Fresh calls for lottery reform to raise an extra £125m

Gettyimages-pritipatelweb

Former Tory minister Priti Patel has joined the call for new rules to help society lotteries grow and raise far more for charities

Susan Smith's photo

15th March 2019 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Fresh calls for the UK Government to help charities raise an extra upto £25 million by reforming the rules on society lottery funding have been made. 

Former Conservative minister Priti Patel yesterday backed the Health Lottery's appeal to rase the permitted maximum jackpot for society lotteries from £25,000 to £1m. She said on top of upping ticket sales limits, this could bring in £125million of additional funds for charities over the next five years.

Patel said the Government had two options – either boost money for good causes or preside over the closure of local charities “strangled” by red tape.

Charities hit by the historic caps include air ambulance services, mental health causes and The Royal British Legion.

The Health Lottery alone supports 2,800 good causes across the country. However it is finding many facing the threat of closure because of the tough financial environment. 

Patel, MP for Witham, met with the current responsible minister Mims Davies, to urge her to “set these charities free”.

Patel said: “Thousands of small charities and grassroots causes across the country are being supported every day thanks to the generosity of the British public and the work of society lotteries.

“But they face closure as current regulations strangle them and prevent them from raising more funds.

“This Government now has a choice to make: to back these charities by making these modest changes to regulations, or preside over the loss and closure of many good causes."

Ticket sales caps mean some charities are forced to spend money destined for good causes on administration to set up further lotteries once they hit sales limits.

Ima Miah,  chief executive of the Asian Resource Centre, a community initiative in Croydon has received funding for projects since 2015.

The charity helps older Asians to feel less isolated and more connected with their community.

Ima said: "The project has such an impact on so many people's lives. Social isolation is a killer. If it wasn't for The Health Lottery we wouldn't exist. That's what worries me as our funding is coming to an end very soon."

A poll by research group NFPSynergy showed 66% of voters think it is unfair to penalise local lotteries with regulations that do not apply to the National Lottery.

Joe Saxton, NFPSynergy founder, said: “Just to put this bonkers regulation in context: it implies that the best way to make sure that the National Lottery continues to raise money for good causes is to make it harder for other organisations to raise money for good causes through lotteries.”

Commenting on the poll Tony Vick, Lotteries Council Chairman, said: “Removing the bottleneck by increasing sales limits combined with increasing the jackpot to £1million, regardless of sales levels, will dramatically increase funds raised for good causes.

“The benefit of these reforms is estimated to be a boost to charities of £25million a year, or £125million over the next five years.

“Independent research has shown that there has been no detriment to the National Lottery as a result of the growth in charity lottery sales over the last few years. The ultimate winners will be thousands of charities across the country.”