Sports minister Hugh Robertson has confirmed that up to £150m of the £425m lottery good causes funding used to fund the Olympics could be paid back to lottery distributors in 2014.
The minister has advised that the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund is likely to have a surplus "somewhere in the range of £100, to £150m, including £71m receipts from the sale of the [Athletes'] Village". However in a letter to the Directory of Social Change (DSC) in which he revealed these figures, Robertson advised the exact amounts would not be known until 2014.
The return of these funds is currently forecast for July 2014, he said in response to a letter from DSC asking for more clarification over how much of the lottery funding would be returned for good causes and when.
£2.175bn of funding in total was provided by the Lottery to help pay for the Olympics, £638m of this originated from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), £425m of which would have been earmarked for good causes.
DSC has been campaigning for a 'Big Lottery Refund' prior to, during and since the 2012 Olympics. 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 £425m 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."
The commitment to return from the sale of the Olympic Park an additional sum of £675m to lottery distributors, was enshrined in legislation between the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the National Lottery last year. This funding is expected to be returned in the mid 2020s with the full amount paid by 2030/31, said Robertson.