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Tuesday, June 16, 1998 Published at 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK


Shake-up for lottery grants

The shake-up plans to make sure grants reach the most worthy causes

Nick Higham reports on the shake-up
The way major lottery grants are distributed is to be changed to create a fairer system of sharing the cash between heritage projects.

Major projects hoping to gain up to 25m from the National Lottery will have to compete in twice-yearly competitions aimed at ensuring resources are targeted at the most worthy causes.

At the same time, more cash will be freed up to target areas of the country which may not have had their fair share of cash.

[ image: Some regions have lost out at  the sake of London]
Some regions have lost out at the sake of London
These include the East Midlands, which has been granted only 3% of the total allocated so far, and Northern Ireland, which received 1.5%, compared with London which has had 13.5% of the money.

Country Committees, which can award grants of up to 375,000, are to be set up in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to bring local knowledge to grant decisions.

The changes follow the appointment of former Eton headmaster Eric Anderson as new chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund and criticism that some areas of the country have got a raw deal at the expense of "elitist" projects.

Up to now, 45% of cash has been given to museums, 37% to buildings and parks with 18% shared between industrial heritage, countryside schemes, archives and special libraries.

An inquiry will be held later this year by MPs into the way the fund hands out cash.

[ image: An inquiry is to be held into the way grants are distributed]
An inquiry is to be held into the way grants are distributed
Dr Anderson said: "There will be hard choices as we anticipate more good projects that we can fund, but setting them against each other will help Trustees to give priority to the most worthwhile schemes."

He said of the 250m the fund had to distribute this year, 50m would be spent on museums and collections, 30m on historic parks, 40m on historic buildings, 30m on countryside schemes, 15m on townscapes and 10m on places of worship.

A further change will bring in a new two-stage application process for grants of more than 375,000 to speed up the rejection of unsuitable projects and avoid applicants wasting time and resource.

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