Policy, campaigns & research

News Release: Mooted Big Lottery Ripoff averted by charity campaign

In his Spending Review statement today George Osborne poured cold water on policy plans to slash the share of lottery revenues distributed by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF), which had been leaked during the final weeks of the review.

For release Wednesday 25 November 2015

In his speech, the Chancellor said he would maintain public spending on sports, arts and heritage causes ‘without raiding the Big Lottery Fund as some feared.’ He went on to say, ‘It will continue to support the work of hundreds of small charities across Britain.’

In the weeks leading up to the Spending Review, an anonymous group called Save Big Lottery revealed plans to cut £320m from the Big Lottery Fund’s revenues, in order to redistribute funds to the arts, sports and heritage lottery distributors. This massive cut to Big’s annual budget would likely have meant very few funding awards in the near future as the funder would have to prioritise existing grant commitments.

Small, grassroots voluntary groups and charities in every parliamentary constituency benefit from the Big Lottery Fund, with the majority of grants awarded last year under £10,000. The Fund is a vital lifeline for valued local voluntary services in all areas of the UK, including diverse groups such as community centres, food banks and youth groups.

This excellent news comes after a campaign mounted by leading charities, including the Directory of Social Change (DSC), had asked people to contact MPs to oppose the move. A number of MPs voiced concerns at a debate in Parliament on Tuesday, and questions were even asked of the Prime Minister on the issue at PMQs in the run-up to the Chancellor’s statement.

Jay Kennedy, DSC’s Director of Policy and Research, said ‘The possibility that Big Lottery Fund money could have been raided yet again was real. This was a near miss – and we still have to be constantly vigilant to prevent anything like this happening in the future. People  responded and sent a clear message to their MPs and Government that this was unacceptable. Thankfully they have listened. Big thanks and congratulations to everybody involved – I think you made a difference.’

For more information please contact Ciaran Price, Directory of Social Change by email (cprice@dsc.org.uk) or phone (020 7697 4295, 0795 155 3292). 

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Notes to editors:

  • Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which supports an independent voluntary sector through campaigning, training and publications. DSC is the largest supplier of information and training to the voluntary sector, and its work helps tens of thousands of organisations every year achieve their aims. Learn more at www.dsc.org.uk
  • DSC runs the Big Lottery Refund campaign, supported by over 3800 charities and individuals. More information, including political and technical background, sign-up page, campaign actions for supporters, and other resources can be found at www.biglotteryrefund.org.uk