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Viscount Falkland: My Lords, we on these Benches congratulate the noble Baroness on an excellent speech at this late hour. She raised many points that are also of concern to us. I do not intend to re-rehearse the arguments against the use of lottery funds for things which we believe should be funded from central taxation (Treasury funding).
Every time one criticises the actions of the Government in securing funding from the lottery in this way, one is sometimes accused of taking lightly the excellent areas to which these funds are directed. I can understand the importance of everything in the first part of the order, which has to do with the treatment of cancer, the delivery of modern screening in local areas and so on. But I take the noble Baroness's point that the choice of beneficiaries is a complex and worrying area. I find the part of the order dealing with the acquisition
The Minister, with his customary skill, makes the whole provision seem extremely attractive. He even refers to public libraries, which, thinking in an art sense, are a wonderful thing. My heart leapt for a moment. This is a time when, for some curious reason, funding for public libraries is being reduced. They are a fundamental need of our society. It is encouraging to think that public libraries will benefit in some way from this provision. But the way in which it is being done gives rise to great anxieties. The hour is late and I do not wish to repeat what has already been said in an excellent way.
Baroness Pitkeathley: My Lords, I must declare an interest. I am chair of the New Opportunities Fund. I merely wish to place on record my board's welcome for these initiatives and for the order that is before the House.
In carrying out the difficult task that is before us, we shall be working in partnership with other organisations, including other lottery distributors. It is important to emphasise that. We shall be supporting sustainable projects in the United Kingdom which improve the quality of life for individuals and communities, promote social inclusion, encourage community involvement and complement and enhance--but not substitute for--relevant national, regional and local strategies and programmes. We at the fund feel privileged to be playing our part in setting up this new organisation distributing lottery moneys to help education and environment projects. The programme is certainly a challenging one, not only for us but for all the other organisations with which we shall be working.
I wish to convey to your Lordships something of the public support and enthusiasm for this initiative that are fed back to me as I go through an extensive consultation process with the public throughout the United Kingdom. These initiatives were originally announced in September and we have already started consultation with many of the organisations to which the noble Baroness referred in the environment field and the cancer field, and in terms of learning.
In our original three initiatives we managed to consult directly with more than 5,000 people. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm and support for the initiatives. Of course, everyone recognises that there are concerns about additionality, sustainability and how partnerships might work. My board is extremely concerned about that and particularly about ensuring that our provision does not in any way undermine the existing provision.
I reiterate that my board is determined to take advantage of the exciting new opportunity in a way which reaches out to the most disadvantaged people in our society. I am confident that we can meet the challenges presented to us and do exactly that.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I shall not keep your Lordships long at this hour in the morning. I support my noble friend Lady Anelay on the Front Bench and am grateful that she covered nearly everything I wished to say, especially about the right to roam. That means that I do not have to repeat the points, although I have an interest as a landowner.
The point of my question is about the New Opportunities Funds. The Secretary of State described them best when he admitted that they had raided the National Lottery to fund the opportunities. Most of them are worthy causes and one must welcome the Government taking the initiative to identify such worthy causes, especially playing fields. I am pleased that that is happening.
Lord Rowallan: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, and the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, for telling us more about the specification of initiatives. Perhaps I am slightly cynical in thinking that the orders seem to be discussed late at night or early in the morning.
The lottery will only ever work properly and be appreciated by the people of this country if it has a few clear purposes and its image can be fully promoted to the public, with constant improvement in sales which will benefit everyone in all the causes. The order is so diffuse as to open the door to substitution, without creating recognisable improvements on any national scale. The presence this month of £3.7 billion unspent in the National Lottery Distribution Fund, of which £1.7 billion has not been committed to anything, shows the current mechanisms to be on the whole totally inadequate. No other lottery in the world has failed to use its money on that scale. Only 48 per cent. has been spent over the four-and-a-quarter years of its existence.
The most positive aspect of the order is its role in the prevention of cancer. But why just cancer? What about multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and Hodgkin's disease, to name but three debilitating conditions. They need just as much sorting out to ascertain what causes them.
The aspect that is vital is the business of trying to sort out what is the cause of cancer. I hope that we can guarantee at least 50 per cent. of the available funds to be fixed and dedicated to that purpose. To that end, the use of the word "facilities" is not enough. We need research and instruction in order to touch the lottery-playing public. Prevention is better than cure. We must look at the research done by, among others, the Gawler Foundation in Australia, which has achieved
Part II deals with the purchase of land. Provided the purchase is restricted to such land as is useful for playing fields, I totally support the order. On the same principle, preventive medicine should dominate the part dealing with cancer. It is right to have a right-to-roam Bill in your Lordships' House. I applaud it and have no reason to disagree with it. If we can persuade land owners to let people roam across their land so be it, but it should not be done with lottery funding for the purchase of land. It would be cheaper, surely, to pay landowners to have footpaths along and across their land.
The third problem is education. We are all very keen on education. I wish that I had learnt how to work my computer many years ago. If so, I would be a lot more efficient than I am today. Surely, this is a government problem and should be funded by taxpayers, not the lottery. Only if lottery money is applied where other sources have failed can it be recognised as a force for good in the land. At the moment, it has become a convenience for Treasury to offload problems. The lottery needs to concentrate again on the original five good causes. Many sporting organisations and arts bodies thought that they would find their salvation in the lottery but came up against blank walls at the end of the day. But others have succeeded in raising a lot of money and a marvellous job has been done by the lottery. Long may it continue.
This order will almost certainly be passed this morning, but I and many others are very concerned about the use of the people's lottery for government purposes. It is simply not good enough for the Minister to say--he has said it before and I am sure that he means it because he has always been extremely courteous, polite and truthful--that the original five causes have received their quota of money. They should be enjoying extra finance thanks to the success of the lottery, not the Government. That is why the good people of this country play the lottery. They do it to make money, always hoping that they will win the jackpot; they do not do it to boost government funds. We must always remember that this is the people's lottery, not the Treasury's.
Lord Annaly: My Lords, at this late stage I shall not detain the House for long. Cancer is a very worthy cause. My noble friend Lord Rowallan mentioned a number of other causes that would be equally worthy of support. I shall focus my few remarks on the acquisition of land for the public good.
This matter raises a few questions. Perhaps the Minister can throw light on the kind of land that is being considered. I cannot see a mention of games fields. Certainly, in my part of the world, which I believe is typical of the rest of the country, schools have been selling land on which to build houses. In Bicester half the rugger pitch has been built on in the past two years. I am aware that the same has happened round the country. Surely, it is up to local authorities to decide.
We need more games fields but I question whether they should be funded by the National Lottery. Is the compulsory purchase of land being considered? If so, who will identify the land to be compulsorily purchased? Will it be the county council? Are the Government thinking of using organisations such as the National Trust, which are supported by a number of people? I declare an interest as a member of the National Trust. Some suggest that they would be admirable people to run the land acquired. The National Trust opens houses and, with its land agents, would be well geared to manage land in the countryside and towns for the benefit of the public. Are the Government looking at organisations like the Woodland Trust, or the Badminton Conservation Trust which is geared up for conservation? What are we referring to? If someone wants to sell a grouse moor and wishes to put it on the open market, would the funds be used to buy that grouse moor? I am curious to know exactly what is being considered here.
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