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The People's Lottery?

Howard Lake | 24 May 1998 | News

How much influence should the UK public have in which charities receive grants from the National Lottery Charities Board? Kate Hilpern explores in The Independent the question that has simmered since the National Lottery was launched. Gerald Oppenheim, director of UK and corporate planning for the NLCB, tells her that “it’s impossible to expect to be able to aggregate successfully and act upon the opinions [on suitable charities] of 50 to 60 million people.” The Charities Aid Foundation is similarly doubtful of the value of letting public opinion dictate the grants distribution. A spokesman commented, “so many people are quoted in surveys as claiming charity should begin at home rather than abroad… Yet when you examine which charities receive the most funding from public donations, it is usually the ones based overseas, such as Oxfam. Clearly, this issue shows that there is a huge difference between theory and practice.”

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