Memorandum submitted by the Sports Council
for Northern Ireland
1. The Sports Council for Northern Ireland
is a non-departmental public body set up to develop sport in Northern
Ireland and in particular to:
increase and sustain committed participation,
especially amongst young people;
raise the standards of sporting excellence;
promote the good reputation and efficient
administration of sport.
The Council is the Lottery distributor for sports
good causes in Northern Ireland. We receive 2.6 per cent of the
Sports Good Cause funding which, in 2000-01, we expect to generate
an income of £7.367 million.
2. The SCNI is concerned that the use of
the Barnett's principle to distribute sports good cause funding
across the UK is a flawed concept. As the region of lowest population
in the UK, sport in Northern Ireland receives by far the least
percentage of Lottery income. This, however, does not reflect:
the costs of running a distribution
the funding threshold required for
"large" projects; and
the degree of structural, social
or economic need.
The SCNI believes that the inquiry should look
closely at this distribution principle. Perhaps a core grant (same
for each region) with the remaining funding distributed on the
Barnett's principle would overcome these difficulties.
3. The recent QUEST Report highlights measures
to make Lottery funding more accessible to groups with limited
resources/capacity. The SCNI believes that these aspirations,
in some cases, contradict the audit requirements and competitive
nature of Lottery awards. The inquiry should consider how the
audit requirements can reflect the desire for a "lighter
touch" assessment process.
The SCNI also believes that increases to the
number of good causes and resultant reduced income to distributors
creates more vigorous competition. This, in turn, requires the
distributors to acquire more information from applicants if they
are to make awards to the most worthy causes.
4. The SCNI would have serious concerns
about any increase in the number of good causes. With an income
forecast (medium scenario) of only £6.8 million for 2002-03
any further reduction would seriously minimise the ability of
the SCNI's Lottery Fund to make any significant impact on sport
in Northern Ireland.
5. The SCNI would like to emphasise to the
Committee the principle that Lottery funding should be additional
to, and not replace, core Government expenditure. The SCNI would
encourage the Committee to consider this issue as part of the
inquiry and reinforce this principle for the future.