LETTER: Lottery is all above board

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From Mr David Sieff

Sir: Your leader "Bringing the lottery bigwigs to book" (2 February) suggests the House of Commons had nothing to do with setting up the bodies tasked with distributing the lottery money to good causes. In fact, the National Lottery Charities Board was set up by the same legislation which established the lottery. It was fully debated in Parliament and secured all-party consent.

The National Lottery Charities Board wishes to be transparent and accountable. So far, we have made 2,400 grants. The media, including the Independent, were sent full details and analyses of each of these grants and our first grants. Your paper covered our first grant announcements in great detail and in a leader the following morning (24 October 1995) said that the awards, and I quote, "makes you proud to live in a country where so many are trying to do so much for so many".

Our board conducted a massive consultation exercise with the voluntary sector in the earlier part of last year. Full details of all our policies and our grants were made public. Given the almost unprecedented media coverage, I am astonished you should claim our workings are mysterious.

To state that the board is "stuffed with bankers, politicians and businessmen" is untrue. Our board members have long and valuable experience of the charity and voluntary sectors.

Yours faithfully,

David Sieff


National Lottery

Charities Board

London, WC2