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Paralympic Games

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 1 July 2021

The Paralympic games are one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. In recognition of their special national significance, we added the Paralympic games to the listed events regime in 2020, meaning that they will remain available on free-to-air television. I wish all our athletes every success in Tokyo and very much welcome Channel 4’s plans to broadcast live coverage of the Paralympics throughout the games.

New research by Scope has shown that 69% of people with disabilities believe that the Paralympics help to tackle negative attitudes. This comes as three in four people with disabilities believe that the public’s perceptions of disabled people have worsened or not shifted during the pandemic. Scope and ParalympicsGB have teamed up to call for the Paralympic games to be a catalyst for change. The all-party group on disability, which I chair, asks the Secretary of State and the Government to commit to work across broadcasting to champion inclusion in sports and employment for people with disabilities, alongside celebrating the fantastic achievements of our Paralympians.

The Government absolutely share the ambition of the hon. Lady and her all-party group to increase the participation by disabled people in sport. The Paralympics have been an extraordinary success in demonstrating the remarkable achievements of disabled athletes. I share her hope that the Paralympics will again receive record viewing figures and that the UK Paralympic athletes will continue to do as well as they have in recent times.