Charity body NCVO fights National Lottery reforms

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is gearing up to challenge the Government’s National Lottery Bill, which it argues will empower the Government with too much influence over how Lottery money is spent.

NCVO is this week forging alliances with the parliamentary units and PR departments of its charity members to challenge aspects of the bill with lobbying and media efforts before Christmas.

One of the main provisions of The National Lottery Bill is the creation of a new distributor of funds to good causes, to be known as the Big Lottery Fund, which replaces the National Lottery Charities Board.

The reforms also seek to confer powers on secretary of state Tessa Jowell to give directions on exercising its functions.

In a statement following the publication of the National Lottery Bill this week, NCVO chief exec Stuart Etherington said: ‘All those who support the principle of a National Lottery free from political interference should have grave concerns about this bill.’

NCVO media relations manager James Georgalakis said the campaign to oppose the reforms will have two strands. ‘Our first aim is to make sure the Government understands charities’ concerns about the future of funding decisions; the second is to encourage MPs to speak in parliament debates on our behalf and that of voluntary organisations,’ he said.

The body has this week written to Jowell expressing concerns about the bill and requesting a meeting.

Georgalakis said charity media campaigns should aim to tap into what he described as the strong public support for an independent lottery.

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