Ben Bradley MP, along with 16 other Members of Parliament, has written to Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, urging her to stop £1bn of British taxpayers’ money being stripped from the National Lottery and sent to a Canadian teachers’ pension fund.
The move comes as Camelot, owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund, lost the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition in March and is seeking compensation from the UK taxpayer.
Between 2016 and 2020, the National Lottery fund spent over £4.5m in Mansfield. Good causes in Mansfield supported by the National Lottery include The Missing Piece and the Jigsaw Support Scheme.
Ben Bradley MP urged the Culture Secretary to intervene, and to ensure that any compensation paid to the Canadian pension fund will not be paid out of the Lottery good causes fund, or taxpayers’ money.
They warn that the move by Camelot represents a “serious threat to thousands of community enterprises that are the bedrock of villages, towns, and cities” and that ‘’attempting to squeeze up to £1 billion out of the public purse at this time is totally unacceptable’’.
Gambling company Camelot ran the National Lottery for the past 28 years, but on 15 March the Gambling Commission decided to award the 10 year-licence to run the lottery to Alwynn, a European competitor.
Camelot, which is entirely owned by the Canadian Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, is currently fighting this decision in court, and is seeking up to £1bn in compensation.
The High Court had previously ruled on 29 June that Camelot had to start the process of handing over the National Lottery to Alwynn, but the company was granted the right to appeal the decision on 15 July, extending the court battle into the autumn.
Giving evidence to MPs in June, Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, admitted these damages could have to come out of the National Lottery Community Fund for good causes.
Commenting, Ben Bradley MP said:
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to highlight this issue with the Culture Secretary to ensure British taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting the least advantaged in our society. Even if just £600m went to fund the pensions of Canadian teachers in one single payment, this would be more than went to disadvantaged English communities over the last three years (£568m).
“My priority is to secure funding for Mansfield and ensure local good causes, such as The Missing Piece and the Jigsaw Support Scheme, are supported by the National Lottery.”