Thursday, 12 January 2012


I'm not an early morning person! So it was a trial having to emerge at 6am to get to the "Today " programme. But as this is my favourite radio show ( along with The Archers! ) I was happy to do that and to take battle on behalf of charities who may face a loss of income from the competition of the health lottery against the national lottery.

Of course it is too early to say whether the competition is damaging national lottery sales but only recently there were big ads in the Desmond outlets with raging headlines saying" 7 times more likely to win our top prize". So he is clearly taking on the National Lottery and wanting people to switch. If they do , then only 20p goes to charities not the 28p from the National Lottery.

And this is not about arguing health charities should not get money. They face huge challenges and deserve more support. They need it , so if they get grants from the health lottery that is good. But it is not good if that has resulted in an overall drop in income to our sector.

The guy opposing me in the studio talked about what money they have given out in grants. This is good. But in 2010 alone the National Lottery gave £270m to health charities- dwarfing the amount Mr Desmond has promised at £50m.

And it was rather a cheap shot for my opponent from the health lottery CICs to say that in " my illustrious career" I had worked for the National Lottery. I haven't. I worked for the Charities Board which was the organisation giving the money away, not raising it. And proud I am of the work I did there. I ran the first grant round for health charities when we gave away £300m in our first year to health charities . A silly point and obviously I didn't rise to it!

I got a good crack of the whip on this and hope it went down well. Next Thursday the Commons Select Committee will look at this. ACEVO will give a briefing to them.
We are not happy with how ther Gambling Commission gave permission to an obvious rival to the National Lottery when Parliament clearly intended local lottery legislation not to allow for a rival to the National Lottery. And as a loophole has been exposed in the legislation the Government need to close it. Pronto.

The health lottery are holding a press conferencve next tuesday at the Savoy. Let's hope Mr Desmond uses that as an occasion to announce he will cut his profit margin and give more to health charities by at least matching the 28p of the national lottery. We shall be watching!

It was also good to bump into my old friend the Archbishop of York in the BBC studio. I shall see him later at a lecture with The Children's Society on their Good Childhood Report in Church House.

1 comment:

Rob said...

People should try this first before wasting their money on lotto