A quarter of the National Lottery money set aside for good causes is being used to fund the 2012 Olympics and meet lottery distributors’ administration costs, the Conservative Party said.
Research carried out by the party showed Camelot gave £1.2billion to the Good Causes fund in 2007/08, with £309million of that being spent on the Olympics and lottery administration.
Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said nearly seven pence from every ticket sold in 2009 would be spent on travel expenses, salaries and media monitoring for distributors.
He said it would be March 24 this year before good causes received lottery funding.
Mr Hunt said: “It is ridiculous that we have to wait nearly three months before a single penny from the lottery actually reaches good causes. Far too much money that should reach them is either diverted to other projects or wasted on administration. When times are tough, good causes need lottery support more than ever. It’s high time the government recognised this and made the lottery properly independent from Whitehall, as John Major originally envisaged.”
But a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokeswoman said it had always been clear that lottery money would be used to help fund the games. She said: “We have agreed, and capped, the levels of lottery investment, and have arranged for the National Lottery to share in the profits made from land-sales after the games.
“The transfers from the lottery to the 2012 Olympic Games do not begin until February 2009. The figures quoted by the Conservatives total the amount raised from ticket sales of dedicated Olympic lottery games, such as scratchcards. It is perfectly legitimate for a large scale organisation like the National Lottery to spend a small proportion of its income on administrative and core function costs.
“To ensure grants are awarded fairly and equitably the lottery must spend money, for example, on outreach and websites to support people who apply for funding. It is not a case of just handing out a cheque and it is important to guard against potential fraud.”