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They have been in the public domain for quite some time. The Mayor said that a month after the budget tripled and he was trying to reassure good causes that, according to that scenario, they might make up £1.8 billion. Looking at the state of the
market now, we realise that the amount raised is likely to be £1 billion less than that, which is another whammy for good causes.
We fought hard for the concession that the Secretary of State has madethe commitment not to take any more money from good causes. That is a victory for our fight and it is a victory for the hundreds of thousands of people who work for charities and voluntary organisations, arts and heritage groups and sports clubs up and down the country, because their big concern was that, given the Governments appalling record of financial incompetence on the Olympics budget, they would be stung not only today, but many times in the future.
The Secretary of State talked about bipartisanship, but if he intended to make that pledge today, why did he not tell me that when we met at 9 oclock last night? He asked to meet me then to discuss todays debate. If we are to maintain cross-party supportassuming that he did not make that decision after our meeting last nighthe might at least have had the courtesy to tell me then. I suggest that that would be a better way to create a spirit of cross-party support than playing party political games.
James Purnell: I am happy to proceed on the basis of cross-party consensus. I am sorry for the tone that the hon. Gentlemans speech has taken. It is the Governments intention to continue on that basis. If he does not want to do the same, that is entirely up to him.
Mr. Hunt: With respect, that is exactly what I want to do. I am just saying that if the Secretary of State was going to make a concession as major as the one that he has just made, why did he not tell me at our meeting at 9 oclock last night?
The Secretary of State mentioned an additional £600 million to £1 billion in lottery income under the new Camelot licence. Those numbers are based on items in the Camelot bid document. He will know that they are very speculative. They depend on the Treasurys agreeing to move to a gross profits tax, which he said has not been confirmedhe is simply prepared to consider it again. They depend on the introduction of restrictions on lottery-style games in adult gaming centres. Again, he said that he would ask the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission to consider it, but there is no undertaking that it will happen. They also depend on the approval of the National Lottery Commission. We have a commitment from the Secretary of State to examine ways to increase the returns to good causes, versus what is written in black and white in the statutory instrument, which is that there is to be a raid of £90 million on the arts and heritage budget and of £70 million on the grass-roots sports budget.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman could help me and the House by confirming what he has just said. He said that the figure given by the Secretary of Statethe £600 million to £1 billion in increased money that Camelot would effectively give to good causes over 10 yearswas predicated on the introduction of GPT, the closing down of the grey areas of lotteries and so on. I had a discussion this afternoon with Camelot, and what it told me was rather different. It assured me that the figure depended entirely on the new agreement about how it will operate. None of the three factors that he mentioned was referred to at all. Will he help me on that point?
Mr. Hunt: I am delighted to do so. We must have been speaking to different people at Camelot; my office had a discussion with Camelot this afternoon, in which it told us that the additional increase in money to good causes was clearly predicated on those three things.
The concessions are important, but they do not undo the main damage caused by the order. It is extraordinary to fund a £9.3 billion Olympics budget by cutting the budgets for grass-roots sportsthe very budgets that could provide the sporting legacy that was the big promise of 2012. Derek Mapp, who resigned as chairman of Sport England, described it as a cut too far. He is, or was, a strong Labour supporter. In 2004, he gave £3,000 to his constituency Labour party, because he presumed that widening participation in sport was a central plank of the Governments 2012 strategy. Like us, he has no doubt read the London plan, part of the London 2012 candidate file, which said that the games would succeed in
leaving a legacy to be valued by future generations.
The Olympics would inevitably deprive other schools of new pitches and extra coaches. Why? Because we wont be able to raise the extra lottery money, and because the costs will overrun.
James Purnell: I am afraid that that was said before a 170 per cent. increase in the Sport England budget, a sevenfold increase in the contributions of the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a five-hour offer for children doing sport in schools and a huge increase in the number of playing fields as a result of the building schools for the future programme, which will refurbish or rebuild schools during the next few years. Grass-roots sport is thriving thanks to our investment. By contrast, the Conservatives did not invest in it at all.
I suggest that the Secretary of State do the math, as they say in the United States. If one adds up the amount put into grass-roots sport this year from both Government spending and the lottery, it comes to £135 million less than in 1997. Grass-roots sport has suffered, and it will suffer even more. The impact of the cuts in additional spending made this afternoon
alone£70 millionis £108,000 per constituency, which is equivalent to one floodlit multi-use games area or 100 m grass pitch in the constituency of every single Member of this House.
James Purnell: Let me save the hon. Gentleman from having to correct the record himself. The combined grant in aid and lottery funding has gone up from £174.9 million to £465 million in 2006-07, which I think is the figure that he quoted. From £174 million to £465 million is more than a doubling of the amount of money.
Mr. Hunt: I am happy to trade statistics with the Secretary of State any time, and I am happy to confirm the figures with him. Funding has gone down not just for grass-roots sport, but even more for arts and heritage.
Mr. Swire: My hon. Friend will well remember when the former Minister for Sport, the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Central (Mr. Caborn), came back from Sydney and said, quoting someone he had met out there:
Do not underestimate the budget. If you have to go higher, it will be seen as a failure so make sure your calculations are realistic.[ Official Report, 21 July 2005; Vol. 436, c. 1505.]
From this afternoons announcements, what on earth makes anyone in the Chamber, other than those on the Labour Front Bench and possibly some Back Benchers, believe that the new figures are realistic? How can we sell them to our constituents, who are suffering from the cuts in grass-roots sports and in our local theatresthe Northcott theatre in Exeter and others throughout the country? Why are the new figures any more realistic? What is to prevent the Minister from asking for more money again in a few months? Surely it is the duty of every Member of the House to protect those causes, which are already suffering so badly.
If the Secretary of State does not want to listen to figures from us, why does he not talk to people in the industry? Tim Lamb, the former chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who now runs the Central Council of Physical Recreation, said:
Whats the use of getting more kids involved in sport at school if they dont have decent facilities to play with when they leave? The Lottery must not be used as a piggy bank for ministers to pay for the games.
If the choice is made between funding lottery good causes or funding the Olympics, we will fail in our commitment to the Olympic legacy, because it is the lottery commitment to grass-roots sport that is the means whereby we will provide that legacy.
Why have all these problems arisen? The construction budget went up by 29 per cent. last March; the regeneration budget went up by 70 per cent.; and the security budget nearly tripled to nearly £600 million, despite the fact that the original security budget at £220 million was less than the Greeks paid for the Athens Olympics. Why we thought it would be cheaper to make the London Olympics secure, I do not know.
There were two items in the revised budget that, inexplicably, did not appear in the original budget. The revision included a contingency budget of £2.7 billion. We now know that it was against explicit Treasury guidelines not to have a contingency budget in a project of that size, yet the Treasury approved the original budget. There was a VAT bill of £840 million in the new budget. If the Treasury approved the original budget, why did it decide that it did not need VAT then, but that it needed nearly £1 billion of VAT the second time? Since then, the news has got worse, not better. In June we heard that the security budget may go up to £1 billion. In October the Olympic Delivery Authority said that the cost of the stadium would go up 77 per cent.by another £216 million.
Let us return to the lottery. In order to secure the bid, the bid team made great play of Londons cultural heritagethey talked about the 300 museums and galleries and the five symphony orchestrasbut because of todays measure, arts and heritage distributors will lose £90 million each. The Secretary of State spoke about English Heritage. Dr. Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, stated:
Inevitably the additional reduction in Lottery funding will reduce opportunities for the cost of inspirational projects which have transformed the historic environment...and made it accessible to millions more people.
The reduction in budget . . . will hit smaller arts organisations at grassroots level very hard.
The Olympics will be in London, but of course we want it to benefit the whole country, so it is particularly depressing to read the remarks of the chief executives of the Arts Councils of Wales and Scotland. Peter Tyndall of the Arts Council of Wales commented:
Many projects will be unable to go ahead and individual artists will not have their work funded.
The Scottish Arts Council is disappointed by this decision . . . the plans will undoubtedly also have a serious impact on general participatory activity and programmes for future years.
Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): It is worse than that for us in Scotland. We are holding the Commonwealth games in 2014, but SportScotland has said that it will be deprived of £13 million of spending. How on earth are we supposed to pay for the Commonwealth games when we are deprived of that kind of money?
We dont believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Governments responsibilities.
Those words are not ours, but those of Tony Blair in 1997; as ever, unfortunately, his actions did not live up to his rhetoric. We urge the Government to examine whether it is possible to fund the shortfall, not by the cuts outlined in this measure, but by using the funds
that the Big Lottery Fund would have spent on projects that should be funded by central Government Departments.
Anne Snelgrove: Will the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that Members from across the House have grave concerns about good causes? That is why I asked the Minister my question. In the spirit of moving forward together, will the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that it would be an excellent idea for us all, including Members of his party, to recognise the importance of the Olympics as well as that of the good causes? I hope that he and his party will vote for the motion.
Mr. Field: I thank my hon. Friend. Anyone who has listened to this debate for the past 20 minutes will have been impressed by my hon. Friends grasp of the statistics. Does he recognise that our biggest complaint in the past few years has been that the creation of the Big Lottery Fund has made lottery funding that much more opaque? That is one of the reasons why statistics have been bandied around in this debate. We need a clear reassertion of the four main heads of good causes. When the lottery came into being, there was the millennium fund. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is a great shame that we did not simply transfer the money from that fund into the Olympic fund?
Mr. Hunt: As ever, my hon. Friend has made an excellent point. I think that he is really saying that if the lottery were returned to its original four good causes we would not have a lot of the pain that we are suffering today. The structure that the Government have set up for the lottery gives the Minister the power to determine 50 per cent. of the money from lottery good causes. That has led to a lot of the problems.
Some £9.3 billion would be a huge amount if it were simply for 17 days of entertainment. However, if the Olympics can be a catalyst in transforming attitudes to sport, harness the power of grass-roots sport so that men and boys join grass-roots sports clubs rather than gangs, engender a sense of national pride and Britishness, and showcase our sport, which comes from
the country responsible for more international sports than any other, perhaps that enormous sum will be more acceptable to hard-working taxpayers.
However, that sum will not be acceptable if the Government are not transparent about the budget, if they make charities and voluntary organisations pay the price for their financial incompetence, or if they decimate grass-roots sports clubsthe very organisations that can secure an Olympic sporting legacy. This afternoon, the Government will win the vote, but I hope yet that we will win the argument.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): It has not been a good Olympic day for me; unfortunately, the British Olympic Association decided that Aldershot should be a major training base for the British team in the run-up to the 2012 games. That base will not now be at Loughborough university or the excellent facilities at Bath university in my constituency.
Mr. Reed: I am grateful. As the hon. Gentleman knows, if Aldershot had not been chosen, Loughborough would have been. However, he has mentioned an important aspect. Those of us in the regions will benefit from the Olympics in whatever waynot necessarily from the £9.3 billion, but through such things as training camps, holding camps and the build-up. Those will benefit places such as Loughborough and Bath, regardless of the British Olympic Associations decision to go to Aldershot.
However, this debate is about the lottery. I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt), who said that it was vital for the Government to keep their sticky little hands out of decisions about the lottery. I entirely agree. It is a pity, therefore, that in 2001 the Tories proposed extra lottery money for local authority-controlled museums and art galleries and, in the same year, £5 million more to protect British heritage overseas. In 2005, they proposed more lottery money for village halls and parish churches and, in their last manifesto, £750 million for their proposed club and school sports programme. Even their leader has been at it: in an interview in 2006, he suggested using the national lottery to fund his proposed national school leavers programme. They say one thing, but act rather differently.
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