This month’s World Championships in Athletics (WCA) 2017 in London marks the tenth year since the then government used £425 million of lottery funds to help pay for the 2012 Olympics.
In 2007 the government diverted £425 million from the Big Lottery Fund to help finance the Olympics, including construction of venues on the Olympic Park. The then Labour government pledged to repay the debt after the Olympics from the sale of Olympics assets – a pledge subsequently reaffirmed by successive coalition and Conservative governments. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) now owns these assets and is responsible for the redevelopment of the park. So far however, the government has yet to start paying back the lottery money.
The Directory of Social Change (DSC) leads the Big Lottery Refund campaign, which is supported by over 3,800 charities and calls for an immediate return of the lottery money. It wants the government to work with the LLDC to repay this money now, which it says could fund around 10,000 charities serving communities throughout the UK.
Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at DSC said:
“Ten years without a Big Lottery Refund is a shameful milestone. How can we celebrate the ‘Olympic legacy’ and events like the WAC 2017 when this debt is still owed to communities across the UK? Hundreds of millions of pounds were effectively stolen from charities that depend on Big Lottery Fund grants to help vulnerable people and communities across this country, to subsidise the costs of venues on the Olympic Park. We need this money paid back now.”
“The new government should pay back the Big Lottery Fund immediately, and take on the role of creditor for repayment from assets sales from the LLDC. This could help tens of thousands of charities and millions of people during very difficult times.”
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