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...While Parliament protests as ODA takes lion's share of Lottery loot

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has met with fresh opposition in Parliament for siphoning off Lottery money which would otherwise have gone elsewhere.

The decision by the government to allow the ODA access to up to £675 million of National Lottery funding is now the focus of an Early Day Motion (EDM) set up by a number of MPs opposed to the move.

The motion reads: 'This House supports the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; condemns the redirection of up to £675 million of National Lottery funding to meet increased infrastructure costs to the Games; and notes that such a diversion will lead to profound funding cuts for the very culture that the Prime Minister hailed as a key reason for Britain's successful Olympic bid'.

The EDM was put down by Mark Fisher, Labour MP for Stoke on Trent, and has already started to attract signatures from fellow MPs, who believe the decision to redirect this Lottery cash flies in the face of Tony Blair's recent claim that this is a 'golden age' for British art.

The motion continues: '[We] call upon the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to support and protect the arts and heritage sectors by safeguarding Lottery funding from any further diversion to the Olympics at a time when the culture of the UK will be on view to the world.'

Meanwhile, a House of Lords debate, which Lord Kenneth Baker has secured to 'call attention to the effect upon heritage and the arts of the transfer of Lottery funds to the 2012 Olympic Games', has been scheduled for the 17 May.

Lord Davies of Oldham will argue the case on behalf of the government.

by Richard Vaughan

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