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Sporting Activity (Young People)

Volume 512: debated on Monday 21 June 2010

Increasing opportunities for young people through sport is one of my personal, top priorities. We have already announced an increased lottery share of 20% to sport to finance that, and further details of the Government’s plans for young people’s sport, including a schools’ Olympic-style competitive sport competition and a community sports legacy plan, will be announced shortly.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but I am somewhat confused. He has said, while chopping free swimming for under-16s and over-60s, that 73% of under-16s and 83% of over-60s would pay because they already swim, but his Department says that more than 50% of the people who use free swimming were non-swimmers before they started. Where does that lie in relation to the answer he has just given?

Very simply, like any Department, we have to establish that any scheme that we run gives value for money. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report, established under the previous Government in April 2009, shows—

No; they are PricewaterhouseCoopers’ figures, so they are not mine at all. The figures show that there is an 83% dead weight, and that does not, I am afraid, represent value for money.

That is an extremely good question—[Interruption.] The Opposition should try asking it themselves. Promoting competitive sport in schools is absolutely this Government’s key legacy objective for school sport. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is taking the lead in the Department’s initiative in that regard and he will make an important announcement about it next Monday.

Is the Minister aware that the schoolchildren of Shirebrook are only too anxious to help the sporting legacy of Britain on a brand new playing field, but unfortunately it is linked to the Building Schools for the Future programme. Will he ensure that it is built this year, so that we will have a sports field as well?

We will do everything possible to ensure that sports facilities are built up and down the country. That is a key part of the community sports legacy plan that we are working on. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I cannot today, before the Budget, give him a firm commitment on Building Schools for the Future, but the direction of Government strategy, and of this Department’s in particular, is very clear.