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Our overarching goal is to make 2 million more people active, and we are clear about how we will do that. One million people will become active through the formal sports club system and 1 million more through the promotion of physical activity. The Government will make an announcement on the delivery of physical
activity in due course. However, we have already taken major steps in this regard, such as our record £100 million investment in 11 cycling demonstration towns, using local creativity and innovation to create a good environment for cycling and cyclists.
We have demonstrated our commitment to a lasting Olympic legacy with our £140 million free swimming package. More than 80 per cent. of councils in England have already confirmed that they will offer free swimming to all those aged over 60 from next April, and our ambition is to help more councils to go even further. I am proud of my own local council, which will from next April provide universal free swimming for all. Let me repeat to the hon. Member for South-West Surrey, who seems not to have understood, that that initiative began in local government and is largely being funded at local level by the primary care trust and the council. This is a partnership; it is about matching funds that are available nationally with funds that councils and PCTs want to put into getting their populations more active. It is not in any way frivolous; it is about permanently increasing levels of physical activity. If we do not do that, we will face serious health consequences in the long term. I hope that he will work with us, and ask his colleagues in local government to do so, to ensure that this initiative succeeds and that we continue to take it forward in that spirit. Swimming remains one of the most popular activities for adults, with one in 10 men and nearly one in five women swimming at least once a month. We think that we can go further and build on that participation.
We promised to increase young peoples participation in sport, and we have set a new goalthe chance to take part in five hours of sport a week. This takes me into the areas mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle). All schools are now covered by one of Englands 450 school sports partnerships. We have more than 3,200 school sports co-ordinators. I do not know whether my hon. Friend has had the good fortune to meet any of his local school sports co-ordinators, but they are an incredible group of people who are inspired and enthused, and do so much good work to get young people active and encourage an interest in sport. We also have a network of 225 competition managers. That is an infrastructure that can deliver after-school sport. I pointed out to the shadow Minister the former lack of such an infrastructure.
The issue is not only time, but the quality of the experience. High-quality coaching is the way to build confidence in young people and encourage them to stay active for life. If they are not given basic coaching in sports such as tennis and cricket at an early age, they will not develop the confidence that enables them to play with confidence at school and then go on to a club environment. Young people find it daunting to go to a sports club for the first time. It is particularly difficult for young girls, because the environment is not always as welcoming as it could be. If young people have confidence in their own sporting ability and understand the technique in the sport that they wish to pursue, there is a chance of ensuring that they stay active for life. That is a crucial part of the plans that we are taking forward.
I welcome the increase to five hours, but what goes with good coaching is good facilities. Will my right hon. Friend use his good offices to ensure that we
have a sporting village that replicates what he has in Leigh? We lack a running track and the other sporting facilities that can bring on future Olympians. That is the legacy that we want in Chorley: what can he do to help us to get it?
Andy Burnham: We must carry on investing in the bread-and-butter facilities up and down the country. Councils provide the majority of sports facilities; we can do more to help them to bring facilities up to an acceptable standard. They need to provide a high-quality environment, particularly for young girls, who may not be willing to put up with the old shipping containers with changing rooms and showers and toilets that do not work. If people are going to play sport they need working toilets and showers and a warm environment to get changed in. Those are basic requirements, and we need to carry on working on that.
Conservative Members keep referring to the raid on the lottery. They cannot have noticed that under my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Olympics and her predecessor efforts were made through the New Opportunities Fund to invest significantly in the sporting infrastructure in schools, predominantly in floodlit astroturf pitches, of which there are several in my constituency. Those facilities are now used by the community during evenings and weekends. A lot has been done to put in place the infrastructure that my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley wishes to see, but I am sure that he will push me in going further and I am happy to talk to him about that.
Let me move on to another key point of our legacy. We want a more focused community sports system. Through Sport England, we developed a bold new strategy that will help to realise that ambition. Sport England will act more strategically as a commissioner of sports development so that we can work with governing bodies to expand participation and the talent pool. In return for public money and freedom comes greater responsibility. I expect governing bodies for sport to reach young people from all walks of life, and they will be expected to operate to the highest standards of internal governance. Womens sports, girls sports and disability sports will not be optional extras, but a vital part of what governing bodies are expected to do. If any sport does not wish to accept that challenge, funding will be switched to those that do.
We want a new system of funding for elite sport at an enhanced and more ambitious level. Public investment in elite sport will reach unprecedented levels in the run-up to the London games, with more than £300 million being put in, compared with £265 million for Beijing. That is the direct result of the decision by the Prime Minister, then Chancellor, in March 2006 to commit extra Exchequer funding to elite sport. In the run-up to the London games, we are taking that funding model further. Building on lottery-only funding at the Sydney games and lottery and tax funding at the Beijing games, we are putting in place for London a new mixed funding model to fund elite sport of lottery, Exchequer and business funding. That is the model that has served the arts and culture sector so well, and that is what we are seeking to create in elite sport.
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and I will soon bring forward our plans for medal hopes, and there will be a high-profile fundraising drive reaching all parts of
the country. We want all parties in this House to lend their shoulders to ensuring that the country gets behind the British team in the run-up to London 2012. These are well-worked-out plans that have been thought through in detail. It is true that the current economic conditions make raising £100 million from the private sector more challenging, but the performance of the British team in Beijing has given us the best possible platform to build from.
Mr. Truswell: My right hon. Friend was right to trumpet the success of specialist sports colleges, of which I have two in my constituencySt. Marys and Priesthorpe. However, to amplify the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley, their only misgiving about the process is the lack of capital to invest in facilities. Will my right hon. Friend speak to colleagues in other Departments to ensure that capital streams such as Building Schools for the Future are more closely aligned with the Governments sporting priorities?
Andy Burnham: My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is having precisely those discussions with his colleagues in the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Schools can look forward to enhanced sports facilities through the BSF programme, which is an incredible opportunity. When the Conservatives call for the lottery to be returned to its original state, they miss the point that lottery money could not be spent in schools when the lottery was created. Changes such as the New Opportunities Fund made it possible to spend lottery money in schools, creating brand new sports facilities. As we understood it when we fought the general election in 1997, the public wanted national lottery money to be spent on the health service to supplement health projects and on improving schools. That money can still be spent in that way, because there is more flexibility. However, I agree with my hon. Friend that there is more to be done in giving money to specialist sports colleges, although I think that the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families recently announced some discrete funding for specialist sports colleges. Certainly, one in my constituency benefited from a capital grant to drain its sports pitches. More funding is being put in, and I encourage him to find out more about it.
Mr. Andy Reed: I apologise for intervening. I will go into detail about the £100 million a little later, but I just wanted to speak while the Secretary of State is at the Dispatch Box. He has great confidence that this additional money will be raised; could he explain in detail what rights UK Sport has to sellnever mind the problems in the financial markets at the momenton behalf of athletes to raise money? As he knows, I do not share his confidence. Can he guarantee that the UK Sport board will be in a position by its December meeting to put forward a funding package for the remaining four years?
Andy Burnham: My hon. Friend is right about the deadline. There is a need to make four-year allocations to sport by December to allow for planning. He will know that we have already made provisional allocationsI think that he raised that point during oral questionsand we want to enable governing bodies to have firm allocations in December. We are engaged in those discussions right now.
On top of the allocations that we are able to make, we will have a fundraising drive. There is a plethora of schemes out there in which people are saying, Come and support local heroeseveryone wants a piece of Team GB. In the medal hopes scheme, we are creating the only official route by which businesses at every levellocal, regional and nationalcan come behind the British team and supplement the unprecedented amounts of public money that are going into elite sport.
It is important to remember that some Opposition Members and some of those in the other place have claimed that there is a Government black hole. That is not the case. When the Chancellor set up the system, he said that the public would put in an unprecedented amount of money, but we want to build on that further and bring in private revenue. That is exactly what we are planning to do. My hon. Friend will see soon a number of discrete schemes under medal hopes, which are exactly the kind of things that will be offered in the marketplace. I would ask him to exhibit a little bit more patience, but he is rightwe will introduce these plans shortly. There will be a package that ensures that we do right by our sportsmen and women. We will build on Beijing, and go on to have our most successful performance ever at the London games.
In conclusion, some might think that our plans for legacy for 2012 sound optimistic, but I remind the House that pre-Beijing, there were those who were cynical about our chances. I quote from the Select Committees report:
Performance at recent Olympic Games suggests that the aspiration towards eighth place at Beijing in 2008 is ambitious; the aspiration towards fourth place in London 2012 might appear even rash.
I do not wish to rile the distinguished and esteemed Chairman of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, but before he goes to the bookies at the weekend, he might want to take some advice about his sporting predictionsfrom these Benches perhaps. We have an in-house expert who is very good at making high-profile and risky wagers. I hope that the Chairman of the Committee will see that we have a track record in delivering what we say we will deliver.
Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): May I just say to the Secretary of Stateand I suspect that I speak on behalf of all members of the Committeethat we were never happier to have been proved wrong?
Andy Burnham: That is an incredibly gracious remark. But this is not about point scoring. We were all surprised and delighted by the over-performance of the British team. As I was saying to my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed), we want them to go further in 2012, and that will be part of the legacy, too. If they do, young people will be inspired by the most successful ever British team, at our home Olympics. Think of the benefit that that will deliver to grass-roots sport in this country. It will be enormous. It will be time for the cynics to be quiet and let the sports-loving community of this country enjoy its momentto enjoy a great time for this country, where people flood to take part in sport at a local level.
The legacy will be a whole generation of young people receiving more and better sporting opportunities in school and in the community. There will be more
opportunities for families to take part in sport together through our free swimming scheme, and opportunities for older people to be more regularly active. It will build a sound system for funding elite sport in the long term. That is the best sporting legacy that the London Olympics can deliver. We will deliver by 2012. I urge Members to support the Government amendment to the motion.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): I begin where the Secretary of State ended, by placing on record our congratulations on the phenomenal success of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Beijing. I suspect that those results have done more to ensure a lasting Olympic legacy than todays debate will achieve. Nevertheless, it is an important debate, and I congratulate the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) on securing it.
I want to make it clear from the outset, as the hon. Gentleman did, that my party fully supported the Olympic bid, and we fully support and fully back all the work being done to ensure that we have the best ever games in London in 2012. That does not mean that we do not have some concerns. We share some of the disappointments expressed. We believe that there have been some missed opportunities, and we believe that steps that could be taken are not being taken. The hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed) announced in advance of his speech that he has a number of criticisms of the Olympic legacy plan, and so do we, but that in no way should be seen as undermining our support for the London Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012.
Although the sporting legacy has been the main topic of debate and is the main issue covered in the motion, I was delighted that reference was made to other areas in which we hope to achieve a legacy. Reference has been made to the importance of ensuring a legacy for tourismthe fifth most important area of the British economy, and it is in difficulty. Since 1997, when the figures were roughly in balance, Britons have spent about £19 billion more abroad than people from overseas have spent in this country. We urgently need to do more to support our tourism industry to ensure that it has a legacy as a result of the 2012 games.
I therefore find it appalling that the Government are cutting the budget for VisitBritain. When that point was raised by the hon. Member for South-West Surrey, the Minister for the Olympics said, from a sedentary position, Wheres the money going to come from? I am sure that she would recognise that a bit of additional investmentor not cutting the planned investmentin VisitBritain, so that it can market this country abroad in the run-up to 2012 will bring huge financial rewards, not only to the tourism industry but to the Exchequer. It would be a very good investment.
The other area that has not been touched on much, although it is an important part of the promised legacy, is the legacy for businesses in all parts of the country. It is worrying to look at what has happened in the awarding of Olympic contracts to date. We were told that every part of the country would benefit, but London and the south-east, which have 30 per cent. of all UK businesses, have so far won 69 per cent. of the 700 Olympic contracts that have been awarded. The north-east, which has 10 per cent. of all businesses, has won only 1 per cent. of the contracts. The Secretary of State, who
comes from the north-west, ought to be concerned that his area of the country has 7 per cent. of all businesses, but has so far won only 2 per cent. of the Olympic contracts. We have to give far more support in uplifting skills and providing training to ensure that businesses in all parts of the country can compete successfully for the remaining Olympic contracts.
I note with interest, however, that there are good ways of making money, even out of debates on the Olympic legacy. Any Member who wishes to pay £90 will be able to go, on 3 November, to a discussion on the Olympic legacy. Perhaps we might charge those coming to this debate to raise some of the money that the Secretary of State needs.
Tom Brake: Before my hon. Friend moves from the subject of other legacies, does he agree that it would be regrettable if the transport legacyspecifically, the North London linewas lost? It is key to the games and to providing superior transport facilities in future.
Mr. Foster: My hon. Friend is right. As a result of the Olympics coming to London, there will be significant, much-needed improvement in transport in the London area. The North London line is important, which is why, should financial difficulties continue, we will work with the Government to find ways of solving problems so that the contracts can go ahead. I know that various options are being explored, and we will work with the Government to ensure the best deal not only for the taxpayer but so that we get the much-needed infrastructure improvements in transport from building the Olympic park.
I am the first to admit that there have been some phenomenal improvements recently, and I pay tribute to the Government for their work. The Secretary of State listed several improvements, with statistics. I hope that he will not, therefore, think it churlish of me to point out that further improvements could be made and that, if the Government effected them, we would get a better sporting legacy from 2012.
Our elite athletes constitute one matter of concern. That wonderful performance in Beijing was backed up with a funding package of £265 million. The Government announced that we are considering a much bigger funding package£600 millionfor London 2012, and I welcome that. However, the problem remains of the £100 million shortfall. We know that perhaps £21 million will be found because of the new contract with Camelot about a third licence for the national lottery. However, that still means that £79 million must be found. Although the hon. Member for South-West Surrey did not mention it in his speech, he has said elsewhere that the Conservative party believes that the money should come from the Contingencies Fund. I am not convinced that that is the right way forward, but there is a proposal that the Secretary of State might seriously consider.
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