I hope the Chancellor will keep his hands off the Big Lottery Fund

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be made on Wednesday. This morning I have written to the three Members of Parliament for Brighton and Hove, Simon Kirby, Peter Kyle and Caroline Lucas, regarding a possible ‘raid’ on the Big Lottery Fund.  This is what I wrote:

It has been suggested that in his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor intends to cut the amount available to the Big Lottery Fund by £320 million a year. That would equate to a 40% cut.

Already ‘good causes’ have lost around £425 million which was used to subsidise the London Olympics.

The loss of £320 million a year would have a devastating impact on charities who already are being squeezed by austerity and an increase in demand for services.

The Big Lottery makes a huge difference in Brighton and Hove. In the period from 1st January 2013 and last Friday (20th November 2015), 101 grants worth £14.6 million, were made to 89 organisation’s in Brighton and Hove. These grants were for health, education, environment and other charitable purposes.

82 of these grants were for sums of £10,000 or less. This funding is the life blood of small, local charities, not lease because of the squeeze on local authority finances.

I have to declare an interest, and register a big concern on behalf of BHT. We received five of these awards, although one, for the Fulfilling Lives Project, was received on behalf of a partnership of over 60 organisation’s across Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings. With a group of core partners we will be distributing these funds over an eight year period.

Excluding the Fulfilling Lives funds, BHT received £1 million for a range of services including helping people to get and keep homes in the private rented sector, help people into work, and to help people access advice and guidance.

But as I have said above, 82 of the awards are for small organisations doing work at a grass roots level. For these organisation’s, as well as the larger ones like BHT, Big Lottery funding is what sustains us.

I would urge you to use whatever influence you have to ensure that Big Lottery funding is protected in the Autumn Statement.

Kind regards

Andy Winter
Chief Executive
Brighton Housing Trust

Update 25th November 2015 3.35pm:

In his statement, the Chancellor specifically mentioned Big Lottery and protected it.  The chief executive’s body, Acevo, said in a statement after the Autumn Statement: “There have been some suggestions recently that the Big Lottery Fund would see its funding cut by £320 million. ACEVO was robust in its response; working with the NCVO we were clear that such a blow would be disastrous for charities across England. We are encouraged to see that the Chancellor has heeded our advice, and protected the Big Lottery Fund, and the work it does.”  Good news.

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