An analysis of the last published accounts for the Big Lottery Fund has found that the Reserves are £786,768,000 as at 31st March 2016, a staggering increase by £104,756,000 on the previous year. This seems to be a vast amount of money to be lying around in the Lottery’s bank account doing nothing, and could support many voluntary and charitable organisations across the country.
Total income in 2015/16 was £820,210,000, that means that the Reserves equal 96% of income, which is an extraordinary amount of money to put aside for a “rainy day” when there are:
- Annual increased usages of foodbanks.
- Many disabled people unable to access opportunities that most of us enjoy such as getting job, being able to participate in their local communities and living in poverty.
- High unemployment rates for young people
- Many people dealing with mental health issues with long waiting times for public sector services
- Child carers in need of support
- Not enough bereavement counselling places available,
- Rising homelessness rates, regardless of what some politicians might claim, we only need to walk through the centres any of our cities and towns and can see the evidence of this for ourselves.
- Our older population increasingly left to fend for themselves in an ever-increasing, information based digital world, enduring social isolation through inaccessibility.
The list is endless of how some of these Reserves could be used to provide much needed support and benefit to some of our most vulnerable members of society.
Why is the Big Lottery Fund holding onto so much money? What makes this situation more unacceptable is the discovery that the amount paid out during 2015/16 was only £583,000,000. Therefore, the Reserves are greater than the amount distributed to “good causes” in 2015/16. Surely this cannot carry on? It must not carry on. The Big Lottery Fund will publish the Annual Report for 2016/17 in the next few months. It will be interesting to see how much money has been spent, where it has been spent, and how much hasn’t!