Press release

Consultation launched into distribution of Big Lottery Fund

The government has launched a consultation welcoming views into how National Lottery money is distributed across England and the UK.


Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, today (20 May 2016) welcomes views from the public in a 12-week consultation to help guide the policy direction for the Big Lottery Fund. The consultation seeks opinions on the Fund’s distribution of National Lottery money across England and programmes covering the whole of the UK.

Find out more about the consultation.

The Big Lottery Fund receives 40% of the £1.8 billion ‘good causes’ money generated through the National Lottery each year. This amounts to around £700 million annually to improve lives throughout the United Kingdom. It is the single largest funder of UK civil society, and as such supports charities and voluntary groups in strengthening local communities.

Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said:

The Big Lottery Fund is a vital national institution that contributes to the fabric and well being of communities up and down the UK.

The consultation will respect and reflect the Fund’s own commitments and priorities, in combination with the government’s commitments and priorities, to help create a more compassionate society.

Cabinet Office consulted extensively with the Big Lottery Fund, and with the Devolved Administrations on the UK-wide directions, before publishing them today.

Views are particularly welcome from members of the public, customers, stakeholders and partners of the Big Lottery Fund.

Once all responses have been considered the government will again consult the Fund on how best to amend the directions, before a final version will be issued in autumn 2016.

The consultation will close on 12 August 2016.

Notes to editors:

  • the Big Lottery Fund distributes 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes
  • since June 2004, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded over £9 billion to projects supporting health, education, environment and charitable purposes
  • funding supports people who want to make life better for their communities
  • the Big Lottery Fund received over 90,000 enquiries and applications during the past year
  • most of the funding goes to projects applying through open, responsive programmes – such as Awards for All and Reaching Communities
  • 95.6% of awards made in 2014/15 went to the voluntary and community sector
  • the Big Lottery Fund also works with partners to run more focused, long-term investments tackling major issues, e.g. meeting the challenges of an ageing population
  • 91.3% of last year’s awards were small, with a value of less than £10,000
  • In addition to new awards, the Big Lottery Fund also managed existing awards worth £1.2 billion
  • the Big Lottery Fund’s core operating costs in 2014/15 were 4.9% of its lottery income
  • policy directions set out priorities to be taken into account when distributing public funds. Following a change of government and the publication of a new strategic framework by the Fund, these directions now need to be updated
  • the fund receives policy directions from the four governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, setting out the key social and economic issues and aspirations to be addressed by Lottery money in each country. Cabinet Office ministers issue these directions for the Fund’s work in England, and also have responsibility for issuing, with the agreement of the Devolved Administrations, directions that cover the Fund’s UK-wide funding portfolio
  • consultation with the Devolved Administrations has been at an official level to date
  • the fund published a new Strategic Framework in March 2015, after its own extensive public consultation throughout 2014
Published 20 May 2016