CHARITIES Lottery leaves a pounds 650m hole

Charities have accused the National Lottery of contributing to a continuing fall in donations which amounted to a loss of pounds 650m last year. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations yesterday released figures showing that public donations to charities fell by 12 per cent between 1995 and 1996.

The council's rolling survey of the effects of the lottery showed that donations in 1996 were pounds 4.58bn, compared with pounds 5.23bn in 1995. And the percentage of people regularly giving to charity has fallen from a pre- lottery level of 81 per cent in 1993 to 68 per cent last year.

A spokesman for the NCVO said: "Smaller charities have lost out most of all. We can't prove a link between the lottery and the fall in donations but we can't think what other reason there can be."