Janet Anderson: I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman. It was stated very clearly in legislation that was passed by a majority of the House that more money would be put into health and education through the new opportunities fund. However, that money is additional to that which the Government are spending already. I shall deal with that point later in my speech.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: The hon. Lady has asked a load of fatuous questions to which I have already given the answers. She has the misfortune of coming to the House with a prepared speech. Having failed to the listen to the debate, she is now stuck with her speech and asking questions that I have already answered. I have already told the House today that a Conservative Government would honour the existing commitments of the new opportunities fund. Although I am not going to set out in minute detail what Conservative policy might be, I said that we would review the operation of the national lottery. I have also indicated to the House that absolutely nothing has
Janet Anderson: If I may, I shall deal with the point about charities later, after I have made some progress. I shall also attempt to answer the hon. Gentleman's questions. However, he has still not told us what Conservative Members, were they ever in a position to take the decision, would do with the new opportunities fund. We have to conclude from some of their statements today that they would scrap it.
Mr. Ainsworth: The hon. Lady is working herself up into a complete lather about this. She should form no such conclusion. We have, however, said that we would review it. Why on earth does she not listen?
Janet Anderson: Whatever the hon. Gentleman might decide to do--should he ever be in a position to make a decision, which I think is extremely unlikely--it could probably be aptly described as the no opportunities fund.
It has been suggested that arts and sports have lost out because of establishment of the new opportunities fund. However, both arts and sports good causes will have received significantly more by the end of the current licence period than was originally projected. That is a fact and it is important to put it on the record.
As for additionality, although the Government established the new opportunities fund's broad initiatives, NOF reaches its funding decisions independently. Although we have given each initiative a clear focus, enabling the new opportunities fund to provide added value and complement Government and other lottery programmes, NOF is not taking over core responsibilities. It funds specific time-limited initiatives additional to core taxpayer-funded programmes.
On healthy living centres, the Government remain committed to the principle of additionality. The new opportunities fund, like the other good causes, should only support initiatives which add to, and do not substitute for, existing Government-funded programmes. Healthy living centres help people to improve their health and well-being. The aim of the centres is to provide advice, information and activities, focusing on health promotion. Healthy living centres do not do things which are properly the responsibility of the national health service and do not undermine existing provision from other sectors.
The right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) referred to IT training for teachers. The task of training all serving teachers in information and communications technology to bring them up the same standard had never been undertaken before. This is, therefore, a one-off initiative to give existing teachers the necessary skills and ability to operate in the 21st century.
Janet Anderson: The right hon. Gentleman must remember that this funding is in addition to all the money that the Government are putting into education. This has never been done before; it is a one-off initiative.
Janet Anderson: I do not know where the hon. Gentleman has been, but I have repeatedly referred to the extra money that the Government are putting into health and education--millions more than the Conservative party did. These initiatives are in addition to that.
Lottery-funded IT training for teachers does not support the basics of operating the technology, but focuses on helping teachers to use the technology in the classroom to enrich teaching and learning and raise standards. Our commitment to improving initial teacher training, funded from tax revenues, will ensure that new entrants have the necessary skills from the start.
Comments have been made about charities allegedly losing out as a result of the establishment of the new opportunities fund. The evidence is mixed; some are perhaps losing, but some are gaining. However, I remind the House that the changes introduced on charitable giving by the Chancellor in his Budget will have a more marked effect on income to charities than anything else.
Mr. Brooke: Does the Minister recall the Finance Bill and Act 1997, which took away from charities a massive amount of money in terms of advance corporation tax--for which I acknowledge the Government are, a long time after, finding some means of making amends?
We have had a very good debate. I am sad that Opposition Members do not feel able to support the order tonight and I am sure that people outside the Chamber will take a message from that. I commend the order to the House.
Line 37, before the word 'European' insert the words 'Environmental Audit Committee or with the'.--[Mr. Dowd.]
the Lords Message [12th July] communicating a Resolution relating to Human Rights (Joint Committee), be now considered;
this House concurs with the Lords in the said Resolution; and
the following Standing Order be made:
(1) There shall be a Select Committee, to consist of six Members, to join with the Committee appointed by the Lords as the Joint Committee on Human Rights.--[Mr. Dowd.]