary of State would not deny that development of the live and performing arts is patchy. Greenwich theatre was not saved by the interventions of the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) when she was a Minister. Other theatres—to confine it to theatres— in the south-east have been affected.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley (South-West Surrey)
On arts funding, does the right hon. Gentleman know the total lottery arts funding so far?
§ Mr. Maclennan
Yes, the figures have been widely canvassed, and Governments of both colours have taken much credit for what has happened, but the right hon. Lady must know what happened to the theatre in Farnham. I hope that she does not take satisfaction from that.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The right hon. Lady will no doubt make her own justificatory speech. Other hon. Members have confined themselves to short speeches and I have already gone on longer than some.
The Bill gives distributing bodies the power to solicit applications and to be proactive. In a way, I understand that, but it does not reflect the people's priorities. It also 199 seems likely that, because of the reduction in funding, much of the strategic planning of those bodies will involve making less than adequate resources go round. That is regrettable.
In some ways, the Bill is an improvement in lottery regulation, but it is a step back in its widening of the ambit of the lottery's good causes. I therefore cannot possibly support it, but I do not feel minded to vote against it either.
§ Mrs. Diana Organ (Forest of Dean)
I welcome the opportunity to speak in this important debate, because my first nervous words in the Chamber were to ask the Secretary of State about his plans to make the lottery more relevant to ordinary people. In my supplementary, I raised my concern that people in rural areas should receive an equal and fair share of lottery funding.
It was clear, both before the general election and subsequently, that many people wanted the proceeds of the lottery to go to health and education projects. That was demonstrated by the responses to the lottery White Paper, with 90 per cent. supporting the suggestion.
§ Mr. Peter Brooke (Cities of London and Westminster)
Is that 90 per cent. of the 600 or so responses or a smaller figure? If it is a smaller figure, what is it?
§ Mrs. Organ
I stand corrected. There is overwhelming evidence that people see the opportunity for the lottery to put money into the enrichment of education and health. They want young talent in arts and sciences to be nurtured. They want an improvement in how existing good causes benefit. They want to make them more relevant and applicable to a wider range of people. The Government have listened to what people have to say and put the reforms in the Bill. The new strategic approach of basing distribution on grassroots need and allowing the soliciting of applications, rather than waiting for the right ones to drop on the desk, will ensure that rural areas such as the Forest of Dean have a better chance of getting their fair share.
Continuing my interest in the lottery, I tabled my first early-day motion, principally as a response to the announcement last summer of the grossly inflated remuneration packages of some directors of Camelot. I called on the Government, on the expiry of the current licence, to seek an efficient not-for-profit operator that would maximise the sums distributed to good causes across the country. The Secretary of State said that the Bill would not make provision for a not-for-profit operator, but I am convinced that the Government are concerned to ensure the best possible return for good causes in considering renewal of the licence in 2001.
My early-day motion also asked the Government to establish a new lottery good cause to support initiatives in health and education that fall outside the services provided through taxation. Having taught for 20 years, I am chiefly interested in helping children to enrich and 200 widen their school experience. The programme of after-school activities and learning is crucial to such enrichment.
I humbly admit that my prompting through my question and early-day motion is not why the initiatives were included in the Bill. With millions of others, I celebrate the fact that they were. Those requests were met because people believe that it is their lottery, and they want it to be the people's lottery. It is undoubtedly successful, a national institution enjoyed regularly by about 65 per cent. of the adult population. Some 95 per cent. of the adult population have played it at one time or another, although I never have. That is partly to do with my puritanical upbringing.
Millions of people play; they play to win the jackpot or lesser prizes, but also so that their communities, villages or sports can win. They want the money to be used to good effect. They do not view it as stealing, but as the deployment of resources into extras that could not normally be funded. They also want it to be run effectively and efficiently. They regard it as a massive fund to deliver opportunities and enrichment, and improvement of local facilities and activities. People could not care less about the arguments about coming under taxation or stealing from the lottery. They just want these things there. The lottery can provide them.
Lottery projects are not replacing Government provision or expenditure. They are not the cake or even the icing on the cake; they are the ribbon and candles that will make the cake special. That is especially true in respect of the development of a national network of after-school clubs under the New Opportunities Fund. The money that the fund will provide will be particularly appreciated in rural areas, which, until now, have not done as well out of the lottery as urban areas. As a widespread network involving half our secondary schools and a quarter of the primary schools, it will reach isolated rural communities. It will enrich the lives of children and young people. It will provide an opportunity for an after-school club in nearly every village and market town. It will bring real added value to education. It will offer opportunities not currently available to thousands of young people in small, isolated rural communities.
Young people in rural areas suffer more than their urban counterparts from having nothing to do and nowhere to go out of school hours. They can feel lonely and alienated from their village community. The three or four hanging around the village cross or telephone are very visible. They often turn to drugs, under-age sex and drinking.
At a recent meeting of the Gloucestershire diocesan anti-poverty group, the Rev. Roger Morris, a curate from the Cotswold village of Northleach, showed me a clipping from the Gloucestershire Echo about the phenomenon. It said:
We take drugs because there is nothing else to doabove the headline:
Youngsters' cry for help.These are 14-year-olds in a very affluent village in Gloucestershire.
The after-school clubs will give them something to do and somewhere to go out of school hours. It will be a start. It will make a difference, offering opportunities for young people to learn, do homework, relax, mix, take up sports 201 and games, and just do what they want to widen their experience and enrich their lives. The clubs will be available before and after school, at lunchtimes, weekends and holidays— those times when kids need something to do.
The lottery has been successful for the Forest of Dean. We have received £3.5 million—not the level of some constituencies that have received a lot more, but we have done well. I hope that the imbalance suffered by the Forest of Dean will be addressed through the improved strategic approach to distribution.
I should like to mention two projects in the Forest of Dean that have had an impact. The first is the gym at Coleford, which the Minister for Sport recently launched—he had an enjoyable evening, I understand. That £1 million project, principally funded by the lottery, gave us a magnificent centre of excellence for gymnastics and first-class provision for wider access throughout the community—for mums and toddlers, people doing yoga, fitness centres and people with learning difficulties learning to dance. A variety of people are using this lottery-funded activity. However, it is a building—the finance did not go to people. For the building to be effective in the long term, we need skilled coaches.
At the other end of the scale, there is a very small project of a few thousand pounds in a little hamlet in Brockweir—the Mackenzie hall. The project involved the replacement of the old floor to allow bowls to be played. That village hall is a vibrant centre of the community, offering opportunities for dance, amateur dramatics and a host of community events. The floor made a difference, but we won these projects only because determined people drove them through and because of a strong partnership involving organisations such as the local council, which provided the support to carry forward the application.
Many other ideas and projects in the Forest of Dean have not been so fortunate, and, due to the lack of expertise in the application—or because those involved were not so well connected—they have failed. Undoubtedly, the changes to the people's lottery in the Bill will benefit a wider group of people in rural areas such as the Forest of Dean. Particularly beneficial is the fast-track mechanism for the small grants scheme, and a simpler procedure for such schemes. There is renewed emphasis on more lottery money going to people and activities, rather than large-scale building projects. The Bill will deliver opportunities from lottery money, and it will make the lottery more effective. Money will be more widely disbursed and more strategically delivered. Communities such as the Forest of Dean will surely benefit from the reforms in the Bill and will welcome it, as I do.
§ Mr. Peter Brooke (Cities of London and Westminster)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mrs. Organ), to whom I apologise for my intervention. The look on the Secretary of State's face told me that I had misunderstood the situation, and I lay the blame on myself. I clearly misunderstood the figures 202 in the Library briefing, and I will enter into private correspondence with the Secretary of State to clarify the matter.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
For the sake of courtesy to the right hon. Gentleman, I should say that the 90 per cent. figure runs right through all responses on all aspects of the Bill. Some among the 600 responded on different aspects of the Bill, but the 90 per cent. figure was consistent.
§ Mr. Brooke
I am most grateful to the Secretary of State, who has saved us a piece of mutual correspondence. It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Forest of Dean, just as it is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman). I personally approve of the measures that the Secretary of State has taken in the context of widening access to the lottery across the country. That was reflected in the speeches of both the hon. Members to whom I have referred.
I am grateful also to the right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) for drawing attention to the fact that some of the figures attributed to Westminster have a wider ambit. On the eve of the White Paper, I was sent figures about the distribution within my constituency. I picked up £55 Million which clearly did not belong in the constituency at all—although I acknowledge that £50 million of that was for the Tate at Bankside, which could be regarded as an ambiguous case. Projects in four other parts of London—and seven in other parts of the country—were attributed to Westminster.
A little over five years ago, I had the privilege of moving the Second Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill. I took 22 interventions in 59 minutes, and one of your predecessors in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, took any number of points of order. The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) will remember the course of events. It was a detailed, but genial occasion—a good omen for the lottery itself.
Understandably, there was concentration on additionality, the arm's-length principle and the percentage distributions to good causes. At that stage, there were concerns—to which the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde referred—about the effect of the lottery on the pools, and its effect on charities.
We knew that the Millennium Commission's future demise—which was allowed for in the Bill—would afford an opportunity to revisit the percentages for good causes at some date in the future. I indicated that Parliament would have an opportunity in each Parliament —at least while my party was in power—to consider the percentages. If change was desired, there was a mechanism by order in the Bill to effect that change.
The first of those 22 interventions was—to his credit—from the present Minister for Sport, the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks), who asked me for assurances on the issue of additionality. He came back with a later intervention—he was among the 22— and was an enthusiastic contributor to the debate. As he did not repeat his first question, I can only assume that he received some reassurance from my answer.
I can only say that the lottery has been a success. I next revisited the subject as a Government Back Bencher, when the noble Lord Attenborough was good enough to invite me to what appeared to be a Labour party rally in 203 the Mansion house in my constituency—new Labour, new venues—at which the then Leader of the Opposition, the present Prime Minister, made a more enthusiastic speech about the arts and artists than he has so far managed in government. He removed several of the veils of NESTA on that occasion, as the Secretary of State may recall—I do not know whether he was there.
I have not compared the cast list of those who applauded the speech at that luncheon warmly with the cast list at the meeting on 24 March to discuss the opera house dilemma, when the reactions were also warm—but, on the whole, not in a direction favourable to the Government.
The Labour party manifesto indicated that the party would, if elected, create a new good cause to succeed the Millennium Commission when that lapsed. That pre-empted the opportunity to increase the amounts potentially available for charities which would have served to protect the arm's-length principle.
On 21 July last year—the day that the Secretary of State published the White Paper —I asked the Minister for Film and Tourism what his current definition of additionality was. I apologise for not having warned the right hon. Gentleman that I would say this, but I thought that he would be here. He replied, a little bizarrely:
I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman is planning to contest the Glasgow, Govan constituency, or is he asking a question relevant to a Department he once headed?— I do not recall that he did much about it when he was in government. If the right hon. Gentleman manages to catch your eye when my right hon. Friend makes his statement, Madam Speaker, I am sure that he will not be disappointed."—[Official Report, 21 July 1997; Vol. 298, c. 677.]Whatever that answer meant, it was not an answer to the question I had asked. It occasioned me some presentiments of anxiety which were not relieved when the Secretary of State made his statement, by which, I fear, I was disappointed.
It was, I suppose, inevitable that the Secretary of State should that day have had the striking originality to call it "the people's lottery". I mentally promised myself to re-read "1984". Happily, the Secretary of State's shamelessness has not stretched to incorporating that tired phrase in the Bill, and I wholly applaud what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on that subject.
§ Mr. Brooke
The former Prime Minister. Habits and loyalty die hard.
On additionality, the arm's-length principle and the 20 per cent. distributions, the news was universally bad. The opportunity for Parliament to debate the percentage distributions had not been taken, and the Millennium Commission's demise was not so much anticipated as disregarded. At Second Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill, Labour Front-Bench Members had said that no more than 15 per cent. of national lottery revenues should be devoted to tax, but by Third Reading, at which the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde spoke from the Labour Front Bench—by which time the tax figure of 12 per cent. had been announced —the hon. Gentleman said that the 12 per cent. tax yield to the Treasury was far too high. I suppose that I should have regarded consistency as an unlikely element in the present Government's planning.
On 25 November 1997, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the cost of £300 million over five years to set up 30,000 new out-of-school clubs would be 204 shared between the Exchequer and the New Opportunities Fund—words which the Secretary of State for Social Security echoed on 10 December 1997, speaking on the lone parents issue at the Report stage of the Social Security Bill. She prefaced that echo of the £300 million coming from the national lottery and the Exchequer with the words:
the Government have made the biggest ever investment in child care."—[Official Report, 10 December 1997; Vol. 302, c. 1087.]Additionality seems difficult to identify in those words.
When I was in the Whips Office, I recognised that the price of a Back-Bench vote to take through a controversial European Union directive concerning heavy lorries might well be a constituency bypass, but at least on that occasion it was the Government's money that we were spending. When the present Government, confronted with a rebellion, played the child care card on the lone parents issue, a lot of the money was the lottery's, even if the Bill was not yet law.
The Bill was presented for First Reading in the Lords at the start of December 1997. My hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Randall), to a series of well-targeted questions, received a series of answers from Ministers in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Employment about current Government expenditure on projects that the lottery new good cause is scheduled to fund. I especially liked the answer by the Minister for Arts on 5 December 1997, that the budget of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport did spend money on librarian training, but that the sums involved were relatively small—the classic sad account of the parlour-maid' s pregnancy.
On 18 December 1997, at Second Reading in the Lords, the Government's spokesman, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, spoke of the Libraries and Information Commission report, "New Library: The People's Network", which my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) mentioned, and prided himself on the Government's response to the request for a further £50 million.
I was reminded, especially by the words "The People's Network", of the principle of Danegeld. I remind the House of the account of Danegeld in "1066 and All That":
Rather than wait forEthelred the Unready,
the Danes used to fine him large sums called Danegeld, for not being ready. But though they were always ready, the Danes had very bad memories and often used to forget that they had been paid the Danegeld and came back for it almost before they had sailed away.For Ethelred the Unready—who was on the throne at the last millennium—read the Secretary of State; for the Danes, read spending Departments short of a bob or two.
All of that is said to be theology. In Liz Forgan's article in the Evening Standard on 17 December 1997, she asked:
in what way is this spending on health, education and the environment different from the Government's normal spending on health, education and the environment? Send for a Jesuit.But Treasury theology is usually erected as a Treasury defence against spending Departments. Here we have a spending Department conniving with the Treasury in the deployment of the theology.
I acknowledge that it needs to be emphasised that the Secretary of State's role is largely metaphysical. A wise man once said of ghosts that appearances are in their favour. I imagine that, in this instance, the Secretary of State will not wish to be quite so forthcoming. 205 The percentages are a separate issue. When Labour was in power between 1929 and 1931, the British Government were offered what became the Aramco concession in Saudi Arabia for£ 20,000, provided that the money was paid in gold. Mr. Snowden, the present Chancellor's predecessor, declined the offer, on the ground that paying in gold would reflect adversely on sterling.
It was in that era that Calouste Gulbenkian earned his title of Mr. Five Per Cent. He knew that a constant percentage is a better long-term bet than an absolute sum, which is what the Secretary of State has decided that the existing distributors really wanted. The distributors have, of course, seen their percentages cut. I find it distasteful that the Government should imply that the distributors are not the losers.
I have narrated once before in the House the episode in the Brussels embassy when Ernest Bevin was Foreign Secretary and there was concern about whether he would be able to get through the doorway between the main spare bedroom and main spare bathroom in the embassy. A telegram was sent to the Foreign Office in London saying, "Please verify Secretary of State's diameter", to which the telex came back—those who know and love the Foreign Office are not surprised that it is more literate than numerate—"Unable to verify diameter, but circumference is 60 inches". For the Foreign Office not to understand geometry is perhaps forgivable; for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport not to understand arithmetic is less so.
These losses have struck distributors at exactly the moment when resources for the individual training of athletes are proving their worth; when the Arts Council cannot afford to sustain the highly important south bank centre's forward plans; and when the Budget's foreshadowing of changes to the access rules for works of art of museum quality retained under inheritance tax threatens that major works will flood on to the market—constituents have already advised me of that.
The present Lord Chief Justice, as a young barrister, when defending the Three Hands Disinfectant Company in a public health case, resisted the temptation of advancing the defence that this was a case where the first two hands did not know what the third hand was doing; but, at this juncture, the inheritance tax changes look like a case where the third hand did not know what the other two hands were up to.
I make a final comment on the penalties that the lottery operator may have to pay. I appreciate that the former director general asked for them; I do not oppose them, but I believe that they need to be clear. The Government were a little confusing and contradictory on that subject in the Lords. As a clarification, I found tautologous Lord McIntosh's reply to Lord Redesdale's amendment in Committee:
We believe that the sensible and reasonable application of the power to impose financial penalties is the most appropriate way of ensuring that any penalties imposed are fair." — [Official Report, House of Lords, 19 January 1998; Vol. 584, c. 9.]I am reminded of the definition of an Act of God in Blackstone's law dictionary—an act that no reasonable man would expect God to commit.
I close with a verdict on the Bill, said in both sorrow and anger—to the latter of which I am not usually prone. It was described in the Lords as the thin end of the wedge. 206 I think that it is the thick end, and I speak of its intellectual content. However, to go further down its road leading into public expenditure substitution is to be counter -productive in terms of popular support for the lottery.
In the run-up to the publication of the National Lottery etc. Bill in 1992, we said that, now that Albania had a lottery, we were the only country in Europe not to have one. Coming so late, we were able to create the best lottery in the world, and the former director general should have his own share of the credit for that. I am personally sad that the Bill takes us a small distance away from that pinnacle, and in an Albanian direction.
§ Laura Moffatt (Crawley)
I am thrilled to be called to speak in this important debate. It is something of a transformation for me, because I was never a supporter of the national lottery; I was deeply worried about it. I was deeply worried that my local charities would find it difficult to raise money; I was deeply worried about regulation; and I was deeply worried for those who might bid and find themselves in difficulty later, unable to guarantee revenue for the projects for which they had received lottery funding.
I had many anxieties about the national lottery, but I am now standing here, in the House of Commons, saying that I was wrong. I was wrong to think that the lottery would not be part of our national ethos, and that we would not embrace it as we have. It is now very much part of the ethos, at least of my constituency. I am very pleased that we can see many of the things that I was concerned about being dealt with so efficiently and effectively.
I am involved with an important organisation in my constituency called Crawley Furni-aid, which delivers good-quality second-hand furniture to people who have very little. The organisation was struggling with a second-hand van and no premises, so we put our heads together and made an application for lottery funding. We received £140,000, which has totally transformed the organisation. We are now able to serve the people of Crawley efficiently and effectively. That is proof that the lottery is good for people.
The most exciting thing about the Bill is the New Opportunities Fund. I am thrilled to see that there will be information technology training for teachers and out-of-school clubs. As a nurse, I am most interested in the healthy living centres. They will certainly switch on people in Crawley to the fact that the Government are dealing with the issues that they have raised. I hope that we will not return to the silly, pedantic debate about additionality. Before and after the election, people have come to our surgeries and stopped Members of Parliament in the street to ask, "When will the Government allocate some lottery funding to education and health?" That is all that people are interested in, and the Government will ensure that it happens. I am very excited about that prospect.
It was claimed earlier that the schemes could be funded from elsewhere. How many healthy living centres did the previous Government establish? Those centres will play an important part in what it means to be an active citizen who makes good choices. Mention was made of people buying too many lottery tickets. Healthy living centres will promote a sense of well-being: they will encourage 207 people to make choices about health, money, and so on. They will make people feel better about themselves. People do not have to spend lots of money on lottery tickets to enjoy the benefits of the lottery. They should enjoy it for what it is: a bit of fun.
§ Laura Moffatt
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention because it gives me an opportunity to ask him a question. Is he saying that it is okay to encourage people to buy lottery tickets when that is well beyond their means? I suspect that he is not. We are trying to say that the lottery should be good fun and that people should be able to afford and enjoy it. That is how we shall promote it.
I am a little sad to report that Crawley is in the bottom 80 both in terms of the cash amounts received and the number of bids. That is not because the people of Crawley are stupid or rich—and Opposition Members may laugh all they like—but because people want to be able to make their own bids. They want the proceeds of the lottery to come to them. It is not, as was claimed earlier, for Members of Parliament to ensure that all the bids are in. That is not how the system should operate. People should have the wherewithal and the ability to make lottery bids on their own, with the support and care of their Member of Parliament.
§ Mr. Hawkins
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way, as she referred to my intervention the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman). With respect, I think that she has misunderstood my point. As the hon. Gentleman said, when there is a shortage of support for bids, hon. Members from all parties can become involved—the hon. Lady gave an example of that earlier in her speech—and work with organisations in their constituencies.
§ Laura Moffatt
That is true: of course we must get involved. However, people should be able to make bids and feel that they have ownership of the lottery. If they need help and advice, they will receive it as a result of this legislation. We will ask what communities need. We will tell organisations how to make bids and how we shall assist them in that process. In that way, I believe that Crawley will be able to secure more lottery money for the town. I look forward to that day.
I must admit that I have never bought a lottery ticket—but, if I am honest, it is because I do not know how to fill out the form. Any assistance in that regard will be greatly appreciated. With the passage of the Bill, people will be able to feel secure and happy that the lottery now meets their needs.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley (South-West Surrey)
I took over as Secretary of State for National Heritage after my predecessors had done all the work. The initiative was proposed by the former Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), and three 208 Secretaries of State were involved before I arrived at the Department. Like the hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt), I had some reservations about the national lottery. It was a time of scare stories and debate about whether we would become a nation of gamblers, whether the lottery would have an adverse effect and how the 540 millionaires created by the lottery would cope—would it be bad for their personalities or their health? Each week or month, there was another development and another wave of adverse comment.
The fact is that the national lottery has been the most extraordinary and spectacular success. I intervened, rather unkindly, on the right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) in order to emphasise the enormity of the sums that have been generated for good causes. The Secretary of State crowed about giving the Arts Council an additional £5 million. It has received an additional £1 billion in the three-plus years that the lottery has existed. The figures are truly remarkable. Heritage has received almost £1 billion and the charities—the hon. Lady referred to Crawley Furni-aid in her constituency—have received additional spending of £750 million.
When individual projects are amassed, we can see the way in which the great flagship projects are bringing social and economic regeneration to rundown areas in cities such as Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield and to the South Bank. Cultural investment is often the focus of regeneration: it encourages jobs, promotes tourism and, most dramatically, turns around people's sense of pride in their regions. It has been the springboard for the present Government's references to "cool Britannia" with the massive expansion of, and investment in, the arts. The lottery has proved the most remarkable success.
Credit for that success must go not only to politicians—the former Prime Minister and my predecessors as Secretary of State—but to the distributing bodies which have worked relentlessly, remorselessly and tirelessly, some from a standing start, to get the distribution systems in place. I pay particular tribute to my noble Friend Lord Rothschild at the Heritage Lottery Fund, who has recently retired and will hand over to Eric Anderson. Following its early bumpy ride and the publicity surrounding the purchase of the Churchill papers, the heritage fund has developed strategies incorporating urban parks and countryside landscapes as well as the built heritage. About 225 museums so far have received help from the heritage fund, which has already moved into the development of access, education and the promotion of participation.
Hon. Members must take seriously the anxiety expressed by Lord Rothschild who, at the time of the preparation of the annual report, complained that the fund stands to lose £200 million from heritage resources under the Government's new proposals. The Arts Council said in the material that it issued before the debate that 70 per cent. of its capital awards had been for less than £100,000. Through its "Arts for Everyone" scheme, it has concentrated on young people, access and innovation.
Frankly, much of what the Secretary of State said today was an exercise in rebadging initiatives that are already well under way. The directions to lottery distributors that he announced had a familiar ring—if he had consulted the speeches of former Secretaries of State, he might have come across the phrases "people not buildings", "access for all", "children and young people" and "the use of volunteers". I do not begrudge rebadging of established 209 initiatives, but I think that he could have been more generous in attributing credit for the origin of some of his proposals, which are evolutionary—they build on what has gone before.
I also pay tribute to the Sports Council, which has allocated about £750 million. Of its projects, my favourite always used to be the bowls clubs—I understand from the Library that 305 bowls clubs have received lottery awards. The hon. Member for Crawley mentioned healthy living centres, but I often thought that bowls clubs were a very good substitute for them.
Alongside the great icons, bowls clubs are part of the tapestry of provision that builds communities and binds people together. My right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon said that he wanted fast bowlers, and I wish that he could have been with me last Saturday, when the village of Grayswood in my constituency celebrated receiving £12,500 from the Sports Council for its new cricket nets and scoreboards.
Such small projects have provided the sense of cohesion that is so important in people's lives—as work and families become more individualised and fragmented, stable societies need places in which people can congregate and activities in which they can participate. So often, it is the lottery which has provided such facilities.
I share the deep anxiety over some of the proposals. As I said, some are evolutionary. I welcome the establishment of a commission—that is a sensible next step—and the fact that distributing bodies will be encouraged to develop strategies. I also welcome the fact that more soliciting—as it is so delicately called—will be allowed. When I was Secretary of State, the law would allow one to coach applicants, but not to solicit them. The Secretary of State said that joint schemes would be encouraged—the wonderful arts scheme at Salford is one of many examples—to promote greater flexibility. All those are sensible, evolutionary steps.
It would be an enormously retrograde step, however, if the lottery became centralised and controlled by the Department. Envious eyes have looked menacingly at the lottery ever since it was established. Local authorities, for example, want to take it over and municipalise it. The Secretary of State must resist the temptation to take over and control the distributing bodies.
Like any Finance Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has found such a flow of money irresistible—he could not bear not to get his hands on it. During the last spending round when I was Secretary of State, the thumbscrews were applied and my nails were almost extracted from my fingers, but I did not succumb—I was not prepared to hand over the lottery to the Chancellor. My advice to the Secretary of State is that, once a precedent has been established, it is almost impossible to shut the door. The jackpot winner of the Bill is undoubtedly the Chancellor.
After such a massive raid on the funds, the Department will have to work extremely hard to restore its good name with the distributors. Given that the Secretary of State has deprived the funds of £200 million, it beggars belief that he should crow about a measly £2 million of Government money in relation to museum charges, along with £7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and claim great credit for the £5 million for the arts—that is simply unsatisfactory.
210 I believe strongly that the Government should make it clear that the percentage share of the lottery proceeds for the different bodies will be safeguarded. The Bill represents a sad step in terms of the opportunities of those who were already investing in our heritage, arts and sport across the country. It is depressing beyond belief that the Government should disregard the detailed points that were raised in the House of Lords. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) said, the Government have been helping themselves to the New Opportunities Fund before the Bill has even been enacted. The excessive control and interference, the means of approval and the introduction of new pet causes are all far from satisfactory.
When the Department of National Heritage—as it was—was established, the former Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon, said:
Man cannot live by GDP alone… A country can only be strong, healthy and contented if it burnishes its heritage, encourages its citizens to pursue excellence in sport and cultivates widespread appreciation of the arts. I set up the Department of National Heritage in that spirit. Its creation was a sign that Government should take such activities seriously—for millions of people, they are not optional extras, they are worth valuing in their own right.As a result of the former Prime Minister's vision, a Department was established with precisely those issues at its heart—the national lottery was set up to provide the resources to make that vision possible. It will be a sad day if the results of the Bill are that the additionality principle is forgotten, the arm's-length arrangements are overlooked, the Chancellor is the beneficiary and the world's most successful lottery is nationalised.
§ Mrs. Joan Humble (Blackpool, North and Fleetwood)
I follow the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) with pleasure. Although I agree that the lottery has been a success, I believe that it will be an even greater success as a result of the Bill—I do not share many of the concerns that she outlined.
I speak with some trepidation, however. Having heard two of my hon. Friends say that they have not bought lottery tickets, I must admit that I have, that I do and that I have won —[HON. MEMBERS: "How much?"] I am more than happy to offer my advice on filling in the forms. The first time I won, I received £10, but the second time, I had four numbers right—I went with my younger daughter, who was acting as a kind of Securicor guard, to the shop to collect my winnings, which amounted to the princely sum of £43.
That probably qualifies me as a small-scale winner, but, more important, my constituency is also only a small-scale winner in the lottery stakes. There has been precious little fairness in the allocation of lottery grants to Blackpool, North and Fleetwood—whereas the Churchill papers were bought for £13 million, my constituents have received less than £1 million. Of the 659 United Kingdom constituencies, Blackpool, North and Fleetwood is ranked 620th. I thought that it would be bottom of the list until I heard what my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman) said—his constituency is apparently even lower down the ranking order than we are. Like him, my 211 constituents and I want more, please, and I am attracted to the Bill because I believe it will allow more equitable distribution.
§ Mr. Richard Spring (West Suffolk)
The hon. Lady is discussing needs in her constituency. What is the likely impact on the confidence of her constituents of the Labour party withdrawing its conference from Blackpool?
§ Mrs. Humble
One of the hon. Gentleman's colleagues came to my constituency and announced that he had come to advise the good people of Blackpool, "as part of his tour of Yorkshire and the north-east." If Conservative Members cannot even get their geography right, they cannot advise me on the Labour party conference or any other matter.
Although I am concerned about the poor allocation to my constituency, the awards that we have had have been valuable and well received. One was to develop a money advice unit at the Wyre District citizens advice bureau in Cleveleys. I have visited it and seen the vital work that it does in offering support and advice to people in debt and from disadvantaged neighbourhoods—indeed, it has prevented people from getting into far worse problems, by reordering their debts and negotiating with banks and utilities. It has been able to provide an essential service for so many people only because of a lottery grant.
A second lottery grant awarded in August was for an all-weather pitch at Blackpool and The Fylde college, which is an excellent example of partnership—in this case, between the college, Blackpool council and local youth football clubs. The pitch is used by students in college term time and by the community at weekends and outside term time. It is the only facility of its kind in Blackpool, North. Those are just two excellent examples of lottery funding. Seeing those examples makes my constituents want a much fairer allocation of the substantial resources available for distribution.
I especially support the fast-track mechanism for small community grants. Local people and groups will have far more opportunities to work together to cut through the bureaucracy and to access those grants. I therefore welcome the Secretary of State's announcement that those allocations will be re-examined to ensure that the constituencies that are at the bottom of the pile get more.
The New Opportunities Fund is an exciting initiative. My hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mrs. Organ), who has now left the Chamber, drew attention to the special needs of rural areas. However, everything that she said about young people in rural areas applies equally to those in urban areas. Schemes that help children are vital wherever the children live. As education is the Government's priority, the Bill recognises that out-of-school-hours activities are an important ingredient of a child's overall education. The range of possibilities is enormous. Many of the children whom I represent go back to crowded homes where, because they cannot do their homework, their educational achievement is damaged. A simple measure such as providing a quiet room for children to do their homework can be of enormous educational benefit. Complementary learning activities may include drama, sport or multi-media activities. I cannot even switch on a computer, so I am always surprised at schoolchildren's competence. Many after-school-hours clubs build on the education that children receive during the day.
212 When we discuss child care, some of us forget that, while it is fairly easy for parents to organise child care for pre-school children—it may be expensive, but parents can organise their day—once children start school, parents encounter the problem of who will take them to school and pick them up when school finishes. After-school clubs provide vital support for many parents, some of whom have to give up jobs because they cannot organise their working time around school hours. Although many schemes provide examples of good practice, I welcome the proposals in the Bill to solicit applications. Many organisations that run such schemes are either reluctant to apply for lottery funding or are unaware of the different aspects of lottery funding available to them. I hope that more funding will be available to them in the future.
Through my personal links with the Lancashire Area West association of out-of-school clubs, I know the excellent work that such organisations do, and that they look forward to an expansion of the current provision. Although I welcome that aspect of the Bill, I urge the Minister to ensure that child care providers receive on-going support, training, advice and guidance. Networks such as the Lancashire Area West association provide support, but it is vital to ensure that good practice continues and that provision is of a high quality, because everyone agrees that that is vital for young children.
I am also concerned about provision for children with special needs. An increasing amount of special needs education now takes place in mainstream schools. If we are to expand out-of-school-hours provision for mainstream schools, we must consider the problems of special needs children within those schools.
I welcome the Bill, especially the proposals for fairer distribution. I hope that Blackpool, North and Fleetwood will jump up the rankings and that all the good causes covered by the New Opportunities Fund will contribute to important local initiatives and meet the people's priorities.
§ 7.6 pm
§ Mr. David Prior (North Norfolk)
Unlike some Labour Members, I have played the lottery, but not very often. When I first started playing it, I was convinced that I would win—we all were, to start with—but now I play only on roll-over days, and even my children have stopped nagging me to buy tickets.
Despite the fact that some of us have become bored with it over time, the lottery has been a huge commercial success. An astonishing 30 million people—65 per cent. of all adults—play the lottery each week and spend on average only £3. Independent research has confirmed that our lottery is the most efficient in the world and returns the highest percentage to the Government and good causes. By 2001, some £10 billion will have been raised for good causes, which is a remarkable record by any standard, particularly given the misgivings that many of us had when the lottery was first put in place several years ago.
The lottery was designed to revitalise and stimulate capital investment in many unfashionable areas. In my constituency, many small local charities have benefited and small projects throughout Norfolk have received funding. Examples from my constituency include a new football pavilion at Wells and the extension of a rugby club. Such projects would never have received support from central Government. Norfolk youth music theatre put on "The 213 Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Wind in the Willows". I am thinking, too, of the £ 300,000 grant to restore the Hickling broad for wildlife purposes; the Fakenham children's day care centre; and a small foundation in north Norfolk for the mentally ill. None of those projects would have attracted central Government funding. That is the essence of what we mean by additionality. These are the projects that will always get squeezed out by the high-spending Government Departments.
There has always been disagreement about exactly how the money should be spent and on what project—it would take the Archangel Gabriel to secure agreement from all parties —but there have been two key underlying principles: first, that the money should be spent by people independent of the Government; and, secondly, that the money should be spent on projects that would not otherwise be financed from taxation.
There was an exchange between my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) and the Secretary of State about clause 12. We should make it clear in Hansard that clause 12 gives the Secretary of State far more control over the distributing bodies. He has the power to instruct them to prepare and adopt a strategic plan, and it must be such
as to demonstrate how the body is taking into account or, as the case may be, complying with the directions mentioned in subsection (3)(a)",
which refers toa statement of any directions given to the body by the Secretary of State".So it is quite clear that the Secretary of State's powers over the distributing bodies will be much greater in future.
§ Mr. Levitt
Has the hon. Gentleman also read clause 12(5)(d), which says that
after consultation with the Secretary of State,the award-giving body shall
make such modifications to the draft as it"—not the Secretary of State—
considers necessary or expedient."?
§ Mr. Prior
There is clearly some conflict between clause 12 and subsection (5)(d), and that is something we shall no doubt discuss in Committee.
As my right hon. Friend pointed out, clause 18 states quite clearly that the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts
may not spend their endowment, or any part of their endowment, without the approval of the Secretary of State.It is quite clear to me that, in future, the money raised for good causes will not be as independent of Government as in the past, and that is a great pity. I very much hope that we in this country will not descend into the pork barrel politics into which other countries have descended, and that various Government Ministers will not compete with each other to spend the money from the "people's lottery".
214 On the second principle—that money should be spent on projects that would not otherwise be financed by taxation—the Prime Minister put it unequivocally when he said:
we don't believe it would be right for the Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibility".That is precisely what the Bill proceeds to do.
I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), the former Prime Minister, who said that Conservative Members are not Luddites. We are not saying that there are no changes that could be made. It would be amazing if there were none—after all, the lottery is an entirely new concept for this country. I am sure that we shall be open to changes to the regulatory regime. We shall certainly be open to switching some of the money away from capital to revenue spending.
There are a number of issues that should be looked at. What is the evidence that under-16s are buying lottery tickets, and what more could be done to stop them? Is there any evidence that certain people are becoming addicted to buying scratchcards? Is there any evidence that charities have been hit particularly hard as a result of the lottery? There have been questions about the large capital donations that have been given to big projects, and about the regulatory regime. Opposition Members would have been quite happy to address some of those questions.
In whatever way the Government wish to portray them, the new opportunities set out in the Bill—education, health and the environment—are at the centre of traditional Government spending. They cannot, by any definition, be seen to be additional. Many of them are worthy projects. They include out-of-school initiatives, child care centres and healthy living centres. We are not arguing about the worth of such projects; we are arguing that they should not be financed from the lottery.
The Government appear so eager to raise the money that on 14 October they started to set money aside for the new causes. That strikes many Opposition Members as outrageous. Had the Government wished to be honest about it, they could have delayed setting aside money and brought in a higher percentage to be paid to the new causes. That would at least have had the merit of being transparent. Instead, they are effectively ratifying an action retrospectively, which is not something that hon. Members would in general support.
The Government have rebranded the lottery as the "people's lottery". I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon that people are becoming to sick to death of the term, "the people's", which is used to stifle debate. Our lottery is clearly now a Government lottery, to be spent on the Government's priorities, on projects that should properly be financed by tax receipts that are raised and allocated democratically.
§ Mr. Gareth R. Thomas (Harrow, West)
My Welsh nonconformist background has, I fear, inhibited me from taking advantage of the lottery on many occasions—that, coupled with the fact that I have never won anything on the lottery. Although I have never won anything, I well understand the sense of elation that comes from winning it, having won an allegedly safe seat from the Conservatives last year.
I am delighted to support the Bill, which will undoubtedly refocus the national lottery, improving both its regulation and distribution arrangements, but, 215 most important, ensuring that the lottery funds a wider range of good causes. I will take no lessons from Conservative Members about ducking and not using the phrase, so, in short, the Bill will complete the process of turning the national lottery into truly the people's lottery.
The lottery has been a remarkable success, generating considerable sums for a number of important projects. In my borough, these range from the refurbishment and redevelopment of a heavily used leisure centre to the funding of a scheme to help disabled people to access work placements. I look forward to an early announcement on the much-delayed outcome of a heritage lottery fund bid for Headstone manor in my constituency.
§ Mr. Lansley
If the hon. Gentleman is so keen on reflecting the priorities of the players of the lottery in the distribution of good causes money, has he contemplated the proposal, of which I am sure he is aware, that players should be able to mark a lottery ticket to indicate to what purpose they wish the money to be given?
§ Mr. Thomas
Lottery players indicated all too well at the last general election that they supported the priorities of the Labour party for the lottery. That scheme is fine.
§ Mr. Thomas
I should like to move on.
There is a growing body of evidence, outlined by many of my hon. Friends, that the distribution of awards is seriously skewed not just by region but in terms of project size. The concentration is on bricks and buildings, as opposed to people and activities. The lack of clear and explicit distribution strategies has generated considerable frustration and concern.
There is also widespread support for our commitment to creating the New Opportunities Fund. As I said earlier, increasing the number of activities funded by the lottery will more accurately reflect the priorities of all who buy tickets. The New Opportunities Fund is probably the most exciting aspect of this excellent Bill, creating a sixth good cause— health, education and the environment—to be financed from the extra £1 billion that the lottery will generate over and above original expectations, and enjoying the overwhelming support of the British public. Following the publication of the White Paper, 91 per cent. of respondents said that they were in favour of the fund.
§ Mr. Spring
How many of those responses came from members of the public, as opposed to organisations?
§ Mr. Thomas
Most of the organisations that responded represented a considerable number of individuals. I realise that it is difficult for Conservative Members to recognise the support that the New Opportunities Fund is receiving, but I urge them to join the mainstream on this issue at least.
More than half the 91 per cent. argued that the fund would act as a natural and obvious extension of the existing good causes, helping to deal with charges of imbalance and concern about the exclusion of health and education issues. In retrospect, it appears perverse that those issues were originally excluded. I do not think anyone has suggested that the first three initiatives announced by the Government under the auspices of the 216 New Opportunities Fund will not be of considerable benefit to the country. Opposition Members have tried to argue that they somehow violate the additionality principle, but they clearly do not.
There is no doubt that the Government have considerable health, education and environment responsibilities, along with considerable arts, heritage and sport responsibilities. There is also no doubt that, within those areas, substantial areas of expenditure are core responsibilities of Government, to be publicly funded. But there will always be more that we would like to do, which the taxpayer cannot afford. That means desirable, as opposed to critical, expenditure, building on existing core expenditure. The three initial initiatives clearly fit into that category.
Healthy living centres have been variously described as the national lottery's first big idea, as long overdue and as a brilliant concept. I share that enthusiasm. Numerous reports have made it clear that there is a link between areas of deprivation and greater ill health, and it is nothing short of a scandal that the previous Government refused to acknowledge that link or to do anything about it.
Healthy living centres provide a powerful opportunity to improve the health of people of all ages, complementing existing services and reaching out to those who have been deprived of opportunities for better health. They will stimulate a range of additional services dealing with, for instance, stress management, healthy eating and drug and alcohol recovery, side by side with mainstream services and providing advice, self-help groups and opportunities for physical activity. Healthy living centres are an inspired choice for a share of the first tranche of money from the New Opportunities Fund, and I am not surprised that more than 96 per cent. of respondents supported them.
I especially welcome the commitment that, while there will be quality standards, there will be no central blueprint for projects. Healthy living centre schemes should come from within a community. They should be put together by those who will use the services—by the social entrepreneurs who exist in many communities, whose ideas have been ignored too often in the past by bureaucracies and professionals who believed that they knew best.
Healthy living centres must be high-class holistic partnerships, involving health professions and the local community, delivering services—perhaps with education and sporting bodies—in new and innovative ways. Their philosophy should encourage people to take responsibility for their personal physical and mental well-being.
There are already isolated examples of services that could provide models for healthy living centres. Later this month, the Peckham Pulse centre will open—an initiative bringing together the local community, some health services and some sporting facilities in a single high-quality modern centre. New sporting facilities will be "moulded in" with high-quality consulting rooms, a cafe, a fully staffed children's play area and meeting rooms for the local community.
The centre will bring together sport and health in a way that will not be off-putting, catering for those who—like many of us present tonight—may not yet be high-class performance athletes, and delivering improvements in the health of all people, whatever their capacity, and however fit they are.
217 I pay tribute to all those involved in the Bromley-by-Bow centre in Tower Hamlets, which I was privileged to visit recently. Creative arts projects and football teams stand side by side with community care projects and a community cafe. They are fully integrated with a health care centre and numerous religious organisations, not to mention an environmental project that is transforming the previously dilapidated local park. It is run by the community, pulling together statutory and non-statutory services. It was provided because the community wanted those services, and it is transforming the expectations of young and old alike.
The funding for out-of-hours schools-based activity is also welcome, as some of my hon. Friends have said. In my constituency, only a few schools have been able to establish some effective after-school provision so far. Pinner Wood first and middle schools in the north and Welldon Park first and middle schools in the south provide excellent out-of-school clubs, offering a wide range of activities to diverse groups of pupils. The Pinner Wood club has been so successful that it now has a growing waiting list. Welldon Park's list is also growing, and I was delighted to attend its very successful end-of-term entertainment last week.
I emphasise, however, that those two clubs are isolated examples. Many other schools and parents look on enviously. After-school clubs offer an excellent opportunity to combine child care with further education and play opportunities, enhancing children's social, intellectual and emotional development. They, too, are highly desirable projects, complementary to the core education provision in schools. The start-up money from the New Opportunities Fund will help to spread the excellent practice that exists in clubs such as those in my constituency.
Another interesting and welcome aspect of the Bill is the establishment of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. One of the successes of the lottery to date has been the lottery sports fund's championing and funding of our own world-class performance athletes. We need a similar fund that can champion the talented in the creative, scientific and technological worlds. It is little short of a scandal that, partly because of the absence of such a fund, other countries have had to step in to develop into commercially successful projects the ideas, inventions and new products of our science community.
§ Mr. Lansley
The hon. Gentleman is explaining the essential character of the various projects that the Government propose to fund from the lottery. If they are so integral to the performance of their respective tasks, why does the hon. Gentleman conclude that the Government considered it wrong for them to be funded by taxpayers' money? Why did the Government not think that they were so valuable that they should be financed by mainstream programmes?
§ Mr. Thomas
With respect, it is a bit rich to be asked that question by a Conservative Member. The Conservative party claims that such provision is core provision. Why have three quarters of pupils in my constituency no access to after-school clubs? I accept that 218 that is partly due to the incompetence of the Liberal Democrats who currently run the council, but I fear that it is mostly due to the fact that the Conservative party never demonstrated any intention of funding such clubs. The funding, therefore, is clearly additional.
The White Paper refers to the high quality of our scientists, but our continuing inability to translate their talent into business ideas is a powerful raison d'etre for NESTA.
I also welcome the changes in practice for existing distributors. The ability for distributors to lay down clear strategies based on need and to set out how they intend to distribute funds will enable more efficient use of lottery funds to develop initiatives where they are needed and where they will be of most benefit.
§ Mr. John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
Does my hon. Friend agree that there has been a distribution problem, not for inner-city areas or leafy suburbs, but for peripheral urban areas, such as his constituency and mine? For 18 years, such areas were neglected by central Government funding, and neglected in the allocation of awards, sometimes because of a lack of applications. Does he also agree that there is a need for capacity building in such communities to elicit applications, and for special concentration on peripheral areas?
§ Mr. Thomas
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I welcome the requirement for distributor boards to prepare strategies so that they can focus on and address the needs of peripheral areas.
The ability of lottery distributors to solicit applications to support their strategic aims is a sensible innovation. It will help to ensure that lobbying by the new army of lottery consultants does not mean that only the loudest, largest and most articulate groups win funding.
We must refocus lottery distributors so that their structures are more effectively in contact with local communities, and so that decisions can be taken more quickly, feedback and advice can be given more effectively and people and activity can be concentrated on, rather than bricks and mortar.
Small sporting clubs do not need new club houses; they need access to good coaches or small amounts of crucial equipment. The Bill will allow distributors to provide vouchers, which might help clubs and community groups to develop the talents and skills of leaders, be they coaches or scout leaders, and, in turn, enable them to develop the skills and talents of club members.
There is widespread public support for changes in the lottery. The public want a more equitable distribution of lottery funds. At present, there are serious disparities in funding, by locality and by size and type of project. Health, education and the environment have been excluded for no logical reason, when they are what the' people of Britain care about most passionately.
The lottery has been a tremendous success, but its flaws are readily apparent, and are already beginning to detract from its popularity. The Bill will put the national lottery firmly back on track. It will improve the distribution, regulation and direction of lottery funding, and ensure that it is in tune with the people's priorities. I warmly welcome it.
§ Mr. Peter Viggers (Gosport)
I suppose that someone has to say it: I dislike the national lottery. It puts decisions about public money into unelected hands, and introduces a random hand in expenditure, which is unaccountable—within limits: if an allocation of funds in not particularly popular, Ministers have nothing to do with it; if an announcement is popular, Ministers are always in the photograph.
I should much prefer no lottery at all. It was originally argued that we had to have our own state lottery because other gambling and other state lotteries would come into the United Kingdom and take British money if we did not. I was unpersuaded by that argument, and still feel distaste for the British Government's sponsorship of a lottery, which lowers the tone of government by putting the authority of the state behind the concept of gambling.
And gambling it is: 30 million people a week—two thirds of households—take part. My hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Prior) referred to an average bet of £3, but £5 or £6 per household per week goes into this vast money machine, which gives gamblers a negligible chance of winning.
In December 1992, the Secretary of State for National Heritage said:
The lottery will not attract the gambler. We expect it to attract a new section of the population, people who are willing to have a flutter knowing that—win or lose— money will be going to good causes.Some flutter: £15,000 million is spent, often by people who can ill afford £5 or £6 a week per household. It saddens me that the turnover in lottery tickets is busiest in the most deprived areas. Self-evidently, people hope for a miracle to escape financial disadvantage—it is tax by another name.
The profile of those who pay shows an emphasis on those with lower incomes and capital, and the analysis of those who benefit shows a heavy slant to the more privileged. The lottery is redistributive, and I regret that.
I should have preferred the Government to have the courage years ago to decide on good causes, to find the money, and to come to the House of Commons to explain what major projects they proposed to support. Projects such as the magnificent one at the Louvre in France deserve support, but I should prefer hon. Members to debate them in the House.
The hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas) referred to the development of the new and burdensome industry of advisers and consultants, who assist local authorities and others to make lottery bids. Applicants are encouraged to shape their bid to make it more attractive to those who might provide the money, and advisers even encourage institutions to reorganise and restructure, so that they are more likely to be an acceptable bidder. Many bidders spend good money to reshape themselves, and that dead money is of value to no one.
If we are to have a lottery, how should it be structured? The 1978 royal commission defined worthy causes as those which
however desirable, would not ordinarily be financed by Governmentbecause
they would distort the priorities the Government had set itself.220 The commentator, Sir Robin Day, said that the idea was worthy because it would support projects that would
bridge the gap between public funds and private philanthropy in those many areas of national life where additional expenditure may be described as desirable but not essential.My noble Friend Lord Baker, when Home Secretary, said of the money from the lottery:
I must emphasise that this will be additional funding. The Government do not intend that the money provided by the lottery should substitute for existing expenditure programmes.Following those principles, I cannot imagine a better cause than the Millennium Commission's sponsorship of the plan to redevelop the entrance to Portsmouth harbour and the Gosport area in my constituency. One does not have to stuff presents from Father Christmas back up the chimney because one does not believe in him. The plan is imaginative; it is a sweeping vision, with promenades for Gosport and for Portsmouth, new open and leisure areas and spectacular water features, which will be dominated by a tall, elegant tower reminiscent of a sailing spinnaker.
The planning stage has gone through, and building work will proceed later in the year. This £86 million project has £40 million of support from the lottery. I should have much preferred it to come out of public funds rather than lottery funds, but the project is exactly in accordance with the original test of additionality.
What is planned under the Bill? The siphoning off of £1 billion, which is in excess of the original expected lottery yield of £9 billion, has been justified by the Prime Minister, who said:
It is the people's lottery. It should address the people's priorities.On message as always, the Secretary of State for Social Security said:
It is the public's money, and the public want it spent on high-quality child care.I join my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), who attacked the "people's this, people's that" attitude; an increasing number of people find such extraordinarily cheap populism offensive.
The Government propose the New Opportunities Fund and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, and they will spend the money as they think fit. They are also tightening their grip on every aspect of expenditure of lottery funds. Clause 12 provides that the Secretary of State will give instructions about a strategic plan, which must be submitted to the Secretary of State for consultation, after which a body must
make such modifications to the draft as it considers necessary or expedient.As my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) said, the Secretary of State will tighten his control over the distribution of lottery funds. The Secretary of State will discover that, in the annual bilateral meetings with the Treasury, it in turn will tighten its control over him. The Treasury will lean on him, and, as always, it will win. The lottery will become a voluntary tax paid substantially by poorer people, and promoted by the Government as a game. I find that very sad.
§ Mr. Tom Levitt (High Peak)
There seems to be general agreement that the projected £9 billion of lottery income could be £10 billion, and there is even speculation 221 that the figure will be higher. I hope that my colleagues on the Front Bench will not be too perturbed, and will not get their statisticians to recalculate their projection when they discover that I am yet another hon. Member who has never bought a lottery ticket in his life. I am £176 better off than anyone who has bought one ticket a week. My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble) said that she has won more than £50 on the lottery. If she had bought a ticket a week, she would now be £120 out of pocket.
By not paying that £176, I have deprived the good causes of only £40 over the three and a bit years that the lottery has been in operation. That would have been spread among all the different good causes in the lottery structure. I am not being sanctimonious when I say that I have given considerably more than £40 to good causes in that period, with the added advantage that, for every pound I have given, the good cause has had £1-worth of benefit.
I had some gut sympathy with the arguments of the hon. Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers), but they were the arguments of four years ago. They were pertinent to the establishment of the lottery, but not to the position now. The lottery is well established, and is undoubtedly successful by any measure. We must move forward, and no one except the hon. Gentleman seriously wants to go back four years to a time when we did not have a lottery.
I noted that the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) said that being a millionaire can damage one's health. Perhaps she was referring to some of her hon. Friends.
The arguments of the hon. Member for Gosport tell us something about the way in which the lottery is operated. Concerns have been expressed about under-age gambling, the promotion of gambling, the size of the profits made by Camelot and the size of its directors' pay packets, and the damage that may have been done to charitable giving. My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) said that the Football Trust had lost about 60 per cent. of its funding, although it may now have got that back. Many other charities will have got their funding back, but some will not, and we must give them consideration.
§ Mr. Lansley
The hon. Gentleman referred to concerns about the pay of the people at Camelot who run the lottery. Does he subscribe to those concerns, and, if so, why? The good causes do not lose, regardless of the level of their pay. The Treasury does not lose any duty, and the players do not lose on prizes. The pay of its directors is a matter between Camelot and its shareholders.
§ Mr. Levitt
That was not the view of the previous Government when the Greenbury committee reported on excessive salaries. They should have heeded its recommendations.
There are also concerns about the size of the payouts. The huge roll-over figures suggest that there is some scope for putting limits on prizes. The highest payouts could be reduced without lessening the attraction of the lottery to those who participate, and the money could be used to supplement the donations to good causes.
We shall deal with those problems, and we shall continue to ensure that the lottery is run according to the highest ethical standards. Those who have received lottery 222 funding in the past three years have felt the benefit. The Bill provides massive potential benefit from the new funds and from the existing good causes.
I am one of the vice-chairs of the all-party group on the voluntary sector. It has met leaders of the National Lottery Charities Board and has discussed funding from the lottery as it affects the voluntary sector and charities. The group has made submissions as part of the consultation process.
During the year before I entered the House, I took soundings from the voluntary sector and charities in my High Peak constituency about how they operate, what problems they have and how they could be best addressed. Funding from the lottery loomed large in their calculations. They were concerned that only 6p in every pound given to the lottery was going to each good cause. They were particularly concerned that there should be transparency in funding decisions. They wanted decision making to be decentralised, and judgments on funding to be made by their peers rather than by faceless bureaucrats on high. The strategic planning required by the Bill will provide opportunities for greater transparency and decentralisation.
I share the concerns of my hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mrs. Organ) about the comparative lack of success of bids from rural areas. Although we have had some successes in my constituency, the Peak District rural deprivation forum, which is a worthy cause, has had three bids rejected. Organisations that fail to win lottery funds should be given feedback, so that it is easier for them to submit future bids. I understand that that provision, not hitherto available, is anticipated in the Bill, and that is very welcome.
I want to raise the issue of co-ordination between different bids made to different good causes that involve a particular project. The Buxton opera house in my constituency is looking for both heritage and arts funding. Theatre projects have to be planned well in advance, because the theatre may have to close, and may not be able to put on performances. Changes to disabled access need to be made without disturbance to audiences. Co-ordination between the different funding bodies has proved difficult, and the original timetable has not been followed. The evidence suggests that co-ordination between the funding bodies needs to be better.
Another subject raised by the voluntary sector organisations, especially the small bodies, was the huge amount of time and effort required to construct a bid. Some organisations almost cease to do the job that they were set up to do because one or two employees or those who are at the heart of the organisations spend their time putting a bid together, rather than getting on with their work. I hope that that problem can be addressed.
The Government have already made some changes, and there have been local initiatives to assist organisations that are seeking grants. In my area, High Peak borough council and Derbyshire county council have designated officers to advise organisations on the putting together of bids. In addition to assistance, they provide an assessment of possible success and application forms. Derbyshire council was strapped for cash a couple of years ago, but it was able to place a substantial sum in an account to support organisations with matched funding.
The gearing of some elements of lottery funding is such that, if there is no core funding, there can be no matched funding. However, a small contribution from another 223 source, such as a local authority, can enable a bid to attract considerable matched funding and allow a project to go ahead. That is a good use of public funds, and it allows more investment in the services that people require. It has proved successful, and it highlights a problem that hon. Members have mentioned. It is that many areas have low lottery funding because they had difficulty putting together matched funding to make a bid. Matched funding ensures a greater chance of success.
I am pleased to see the abolition of the minimum grant, and I welcome the practice that started in January of permitting open-ended bid periods, so that organisations can make bids when they are ready, rather than having to abide by an imposed, artificial and arbitrary timetable.
I should like to deal with two issues that were raised by Opposition Members. I mentioned one of them in my intervention on the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude), when I spoke about additionality, a concept which is easier to understand when viewed in terms of substitution. I gave as an example the funding that will be provided to train teachers on information technology for the new millennium. There is a world of difference between substitute funding for day-to-day, in-service or pre-service training, and training on information technology. Substitution in the former case would replace Government and local authority provision.
Information technology provides new opportunities for schools, and the national lottery may grant funds for investment in the internet and in the hardware that is required to access it. A huge one-off investment in training teachers over a short time in addition to the ordinary requirements of teacher training is not substitution: it is additionality.
There is an alternative to such funding, but local authorities find it difficult to take on big, one-off, new commitments. In any case, it would not be possible through the current local authority funding process, even if we wished to do it that way, for local authorities to spend large amounts on the training of teachers in high-technology skills. In such situations, one-off, intensive lottery funding is justified.
The second issue is strategic planning. Clause 12 puts into effect what the Secretary of State has said. I noted what he said. He said that he was issuing letters today on new directions for funding that would take it away from the capital and revenue debate and towards social value, people, access, children and young people. It will be a move towards a fairer geographical spread, and will include in-kind funding and sustainable development.
Those are the criteria which my right hon. Friend has set, and it is right that strategic planning should relate to them. The funding bodies will be told, "Here are the criteria for funding. How do you plan to meet them?" That is certainly not political intervention in individual lottery bids. It changes the direction of the framework along the lines that we have made plain all along.
As I have said, the results of the lottery so far are worth celebrating, and there will be a great deal more to celebrate in future. I welcome the fact that the first sod was turned last week on the Tideswell sports centre, which is a £1 million investment in a Derbyshire village. The Pavilion gardens in Buxton are well on the way to being refurbished, and the lake will be revitalised. Some brass bands in my constituency have received new funding. They include the Fairfield brass band, of which I have the honour to be an honorary vice-president.
224 Like the case quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt), a furniture project in my constituency has had lottery funding. It did not receive as much as the one in her constituency, but it supports a valuable new initiative, which not only recycles furniture and passes it to people who need it, but provides many training opportunities. Funding for Glossop women's aid and the award of another couple of winning bids were announced last week, and they are welcome.
Buxton is an historic town, and we shall seek heritage funding for three of its local buildings—the opera house, the Crescent and the former Devonshire royal hospital. Those are magnificent buildings with a high architectural value, but perhaps the more important aspect of the funding is that it will be for what happens in the buildings. The hospital will become vacant in the middle of next year, and we seek a sensitive and publicly accessible use for it. If anyone has any good ideas, I should be pleased to hear them. It has the largest existing dome in the country.
I applaud the Bill, and not just for the reasons that I have given. Hon. Members have spoken about NESTA and the New Opportunities Fund, and about the commitment, repeated time and again in the consultation documents, that there will be no substitution. We are debating additional funding.
§ Mr. Gareth R. Thomas
Does my hon. Friend welcome as I do the comments by the former Cabinet Minister William Waldegrave that were published in The Daily Telegraphon 23 March? He described NESTA as a welcome, imaginative and wise project. Does my hon. Friend further agree that that contrasts markedly with the grudging and mealy-mouthed attitude of Opposition Members, and that, just as electoral defeat has improved William Waldegrave's attitude, a period of defeat might improve the attitude of Conservative Members?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)
Order. The hon. Gentleman should not make another speech.
§ Mr. Levitt
I shall merely say that it looks as though the wrong half of the Conservative party failed to get re-elected last year. My hon. Friend cites the good example of NESTA in connection with additionality—if it is so important for the Government to get involved, why did not the previous Government do so?
I look forward to the Bill's unhampered passage through the House, and its rapid evolution into the establishment—yes, I use the phrase again—of a true people's lottery, which is what we intend to have.
§ Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)
The hon. Member for High Peak (Mr. Levitt) and I share a common interest in sport, although I do not agree with some of what he has just said. We have both been trying to get ready for the coming cricket season and, although we are not trying to be the first-class athletes whom the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas) was talking about, I hope that we have some profitable and hard-hitting partnerships when the season gets under way.
225 The hon. Member for High Peak may not have realised that he was on dangerous ground when he referred to my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) and her comments about millionaires. Perhaps he did not realise how much hilarity he caused us—
§ Fiona Mactaggart
I am sorry to intervene, but I watched the hilarity, and I have to say that it is very irritating when the only thing to which Conservative Members will respond is the amount of money with which one is born. Since I was elected to the House, there are two matters on which I have been lobbied by the sort of people among whom I was born and brought up—one is the defence of their right to hunt furry foxes, and the other is the defence of their right to be overpaid consultants to bodies that have been milking the lottery until now, but which will not be able to do so in future.
§ Mr. Hawkins
The extraordinary thing is that I had not mentioned the hon. Lady. On another occasion, she might wait until she has been mentioned before she intervenes; it really is a case of:
The lady protests too much, methinks.I shall look back for a moment to the time when my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke), the former Secretary of State for National Heritage, moved the Second Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill just over five years ago. Reading Hansard from that period is particularly instructive.
Perhaps the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons might like to reflect on the importance of revisiting subjects about five years after they first come up, because one of the most fascinating things about that Second Reading debate was that when my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster had been on his feet for only a few minutes, the first intervention that he took was from the Minister for Sport, who was then the hon. Member for Newham, North-West. The hon. Gentleman asked:
What assurances can the Secretary of State give the House that the money from a national lottery, if one is instituted, will not be used to replace central Government funding for a number of the areas that he has designated? If the Government no longer publish their forward plans for funding the arts, how can we ever know whether they have taken the national lottery money into consideration when making a settlement for the arts and other areas?"—[Official Report, 25 January 1993; Vol. 217, c. 715.]I am tempted to say that the Minister was then just a humble and radical Back Bencher, but, after further consideration, I have to say that he was never that humble, although he was absolutely right to say what he did. His long experience of this place had made him aware of the rapacity of the Treasury, and he raised the very concerns about additionality that we have raised again tonight.
If hon. Members look back to that debate in 1993 and to the entire Committee proceedings, they will find that hon. Member after hon. Member from what was then the Opposition was pressing the Government about additionality and its sacrosanct nature. The vast majority of those Labour Members are now either Ministers or Whips, apart from the then hon. Member for Oldham, Central and Royton who, sadly, could not find a Labour seat to fight.
226 I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) for piloting the original Bill through its Committee stage. He was in the Chamber earlier today, and I know that he has taken a great interest in these proceedings. I add my recognition of the work that he did to the tributes that have already been paid to my right hon. Friends the Members for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), for Cities of London and Westminster and for South-West Surrey.
The fact that the Government are undermining the principle of additionality in the Bill is of particular concern to the distributive bodies. My particular concern, as the Minister well knows, is about sport. At this stage, I must apologise to him and to my hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) for the fact that, because of a long-standing commitment to constituents, I shall not be here for all the winding-up speeches, although I hope to hear some of them and will certainly read them with great care in Hansard.
The Minister will be aware that the English Sports Council has expressed particular concern about the proposals. It said that it was important that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recognised that the new commitment—the New Opportunities Fund—would impact on the English Sports Council by reducing the percentage share allotted to sport. It went on to say that although the White Paper confirmed that the existing good causes would receive the same amount as envisaged when the lottery was originally established, it would none the less result in an estimated downturn of approximately £40 million per annum to English sport compared with what had been received to date.
The council was further aware that, on examination, it was clear that lotteries in other countries had tended to start by bringing unique new resources to areas such as sport, but then permitted that position to be eroded. The council urged the Government to restate their commitment to the long-term funding of sport through its share of lottery income.
I know that the Minister has a sincere commitment to sport—I had the opportunity to act temporarily as his shadow for a few weeks after the election. When he was an Opposition Back Bencher in the previous Parliament, we worked together on several matters. I do not for a moment query his personal commitment, but he is aware of the danger of the Treasury grabbing money.
Reading the Sports Council's words about the world-class performance programme shows why lottery support is crucial to support top performers. Each year, the English Sports Council carries out public attitude surveys. We have been talking about "the people", so it is important to note that the surveys show that three quarters of adults think it is important that the country achieves international sporting success; seven out of 10 adults think it is important that lottery money is spent helping the country achieve international sporting success; and nine out of 10 adults who think international sporting success is important also think it is important that lottery funding should be spent helping the country achieve that success.
The summer Olympics are seen as the most important event in which the country should achieve success, followed closely by world championships in many sports and by the Paralympics. Again, the Minister knows that I have been involved, as he has, in much fund raising for sport for the disabled, especially Paralympic athletes. 227 The Minister and I agree that many more people care about sport than care about politics. When we are talking about lottery money being spent on sport, we must remember that that is what people who might not be interested in our debates do care about. As everyone acknowledges, there is a continuing and increasing financial need for additional support for our top British performers. That is highlighted by the concern about our falling performances at recent summer Olympics. In the past five games, the British Olympic placing has dropped successively from ninth place in Moscow in 1980 to 36th place in the medal table in Atlanta in 1996.
The lottery-funded world-class performance programme was launched by the previous Government on 14 November 1996, with the first awards announced the following spring after comprehensive consultation with national governing bodies and sports organisations, including the British Olympic Association and the Central Council of Physical Recreation. The Minister knows that that programme is strategically geared to support the nation's most talented sportsmen and sportswomen, to help them to win medals and trophies in international competition. To date, in the first year of the programme, some £23 million has been awarded to 30 sports, including £1.9 million for rowing, £2.26 million for athletics and £2 million for one of my favourite sports, swimming. To date, more than 1,622 athletes and performers have received support directly or indirectly from the lottery.
I echo the comments by many hon. Members on both sides of the House about the importance of supporting sport locally. My right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey mentioned her pleasure in the improvement of cricket nets at Grayswood in her constituency —I know that club well, because a cricket club that I played for used to have an annual tour and Grayswood was one of the teams that we played every year. I certainly welcome that, and congratulate the club on the success of its lottery bid.
Sports lottery bids in my constituency and others that I support have already been completed. One in particular involves a swimming pool that is to have total public access; it is based at the successful Tomlinscote county secondary school in my constituency. However, I am concerned that groups in all our constituencies may not succeed so easily in those bids and that cricket clubs, rugby clubs, swimming pools and many other sporting events will not receive support.
There is no doubt that our top international competitors recognise the importance of lottery support. For example, one of our medal winners, Paul Palmer, nearly retired from swimming after winning the silver medal for Great Britain in the 400 m freestyle final in Atlanta. He now acknowledges that lottery support, which provided for his training facilities, contributed substantially to his gold medal in last year's European championships in Seville. The four-man bobsleigh team that won a bronze medal at Nagano trained and won the race in a bobsleigh that was provided by a capital grant from the lottery. Such support is essential.
The Sports Council knows that its funding and the funding to individual athletes is likely to diminish as a result of the Government's proposals. I am particularly concerned about that. There are other concerns about the Government's proposals, many of which have been touched on by my right hon. and hon. Friends and which I do not intend to repeat, but they were perhaps summed 228 up by Lord Inglewood, who, in the debate on the Bill in another place, quoted my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey saying about the lottery:
It's only a matter of time before it is all used for nurses' pay."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1997; Vol. 584, c. 754.]The hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) mentioned that she was a nurse and explained that she supported the Government's proposals, particularly the way in which the money was going into the health service. We all want successful health and education services, but it was the Labour party that said time after time in opposition, "We must not allow substitution of money from the lottery for general taxation revenue."
§ Mr. Hawkins
I am coming to an end, so I will not give way to the hon. Lady again.
The Labour party pressed time and again to avoid the substitution of money from the lottery for general taxation revenue, in such sectors as health and education. Having called for bans to stop that happening, the Labour party is doing it itself. The Bill may contain some helpful things, but that is the foremost reason why the Government's main proposals undermine the additionality principle, which is greatly to be deplored. Labour said one thing in opposition and is doing something entirely different now that it is in government.
§ Mr. Jim Murphy (Eastwood)
I am pleased to participate in the debate. I have listened with interest to many of the comments by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I am particularly pleased to follow the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins), who made some interesting comments. He has an affinity with sport, which I share. However, I had not been aware that he had a keen interest only in swimming, because I understood from the records that he was also quite keen on running: in the build-up to the election, he ran from the marginal seat of Blackpool, South to the Tory safe seat of Surrey Heath.
§ Mr. Murphy
I have no idea. Blackpool, South has now changed hands and is a Labour seat.
I am unashamed to say that I participate in the lottery. I think that I have participated in almost every weekend draw except one, and I participate regularly in the midweek draw. I use the word "participant" instead of "player". Perhaps "gambler" is more appropriate, but I do not feel that "lottery player" is the appropriate term, as I do not believe that participation in the lottery is a sport. Support from the lottery should go towards sport, but the lottery is not a sport, so I am a participant or a gambler in the lottery.
I represent Eastwood, which is one of the 50 areas throughout the United Kingdom that receive the least in terms of the sums granted through the National Lottery Charities Board. I hope that the debate is not simply about right hon. and hon. Members who feel that their 229 constituencies may have had a raw deal in lottery allocation and who complain about that. The debate is about much more than simply arguing the case for one's constituency and for many of the worthy causes, charitable and otherwise, there.
However, that so far this evening, five or six hon. Members have identified the fact that their constituencies are at the bottom of the league table of lottery allocation. My constituency is no different. However, like many others, it benefits from lottery grant allocations to constituencies that it borders. It is on the outskirts of Glasgow. Although Eastwood and the local authority of East Renfrewshire may have a low place in the league table of lottery allocation, many of their citizens benefit as a consequence of the larger grants to the greater conurbation of Glasgow. That point should not be missed. The tables themselves miss that qualitative analysis of the benefit that people gain.
Why does Eastwood have a low place in the league table? There are two major reasons. One is that the constituency is made up of large areas of prosperous communities. It is a new community where, in some cases, perhaps a charity ethos has not yet fully developed, because there is a regular turnover of people who come and go. Because of that sense of prosperity, schools, Churches and other groups have an opportunity to raise their own charitable funds, rather than rely on the lottery board. Perhaps that explains why the part of the constituency that is relatively prosperous is a low attainer in respect of lottery grants.
The second part of the constituency is less prosperous, but has nevertheless been less capable of capturing much-needed lottery grants. It is partly because of the perceived distance between those who wish to gain funds and those who distribute the funds: the perceived inaccessibility of the process and the procedure.
I welcome the idea in the Bill of reducing complexity; of minimising the gap between those who seek lottery funding and those who provide it; of reducing that feeling of distance and perhaps increasing the sense of ownership of the whole process and procedure among people in the less prosperous areas in my constituency. I am not arguing that we have to dumb down the entire process to make it entirely simplistic, because that would be patronising, but we must strike a balance between qualitative information gathering and the idea that one has to have support from a lobbying organisation, access to solicitors, previous experience or expert advice.
Hon. Members throughout the country, regardless of which party they represent, have that experience. I have boys' football clubs in my constituency that perform very well in their leagues, but which could nevertheless benefit from moderate increased funding through the lottery. When I suggest to the volunteers who run those boys' football clubs that they should seek lottery grants, they say that they do not have time and do not understand the procedure. That is primarily because they are volunteers and do not have access to lobbyists or to expensive solicitors. That is the case for clubs at Busby and Barrhead.
Earlier in the debate, it was suggested that Members of Parliament should provide such advice. That is a valid argument. As a new Member of Parliament with a keen 230 interest in the issue, I should like advice on how to facilitate that. We need to be trained, to ensure that we can advise our constituents on the most effective way to gain lottery funding.
Some Labour Members have admitted not only to not being regular participants in the lottery draws, but to having some trepidation about even filling in a lottery ticket. If some Members of Parliament have difficulty in filling in a lottery ticket, it would be surprising if there were not greater numbers who would find it difficult to fill in a lottery grant application form. If Members of Parliament are to advocate and champion broader participation and increased access to lottery funds, it would be helpful for us to receive information about how we can help.
During a debate on the Scotland Bill last week, I admitted that I was a keen follower of gambling in the recreational sense. I mentioned some horses whose names symbolised Conservative success or failure in Scotland. I hope that you entertain me in this argument, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because there is a logical train of thought running through to the lottery. The horses that I mentioned were—
§ Mr. Murphy
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that encouragement. A horse called Parliamentarian was ridden by my namesake, Mr. Murphy. I said that the only factor that would prevent me from gambling on it was the presence of another horse in the race called Mr. Sleazy. On the same day, there was another horse called Blue Desert. I was heckled by a sedentary Conservative Member—not the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) on that occasion — about how the horses performed. I should like to inform the House that they came first and second.
That was an unusual way for me to pick horses and predict the outcome of a race. With that experience in mind, I shall inform the House of my lottery numbers, in anticipation of a similar outcome.
§ Mr. Oliver Heald (North-East Hertfordshire)
The hon. Gentleman did not make it clear which horse came first and which came second. Will he clarify that?
§ Mr. Murphy
I would not intentionally mislead the House by trying to offer which way in the forecast they came round. The hon. Gentleman will know that if he had put on a reverse forecast, it would not matter which way round the horses came in, because the money would still be paid out on first and second.
In the hope of continuing that new quirk of fate in prediction, I shall tell the House my lottery numbers. I see that the hon. Member for New Forest, West has his pen ready. The numbers are: 7, 8, 17, 18, 30 and 44. I have selected those numbers religiously since the start of the lottery. If the hon. Gentleman wins the lottery this week, I shall expect at least a half share. I have been wonderfully successful so far. I have won with those numbers three times. Hon. Members will understand from the fact that I am still here that I did not win the jackpot. On three separate occasions, I have won the princely sum of £10. I hold out hope for future success.
231 I welcome the Bill. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides are aware of the perceived imbalance and London bias in the distribution of lottery money. I understand that there is a need for investment in central London, because London is the capital. However, my constituents perceive an imbalance towards London and a proximity between those who receive the funds and those who distribute them. I am glad to see details in the Bill of ways of improving the awarding of grants through a strategy based on need and policy directions by the Secretary of State. I should like further details tonight or in Committee on how that will operate.
Conservative Members have made some unusual comments about cronyism. That is strange, coming from a party which tried to create a quango state based on cronyism. We shall take no lessons from them. There is understandable cynicism in the country because of the previous Government's performance in huge areas of public life. There will be genuine concern that we should not indulge in cronyism.
I also welcome the opportunity of greater proactivity. Rather than awaiting applications, we can initiate or solicit them. I have mentioned the volunteers in my constituency who perform valuable tasks, often with very little thanks. If they were encouraged, they would get involved in the process, but they lack the initial spark. Perhaps it is my responsibility as their Member of Parliament to provide it.
A number of organisations in Eastwood and east Renfrewshire—as in other parts of the country—have failed in their applications because of a technicality or because of a lack of clear analysis of what they wanted to do with the money. I should welcome more detailed feedback and clarification on why certain bids do not succeed. My constituents would then know why they had not been successful and how they could improve their bid for a future application. That would be appropriate not just for the bowling clubs, rugby clubs and tennis clubs at Crofthead, Shanks and Whitecraigs in my constituency, but for organisations that are partially successful—or even those that are completely successful, to enable them to repeat their success.
I should like to mention two organisations from my constituency; one because it is unusual and the other because of the brilliant work that it does. The first is Wummin Drummin. Having grown up in the same city as me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will understand the name of that organisation. For those who have not lived in Glasgow, Wummin Drummin is ladies playing musical instruments. It exists to enable mothers on low incomes to become involved in the arts and performing with musical instruments. The organisation plays a great role in the community life of Barrhead.
The other successful organisation is the Eastwood mental health forum. Those who experience mental difficulties and those who care for them very much welcome that lottery funding. Those organisations and others—all too few—in my constituency that have been successful in their bids would like continued feedback on why they were successful and how they and organisations of a similar ilk can continue to be successful.
Before I address two areas that do not directly relate to the Bill, I shall refer to the New Opportunities Fund. Feedback on that in my constituency has been positive. Conservative Members have said that it simply replaces 232 public expenditure and that general taxation should be used. That is not a coherent argument, on the basis that the Conservatives failed to provide so many of the opportunities that the new fund will set about providing. It will radically transform the lives of so many people.
Much comment has already been made about child care opportunities and healthy living centres. Such expenditure and investment might not be made and such opportunities might not be provided without the New Opportunities Fund. I welcome the fund, and my constituents welcome it. If all hon. Members were honest, they would recognise that our constituents welcome the imaginative approach to using what is, after all, the people's money to target the people's priorities.
I now come to the role of sport. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath, who I understand had to attend a constituency engagement, talked about the role of sport and commented on the view of the English Sports Council on the legislation. Today, I have been in contact with the Scottish Sports Council. I discussed the Bill with it, as I did with many organisations, including voluntary organisations, in Scotland.
I do not wish to set the Scottish Sports Council against the English Sports Council in any way—heaven forfend, I have already created competition between Scottish and English Members of Parliament, by helping to organise a football game between the two groups at Wembley on 11 May. However, perhaps that is not competition enough, as the Scots are guaranteed success at Wembley for the first time in more than a decade.
The comments of the Scottish Sports Council are not markedly different from the concerns expressed by the English Sports Council in respect of priorities and the role of sport in the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. I echo the comments made to me by the Scottish Sports Council, with which I know the Minister will agree, that it is crucial that, as we continue to invest in science, technology and the arts, sport is not in any way forgotten. In many people's minds, sport is a form of art anyway.
The New Opportunities Fund provides a great opportunity to promote the role of sport. I should welcome comments either this evening or in Committee about the role of after-school clubs and healthy living centres. After-school clubs can be about homework, helping in the community or simply schoolwork—all of which are important—but they can also provide an excellent extra-curricular opportunity, to encourage young people to become involved in a sport in the safety of the school and the community, which is crucial if we are to invest in stars of the future. I hope that healthy living centres profile the importance of personal fitness and the role that sport provides. I should welcome a commitment from the Minister about the absolute importance of sport in all those areas. With such assurances, the concerns of the Scottish Sports Council and, indeed, of the English Sports Council, can be overcome.
Finally—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] This is the first time that I have heard Conservative Members say that during one of my speeches.
Although the issue of international grants is not directly addressed in the Bill, it is important for the House to declare its opinion on it. Organisations based in the United Kingdom that work abroad have the opportunity to access grants, and it is crucial that that continues. In a previous 233 incarnation, I combined the concept of international aid, grants and support from the arts when I was fortunate enough to organise a tour of a play throughout Scotland, which supported international aid projects, especially in southern Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola. In its very, very small way, that was helpful to the small number of people who were fortunate to gain from it. That is an example of art dovetailing well with international aid.
I should like to put it on record that the concept of British lottery funds supporting other countries is crucial. The ethos of Live Aid and Comic Relief should be maintained in the distribution of lottery funds. In preparing for the debate, I took the opportunity to ask about some of the grants that are provided for British organisations that work internationally. Many such grants are consistent with the charity drive of Live Aid, Comic Relief and many other organisations, such as Actionaid and the many reputable organisations of which hon. Members on both sides of the House are patrons. The concept of providing primary education in Mozambique is consistent with the idea of Live Aid and Comic Relief, and the desires of people in the UK. Providing health care in Kenya is important, as are grants to Actionaid that support education in Uganda.
Such an approach to lottery funding and support is in keeping with the British spirit of giving. In that spirit, I very much welcome the Bill and hope that it creates once and for all the people's lottery, which meets the people's needs.
§ Mr. Christopher Fraser (Mid-Dorset and North Poole)
I shall confine my comments to the Bill rather than giving a Cook's tour of my extra-curricular activities, as the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Murphy) did. I should tell him, however, that I have just won a bet on the length of his speech. If he would like to exercise his talents in other ways, I strongly recommend him to join the all-party racing and bloodstock group. I would welcome him willingly, considering the tips that he has given us in the debate.
No one questions the success of the national lottery. More than 94 per cent. of the adult population have played it. More people regularly take part in the lottery than voted in the general election. Labour Members who have said otherwise and have commented on the general election should be reminded of that; life did not begin on 1 May.
Not only has the lottery become a national institution, but it has a major impact on the quality of life in Britain by raising significant sums for the five original good causes, strengthening community ties by improved access to cultural and leisure activities, and promoting economic regeneration. According to a recent report by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the lottery has created and safeguarded 13,000 jobs. Of course, it boosts retail trade, too.
At the end of 1997, 22 national lottery awards had been made to projects in my constituency. Since then, a major award in excess of £85,000 has been made to Dorset Wildlife Trust to acquire 100 acres of heathland at Upton, which will be managed as a nature reserve. Smaller grants made to charities and to heritage, sports and arts budgets have benefited from the £4.9 billion that has been raised for good causes.
234 I cannot say whether any of the 544 new millionaires created since the lottery began live in my constituency, but I can say that thousands of my constituents enjoy a flutter, and an occasional win. They embrace the principle that the national lottery was set up to restore our heritage and to promote projects that will become a source of national pride.
The Government are happy to pay tribute to the great success of the national lottery. I suppose that it would be churlish to say that the lottery is yet another Conservative achievement which they are now happy to embrace. Now, however, they propose to tamper with it and undermine it, as they have with other national institutions. To them, making things new seems as important as making things work.
Yet again, the initiative is Treasury led. Proceeds from the lottery will be diverted to Treasury so-called good causes, in addition to the money that it already receives from ticket sales, because the Government do not have the political will to raise taxes.
The Bill will turn the national lottery into a state lottery. Mainstream public spending projects will now be funded in that way, despite the Prime Minister's affirmation in the White Paper, "The People's Lottery". That has been referred to many times, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) has already quoted from it, so I shall not do so again.
Thus, important principles of the national lottery are overturned at a stroke. Despite the Secretary of State's earlier comments, I am sceptical of his assurances about the additionality principle. The principle that lottery funds should be distributed by bodies operating independently of Government is in jeopardy. A proportion of the local initiatives that strengthen communities will be replaced.
That is another example of the Government's determination to centralise power, under the cloak of the description, "the people's". As has been said, that phrase has been used in many other areas throughout the world, especially in the eastern European communist regimes, so it is interesting to hear Labour Ministers and their official spokesmen using that phrase in the context of the present Government.
It is no good the Government's claiming that the New Opportunities Fund initiatives are optional or additional to the initiatives currently funded from the public purse. Despite what the Secretary of State said, I believe that, as my hon. Friends have already said, they fall within the normal Government spending responsibilities of health, education and the environment—all areas in which the Labour party, which now forms the Government, made manifesto pledges before the election.
Spending programmes are constantly evolving, but, even applying the most creative accounting, the Government cannot rightly transfer to the national lottery the cost of such evolution. If the only changes being introduced are new social aspects of spending programmes, such as the training of teachers and librarians in information technology, the Government are not doing their job properly if they fund them from the lottery. I had intended to say that that was the thin end of the wedge, but I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke), who has already said that it is the thick end of the wedge.
235 I question some specific aspects of the Bill. For example, what will the healthy living centres be? I have written down several ideas for what they might be, but we must ask how they will compete with the services already offered by the national health service. Do they represent another way in which to reduce the expenditure of taxpayers' money on GP services, pharmacists' charges and preventive medicine? I look forward to hearing the Minister's response later. A network of such centres is promised—a strategic plan, no doubt, for the Secretary of State promises to acquire the power to exercise greater control over how lottery money is spent, not only on its pet projects, but geographically.
I admit that the south-west has done well, and my area has participated in that; 10.3 per cent. of awards, excluding countrywide awards, have come the south-west's way. That is less than the proportion for London, of course. None the less, the awards made in the south-west represent a tribute to the people who have devoted time, effort and imagination to the submission of applications for funds.
I have first-hand experience of that. I was a district councillor before becoming a Member of Parliament, and I applied for a lottery grant for the improvement of a council estate in my ward that had been neglected for 55 years while it had had a Labour councillor. I am pleased to say that in the first year after I was elected, we applied for a grant. With great success, we achieved what we set out to do on the second occasion, with support from local people who cared about where they lived. That experience is relevant to the Bill.
If, as I suspect, the Secretary of State wishes to tackle what some in the House see as a regional imbalance in the distribution of lottery money, he is in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water and getting rid of the diversity inherent in the voluntary and community initiatives that come forward.
The national lottery was set up to stimulate community activity by creating opportunities for local people to form groups to apply for grants and find matching funding. That opportunity has been seized and turned to best advantage throughout the country. It is interesting to note that most of the grants go to London, which temporarily has a majority of Labour-held seats. Any Labour Member who says that he or she does not see the benefits of the lottery is misinformed.
Now, it seems, the Government believe that local initiatives can be imposed from the centre. The lottery sports fund has committed £680 million to 2,500 capital projects, resulting in enormous benefits. More than 90 per cent. of all the schemes approved have been for community-level projects, most of which have cost less than £100,000. That is laudable.
The key to ensuring equitable distribution has been the adoption of two policies—the priority areas initiative, through which increased support is given to the most deprived areas of greatest social need, and the school community sport initiative, through which increased support is given to school projects that also provide guaranteed access for the local community out of school hours.
Despite what the Secretary of State said, independent monitoring of the first 320 completed projects has shown that for sport, investment in bricks and mortar is really investment in people. For example, participation by the 236 under-18s has tripled, as has participation by women, and participation by people with disabilities has doubled. Schools are opening up for the community out of traditional hours, playing time has been extended and coaching opportunities have been increased.
In my constituency, the community in Alderney is looking forward to the opening of a splendid new sports centre at the Martin Kemp Welch school, which incorporates a competition-sized swimming pool, a trampoline facility and a centre of excellence for gymnastics. That magnificent development at a school making great strides to improve its image within the community that it serves—I am pleased to say that I had a preview of the facilities when I visited the school last month—has been built with a grant from the national lottery equating to £2.5 million. It will be open to the community out of school hours and it will provide a much-needed centre for local people, young, old and disabled alike.
That lottery application, submitted by the borough of Poole before the establishment of the school community sport initiative, will benefit an area much in need of such facilities. In other parts of the country, by using deprivation indices as a measure of assessment, the Sports Council has been able to ensure that the areas of most need achieve lottery support. Surely that is more important than pure geography, in the form of a map covered in equidistant coloured pins, which seems to be what is proposed.
By permitting the distributing bodies to solicit bids, and requiring them to produce strategic plans, the Government not only increase their own power, but discourage the initiative of local people, which has been the backbone of the lottery's success in supporting grassroots sport at community level.
Demand for grants from the lottery sport fund exceeds supply by a ratio of 4:1. The financial instructions to the fund stipulate how much information the distributors have to collect, the partnership funding that applicants have to provide, and how the distributing bodies are to monitor lottery awards.
That approach has worked well, but now the Secretary of State wants to move the goalposts. He seeks to solicit applications, although there is no shortage of applications. Awards will be made on a whim and a fancy, irrespective of whether there is community support for a project.
The present model of awards is transparent and, I believe, free from accusations of political gerrymandering. It would be interesting to hear how the Minister—neither he nor any of his ministerial colleagues is present in the Chamber—intends that positive characteristic to continue.
The national lottery has exceeded expectations. The good causes expected to benefit, as they have, from public enthusiasm and support, and to receive their fair share of the £1 billion excess that is projected over the next seven years of the lottery's operation; not least, they expected the Government to keep their election promise that the New Opportunities Fund would be introduced to replace the millennium fund.
Now, we are presented with a sixth good cause, as well as the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, so everybody's relative share will fall. Good causes will lose out. The Secretary of State tried to talk 237 his way out of that broken promise by suggesting that they will get at least as much as they would have done had the national lottery been less successful.
The White Paper said:
although the existing good causes will be receiving a smaller share of lottery revenue, the success of the lottery means that they can still plan on receiving the same amount as envisaged when the lottery was set up.The House should dwell on this point: in essence, the Secretary of State is saying to the good causes that they will get less in the future, but that they should try to forget that, because the Government expect them to get the same amount as was predicted when the lottery was still a paper concept. He is telling them, "Close your eyes, forget the experience of the most successful lottery in the world and be grateful for getting less."
Some people use words to illuminate their message; others to emasculate it. I shall leave it to the House to judge into which category Ministers—none is present—have fallen tonight. Were the matter not so serious, it would be laughable. The Heritage Lottery Fund, in particular, fears for its ability to undertake larger projects in future, when it could be considered the very essence of the lottery's existence to restore our heritage and create projects of which Britain will be proud.
Somehow, the Government manage to blame the people for their reforms, suggesting that responses to the consultation exercise represent the views of a cross-section of society or of those who play each week. Many hon. Members have talked about that, and, when pushed, Government Members have not been able to put their finger on the figures. In fact, only 92 individuals took the trouble to reply. The support of the 496 lobby groups, local authorities and schools, all of which stand to gain from the Bill's proposals, apparently gives the Government a mandate to meddle and to blunder.
The Secretary of State said that he sees one of his roles as "restoring public confidence" in the national lottery—"the people's lottery—"but the numbers playing and the amount awarded to good causes have never been greater. All the evidence points to the fact that the people are happy with their lottery.
The Secretary of State is playing politics with the lottery. He will be seen as the great plunderer of the 20th century—dare I say a Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the people to supplement and pay for the Government? If he gets his way, and the Bill is enacted, he may find that his abiding contribution is to be remembered as the Minister who undermined confidence in the most successful lottery in the world.
§ Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East)
I am happy to follow the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Mr. Fraser), because it gives me the chance to take on some of the big mythologies that Opposition Members have peddled tonight. They suggest that redistributing lottery money to the people and getting it down to smaller organisations that do not have the necessary resources at present to back up their applications by matching funding will benefit only the Government and not the people.
I do not understand how Conservative Members can continually peddle that logic; perhaps they hope that if they say it often enough, it will stick. The people know 238 that when we redistribute the lottery money in accordance with the Bill, we shall allow access to people who were denied it before.
The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole made great play about our heritage crumbling away. For 18 years, his party was responsible for our heritage and allowed it to crumble away. The previous Government used the lottery to do things that they were unable to do through their own policies because they had made such a mess of the economy.
The right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) spoke well. He spoke about the five original causes that were listed and that he thought were correct, but the Secretary of State informed us that, before the general election, the right hon. Gentleman himself talked about the possibility of using lottery money to bring teachers back into schools to teach sports. That was clearly an intention to move.
Why do we have to get into this ridiculous posturing, when we want simply to move sensibly from where we are to where we want to be? The three matters that are outlined to be added to the lottery's five functions—access, excellence and education—should be applauded. There is nothing wrong with trying to move in the right direction.
The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole suggests that we can give people absolutely more than they thought they would get, simply because there is more money in the coffers, but that it is somehow wrong to have another cause. When any funding or fundraising agency creates more money, we should not simply keep going on in the same way, giving more to the original ideas, when there are some new ideas to which the money can be applied.
If we are to get an estimated £10 billion up until the time when Camelot goes— or its licence is renewed—we should use it in a different way, and that is what we intend to do. The Bill and the White Paper set that out. The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole should have read the document: it tells us what healthy living centres are. They are new and important, and were not provided for in expenditure by the previous Government.
§ Mr. Lansley
In the same breath, the hon. Gentleman talks about the possibility of £10 billion being obtained for good causes from the lottery and speculates about Camelot losing its licence. What contribution does he think Camelot has made to the fact that we will get not the £8.8 billion that it forecast, but perhaps £10 billion or more? Perhaps he would like to give a bit of credit where it is due.
§ Mr. Connarty
The hon. Gentleman should have listened and responded to what I actually said. I corrected myself when I talked about when the Camelot licence runs out, and added that it might be renewed. If he looks at Hansard, he will see that I said, "or it is renewed". The licence may well be renewed. I do not want to be involved in a competition between Camelot and any other provider.
We will work on the basis set down in the White Paper and try to get the maximum amount for good causes, with efficiency, and Camelot could be the organisation to do that. I have no axe to grind with any organisation that 239 may run the lottery, but I applaud the fact that Camelot has bought out GTech and taken away some of the smell that surrounded its operation.
§ Mr. Fraser
You made reference to what I said about healthy living centres. If you were listening to my comments so carefully, perhaps you would like to stand up—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must sit down if I am on my feet. He should remember that he is addressing the Chair when he says "you".
§ Mr. Fraser
If the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Connarty) was listening so intently to my comments earlier—which I doubt—perhaps he would like to give a direct response to a couple of questions about the healthy living centres.
§ Mr. Connarty
I refer the hon. Gentleman to pages 14 and 15 of the White Paper and suggest that he reads it for himself.
It is important to see the new good cause for what it is: something additional that people want. They want what is being offered in health, education and the environment. They want the New Opportunities Fund, which has been applauded. To slight the 400 organisations that took the trouble to write in and may gain something for the people whom they represent or work with is to do down many good voluntary organisations that will benefit from the new use of the fund.
It is right to take the new direction that is on offer: to people and not to bricks and mortar. I want to put a couple of examples on the record, because it is worth letting people know. Many people think not that the lottery is doing anything wrong, but simply that it needs to do some other things.
I certainly applaud the Millennium Commission's decision to give £32 million to the canal link project, which will link the Forth and Clyde canals and open up the waterway once again from Grangemouth on the Forth in my constituency right across to Glasgow and the Clyde. It will also link the Union canal through an imaginative large wheel that will lift boats and barges into the Forth and Clyde canal. It will link Edinburgh to Glasgow. There is potential for 4,000 jobs in the long term, particularly in tourism and hospitality.
§ Mr. Connarty
I will not give way because I know that other hon. Members want to speak.
Such projects are imaginative and important for the economy. They are to be applauded. It is not a matter of saying that what is done, when it is done, is not being done well; it is that other things can be done. A good example is YOGI, the Youth of Grangemouth Initiative. It is a SOBAR—a soft drinks only bar, which was given lottery funding. It was thought up by young people, and is run by young people for the benefit of the young in Grangemouth, the main port in my constituency.
240 There is also Laurieston senior citizens' welfare hall, which has applied three times for lottery funding to do something with the hall. It is run by volunteers, purely on subscriptions and charity, for the older people in the village, who have not been able to get access to funding. It is important that the New Opportunities Fund gives such small organisations a chance of access.
§ Mr. Connarty
No, other hon. Members want to speak and I do not want to take up too much time.
It is important that such people get access. It is clear that the way in which the Government are looking at the lottery in the Bill, which we will debate in detail in Committee, will allow access and open up opportunities. There were many criticisms of the lottery, not necessarily for what it did, but for the structures that surrounded it. We are going to deal with regulation. The pressure on one Oflot regulator will be spread over a commission. That is to be applauded because it is what the people want. People are happy to see GTech leave Camelot. Perhaps people will reassess how Camelot works. The main thing is to give access to the money to the many places in Britain, many of which were mentioned today, that have not yet had access in proportion to their need or to what would be justified. Other important causes have taken much more of the money than people feel happy with.
I am sure that the constituents of Conservative Members feel the same way. It is disingenuous to pretend that they do not have constituents like mine who want a different distribution so that different causes get the money. I am sure that when the Bill is passed and we are running the lottery as we plan, Conservative Members will line up with their organisations to get access to the New Opportunities Fund, healthy living centres and after-school facilities, just as I will. It is time they stopped all this dog-in-the-manger, yah-boo politics and realised that we are trying to make the lottery better. We are not trying to steal from it for any purpose that would not be applauded by the public. Whether the Opposition like it or not, it is the people's lottery. I am not embarrassed by saying that. It is important that more people get some lottery money for the causes that they work for.
§ 9.2 pm
§ Mr. Damian Green (Ashford)
The Secretary of State said one unarguably right thing in his opening speech: the Bill symbolises the Government and all their works. I whole-heartedly endorse that because, apart from a few welcome touches around the edges, the salient facts about the Bill are that it is a centralising measure which takes power away from individuals and gives it to the Government; it is designed by and for the Treasury, not the people; and it relies on a huge gap between rhetoric and reality to try to make the political points that the Government seek to make by introducing it.
That point was well illustrated by many of the speeches of Labour Members. Several talked about the benefits of greater access to sport. I was especially interested by the contribution of the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), with his well-known enthusiasm for football and other sports, who gave a very guarded welcome to the Bill. I agree with his caution and concern, but he did not go far enough. All Labour Members who have pleaded 241 the cause of sport and agreed that the lottery has been good for it seem not to have noticed that the Bill is a direct hit on the interests of sport as well as of the arts, heritage and charities. It is designed to reduce the lottery resources available to the original good causes. Those who seek to pray in aid the Bill in support of those good causes are dead wrong.
§ Mr. Lansley
My hon. Friend listened with care to Labour Members. Did he notice that several of them admitted that they did not purchase lottery tickets? Does not that remind him that they are keen to decide how money should be spent but have not contributed to it? That is at odds with their claim to understand the priorities of the players of the lottery.
§ Mr. Green
It was ever the case that Labour Members were better at spending other people's money than buying their way to success.
One can admire the Secretary of State's ability as a performance artist. Keeping a straight face while trying to tell the House that this is not a convenient way for the Chancellor to indulge in some off-balance sheet spending requires true thespian abilities. He should apply for an Arts Council grant for his acting skills, but the Bill means that such grants will be more difficult to get.
The Secretary of State falls down, and his presentation lacks credibility, because the Bill fails the old fashioned duck test. If it looks like a duck, waddles and quacks, it is probably a duck. If the people were asked whether spending on schools and the health service is core public spending that should be funded by the Government, they would say yes. This spending is clearly mainstream public spending. It does not pass the duck test. The Government's tortuous attempts to claim that it meets the additionality principle patently go against common sense.
It is important to be clear where the Government are being most disingenuous, to use what I think is the parliamentary word for what I want to say. The first claim, which is particularly risible, is that their proposals put decision making further down the chain and devolve power and influence away from the centre to local communities. That is not slightly wide of the mark; the exact opposite is the truth.
According to the Bill, the New Opportunities Fund will distribute funds for initiatives
specified by the Secretary of State.It could not get much more centralist than that, and that is precisely what the Bill is meant to achieve. The Secretary of State will decide which initiatives should be supported by the fund. I beg to differ with what the Bill says will happen. In fact, as we all know, the initiatives would be specified by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, depending on the stage of the electoral cycle. That is only one example of where the Secretary of State is being disingenuous.
The Secretary of State also attempts to claim that the existing good causes—which have received widespread public assent in the four years since the lottery was introduced— will not suffer. That is a patent absurdity. The share which the good causes receive of the lottery funds will fall from 20 per cent. to 16⅔ per cent.—all of them except, by some deep coincidence, the good cause 242 which is being run personally by the Minister without Portfolio which, by processes of enormous analysis, has been kept at 20 per cent. That is a shrewd move by the Secretary of State and his ministerial team.
The reason why the Government are being disingenuous is the simple fact that we cannot spend the same pound twice. The pound that is being spent on the new good cause created by the Government will not now be spent on sport, arts or heritage. To attempt to claim that existing good causes will not suffer simply will not wash. That is not just because of what anyone in the House says—it will not wash because real sportspeople will suffer. People will make applications for grants that would have been given before, but which may not be given in future. Village halls will not be improved, and historic buildings will not be repaired. The areas of life where people now regard lottery money as important will be affected, and people will hold the Government responsible for that.
There will be more disappointment for applicants as time goes on, partly because of the increase in the awareness of the lottery and partly because the quality of bids has naturally improved as people have become more used to making applications. Originally, the Sports Council lottery fund was granting two out of three of the applications it received. Now, that figure has dropped to one in four, partly because it gets more applications and partly because the quality of applications has improved. Already, large numbers are being disappointed. Through the Bill, the Government will ensure that a larger proportion of people are disappointed.
That is disingenuous because the Government have suggested today that this is somehow a pain-free procedure—that we can create a sixth good cause, and that nice things will happen in schools and healthy living centres without anybody being hurt. That is patently not true, and the Government are being dishonest in claiming that it is.
§ Mr. Lansley
Earlier, my hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State to speculate on whether, in the view of the acting director general, GTech will be a fit and proper person to act as a service provider. If we follow through that hypothesis and if, as a result, lottery revenues were to be interrupted for a period and to fall below the £10 billion figure for good causes, the Secretary of State has given no assurance that the amount provided to each of the first five good causes would not fall below £1.8 billion.
§ Mr. Green
My hon. Friend raises a good point which I hope the Minister for Sport will address when he replies. It is a genuinely ticklish problem. We do not know what the acting director general will recommend. If he recommends that GTech should be thrown out of the lottery, clearly that will pose a severe danger to the revenue-raising capacity of the lottery. If he does not recommend that, all well and good. I want an assurance from the Minister that there will be no political interference in the decision by the acting director general.
I mentioned the Sports Council fund, and the Heritage Lottery Fund has suffered as well. There have been various sneering references to the Churchill papers, but most awards given by the Heritage Lottery Fund are small. A typical example from my constituency is the 243 Little Chart village hall. It is situated in a conservation area and, although it is not of major heritage merit, the parish council and the Heritage Lottery Fund believed that its repair would benefit the community. It received a grant of more than £13,000, which paid for 90 per cent. of the cost of repairs. The hall now provides an important meeting place for local groups. That is exactly the type of grant which, I am sure, all of us have had in our constituencies and have welcomed.
The Secretary of State also claimed that this is a long-term programme, but this is initiative-itis. The programmes will last for two or three years and, by the end of the third year, the bids under the New Opportunities Fund programme will be building up. However, there will then be a new Secretary of State who will be told by the Treasury that he needs new initiatives, and the existing ones are likely to wither on the vine.
The long-term effect on the good causes is equally serious. Once the percentage has been cut once, it can be cut again—the Government know that. I hope that the Minister will give the commitment asked for by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), that there will be no further cut in the percentage for a considerable time.
The Secretary of State's worst claim is that there is an extra £1 billion to play with, so it does not matter that money is being taken away from the existing good causes. The reason why some of my right hon. and hon. Friends feel strongly about that is the complete reluctance of any Labour Member to pay any tribute to Camelot for running an efficient lottery for the past four years. There is £1 billion extra for Ministers to dip their hands into, because we have had an extremely well-run national lottery. The Secretary of State managed to get his lips to pay tribute to the former Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), for setting up the lottery. [Interruption.] I am happy to accept the Minister's sedentary assurance that it was a genuine tribute. However, in this debate and previous discussion of the lottery in the House, it has been observable that Ministers have expressed nothing but contempt for and disparagement of Camelot.
I should be genuinely grateful if the Minister could bring himself to admit, with a genuine smile on his face, that Camelot—by and large—has done a good job, that the national lottery was not necessarily going to be a success and that one reason for its success has been the fact that it has been run by some efficient people.
§ Mr. Lansley
Does my hon. Friend agree that not only has Camelot already delivered £4.9 billion by way of revenue to good causes, compared to a forecast of slightly more than £4 billion, but it accepted the downside risk of, for example, penalties of £1 million a day if it did not deliver a successful national lottery on the day that it pledged in the contract, over a very short time scale? No doubt the Secretary of State is introducing a further risk of penalties—unlimited financial penalties, which were not in the contract that was entered into at the start of the franchise.
§ Mr. Green
That is absolutely right. The lottery is still a risky business, and it was especially risky four years ago. Of course, Guy Snowden had to go, and Camelot may well have been sensible to buy out the GTech share. 244 I do not believe that Opposition Members would say anything in defence of the improper behaviour that went on, but it seems to me that we have lacked balance, and that the Government quietly ignore the fact that we have the world's most successful lottery.
That leads me to comment on another wrong claim by the Secretary of State—that the lottery was set up so badly that he needs to change it radically. That sits very ill with the fact that hon. Members on both sides of the House admit that, instead of the projected £9 billion that Camelot was going to raise throughout its licence period, the figure is now projected to be at least £10 billion, and it is a pretty open secret in the world of those who are most interested in the lottery that that could increase to £10.5 billion.
Opposition Members would like hard information about what the Government plan to do if that figure exceeds £10 billion. Will the money be siphoned off to new, exciting good causes to be invented by the Secretary of State or the Chancellor, or will it be given to the existing good causes?
There is genuine danger in this constant campaign of denigration. So far, apparently, it has had no effect on people playing the lottery; even at the height of the rows that have affected Camelot and the lottery generally, people's willingness to play the lottery does not appear to have been affected. However, a consistent campaign by Labour Members of denigration of the lottery operator is likely gradually to reduce people's willingness to play the lottery, which will reduce the amount of money for good causes. I cannot believe that any hon. Member on either side of the House would welcome that.
The idea that the lottery needs to be rebalanced to make it fair is curious. I was interested to hear Labour Members, including the hon. Members for Crawley (Laura Moffatt), for Forest of Dean (Mrs. Organ) and for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman), say that their constituencies had done badly out of the lottery and that they were happy that there would be new arrangements, giving more power to the Secretary of State, which would make possible a fairer distribution. That is interesting, for several reasons.
If there is a change in the distribution, there will be losers. If all the constituencies whose hon. Members say have done badly are going to do better, obviously many hon. Members' constituencies will do worse. It is especially apposite that the Minister for Sport is replying to the debate because, for all we know, he could be next week's "Stop Ken" candidate for the mayor of London, and we know that the part of the country that has done best out of the lottery is London. I shall be happy to hear him say whether he believes that less lottery money will be spent in London in future, and whether that is the aim of the greater fairness that many of his hon. Friends appear to want.
I am also slightly disturbed that Labour Members seem to accept that, by being nice to the Secretary of State, they may begin to win more lottery money for their constituencies. It gives rise to the horrendous idea of new types of sleaze, such as lottery grants for creepy questions at Question Time or possibly the creation of a seventh good cause, the Whips' narks fund. The Government could award money from that fund to any Labour Member who was particularly bright towards the Prime Minister at Question Time.
245 The Government are not fooling anyone with this legislation: it is the Treasury's first dip into the honeypot. I am sure that the Government will come back for more. The good causes are right to be worried, and so are Britain's sportspeople, artists, heritage lovers and charity workers. The Bill marks the transformation of the national lottery into a Government lottery. That is why it deserves, and will get, strong opposition from the Conservatives.
§ Mr. Richard Spring (West Suffolk)
When the national lottery was introduced, it had the support of both sides of the House. That point was ably made today by that great champion of sport, the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry). I also congratulate all those hon. Members who have contributed to the debate today.
In 1993, both sides welcomed the creation of a distinct source of funding for the arts, sport, heritage, charities and projects to mark the millennium. It was as though a fairy godmother had come to the aid of the Cinderellas of public spending. By total contrast, this Bill fundamentally and intentionally flouts the basis on which the lottery was originally established.
The Government's case will be summed up by the Minister for Sport. In his own words, he is evolving from a
bar-room sage to a world statesman".Perhaps tonight the final piece of his personal jigsaw puzzle will fall into place. Will the hon. Gentleman be accepted by the most ludicrous group in the country, Labour's precious luvvies? We await his words with bated breath. We know that he will have finally arrived when his name is mentioned with approval over gleaming plates of foie gras in large and expensive houses in north London. What an opportunity for the Minister tonight.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) pointed out, within three minutes of the commencement of the Second Reading debate on the National Lottery etc. Bill in January 1993, one Back Bencher hit the nail on the head in an intervention when he sought crystal clear assurances about the key and critical issue of replacing central Government spending. What extraordinary prescience. That Back Bencher was the Minister who is to reply this evening. We have heard much lately about thinking the unthinkable. Tonight, the hon. Gentleman should, by any standards, be squirming in his shoes when he must defend the indefensible.
The National Lottery etc. Act 1993 was passed with real integrity of purpose. I salute my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) in that regard. It was carried through effectively by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) and maintained in the same spirit by my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley). What a contrast with the Labour party tonight. In a speech before the election, the then Prime Minister said:
sector has a right to expect from government is clarity, commitment and consistency".However personally agreeable the Secretary of State may be, he, his Ministers and his Back Benchers know full well of the genuine anger that is directed towards him 246 in the arts community. The reason is twofold. First, all the nods and winks before the election about financial support have proved hollow. Secondly, among those who work to preserve and promote our heritage and those in the caring charities and in sport, there is dismay at the way in which the Secretary of State, through the Bill, is letting down the very people whom his Department was set up to help. The national lottery was put under the control of the then Department of National Heritage and not the Treasury, so that the Department could fund the areas for which it had actual responsibility. Not all the money was to come from the lottery, but it was never the intention that the lottery should be used to subsidise the budgets of other Departments. As we have heard today, however, that is exactly what is proposed in this shoddy Bill.
§ Mr. Bernie Grant (Tottenham)
I am listening carefully to the hon. Gentleman's case. He claims that arts bodies are annoyed with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, which is a serious charge. I know the Secretary of State, and I know arts bodies; I know that my right hon. Friend is very popular. Will the hon. Gentleman name three organisations that are at odds with my right hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Spring
The hon. Gentleman has only to pick up the newspapers to see that, every day, articles are written by those in the arts community who are disgusted at the way in which the Government are failing to carry out the nods and winks commitments that they made before the election. If he has not observed that, I fear that he is reading the wrong newspapers.
We vigorously oppose the Bill, which has no purpose other than to make a shabby and unprincipled raid on the lottery. As many respondents to the White Paper observed, the Government are breaching the additionality principle—they should at least have the courage to own up to it.
The English Sports Council summed up the problem in a letter that it wrote to me yesterday. It said:
The ESC is aware that on examination existing international Lotteries have tended to start by bringing unique new resources to areas such as sport, then this funding has been eroded in favour of areas more closely related to core policy areas.The ESC seeks assurances from the Government to restate the commitment to the long term funding of sport through its share of Lottery income.The ESC may have to wait a very long time.
We utterly reject the Secretary of State's assertion that he is adhering to the principle of additionality as set out by the Prime Minister in the White Paper. I do not for a moment think that the public—or the people, as the Secretary of State is so fond of referring to them—will be fooled. They know that health, education and the environment are core Government responsibilities. They will not be convinced by his shifty explanations of additionality. They will see that the Government are brazenly using the lottery for their public spending programmes.
§ Mr. Chris Smith
The hon. Gentleman says that health, education and the environment are core Government responsibilities. Of course they are, but are not the arts and sport also core Government responsibilities?
§ Mr. Spring
For the edification of the Secretary of State, I shall read what the Prime Minister said in the White Paper:
We don't believe that it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities.As my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Green) said, of course the public want improvements in health, education and the environment. Increasingly, however, they know that they were deceived before the general election.
"Education, education, education" has, in practice, meant fewer people in higher education, bigger class sizes and cuts in school budgets. "Fourteen days to save the national health service" has, in practice, meant anything from the removal of ambulance cover to soaring waiting lists throughout the country. Perhaps the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas) should discuss those issues with his constituents.
The public will quickly discover that the money is being diverted from elsewhere. When the lottery money for capital projects in sport and the arts, for schemes to improve access to our heritage and for financing the work of small charities begins to dry up, they will know what the Government have done.
Will the Secretary of State tonight guarantee the percentages for the good causes beyond 2001? If not, he will be sending out the most negative message. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) said, the confidence of the distribution bodies hangs on that.
The irony of Labour's proposals and of all their rhetoric about "the people" is that the Bill will do nothing to empower individuals or groups of people to make a difference to their lives. The Bill is all about empowering Government. Nasty, authoritarian Governments have always centralised power in the name of the people. There was certainly nothing democratic about the so-called "people's democracies" of eastern Europe. Instead of enhancing the role of the public, the Bill seeks to centralise the power of the Secretary of State like some aging people's commissar.
Part of the lottery's triumph has been its success in strengthening the local loyalties that are essential to civic society. It has reinforced local institutions and made possible the creation of new ones. I am not talking about the grand projects that have benefited from the lottery. As my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Prior) said, we are talking about small projects: village halls that have received money for new roofs; community groups that have received money for new minibuses; sports clubs that have received money for new equipment; and brass bands that have received money for new musical instruments. None of that has been to fulfil an election pledge or take forward a political agenda; it has been the public's money, without political strings attached. How shameful and narrowly partisan that the Government should put that at risk.
Even worse, the Government's contempt for parliamentary authority is such that they have not even waited for the Bill to become law, so eager were they to get their hands on lottery money for their own purposes. They started to set money aside for the New Opportunities Fund last October, even though they had no power to do so under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. In that 248 regard, would the Secretary of State care to publish the voluntary agreements that he made with distribution bodies with respect to the "shadow" accounts?
What the Government have done is unlawful. The Bill includes provisions to amend the 1993 Act retrospectively to legitimise what the Government have done, but make no mistake: in their rush to get their hands on lottery money, the Government have clearly acted outside the law. Conservative Members have noted the Secretary of State's irritation on that point and his attempts to brush off criticism that what he is doing is illegal and that the retrospective provisions in the Bill are oppressive. I challenge the Secretary of State to come up with a comparable precedent for that retrospective action. He failed to do so today.
The Government have made great play of the idea that their proposals are endorsed by the people. I wish to make two points on that. First, the plan to deprive the original good causes of some of their percentage share of the lottery pot is not a manifesto commitment. Labour's manifesto commitment was to create the Government's health, education and environment fund to replace the Millennium Commission only when that body had been wound up. So much for the credibility of the manifesto.
Secondly, the notion that the Government's proposals have been endorsed in their consultation exercise is patently absurd. I urge hon. Members to look at the Government's analysis of the consultation exercise. It is not the people who have endorsed their proposals but the organisations that stand to benefit from them. Most of them are Government agencies and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-orset and North Poole (Mr. Fraser) said, 496 of the 588 responses received in the consultation process came from local authorities, schools, campaigning and professional groups, which all stand to gain from the Government's proposals. Only 92 responses were from individuals. More than five times as many were from organisations with an actual and direct interest in the lottery.
Even those who stand to gain from the Government's proposals are under no illusions; the Government are using the lottery to replace taxation and to implement their agenda.
§ Mr. Lansley
While my hon. Friend is recalling the Labour party's manifesto promises, does he agree that Labour also made great play of seeking out a not-for-profit operator? The Government now propose to rest on the 1993 Act, which places on the director general an obligation to maximise the sums paid to good causes, but whether or not the operator is profit making is not a relevant consideration under the Act.
§ Mr. Spring
As my hon. Friend has pointed out, the Government have been all over the place on this issue. It is critical that the maximum amount goes to good causes. That is the essential point at issue.
The organisations that have looked at the proposals rebutted the Government's claim that the original good causes will get the money that they expected. The White Paper's explanation that the allocation of money to the New Opportunities Fund and NESTA would not involve any change to the original funding expectations of the existing good causes left many sceptical. They pointed out that the existing good causes have adjusted their programmes to take account of the increased lottery revenue. And what of possible lottery fatigue?
249 The Government are making possible the Treasury annexation of the lottery—by the sprinkling of a range of powers throughout the Bill—to bring under the direct control of the Secretary of State the existing good causes and the new bodies that the Bill will set up. The special order-making power in the Bill is designed to allow the Secretary of State to use the New Opportunities Fund to pay for Labour manifesto pledges. A similar degree of control will exist in relation to the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, which the Bill proposes.
It is characteristic of the mania for control by the Government that the Secretary of State will be able to hire and fire the board members of NESTA. He will have the power to set its objectives and to dictate how they should be met. He will have the power to interfere in how the organisation is run, and, of course, he will control the purse strings. The Government plan to place a duty on NESTA to seek gifts of assistance, money and land from other organisations.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Is not the hon. Gentleman using somewhat hyperbolic language in talking about the mania of control, bearing in mind the fact that it was his party which decided that the Millennium Commission should be chaired by one of its own Ministers? When the former Secretary of State for National Heritage gave money directly to the English National Opera, for the Coliseum, on the eve of an election, nobody described the Government as exercising a mania of control.
§ Mr. Spring
That situation was temporary, and the members were independent. There is no doubt about that.
Labour's pre-election document claims that NESTA will turn bright ideas into successful and innovative businesses. NESTA is the bright idea that has been turned into something all too familiar. In 1996, the Secretary of State for National Heritage announced that the rules governing the distribution of lottery money would be changed to allow lottery distributors to support the careers of talented sportsmen and artists. That is the genesis for NESTA. Sadly, NESTA will effectively simply be another arm of government, with a remit to regenerate Britain's industrial base. As such, it is another example of the subversion of the lottery to purposes other than those for which it was set up.
Much of the Bill reflects the diminishing credibility of the Secretary of State. What happened to all those newspaper reports of £80 million in the Budget to guarantee free access to museums? How much was it in the end? Was it £80 million? Was it £40 million? Was it £20 million? No, it was a pathetic £2 million, supplemented by money raided from the lottery, and it was the clearest possible indication that the Secretary of State has no departmental credibility with the Chancellor whatever.
In November, the Chancellor announced that our net payments to the EU would be some £400 million lower than budgeted. Not a penny of that was the Secretary of State able to secure for his Department. Regrettably, time and again it has been the lottery which has had to ride to his Department's rescue, not his powers of persuasion.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers) said, we are asked to authorise a Treasury-inspired £1 billion raid on the national lottery. The Bill is 250 plainly for party political exploitation: to use lottery money for what should be core funding activities by the Government. It gives unprecedented powers of control and interference to the right hon. Gentleman.
The blunt truth is simply this: the Bill is the thin end of the wedge. If it becomes law, it will undoubtedly lead to a rake's progress of taking money from good causes to prop up the Government's political objectives. It deserves the total contempt of the House.
§ The Minister for Sport (Mr. Tony Banks)
I thank all who have taken part in tonight's spirited debate.
Let me say to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) that, although he is a real smoothie, he is absolutely wrong. I accept that I have not yet completed my odyssey from the snug to the pantheon of world leadership, but if I complete it tonight, I do not want anyone—luvvies or no—to celebrate my metamorphosis with foie gras. I think that it is cruel and beastly, and I would rather die than touch it. [Interruption.] Only if I had the hon. Gentleman's company.
The idea that the shadow accounts are illegal is ridiculous. The hon. Member for West Suffolk must know that the Secretary of State could not possibly have been allowed to include in a Bill something that was illegal. If he still thinks that it is illegal, let him go to the courts and seek a judicial review of the Secretary of State's action—but I suspect that he would not be able to do that.
I welcomed the introduction of the lottery. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood (Mrs. Humble)—and unlike my hon. Friends the Members for High Peak (Mr. Levitt) and for Crawley (Laura Moffatt), shame on them—I have not missed a week since the start of the lottery. I must say, however, that I am still waiting to win the big fat one. I hope that, when that happens, hon. Members will be able to share my delight. There will be street parties in West Ham, and money will be paid to the animal welfare movement and the Labour party before I clear off to Benidorm, or some other suitably tasteful resort, in order to drink pina coladas all day.
§ Mr. Grant
I do not wish to tax my hon. Friend unnecessarily; I know that he has a lot on his mind. Does he recall, however, that when we were in opposition he told the then Minister —I think it was Iain Sproat—that he wanted the lottery first prize to be extended and increased by some four or five times? Is he still of that mind, and will he confirm that he has been playing the lottery regularly in the hope of winning the big one?
§ Mr. Banks
In the words of Henry V, I know you not, old man. Of course I have not changed my position, and it is unfair to suggest that I have. Let me tell my hon. Friend what that was about. It was about the question of stopping the roll-overs. Many people said that the roll-overs should not be allowed to become so large, for the simple reason that people would not be able to handle the money. I remember saying at the time, "Give me the opportunity of handling a great big fat roll-over, and I will show you what you can do with it." In the circumstances, I think my hon. Friend must accept that I have not changed my stance.
251 Conservative Members have ignored the real benefits for ordinary people that the Bill will introduce. The sixth new good cause, which will benefit from the New Opportunities Fund, will not siphon money from the lottery; the money will have come through the second weekly draw. Existing good causes will receive the money—£1.8 billion—that they were led to expect within the licence period. [Interruption.] No, as a matter of fact I was not writing my speech. I was put off by the glasses of the hon. Member for Mid-ussex (Mr. Soames). I do not know why; perhaps it is something to do with the fact that he seems to have borrowed them from Dame Edna Everage.
The Bill takes a strategic overview of the lottery, which is what is needed. A lot of people have said that we should pay tribute to Camelot. I think that we should pay tribute to the propensity of people in this country to gamble. However, criticisms have been made by hon. Members. I have received 268 letters from hon. Members on both sides of the House, complaining that a lottery grant has not been given to a particular project in their constituency or asking why their area had not received more. Hon. Members know that there are imbalances, but the Bill will change the way in which things are done.
The right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) mentioned not-for-profit operators. The Government remain committed to improving the system of operation for the lottery and to ensuring the greatest possible return to the good causes. A not-for-profit operator is one way of achieving that, and if such a bid came forward, we would welcome it. There is no question of our retreating from our election commitments on the matter. The Bill does not contain a clause that explicitly provides for a not-for-profit operator because existing legislation allows for it.
§ Mr. Banks
I do not have to ask the right hon. Gentleman; there is nothing useful that he could tell me.
The hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) mentioned my feelings on additionality and read out my remarks absolutely correctly. I said that lottery money should not be used to replace mainstream Government money, which remains the case.
§ Mr. Banks
It is not sophistry; they are carefully crafted words. If the Government used lottery money instead of spending a block of public expenditure, we would be breaching additionality rules, which we are not prepared to do—there is no question of our replacing mainstream Government money.
I have studied the grants to the constituency of the right hon. Member for Horsham— they are good. Worth Abbey lay community is providing a week-long programme of residential counselling and support for teenagers who are in crisis because of alcohol or drug misuse. The grant is provided over two years, which is perfectly okay. But one 252 could argue that it should be provided by central Government funding; it is not being provided by central Government funding, so it is right that—
§ Mr. Banks
The right hon. Gentleman should be so lucky.
The information shop for young people in Horsham, which provides an outreach service for rural areas and neighbouring towns, has no existing provision, but the grant is paid over three years and covers salaries. A day centre provides specialised leisure opportunities for disabled children and adults. We could all argue that central Government should pay for such things, but they do not. Our Bill will ensure that such services can be provided.
§ Mr. Maude
I assure the hon. Gentleman that the last thing in my mind is to interfere with him.
The Prime Minister's own words set out the criteria for the lottery. He said:
We don't believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities.If they are the Government's responsibilities, they should not be paid for by the lottery. If the hon. Gentleman is arguing that such matters are the responsibility of central Government, they should be paid for by central Government funding.
§ Mr. Banks
We know that lottery money has been spent where an element of funding is provided by central Government; we are not replacing current central Government expenditure with lottery money, which Conservative Members clearly have not understood or have deliberately or mischievously ignored.
The right hon. Member for Horsham mentioned the arm's-length principle for NESTA. We have struck a balance between ensuring that NESTA is properly accountable for its use of a large sum of public lottery funding and giving it the freedom to determine its own policies. Those two principles have been identified for NESTA since the beginning. The Bill sets the remit for NESTA, but leaves the delivery of its programmes to it. The Secretary of State has no power to direct NESTA's policies; he can change its objects, but only at its request. The idea that a commissar wearing jackboots will tell NESTA what it must do is simply nonsense.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) spoke far more sense in his speech than Conservative Members did in all their speeches. He gave his full support for the lottery when it was established and has done a great deal for sport in this country. I compliment him on his work as chairman of the Football Trust. He asked about lottery funds for sport and about a watering down of the commitment. He wanted to know what will happen after 2001 and whether sport will be made a permanent good cause. Nothing in the Bill or 253 in the original legislation gives any indication of that, but I would find it wholly strange and quite remarkable if, after 2001, we did not continue to fund the existing good causes, particularly sport. [Interruption.] I would love to be able to give a commitment. I may be a Minister, but the right hon. Member for Horsham must know by now that I cannot bind a future Parliament. I cannot say what Parliaments or Governments will do in the future, even those in the long-distance future that may be formed by Conservative Members. I would find it remarkable and unacceptable if sport was not a long-term beneficiary of lottery funds.
The right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) made a very good speech. The Secretary of State said so, and he meant it. We pay tribute to the right hon. Gentleman for his contribution to the establishment of the lottery. I am sure that he would pay tribute to Labour Members who supported his proposals when we were in opposition. However, I was intrigued about where the hell he went after he made his speech. He kept enticing me into thinking that there was a special event to which I was not invited. I have spent all evening trying to work out where he was. He said that it was a great event. According to tonight's Evening Standard, Huntingdon train spotters held their annual tupperware party at the Neasden Happy Eater, so that is where he must have been all evening. I hope that he had a jolly good time.
When the right hon. Member spoke, I felt that I had dropped into a time warp in which spinsters were cycling to church and we were all drinking warm beer while listening to the gentle smack of leather on willow. That is what he used to talk about. Like me, the right hon. Gentleman lived in Brixton. Where on earth did that take place in Brixton? I certainly do not remember it.
The right hon. Gentleman rightly said that the lottery should evolve. The Bill is about evolution not revolution: after all, this is new Labour. Under the circumstances, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will recognise that the Bill is in conformity with the proposals that he made in the original legislation. We have not siphoned off the money.
The right hon. Gentleman asked specific questions about the anticipated £10 billion, although it may be more than that according to the projections. I cannot say what will happen to the excess if the figure is over £10 billion. All I can say is that, as long as I am Minister for Sport, I will fight for a fair share of that extra money for sports. [Interruption.] I will be the Minister for a lot longer than that. That is the best I can do, and there is no point bothering with those who ask what would happen if there is less than £10 billion.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about the guaranteed percentages for good causes. No changes are proposed in this legislation other than a reduction from 20 per cent. to 16 per cent. for four of the existing good causes. However, we are dealing with a much larger pot. I have said that none of the existing good causes will' get any less money than they were led to expect over the Camelot licence period. Opposition Members are trying to stir up problems that do not exist. The costs of the new set-up will be borne by the New Opportunities Fund. [Interruption.]
254 I am being specific in my replies. The right hon. Member for Huntingdon asked about further endowments to NESTA. There will be no further endowments in the current period of the lottery. He spoke about what he would have done if he were still Prime Minister, and rightly said that he would have sought to put more money into sports and arts coaching. The right hon. Member for Horsham accused us of wanting to do that and said that it was a breach of the additionality principle. However, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon has said that if he were in government he would have breached that principle. I do not think that we would have revolted against such a proposition because in many ways the determination of additionality is becoming metaphysical.
§ Mr. Banks
I took notes during the debate and I would like to have more time to reply. I listened carefully to every speech, and I shall write to those hon. Members to whom I am not able to reply now. There is not much opportunity in a winding-up speech to do credit to all those who have spoken.
The right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) said that he was agnostic about the Bill as a whole, and that he would not vote for it or against it. That reminded me of the man who sat on the fence waiting for the iron to enter his soul. The right hon. Gentleman warned about raiding the lottery to fund essential services and said that it would be better to raise direct taxation. In fairness, the right hon. Gentleman said that during the election campaign, which was one of the reasons why the Liberal Democrats did not do particularly well. There is no question of raiding the lottery for essential services. That is emotive language.
My hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mrs. Organ) spoke about the gymnastic centre in Coleford. It gave me great pleasure to open that centre. My hon. Friend spoke about an issue that many hon. Members have mentioned—the way in which the lottery has been able to fund small but significant projects within constituencies.
The right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) said that the lottery has been a remarkable success. As I have said, that probably has more to do with the propensity of people in this country to gamble than with the foresight of the proposals. The right hon. Lady mentioned the Churchill papers. That issue still rankles. If the national heritage memorial fund can spend £13.2 million on those papers it can certainly buy the Bobby Moore collection of England caps and medals and his 1966 World cup medal. I had better not say any more about that because we are debating the arm's length principle.
There is much that I could mention, but I should like to refer to a speech that shone out—that by the hon. Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers). He reminded me of a character in a Bateman cartoon—"The man who did not like the lottery." I respect the hon. Gentleman's controversial views, but they ran against the views of hon. Members throughout the House. Even those who do not do the lottery said that they benefit from it and that it is good.
The hon. Member for Gosport spoke about money being spent by people who could ill afford it and said that sales were busiest in areas where people are poorest. 255 That is true, and it certainly applies to areas such as West Ham, but if it was not the lottery it would be bingo, horse racing or greyhound racing at the betting shop, or fruit machines. None of the profits from any of those activities come to West Ham or to any constituency. Although I agree that, in terms of the percentage of their disposable incomes, poorer people have a greater propensity to play the lottery, at least they know that they get something back and that not all the profits are creamed off by the bookies. I must also mention that the hon. Gentleman is an underwriter for Lloyd's—is not that a form of gambling? It might be a sophisticated form of gambling, but it is gambling, so I do not think that the hon. Gentleman can afford to get too pious.
There is a lot more that could be said, and a lot more that will be said in Committee, but, for the moment, I rest my case. The Bill is a wonderful improvement on a very good lottery, and I urge the House to give it a Second Reading.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 309, Noes 135.258
|Division No. 246]||[9.59 pm|
|Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)||Chaytor, David|
|Ainger, Nick||Chisholm, Malcolm|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Clapham, Michael|
|Alexander, Douglas||Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)|
|Allen, Graham||Clark, Paul (Gillingham)|
|Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)||Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)|
|Armstrong, Ms Hilary||Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)|
|Ashton, Joe||Clelland, David|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Clwyd, Ann|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Coaker, Vernon|
|Banks, Tony||Coffey, Ms Ann|
|Barnes, Harry||Cohen, Harry|
|Barron, Kevin||Coleman, lain|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||Colman, Tony|
|Bennett, Andrew F||Connarty, Michael|
|Benton, Joe||Cooper, Yvette|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Cousins, Jim|
|Berry, Roger||Cranston, Ross|
|Best, Harold||Crausby, David|
|Betts, Clive||Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)|
|Blears, Ms Hazel||Cryer, John (Hornchurch)|
|Blizzard, Bob||Cummings, John|
|Boateng, Paul||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Borrow, David||Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Bradley, Keith (Withington)||(Copeland)|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Dafis, Cynog|
|Bradshaw, Ben||Dalyell, Tam|
|Brinton, Mrs Helen||Darvill, Keith|
|Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)||Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)|
|Brown, Russell (Dumfries)||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Browne, Desmond||Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)|
|Burden, Richard||Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)|
|Burgon, Colin||Dewar, Rt Hon Donald|
|Butler, Mrs Christine||Dobbin, Jim|
|Byers, Stephen||Dobson, Rt Hon Frank|
|Caborn, Richard||Donohoe, Brian H|
|Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)||Doran, Frank|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Drew, David|
|Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)||Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Edwards, Huw|
|Cann, Jamie||Ellman, Mrs Louise|
|Caplin, Ivor||Ennis, Jeff|
|Casale, Roger||Fatchett, Derek|
|Caton, Martin||Field, Rt Hon Frank|
|Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)||Fitzsimons, Lorna|
|Flynn, Paul||Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)|
|Follett, Barbara||Llwyd, Elfyn|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||Love, Andrew|
|Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Foster, Michael J (Worcester)||McCabe, Steve|
|Foulkes, George||McCafferty, Ms Chris|
|Fyfe, Maria||McDonagh, Siobhain|
|George, Bruce (Walsall S)||Macdonald, Calum|
|Gerrard, Neil||McDonnell, John|
|Gilroy, Mrs Linda||McGuire, Mrs Anne|
|Godman, Dr Norman A||McIsaac, Shona|
|Goggins, Paul||McLeish, Henry|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||McNamara, Kevin|
|Gordon, Mrs Eileen||McNulty, Tony|
|Grant, Bernie||MacShane, Denis|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Mactaggart, Fiona|
|Grocott, Bruce||McWalter, Tony|
|Grogan, John||McWilliam, John|
|Gunnell, John||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Hain, Peter||Mallaber, Judy|
|Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)||Mandelson, Peter|
|Hall, Patrick (Bedford)||Marek, Dr John|
|Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)||Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)|
|Hanson, David||Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)|
|Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Heal, Mrs Sylvia||Marshall-Andrews, Robert|
|Healey, John||Martlew, Eric|
|Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)||Meacher, Rt Hon Michael|
|Hepburn, Stephen||Meale, Alan|
|Heppell, John||Merron, Gillian|
|Hesford, Stephen||Michael, Alun|
|Hill, Keith||Michie, Bill (Shefld Heeley)|
|Hodge, Ms Margaret||Milburn, Alan|
|Home Robertson, John||Moffatt, Leura|
|Hood, Jimmy||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Hoon, Geoffrey||Moran, Ms Margaret|
|Hope, Phil||Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)|
|Hopkins, Kelvin||Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)|
|Howells, Dr Kim||Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)|
|Hoyle, Lindsay||Mountford, Kali|
|Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)||Mudie, George|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Mullin, Chris|
|Humble, Mrs Joan||Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)|
|Hurst, Alan||Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)|
|Hutton, John||Norris, Dan|
|Iddon, Dr Brian||O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)|
|Illsley, Eric||O'Hara, Eddie|
|Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)||Olner, Bill|
|Jamieson, David||O'Neill, Martin|
|Jenkins, Brian||Organ, Mrs Diana|
|Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)||Pearson, Ian|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Pendry, Tom|
|Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)||Perham, Ms Linda|
|Jones, Ms Jenny||Picktham, Colin|
|(Wolverh'ton SW)||Pike, Peter L|
|Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)||Plaskitt, James|
|Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)||Pollard, Kerry|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)||Pond, Chris|
|Jowell, Ms Tessa||Pope, Greg|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Powell, Sir Raymond|
|Keeble, Ms Sally||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewishham E)|
|Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)||Prescott, Rt Hon John|
|Kelly, Ms Ruth||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)||Prosser, Gwyn|
|Kidney, David||Purchase, Ken|
|King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Kingham, Ms Tess||Quinn, Lawrie|
|Kumar, Dr Ashok||Radice, Giles|
|Laxton, Bob||Raynsford, Nick|
|Leslie, Christopher||Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)|
|Levitt, Tom||Robertson, Rt Hon George|
|Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)||(Hamilton S)|
|Liddell, Mrs Helen||Rogers, Allan|
|Rooker, Jeff||Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann|
|Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)||Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)|
|Rowlands, Ted||Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|Roy, Frank||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Ruane, Chris||Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)|
|Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)||Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)|
|Ryan, Ms Joan||Timms, Stephen|
|Salter, Martin||Tipping, Paddy|
|Savidge, Malcolm||Todd, Mark|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Touhig, Don|
|Shaw, Jonathan||Trickett, Jon|
|Sheerman, Barry||Truswell, Paul|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert||Vis, Dr Rudi|
|Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Singh, Marsha||Wareing, Robert N|
|Skinner, Dennis||Watts, David|
|Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)||White, Brian|
|Smith, Miss Geraldine||Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|(Morecambe & Lunesdale)||Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd|
|Smith, John (Glamorgan)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)||(Swansea W)|
|Snape, Peter||Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Southworth, Ms Helen||Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)|
|Spellar, John||Wilson, Brian|
|Squire, Ms Rachel||Winnick, David|
|Starkey, Dr Phyllis||Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)|
|Steinberg, Gerry||Wise, Audrey|
|Stevenson, George||Wood, Mike|
|Stewart, Ian (Eccles)||Woolas, Phil|
|Stinchcombe, Paul||Worthington, Tony|
|Stoate, Dr Howard||Wray, James|
|Stott, Roger||Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)|
|Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin||Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)|
|Stringer, Graham||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Stuart, Ms Gisela||Mr. John McFall and|
|Sutcliffe, Gerry||Mr. Jim Dowd.|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Amess, David||Faber, David|
|Ancram, Rt Hon Michael||Fabricant, Michael|
|Arbuthnot, James||Fallon, Michael|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Flight, Howard|
|Baldry, Tony||Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman|
|Bercow, John||Fox, Dr Liam|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Fraser, Christopher|
|Blunt, Crispin||Gale, Roger|
|Body, Sir Richard||Garnier, Edward|
|Boswell, Tim||Gibb, Nick|
|Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)||Gill, Christopher|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia||Gillan, Mrs Cheryl|
|Brady, Graham||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Brazier, Julian||Gray, James|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Green, Damian|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||Greenway, John|
|Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)||Grieve, Dominic|
|Burns, Simon||Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie|
|Butterfill, John||Hammond, Philip|
|Cash, William||Hawkins, Nick|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney||Hayes, John|
|(Chipping Barnet)||Heald, Oliver|
|Chope, Christopher||Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David|
|Clappison, James||Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)||Horam, john|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)|
|Collins, Tim||Hunter, Andrew|
|Colvin, Michael||Jack, Rt Hon Michael|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Curry, Rt Hon David||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Davies, Quentin (Grantham)||Johnson, Smith,|
|Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)||Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen||Key, Robert|
|Duncan, Alan||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Laing, Mrs Eleanor||Ruffley, David|
|Lansley, Andrew||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Letwin, Oliver||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)||Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillan|
|Lidington, David||Shepherd, Richard|
|Lilley, Rt Hon Peter||Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)|
|Loughton, Tim||Soames, Nicholas|
|Luff, Peter||Spicer, Sir Michael|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Spring, Richard|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|McIntosh, Miss Anne||Streeter, Gary|
|Maclean, Rt Hon David||Swayne, Desmond|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Syms, Robert|
|Madel, Sir David||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Major, Rt Hon John||Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)|
|Malins, Humfrey||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Mates, Michael||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Maude, Rt Hon Francis||Tredinnick, David|
|Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian||Trend, Michael|
|May, Mrs Theresa||Tyrie, Andrew|
|Moss, Malcolm||Viggers, Peter|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Walter, Robert|
|Norman, Archie||Wardle, Charles|
|Ottaway, Richard||Wells, Bowen|
|Page, Richard||Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann|
|Paice, James||Wilkinson, John|
|Paterson, Owen||Willetts, David|
|Pickles, Eric||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Prior, David||Woodward, Shaun|
|Redwood, Rt Hon John||Yeo, Tim|
|Robathan, Andrew||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)||Tellers For the Noes:|
|Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)||Mr. Stephen Day and|
|Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)||Mr. Nigel Waterson.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of Bills).