A letter to the Directory of Social Change from sports Minister Hugh Robertson MP reveals funds that may be paid back to lottery distributors from the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund.
Billions in National Lottery revenues were taken by the last administration to support the building of the Olympics infrastructure – this money would otherwise have supported charitable good causes across the UK.
Over 3,200 charities have now joined the Big Lottery Refund campaign, which aims to get £425 million of this raided cash refunded to the Big Lottery Fund, which supports charities and community groups doing vital work in communities.
A letter-writing campaign to MPs and Ministers has been underway for well over a year.
A recent letter from Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change (DSC), which is leading the campaign, asked the Minister to pin down how much money is expected to remain in the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF) now that the Olympics are over.
The OLDF holds the money taken from the lottery distributors for the Olympic Programme.
Hugh Robertson replied that: "The final balance in the OLDF is likely to be somewhere in the range £100 million to £150 million, including £71 million receipts from the sale of the [Athletes’] Village. However it will not be possible to determine the exact amounts until 2014."
This revelation corroborates testimony at the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee session last December, where Fiona Mactaggart MP indicated she had received a letter back from the culture secretary Maria Miller on the issue.
She and chair Margaret Hodge MP grilled civil servants about the amount and timing of refunds to the Lottery.
Jay Kennedy, head of policy at DSC, said: "we’re talking about potentially hundreds of millions coming back to the Lottery, which could be of huge benefit to so many small local charities and community groups around the country at this difficult time.
"None of this was public information before we started our campaign. We want to thank our supporters and ask them to keep up the pressure – it is making a difference.
"However, this money isn’t in the bank yet and we will not stop asking until the full £425 million is refunded. The Government has spent less than expected on the Games, which is all the more reason for it to pay this money back in full, now – not in 2014 or even further into the future."
DSC has developed a website, www.biglotteryrefund.org.uk, to unite supporters in the campaign to get £425m of the lottery money returned to the Big Lottery Fund, for the benefit of charities and voluntary groups.
The campaign continues – people are urged to sign up as supporters, and to write to Ministers and their MPs.