The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1994Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Speech at English Heritage Conference – 16 September 1994

Below is the text of the press release following Mr Major’s speech at the English Heritage Conference, held at the QEII Conference Centre in London on Friday 16th September 1994. The speech was on the subject of the National Lottery.



In a speech opening the English Heritage Conference, the Prime Minister set out how hundreds of millions of pounds from the National Lottery would go to good causes, which would transform for the better the face of the nation and the lives of countless people.

The National Lottery

The Prime Minister said that “Happily we are on the verge of one of the most important steps forward ever in providing resources for improving our Heritage. I refer to the National Lottery which will inject significant extra funds into the Heritage, the Arts and Sport. It will provide also a valuable new form of support for charities. And it will unleash a wave of creativity for projects to mark the Millennium. These funds are now perhaps only ten months away.”

“The resources created by the Lottery will unlock the door to a higher quality of life for millions of people, irrespective of income and without extra taxation.”

The Prime Minister explained that “the Lottery will fund mainly capital projects carrying an element of partnership funding … projects must benefit primarily the public good rather than private gain, and must be financially viable. On the Government’s side – Treasury, please note – we will make no case-by-case reductions on conventional public spending programmes to take account of awards from the Lottery. The money raised by the Lottery will not replace existing Government spending.”

The Prime Minister believed that his enthusiasm for the Lottery would be shared by the British people. “Millions of people will participate every week. Thousands of jobs are being created. The combination of millionaire winners and huge benefits to good causes is immensely attractive. And the projected money that will be made available to the good causes is genuinely spectacular.”

“The best estimate is that between this year and 2001, around £9 billion will go to the good causes: that is, over the next 6 years, roughly an extra £1.8 billion for each of the five good causes –

– the existing heritage

– sport and arts

– the living heritage

– charities

and the Millennium Fund, which will be both built and living heritages.”

“Each of the five areas could receive £320 million a year when the Lottery is fully up and running. Let me emphasise: that money will not be under Government control. The distributing bodies will decide where the funds are spent. Departments will not have a role in assessing the individual applications for Lottery funding. On the Millennium Commission, Ministers are, quite deliberately, in a minority. This independence is vital for the success of the Lottery. Each and every one of us can take pride in the visible improvements the Lottery will bring about.”

The Prime Minister continued that “I strongly believe man cannot live by GDP alone … I would like to see everyone in this country share in the opportunities that were once available only to the privileged few … I am determined that the Lottery will make it possible for millions more to enjoy a fuller life.”

Millennium Commission

The Prime Minister said that, to mark the Millennium, the Millennium Commission had received “an enormous outpouring of ideas from all areas. Opera houses, art galleries, sports facilities, exhibition centres, computer networks; all have their advocates … I hope that we can come up with some unusual and original projects … Potential applicants should range as widely in their thinking. Perhaps we should be considering engineering and construction projects, or ways to help the environment and wildlife … We might also consider projects with a humanitarian aim or what about the provision of new technology in local communities? Every village hall could have its own computers. There could be educational projects. Now is the time to let all our imaginations run free.”

Millennium Bursaries

“I am delighted that the Millennium Commission is considering the scope of a Millennium Bursaries Scheme. This could involve the spending of some tens of millions of pounds. I cannot emphasise too strongly how important this idea will be in spreading the benefits of the Lottery, and engaging individuals in the whole Millennium project. The bursaries will be a means of fulfilling personal aspirations for the future and broadening the body of knowledge we carry forward to the 21st century. They can be educational in the broadest sense, perhaps including research projects to act as exemplars in the scientific or environmental fields. New ideas could be developed which could act as a model for others to take forward. Chairs could be endowed at universities in subject areas which will contribute to the quality of life for everyone in the third Millennium.”

Local Millennium Projects

“The Commission is also thinking of spending more than £500 million, on current projections, to support projects which will be of specific local benefit. These projects will give the opportunity to develop partnership contributions in kind, with whole communities contributing time, energy and resources in support of Millennium proposals.”

“Again, the only limits are those imposed by our own imaginations. A new village hall or playing field can be as vital a signal of national renewal as world class cultural centres in big metropolitan areas. With the Lottery, we can aspire to both.”


The Prime Minister concluded by saying that “the Lottery gives us the biggest chance anyone has ever had of making a significant permanent difference. I am sure that this is a vision which will stir the hearts of many, whatever their background, age, or interests. Every man and woman in this country can be a direct beneficiary. Not just the great and the good … We are at the beginning of a period which can be uniquely exciting for all those of us who care deeply about the long-term quality of life in this country. I hope the whole British people will share in the excitement, and the ultimate benefits, which the Lottery will bring.”


Notes to Editors

  1. The Director General of the National Lottery announced on 25 May that the Camelot Group plc had been selected to run the National Lottery. Camelot aim to launch the National Lottery in November. With an estimated annual turnover rising to £5.5 billion, the National Lottery is set to become the biggest lottery in the world.
  2. Net proceeds from the Lottery will be distributed equally among the arts, sport, the national heritage, charities and the Millennium Fund. In its peak year, the lottery is expected to raise £1.6 billion for these good causes – £320 million each. Over the seven years of the licence, Camelot estimate that £9 billion will be raised for the five good causes.
  3. The money for the good causes will be directed primarily at capital projects which have an element of partnership funding and where all associated short term revenue costs are covered. Projects should also be for the public good rather than primarily private gain.
  4. The Millennium Fund will finance major projects to mark the year 2000 and the beginning of the new Millennium. The members of the Millennium Commission, who will decide which projects to finance, are:

The Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP – Chairman Professor Heather Couper FRAS

The Earl of Dalkeith DL

The Hon. Robin Dixon CBE

Sir John Hall

The Rt Hon Michael Heseltine MP

Simon Jenkins Esq

Michael Montague Esq CBE

Miss Patricia Scotland QC