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Rugby League Clubs: Financial Support

Volume 683: debated on Thursday 5 November 2020

What discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for rugby league clubs. (908264)

I know just how precious rugby league clubs are to their local communities—and, indeed, to you, Mr Speaker, as you never tire of reminding me, quite rightly—and to Hull, which is blessed with two Super League clubs and will be hosting next year’s Rugby League world cup. That is why rugby league was the first to benefit from Government support with a £16 million emergency loan. That money is going out the door now, and I continue to work with the Treasury on what can be done to provide further support to the sports sector.

May I offer you, Mr Speaker, belated congratulations on having been elected Speaker one year ago yesterday? I pay tribute to you for the work that you have always done to promote rugby league at all levels.

I am very grateful to the Sports Minister for his helpful engagement with me about rugby league, but it is very unlikely that fans will be back in stadiums for some time, so can the Secretary of State offer more financial support to ensure that we do not lose clubs, such as Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC, both of which are incredibly important to our city?

I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman’s analysis, which is why the Sports Minister and I are working tirelessly with the Treasury. We wanted to get fans back in stadiums from 1 October. No one wanted that more than the Prime Minister, myself and the Sports Minister, but it was not possible. We know that we need to provide support to those sports that were looking to rely upon fans and we are engaging very closely with the Treasury on that.