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Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement being made in the other place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on
"The White Paper takes forward the plans outlined in our election manifesto and in the details we published in The People's Money on 23rd April. Both received the endorsement of the British people on 1st May.
"I believe the package of proposals we are publishing today will mark a turning point in the fortunes of our National Lottery. It will make it even more popular and even more relevant to people's daily lives. It is less than three years since the first tickets were sold. Yet in that short time the lottery has become a tremendous success. Nine out of 10 adults play at least occasionally. There have been 180 million winning tickets--360 of them for more than £1 million.
"The lottery has already raised over £3½ billion for good causes. By the time the current licence ends, we expect it will have raised £10 billion. Thanks to the initiative and hard work of those who have been involved in developing projects, and the lottery distribution bodies, funds have already been committed to over 24,000 projects throughout the United Kingdom. But I suspect it is the smaller proposals which make the most difference to many people's lives--like the grant of some £2,000, featured in the White Paper, for a summer arts festival for children predominantly from low income families in Norfolk. I welcome this success. The proposals in the White Paper are about building on it. We will be introducing the legislation needed to give effect to aspects of these proposals later this year.
"The proposals in the White Paper fall under four headings. First, we will set up a new good cause--the New Opportunities Fund. It will support specific initiatives, additional to core programmes funded through taxation, to support our priorities of health, education and the environment. Subject to Parliament, the fund will begin its work next year with three initiatives, two helping to raise standards in schools and one promoting better health. Other initiatives will follow--for the environment as well as for health and education.
"By 2001 the fund will be supporting programmes of activity outside the school day involving at least half of all secondary schools and a quarter of all primary schools. Activities will range from extra coaching in basic literacy and numeracy to new opportunities for creative and sporting education and structured play, fun as well as learning--helping parents who work as well as raising school standards. By 2001 the fund will also have trained some half a million teachers and 10,000 public librarians to help children and adults learn throughout their lives using new technologies.
"The new fund's health initiative will be a network of healthy living centres throughout the United Kingdom. They will provide a wide variety of facilities and services in different ways and to help different groups but all with the same fundamental aim of promoting good health. In designing the detail of these initiatives and delivering money to projects the new fund will work closely with bodies expert in the relevant fields in each part of the United Kingdom.
"The financial success of the lottery will enable us to set up the new fund alongside the existing good causes. In 1994 the lottery was forecast to raise £9 billion for good causes in the period up to 2001. We now expect it to raise £1 billion on top of that. It is from that extra £1 billion that we will find initial support for the New Opportunities Fund.
"We will continue to allocate the bulk of the proceeds of the lottery to the existing good causes. I pay tribute to the work the distributing bodies have already done--some fine examples are included in the White Paper--and I want them to build on their success. That is the second main theme of the White Paper.
"Excellent as the distributors' record has been, it has been limited by some aspects of the framework within which they have to operate. These constraints are at the root of the concerns expressed about lottery distribution--the lack of a clear overall strategy, the uneven geographical allocation of grants, the failure of some activities to get enough help from the lottery, and the feeling that decisions are remote and unaccountable.
"The Bill will contain measures to help us work with the distributors to tackle these constraints. I want to encourage a debate involving the distributors and everyone else with an interest in making a success of the lottery on the way distribution will work within the new framework--and on the extent to which we can make progress in the same direction before the legislation comes into force. Among the main issues on which I am consulting are how the existing distributors can provide even more support for our priorities of health, education and the environment; the contribution they can make to regeneration; how, through delegation and working together, they can meet needs better; and how they can bring decision-making closer to the grass roots.
"I now come to our third major proposal. It is a major part of our vision of a lottery for the people. We will use a part of the £1 billion of extra lottery money to establish NESTA--the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. NESTA will help ensure the fruits of the outstanding talents with which our nation is blessed and benefit our own country rather than others. It will encourage the development of an environment which fosters creative talent and innovation and allows it to flourish for the benefit of the country, its economy and its people. In doing so it will support my central objective of promoting the creative industries.
"NESTA will have three simple objectives: to help talented individuals to develop their full potential in the creative activities and industries, and in science and technology; to help to turn creativity and ideas into products or services which are effectively exploited with rights protected; and to contribute to the advancement of public education about, and awareness and appreciation of the areas with which NESTA is concerned.
"These objectives will be set out in the forthcoming Bill, but once established as a trust independent of Government, NESTA will determine for itself its priorities and activities. Its first task will be to map what support and provision already exists, so that its own activities complement existing publicly and privately funded programmes.
"Finally, the White Paper outlines our proposals to make the lottery itself a more efficient and transparent operation. In the White Paper we invite proposals to meet the twin objectives of maximising the return to good causes and removing unnecessary profit. Within the framework we set the licence will go to the bidder who will deliver the greatest return while running the lottery efficiently, transparently and with propriety. So that the selection of a new operator is seen to be independent and objective, we will appoint a panel to assist the director-general in his choice, including people with expertise in business, lottery distribution and the views of consumers.
"We want to ensure that the director-general has the full range of powers necessary to make sure that the operator complies with its licence. The Bill will therefore contain provision for him to fine the operator where serious licence breaches occur.
"I look forward to the widest possible consultation on our proposals, from right honourable and honourable Members, and everyone else with an interest in building on the lottery's success, in the consultation period which is now beginning. To help everyone participate, a summary of the proposals is available in a leaflet which will be distributed widely throughout the country in the coming weeks.
"A new good cause; a reform of lottery distribution; NESTA, to unlock people's potential; better operation and regulation--this White Paper sets out to enable the National Lottery to become even more successful and to become truly a people's lottery".
During the week in which the National Lottery was launched, I said in my maiden speech that it was expected to provide huge additional resources for our national heritage, the arts, sports and charities, and that it could be the most important piece of legislation in the heritage field since the Second World War. Financially, it has proved exactly that.
Is it not churlish of the Government now not to congratulate John Major and the previous Conservative government who set up the largest, most successful lottery in the world, played by over 30 million and raising over £3.5 billion for good causes in two years? Why do the Government want to play killjoy, stopping people winning money and having a little fun? The lottery Bill was debated at length in both Houses. The outcome was that at all costs it should be independent of government interference. What we are now witnessing is blatant contravening of the spirit of the agreement by the party opposite.
Arising from what the Secretary of State said in another place, perhaps I may ask the noble Lord whether he can assure the House that funds raised by the National Lottery will not be used as a substitute for public spending but will be additional to government expenditure? Does he accept that lottery money spent on education and health projects violates the additionality principle? I am sure he would also agree that essential services like education, health and the environment cannot be properly funded by relying on the lottery because it is inherently an unreliable source of income. Vital public services should be financed from taxation and should not be dependent on the vagaries of the lottery.
The Statement is a little unclear as to where the fine money will come from in a non-profit organisation, as mentioned in the Labour Party's manifesto. In less than three months, the words "not for profit" do not even appear. The organisation can be fined as a result of the new powers of the director-general of Oflot. Will the Government raid the charities or good causes for money? Do we really need two operators and a panel of new businessmen? Is that not just another quango? What would be the costs?
I sympathise with the Secretary of State for having his chest raided by the Treasury. Only one person is smiling today--the Chancellor. Emptying community chests and depriving local projects enable him to balance the books. The lottery was meant to be kept at arm's length from government. Will the Government intervene next to nationalise what is already the people's lottery? Perhaps they would like to turn it into premium bonds. Is this the start of new Labour's nationalisation programme?
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