Letter: A better lottery

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Ken Livingstone thinks the National Lottery's rewards should be redistributed (Comment, 1 December). He believes a not-for-profit organisation will raise more funds for needy causes at lower cost.

But even if his dubious proposition could work, I doubt that genuinely good causes will be the beneficiaries. Already this government has diverted "good causes" funds, which after all represent only 28 per cent of lottery monies, to help pay for health and education initiatives which are the responsibility of government. This is on top of the tax take of 13 per cent of all lottery money.

If Ken Livingstone really wants to improve the Lottery, and to minimise its regressive tax burden, he should campaign that government should match with a reduction in the lottery tax (at a ratio of at least two to one) any savings achieved by the appointment of a new lottery operator. And he should campaign that lottery funds should go only to causes, chosen independently of central government.

Anyway, why should there be only one lottery operator: why not appoint two, one not-for-profit, and one for-profit? We would then see real competition to raise more funds at lower cost.

MICHAEL BRYANT

Honfleur, France

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