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Sport: Young People

Volume 626: debated on Thursday 29 June 2017

The Government are committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the best opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity. Between 2016 and 2021, we will invest more than £194 million in projects to increase children’s capability in and enjoyment of physical activity.

Sporting participation clearly has a number of benefits for health, but also for learning outcomes for our young people. What work is being done with the Department for Education to improve further access to sport in schools?

Given my brazen attempts to steal school sport from the Department for Education on a number of occasions, I can only tell the House that we have a strong cross-governmental approach to the matter. The past 18 months have seen the publication of two landmark strategies, which include the sport strategy and the childhood obesity plan. We continue to work closely with the Department for Education, and a range of other Departments, on those strategies.

If the £400 million sugar tax is spent wisely, we can open our school sports facilities after school and during holidays, transforming sporting opportunities for young people. Will the Minister visit Draycott Sports Camp in my constituency, to see how every day more than 250 young children enjoy being active, fit and healthy, and so that we can share best practice?

It would always be a pleasure to visit my hon. Friend in Swindon, as I did before the general election. If he has the opportunity over the next week, I encourage him and other hon. Members to find out where their local school games are and to go along and visit them, because they are providing a real way of changing attitudes towards sport and physical activity.

15. Disabled young people in Wrexham benefit hugely from the trailblazing Wrexham disabled viewing platforms at the football ground, and the premiership really needs to learn from Wrexham. What progress has been made in providing excellent facilities for disabled young people to view football matches? (900088)

In the sports strategy we believe that giving people with disabilities access to sport is a way to get them engaged with sport. I expect the final report from the Premier League on how those clubs have met their pledge to meet accessible stadia guidelines to be published towards the end of August or early September.

Like me, the Minister is passionate about helping young women to participate in sport. As part of her work, will she do something entirely cost free and tell headteachers to stop making young women wear ridiculous school uniforms for school sports? Let them wear something comfortable, and they will want to do sports.

Alas, I do not have the power to tell headteachers anything, but I am sure the Secretary of State for Education will have heard the hon. Lady’s comments. What I know from all the analysis on women and girls in sport is that we see a drop-off among girls at about the age of 14, which is the point at which they become far more body conscious. Having some flexibility in what they wear while they participate in sport may well be an answer to that.

14. Harlow gymnastics club is an outstanding sports club that helps many young disadvantaged people. As a limited company, it suffers punitive VAT rates. Will my hon. Friend lobby the Treasury and visit the excellent Harlow gymnastics club to ensure it can carry on giving young people a great service? (900087)

My right hon. Friend is far better at lobbying the Treasury than anybody else in this House. I congratulate Harlow gymnastics club on its 10th anniversary. I see that it runs a number of exciting initiatives, including the wonderful Head over Heels programme for the under-fours. Given that Harlow has slightly lower than average activity statistics, anything that the gymnastics club and other sports clubs can do to improve them is very welcome.