The Government’s road map provides a step-by-step plan to safely reopen culture, entertainment and sport. This includes an events research programme, which will consider how restrictions can be lifted at step 4 through piloting major events such as the FA cup final and the world snooker championships. Funding announced at the Budget, including a further £390 million for culture and £300 million for sport, will support these industries as they reopen.
Southend is home to a number of brilliant local festivals, such as Leigh Folk festival, Village Green and the Leigh regatta. Sadly, it has been announced that Southend carnival has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to uncertainty surrounding any ongoing restrictions in the summer. Will my right hon. Friend reassure me that events planned for later in the year will be given plenty of notice of whether they will be allowed to go ahead?
I share my hon. Friend’s regret that Southend carnival is not going ahead. The Government will of course give as much notice as we can, and we have already set out a clear plan that will allow events such as that to return quickly and safely. We are working closely with our stakeholders to give them as much notice as we can and to guide them through each step. I can assure my hon. Friend that I am committed to getting people back to doing the things that they love as soon as we possibly can.
The past year has had a huge impact on our young people, and I know we all share the ambition to do as much as possible to support them. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as restrictions are eased and many organisations reopen, it is vital that children’s sport is prioritised?
Yes, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. We all of course in this House know how important sport is for young people’s physical and mental health. That is why all outdoor sports can resume from 29 March, and I would note that that is the first significant easing after schools. In addition, the Education Secretary and I are working closely with sports’ national governing bodies and Sport England on an extensive offer of activities in schools over the summer period.