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NATIONAL LOTTERY BILL BECOMES LAW

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The National Lottery Bill received Royal Assent yesterday....
The National Lottery Bill received Royal Assent yesterday.

The National Lottery Act 2006 reforms National Lottery distribution, making it easier for distributors to involve the public and ensuring that Lottery money goes efficiently to good causes. It also establishes the Big Lottery Fund as a new good cause distributor with simpler rules making it easier for applicants to access Lottery money.

Key changes introduced by the Act include:

* Establishing the Big Lottery Fund as a single body replacing the Community Fund, the New Opportunities Fund and the Millennium Commission. The resulting in a£6-12 million efficiency saving that will be available as additional Lottery funding for good causes.

* Increased public involvement in the Lottery with distributors able to consult and take account of public views in making distribution decisions.

* Measures to ensure that the licensing and regulation of the Lottery continues to maximise the returns to good causes.

Culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell said:

'The National Lottery has raised over£18.5bn in good causes in the past twelve years providing funding for more than 240,000 projects across the country. It's hard to imagine what Britain would be like without iconic institutions like The Eden Project in Cornwall or the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

'The Act helps to bring the Lottery closer to players and the communities the Lottery supports. More than 70 per cent of adults regularly play the Lottery and I am delighted that they will now have greater opportunity to get involved and contribute to decisions about how good cause money is spent.'

Sport minister Richard Caborn said:

'This Act takes the Lottery into the next generation helping it become even bigger and better than before. We want people to keep on playing the Lottery and continue the revolution of people and places that we have already seen across the country through the massive investment it has brought.

'These changes to the lottery licensing and regulation framework will help see the continued success of the Lottery, ensuring that it is well run and excites players for years to come.'

Notes

1. A copy of the Act is available at www.opsi.gov.uk/acts

2. The Big Lottery Fund was launched on 1 June 2004, following an administrative merger between The New Opportunities Fund and The Community Fund. Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out half the money for good causes raised by the National Lottery for projects covering health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Comment from the Social Enterprise Coalition follows.

The Social Enterprise Coalition has welcomed the news that the National Lottery Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act.

The Bill represents an important step forward in ensuring all social enterprises are able to access the full range of lottery funding.

Previously many social enterprises - such as cooperatives - were unable to access grants from the Community Fund because their organisational structure did not fit a narrow, legal definition of 'charitable, philanthropic or benevolent'.

The activities-focused definition of 'charitable expenditure' in Clause 19 of the new Act gives the lottery much greater scope to fund the full range of social enterprises which deliver public benefit.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition said:

'SEC campaigned hard throughout the passage of the Bill to ensure that parliamentarians from all parties understood the importance of Clause 19 to social enterprise. The coalition is delighted that it has become law and looks forward to continuing its work with the Big Lottery to support the growth of social enterprises across the UK.'

Notes

The Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) is the UK's national body for social enterprise. Acting as the voice for the sector, it supports and represents the work of its members, influences national policy and promotes best practice. www.socialenterprise.org.uk

Social enterprises are dynamic businesses with social and environmental aims. Well known examples include The Big Issue, Café Direct and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, but there are many other social enterprises operating in a wide range of industries from farmers markets and recycling companies to transport and childcare providers.

According to figures from the government's Annual Small Business Survey 2005 and existing data for the social enterprise sector, there are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a combined turnover of£27billion per year. Social enterprises account for 5% of all businesses with employees and contribute£8.4billion per year to the UK economy - almost 1% of annual GDP.

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