Letter: Lottery resources

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Lister ('Lottery cash could be used to fight crime', 16 March), offers no surprise to those of us who have been persistent Jeremiahs about this chimerical fount of all good things. In his Budget statement, Norman Lamont has taxed the national lottery 'for the first year' at 12 per cent. There is no doubt that the tax level will increase as the lottery becomes established.

This tax regime obviously means less money and more disappointment for those who had hoped to benefit from the lottery. Worse, if crime prevention becomes a sixth beneficiary of lottery funds, a six-way split of the proceeds diminishes even further the resources made available.

Indeed, why should the Government stop there? How long will it be before education, health care and other worthy causes are viewed as potential beneficiaries of lottery money?

Experience elsewhere shows that this is inevitably the case. Consequently, lottery funds become not additional funds, but core funding for those areas which Government ineptitude and cynicism have left bereft of resources.

Remember, too, that when you buy your lottery ticket in the hope of helping your favourite charity, of each pounds 1 spent: 50p will go back in prizes, 15p in administration charges, 12p to Government and a derisory 4p to charity.

Mr Lamont clearly believes that charity begins at home - in the Treasury.

Yours sincerely,

PETER KILFOYLE

MP for Liverpool Walton (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

17 March

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