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Mr. Peter Ainsworth (Surrey, East): I am grateful that I am able to contribute to the debate at a relatively early stage, but such was the fury generated by the two Front-Bench spokesmen that we are progressing more slowly than we expected. For the avoidance of doubt, I should say that I have an interest in so far as I act as a consultant with SG Warburg, which at one time, I think, advised Camelot. I have had no discussions about that relationship. Sadly, I have no interest to declare in the sense of being a winner in the national lottery, unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks), who seems to have had more than his fair share of winning over the past week or so. I do not know whether other hon. Members have shared the experience from which I have suffered since becoming a Member of this place.
Column 1326When I was not a Member, I used never to win raffle prizes, but as soon as I became a Member and found myself having to draw raffle prizes almost every weekend, I started to win with boring regularity. On that basis, I suspect that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage will shortly become a substantial winner in the national lottery.
I never thought that I would feel sorry for someone who won £17.8 million in a lottery. Like many other people, however, I have been made to feel sorry for that winner. My sorrow is not so much based on the fact that he has won the money, although some have expressed concern about that. That is especially so among those who have a vested interest in the growing activity of counselling. They seem to be leaping on the poor man and his family, and that is something that I would not wish on anyone. I am more sorry for him because of the way in which he has been treated by the press, which has behaved extraordinarily insensitively. I agree with much of what was said earlier about the press. Perhaps it was unrealistic, however, to assume that the press would not take an inordinate interest, especially bearing in mind the roll-over.
It is clear, however, that the winner has been hounded. Indeed, we have been told that he has been hounded out of the country, but probably not to Mustique, where the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) says he would go if he won the national lottery. We should not encourage such hounding. I am sure that the House would seek to express its disapproval of such activity. I was not happy to hear Mr. David Banks on the "Today" programme earlier this week--he is a representative of the Mirror
Group--justifying the prurience of the British press on the ground that national lottery money is public money. It is not. It is private individuals' money and the winning of private individuals' money. Mr. Banks talked also about accountability, as if hounding an individual winner and his family advanced the cause of accountability, which it certainly does not.
My hon. Friend the Minister has said--this must be right, but I am no mathematician--that roll-over wins of the sort that occurred last week will be extremely unusual. It is important for the House to bear that in mind when we are considering what could or should be done, or needs to be done, to meet the problem of roll-over.
There is no doubt that the individual who has benefited from the win has suffered an embarrassment on a grand scale. My only sorrow is that there are so many people who seem to see the win as the opportunity to have a whinge. Although the win will undoubtedly bring about a significant change in the individual's life style, we should not feel sad on his behalf. Surely it is something that we should celebrate. It is true that accumulation under the roll-over provisions will enable the lottery to go from strength to strength. There is nothing like seeing people win to encourage more people to play. As my hon. Friend the Minister said, that can be only good news for the good causes, for which £53 million has already been raised. It is important to remember the age-old knowledge that money does not necessarily bring happiness. We do not have to look so very far back into folklore, or even contemporary history, to see the truth of that. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, "Radix malorem est cupiditas"--the love of money is the root of all evil. While I do not go the whole way with Geoffrey Chaucer down that road, there
Column 1327is no doubt that money does not solve anyone's problems and does not necessarily transform people's lives in the way that they would think. I have never met a genie from a lamp, but I am reliably told that anyone who has and was foolish enough, with the three choices that such people are invariably offered, to choose the bag of gold has always found that he has chosen the wrong way, and instead of becoming endlessly rich and happy he goes the other way and his life changes irredeemably for the worse. There is a lot of truth in that. It is important to see the subject in perspective.
The television programme that accompanies this great venture has come in for some stick. There is a sort of corny materialism about it, which is inescapable, but one must see it in context. The national lottery programme comes on immediately after "Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game" and "Noel's House Party"--neither of which could be considered highbrow, although I do not know what my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) thinks.
I agree with Alan Yentob, who has associated an undesirable snobbishness with criticism of the national lottery programme, which was not designed to be "Omnibus" or "World in Action". It serves a different market and, on the whole, I think that it is serving it well. Those who find it offensive have only to switch it off. I have gained some pleasure in the past week from observing the activities of the killjoys, quite a few of whom have been airing their views in the national press. Their opening line tends to be, "I don't want to be a killjoy, but" and I have a wonderful example from The Daily Telegraph which this week ran a feature on the national lottery headlined:
"Winning the lottery's jackpot: a joy or a burden . . . VIEW FROM THE EXPERTS"
The first expert to give his opinion was the Rev. Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Wakefield--since when have bishops been experts on lotteries? In the article he says:
"I don't want to come over as a killjoy but"
and then states that he thinks that there are some problems with the lottery. He raises the problem--a fair one--that it will encourage people who cannot afford it to have more than a flutter. I well remember that subject, which we discussed at length in Committee. But, ultimately, in a free world, it must be left to individuals to decide how to spend their money.
The bishop mentioned another problem. He said:
"There is also the serious issue of the raising of false hopes." I thought that he was going to say that false hopes were raised because people who hoped to win were disappointed--but far from it. He says:
"It was said that the lottery would be harmless entertainment but it cannot be when you present people with the possibility of winning so much."
Column 1328False hopes, as the bishop sees them, seem to be associated with people who are successful, not unsuccessful, which seems to be a strange turn of events.
Mr. Dicks: It is interesting that the Church expects the very few churchgoers who are left to pay 10 per cent. of their income. The bishop should be joyful, especially at this time of year, about the national lottery--10 per cent. of £18 million would swell the coffers of the decrepit Church that he represents.
Mr. Ainsworth: I am sure that, on reflection, the bishop will come to see the benefits of the national lottery. I am sure that he would not for a moment agree with my hon. Friend's view of the Church of England.
Rev. Martin Smyth: The hon. Gentleman said that the bishop would not be an expert in lotteries, but does he agree that the bishop, as shepherd of a flock, may have an understanding of human nature--we are dealing with human responses?
I shall be interested to hear the views of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), who may seek to speak later, although he seems to have left the Chamber--no doubt, temporarily. He is on record as saying that he finds the national lottery morally repugnant--a strong and clear view. It is ironic and entirely in keeping with the consistency that the House and the country has come to expect from the Liberal Democrats that, in a parliamentary question on 29 November, the right hon. Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Sir D. Steel) asked the Secretary of State for National Heritage whether he could have more lottery terminals in his constituency. There seems to be confusion among the Liberals as to where they stand on this important subject--but that comes as no surprise to anybody.
Questions have been asked about the availability of lottery tickets. I wrote to Camelot asking whether it was possible to have a terminal in the Palace of Westminster. I have yet to receive a reply, and I note that other hon. Members have taken up the noble cause. It is not always easy for Members of Parliament to find the time to pop into the relatively limited number of outlets that currently exist. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will lend his weight to the cause and not listen to the blandishments of my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington.
Perfectly reasonable fears about the distributing organisations have also been expressed--the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) touched on them. I disagree with the hon. Gentleman over the revenue- capital argument, particularly in relation to the Arts Council. If he looks at what the Arts Council is saying he will see that it is particularly keen that emphasis is placed on capital spending. If the hon. Gentleman investigates I think that he will find that the Arts Council seems to have no problem with that. I accept that there may be greater difficulties for charitable bodies. In answer to a parliamentary question a little while ago the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Sproat), stressed the need for flexibility on the revenue- capital split, particularly in relation to charities.
Column 1329To return to the subject of distribution bodies and their competence, it seems that each of the bodies, which have made progress at varying rates, could learn a great deal from the Arts Council. Under the excellent chairmanship of Peter Gummer, who chairs the national lottery board, the Arts Council has come up with an exemplary package of information for people seeking to bid for lottery money. The Arts Council also addresses the problem raised by the hon. Member for Stoke -on-Trent, Central about smaller organisations. It goes out of its way to make it clear that applications from smaller organisations will be just as welcome as applications from larger ones. It has produced a very well- presented package, which I hope is being studied with care by the other distributing bodies.
Mr. Fisher: I absolutely agree that both the sports and the heritage boards have produced good and useful packs--the Arts Council's is outstanding. The appointment of Mr. Jeremy Newton as chief executive is welcome throughout the arts world--his reputation is enormous. I think that the hon. Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Ainsworth) misunderstood my comments on revenue and capital. The Arts Council recognises the enormous capital needs--huge areas of the country do not have regional theatres, concert halls or arts centres--but it is not blind to new problems that will arise. When new establishments are built they will want to become clients of the Arts Council, which will welcome them. But the Arts Council will need programme funding. The Government have not faced up to that. The Arts Council is aware of the problem and is right to place initial emphasis on capital, but we must also consider the long-term consequences of new buildings--the Government are ducking that problem.
Mr. Ainsworth: I agree with much of what the hon. Gentleman has said, but not his last sentence because it is simply not true. The Arts Council particularly stresses the aspect of dividing capital from revenue, which lends weight to the argument about additionality. It also enables greater clarity so that we can see more clearly where the money from the national lottery fund is being applied. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Treasury have repeatedly made it clear that the money raised by the national lottery for good causes will not be used to substitute money in existing budgets.
Another issue specifically related to the arts is that the bulk of money that goes to the arts is revenue. Although the hon. Member for Stoke-on- Trent, Central is right to raise the issue, I do not believe that the problem is as great as he implies. Certainly, in the light of information that I have received, that view appears to be shared by the Arts Council.
This debate is very timely and welcome. We heard from the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central a guarded welcome for the national lottery. It has gone out of its way to look for problems and difficulties, to anticipate the problems and difficulties which may arise--in some cases I do not think that they are ever likely to arise.
We touched on roll-over and anonymity, and my hon. Friend the Minister will have more to say on those later. I am glad that the uncertainties that I had earlier today about those matters are being reviewed and that the whole matter will be kept constantly under review.
Column 1330The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central admitted that the national lottery has proved popular. It strikes me that the real problem that Opposition Members have is its very popularity. The hon. Gentleman made it clear that he did not like the attempt, as he saw it, by the Government to claim credit for the national lottery. Quite frankly, if it had not been for the Government's determination to introduce a Bill to make the national lottery a reality--let us remember that many Labour Members voted against the Bill when it was passing through the House --we would not have the national lottery, the £53 million that is already going to good causes and the pleasure that winning the lottery as a result of a modest flutter brings to millions of people.
I suspect that although the hon. Gentleman protests that he does not want to see party politics coming into the matter, his entire position is based on opposition to anything that the Government do, and it sticks in his gullet that the national lottery has been such a great success. I think that it will continue to be a success for the arts, sport, charities, and heritage. It will be a success for Britain as a whole, for its culture and for its individuals. I warmly welcome it. I can add only that I hope that one day, if my children ever pick the right number, it may be a success for me as well. 11.42 am
Ms Kate Hoey (Vauxhall): I must tell the hon. Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Ainsworth) that many hon. Members supported the national lottery, but some of their criticisms about it when they did not support the Bill on Second Reading were dealt with when it went to Committee, to which many Labour Members contributed.
I have no doubt about my support for the national lottery. I speak as a long-time supporter of it, although at some stages in the debate it was not very popular--on both sides of the House. Many hon. Members who represent constituencies in which there are large numbers of football pools workers were rightly lobbied strongly by the Pools Promoters Association which had an interest. Some of its literature and rather extreme arguments and statistics were wrong and were not believed by many members of the public.
Nevertheless, as a long-time football pools participant, I want to place on record my belief that the pools companies should be able to compete on an equal footing with the national lottery. The important issues, for example, advertising on television and radio, could be cleared up quickly without any need for legislation. It really is not fair that football pools, although allowed to sponsor television programmes, have still additional restrictions on that. They may not sponsor programmes--the very programmes that would be of most benefit to them--in which the results of matches appearing on the pools coupons are announced. The national lottery has been allowed to advertise on both television and radio. The pools companies should be able to do the same. That is fair. The Minister could announce that change today. He does not need to look further into the matter. I congratulate the Minister, as I know that his Department tried to get the Treasury to reduce the pools betting duty by 0.5 per cent. Perhaps the Minister hoped that the Chancellor would listen so that the proceeds, plus the diversion of an equivalent amount from the foundation, would go to the football trust, with the intention that that extra money could be used to allow
Column 1331grants to go to other sports, for example, safety work in rugby league, which is very necessary, rugby union and cricket as well as football. Those sports will probably not, at professional level, receive much from the national lottery. Unfortunately, the Chancellor did not agree to that and the remedy lies in the equalisation of the outtake between the pools and the lottery.
There is another aspect of the pools that should be made equitable, and which again does not need legislation but simply changes to section 56 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The Minister talked about the removal of the prohibition on the collection of football pools coupons and stake money through shops, but that relaxation is limited to pools competitions relating to football games played on Saturday, Sunday or public holidays. It means that football pools companies will not be able to run competitions based on mid-week matches and will be restricted to running one competition a week. In addition, it stops pools companies from selling tickets in shops for a competition based on the results of other sports, for example, cricket or rugby. There is no justification for that somewhat arbitrary restriction. It simply increases the pools' operational costs and compounds their competitive disadvantages.
Although I started by making it clear that I thought that some of the pools companies' lobbying about the national lottery was over the top, there are some points that the Minister could make quite easily which would ensure that the pools and the lottery were treated equally and fairly. They are rather modest proposals. I think that they would be in line with what Parliament would want to see--fair competition.
I shall now deal with the way in which the national lottery was set up. This is not whingeing, but it is important that Parliament understands that sometimes mistakes are made, and I believe that mistakes were made when the national lottery was set up.
Let us look at the issue of no direct competition. Camelot, the consortium that won the lottery bid, has the most experienced lottery operators in the world. The Minister mentioned earlier that he thought that they were, perhaps, a little naive. We must understand that the people running Camelot know everything that there is to know about running national lotteries. Anything that they do is not done because of some slip-up or mistake, but with properly calculated reason. The conditions under which they were engaged were far from competitive. It is no fault of theirs. I do not blame Camelot, as it is a business consortium and is obviously in it for whatever it can get out of it, and the lottery watchdog, Oflot, does have a responsibility.
Instead of each section competing directly, for example, one computer company against another, printers competing with printers, and the same applying to advertisers, banks, and PR companies, the bidders were asked to form a consortium. There was no direct comparison, like with like. No one knows the real cost of each section. There is no direct competition as there is in the marketplace. Monopolies are supposed to be against Tory ethics and I cannot understand why they allowed that to happen. Surely, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) said, all contract details should have been made public.
Column 1332There was too much secrecy in the whole business. The way in which the Minister said that the 35,000 computer terminals would be serviced is a case in point. The Sunday Times reported that ICL, which owns 10 per cent. of the Camelot bid, will receive £100 million for servicing the terminals during the seven years, yet the three other companies that bid for the same job quoted only £35 million. Despite the size of other sums that have been mentioned today, £65 million is a huge difference and it could have done an enormous amount if it had been given to good causes. For example, it would have built many good-quality multi-sports centres, swimming pools and so forth. We must question how that was able to happen.
I raised with the Minister in an intervention the subject of start-up costs and when they would be repaid. That is important because the invitation to apply for the lottery was given without a stipulation that start-up costs should be repaid within the first year. To be an outstanding success, no other lottery needs profit on its equity capital. Why should we have allowed a structure in which five companies plan to make at least a 163 per cent. return on investment annually, which will bring at least £100 million a year to a few companies--that will increase to £200 million in profits in the peak years--when all the money could have gone in prizes and good causes?
On 3 November Peter Davis, the director of the Office of the National Lottery, wrote to me saying:
"The operator could then, free from debt, commit a greater contribution to the National Lottery Distribution Fund."
In reply to my intervention, the Minister said that he thought that the start-up costs would be paid back soon. I would like much more precise details when he replies.
Mr. Sproat: It might be helpful if I gave the hon. Lady some information now. When she mentioned profits earlier, I misunderstood and thought that she was talking about the benefit that Camelot might get from putting the turnover in an overnight deposit account and getting a percentage. I accept that she did not mean that. Camelot does not expect to get any return on its investment until the fourth year of its seven-year franchise, which is a long time into any franchise.
Ms Hoey: I am surprised at those figures as Camelot invested £49.5 million and borrowed £75 million. On the basis of the first four weeks, it is estimated that by the end of this year it will receive £134 million. Together with what the Government are taking, that is a very large chunk. The reason for repaying Camelot's costs is clear--only when they are repaid can interest and dividend payments be avoided and the funds to the overall pool maximised.
Camelot must be pushed on that matter. The contract should never have been given without a date being set for paying back the start-up costs. As people realise what huge amounts of money the operators are making and the Government taking, they will certainly be suspicious, even if they are unable to prove the case, and if normal Government funding for sport and the arts is reduced, they will feel dissatisfied.
That did not need to happen. There was a formula. With a charitable foundation the costs would have had to come out of the
fund--everything that needs to be done must be paid for--but the people would know that those running it were not doing so merely to make a profit, but in the interests of good causes and of giving them the maximum amount of money. That works elsewhere and we should have been able to do it that way, instead of simply giving
Column 1333the lottery to the company with the best bid when the costs were not disclosed. Seemingly, the Minister is not going to change any of those decisions.
There are a number of queries about how the lottery will work in practice and how money will go where it is supposed to go. I have always worried about the fact that the Arts Council and the Sports Council will distribute the money. There are dangers, especially for smaller groups. Some arts or sports projects may have had difficulty with the councils--perhaps for no reason and due to no blame on either side. The same organisations should not distribute the new money from the lottery, which will generate such public interest. I wanted a single national lottery distribution board with charitable status, as I said. No matter how much the Arts Council and the Sports Council try, they will have to be carefully monitored to see how the system works.
I am also concerned about the bureaucracy that is inherent in the way that the Arts Council and the Sports Council--probably for good reason--work. That bureaucracy will mean that some smaller groups will not be able to find their way through the system and the huge amount of form filling. Compare that with the much simpler way in which the Foundation for Sport and the Arts works. I hope that the Arts Council and the Sports Council will learn from that.
I do not want to comment on how good or bad television coverage of the lottery is--suffice it to say that if I am in on a Saturday night, I will turn over to watch the national lottery programme. I do not know what that says about my cultural aspirations. If the coverage is to continue, it will be useful if it shows the public how the money has been distributed, once that starts, and a little more about the ethos of the lottery, so that people view it not merely as a great opportunity--we all hoped that we were going to win the £17 million--but as a way of building support for the principles behind it, which are doing good and improving the quality of life.
The lottery is about investing in people and that is why the Government have been too concerned with the returns. A single national lottery distribution board with charitable status would have cleared away Government involvement in the politics of the lottery. Party politics should not be involved. Obviously we can all have an influence, but the lottery should not be seen as providing extra money for the Government to distribute. There is already concern that less Government money will go to the Sports Council because it is felt that more money will come from the great pot that is the lottery.
Mistakes have been made and there is no reason for anyone to be defensive about that. Obviously, when one sets up something new, mistakes will be made. I hope that the Minister will listen and talk to people who do not have a vested interest, but are interested because they genuinely want the best to be done for this country. I congratulate Denis Vaughan, of the lottery promotion company, who has done most of the work to keep the flame of the national lottery alive and has continued to question some of the ways in which it has operated. If the Government had listened to some of the things that the national lottery promotion company said earlier, we might have avoided some of the mistakes that we are now encountering. I am delighted that the national lottery has got off the ground. However, we need to keep a careful watch on it. I ask the Minister to stop being hung up on the idea of it
Column 1334having to be run by a private company, which will make more and more profit. We want to maximise the amount of money going to good causes and that can never happen when it is being run simply for the profit motive.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Before I call the next hon. Member, may I point out that there is considerable interest in the subject and if we pursue the debate in the leisurely style in which we have pursued it so far, there will be some disappointed hon. Members.
Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham): I am grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for deciding to call me now. I agree that the debate has been somewhat leisurely. Indeed, the speeches made by the two Front-Bench spokesmen, with which the debate began, took practically two hours. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary was interrupted many times. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) was not interrupted quite so much. Anyhow, I shall not speak for an hour, even if you, Madam Deputy Speaker, allow me, which you will not. It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Ms Hoey), whose enthusiasm for sport is well known to the House. She said that the lottery was "about good things". I remind the House that when we enacted the National Lottery etc. Bill a year or two ago, the then Secretary of State for National Heritage, my right hon. Friend the Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke) predicted that the amount to be found for each of the five good causes would be about £80 million, totalling between the five causes £400 million per year. We heard today from the Under-Secretary that the amount for good causes that has come in each week was already £12 million, rising to £16 million due to the exceptional lottery last week with its enormous jackpot. That suggests that the amount coming in for the five good causes taken as a whole will be at least £600 million for the year and that each good cause will receive upwards of £120 million, which is half as much again as my right hon. Friend predicted.
Those figures appear to show, in the early stages at least, the tremendous strength of the national lottery. It suggests that it can and will do a lot of good. All of us in the House should see it as a brilliant national achievement. It gives a great deal of excitement and pleasure to a large number of people week after week. It produces--or should produce--a great deal of happiness in those who win prizes and those around them. It produces a substantial amount of tax yield, which, as my intervention implied earlier, is not confined only to the official figure of 12 per cent. It can be augmented indirectly by other sources of revenue to the Government, springing from corporation tax on Camelot and from tax on those who sell the lottery tickets or those whose work is related to the lottery who also pay income tax. In addition, of course, there is all the money that goes to good causes.
I am quite sure that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary was right to suggest that we should not rush into adjustments and corrections to the system all at once. With such a massive new enterprise, it is inevitable that we encounter some unforeseen consequences and problems that may be large or small. We need more time to see how it works out. For example, my hon. Friend has been advised that the very large jackpot last week of £17
Column 1335million was to some extent a freak chance and that the mathematical odds against that happening in any one week, pair of weeks or three weeks running are very high. We should have the experience of six, nine or 12 months before changing the system.
The size of that jackpot attracted more money, which will augment the money for the good causes. For example, at about 5 o'clock on Saturday, I went to my local garage and bought five more tickets than I had planned to buy--I had bought one ticket earlier in the week--because I was attracted by the idea of winning £17 million. I know that the odds were against my winning, but I spent that extra fiver, the Government will get 70p in tax and the good causes will get about £1.30. I took my chance; I had £5 in my pocket. The whole episode was not especially disastrous. I had 10 minutes to spare on that Saturday afternoon. We need an assessment of how much more the good causes receive as a result of the occasional freak jackpot because of the rolling on from one week to the next.
Other problems have become apparent, and one that occurs to me is that we ought to question the quality of counselling provided by Camelot to winners. One may say that that is purely a matter for the commercial judgment of Camelot and for it to see to, but it seems that the image, hence the success of the national lottery to some extent, relates to the position and problems of prize winners. Whether the top prize is £17 million, £5 million or £1 million, the winners ought to have access to first-class advice. Whoever wins such a large sum should be able to do a great deal of good, not only for his own satisfaction and pleasure from what he spends, but in what he can do for his family, friends and charitable causes. It seems very sad that someone who wins a very large sum says within a couple of days that he wished that it had not happened. It suggests the possibility that there is an inadequacy in the quality of counselling provided by Camelot.
The House and the Government should take an interest in that matter because it interacts with the success of the lottery. I would like my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to request the Director General of Oflot to ask Camelot about suggesting improvements in the counselling given. So far, all we have been told is that Camelot provides counselling, but we have been told no more. The word "counselling" makes me slightly uneasy because--
Mr. Jessel: I do not mind if people are well paid for counselling, provided the advice that they are giving is good advice. The word "counselling" to me, connotes someone sympathetic and friendly who sits next to someone who is unburdening his problems and says, "There, there." The counsellor may have some knowledge, experience and qualifications, but possibly may not be a particularly distinguished and expert adviser.
Mr. Jessel: May I finish my point? A person who has suddenly won £1 million, £5 million or £17 million ought instantly to be advised to go not to a run-of-the-mill solicitor, but to a top, distinguished solicitor from a top
Column 1336firm of solicitors who is highly experienced, who has a great deal of flair and expertise in advising on matters such as setting up family trusts, whether discretionary or otherwise, and setting up charitable trusts and the like, and who can advise big prize winners what to do to benefit their children and grandchildren, while ensuring that they are not too vulnerable to fortune hunters. The sort of advice that might be given at present by Camelot's advisers to people who come into large sums is inadequate. Perhaps the Minister will ask the Director General of Oflot to look into that to see how it can be improved.
There has clearly been something wrong over privacy and anonymity. There is an obvious temptation to Camelot, which wishes to boost the success of the lottery, to hope that large prize winners will allow their names to become public. Reports of successful winners provide more vivid publicity if those winners are not anonymous. The publicity and the adventures of the winners will promote the lottery. It would not be altogether surprising for Camelot to try gently to encourage winners to become public while at the same time reminding them of their legal right to remain anonymous.
Equally, it is not surprising when the press tries to find out who prize winners are because it makes a good story. The whole matter needs to be tightened or anonymity will not be real. The Minister is right to ask the Director General of Oflot to inquire whether the terms are being strictly adhered to.
I do not think that the Press Complaints Commission is a satisfactory body. It does not have enough teeth. I am a member of the Select Committee on National Heritage, which produced its report on privacy and the media 21 months ago. It appeared a month or two after Calcutt, to which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central referred. He said that it was three or four years ago, but I remember almost precisely that it was two years ago.
Harassment and the whole issue of privacy, whether in relation to the lottery or to other matters, should be the subject of legislation. Ordinary people, whether they are lottery prize winners or witnesses who appeared before the Select Committee, who were the widows of soldiers who had been murdered in Northern Ireland and had been harassed without mercy by some sections of the media, ought to be better protected. There should be an offence of harassment. It is appalling when, for example, photographers climb trees on a neighbouring plot to take long-distance shots, which are then magnified to show the faces of relatives at funerals.
There should be an ombudsman to deal with privacy and he should have power to fine and apply to the court for an order to sequester the assets of those who engage in unjustified intrusion into privacy. The legislation should apply to lottery winners who are unjustly and unfairly harassed by the media when they wish to avail themselves of the right to anonymity. That right is included in the Act and in the terms of Camelot's contract.
I shall now refer to the five good causes. The hon. Member for Vauxhall spoke about sport. When the Select Committee on National Heritage, to which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary gave evidence, was considering the sponsorship of sport, it became apparent that some sports do not make good television because they do not give rise to good pictures on the screen. One such sport is squash,
Column 1337which it is difficult to portray on television because of the sudden changes of angle made by the ball and because of the indoor set-up and lighting.
As squash makes poor television, it cannot attract sponsors, and it should have particular help from the Sports Council and the lottery. If that does not happen, some very good sports, merely because they do not make good television and cannot attract commercial sponsorship, will begin to wane. The lottery can help to put that right. I shall now refer to the millennium fund. There are to be 12 big imaginative schemes in different parts of the country. For example, there could be a big arts centre in a provincial city or an important project in Kensington linking the Albert hall, the Albert memorial and the great museums there. I can dimly remember as a child the festival of Britain, which the Attlee Government started in about 1948 on the south bank. That is analogous because that Government undoubtedly took an interest in it.
The Millennium Commission has such important and lasting work of national importance to do that it is entirely proper that whoever is Secretary of State should be actively involved. That is completely different from the other four good causes because the question of which arts, sports group or charity one supports should be argued and not be the subject of interference by Ministers. There is a choice to be made between different opera companies, sports bodies or charities--they are quite different from the millennium fund. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Stoke-on- Trent, Central on that. The appointment of Miss Jenny Page as the director of the millennium fund should be warmly welcomed by the House. I was greatly impressed by her tremendous work as the director of English Heritage and her appointment augurs well for the millennium fund.
Finally, I should like briefly to mention three projects in my constituency: the Hampton swimming pool, the Teddington theatre club, which is setting up a theatre at Hampton Hill, and the new arts and music centre project in Twickenham. I shall not take up the time of the House by enlarging on those, but I should like the
Under-Secretary to note my interest, and I give notice that I shall raise those matters elsewhere in more detail at a later stage. 12.17 pm
Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland): The debate is somewhat premature because lottery tickets went on sale only a month ago. As the Minister said, it would be unwise to make judgments on the evidence of so little experience. I am somewhat surprised that the Government chose this subject for debate because it clearly means that those of us who have anything to contribute will be told, "We had better wait to see the outcome."
We know that in the month during which the lottery has been in operation it has given the nation one multi-millionaire whose takings far surpass those of the richest magnate in the land for this year, a handful of millionaires, several column miles in the newspapers and the immortal catch phrase, "Activate the balls." Not long
Column 1338ago I noticed a jingle by Henry Fielding about lotteries. I think that it was written in about 1732. I do not know the tune.
"A lottery is a taxation
Upon all the fools in Creation
And Heaven be praised
It is easily raised
Credulity is always in fashion".
I much enjoyed some parts of the speech of the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel). That includes his venture into his local garage last week, when he showed perhaps a degree of credulity, but he is one of those people who would not be harmed by the modest expenditure that he made on that occasion.
In the first month, we have learned a number of things that are positive and interesting. We have a better idea of the amount of money that might be raised. By the middle of this week, I understand that the national lottery distribution fund had received £53.4 million from Camelot, which is to be distributed among the arts and heritage, sport, charities and the millennium fund. At that rate, as I think the hon. Member for Twickenham worked out, too, more than £600 million will be raised in the first year, if not more, depending on the popularity of the instant gain scheme to be introduced in 1995.
We know something about the operation of the broad criteria for applying for money from the lottery. The basic principles were set out in February this year by the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke). Capital projects are to be favoured over revenue support, and partnership money is to be secured from another source. Projects must be tangible to the community and viable in the long term. Apparently, some rethinking is going on about revenue funding, which is appropriate. I was interested and glad to hear the Secretary of State for National Heritage say earlier this week that it is recognised that capital expenditure has revenue implications and that there are occasions when it might be sensible to consider that source of funding for revenue reasons.
The Arts Council "Detailed Guidance for Applicants" states: "You cannot, at this stage, apply for `revenue funding' or `endowment funding'. We will only consider requests for grants for these purposes if we have already confirmed that we will provide a grant for capital expenditure. You should make sure that your project does not depend on either of these forms of funding".
With the exception of the National Lottery Charities Board, detailed guidelines to all other sorts of applicants have been issued. All that is welcome.
Even after four weeks, a number of problems are clearly apparent. One problem that has played a large part in the debate involves protecting the anonymity of winners. The regulator has a statutory duty to protect the interests of the players. The player code of practice established under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 provides that the regulator must provide winners with an option of anonymity. It is clear that that system is not foolproof. Great difficulties are involved in making it foolproof.
I was interested in the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Twickenham that counselling on the receipt of substantial sums of money would be appropriate. I am