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January 10, 2007

Lottery cash propping up the Olympics?

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In something of a surprise, the government has indicated that it might use cash from the National Lottery’s general good causes fund to pay for the increasingly expensive 2012 Olympics.

The original cost of £2.375bn was partly to be funded by a special Olympics lottery fund, separate from the main funds. The cost has since risen to £3.3bn and may rise further.

The Chairman of the Big Lotto Fund, Sir Clive Booth, said in response that “Whitehall doesn’t understand the Lottery”. He says charities may be denied up to £950m as a result of the move.

Labour’s 2005 manifesto says:

Our Lottery bill will give a duty and a power to every Lottery distributor to involve the public more dramatically in decision-making at every level.

If they believe that, will Tessa Jowell be asking the public what they think about even more Lottery cash being spent on the Olympics?

I suspect not.

I’m pleased the Olympics will be in London. But the government seems to be incapable of paying for it properly and is taking the easy – and unfair – option.

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