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Government to review society lotteries’ contribution to good causes

The government is to consult in the New Year on whether to increase the minimum amount that society lotteries have to put into their good causes, it was revealed in a House of Lords debate yesterday.

Viscount Younger of Leckie made the announcement in response to a question by Lord Naseby about how to safeguard the National Lottery in the light of competition from groups of society lotteries, such as the 51-organisation Health Lottery.

“Since the Health Lottery was launched in October 2011, the government has been monitoring its impact on the National Lottery and other society lotteries,” Vicount Younger said.

“While there appears to be a limited impact overall, the government wants to ensure that the lottery market delivers the maximum benefit to charities and other good causes, including those supported by the National Lottery.

“[We therefore intend] to consult in the new year on whether to increase the minimum percentage of the proceeds that certain society lotteries have to return to their good causes.”

The minimum proportion that must currently be allocated to good causes is 20p in each £1.

'Health Lottery not harming National Lottery'

Viscount Younger dismissed suggestions that the Health Lottery is damaging the National Lottery’s income, pointing out that the latter’s annual sales figure for the year to April 2012 was £6.5m, the highest since the lottery began.

He also referenced a report commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (published today but revealed by civilsociety.co.uk in July) that says the effect of the Health Lottery on the National Lottery is no more than £300,000 a week – as opposed to the £1m that Camelot has claimed it has lost in National Lottery sales since the Health Lottery began.

Sector welcomes consultation

Donald Macrae spoke on behalf of the 51 community interest companies which make up the Health Lottery, saying that he welcomed a consultation which explores how society lotteries can maximise returns for good causes.

“Charities need society lottery income more than ever in this financial climate and the Health Lottery scheme continues to raise vital new funds for charities,” Macrae said.

“The Health Lottery has created additional funds of between £23m and £27m for charities through the whole of Great Britain. That means People’s Health Trust has been able to distribute grants to over 400 local projects working to address health inequalities within our local communities, with many more to come.”

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive at NCVO, said he was pleased that the government has now agreed to look into the matter.

“We’ve consistently argued that the government should review the minimum percentages going to good causes from society lotteries,” he said. “With charities facing increasing demand and falling income it’s crucial we maximise the proportion of lotteries money going to charities.”

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/14055