Anorak News | National Disgrace

National Disgrace

by | 18th, October 2005

‘YOU play the National Lottery because you want to give money to good causes. Just as you wear a football top to show that you’re an active member of the local community and read the Star for the share tips.

The money will be stored here until further notice

Punters play the lottery to win the lottery. The Lottery tagline (“It could be you”) is not aimed at the RSPCA or some other charity but at you, the poor sod slumped in front of the telly with empty pockets and a mind full of unfulfilled dreams.

But still the charities expect their share. Although they should not expect too much because the Times says that £2.4 billion of Lottery cash is gathering dust in the coffers.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has done the sums and noticed that that not all the money is going to those worthy causes as fast as it should.

Looking over the amount of interest such a fortune can earn if placed in a simple savings account (£120m at 5 per cent per annum), the PAC looks for a solution.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the PAC, says the problem lies not with any lack of causes (“There is no shortage of quality projects to fund”) but with the distributors, who are too “timid”.

While we work out on the back of a losing lottery ticket that the Government could just crack open the vault and give each of the 60 million of us living in this country £40 each, the Times takes a look at these distributors.

There are eight such organisations, of which the New Opportunities Fund and the Heritage Fund hold 64 per cent of the cash (£1.5 billion), says the Times’s editorial.

Or are there 15 distributors, as the Times’s front-page story says? Or are their 14 distributors as the distributors’ own website mentions (

We cannot be certain. No-one it seems can be certain. But we do know that the funds are idling in these groups’ bank accounts. And that cannot be a good thing.

The Times illustrates what a bad thing it is by showing us what £2.4 billion could pay for: 100 new hospitals; 200 new schools; 90,000 nurses; an £80 tax rebate for each household in Britain.

Something needs to be done to loosen this blockage in the system. We need to find a way of using up the cash before it becomes stale, goes off, or whatever does happen to old money.

So send in your suggestions to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the Lottery. And to get the ball rolling here are a couple of ours: a huge tent in Greenwich (£628m). Or what about a sports stadium in an already congested and relatively inaccessible part of London (£120m)?

Not your thing? So tell us what is ( And we’ll champion the best ideas…’

Posted: 18th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink