Lottery chief says charities suffer

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The Independent Online
Small charities have suffered as a result of the National Lottery, a senior member of Camelot admitted yesterday.

David Rigg, Camelot director of communications, told the Charities Aid Foundation conference that "the jury was still out" on the lottery's long- term impact but some charities had suffered and "suffered precisely at the same time as the National Lottery started".

Since the lottery was launched nearly a year ago, charities and most recently the Church of England have said that revenue would be lost. Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), said the loss to charities could be as much as pounds 339m by the end of the first year set against the projected pounds 248m the National Lottery Charity Board has to give out.

In July to September 1995, 10 per cent fewer people gave to charity than in the same months in 1992/3, and NCVO estimates 6.4 per cent of giving is being diverted to buying lottery tickets.

The first grants donated by the board last month have proved controversial. David Sieff, chairman of the lottery's charity board, said it had surveyed nearly 8,000 voluntary organisations to learn their views and identify their priorities.

While Mr Sieff said most priorities were consistent with the board's thinking, "there were some notable cases where the respondents' views were quite different from those of the board - particularly in respect of the low ranking they gave to refugees, women's issues, ethnic and cultural minorities and other people affected by discrimination".

Such groups were the focus of media criticism when the grants were announced. Mr Sieff said: "These journalists seem to believe their readers would rather step over the corpses of the victims of drug abuse, HIV illness, refugees from overseas and those unable to afford shelter."

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that the National Lottery Charities Board has spent pounds 1.26m on consultancy fees and nearly pounds 50,000 on members' expenses, according to parliamentary answers given to the Labour MP John Hutton. Spending on consultants averaged nearly pounds 25,000 for each week of the board's existence.