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Club Sport

Volume 556: debated on Thursday 10 January 2013

7. What steps she is taking to ensure that participants in club-level sport have access to suitable and sustainable facilities. (136082)

Sport England’s Places People Play programme has already helped to upgrade and improve 732 local sports facilities as part of the London 2012 sports legacy, including three projects in my hon. Friend’s constituency. In addition, it has invested more than £20 million in 12 new large scale multi-sport facilities.

Does the Minister agree that local councillors have a big part to play, and will he join me in congratulating Councillor David Elvidge and other Conservative councillors in Beverley who are working hard to find additional football pitch availability in that area? Mike Bryan and other councillors in the Hedon area are supporting Eastside Community Sports, and many clubs are doing much good work, making a real difference and building on the Olympic legacy.

I absolutely agree, and the two important points are, first, that local councils prioritise that issue—we all know that the economic climate is tough, but they have had a fantastic launch pad through London 2012 and it is now up to them to make it work. Secondly, councils will need the support of local volunteers. I am delighted to add my congratulations to the people mentioned by my hon. Friend.

I listened closely to what the Minister said about local authorities, but in Liverpool, which has seen a £252 cut per head, it is challenging for the local authority to make such decisions to prioritise sport and to have that investment available. What will the Government do to help councils that have seen such drastic cuts to ensure that sporting facilities, particularly local clubs, are supported?

Nobody would pretend that this issue is easy and we all know the economic conditions. As I said, London 2012 has given sport in this country a fantastic launch pad, and a city such a Liverpool—which the hon. Lady represents—is synonymous with sport. My advice would be that the most successful projects I have seen are a combination of local authority funding, private funding and grants from Sport England. If the hon. Lady has projects that she wishes to promote, she should look to Sport England and the Places People Play initiative and see what she can do. I wish her every good fortune in doing that.