Sunday, 10 February 2008

More Lottery funding for West Lindsey – and less Whitehall interference

Giles McNeill backs plans to increase funding for local good causes

West Lindsey could benefit from an extra quarter of a million pounds in Lottery funding every year, under new proposals launched by Conservatives. Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, today gave his backing to plans to reform the National Lottery, restoring its independence and increasing money for the good causes of sport, the arts, heritage and the local community. The Labour Government has diverted Lottery money away from these causes, including pouring £544 million of Lottery funds into the Millennium Dome.

Under the plans launched by David Cameron:
· A National Lottery Independence Bill would free the Lottery from ministerial inference, return it to good causes and make it accountable to Parliament rather than the Government.
· End the waste of Lottery funds going to dubious projects which undermine public confidence. All Lottery distributors would be required to take into account the reputation of the Lottery as a whole when deciding grants.
· National Lottery distributors’ administration costs would be capped, and the savings ploughed back into good causes.
· The way that Lottery tickets are taxed would be changed, moving away from a per-ticket tax to a gross profits tax on the Lottery operators. This would allow the operator more freedom to increase sales and therefore returns to good causes.
This package of measures could see an extra £182 million per year for grassroots sports, arts projects and the voluntary sector – equivalent to £280,000 per Parliamentary constituency, every year. This is enough money to pay for four grass pitches, two flood-lit outside tennis courts, or save an arts organisation which has experienced funding cuts by the Arts Council.

Giles McNeill said:
"Under Gordon Brown, Lottery money has been snatched from good causes by bureaucrats. The arts, sport, heritage and charities have all suffered. We need to give money back to local grassroots initiatives, and stop politicians in Whitehall interfering. I welcome these reforms, which could mean an extra quarter of a million pounds every year in West Lindsey to improve quality of life.”

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