Jowell defends proposed Olympic Lottery

Jowell defends proposed Olympic Lottery
Jowell defends proposed Olympic Lottery

Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has vigorously defended plans to introduce a Lottery game to fund a successful London Olympic bid.

London has been shortlisted to host the 2012 Olympic Games and part of the financial package is a Government pledge to set up a dedicated Olympic Lottery game to fund the Games.

This proposal was recently criticised by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

In its March report on proposed Government reforms of the National Lottery, it said: "The Committee believes that the additionality principle is being eroded, especially with the establishment of the Olympic Lottery."

"The Committee deplores this erosion."

One of the founding principles of the National Lottery, known as the additionality principle, was that money raised would be spent on schemes outside the remit of public finances and not be used as an alternative to Government funding.

Responding, Ms Jowell said: "We simply do not accept the Committee's conclusion that using the Lottery to help fund the Olympics is an erosion of the additionality principle.

"In fact, I think helping fund the Olympics is a perfect example of what the Lottery was set up to do.

Defending the proposals, she said: "The Games present a unique national opportunity.

"They have the potential to inspire greater participation in sport, increase the medal success of our elite athletes, and leave a lasting legacy of
community facilities across the country."

Ms Jowell said that she did accept there were certain legitimate concerns surrounding the award of the operator's license to run the National Lottery.

The select committee had been concerned that the current proposals to open up competition did not have the support of potential bidders.

Camelot has been the sole National Lottery operator since its launch in 1994.

Responding, Ms Jowell noted: "We agree with the PAC and NAO that we cannot allow a situation to develop where there is only one bidder for the next licence.

"But we take seriously the concerns that have been raised about the proposals as they stand. We have listened to these concerns and recognise the need for a fresh look at how we can maximise returns to good causes."

April saw the first rise in National Lottery sales of the past six years.

Camelot is hoping that new plans to trial selling tickets at supermarket check outs, as well as the launch of new games, will reverse the long term decline in sales.