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Grassroots Sport

Volume 608: debated on Thursday 21 April 2016

3. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of his Department’s spending review settlement on funding for grassroots sport. (904599)

The Department secured a very positive spending review settlement last year. Over this Parliament we will invest more money in grassroots sport than ever before. The settlement reflects the Government’s continued support for the positive outcomes that sport can bring and will be spent in line with the new Government strategy, Sporting Future, which sets out how we will encourage more people from every background to engage in sport and physical activity.

What assessment has the Minister made of councils intervening and affecting grassroots sports participation, such as Parkrun, by insisting on charging for wear and tear?

This is obviously a matter for the council and Parkrun, but the decision to charge for an event that is free in locations across the UK and around the world is one that we, as a Government, think should be reconsidered. We want to remove barriers to participation and encourage more and more people to get involved in sport. That is the key message that the Government want to get across.

If my hon. Friend were to speak to our right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, he would become aware that in Chelmsford there is thriving grassroots sport in the form of ice hockey. Does the result of the spending review offer any hope of benefits for ice hockey at a grassroots level?

Obviously, decisions on local authority budgets are decisions for those authorities. We welcome what is happening in Chelmsford and I know how assiduous my right hon. Friend is in speaking up for his constituency. There are many examples across the country of local authorities spending on sport. For instance, Central Bedfordshire Council continues to invest in sport and physical activity provision. We encourage that.