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MP demands a fairer share of lottery handouts for coalfield communities

Gloria De Piero MP
Gloria De Piero MP

The dream of a big house, nice car and exotic holidays inspires lots of us to buy Lotto tickets and scratch cards each week.

Research carried out nearly a decade ago showed that skilled manual workers are more likely to buy a ticket than managerial and professional workers.

But because we do not know where lottery tickets are bought, we don’t know how much more some customers are putting into the National Lottery than they are getting out of it.

Every year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport publishes how much cash every Parliamentary constituency receives in Lottery funding for projects.

The ten constituencies which receive the most money are always dominated by the UK’s biggest cities, while former coalfield areas come lagging way behind.

In 2015, Ashfield received about £930,000 of lottery funding, while Nottingham South, just down the road, got £64.8 million, the third highest in the country.

The Industrial Communities Alliance published work a few years ago, finding ‘evidence of systematic bias against certain types of areas and communities’ with regards to the distribution of lottery funding.

Its research suggests that industrial areas receive only 60 per cent of the national average funding per head and put the cumulative loss of funding to Britain’s industrial communities at around £3 billion.

That is why I have written to the chief executive of Camelot, the Lottery operator.

I want Camelot to not only publish data on where Lottery tickets and scratch cards are bought, so we can see the differences between this and where lottery funding is given out, but that it also does more to close this gap.

In this age of austerity and cuts, former coalfield and industrial communities need Lottery funding more than ever to support projects that could otherwise be at risk of closure.

It is time the way Lottery cash is allocated was changed, so that these areas are no longer disadvantaged and are given the share of the money they deserve.