Friday 15 June 2012

It's ours Jeremy

The recently announced £476m Olympics underspend is owed to Britain’s charities and to the communities they support.

Hundreds of millions of lottery cash was taken from the lottery good cause pot to fund the Olympics . The Government have said any money goes back to HMT. No . That is wrong and I am delighted that the Directory of Social Change are campaigning on this. They have ACEVO's support. Indeed it is clear there is a promise to return this money and I want the Commons sport , media and culture select committee to review this urgently.

Speaking about the Olympics budget on BBC, Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics said that ‘all being well we should be able to hand half a billion pounds back to the Treasury’.Jeremy Hunt better correct him quickly.

Not without controversy, billions have gone to support the Games from lottery revenues – and the Big Lottery Refund campaign aims to get £425 million of this raided cash refunded to the Big Lottery Fund, which supports charities and community groups doing vital work across Britain.

DSC has developed a website to support the campaign,, to gather and mobilise supporters in the run up to the Games and beyond if necessary. I'm afraid Ministers have short memories about where money came from. And indeed there were promises that the legacy , including assets , would be returned to the sector from whose money this came.

This is in no way an attack on the Olympics , which promise to be a great success and which have great public support. But asTessa Jowell was explaining recently , the Treasury never backed the Olympics. They advised against us hosting and on many occasions made life difficult for the organising committee. As the money was drawn from the good cause allocation from the lottery , then any surplus must first come back to the lottery. I trust the Big Lottery fund will be making a strong protest. Over to you Mr Wanless ( as I said to him at the charity awards!) .

I was making this point ( and others) to various people last night at the star studded civil society Charity Awards at the Grosvenor ; Including Francis Maude who I was sitting next to at the dinner! Always useful to bend a Minister's ear when they are entre course!These award events are always good ways to recognise the work of great charities but I always cheer loudest for my own members. And my Chair Lesley Anne is one of the judges . I had to do quick change after an interview for Channel 4 news, which they kindly came and filmed in my garden so that I could do the obligatory black tie change afterwards. It would have been somewhat decadent to appear on channel 4 in full regalia , especially sitting under my prolific grape vine ( not yet at the stage where I might be producing Vin Chateau Brixton though ) !

Oh , and I reckon ( good sleuthing work by Matthew Thompson!) Robin Bogg was sitting on table 50. Not quite as prominent as me on top table but there you go....

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