More than 70 leading charities have urged Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to press ahead with proposed changes to charity lottery laws which have also received cross-party backing in Westminster.
In a joint letter charity leaders outlined their support for a Government proposal, first set out last June, to increase the sales limit for charity lotteries to £100 million per year.
In a consultation, ministers said their ‘preferred option’ was to increase the value of tickets each lottery can sell each year from £10 million to £100 million and came further to advise from the official regulator, the Gambling Commission, in favour of this new limit because of concern that current rules are limiting charity fundraising.
But 10 months on the Government hasn’t yet implemented the change and there is growing concern about the delay, especially as the whole reform process began back in 2014.
The delay has prompted the charity bosses to lend their public backing to the proposals – highlighting the benefits they would bring to good causes.
In the letter, they write:
“The existing £10 million limit is causing excessive bureaucracy, additional administration costs, and in some instances is reducing the funds available to supported charities by significant amounts, which benefits no one.
“As Secretary of State with responsibility for charities, we hope you find it useful to know that if you go ahead an introduce a new £100 million annual sales limit you will have the support of a large number of leading charities.
“Doing so would significantly increase the level of funding available to charities like ours to do vital work – something we can all celebrate together.”
The signatories all receive funding raised by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, which has been pressing for the reforms, as have other bodies including the Institute of Fundraising, The Lotteries Council and the Hospice Lotteries Association.
They include the chief executives of the British Red Cross, Breast Cancer Care, NSPCC, Marine Conservation Society, War Child, Guide Dogs, Crisis and the Lord’s Taverners. Between them, the 73 signatories have received almost £220 million from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The letter comes just days after a report by research consultancy nfpSynergy revealed thousands of local charities have missed out on £45 million over the past two years due to the current caps.
A lack of available funds meant three trusts which award grants of up to £20,000 to small and local charities across the UK were forced to turn down 3,740 applications worth £44.9 million which would have qualified for awards in 2017 and 2018 – including from projects to help children with mental health and to tackle loneliness among older people.
The charity bosses’ letter is the latest show of support for the reforms, which have won widespread backing from the charity sector, public and MPs.
Olympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes and record-breaking sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur – who both founded their own charities – have also lent public support for the changes.
Clara Govier, Managing Director of People’s Postcode Lottery, said:
“This letter shows that virtually the entire charity sector will be cheering from the rooftops if Jeremy Wright brings in ministers’ ‘preferred option’ of a £100 million sales limit.
“The Government has the chance to unlock millions of pounds of extra funding to transform lives in Britain and beyond at no cost to the taxpayer – a win/win that will benefit everyone.”