Managing National Lottery Distribution Fund Balances: First Report of Session 2005-06; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

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Since its launch in November 1994, the National Lottery has raised over 15 billion for the arts, sport, charities and other good causes. However, concerns have been raised about the amount of lottery money in the Distribution Fund which has yet to be distributed, with balances standing at 2.4 billion as of May 2005. Following on from a NAO report (HCP 875, session 2003-04, ISBN 010292919X) published in July 2004, the Committee's report examines the progress being made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and two of the largest distributors, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the New Opportunities Fund, to reduce balances and to manage risk. The report finds that lottery money does no good sitting in the Distribution Fund since the public benefit is delivered only when the money is spent in the community. The DCMS should set a new target and clear milestones for reducing the balances, whilst distributors need to improve their risk management in committing new funds to projects. The report also concludes that the successful bid to hold the Olympics in London in 2012 could have a significant impact on the distributors, and therefore the pattern of balances.

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