Theological think-tank Theos is embroiled in a row with the Big Lottery Fund over claims that lottery funds are not being distributed fairly.
The war of words is being waged by open letters from Peter Wanless, head of the National Lottery, and Paul Bickley, senior researcher at Theos. It was started by Theos’ July report, where experts argued that the lottery was actually a bad deal for the poor.
Using a combination of polling undertaken by ComRes and analysis of existing research into the lottery, the Theos report revealed that people in Britain’s lowest socio-economic groups were more likely to play the lottery and use scratch cards than their more affluent counterparts.
However, the research said that this group was less likely to benefit from lottery funding. As an example, the research claimed that Blaenau Gwent is the poorest area in the UK, but is only ranked 133rd when it comes to receiving lottery funding for projects. Meanwhile, other less deprived areas were receiving disproportionate amounts of funding.
The research prompted Paul Woolley, director of Theos, to say at the time: ‘This is about social justice. If the lottery is to continue, it is essential that a greater proportion of funding is invested back into the communities from which it is taken’.
The survey was slammed by the Big Lottery Fund’s CEO Wanless, who said: ‘The findings in your report misrepresent the significant amount of grants that we have awarded’.