Lottery cash could be used to fight crime

Click to follow
The Independent Online
PROCEEDS from the national lottery could be used to fight crime. Ministers and government officials are considering proposals to channel lottery money into crime-prevention projects.

This would be a development from the original aims of the lottery, which were solely to benefit the arts, sport, heritage and charities, once prize money had been paid out. But directors of the Lottery Promotion Company, which was the guiding spirit behind the lottery and has continued to advise the Government, have had talks with ministers and civil servants about targeting money for crime prevention.

In correspondence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, the founder of the Lottery Promotion Company, Denis Vaughan, wrote: 'Putting 35 per cent of both lottery and pools turnover into one charitable Foundation for Good Causes is fully justified, if crime prevention is taken as the reason. It might mean that the first facilities to be built by the lottery would tend to be accessible sports centres in troubled areas.'

He added: 'The wise development of the active and constructive use of leisure time, in not only the arts but also sport, could help generate a new work ethic in the country, wholly and continuously increasing our productivity, without cost to the Government.' Supporters of the lottery are concerned that the Chancellor will impose tax of up to 25 per cent on takings when it comes into operation next year. That tax could be announced in today's Budget.

A charitable foundation for lottery and pools money would be a way of avoiding tax, and campaigners have concluded that the crime-prevention angle may be a way of persuading government not to tax the lottery directly.

Home Office officials have let lottery campaigners know that they are very interested in the idea, and staff at the National Heritage Department, which is in charge of the lottery, are also looking at the possibilities.