A spike in National Lottery ticket sales could lead to more than £1bn extra going to good causes over the next five years, according to revised DCMS projections revealed yesterday.
The Department of Media, Culture and Sport is predicting that if current strong National Lottery ticket sales trends continue, National Lottery income could increase to £1.626bn in 2012/13 - £232m above what the department had projected in September 2010.
The latest figures, compiled in December, expect this increased public appetite for playing the National Lottery to continue, with projections for 2016/17 income at £1.841bn, which is £246m more than earlier predictions. In total, these latest projections equate to an increase in lottery income to good causes of more than £1bn over the period 2012/13 - 2016/17 on top of what was predicted in late 2010.
The projections are not formal forecasts, and are dependent on actual ticket sales, but the outlook would appear to support arguments from the Health Lottery that it has not cannibalised sales from the national Camelot game.
With the proportion of Lottery money going to the arts, heritage and sports increasing to 20 per cent each this year, the increase in ticket sales is a particular boon for these causes.
Arts Council to get lottery funds injection
Announcing the projected figures at the State of the Arts conference in Salford yesterday, culture minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) revealed that this would mean an increase of more than £200m going to the arts over the next five years from the lottery.
The lion’s share of this, £160m, would be directed to Arts Council England (ACE), he said.
The DCMS itself last year cut 29.6 per cent from the ACE budget for its Treasury-funded grants-in-aid programme, resulting in the funder reducing the number of organisations it funded as part of ACE’s national portfolio from 849 to 695.
The predicted increase in money from the lottery is not allowed to be used to top up the money lost from Treasury, but must be used rather for additional arts activities, such as ACE’s funding of organisations’ capital appeals, match funding programmes or in its strategic touring fund.
However in speaking at the conference yesterday, Vaizey heralded the predicted boon in lottery money to ACE as reducing the real-terms cut to the organisation’s budget to 4.86 per cent between 2010/11 and 2016/17.
“It is a sign of the government’s commitment that in a time of economic austerity, we have been able to limit the reduction in arts funding via the Arts Council to less than 5 per cent in real terms,” he said. “The increase in ticket revenue is great news for artists and audiences across the country.”
Even without an increase in ticket sales, arts causes - alongside heritage and sports - are due an increase in National Lottery income anyway, after government increased the proportion each receive from it to 20 per cent. The ending of the diversion of lottery money to the 2012 Olympics will also result in more money for good causes.