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Volume 513: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2010

Q11. My nine-year-old constituent, Paisley Ward, says that she and her brother learned to swim because it was free. Paisley is worried that her little sister will not be able to learn because this Government want to charge. In her letter, Paisley says, “please, please stop this madness”. Will the Prime Minister listen to Paisley and have a rethink? (6256)

First, may I congratulate the hon. Lady? Many people in this country think that this is a good time to leave politics and go into the media. May I congratulate someone who left the warmth of the GMTV sofa in order to sit on a green Bench here?

The hon. Lady raises an important case, but I have to tell her that not all Labour councils were able to deliver the free swimming pledge. I am afraid that this is one of the things, like many others, that it will not always be possible to guarantee in the incredibly straitened times that we are living in, when we have a £155 billion budget deficit to deal with.