Big relief after Big Lottery avoids slush fund future

Charity groups have breathed a sigh of relief after the Government avoided raiding National Lottery’s charity arm in the Autumn Statement.

Both The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and charity leader network ACEVO feared the chancellor would decant Big Lottery Fund contributions to cover budget hits to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

They estimated such a move would amount to a diversion of funds totalling £320m. They also feared it would cause irreparable damage to public confidence in the National Lottery at a time when the economic climate was squeezing charities.

The Big Lottery Fund is the single largest backer of the UK’s voluntary sector. With individual grants below £10k, it has proved a vital lifeline to small organisations.

The chancellor left the funding alone during his speech on November 25, although he referenced the groups’ concern.

Sir Stephen Bubb, ACEVO chief executive said: “I’m delighted there was to be no raid on the Big Lottery Fund. The joint ACEVO/NCVO campaign against this was successful.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, NCVO chief executive added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us demonstrate the importance of Big Lottery funding, including people who spoke up on behalf of this vital source of funding. I’d like to thank the chancellor for listening to them and recognising the value the Big Lottery Fund adds to communities throughout the UK.”

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