Lottery forecast to boost jobs by 110,000

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The Independent Online
The National Lottery is set to boost the economy by creating more than 110,000 jobs within the next five years, a report claimed yesterday.

Research shows that nearly 30,000 jobs have been created or secured since the lottery was launched 22 months ago, with further employment opportunities expected in 1998 when many large lottery-funded projects get under way.

According to the report, commissioned by the lottery operator Camelot and published by the Henley Centre, the retail, administration and management sectors are all expected to benefit largely. But the construction industry is forecast to profit most, with the number of jobs created or secured by 2000 reaching 2.5 to 3 per cent of the entire United Kingdom construction work-force.

A separate report published by the Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that the construction industry was set to receive an annual boost of pounds 1.3bn as a direct result of building projects funded by lottery money. The major regional winner in such projects will be London, where annual spending is forecast to be pounds 316m or pounds 46 per head, twice the UK average.

The Henley report also predicted further extra jobs in retailing, estimating that the lottery had already added 17,190 mainly part-time jobs in the sector and predicting a rise to 18,860 next year as Camelot expands its outlets.

The Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley, said yesterday that the research showed that the lottery was exceeding the good causes it was designed to support and was bringing "real benefit" to the country. "The large amounts of extra money available through the National Lottery offers new hope and potential for towns and cities, villages, clubs and organisations everywhere to improve their facilities for the benefit of their communities," she said.

However, yesterday's Henley report also recognised that 6,500 jobs have so far been lost in pools, off-course betting and bingo companies. It calculated that the net effect on jobs would be small as many of the job losses to date have been the result of one-off restructurings, and are likely to taper off if lottery sales remain at current levels.

Tim Holley, Camelot chief executive, said that companies affected by the lottery had probably "down-sized" as much as was needed. "But even if the job losses doubled we are still talking about over 100,000 jobs created," he said.

Within four months of its launch, the National Lottery was beginning to have an effect on Britain's pounds 900m pools industry with Vernons, Littlewoods and Zetters all announcing a fall in business.

"We've lost about 2,000 jobs since the lottery started, that's out of a workforce that was between 3,500 to 4,000," a spokesman for Littlewoods Pools said yesterday. "We've lost about 25 per cent of our business since November 1994. We have closed our buildings in Cardiff and Glasgow and are now solely on Merseyside. We are suffering."