Skip to main content

Free Swimming Scheme

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

15. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on rates of local authority participation in the Government’s free swimming scheme. [Official Report, 9 November 2009, Vol. 499, c. 5MC.] (295535)

There are regular discussions across Departments on the free swimming scheme. Of the 553 eligible local authorities, 260 are offering free swimming under the free swimming scheme, and 4.5 million people have used the programme across England.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Speaking as somebody who used to work as a lifeguard, I would love for her to name and shame the councils who are not fully participating in this scheme and give them a great big kick up the bahookie so that they get their act together and provide the scheme to both pensioners and the under-16s.

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the fact that this scheme particularly benefits older people, as do the steps we have taken on free bus passes and winter fuel payments. She is right to say that where there are, for example, Liberal Democrat councils such as that in north-east Lincolnshire which are not taking advantage of this, we should make sure that the public know that they are not providing what is a very welcome service to older people in their area.