Charities and good causes are losing out
Cash taken by the UK government from the National Lottery to fund the London Olympics in 2012 has still not been paid back.
After £675m in lottery cash was siphoned off from good causes to support the London Games, an agreement was reached between the government and the Greater London Authority to refund this cash after the games by selling assets on the Olympic Park.
Some £425 million of the total was taken from the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund), which makes grants to tens of thousands of small charities and community groups each year.
Back then ministers pledged repayments would begin in the early to mid-2020s.
However a report in Third Sector says that schedule has been dropped with the UK government saying that asset sales from the former Olympic Park in Stratford, which will be used to reimburse the lottery, have not yet raised enough money to trigger repayments.
A Freedom of Information request to the London Legacy Development Corporation which manages the former Olympics site, said it has raised £167m from asset sales – not enough to start repayments.
Ben Wittenberg, director of development and delivery at the Directory of Social Change said: “It is outrageous that charities are still waiting for this money to be returned.
“It shouldn’t have been taken in the first place, wasn’t even needed in the end, and the process for it being paid back has been lacking in any clarity, urgency or compassion from successive governments.
“The current cost-of-living crisis is already hitting charities, and for money that should be helping them to survive and support their communities to be tied up in assets that will never benefit them just isn’t right.”