National Lottery under fire over Welsh sports cash

By staff writers
27 Apr 2010

There has been more than a 50 per cent drop in the amount of National Lottery money granted to sports groups in Wales in the five years since the 2012 Olympics were awarded to London, according to research by Plaid Cymru.

The party slammed the Lottery's priorities, saying that Welsh taxpayers have lost out.

Plaid, who are contesting the general election on a platform of democratic socialism and greater autonomy for Wales, analysed statistics for Lottery sports funding in the years before and after the announcement in 2005 that the Olympics would take place in London in 2012.

They found that between 1 January 2000 and the 6 July 2005, £65,106,195 had been awarded for sport in Wales by the Lottery. This compares with £31,851,168 between 7 July 2005 and 1 of January 2010.

This is a drop of £33,255,027 or 51 per cent.

"Funds used to promote grassroots sport in Wales have been lost to pay for the Olympics,” said Plaid's Helen Mary Jones AM. “The Welsh taxpayer has contributed a massive amount of money to London’s Olympics. It is scandalous that money is being taken away from one of Britain’s poorest nations and being given to the very richest region”.

She called on the UK government “to insist that further raids on Welsh Lottery funds are stopped and plans are put in place now to help local sports groups".

Jones said that the situation was not just a problem for Wales, adding that, “It is also becoming increasingly obvious that areas outside London are not benefiting from the 2012 Games. The organisers must look again at awarding events and contracts to areas outside the M25.”

Plaid say that their research also highlights the wider impact of the 2012 Games on non-sport grant funding in Wales.

A comparison over the same time period revealed that the total value of grants awarded for all purposes in Wales had plummeted by £187,653,603 - a 43 per cent decrease.

Steffan Lewis, who is contesting Islwyn for Plaid in the general election, said, "Many charities also rely on grants from lottery funds, and I am appalled that charities and groups in Wales face hardship and even closure of facilities because of the London Olympics. An overall drop of 43 per cent for all lottery funding in Wales is shocking and unjustifiable.”

[Ekk/1]

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