Raid on Lottery cash?

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Rumours that Osborne will use funds to offset cuts.

Concern is rising that the government is planning to use Lottery funds to replace cuts to the arts heritage and sport.

A number of voluntary organisations which receive money from the Big Lottery Fund fear that their ‘pot’ of social good causes may be raided to DCMS sponsored bodies affected by the Chancellors cuts.

They claim that George Osborne may be set to cut £320m a year from the Big Lottery Fund’s budget in the comprehensive spending review and transfer it to fund the arts, heritage and sport. The BLF received £670m of good cause funding from the lottery last year.

Observers point to the fact that  the BLF  has postponed a programme of spending in Scotland due to be announced next week.

Ciaran Price, policy officer at the training and publishing charity the Directory of Social Change, said: "If this is true, it is outrageous. Lottery money is not there make up for budget cuts, it’s there to support communities and is a vital life-line for our beneficiaries."

Neil Cleeveley, chief executive of the local infrastructure body Navca, said: "This seems unbelievable but then again the scale of the government’s planned public spending cuts would have been unimaginable not so long ago."

He pointed out the BLF’s share of lottery funding had been 50 per cent before it was reduced to 40 per cent in 2010

A Treasury spokesman has refused to comment on the claim.

However, there is a precedent for such a change. The last Labour government borrowed £675m from the Big Lottery Fund to pay for the Olympics, with the debt not expected to be paid back until 2031.

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