Priti Patel

MP Priti Patel has called for the speedy abolition of outdated laws which restrict vital fund-raising for hundreds of charity lotteries – including an increase in the jackpot to £1million.

Patel urged the Government to lift the top prize cap of £25,000 and reduce red tape which campaigners say will give good causes a £125million windfall over the next five years.

More than 500 society lotteries and MPs from all parties want urgent action when the review of lottery laws is announced before the summer recess on July 25. A poll by research group nfpSynergy shows two out of three voters back deregulation.

Patel, MP for Witham in Essex, said:

“The changes are common sense, achievable and crucially come at no cost to the British taxpayer or Treasury. It feels very much like a win-win to me.”

She added that the £1million jackpot was ‘modest’ in comparison to the £123million top prize paid out to a Euromillions winner by the National Lottery.

The former Employment Minister said:

“By the summer recess, we will know who the winner of the Conservative Party leader.

“By making small changes in the lotteries law we can also ensure that thousands of charities in every constituency are also winners.

“For example, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, which operates in my constituency and whose hardworking volunteers I have met on a number of occasions, provide a crucial service and has strong community support.

“But what most people don’t appreciate is that charities’ ability to raise more money through charity lotteries – and thus do more for our communities – has been severely limited for years because of increasingly outdated legislation.

“At present, charity lotteries have stringent limits on how much they can raise for charity each year and in each lottery draw, as well as a cap on their top prize. Many will be surprised that any limit should be imposed on charity fundraising at all.”

The Lotteries Council estimate increasing the jackpot to £1million, raising the annual sales limit to £100million and cutting red tape will encourage more people to play and result in an extra £125million for good causes over five years.

They say there is no evidence that the National Lottery, which showed growth last year, is impacted by smaller community lotteries.

Martin Ellice, Joint Managing Director at The Health Lottery, which supports 2900 good causes, said:

“Along with our colleagues in the third sector, we have been calling for change for the last six years. It is ridiculous that a prize limit from the 1976 Lotteries & Amusements Act still continues unchanged.

“Every day that passes is another day lost to maximise support for brilliant charities who do so much for their communities.

“The consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on resolving this outdated system ended ten months ago and we are still waiting for answers.

“With many charities under increasing financial pressure, we hope that the Government realises how much depends on a speedy decision.

“It seems bizarre that while there is no limit to our generosity, artificial limits still exist to stop charities benefiting from that generosity. “