Culture secretary

Clwyd West MP urges Culture Secretary to protect Clwyd West charities

CLWYD West MP David Jones, along with 16 other MPs, have written to Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, urging her to stop £1billion of UK taxpayers’ money being withdrawn from the Lottery national and sent to a Canadian teachers’ pension fund.

Between 2016 and 2020 the National Lottery Fund spent over £3.5million in Clwyd West.

Good causes in Clwyd West supported by the National Lottery include Wheelchair Basketball North Wales, Cruse Bereavement Care and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

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Mr Jones and his fellow parliamentarians have urged the culture secretary to step in and ensure that any compensation paid to the Canadian pension fund will not be paid for by the good causes fund or taxpayers’ money.

They warn that Camelot’s decision poses a ‘serious threat to thousands of community businesses which are the foundation of villages, towns and cities’ and that ‘attempting to extract up to £1billion from the public purse in this moment is completely unacceptable.

The Camelot gaming company has been running the National Lottery for 28 years.

But on March 15, the Gambling Commission decided to award the 10-year license to run the lottery to Alwynn, a European competitor.

Camelot, which is wholly owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan of Canada, is currently challenging the decision in court and seeking up to £1 billion in compensation.

The High Court previously ruled on June 29 that Camelot must begin the process of handing over the National Lottery to Alwynn.

But the company won the right to appeal the decision on July 15, extending the legal battle until the fall.

Giving evidence to MPs in June, Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, admitted that such damages may have to come from the National Lottery Community Fund for good causes.

A Camelot spokesperson said: “Paying damages, if Camelot should have won, is the result of legal action by the Gambling Commission.

“We wrote letters, we went to court and now we are in the Court of Appeal to stop them.

“This massive bill is entirely avoidable by simply awaiting the court’s decision before issuing the contract to operate the National Lottery.

“Good causes and the taxpayer should never have been blamed for hundreds of millions of pounds. Fortunately, there is still time for the regulator to change course, and we urge it to do so.