The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997


Sir John Major’s Comments on the National Lottery – 1 May 2005

The text of Sir John Major’s comments on the National Lottery which were published in The Observer on 1st May 2005.


I established the Lottery because I believed that sport, the arts, and our national heritage would never be able to compete with health and education to attract taxpayers’ funds, and therefore lost out.

From the outset, I believed the money raised by the Lottery had to be additional to existing funding and not a substitute for it. At the time, the Labour Opposition shared that view, yet in Government, they have ransacked the Lottery time and again.

My hope was to upgrade our national infrastructure and encourage active involvement in sport and the arts, as well as promote a greater appreciation of our national heritage. I have always believed that the social and health aspects of sport in particular are vitally important. I wanted our children to be fit not fat, team players not home-aloners.

Over the last decade, the Lottery has transformed the arts and sport at national and grassroots level but it is a tragedy that this Labour Government use it simply as a bran tub into which they can dip their sticky fingers whenever they need additional money for what – historically – has been funded by the Treasury. Their behaviour is a complete betrayal of their own promises when the Bill passed through Parliament. And a complete betrayal of the very principle by which the Lottery was formed.

29 April 2005