Local charities losing out due to limits on lottery sales – report

Local charities are losing out on vital funding due to outdated limits on lottery sales, according to a report.

The value in funding applications by small charities to local funding trusts supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery has increased from £5.9 million in 2012 to £58.3 million, according to charity researchers nfpSynergy.

However, only three in 10 applications could be awarded funding over the last two years because of sales limits for society lotteries, the report said.

The restrictions meant that over the last two years the three trusts which award grants of up to £20,000 to small charities had to turn down 3,740 applications worth £45 million.

The applications included funding for projects to help children with their mental health and to tackle loneliness among older people.

The nfpSynergy report said all three trusts were “constrained by the annual sales limits from raising more for small charities”.

The Gambling Act currently limits society lotteries to £4 million of sales per draw, £10 million of sales a year and a maximum draw prize of £400,000. The limits were last changed in 2009.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has indicated that it is willing to increase the limits. It conducted a consultation last summer on the possibility of raising the limit on the amount they can raise from £10 million to £100 million a year.

The DCMS has yet to publish its response to the consultation, which closed on September 7.

Carolyn Harris, Labour MP for Swansea East and gambling reform campaigner, said: “This report highlights the significant impact the current outdated limits are having on small charities – one that should make every MP sit up and take notice because it is impacting on local charities and community groups in virtually every constituency.

“The Government has said a new £100 million limit is their ‘preferred option’. They must now implement it before more local charities and community groups lose out on vital funding.”

Clara Govier, managing director of People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “This report lays bare the massive prize for local charities and good causes across Britain from reforming the outdated charity lottery laws.

“The Government can unlock millions of pounds in extra funding at the stroke of pen by raising the current caps on charity lottery fundraising, which are holding back organisations from improving the lives of people up and down the country.”

The report’s author, Joe Saxton of nfpSynergy, said: “Raising the charity lottery limits is a win for funding for small and large charities, a win for reducing unnecessary costs and administration which the public so dislike, and a win for the people that charities exist to help.

“The current charity lottery limits are a regulatory straightjacket on charity fundraising. The lack of a government decision on raising the charity lottery limits is increasingly detrimental to charitable activities. The Government is out of step with its own MPs and with the public if it doesn’t take measures forward to raise charity lottery sales limits.”

A DCMS spokeswoman said: “Society lotteries make an important difference to communities across the country and raise hundreds of millions of pounds every year for good causes.

“We have recently consulted on a range of options, including increasing society lottery sales and prize limits, and are considering the evidence. We will respond in due course.”

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