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The noble Viscount said: I thought it more appropriate to wait to speak to this amendment because it relates to a rather different subject from Amendment No. 15. It does not attempt to challenge the 50 per centalthough I dislike it, having supported my noble friend's previous amendment.
In passingand before I launch into my reason for wanting to change the name of "Big"I hope the Minister is not suggesting in his analysis of "consultation" that the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Sports Fund make no contribution either to health or education.
The Big Lottery Fund has been operating since June 2004, and it is not clear how it got its name. Was it the invention of a senior civil servant on his way home, or the expensive creation of some consultant? Either way, it is an unhappy choice, with shades of James Bond and Big Brother; Mr. Big rules OK? On Second Reading, the Minister said that it was wrong to read proposed new Section 36D as an invitation to "Big" to tell its smaller distributor confederates how to behave. How does he plan to control this possibility? Four chief executives enter the room for a monthly meeting: one is Mr. Big, a 50 per cent man, and the others are each 16.66 per cent. In other circumstances, this situation would lead to indictable discrimination. Interpreting government policy as people will, it is asking too much of human nature to expect that "Big" will not accept the Secretary of State's approved strategy, which is that "Big" should have a leadership role, clearly expressed in the decision document of July 2003, at paragraphs 3.7 to 3.23. In three pages, it is made absolutely clear that "Big" is to be the leader.
We should change the unincorporated name of "Big"it is not too late, as it does not exist as a legal entityto "Charitable". That would return it to its roots and be no bar to its grant giving, given the clarification intended by Clause 19. A fund with "Charitable" in its name is likely to be far less bossy than "Big". I beg to move.
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for the way in which he moved his amendment. I resile from any imputation that the arts, national heritage and sports have no contribution to make to health, education and the environment. Of course they have. All these divisions have an arbitrary quality to them, but he will realise that projects under the Big Lottery Fund do not fit easily or automatically with the other three categories.
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The noble Viscount indicated that it is not just a question of changing the namethere is a feeling that the fund should focus more on the voluntary and community sector, which is why he wants to change the name to the "Charitable Lottery Fund". Well, we just had that discussion, and I indicated why I sought to defend the arrangements that have obtained since the changes in the lottery in 1998 and the creation of the Big Lottery Fund. It was not a civil servant on his way home who dreamt up this concept; the name was suggested by the fund and agreed by the Secretary of State. It was not initiated in the department. It gets across a simple message that this is money from the National Lottery, and that the fund is the biggest of the lottery good-cause organisations. It connects with the public, as I indicated beforehand, with great advantages to the areas for which it is responsible.
We wanted every possible beneficiary to be aware of the fund's existence and a simple name helps to increase awareness. The name also reflects the aim of reconnecting the public with the National Lottery. We think that it has been advantageous in that regard. It is consumer-oriented, as I think that the noble Viscount would recognise. He might disparage that as a less traditional concept, but it is the people's lottery. Given how much is contributed and how many people are players in the fund, it is proper that we should use popular, easily understood concepts within this framework.
The fund market tested the name and found that it was popular with all sections of the public. Recent evidence suggests that the recognition of the Big Lottery Fund name is high; it is well known as a source of funding for community projects, an area which our fellow citizens greatly value. I see no reason for changing the name on the grounds of the strong argument which I also advocated on the previous amendment.
I am also mindful of the fact that the noble Viscount will recognise one aspect, as he is concerned about the accurate allocation of resources. The greatest wastage of resources is when names are changed, logos are messed about with and organisations seek to rebrand themselves with name changes, to no definable purpose. If we changed the name of the Big Lottery Fund, we would spread confusion, achieve very little and use up hard-won resources.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: I heard the Minister's speech and his explanation of how the title "Big" was chosen by the New Opportunities Fund and proposed to the Government. If the argument for calling it "Big" was that it was the biggest, the Minister seems to have played into the hands of the argument put forward by my noble friend Lord Eccles. The disadvantage is that it has that central role.
Opinion polls can be used to prove anything; I heard the figures which the Minister quoted on the previous amendment. I have a recollectionI am perfectly happy to be argued out of it, persuaded or correctedof a different opinion poll asking people what they thought the money should go to. About a third said that it should go to arts, sport and heritage; a third said
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it should go on health and education and similar issues; and a third had no opinion at all. I agree that on that basis, the Minister has a degree of argument for the conclusion he has reached, but I do not think it is right to say that the overwhelming majority of people are in favour of what he describes as the "Big" proposition in the way he indicated.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I hear what the noble Lord says but I do not have the benefit of testing what public support there might be for the charitable lottery fund. Therefore, given that we have established this name and it meets with broad approval, I venture to suggest that the case rests with the Government.
Viscount Eccles: I am grateful for the support of my noble friend Lord Brooke. I had in mind not so much the public's reaction but the workings between "Big" and the other lottery distributors. There are a lot of leads in the document that was published: it says that the lottery will have a key role in developing better working between distributors and will administer a joint lottery forum; it will lead on developing networks for building capacity; and it is in a leadership position. The lack of balance between the position of the Big Lottery Fund and the other distributors was, and remains, of concern to me. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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