At the moment, the profits from the UK National Lottery siphoned off to the range of bodies who fund good causes, are distributed across all parts of the United Kingdom.
As a current members of the United Kingdom, Scotland benefits hugely from this funding, in a variety of ways.
- The Awards for All scheme has been like a national water table, bringing modest grants of up to £10k to small community projects everywhere. How many of Scotland;s communities – how many of Argyll’s communities – have seen their sustainability supported by timely funding awards from this important ‘cinderella’ scheme?
- The biggies – like the BIG Lottery Scotland Fund, the Gaelic BIG Lottery Fund, the Growing Communities Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, SportScotland, Creative Scotland, Support and Connect… there are so many – have poured major funding into big capital projects all over Scotland – like £4 million to the Isle of Raasay for the purchase of Raasay House; and like, here in Argyll, the inspirational Atlantic Islands Centre for the Isle of Luing, which got about three quarters of a million pounds. Campbeltown’s Picture House has an application in progress.
- Aspects of support for education, health, disability, the Gaelic language and culture, environment, communities, minorities, activities, capacity building, theatre, music, art, dance, film… are all currently supported in no small measure from UK National Lottery funding sources.
An independent Scotland would have to match this funding input or accept a loss of growth and development that really has made a difference.
An independent Scotland could not responsibly replace the current lottery input from its own resources, given the very great demands upon its budget from its massive social costs and what would be a numbing cost burden to support a significantly swollen public sector.
So the loss of this now-familiar source of funding would be felt throughout Scotland and at all levels.
If Scotland were to be independent, Scots would still be free to play the UK National Lottery games, win or lose – but the country, communities and major community and national projects would have no right of access to the ‘good cause’ funding that results from the profits of that lottery.
We would imagine that the takings from subscriptions to the UK National Lottery would change very little were Scotland to become independent – those who play would continue to wish do so and might well have an increased need to do so.
The profits, however, which would also be little changed, would be distributed amongst the continuing UK, which would benefit substantially from such a situation.
Scotland could run its own Lottery but the potential rewards would be, by dint of a population a fraction of the UK, very modest.
The current UK population is 62.24 million . The current population of Scotland is 5.30 million . An independent Scotland would see the population of the continuing UK at 56.94 million – a massively bigger lottery catchment but one which which would be swollen by Scots continuing to play.