National Lottery revenue fall leads to £200m drop in Big Lottery Fund grants

The value of new grants committed to by the Big Lottery Fund fell by almost £200m last year in the wake of a drop in National Lottery revenue.

The grant-maker’s accounts for the year to 31 March 2018, published on Friday, show new grants that the funder committed to giving out totalled £520m, down from £717m in the previous year.

The amount of money the BLF received from the National Lottery in 2017/18 was £654m, up £2m on the year before, but down from £769m in the year to 31 March 2016.

Figures released by the Gambling Commission in June show the money given to good causes from the National Lottery in the year to March 31 2017 fell by £293.5m on the year before, which the operator Camelot blamed on a fall in sales.

The funder has budgeted for an income of £640m from the National Lottery in 2018/19, according to the accounts, and aims to stay within its target of spending less than 8 per cent of lottery income on its own operating costs, a target it beat this year, spending 7 per cent on operating costs.

Staff numbers feel during the year fell from 851 full-time-equivalent employees to 841, which includes 50.7 full-time-equivalent staff who left the organisation in March as a result of restructures.

But the report says this number is expected to increase over the current financial year to “support key development and investment activity”.

The report says the BLF will continue to assess the potential for greater efficiency in its small grants work as it adopts more digital ways of working and as applications through its online portal grow.