Capital reaps benefits of lottery awards while region suffers cuts

Portland Works, Sheffield
Portland Works, Sheffield
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LOTTERY PLAYERS are fuelling disparity in the distribution of funding grants across the UK, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.

An investigation has revealed that London received almost double the amount of heritage funding per person than in this region in the last financial year. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £124.7m to projects in the capital between 2013 and 2014, compared with £33m in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Using the latest population figures available, this equates to funding awarded in London equated to £15 per head and £6.20 per head in this region.

Meanwhile, lottery awards from Sport England were cut by almost £4m - from £12.5 to £8.6m - in the last financial year. At the same time London received £10m more in grants than in 2012/2013, taking the total to £29m.

Funding bodies have defended the need for larger-scale investment in the capital to support projects which have wide-reaching benefits, but the figures are likely to fuel criticism of London-bias approach to funding.

“Sport England works hard to ensure that our funding is spread as widely as possible and we are pleased to note there is a higher application rate and higher success rate for funding from rural areas alongside a higher per capita investment,” said a spokesman.

An HLF spokeswoman said: “HLF has long been committed to supporting heritage projects right across the country.

“We appreciate that inequality in funding can be an issue which is why our local development teams work hard to reach and support projects in places which have received less funding.

“Due to the number of national heritage organisations in London, the capital does inevitably receive a greater proportion of lottery funding.

“There are also many projects funded in London that are for the nation as a whole.”

The news comes following the HLF’s decision to reject two high-profile funding applications in Sheffield.

Earlier this month, the national board also refused to support major renovation of the former cutlery works Portland Works and hopes of rebuilding parts of Sheffield’s ‘lost’ castle as a visitor attraction suffered a setback in October when an initial bid for £362,000 to help finance archaeological investigation and design was turned down.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield’s cabinet member for business, said: “We are keen to meet with the HLF representatives to understand where our bid failed.”

“Yorkshire and Humber has performed well over the 20 years of the lottery,” said the HLF spokeswoman.

“In 2013/14, 62 per cent of local projects from Yorkshire were successful – considerably higher than the success rate of 56 per cent in London for that year.”