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Sport: Funding

Volume 706: debated on Thursday 4 December 2008


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to update the House on a revised funding package to prepare our Olympic and Paralympic athletes for London 2012.

In the 2006 Budget Statement the Government announced a £600 million package for the remaining three years of the Beijing cycle and for the London cycle, comprising £200 million of Exchequer funding matched by £100 million of private sector investment, and supported by £300 million of lottery investment.

This represents a record level of investment for the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and helped secure the best British Olympic performance in 100 years.

Today we are announcing an enhanced public sector commitment for the London cycle that will allow us to build on this momentum.

Public funding allocation for the London cycle

A total of £550 million of public funds—an additional £50 million—has been allocated to UK Sport to fund its elite programme. This consists of additional Exchequer funding of £29 million to UK Sport over the four years to 2012; plus a projected uplift in lottery income of £21 million.

This means that for the London cycle the elite sport system will receive the highest level of public funding ever made available over a four-year Olympic/Paralympic cycle—an increase over the Beijing cycle and an unprecedented package of support for elite athletes.

Private sector funding: Medal Hopes Scheme

Alongside the Exchequer and Lottery investment, the 2006 Budget also set a challenge to British business to support our athletes. Funding for elite sport has moved from Lottery money for Sydney and Athens, to Exchequer and Lottery money for Beijing, and now Exchequer, Lottery and private money for London. I believe this mixed-economy funding for elite sport is the right long-term approach—and similar to the way excellence in arts is funded by my department. Alongside Exchequer and lottery funding, the Government wish to see the establishment of a third fundraising stream from the private sector as a permanent legacy of the London Games, using the wave of interest that comes with our home Games to establish this.

The new funding announced is the limit of public investment in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Raising private funds is challenging in the current economic conditions, but British business has a great track record of investing in sport.

Since the summer we have worked with Fast Track Ltd and UK Sport to develop a dedicated sponsorship brand, called Medal Hopes. This will be the only official way to sponsor athletes on the UK Sport's world-class performance programme and directly influence the country’s chances of sporting success at World Championship Games and Commonwealth Games as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Medal Hopes brand will support a range of schemes giving national, regional and local companies and individuals the opportunity to be a highly visible part of supporting athletes on the international sporting stage.

This work is now moving to a new phase of delivery. We will be working intensively over the next few months with national governing bodies, athletes and sports partners in preparation for the launch of this major fundraising drive to help secure the remaining £50 million from the private sector. In doing so, we have put in place a new partnership with Government: UK Sport will lead on the development of Medal Hopes, utilising its strong relationships with national governing bodies and athletes working with Fast Track and drawing on the expertise and advice from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). I will be seeking regular updates from all partners.

UK Sport allocations to national governing bodies

The decision on how this public and private funding is allocated to each of our Olympic and Paralympic sports, and the accompanying support systems, is a matter for UK Sport. Through its success in Beijing, UK Sport has demonstrated its expertise in delivering results through carefully targeted funding.

This record level of investment over the London cycle allows UK Sport to give national governing bodies the certainty they have requested across the full Olympic and Paralympic cycle. In return for this enhanced public funding package all governing bodies are being asked to participate fully in the Medal Hopes scheme.

UK Sport has confirmed that this funding package enables it to set a target to attain fourth place in the Olympic Games, and second place in the Paralympic Games in 2012—aiming to win more medals in more sports than in Beijing.

For those sports that have not yet been given funding allocations by UK Sport, we will be working with them and our partners to put in place plans to support their development until private funds come on stream. I will be meeting with the national governing bodies of these sports and our partners before their funding allocations are made in January 2009.


In conclusion, our ambition set out in Budget 2006—a £600 million public and private package to support elite athletes—remains in place and on track. In recognition of the changed economic circumstances we have increased the public funding commitment and reduced the amount of funding that needs to be raised from the private sector. The Government will be working with all partners to raise the funds needed and remain confident that it can be achieved, and in doing so will establish a three-strand funding model—Exchequer, lottery and private funds—that will be the rightful and lasting legacy for the future of British elite sport.