(Photo: Matt Crossick via PA Media)
Rising costs are already hitting households across the UK, but they’re also impacting charities, both large and small. Not only in relation to their own running costs, but also in terms of the many charities stepping up to support those most affected.
Along with the countless many things on the new prime minister’s to do list, it is essential she and her Government do what it can to support the charity sector, which does so much to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
One quick way to increase support, would be to prioritise supporting the charity lottery sector – and removing the outdated and bureaucratic legal limits to its charity fundraising. There has already been much consultation on this so just a small nod will make a huge difference.
From grassroots groups to larger charities operating in communities the length and breadth of Britain, charity lotteries fund work tackling poverty, looking out for vulnerable children, offering vital care for those battling serious illnesses, preserving our environment and our historical landmarks and caring for animals, – among many other causes!
That is why I have helped launch People’s Postcode Lottery’s new campaign calling for the Government to update the law on charity lotteries – to help them do more to fund good causes across the country.
In 2018, as Minister for Civil Society, I was pleased to progress the Government’s proposals to increase the amount of money charity lotteries could raise. My time in the role enabled me to see the huge amount of good that charity lotteries achieve for our communities and our country.
I was therefore delighted when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport concluded that their initial charity lottery reforms had proven a success in reducing costs and delivering more funding for good causes – all without issue for the National Lottery.
But the Government did promise to go further, and People’s Postcode Lottery’s new report “Limitless Potential” illustrates starkly why they must make good on their promise. The legal limit imposed on charity lottery sales significantly limits the size and the flexibility of the funding pot which is available to the charities supported – with several lotteries losing out on over £1 million this year alone, a sum which will increase over time.
I have seen first-hand the vital work provided by these supported organisations. Take cancer care charity Maggie’s for example. As someone who has had my own cancer journey, I know the hugely positive impact Maggie’s has had for the people and families they support, helping people take back control when cancer turns their life upside down, and helping with support and advice on issues from treatment side effects to money worries. Their network of 26 centres has partly been made possible by the £19.8 million raised for them by Postcode Lottery players.
The People’s Postcode Lottery’s call for the Government to remove annual sales limits on charity lotteries – or to at least enact the Government’s stated ambition to permit £100m in annual sales – would mean that charities like Maggie’s aren’t stymied by over-regulation. It would mean more money being raised by charity lotteries, and therefore more money delivered to supporting those most in need.
Removing restrictions on charity lottery fundraising is a practical solution to free up more funding for good causes and at no cost to the Treasury. Charities need these funds now more than ever and I urge our new Prime Minister to make this step a priority for her new Government.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.