Sunday, March 25, 2007

Olympics Lottery cash diversion won’t affect sector, says government

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has claimed that despite the diversion of £675 million in lottery money to fund the 2012 Olympics, there will be no impact on lottery cash earmarked for the voluntary and community sector.Speaking before the Commons, culture secretary Tessa Jowell reported an increase of the Olympic budget from £2.4bn to £9.3bn, with £2.2bn to be taken from the National Lottery. She confirmed that Lottery good causes with the most impact on people’s lives – through the voluntary sector – would be protected and that it was the government’s intention that existing projects need not be endangered.

Commenting on Jowell’s speech, minister for the third sector Ed Miliband said: “After today’s announcement, the voluntary sector will get the same level of resources from the Big Lottery Fund that they would otherwise have received. Instead, the Olympic transfer will come from that portion which was expected to go to statutory agencies. I hope this is seen as a fair and equitable outcome by the voluntary sector and will be welcomed.”

Acevo’s chair John Low confirmed that the decision would indeed be welcomed, saying: “Our members will be very pleased with today’s announcement, which will preserve the sector’s level of funding from the Big Lottery Fund. I would like to pay tribute to all of them for their work on this campaign.”However, chair of the Big Lottery Fund Sir Clive Booth’s reaction was not so cheery: “I very much regret that it has been necessary to divert a further £425m of the Big Lottery Fund’s good cause resources to support the 2012 Olympics infrastructure,” he said, “but I am pleased that we will be able to protect existing programmes and the money earmarked for the Third Sector.“I recognise that the government’s decision will be a cause of concern for the many organisations across the UK who have been campaigning against any further diversion. We have, however, fought hard to minimise the level of diversion and to secure the best deal we possibly could,” he added.

The NCVO has said it will remain vigilant to ensure that the government’s commitment is actually honoured. Chief executive Stuart Etherington said: “We welcome the culture secretary’s pledge that the voluntary and community sector will not be adversely affected and now need firm details outlining how the government will ensure that charities and community groups do not suffer.”

Source: Charity Times News Alert 21st March 2007


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