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Tuesday, 29 September, 1998, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Lottery boost for 'good causes'
Chris Smith: "Arts and sports for all"
The four "good causes" - arts, sports, charities and heritage - that receive funding through the National Lottery will each receive an extra 50m.

It follows increased lottery revenues, Culture Secretary Chris Smith told delegates during debate on Labour's Industry and Culture Policy Commission report.

Mr Smith also announced the creation of a new "easy to use, small grants scheme" for community groups.

"It's not only the great and the good that should benefit from the lottery," he said.

"It should be small-scale neighbourhood organisations, groups and charities, locally focused and locally led, that ought to be at the top of the list."

The new scheme - already in operation in Scotland - would start in England from November.

'For art's sake'

Mr Smith rejected criticism that the government was not doing enough to avert an arts funding crisis.

"I believe in art for art's sake, but not in grants for grants' sake," he told the conference.

He outlined "two fundamental tests for the granting of this money" when it came to government investment.

"First, no more waste. Good art deserves good management," he said, adding that the Royal Opera House would only get more public funds if it provided better access and improved management.

"Cheaper seats, more education work, more broadcasting, less exclusivity - so the Three Tenors becomes something other than what you pay for a glass of champagne in the Crush Bar," he said.

His second fundamental test was that "new funds must be used to draw in the many, not just satisfy the few".

Arts such as dance, music and opera "are not just for an elite, they are for all".

Football coming home

Mr Smith also said sport was "for all", which was why the unnecessary sale of playing-fields had been stopped.

And it was the reason the government had given its "full backing" to the campaign the bring football's 2006 World Cup to England.

Peter Hewitt, chief executive of the Arts Council of England, welcomed the extra 50m for the arts.

He said it came soon after the extra 125m in grant-in-aid to the arts in England over the next three years announced in Chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review this summer.

But Conservatives said news over the weekend that the National Lottery was due to raise about 600m more for good causes than had been forecast showed up Mr Smith's conference announcement

Shadow Culture Secretary Peter Ainsworth said much of the extra cash will go to the government's "so-called New Opportunities Fund, which should be renamed the Pet Projects Fund.

"Labour's latest raid on the Lottery adds insult to injury to the original good causes which the Lottery was set up to fund like charities and museums."


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