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Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, before the Minister comes to the amendment, he mentioned the additional #3 million identified by my noble friend Lord Crickhowell and said that it was the cost of the New Year's Eve celebration. I imagine that he was referring to this coming one. Is that the celebration that was cancelled by the Mayor of London, Mr Livingstone? Does it reflect the costs of the fireworks that he bought and which will not now be set off?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I can confirm that. I am glad that my own borough of Haringey is one of those which will receive money for this purpose. I am sure that the noble Lord is right in saying that New Year's Eve celebrations which are held more widely among the population are more effective than the centralised celebrations of the kind that caused the Mayor of London such difficulties.
In the light of what I have said already about the destination of the additional money flowing to the Millennium Commission as a result of this order, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel that that is a full answer to the issue that she has quite properly raised in the amendment.
Perhaps I should begin by referring to the novel intervention of one of the Minister's noble friends. The noble Lord, Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe, suggested that I might visit, what he calls, the working class areas of Bristol. I offer him a deal. If he shows me where they are, I shall follow him there. I await with interest what I am about to see. It could be, perhaps, a different experience.
This has been a serious debate on a serious matter in which noble Lords have raised a variety of questions. Some of the answers have been a little jaw-dropping in regard to the information we have or have not quite received--certainly in respect of the information about the current budget and the amount of money that has been dispersed in relation to New Year's Eve. But those are matters to which noble Lords may wish to return by way of written questions and further debates in the future.
Returning to the specifics of my amendment, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have asked questions. Perhaps I may trespass on the good humour of the House and refer in particular to the speech of my noble friend Lord Glentoran. It was an honourable speech--that was no surprise to me for I know him to be an honourable man--and I thank him for what he said.
The Minister has given assurances which are sufficient to encourage me to withdraw my amendment. I say that because when this Minister gives such commitments and assurances, I know that I can trust him. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, as the House now knows, the first order extends the funding of the commission until the 20th August 2001, after which it will receive no more proceeds from the lottery. This order, the Apportionment of Money in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Order 2000, takes up the story from that point by determining what happens to the Millennium Commission's share of lottery funding thereafter.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, is no longer in his place. He and I have both inadvertently misled the House on the previous order and I should like to put that right. My noble and learned friend Lord Falconer has indicated to me, sotto voce, that the #3 million extra was for last year's London river event. I allowed myself to be distracted by the confident assurance of a member of the Millennium Commission. I apologise to the House for that error.
It has been a long-standing government policy that once the Millennium Commission's share of lottery income ceased, its share should be transferred to the New Opportunities Fund. The second order before us gives effect to this policy. It provides that immediately after the Millennium Commission stops receiving new income from lottery proceeds, the New Opportunities Fund's share of lottery income increases from 13 1/3 per cent to 33 1/3 per cent. In other words, from the 21st August 2001 onwards, NOF will receive one out of every three pounds paid into the National Lottery Distribution Fund.
The creation of NOF as a new UK-wide lottery distributor focusing on health, education and environment reflected the Government's intention to target lottery funding more directly on key areas of social inclusion and disadvantage. The fund has established itself as a major grant-maker and has developed innovative grant-making practices. It has enabled much-needed educational, environmental and health-related initiatives to go ahead which would not otherwise have been funded. Barely two years from its creation, NOF is already making an impact on the nation's quality of life. From a healthy living centre for
A recent MORI survey confirmed public support for the targeting of lottery funding on the areas of health, education and environment in which the fund distributes grants. When asked to identify the two or three most important areas for lottery funding out of a list of 10, 69 per cent of respondents identified health, 55 per cent education, and 26 per cent the environment. Over 2,000 grants have been awarded, many involving large numbers of individual projects. Over #614 million has been allocated to projects. The impact of these grants already includes childcare schemes that will create more than 110,000 new childcare places; training in the use of information and communication technologies for over 160,000 teachers; new cancer equipment in hospitals; and new preventive health services for deprived communities. NOF's increased income will allow it to target more areas where a real step change in the quality of people's lives can be achieved.
The Government launched the consultation paper, New Opportunities from the Lottery, on 6th November, which proposed a number of new initiatives for NOF to fund. In summary, these proposals are: #750 million for additional sports facilities for schools and wider community use; #50 million for outdoor adventure and other activities for young people; #300 million to boost the fight against heart disease and strokes, providing extra money for the fund's existing initiatives to combat cancer and provide palliative care for adults and children with life-threatening and chronic illness; #200 million for the provision of childcare places for children aged nought to three years, together with further support for the over-threes, particularly in deprived areas; #150 million for a programme of environmental renewal and community regeneration which would support community regeneration, promote recycling and develop renewable energy sources; and an amount to be provided as small grants for community groups to support local health, education and environment projects.
The order fulfils a second purpose. In the event that the Millennium Commission receives more than #2,286.5 million in the period up to 20th August 2001, the order ensures that any additional amount is transferred to NOF--in other words, the order acts as a cap on the Millennium Commission's income. I commend the order to the House. Together, the two orders give a coherent account of our plans for extending the funding of the Millennium Commission and redirecting the commission's funding to NOF after 20th August 2001. I beg to move.
In the past we have made our views and concerns about the New Opportunities Fund very clear. We believe that the fund diverts money which would otherwise have gone into the arts, sports, and good causes, as originally agreed by Parliament. I want to make it clear again today, as I have in the past, that I have absolutely nothing against the projects themselves; they are good causes in their own individual right. My objection is to the fact that the Government are taking money from the arts, sports and good causes lottery funds to provide for them.
The Labour Party opposed much of the National Lottery scheme at its inception, saying that the Conservatives would use the proceeds as a surrogate for government expenditure. Time and again, during debate on the Bill in Committee in another place, Labour Members accused us of that--and it was untrue. The Conservative government presided over the lottery for three years and no such action was taken. That action was taken when this Government took over. My worry has always been that the creation of the New Opportunities Fund has made a mockery of the additionality principle under which the lottery fund was established.
We believe that the National Lottery should not be used to fund projects which should be the Government's core responsibility. The Government should have the courage to say which projects are worthy of core government funding and back them. We should not go on year after year committing projects to the New Opportunities Fund.
It is important that the projects that currently receive funding are not subject to any risk of losing it and thus losing their future security. We must all work to achieve that. Today, I shall not ask my noble friends to oppose the making of this order.
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