Letter: Lottery winner

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I am one of those consultants - a slightly overweight cat - who have made a killing, as David Benedict describes it, out of the Lottery ("Lottery with violence", 3 February).

"Without a doubt, the Lottery is the biggest disaster ever to befall arts funding in this country." Hang on - if that's a disaster, I'm all for it.

My colleagues and I have been consistently astonished that so many have not grasped the simple truth: for the first time in recorded history a British government, a Conservative one no less, decided to hand out money, just like that. The money hasn't always been handed out very well, but the Lottery has hardly been a disaster. What's disastrous about giving money to a theatre to repair a leaking roof?

Things obviously could have been done better, to put it mildly, in terms of organisation and planning, but David Benedict's proposition that the Lottery "has been catastrophic" is patently ridiculous. The arts, like the health service, are under-funded - that's the real problem. If we are thinking of catastrophes and disasters, I'd say the cockup over the Opera House in Cardiff was one, the Lottery-funded horror going up in its place another, and Lottery-funded banal or inadequate design, or the Millennium Commissioners' Dome, or the failure to support a splendid theatre. These are failures of imagination, a common failing everywhere.

By the way, our killing as fat cats has been a rather modest one: just a few mice, I'd say.

IAN JONES

Chadwick Jones Associates

London SW6

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