Lottery cash `should go to charity'

The public wants the highest share of proceeds from the National Lottery to go to charities rather than be spent on Millennium projects, the arts, sport or national heritage, according to a Mori poll, writes David Lister.

Almost one-third of those questioned did not want any of the money to go on millennium projects.

Women would prefer to give more to the Charities Board and less to the Sports Council than men; of every pounds 100 given away, women, on average, would give pounds 34.50 to the Charities Board and pounds 18 to the Sports Council, whereas men would give pounds 30 to the Charities Board and pounds 23.50 to the Sports Council, the survey found. Women only wanted to give pounds 7.80 to millennium projects, and men pounds 9.80.

The legislation that set up the National Lottery provides that the proceeds be spilt equally between the five recipient bodies, sport, arts, charities, national heritage and millennium projects.

The public thinks that almost one-third - pounds 32 in every pounds 100 - of lottery money should be given to the National Lottery Charities Board to distribute, one-fifth (pounds 21) to the Sports Councils. Less popular were the Heritage Fund (pounds 17), the Arts Council (pounds 13) and the Millennium Commission (pounds 8).

Almost one-third of those questioned (31 per cent) would give no lottery money to the Millennium Commission, and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) would give none to the Arts Council. By contrast, only 10 per cent would give none to the National Lottery Charities Board, while 14 per cent would give it more than half the money.

A sample of 1,023 adults aged from 15 to 75 across Britain were interviewed in the survey, commissioned by the National Forum Trust, which hopes to set up a national debating centre in Britain. The poll found that 46 per cent were in favour of such a centre while 27 per cent were opposed.

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