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Thursday, October 8, 1998 Published at 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK


Lottery row over cancer cash

Campaigners say cancer patients should not rely on lottery

Charities have accused the government of diverting National Lottery money from good causes into public spending programmes - including the care of cancer patients.

BBC Media Correspondent Torin Douglas: Charities fear Lottery cash is being siphoned off
They say this breaches the principle that lottery money should not replace funds raised from taxes.

The government says the projects are additional to state spending and have public support.

The charities' concern follows an announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Labour conference that an extra £400m of lottery money was to go to the New Opportunities Fund (NOF). This cash would be spent on cancer treatment and care, among other projects.

Uncontroversial choices

The NOF was devised by Labour as a sixth 'good cause', in addition to sport, the arts, charities, heritage and millennium projects.

The first beneficiaries of NOF were uncontroversial: after-school clubs and healthy living centres.

But the decision to spend money on cancer prevention has angered charities and worried the National Lottery Charities Board.

Pamela Goldberg, Director of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, said: "The government seem to be relying on the fund for something that taxes should do.

"Lottery funding is unpredictable and we cannot have something as vital as services for cancer dependent on lottery funding."

The government has responded by saying that the idea of lottery funding for health and education was in Labour's manifesto.

Janet Anderson debates the issue with lottery experts on Radio 4's Today programme
Culture Minister Janet Anderson says this money from the lottery is in addition to - not instead of - existing funding.

She said: "We have made it plain that what we are proposing is in addition to government spending on the health service.

"We have already said we are going to put extra millions of pounds into the health service and this is in addition.

"It is in order to enhance the facilities available for prevention, treatment and care of cancer."

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