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Mr. Andy Reed : I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak about the new clause and about the comments of the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson). As he knows, I have consistently taken a particular line on the raiding of other parts of the lottery, from the point of view of those of us who are interested in grass-roots sport, especially the ones that are not part of the Olympic games. There are many mass participation sports that are outside the Olympics, such as my own game, rugby union, and rugby league, as the hon. Gentleman noted. It is a great shame that the IOC has not taken the lead and included rugby sevens, which is included in the Commonwealth games. It would have been a fantastic opportunity for that to be part of the 2012 Olympic games.

I have been quite closely involved in trying to assess what is required, particularly as regards the UK Sport bid for additional funding. Those of us who know the threesome—Bath, Sheffield and Loughborough—know what it will take to get an Olympic gold medallist in 2012. We know that the average age of a gold medallist in 2012 will be 26.2 years. That means that such a person will probably already be in a development squad at one of our leading centres, the English Institute of Sport, and we know from UK Sport's work the attrition rate—the number of people who will drop out of those training programmes—and the size of the training programme that we need across the Olympic sports.

I play quite a bit of volleyball, which will be an Olympic sport in 2012 because we are the host nation. We will be looking for a creditable performance, but even with all the lottery funding that we can muster, it is unrealistic to expect the UK team to pick up the gold medal—I sound like the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), who has downgraded his aspirations for Scottish World cup wins. I do not want to be down on our fantastic volleyball players, who are based in my constituency, but they, too, are realistic about their chances of winning.

It is too easy to sit on the Opposition Benches and say, "We would like to spend an extra £300 million, and we have got a rough idea where it will come from." Only yesterday, Opposition Members criticised the so-called difficulties with the Budget, so it is strange that the Opposition parties are introducing a proposal to take another £300 million out of the figures in the pre-Budget report. I can see the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) distancing himself from the official Opposition on that particular matter.

Mr. Don Foster indicated assent.

Mr. Reed: At Prime Minister's Question Time, the Prime Minister usually takes the opportunity to run through the Liberals' spending plans.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman to confine his remarks to the new clause.

Mr. Reed: I apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker. New clause 2 refers to how the £320 million will be used. I would like the Chancellor to write a cheque for that sum tomorrow, but I recognise that it is not that easy because the Government face tough choices. I am delighted that
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the Liberals have, for once, taken the hair-shirt approach and wish only that more hon. Members were present to witness it.

A great deal more work needs to be done on how the bid is submitted to the Government. The BOA needs to do more work on securing additional funding in partnership with others for each year until 2012, so it can reach £40 million to £50 million extra a year for the 28 sports. As the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent has indicated, however, the funding needs to cover many other sports.

We are discussing a great deal of investment to get people on to the podium, and a great deal of work needs to be done. We must work with the Treasury to make sure that we secure the required level of funding. We should be much more imaginative and, rather than taking a begging bowl directly to the Treasury, we should find other ways to fund the elite performance to which the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent has referred. I cannot support new clause 2, but in general I would like to see a great deal more work being done to ensure that we secure the necessary level of funding for the governing bodies that will participate in 2012.

Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab): I share my hon. Friend's logic. Does he agree that the fundamental principle behind our having the Olympic games in London in 2012 involves grass-roots sport? It is not good enough to say that the Olympics will automatically help grass-roots sport—it will not happen unless a decision is taken to make it happen.

Mr. Reed: My hon. Friend knows me well enough to know that I am particularly concerned about that danger. It would be great if we were to find an additional £50 million a year for elite sport in this country and were to finish fourth in the medal table, but what would be the legacy for our sporting future?

A great deal has been done—for example, we have largely achieved our objectives on school sport. On elite sport, those of us who know what is happening in the English Institute of Sport, which will form part of UK Sport, feel that we can deliver a great deal with additional funding. On grass-roots sport, although some good work is going on and a lot of additional funding is coming in, it will take a great deal more work to reach our objectives, and we are not quite there yet. My worry is that taking £750 million away from existing lottery causes would make that job even harder, and we must think more about the money that is currently available.

6.15 pm

As hon. Members know, I chair the national strategic partnership for volunteering in sport. The problem is that we are making the situation harder and harder for volunteers, which makes it harder and harder for people to participate at a grass-roots level. That is not necessarily the Government's fault, because a number of agencies are involved. I hope that the lasting legacy of 2012 is not the grand stadiums, which will nevertheless be fantastic, but a genuine passion for sport and the money to deliver it.
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Mr. Don Foster: As ever, I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed). On this occasion, I agree with almost everything that he has said and was not offended when he described me as hair-shirted. I also agree with him about the addition of rugby sevens to the list of sports, although I say that slightly diffidently knowing that my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Bob Russell) will no doubt read my remarks and wonder why darts has not been included on the wish list for additional Olympic sports.

As the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) has said, the Chancellor's statement caused considerable disappointment given what he did not say about funding for sporting endeavour, and particularly sporting endeavour that helps us to achieve an increased medal haul. He was right to say that those of us who share that concern need to get together with the representative bodies to find arguments to put pressure on the Chancellor and to come up with other forms of funding. As the hon. Member for Loughborough has said, a lot is being done, and I praise the Minister and the Government for their work. I also hope that we go on to develop links between community sports clubs and our schools.

My party simply cannot support the approach proposed by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent, because we have some difficulty with the Conservative party's mixed messages about the lottery. Conservative Members tell us that it is wrong for the Government to put their sticky little mitts in lottery funding, but the Conservative party manifesto contains a proposal to raise £250 million a year from the lottery for its club-to-school scheme. The Conservative party is proposing a form of hypothecated tax, which Conservative Members always say is complete anathema to them whenever we make such a proposal—the Conservative proposal is schizophrenic.

Many hon. Members had grave qualms about using the lottery to make a major contribution towards the cost of running the Olympics. However, Liberal Democrats recognised that the Olympics are so important to the nation, to sport and in many other ways—for example, culturally—that we were prepared to make an exception. That is why we supported the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act 2004, and I believe that we were right to do so. During the passage of the 2004 Act, we were disappointed when we were told that the £410 million from other distributors would only be available if it were needed, although it was not long after the 2004 Act received Royal Assent that the Government said that that sum would be needed. However, we lived with that situation, because we had made a commitment.

Even were I prepared to support the notion of taking VAT in respect of just one part of the lottery and using it in the broad way that the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent suggests, I am not convinced that the mechanism would work. How would LOCOG, which has very specific responsibilities in respect of the running of the Olympic games, ensure that all aspects of sport receive some of the money? Let me remind the hon. Gentleman of what would happen were LOCOG to receive that additional, very significant sum of money.
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As the games should operate successfully within budget as it is, an extra £320 million could lead to a surplus. He will remember that as part of the deal, 20 per cent. of any such surplus will go to the IOC, 20 per cent. to the BOA and 60 per cent. to grass-roots sport. He is suggesting, in effect, that we take money away from the lottery and give it to the IOC. Some of the money would not even end up in sport in this country. I find that aspect of the proposal difficult.

The new clause is somewhat schizophrenic about the lottery and about the approach to VAT receipts and the Chancellor's responsibility for using them. For those and many other reasons with which I do not wish to detain the House, we will not support the hon. Gentleman, who in many other respects has done a fantastic job.

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