Letter: Charity losses due to lottery

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The Independent Online
From Mr Simon Hebditch

Sir: Your news item "Lottery `hits charities hard' " (30 March) illustrates yet again that the National Lottery is having a major impact on the voluntary sector's other fundraising sources. The experience of Tenovus, and even the effect of the National Lottery on other small lottery operators, like Littlewoods, shows that charities are losing money rather than gaining it.

Many charities, including the Charities Aid Foundation, have said from the start that the apparent largesse being provided by the National Lottery will be more than offset by its detrimental impact on charity fundraising. There is now growing evidence that our assertions are turning out to be true. Although it is claimed that the National Lottery will provide vast new funds for the charitable sector, it should be remembered that only about 6p in every pound ticket actually goes to charity. If you want to give to charity, there are better ways of doing it!

Public and charitable confidence in the National Lottery as a source of funding may well increase once the National Lottery Charities Board starts dispensing grants. It is to be hoped that this grant programme can get up and running as soon as possible, even if that implies distributing some early grants this summer before the full system is established.

May I also point out another issue of concern? There have been reports that Camelot, the lottery operator, will soon be in a position to generate considerable profits - presumably more than was originally envisaged, given the success of the operation. Some of us will remember that putting excess profits to charitable use was raised at the time the lottery operator was chosen. Could I encourage the director-general of Oflot think again about this issue, so that when the time comes to renew the operator's licence the public can be assured that excess profits are distributed to charity?

Your faithfully,

SIMON HEBDITCH

Director

Policy Unit

Charities Aid Foundation

London, WC1

30 March

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