The Anglican Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harris has criticised the lottery for creating a fantasy world of escape aimed at the poorest people. Rev Harris, who chairs the Church's Board of Social Responsibility, said: "I would hope everyone would agree that in an ideal world there would be no need for a lottery. "The basic necessities of life, education, heath and so on, would be met by the state. Everybody would get a fair reward for the work they do and would be able to participate in the wealth of society, and there would be a culture of giving," he said. "The very fact that we have a lottery, I think, is a sign of social malaise," he said on the BBC Radio Four 'Today' programme. "I think it distracts us from facing up to the kind of society we have now and the kind of society we ought to have." While top executives have received an average 16 per cent pay rise this year, there are more people living in poverty, he said. Most of the charities which get lottery cash should be supported by the state, he suggested. He said: "It is the job of the Church to express the fact that, while people get a certain amount of enjoyment from the lottery, it is a distraction from what really matters." If the lottery was not scrapped outright, he said the operators should give many more prizes of a lower value.
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