The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP has called on ministers to bring forward changes to the regulation of Society Lotteries in order to allow them to raise more money to carry on their good work.
At present, lotteries which support a specific good cause are limited in the amount of money they can raise each year to £10 million. To raise more money, charities and organisations have to take out a separate license that can involve spending six figure sums.
Ms Patel was joined in the Grimond Room of the Houses of Parliament by Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and the Local Hospice Lottery. Nicole Wastell of Essex and Herts Air Ambulance said that running the service cost £6.5 million a year and that their lottery support was vital to raising such large sums. But with over 96,000 players, if the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance lottery continued to grow to support local people, it would soon breach the £10 million annual turnover limit imposed by present regulation.
Gary Hawkes from the Local Hospice Lottery also fears having to take out an extra license and said that the one-off cost of taking out an additional license would be in the region of £100,000 and that the annual cost of operating the additional license would be an estimated £275,000. This additional cost amounts to 25 days running cost for a hospice and would be entirely at the expense of patient care, he said.
Calling on ministers to move speedily to relax the rules on charity lotteries, Ms Patel said: “Time is of the essence, charities providing important public services rely on the funds from their lotteries to continue to do good work. Charities and organisations work really hard to raise this money, we cannot allow out-dated law to get in their way and have money raised from the public paying for the bureaucratic requirements of an additional license instead of the valuable work of patient and public care.”