Changes to society lottery limits will ‘grow the size of the charity pie’ says former minister

03 Oct 2019 News

Mims Davies, minister for civil society

Increasing the amount society lotteries can raise will not affect other aspects of charity giving, the former minister who announced changes said this week. 

Mims Davies, who was minister for civil society between November 2018 and July 2019, was speaking at a fringe event organised by the People’s Postcode Lottery, which operates society lotteries, at the Conservative Party conference earlier this week.

In July Davies announced the government would raise the annual sales limit from £10m to £50m for society lotteries. But the sector was disappointed that it had not been raised to £100m. 

The Gambling Commission was also instructed to consult on new rules to increase transparency. 

This week Davies said that her intention had been to give the sector “clarity” and that raising the limit to £50m in the first instance should not be seen as a “barrier” to future increases. 

She said one of the objections to raising the limit was that it could impact on other kinds of giving, particularly the National Lottery, but that she does not believe this will prove to be the case. 

“I don’t think if you’re connected to something locally that you’ve got a particular pull or push factor [towards] it stops you supporting the National Lottery,” she said. 

“There are moments in your life when you dial in to particular causes and things,” she added, and that: “I have never seen anyone put a pound in a pot and say ‘I’m going to give this to you and now not give to someone else’. You give because you want because you want to give.”

Monitor impact 

Davies said she expected that the new ministers at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport would continue to make progress with the plans. 

Then, if raising the barrier to £50m proves successful, there should be opportunity to discuss raising it further. 

She explained that jumping from £10m to £100m was quite a big change which is why she wanted to “make some changes and then we can monitor what is going on”. 

Then she expects the sector would be “able to make the case why £100m would be the right thing to do and at some point”. 

DCMS is keen to grow the size of the charity sector 

Davies also said that DCMS was “really keen to grow that charity pie and lets not dither and delay on this one”. 

She said she knows that “turbulent” economic times have placed pressure on the sector and that “Grant chasing is hard work and it’s soul destroying” so the government was keen to  support other ways for charities to raise money, like through society lotteries. 

“Government can’t and shouldn’t do everything,” she said, but it should be there to “empower” charities. 

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