SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod is backing the call by Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil for the UK Government to rule out cuts to the Big Lottery Fund, which he says could have a devastating impact on projects and communities across Scotland.
The Cabinet Secretary has joined third sector organisations, who are united in their opposition to the cuts, and written to the UK Government to call for the Big Lottery Fund to be protected.
In Dumfries & Galloway the Big Lottery Fund has supported 1255 projects, with a total value of £17,546,381. The Fund has supported a wide range of projects across the region with awards ranging from £500 to more than £1million. The Fund supports projects such as Wigtownshire Womens’ Aid, the Whithorn Trust, the Catstrand and Creetown Initiative.
Aileen said: “Any cuts to the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland would have a devastating impact on the people and organisations who rely on their funding. Dumfries & Galloway has particularly strong and active communities and third sector groups of all shapes and sizes who work hard for their communities.
“Big Lottery Funding is important in helping those groups to fulfil their objectives. Often that funding will complete the funding package for a project, or the fact that a proposal has succeeded in attracting Big Lottery funding will actually mean that an organisation can access other funders who need evidence of match funding in order to consider an application.
“I welcome the Scottish Government uniting with the third sector in its opposition to proposals to slash the Big Lottery Fund’s budget. The National Lottery is independent of the UK Government so it should not be raiding the Big Lottery Fund to subsidise its departmental spending cuts.
“The UK Government’s austerity agenda is focused on cutting public services and social security no matter the cost to people. It is clear any cuts to Big Lottery funding will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable people in our society and would exacerbate the impact of other UK Government cuts.”