The payment was made at the last minute, which has been the cause of some discontent among campaigners. Hugh Robertson, the former Minister for Sport and the Olympics, had promised BIG and other lottery distributors that they would receive up to £150 million in unspent lottery cash as well as the proceeds from the sale of the Olympic Village by the end of July. True to his word, the partial refund was issued in the last few days of the month.
The total amount of the refund was £79 million, with £19 million going to other lottery distributors in the UK. Another repayment of £69 million is scheduled for later on in the year, bringing the total amount of refunded lottery revenue to £148 million for 2014. The sale of Olympic assets will continue into the 2020s until the entire balance owed to lottery distributors has been paid.
While Big Lottery Refund campaigners are pleased with the results of their efforts, they insist that they still have a long way to go. Jay Kennedy, the Director of Policy and Research at the Directory of Social Change, said that “the full balance of what is owed remains. We still need people to join this [Big Lottery Refund] campaign and to keep up the pressure. Our message to the Government is: we will not stop asking!”
The Big Lottery Fund helps provide vital resources to good causes throughout the UK and without their revenue, the successful the London Olympics and Paralympics would not have been possible. Over £6 million has been allocated to various charities since BIG was established in 2004. You can read more about the initiatives that benefit from lottery revenue by visiting the Good Causes page at Lottery.co.uk.
Written by Grace Mee