Lottery Fund sees big drop in grant commitments

Lottery Fund sees big drop in grant commitments

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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National Lottery sales to blame for decline

The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) has revealed an almost £200m drop in grant expenditure for the year ended 31 March 2018, as the non-departmental public body released its annual report and accounts for 2017/18.

Aligned with decreasing National Lottery sales, which Camelot announced had sprung back somewhat earlier in the year, the almost 30 per cent downturn saw £519.8m committed as opposed to £717.3m for the same period in 2017, with a decline also felt from 2016’s £593.4m.

In terms of income proceeds received from the National Lottery, a very slight boost was noticeable from 2017 (£651.9m) to 2018 (£654m), however this figure is a significant decline on the £769.3m reported for the year ended 31 March 2016.

Regarding the report, Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the BLF, stated: “Our funding is now more user centred, having adopted a conversational approach and applications can be made in a form that best suits the applicants - such as video.

“We are also launching a new partnerships product to encourage collaboration between organisations to achieve greater impact – a key part of our generous leadership thinking.

“Generous leadership is one of five areas we will prioritise in supporting civil society to thrive; the others are digital, data, empowering communities, and organisational resilience. We hope that this approach will help further the ambitions of charities and community organisations across the UK.”

Before adding that greater stability is expected to be felt following Camelot’s National Lottery records published at the beginning of June: “Whilst we paid out grants to the value of £655m this year, we reduced the value of new grants we committed to £520m – recognising the scale of our existing commitments as well as the uncertainty at the start of the year over National Lottery revenue.

“I am delighted that the drop in revenue seen in 2016-17 was not repeated this year, providing us with greater stability and certainty for our forward planning. We have worked closely with the entire National Lottery family to create a set of common brand values that we will all use to articulate the magic of The National Lottery.”

Regarding the year ahead, the BLF states that it has budgeted for a National Lottery income of £640 million, “derived from our forecast of revenues for 2018/19,” with targets also set to see it stay within its eight per cent cost threshold set by the Government.

Something achieved during 2017/18, with total qualifying operating costs at seven per cent of National Lottery income, with the £47.4m figure a very slight £400,000 rise from the previous year.   

Staff numbers are also expected to rise, after dropping from 651 to 641, “to support key development and investment activity, along with the effects of a renewed dormant accounts programme which is currently in its development phase”.

Totally Gaming says: The work the BLF carries out throughout the United Kingdom is crucial for so many people/communities to thrive, and its continued success should be craved and enjoyed by each person within the UK. With the National Lottery recovering slightly for its previous drop, hopefully the BLF’s grant expenditure will now go on an upwards trend.

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