Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP - 60/267 - Bath's #1 Supporter

Don Foster attacks new lottery

November 3, 2023 by admin in Don in Parliament, News

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Don Foster criticised the new Health Lottery, arguing that it would funnel money away from good causes.

While the longstanding National Lottery gives 28p out of every pound it earns to good causes such as the arts, sport, and health, the new Health Lottery gives only 20p.

Questioning the Secretary of State at DCMS Questions in the Commons, Don Foster asked:

“Does the Secretary of State agree that the biggest threat of funding to the arts is anything that damages income to the National Lottery, such as the so-called society lottery set up by Richard Desmond and his newspapers? Does the Secretary of State believe that that lottery abides by the spirit and letter of current legislation? If not, what is he going to do about it and if he does, shouldn’t we be changing the legislation?”

The Secretary of State replied:

“My right hon. friend is very well aware of my concerns about anything that challenges or threatens the very important income that goes to good causes from the National Lottery. He will know that the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission are looking at this at the moment and we will await what they have to say with great interest.”

The Government has already asked regulators to look at the effect on National Lottery sales and whether the Health Lottery is in line with existing rules on such competitions.

Don Foster meets with BBC over F1

November 3, 2023 by admin in Don in Parliament, News

BBC executives have met with Don Foster MP to explain the reasons behind the new Formula 1 rights agreement with Sky.

Although much of the meeting cannot be reported due to commercial confidentiality, the BBC have since written to Don to clarify key points.

They reiterate that the BBC could not have hung onto its F1 rights any other way; that by early December they will announce their broadcast plans for the sport, which they believe will reassure fans; and that they did not stop other free-to-air broadcasters from bidding for the rights.

Don met with Barbara Slater (Director of BBC Sport), and Dominic Coles (Director of Sports Rights), and their follow up letter is reproduced below.

Commenting, Don Foster said:

“I remain continually disappointed by what has happened to F1 rights. I’ve made clear to the BBC that they can’t pretend this is anything other than a serious blow to fans. They must now focus on ensuring F1 viewers aren’t disappointed even further when their coverage plans are announced.

“I continue to be concerned about the future of F1 on television. The BBC has a reduced budget, Government can only pass so much regulation, and Sky are only doing what comes naturally to them by acquiring broadcast rights. The erosion of free-to-air F1 coverage will only really stop when Bernie Ecclestone makes a promise and sticks to it.”

The letter in full:

Dear Don

Thank you for meeting with us.

We appreciate your directness in trying to gain a greater understanding of the BBC’s ambition with our new shared rights deal for Formula 1 and for raising your detailed concerns on behalf of Formula 1 fans. As we discussed, for reasons of commercial confidentially, we could not go into some of the contractual details of the new arrangements. However, we reiterated our belief that our new deal represents the best possible value to all Licence Fee Payers in a very difficult financial climate, and confirmed the following:

1. If we had not agreed the new shared rights deal with BSkyB then the BBC would have had no choice other than to exit its coverage of Formula 1 due to the direct impact of the BBC’s Licence fee settlement and the need to make savings within our sports rights budget.

2. We discussed our emerging editorial plan that we believe will not only appeal to a broad audience but also to the dedicated Formula 1 fan. We are acutely aware of the concerns of some committed Formula 1 fans and we intend to announce publicly our detailed plans by early December. We believe that, when fans can see our plans, they will be reassured about the BBC’s commitment to the sport.

3. It is our understanding that other broadcasters had the opportunity to put forward their own proposals to Formula One Management (‘FOM’). However, as we explained, the decision to award the broadcast rights rested solely with FOM.

Once again, many thanks for your time.

Yours sincerely

Barbara Slater Dominic Coles

Bath to benefit from Regional Growth Fund - Foster

November 1, 2023 by admin in Don in Bath, News

Don Foster, MP for Bath, has welcomed the news that £19.8m from the Regional Growth Fund will be allocated to VisitEngland to help boost domestic tourism.

The funding injection announced by The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will be used on a three-year project entitled, Growing Tourism Locally which has been designed to stimulate economic growth and employment locally.

The campaign will capitalise on next year’s once-in-a-generation events like The Diamond Jubilee, the Torch Relay, the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Commenting, Don said:

“Given the importance of tourism to Bath, this additional funding to help promote domestic tourism, is extremely welcome.

“A key part of the project will be a campaign aimed at inspiring Britons to take more short breaks and holidays at home in places such as Bath.

Tourism Alliance Chairman, Brigid Simmonds OBE, stated:

“While many sectors of the UK economy are struggling, revenue generated by domestic tourism is growing at 13%. In approving the bid, the Government has recognised the strength of the UK tourism industry and that it has a central role in economic policy”.