Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Nigel Dodds (Belfast, North) (DUP): On clause 7, I welcome the fact that devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be given a greater say in setting priorities, determining strategy and so on, but what will the quantum be in terms of devolved expenditure? It would be helpful to know the answer to that, if the Minister is in a position to give it.

Mr. Caborn: Such moneys will be broadly in line with current expenditure, but we are trying to change the way in which that expenditure is administered, so that it is possible to respond much more sensitively to the needs of countries with devolved Administrations.

Mrs. Sîan C. James (Swansea, East) (Lab): Does the Minister agree that the Bill will give Wales and Scotland greater powers to decide where and how lottery moneys are spent, and a greater decision-making voice to communities such as mine? Does he further agree that that is a good thing?

Mr. Caborn: Absolutely. [Interruption.] As my hon. Friend will learn, unfortunately we get a bit of stupidity from the Opposition from time to time. We are discussing a very important issue: how we can respond to public need, in the light of consultation and opinion polling, and encapsulate it in the Bill. My hon. Friend makes a very valid contribution by pointing out how the Bill will operate, and the way in which her constituents and the people of Scotland will gain from it. We will respond to what they and others have said, but my hon. Friend will doubtless learn that the Opposition do not take this issue as seriously as they should.

Clause 9 provides for a new system of allocating investment income from the national lottery distribution fund, in the same proportions as ticket sales income, to each lottery distributor. So the first step has been taken in the direction to which my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mrs. James) referred. Clause 10 will enable lottery distributors to seek, and to take account of, public consultation in making distribution decisions. We want the public to have a say in such matters, and this provision will remove the legal uncertainties that have proved an impediment to greater consultation.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab): The Minister is being very generous in giving way. The lifeboat services that protect our coasts received no lottery money under the old legislation. Does this Bill enable them to claim money for the running costs of a lifeboat?

Mr. Caborn: I cannot answer that question, directly but I will take note of it. [Interruption.] I note as I look
14 Jun 2005 : Column 166
at my officials that by the time that the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (James Purnell), winds up, he will be able to answer it.

Clause 11 will ensure that lottery distributors have powers to publicise the lottery beyond their own funding areas. Clause 12 will allow the Big Lottery Fund to make grants in the Isle of Man, where people do indeed buy tickets. Clauses 13 and 14 and schedule 2 will set up the Big Lottery Fund and allow it to distribute lottery funds. The fund will also be able to distribute non-lottery funds, provided that they are within the good cause, and give advice about the distribution of lottery money and applications for grants. The fund will be required to comply with any directions from the Secretary of State relating to UK and England expenditure, and with directions from the devolved Administrations relating to expenditure in their countries.

Clauses 15 to 18 deal with the dissolution of the old distributors that the Big Lottery Fund will replace: the Community Fund, the New Opportunities Fund and the Millennium Commission.

John Bercow : The right hon. Gentleman cantered on to clause 15 and I was gravely disappointed, as I have always regarded him as a man of his word. He specifically undertook to answer my question about clause 14(2) of the Bill, proposed new section 36B of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993, and the means by which the order-making power is exercised—the negative procedure of the House or its affirmative counterpart. Perhaps he can now advise me.

Mr. Caborn: I am now looking at the explanatory notes, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman has read, and I believe that the negative procedure applies. If I am wrong, I will get back to him, but that is my understanding. I hope that I can now canter on a little further, if he will allow me, to clause 19.

Clause 19 defines charitable expenditure, in relation to the Big Lottery Fund good causes, as expenditure that is "charitable, benevolent or philanthropic". It amounts to a purpose-based approach, rather than an institution-based approach.

Good causes has been a matter of some concern, and I would like to give an absolute and clear assurance that, although we are making important changes, we are not seeking to change the scope of the good causes, nor opening up the fundamental principle of what lottery money can be spent on. When Parliament last considered the issue in 1998, health, education and the environment were added as things that are as important to people's lives as sport, heritage and the arts. The Bill reaffirms the existing good causes, whose shares we have guaranteed until 2009. We have also said that the same good causes will continue beyond 2009, and this autumn we will consult about the overall priorities to be set under the existing powers for those existing good causes.

Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley) (Con): Will the Minister explain in more detail how the principle of additionality is supposed to work in respect of health care funding? Will he also confirm whether the spending of £93 million
14 Jun 2005 : Column 167
on magnetic resonance angiography cancer scanners is in any way additional to mainstream Government spending?

Mr. Caborn: During the consultation on what the populace wanted, we discovered that they viewed health, education and the environment as areas already covered by Government expenditure, but in respect of which additional expenditure should be made. I cannot comment on the specific case that the hon. Gentleman mentioned, as I have no evidence, but I can say that   when people have been consulted on health, education and the environment, they have expressed overwhelming support for what we are doing. Evidence provided not just by the Government, but by MORI and others, strongly suggests that the public regard education, health and the environment as good causes that should be supported.

Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove) (Con): Does the Minister admit, following what he has just said, that the Government's proposals breach the principle of additionality? He was generous in paying tribute to the last Conservative Government who set up the lottery on the basis of five good causes, one of which—the millennium fund—we can dispense with. The four other good causes—sport, arts, heritage and charity—were then to receive 100 per cent. of the cash. However, the Bill that the Minister now proposes offers 50 per cent. of the money to funding causes, including education, health and the environment, that have traditionally been areas of Government activity paid for by the taxpayer. The Minister may be right in saying that the public support those causes, but the Bill surely breaches the principle of additionality, despite the Minister's claims that it does not.

Mr. Caborn: The Opposition have their views and will want to canter around the course on the basis of them. Let me be absolutely clear: the results of two consultations—the ICM and YouGov polls—were strongly indicative of public opinion. The Opposition are perfectly entitled to go against public opinion. That is fine, but it is also probably why Conservative Members sit on the Opposition side of the House and Labour Members on the Government side. It is entirely their choice, but life moves on.

It may well be that what happened in the mid-1990s was right and appropriate at the time, so let us examine the history of the lottery. Some mistakes were made over huge amounts of money, but the lottery has been more successful by any standards subsequently, with more money going to good causes. Yes, there were problems with revenue and capital, but we have dealt with them. Yes, there was a problem about geographical disparities throughout the country when judged against need, but we have dealt with that, too. We have tried at least to keep in line with public opinion, which is why we conducted wide consultation in 2002. We have not chucked it in the bin as a result of people's accusations, but used it constructively.

A further consultation has been held and its findings have been incorporated in the Bill, as has the information gleaned from opinion polls. If the
14 Jun 2005 : Column 168
custodians of wisdom on the Opposition Benches so choose, they can table amendments in Committee, just as they have done today. However, I believe that the Bill conforms to the wishes of people outside the House and that it will ensure that their money is spent as they want it to be spent.

Next Section IndexHome Page