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Friday, February 27, 1998 Published at 18:16 GMT


Regions get bigger share of Millennium millions
image: [ This will not be the only Millennium party in Britain ]
This will not be the only Millennium party in Britain

The government has unveiled plans for a new Millennium Festival Fund to help pay for celebrations around Britain.

A hundred million pounds of National Lottery money will be put into the fund.

The move followed criticism that the Millennium celebrations are "metropolitan" and centred around the Dome in Greenwich, south east London.

The Millennium Commission said it had become clear that the £20m originally budgeted for a national programme of events would not be enough to fund the multitude of ideas being put forward by people around the country.

[ image:
"Millennium celebrations should reach everyone"
The Culture Secretary, Chris Smith announced the plans in Bristol on his first stop on a national tour, aimed at highlighting the celebrations planned in each region.

"Millennial celebrations should reach everyone in the country and embrace arts, sports, heritage and involve the public and voluntary sectors," he said.

"I am delighted that the lottery distributing bodies have been able to work together in this way. We wanted to get all the different distributors working together so it is a simple procedure for the applicants."

However, the decision came under attack by Tories, who called it a politically motivated "raid" on the lottery funds.

Francis Maude, the shadow culture secretary, said it was taking away valuable income from charities, sport, heritage and arts projects which were already losing Lottery income through the proposed New Opportunities Fund being set up by the government.

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