HC Deb 15 July 1971 vol 821 cc811-72

7.22 p.m.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)

I beg to move, That this House deplores the cancellation of local sports club grants and the reduction of grants to British international sports teams ; it further condemns the present suspension of the scheme for grant aiding local youth club capital projects and the rejection by Her Majesty's Government of the report. Youth and Community Work in the 70's, and believes that these decisions will undermine the provision of local community services for which there is an increasing need. Casting one's mind back to the early days of the Labour Government in 1964 one often thinks how much it was to the credit of my right hon. Friend the then Prime Minister that in the middle of the difficult economic situation that he inherited he decided that that was the moment when the quality of life and the provision of good leisure facilities for our people should find expression in the Ministerial appointments that he made. As the House will recall, he appointed, for the first time, two Ministers—my colleague, the then Jennie Lee, in charge of the arts, and myself, in charge of sport.

He felt that it was right for me to start my operations in the Department of Education, where there could be a link-up between the provision of sports services and youth services. In other words, this was the start of a conscious movement towards the provision of a leisure service.

This question of philosophy is of extreme importance. During the debate I shall no doubt take issue with hon. Members opposite, but I like to think that what we started in our six years has been progressively accepted by them. It has certainly been accepted throughout the country. In those early days some people had doubts about the advent of a Minister for Sports or a Minister for the Arts, but they rapidly saw the advantages—at any rate, in sport.

The one claim that I make for my six years' stewardship as Minister of Sport is that the various schemes that we announced during the course of the Labour Government were based on consultations within sport, and the advice of the Sports Council, and came overwhelmingly to be accepted by those in sport as being in the interests of its de- velopment Now, one year after the advent of the present Government, we are discussing changes to be made in sport and in the youth service—changes which seem to us to be extremely serious, and to depart from the general philosophy that has been built up and become accepted during the last six years. In both sport and the youth service the basis on which we were operating was the development of the voluntary clubs. We felt that there was a need to improve the base of the pyramid—a need for a first-class foundation upon which the whole service could be built up.

I want to deal with sport first. Grants to voluntary sports clubs were a cornerstone of our policy. The Government, regrettably, have now announced the ending of those grants. I remind the House that they went up to a maximum of £10,000 in respect of any one club, not for replacing existing facilities but for new or additional facilties. The grants were made for buying a new sports ground, which otherwise would not have been possible, or for developing a sports ground by adding to its facilities—putting in floodlights, and so on.

Having read all that the party opposite has said through the years—and especially during the last General Election campaign—about the need to encourage voluntary endeavour, it is amazing to realise that when they make their first major inroad into schemes for sport they do so by chopping back on voluntary endeavour. I am not surprised that nobody in the world of sport understands it.

I am glad that in my six years—and I am sure that my successor follows the same practice—we did not have party political discussions in sport ; people were interested in getting on with the job. Nevertheless, there are more supporters of the party opposite than of mine in governing bodies in sport, and they are amazed that the first major change in the sports programme should be made at the expense of voluntary endeavour. It is a ludicrous situation. We were getting good value for money. If we can encourage a body of citizens to do a job for themselves we are much more likely to get value for money and a good return than we are if the State or local authorities are doing the job. That makes all the more incredible the Government's decision.

There is one thing that I am not clear about, and I hope that the Scottish Under-Secretary will be able to clear it up by a nod of the head, or will be able to tell me later. We are not certain whether the ending of grants for these voluntary sports clubs applies to Scotland.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Edward Taylor) indicated dissent.

Mr. Howell

The Under-Secretary shakes his head. It does not apply to Scotland. I am delighted to know that, because it leads me to my first question. How on earth can we justify the ending of this aid to governing bodies in voluntary sports in England and Wales but not in Scotland? It is a most astounding proposition that sports clubs in Scotland may receive a 50 per cent. grant whereas similar clubs in England and Wales receive no grant towards the build-up of facilities. I shall be happy to hear the Government's justification for that seemingly absurd situation.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Can my hon. Friend explain whether the 50 per cent. applies to equipment or to buildings—or to both?

Mr. Howell

It applies to both. It used to, at any rate. It applied to capital equipment, buildings and land for additional sports facilities.

This scheme has been a tremendous success. I shall not go through all the sports, but they have had substantial help. But the sports of rugby, soccer, tennis and cricket all testify to the great help that this has been in getting their sport on a proper foundation. In 1968–69, over £1,400,000 was spent under this scheme in the three countries.

There are two very good reasons for supporting this scheme. One concerns the effect in the local community. The House cannot do better than to encourage a group of sportsmen to build facilities, to treasure them and to provide wonderful sporting opportunities for the youth of the area. That is first class. The other day I listened to the Minister in a broadcast with the new chairman of the Sports Council and one of the subjects discussed was the promotion of excellence in sport, about which I agree. But it is not possible to have champions at the top unless there is a healthy grass roots activity in sport. For every champion there must be 2,000 or 3,000 people operating at local level. The healthier the local sporting facilities, the more champions we shall have at the top. It must follow that the more harm we do to good club facilities, the more difficult we make the task of making champions at the top.

The ending of the grants was done without any consultation with anybody, which caused me to explode the other day and to describe the Minister's attitude as arrogant.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

It was very unkind.

Mr. Howell

It may have been very unkind. The question is whether it was accurate. I do not know what other description the hon. Gentleman would wish me to use. Here is the cornerstone of British sports policy and he decides to end it at a stroke—one respect in instant action can apparently be taken—with no consultation with any of the bodies whose purpose is to advise him. When asked for the reason, he said : I had all the necessary consultations with the Sports Council on matters on which it could properly advise me."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th July, 1971 ; Vol. 820, c. 1328.] In other words, the expenditure of 50 per cent. of its budget—[Interruption.] The sum of £1½ million must be about 50 per cent. because, according to the reply, the whole Budget is only £2.68 million this year, to which we must add the figure for Scotland. If it is not about 50 per cent. of its budget, it is at any rate a substantial part of it. The Minister decided that he could not learn anything from the Sports Council and did not need to consult it on the ending of a substantial part of the budget.

The Minister has decided to appoint a new independent Sports Council with Dr. Roger Bannister as its chairman. It is to start work in the autumn. So the Minister ended this scheme with no consultation with the present Sports Council and before the creation of the new independent Sports Council, which leads at once to the suspicion that this is nothing more or less than a Treasury exercise and that the hon. Gentleman has sold out to the Treasury.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths indicated dissent.

Mr. Howell

It is no good the hon. Gentleman shaking his head. I am an old fox in these matters. I know the pressure which was put on me by the Treasury for six years to end this scheme and the youth scheme. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman has succumbed to the pressure of the Treasury.

Not only did the Under-Secretary of State not consult the Sports Council ; he did not consult any of the regional sports councils. The West Midlands Sports Council was in session in Birmingham deciding the priorities for next year when it was rung up by someone from Whitehall who said, "All schemes are ended. Please do not submit any more recommendations".

The position concerning the local authorities is even more remarkable. The Under-Secretary of State and his friends, who have lectured us on the subject of consultation with local authorities and allowing the authorities to have their say, did not have one word of consultation with them. In his statement about ending the grant, the hon. Gentleman said, "Because I believe that local provision is right, I expect the local authorities to take over responsibility for it". Yet he had no word of consultation with them and no guarantees from them that they would take over responsibility for it. No addition was proposed to the general rate grant, which is the Government's contribution to local government, to meet the new obligations which the hon. Gentleman expected them to meet.

This is an absolutely incomprehensible situation. The worst local authorities, the most reactionary of them—unfortunately, there are many of them, although I am prepared to concede that they are not all of one political colour—

Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)

There are fewer of them now than there were.

Mr. Howell


The sports clubs are subject to the whim of the local authorities. They have no incentive. Think of the plight of all the sports clubs which have spent a long time in raising thousands of £s to meet their share of the expense in the expectation that they would get Government help for their schemes only to have them stopped without a moment's notice. It is a very difficult job raising a few thousand £s these days. All these voluntary people who were ready to apply to the Government for a grant have been insulted.

The Minister says, very properly, that he is glad that he has more money for his new independent Sports Council. We welcome that. I am delighted about it, although I am not so delighted about the source from which the money came. The Under-Secretary of State is part of a very big Ministry and therefore this money has come from another sector of it. What the hon. Gentleman is saying is that he has obtained money for sport from housing. [HON. MEMBERS : "No."] Where has it come from? It must have come from housing, local government or roads. It has been made available because the Government cannot build houses in the local authority sector. Therefore, there was a bit spare on the account and they have said, "We will let you have another £1 million". I have done that myself, and I do not complain about it, but I did not get the money from housing. We welcome the additional money being given to sport, but it is regrettable that it has not been added to the Ministry's overall budget.

This is an incredible situation and it strikes at the community provision of good sports facilities. Another example is the way in which the Government have acted in the remarkable interchange going on in the Daily Express between the Minister and Mr. Desmond Hackett, an old friend of mine. It concerns the sort of thing which the Minister and I would wish to encourage. A territorial drill hall has been made available to over 63 clubs which have been started in two years. I mention that figure because it shows the need for local community facilities in Tottenham where there is not a blade of grass on which to kick a ball. In Tottenham and Islington the only two spaces on which people can kick a ball are the Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal football grounds.

I am not surprised to find that this drill hall has been an outstanding success, but because of the needs of other Ministries and Departments it is threatened with closure. Hon. Members went to see the Minister about it. He said that he would do what he could, but he could not hold out any hope. They did not get very far. There has been more activity as a result of the actions of the Daily Express and Mr. Desmond Hackett in the last 48 hours than there had been in the previous three months, because 48 hours ago Mr. Desmond Hackett announced that there would be a great march on No. 10 Downing Street on Sunday. They have already had one march which was two miles long.

Mr. Jack Wilson, who made the announcement, was promptly rung up by an official of the Central Council for Physical Recreation and was asked to call off the march. It is grossly improper for the Government to use a voluntary body to try to call off a political protest. I do not think the Minister and his colleagues should have done it.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I think that if the hon. Gentleman turns to his colleagues on his own benches he will find that they will tell him that the matter about which Mr. Hackett was writing is under discussion by myself and two of the hon. Gentleman's colleagues and one of my own, and the action which is being taken on this matter has been in train for some time. We are not responding to the Daily Express.

Mr. Howell

If the hon. Gentleman is not responding to the Daily Express he has a very odd way of expressing his non-response. I will tell the House what happened. Two or three weeks ago he certainly agreed to look into it, but nothing much happened, and Mr. Jack Wilson and his colleagues told Mr. Desmond Hackett, who made the disclosures yesterday. All hell was let loose. Never has there been such activity in the Department of the Environment. First, it got them to stop the march and then Mr. Jack Wilson had talks yesterday and today we have a handsome picture of the Minister on the back page of the Daily Express and I want to quote one sentence from the newspaper. It is a gem which I cannot spare the House. The Minister said, in reply to the charge that he did not go down to look at the sports club himself, gave as his reason—and it is magnificent— I was not prepared to go down to make a headline or improve a public image. Those who have followed the great career of the Minister over the years can afford to treat that phrase with a healthy degree of scepticism.

I move on to the question of international grants, which is another matter which falls within our Motion, and about which the whole sports world feels very strongly. This is pre-Olympics year ; near year we have the Olympics. When I came back from the Olympics in Mexico in 1968 I tried to evaluate our success, and one thing which was crystal clear to me, and later to the Sports Council, was that we could only do well in top class sport if we competed year in, year out, against other nations better than ourselves. For example, we did badly in swimming. Swimmers are found in Australia and California and it is no good swimming against Belgium and Holland ; that will not raise our standards sufficiently. I asked the sports bodies to come and see me, and the Sports Council asked them to prepare four-year development programmes which would lead to fruition in Olympics year. They responded to that invitation and they have done that. The Sports Council asked them on my behalf, "What can we do most to help you over a four-year programme reaching culmination in Olympics year?" This is pre-Olympics year, which is most important. They said, "Please give us more help in sending our British sports teams abroad". The reason is that many of the Olympic sports are not sports which attract tremendous popular spectator support ; they are not as popular as soccer, and have not the resources which can be supplied by vast armies of spectators. They responded to my invitation and prepared a programme based on the fact that I was going to give them more help to send British teams abroad. I am happy to say that in the last year in which I was responsible we were able to increase the amount of aid from 50 per cent. to two-thirds.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Just before the election.

Mr. Howell

It was not just before the election. The hon. Gentleman must get his facts right. It was in response to a request. Whether it was before the election or not does not matter, does it? The important thing is, ought we to be doing it? They having been asked to do that and to support a programme on the basis of a two-thirds grant, it is an absolute breach of faith on the part of the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues now to drop the grant from two-thirds to 50 per cent. It is an utter breach of faith. Why have they to do it? If the hon. Gentleman comes to the House and boasts of £1 million more for sport, why on earth is he dropping this grant, and in the year before the Olympics, when there is nothing more important than to get teams abroad to practise them in international competition?

If we want to see the effects of first-class competition we have one in Ray Terrell. I was recently in America looking at Ray Terrell, who was sent with private support to California to train against the best swimmers in the world. In a month or two this country has the benefit, when he has broken many records. He deserves our great congratulations. All that shows how important it is to compete against the world's best.

Why then has the Minister dropped the grant at a time when the Minister boasts he has an extra £1 million for sport? The sports bodies are now in a difficult position, having built up an extended programme. Not just before the General Election, for it takes months to arrange these things. There have to be international conferences, there have to be negotiations on programmes with the international governing bodies for sport. Now the whole thing has been chopped down by the Minister.

I turn to the new independent sports council. This is a cornerstone of the Amendment which the Government will doubtless be moving soon to the Motion I am moving. So I shall have to talk about it for a short time. That is a policy which has been rejected by almost everybody who has been consulted about it. I know that the Minister now says the local authorities welcome it. They and the sports bodies, having been faced with a fait accompli are, I have no doubt, prepared to make the best they can of it, and to do the best they can, and I am sure they will co-operate with the Minister to the best of their ability. When I consulted the sports bodies, the regional bodies, and the National Sports Council, they, and the Lilleshall conference, almost overwhelmingly rejected it as an alternative to the present system. It was in the Conservative programme.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The public supported it.

Mr. Howell

The public did not support it. If the public did support it, it was because they did not understand what the hon. Gentleman meant by this exercise, and it is for him to explain to the House why he put it up.

The sports bodies are there to advise the Minister and they certainly turned it down. Their attitude can be summed up simply : "The present system, which the Labour Government created, works very well. What on earth do we want to interfere with it for?"

It is ironical that at the moment when almost every Government in the world, including the American Government, are having sports councils associated officially with the governmental machines, this Government are putting our council outside the machine. The Central Council for Physical Recreation consists of experts. It rejected this proposal. The governing bodies of sport have rejected it. The Minister did his best, but everybody consulted has rejected this policy.

If we want to know why he went on with the policy in the face of the very considerable rejection of it, the Amendment which is to be proposed gives the game away. It tells us perfectly clearly that the decision to have an independent sports council was taken in furtherance of the Government's election promises.

An Hon. Member

What is wrong with that?

Mr. Howell

I will say what is wrong with it. When the Minister consulted the sports bodies and the C.C.P.R. and the Sports Council he had already taken the decision and he was not going to take any notice of what they might think of it, or what they might tell him. Whatever views they might put, the election programme of the Government preempted everything. Some of us might wish that the Government's election policy were carried out in other fields of activity, but I should be out of order if I went into that.

We wish the new Sports Council well and we hope that it prospers, although we have grave doubts about it. What does the Minister of Sport do if he is not the Minister of Sport? We should like to know the answer to that interesting conundrum. He will not be chairing the Sports Council. We shall not be able to put down Questions in the House, because he will say it is not his business but the business of the Sports Council. There will not be the public cross-examination which there has been for six years—

Mr. Ray Carter (Birmingham, Northfield)

As there was on South Africa.

Mr. Howell

I will not get sidetracked onto South Africa. That is a subject that will be with us for some time. I want to concentrate upon the Minister. What appeal will there be from the decisions of the non-elected Sports Council?

I have seen copies of the consultation correspondence with some local authorities. There will be a Sports Council consisting of 20 people, some representing England and Wales, two representing the whole of local government, and some representing sport. It will be a grotesquely unbalanced Sports Council. If this body of non-elected people takes a decision how can it be challenged? For the last six years any decision which I took could be challenged by any one of 600 Members of Parliament. That sanction has now been withdrawn.

Mr Eldon Griffiths indicated dissent.

Mr. Howell

The hon. Gentleman must not shake his head ; he knows it has been removed. The Table Office will not accept Questions about the decisions of an independent council when it is set up. It is almost inconceivable that an independent Sports Council should take decisions which should be the responsibility of the Minister about local authority capital expenditure. It must be explained to us where local authorities can go when they wish to get loan sanction for their schemes or to talk about the global aspect of capital grants.

The independent chairman of the Sports Council is to be Dr. Roger Bannister, and I wish him well in his task. There are two aspects of this which cause me concern. First, the one argument in favour of an independent Sports Council used to be that it was independent and could criticise the Government. Those who advanced that argument to me, including the Conservative Party, said that my Sports Council, because I was the Chairman, could not criticise the Government. I understand that Dr. Bannister is now to be regarded as the Government's principal adviser on sport. If the chairman of the Sports Council is the Government's principal adviser, gone at one stroke is the council's critical function. How can the chairman of an independent Sports Council and the Government's principal adviser on sport criticise the Government he is advising? This is ludicrous.

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

Is not it part of the rôle of an adviser to criticise?

Mr. Howell

It would certainly detract at least 50 per cent. from any reasonable notion of independence if the man who is advising the Government is expected to criticise the Government. We should have to know on every issue—and I do not think the Government would find this acceptable—what was the advice. We should want to know why he had not criticised the Government. It may be that the Government were accepting his advice. This is putting Dr. Bannister in an untenable position.

Secondly, it is generally thought that Dr. Bannister will give two days a week to this job as part-time chairman. I spent two days a week in my Ministerial function and chairing the Sports Council plus two days at the weekend going round the country. It is no good having a chairman of the Sports Council who is not going around the country when sport is being player, which is mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. But Dr. Bannister is not only assuming the Minister's rôle and being chairman of the Sports council, he is also taking over the rôle of Sir Stanley Rous on the Central Council for Physical Education. Dr. Bannister will now run the national recreation centres, of which there are several, he will run all the coaching which the C.C.P.E. does and he will run the games and sports committee and the whole council of sport. He is taking all that under his wing in addition to what I was doing as Minister, and in addition to being chairman of the Sports Council. Those functions, which are extremely important, require the services of a full-time chairman and cannot be done on the basis of a commitment to two days a week.

I move on to the youth service. Here again we censure the Government because of the fundamental indifference of their attitude. The report "Youth and Community Work in the 70s" represented two years' work. I will try briefly to tell the House the opinion of the youth service Development Committee—of which, as Under-Secretary of State for Education, I was privileged to be Chairman—which undertook this task.

There had been a catastrophic fall in the number of people going into the youth service. This was when the school leaving age was to be raised from 15 to 16 and when Parliament had decided that young people became adults at 18. This was the challenging situation which the Committee reviewed. The Committee said that there had to be two levels of youth service, one for people in the school system of 16, 17 and 18 and one for young adults at 18. Young people of 16, 17 and 18 regard themselves as adults and that is why they do not go into youth clubs. The Committee said that the real work is where young people are to be found. If young people are to be found in cafés, discotheques, clubs and street corners, that is where the youth work must be undertaken.

The report received a great welcome throughout the youth service. Every training college of youth leaders re-jigged its whole policy on the basis of the recommendations of the report, and every youth leader was being trained for youth work in the community as a whole. The Secretary of State for Education and Science has completely rejected the whole report, and this has caused a tremendous lowering of morale throughout the youth service. People do not know what sort of decisions to make. Youth colleges and local authority youth organisations are based on what was said in the report, but the Government have rejected it and put nothing in its place.

The Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary in the last year have not produced one idea of their own to take the place of the philosophy of the report which they have rejected. This is a matter of extreme regret. I do not believe that the critics of the report understand the problems in our cities. They do not appreciate the problems which face a youngster who comes from an indifferent home with overcrowded conditions and who works, day in and day out, in a factory on the same job. He comes home to enjoy his leisure, and has only the street corner, because there are no adequate leisure facilities in the town. That is the prospect facing millions of young people.

It is incredible that at the same time as the Government have cut back schemes for grant-aided youth work, the people in our society with the best brains—the students in their student unions—have had more money spent on their leisure activities. Those students, who are quite able to look after themselves, have the best facilities for sports activities and the best opportunity for their leisure hours. It is the down-town youngster, who leaves school at the age of 15, who will feel the brunt of the economy cuts of this Government. This is what will flow from the rejection of this report and the ending of grants to youth clubs.

It is interesting to note that the Government are now proposing a new system involving a third contribution from Government, a third from local authorities and a third from voluntary bodies. This means that the voluntary bodies are being further imposed upon by the Conservative Party since they have now to raise, not one-quarter, but one-third of the amount. If it is thought fit to give a one-third grant to youth clubs, why is nothing being given to sports clubs? The two things are synonymous since they are doing the same sort of basic job in our society.

Another aspect of this matter was brought to my attention at Birmingham at the weekend. There is a new comprehensive school at Perry Barr costing several hundred thousand pounds, but although the area also needs a youth centre the education authority could not get from the Government a decision on the provision of capital expenditure on that project at the same time as they got a decision on the allocation of capital funds for the school. This is typical of the difficulties which have been created.

I apologise for taking more time than I intended—[HON. MEMBERS : "ear, hear."] The changes in Government policy need to be explored. Those of us who know the large cities are aware of the sort of problems to be found in them. We know all about the misuse of leisure in our society and the lack of facilities for a good leisure service. This is the root cause of much of the difficulty in our urban communities ; this is the most pressing of all the needs. The provision of a sports service in the local community, the provision of youth services and the availability of skilled youth leadership, which is one of the most difficult jobs in our society, have been undermined by Government decisions over the last year. We shall register our protest in the Division Lobby.

8.5 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

I beg to move, to leave out from 'House' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof : 'welcomes Her Majesty's Government's decision to fulfil its election promises by establishing an independent sports council with enhanced status, wider powers and larger funds at their disposal ; believes the sports council should have wide discretion in the allocation of those funds for local and regional purposes ; and notes with approval the intention to continue support for the Youth Service and to ensure that it is used effectively'. In my speech I shall be dealing with that part of the Amendment which refers to sport. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) will recall only too well that until October 1969 the Minister responsible for sport also had responsibility for the youth services, but the Labour Administration saw an advantage in separating these two functions. Therefore, it is the hon. Gentleman's bad luck that he must now accept the disadvantage of waiting for a separate reply on the youth service from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science. I shall deal with sport.

I begin by paying tribute to the work of the Sports Council over the past six years, to all those who have served it so well, and indeed to the hon. Gentleman for the leadership he gave to it. He was successful in creating a climate of enthusiasm for sport, and I readily pay him that tribute.

The new Sports Council, which the Government are setting up in pursuance of their election manifesto—I do not know why the hon. Gentleman should regard it as a bad thing that we should keep our promises—differs from the present one in several important respects. It is right that I should explain them to the House.

First, its status will be considerably enhanced. It will have a royal charter, and its individual members will bring in quite a number of substantial and important bodies. On the new Sports Council, there will be direct membership of the local authorities and of the Armed Services. I am sure that this is right since the Armed Services have a great number of sports facilities. It will also have at the membership level very much closer links with such other bodies as the Countryside Commission, the Nature Conservancy and the Forestry Commission.

I hope that the Council will operate as a board of directors making broad and strategic policy decisions about sport and investment in sport rather than as the old Council has operated working through all the minute details of many hundreds—and, indeed, thousands—of applications. Those details will be the responsibility of the new Sports Council's professional staff, who henceforth will not have to operate through the complex and often time-consuming processes of Whitehall. Incidentally, we expect to save over the next year 31 full-time civil servants. The new Council will have a higher status. I hope and expect that when the names of its members are announced shortly it will make a far greater impact on the ordinary people of the country.

The present Council has done excellent work but it has not been sufficiently well known to the man on the football terraces or to the average weekend sportsman. In particular, I have always thought it rather odd—I believe I shall carry the hon. Gentleman with me on this matter—that a national Sports Council should be expected to be credible to the ordinary man in the street when for all practical purposes it has had nothing to do with the country's premier game—namely, professional football. I hope to remedy this deficiency in the new Sports Council. Football is our greatest national game and is fully entitled to have a voice in the Sports Council, and the Government will see that it does have one.

The second change in the sports council is that it will be independent. The difference is substantially that the Minister will no longer be in the chair. As the hon. Gentleman has said, it is possible to have various views about this matter, but it is significant that the Wolfenden Committee, following whose advice the Sports Council was originally established, strongly advocated an executive council with an independent chairman. I am sure that this is right. A Minister inevitably shares responsibility with his other colleagues for all facets of Government policy. He cannot, therefore, become a lobbyist for funds for one particular kind of activity.

If the Sports Council wanted, as it often has during the hon. Gentleman's time as well as in mine, publicity to criticise or condemn the Government's attitude towards sport, the fact that a member of the Government and one who for all practical purposes has appointed himself and the members of the council was occupying the chair meant in practice that the council was virtually gagged from public debate.

Mr. Denis Howell

But it did it.

Mr. Griffiths

Ministers are in politics as well as in Government, and, though sport and politics can never be completely divorced, it is bad in principle that the voice of the Sports Council should be heard exclusively through the lips of a political Minister. As The Times newspaper said when I announced the changes, it is far better that the chairman of the council should be independent and be seen to be independent of the Government.

In Dr. Roger Bannister, I believe that the Government have found an excellent chairman. I assure the House and all sportsmen that his independence will be respected completely by the Government. For my part, I shall do all that I can to assist him in his endeavours.

The third difference between the old council and the new one is that the new one will have substantially greater powers. I cite only two examples. It will as an executive agency be able to set up new national sports centres ; for example, for Olympic sailing, perhaps for lawn tennis, or for anything else that it judges is needed. Through its regional sports councils, it will be able to act as a sort of marriage broker—in a way that an advisory body could not do—by bringing together, where appropriate, statutory undertakers like the Countryside Commission, or the Forestry Commission, with the governing bodies of sport, with local authorities and, whenever possible or desirable, with private enterprise, so as to create new sporting centres all over the nation. For example, if a football stadium or cricket ground were under-used and in need of redevelopment—it might be Lords ; it might even be some London football club—there would be nothing to prevent the new council from bringing in the local authority, the local education authority and other local sports clubs so as to plan a multi-purpose sports development for the benefit of the whole community.

At present, the council can do little more than urge such developments, for the council today has no money and no power. But the new council, at its discretion, will be able to use the funds at its disposal to prime the pumps of precisely these projects. That is a new power not possessed by the Sports Council hitherto.

Obviously, it is for the new council and its chairman to determine its priorities of policy and expenditure. But I have agreed with Dr. Bannister four main lines of policy that the new council will seek to pursue.

The first is that it will seek to get better use of our existing facilities. I am sure that I carry the House with me when I say that far too many schools and colleges have large areas of playing fields and gymnasia which to all intents and purposes go out of use at five in the afternoon, after Friday evenings and for three months during the summer. I very much hope—

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

What does the hon. Gentleman think has been happening?

Mr. Griffiths

Efforts have been made to cultivate dual use. There are about a hundred dual-use projects in the pipeline. The hon. Member for Small Heath pushed this idea as much as anyone. Dr. Bannister has agreed that one of the aims of the new council will be to get better use of our existing facilities. I am thinking not only of schools and colleges but of the sports facilities of our Armed Services, of the nationalised industries, of the Civil Service and of many private firms whose sports grounds could be much better used for the community than they are at present.

Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)

Is the hon. Gentleman attempting to make his case by saying that it is necessary to set up a completely new council in order to do that which is being done already and was going on continuously under the previous Minister?

Mr. Griffiths

No. I am trying to help the House by setting up the terms of reference of the new council. It is right that the House should know them. The increased use of existing facilities is one of the main lines of policy that the new chairman of the council has agreed.

The second is to bring into use for sport and recreation much more of our natural resources. One has in mind the forests, the countryside, the lakes, and the rest.

The third main line of policy will be to apply the best of modern technology to the provision of sports facilities. I am glad to say that the Technical Unit for Sport, which I have been able to strengthen substantially, will be at the disposal of the new council. The type of help that it will be able to give is best illustrated by one example. One of the first requests that I made of the T.U.S. was that it should design a "best buy" standard swimming pool. My reason for doing so was that up and down the country there are pools which have cost various sums. In some cases it has cost £500,000 to put in a 25-metre pool. In others a similar pool has cost £250,000. Just as we have made a break-through in educational building with the standardised Terrapin classroom, I thought it should be possible to apply the same batch production to swimming pools and other sports facilities. The T.U.S. has designed the first "best buy" swimming pool. It is now being installed in conjunction with the Ashton-under-Lyne local authority. If it proves successful, I hope very much that we shall be able to move to large-scale production of these types of well-designed and economical pools for large numbers of people.

Mr. Skinner

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the old-established North-western Sports Council made any recommendation about the pool at Ashton-under-Lyne about which he has just been talking?

Mr. Griffiths

Like other councils, that body is very enthusiastic about this new development, which gives the promise of large numbers of pools being installed in local communities all over the country. If it is done with modular construction and the next project is for a "best buy" sports hall, and, after that, standardised squash courts, it will be possible to lock-on various other units so that eventually one builds a mini-sports centre using the best forms of modern technology. I am glad to say that the new chairman is willing to follow that line of policy.

The fourth is one about which I hope there will be no contention. It is that, where possible, the new council will seek to interest private enterprise in more sports bodies. One possibility is simple commercial investment for profit. I see nothing wrong in that. Another possibility is the bringing of private, especially industrial, sports grounds into wider use. I can see a rôle for sponsorship, though I accept that there must be certain limitations. I know that the new chairman is interested in the possibility of working out some code of sponsorship so that sporting bodies will have broad criteria on which to judge whether they should become associated with commercial firms.

All the points of policy that the new chairman has agreed arise essentially from the executive powers of the new council, especially from one power ; namely, that for the first time it will be possible for the new council directly to grant-aid local authority sports projects. That is of considerable importance.

The new council will have very much wider responsibilities than the old one. I have mentioned the need to bring into recreational use our country's natural environment—the forests, mountains, rivers and waterways and, where appropriate, the national parks. In the past the old Sports Council has done all that it could to keep in close contact with the statutory bodies responsible for these things. But henceforth the new council will be able—indeed, I expect it—to do very much more in this direction. For example, I expect that at member level there will be a direct link with the Countryside Commission. The Chairman of the Forestry Commission, whom I saw the other day, has also undertaken to work closely with the national and regional sports councils so that more use can be made of our forested areas, and the privately-owned forestry organisations have gladly supported this approach.

It is the same with the rivers and lakes. Whatever form of reorganisation of the water industry my right hon. Friend may decide, I know that he has in mind to strengthen the duty to increase sports opportunities. Again, the new Sports Council will be able to help, not only with advice or technical suggestions, but, as it judges right, by the judicious use of its own funds.

Here perhaps I might say a word about reservoirs. Bearing in mind the enormous increase in demand for water recreation, I was surprised on taking office to find that of 500 reservoirs in England and Wales only 250 had arrangements for fishing, only 44 permitted sailing of any kind, and a mere half-dozen allowed canoeing. This is not good enough when on an average summer weekend there are nowadays more people involved with boats in one way or another than there are attending first-class professional football matches on an average winter weekend.

I therefore caused every statutory water authority in the country to be asked to review its practice of admitting or excluding sportsmen. I am pleased to tell the House that 34 separate water undertakers controlling tens of thousands of acres of water space have recently made, or plan soon to make, increased provision for recreational use of their reservoirs. I know that Dr. Bannister will enthusiastically follow up this initiative.

This widening of the horizons of the Sports Council to include the forests and the water has been widely welcomed by those who care most about recreation in its fullest sense. But to discharge its very much broader responsibilities the new Sports Council will need more cash. That is the final main difference between the old and the new Sports Council. The old Sports Council had no money. Every penny was in the Minister's hands. The new Sports Council will have a good deal more money than the hon. Member for Small Heath was ever able to lay his hands on for help to sport.

I will come to the local capital grants in some detail later, but, first, I should, in fairness, state the record.

Expenditure on sport by both national Government and local authorities, the local authorities bearing the lion's share, has been as follows. In 1965, following the activities of the previous Conservative Government, the total expenditure central Government and local authority together, was £16.03 million. In 1966 the total was £6.9 million ; in 1967 £7.8 million ; in 1968 £8.9 million ; and in 1969–70 £9.4 million. The House will notice at once that in 1966 there was a drop of more than £9 million in expenditure on sport from a total budget of £16 million. This was almost entirely a drop on local authority account. The second result of the Labour Government was that local authority expenditure, which when we left office, had been £14 million, fell back in 1966 to £5.6 million.

Mr. Denis Howell rose

Mr. Griffiths

I want to go on, before the hon. Gentleman interrupts, to give credit where it is due.

Central Government help for sport rose from £750,000 in 1964 to £1¼ million in 1965 and by the efforts of the hon. Gentleman, I am happy to acknowledge, it has risen to over £2 million in 1969. For 1970—before an election—he got it up to £2.5 million. Yet—this is the point on which I think the House will latch—after six years of Labour rule the total expenditure on sport by central and local government combined was still less—significantly less—than in 1964, the last year of the previous Conservative Government.

I turn now to what we have done since taking office last June.

Mr. Howell

I do not complain about the figures which the hon. Gentleman has just given, except that he has not given the figure for 1970–71 for which we provided.

Mr. Griffiths

I think that I gave that figure.

Mr. Denis Howell

I think that the hon. Gentleman stopped at 1969–70. Perhaps he will give it to us on the capital side. The point is that the hon. Gentleman knows why there was this serious fall on local authority capital account. It was due entirely to the economic situation which led to devaluation. Whatever the hon. Gentleman said about it, the Conservative Party agreed with us at the time that, in the serious situation following devaluation, there should be no cuts in aid to housing, schools and hospitals, so the cuts had to be made elsewhere. However, six years of Labour Government enabled the Conservative Government to take over a far healthier balance of payments situation than we inherited from them.

Mr. Griffiths

The hon. Gentleman is not helping his case. This is a debate about sport. The facts on sport are that when the previous Conservative Government left office in 1964 the total expenditure by local authorities and central Government was about £15 million to £16 million and when the Labour Government left office that total expenditure had dropped to less than £10 million. If the hon. Gentleman regards that as progress for sport, heaven help us.

I turn now to what we have done on this account since taking office last June. Before doing so, I should say that by 18th June last year, the day of the General Election, I found when I got into my particular chair that almost the whole of the total loan sanction then available for sports expenditure for this financial year had already been committed. It shows how confident the hon. Gentleman must have been about Labour winning the General Election that he blew the lot before the vote was taken, and when I took over the cupboard was bare.

I am glad to say that the present Government have replenished the cupboard. First, we increased the Exchequer's contribution to £2.7 million for 1971. On top of this we are proposing to seek the authority of the House to add a further £500,000—an increase of nearly one-fifth. All told, there is a new injection of fresh, additional expenditure of about £1.2 million ; that is 60 per cent., over and above the largest sum ever achieved by the previous Government in any full year for which they were wholly responsible.

I now turn to local capital grants, of which the hon. Gentleman sought to make such a meal. I first tell him flatly that it is untrue to say, as the Motion does, that local sports club grants have been cancelled or suspended. Not a penny of this money is being lost to sport. The whole sum, and more—because a great deal of administrative costs will be saved under the new arrangements—will be made over to the new Sports Council to use at its broad discretion.

The position on local clubs is simply this. The Government agree that the strength of the local club is the foundation of all that is best in British sport, and I am in no doubt whatsoever that under the new arrangements local clubs will continue to thrive. They will thrive because most of them depend not on hand-outs from the State but on their own voluntary efforts. They will thrive because the local authorities are by no means so unenlightened and so unconcerned for the needs of local sport as the hon. Gentleman seeks to think. The clubs will also be helped—and this is the important point—because, contrary to the mistaken impression conveyed in the Motion, the new Sports Council will have a wide discretion to take over from the Government by joining in with local authorities, or with the governing bodies of sport, to help these clubs as it sees fit.

As far as local authorities are concerned, there is one thing that I should say bluntly. They are less likely to help local sports clubs if the Government— meaning the taxpayers—for ever go on doing the job for them. For my part, I am by no means pessimistic about the willingness and ability of local authorities to respond to the needs of their local clubs. For one thing—perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of listening—local authorities will take account of the new Sports Council's power —which the old one did not possess—to offer direct grant-aid to its own sports projects. It is for the Sports Council itself to decide how, when and where it will exercise this power, and I should be surprised—I ask the hon. Gentleman to listen carefully to these words—if any local authority which had totally ignored the needs of local clubs in its area found itself at the top of the regional sports council's list of recommendations for assistance ; much less would it be the choice of the Sports Council when it came to allocating funds. Rather, I suspect that the new Sports Council, with its executive and grant-aiding powers, will exercise its discretion in the direction of making it worth while, in a local authority's own interests, to treat its clubs generously.

That is not simply an assertion of an expectation but rather the hard experience, and I come now to the hard experience on which my optimism is based. It is the experience of my Department's circular DOE 2/70—a document with which I am sure all hon. Members are familiar—which identifies certain types of local authority expenditure, including expenditure on sport, as "locally determined schemes". Within the allocation available for those schemes local authorities now have complete power to make their own decisions about how they spend that money without reference to my Department. The circular was as good a test as any of local authorities' willingness to respond to the needs of sport when given freedom to do so, and I think the House would like to have some measure of what has happened as the result of providing that discretion to local authorities.

I could take all the regions of the country, but I pick out just three, and the first is the North-West. In 1968 loan sanctions for sports projects for local authorities were running at the rate of £1.7 million. The figure was £1.3 million in 1969, and £1.7 million in 1970. By contrast, in 1971, the first year in which the effects of Circular 2/70 were felt—that is to say, the year in which local authorities were free to make their own decisions—investment has shot up rapidly. It has gone well over the £2 million mark, and there is more still coming in for this year.

In Wales the comparable figures, during the period when there was no discretion, are £250,000 for 1968, £400,000 for 1969 and £900,000 for 1970. That was a good rising trend ; but look at what has happened since Welsh local authorities have been free to make their own decisions. Their sports investment, freed of Government control, has shot up to an all-time record of just over the £2 million mark, with more to come.

I am glad to say that the pattern is the same all over the country. The Greater London and South-East Sports Council reports a marked increase. So, far from our new policy of trusting the local authorities leading to a reduction in sports expenditure, on the facts there has been almost everywhere a substantial and encouraging increase.

I must therefore reject the suggestion that in placing more responsibility on local authorities to assist purely local clubs we are somehow consigning those clubs to outer darkness. The evidence is to the contrary. Every penny that local authorities may henceforth appropriate to help their local clubs is new money for sport. The whole of the Government's present allocation is being turned over in full to the new Sports Council to dispense at its broad discretion.

I turn now to international grants. The Motion speaks of a reduction in grant to British international sports teams. My answer to the charge is simply that it is not true. On the contrary, in 1971–72 substantially more money is being paid out in grants to more British international teams, involving more players going to more overseas countries, than in any previous year in our history. Next year there will be more all round.

I think hon. Members would like to have the full facts and figures on which to judge the Motion for themselves. But, first, I should like to deal with one specific matter—Olympic training. Next year is Olympic year. The winter Olympics are taking place at Sapporo in Japan in February 1972 and the main games in Munich from 26th August to 10th September in that same year. The British Olympic Association is planning to offer British competitors three weeks' training at high altitude shortly before the games, followed by five to 11 days in the Olympic villages. It is doing so for all chosen athletes who take part in endurance events. The House will understand the advantages which accrue from that. The British Olympic Committee's application for grant-aid in this respect is now before my Department, and I am glad to be able to say that we shall deal with this application and the point about high altitude training very generously.

I have also agreed that funds should be available for the travel and training of our top class sportsmen not only in Olympics and Commonwealth games but for all other competitions of world significance. This is an important change. Previously only the 23 sports admitted to the International Olympic Committee or to the Commonwealth Games were eligible for Government assistance for training, as distinct from travel, which meant that a large number of sports—about 73—were debarred under the previous rules from getting grants towards travel and training teams to represent Britain at these world events.

Henceforth this artificial barrier will no longer be applied and all governing bodies of sport, irrespective of whether they are Olympic sports or not, will be eligible to apply to the new Sports Council for training as well as travel grants. One sport which will benefit is table tennis. I am sure that the House, mindful of the success of our table tennis team in China, will be glad to hear of this new arrangement.

I will now set out the facts on which the House may judge. International grants over recent years have been paid to our sports teams as follows. In 1964–65, the last year of the previous Conservative Government's arrangements, it was £40,500. In 1965–66, the first full year of the hon. Member's conduct of sporting affairs, it was 28,000, a drop of more than a quarter. Over the remaining years of his Government the hon. Gentleman raised the grant to £72,000 in 1966–67, cut it to £62,000 in 1967–68, moved it up to £100,000 in 1968–69, and cut it back again to £75,000 in 1969–70. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Gentleman wish to contest the figures?

Mr. Denis Howell

I am not contesting the figures because there was no cut. All the grants applied for by the sports bodies were paid. Naturally, the figures go up and down depending upon how close Olympic year is. No one applied for grant under this programme and was refused.

Mr. Griffiths

I think the hon. Gentleman will regret in a few moments that he said that. I congratulate him on having achieved this "up and down" increase, but what the House and British sport may find a trifle disturbing is that the figures I have quoted from the hon. Gentleman's own record were only shop window figures. They were the amounts which the hon. Gentleman estimated he would spend on international sports teams, but they bore very little resemblance to the amounts which our sports teams actually received.

In 1966 the hon. Gentleman put £72,000 into his international shop window, but the sum he actually paid out was only £44,000—a shortfall of 40 per cent.

Mr. Howell


Mr. Griffiths

I am giving the record. In 1968–69, when the hon. Gentleman reached his high-water mark—I give him credit for it—of £100,000 for international sports grant, the amount which the clubs actually received was £50,420 ; in other words, they were short-changed by 50 per cent.

The plain fact is that Labour promises were not matched by Labour performance, But that is not the whole of it. In 1970, during the run-up to the General Election, the hon. Gentleman, for the first time, changed the rules in a more generous direction and, as he very fairly explained, after he attended the Mexico Olympics he thought there was reason to move the proportion of grant up to two-thirds and he got the Sports Council to agree to pay two-thirds of a qualifying team's international travel expenses instead of half.

However, with the dramatic growth in international sport, there was an avalanche of new applications and, as a result, the Sports Council found that the funds appropriated by the hon. Gentleman were hopelessly insufficient to meet his own well-publicised generosity.

The Sports Council—I have the minutes—carefully considered this question. Either it could continue to pay up to two-thirds of the approved travel costs and thereby risk depriving some teams of the chance of taking part at all or it could assist a much larger number of teams by reverting to the pre-election year practice of 50 per cent. travel grants, with the proviso, which still stands, that two-thirds would be offered in exceptional circumstances.

The Sports Council decided by a unanimous vote that it could not accept a state of affairs in which some teams would have no grant at all because the money had been spent in giving more fortunate or, perhaps, just earlier applications two-thirds of their travel costs. In the Sports Council's view, and in mine, it was better to spread the available butter a little more thinly over more slices of bread so that all might have a chance of at least 50 per cent.

Mr. Denis Howell

I am sorry to intervene yet again, but the last five minutes of the Minister's speech have been beyond belief. If, as he says, there was an avalanche of applications because we increased the incentive by giving two-thirds, and if, as he says, he would have the extra £1½ million for his Sports Council, why did he allow the cut-back on the amount of grant on each individual application from two-thirds to a half, knowing perfectly well that he would get the extra £1 million or £1¼ million which is the main basis of his case today?

I take strong exception to the hon. Gentleman saying—I regard the phrase as contemptuous—that I was shortchanging the sports bodies. The House knows perfectly well what the procedure is. We made provision in our Estimates for the amounts which the hon. Gentleman has been good enough to read out. The fact that the sports bodies themselves did not come forward with enough proposals to take up the whole of those amounts is not evidence of short-changing. It is evidence of the fact that we were prepared to meet every demand made upon us, and we did.

Mr. Griffiths

The evidence is simple. The hon. Gentleman said that he would appropriate a certain amount, and he managed to spend less than half of it. That is short-changing in anyone's book. But the important question is whether the present Government have been able to do any better. The House will be glad to learn that in 1970–71 my Department has been able more than to double the amount of money actually paid out, not just appropriated for international sports team grants. This year, after doubling it last year, we have put up the appropriation by a further 34 per cent. Here is my answer to the words of the Motion. In 1969–70, the last full year for which the hon. Gentleman was responsible, the international grant was set at £75,000. Last year it was £125,000, a quantum leap of two-thirds, and this year it is £168,000, which is better than twice as much as the hon. Gentleman ever appropriated, and well over three times as much as his Government actually spent in any full year for which he was responsible.

Therefore, I reject the Motion and ask the House rather to accept the words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when he says that the House

"welcomes Her Majesty's Government's decision to fulfil its election promises by establishing an independent sports council with enhanced status, wider powers and larger funds at their disposal ;"

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

Order. There is just time for the winding-up speeches and one or two more. If each hon. Member speaks for five minutes, less than half those wanting to speak will be able to take part.

Mr. Dempsey

On a point of order. We have listened for all this time to Front Bench speakers, especially the Minister. Their speeches have been timed at a total of 87 minutes, which is far too long in a three-hour debate, and we still have the winding-up speeches to come. As you are the custodian of the rights of back-benchers, Mr. Deputy Speaker, do you not feel that it is about time speeches like the one which we have just heard were guillotined to enable back-benchers to have a fairer share of the time, especially during such a short debate?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order. I cannot control the length of speeches. Sometimes I wish that I could, but on the whole I think that I am fortunate not to be able to do so. I agree that speeches on these occasions tend to get too long. Anyway, if hon. Members now speak briefly and to the point they will, I hope, be able to say what they want.

8.48 p.m.

Dr. David Owen (Plymouth, Sutton)

It is important to bring the debate down to the grass roots, and I will try briefly to talk about some of the effects of the recent changes in the regions.

I resigned today as chairman of the South-West Regional Sports Council, a post I have held for 3½ years with great enthusiasm. My resignation had nothing to do with any criticisms I may make. Sport at grass roots level is traditionally non-political, and I hope that it will long remain so. I also hope that other hon. Members may serve as chairmen of sports councils. Such service is a remarkable opportunity to get to work with local authorities.

I do not think that the Minister is sufficiently aware of the sheer practical problems that have arisen from the change of policy, though his right to make the change is clear-cut. It was announced in a telephone message to the secretaries of regional sports councils the day after the announcement to the House. They were suddenly told that the grants would cease. The question of consultation was one thing the hon. Gentleman did not dwell on at all. Voluntary organisations can thrive only on genuine consultation.

It is important for the Government to carry such bodies with them. In the regions the local authorities' co-operation with the regional sports councils has been entirely voluntary, and it was very important to retain confidence. People who have had applications in which have not yet gone to the Ministry, but which are before the technical panels of the sports councils, for insance, are finding themselves in real difficulties. The most glaring example in the South-West Region is the Liskeard swimming pool. I see that the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks) is present, and I suspect that it may be the Liskeard swimming pool that he is concerned about.

Let us consider the practical effects for Liskeard. People have collected over £3,000 from individual subscriptions for the swimming pool. That is hard to do in a small place like Liskeard. They also have grant aid from their two small local authorities. They are not wealthy people. They had every reason to expect and hope for a grant from the Government to enable them to build their swimming pool. But they ran into a technical problem. They put in their application but unfortunately it did not have quite enough facts and had to be deferred until the next meeting. Meanwhile, however, the guillotine has come down and they find that they cannot get the money from the Government, because the Government's cut-off takes effect immediately. Whatever the hon. Gentleman's feelings on this issue, he should give thought to phasing this process and tell such people that they can carry on with a certain amount of money for the next year or two. The problem is that local authorities have already made their financial allocations for the year. In any case, the smaller local authorities in particular have not the resources to take aboard this sort of finance.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the regional sports councils. The new Sports Council will hold an important position and its money could be used in this way. I hope that he will use the Government's money flexibly and consider the recommendations of regional sports councils to get small local clubs out of this present short-term difficulty. It will cause great disappointment to such clubs if the grants close up for two years or so.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman's optimism is justified, but whatever he may say about the long-term trend, many of us fear that in 1971–72 and 1972–73 the overall spending of local authorities will be bad and that we shall not get the figure up to the level that has come from Government grants. The idea of disciplining bad local authorities causes me great concern. I understand what the hon. Gentleman is aiming at and it commends itself, I am sure, to all of us. But the people penalised are really the sportsmen, and one of the great things which the Sports Council has been able to do is to give help where a bad local authority does not give enough responsibility and priority to sport. It is not enough to say, "You must change the local authority". We all know how difficult that is. We also know that changing attitudes towards a sport can take years to achieve.

I believe that the great achievement in this sector of our six years in office has been to change attitudes in sport, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) for that. The regional sports councils have a tremendously difficult task to do, and the sooner the hon. Gentleman gives them a definite programme, and tells us how he sees them fitting in under the new Sports Council, their contribution in advising it about special facilities in the regions, and how much is forthcoming in grants, the better, because these are all very important aspects.

I welcome the fact that the hon. Gentleman is to bring Service people more into association with sport. There are large Service establishments in the West Country. None of us on the South-West Regional Sports Council ever felt that we had used the facilities enough. There is, indeed, a lack of facilities for individual Servicemen. Over all, there is not enough co-operation.

My experience has convinced me that the regional sports councils have proved themselves and that one cannot run sport from the centre completely. I ask the hon. Gentleman to be flexible in his allocation of resources for the next two years and to do everything to ensure a proper rôle for the regional sports councils. I have been uncertain about their rôle now for over a year. I had hoped to keep my resignation back until after the changes had been announced and I am only sorry that this has taken such a long time. They need to be supported and to know where they are going. I am convinced that they have an important rôle to play under the new set-up and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will make certain that they get it. I remind him that it is the regional sports councils which will get a bad name through the cut-off of capital grants, and this will do damage to their image, which has been built up steadily over the years. We need an undertanding approach from the Minister and a confession that the way in which this matter has been handled so far has been far from satisfactory, that there should have been more consultation and much more collaboration with local authorities and a more realistic understanding of the difficulties at grass root level.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)

I am glad that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary paid tribute to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell). I wish to do the same. His great achievement was persuading local authorities, as they have never been persuaded before, to appreciate their responsibility towards the provision of recreational facilities. It was a considerable achievement.

I do not agree with the strictures of the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Dr. David Owen) about the new Sports Council. An independent Sports Council, such as my hon. Friend is now proposing, will be able to create a new climate of opinion towards sports provision. It will be able to influence the Government. I have heard some people express the fear that the Government may be putting a millstone around their neck by setting up an independent Sports Council because it will be able freely to criticise the Government whenever it wishes. But it will be able to influence local authorities, voluntary clubs and sports bodies, and to exert influence by the very fact that it has the power to give or withhold grant aid.

I, too, was concerned, and to some extent I still am, about grants for local sports clubs, although I have been considerably reassured by my hon. Friend's comments. Few people who have not been on a local authority appreciate the pressure on local authorities to spend money on many different items. Local authorities have an enormous number of discretionary powers which they would like to use, but which they cannot use simply because they do not have the necessary resources. On the other hand, there are many enlightened authorities, such as my own in Wiltshire, which for many years have given grant aid to sports clubs and which will consider to do so. I hope that the example of counties such as Wiltshire will encourage others to follow suit.

The Amendment notes with approval the intention to continue support for the youth service and to ensure that it is used effectively. I should be horrified if it were not intended to continue to support it, but how does one ensure that the support is effectively used? This is becoming more and more difficult, because an increasingly important part of the work of the youth service is among those who are termed the unattached, those who are away from the statutory or voluntary youth service provision. How can the effect of the youth service on such people be quantified?

In the old days, the youth service was a direct influence on the younger generation in clubs and youth centres and so on, and it still is up to a point, but increasingly it has an indirect and more subtle influence on ground of the choosing of the young people, out in the community, and it is therefore rather a pity that the Government have decided not to change the name "Youth Service" to "Youth Community Service". They may have made this decision because they have brought to bear a purely educational view. I wonder if the same result would have occurred if the social services department and the Home Office had been involved in consideration of the matter. Nowadays, the Home Office and the social services department are closely involved in this area of policy.

Talking about involvement, the report said that 29 per cent. of the age group is involved with the youth service. I have heard it rumoured that, according to a Government social survey at one time or another no fewer than 69 per cent. had some connection with it. If that is so, it would put a different complexion on the support which the service receives.

Before any major decision about the youth service is made my hon. Friend should look at experience in Europe. What is done in Europe originated from the lead given by this country after the war. In numerous respects the Continent is far ahead of us. If, as seems likely, we go into the Common Market—and I hope that we will—it will be worth remembering that in both France and Germany £2 million a year is spent on youth exchanges.

I do not think the Government should consider "hiving-off" the responsibility for grants in the youth service. I am all for simplifying the system, but that should not mean passing the buck. If the Government want to hive off responsibility for grants, as we already have an Arts Council and are now to have a sports council, perhaps consideration could be given to having a youth council with responsibility for giving aid to voluntary organisations.

I turn now to unemployment among school leavers. This autumn it may be a problem. I would ask my hon. Friend to do all he can to ensure close cooperation between the youth employment service and the youth service so that, for example, youth clubs can be kept open for as long as possible during the day so as to ensure that unemployed school leavers have somewhere to go to fill in their time thus avoiding alienation of young people.

9.03 p.m.

Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)

I agree with much of what the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison) has had to say. To much of it I would say "Hallelujah". I am sorry that in his final remarks he gave the impression that perhaps the best course for the Government to take to deal with unemployment among school leavers was to provide better youth club facilities for them. The best solution is for the Government to create the job opportunities as quickly as possible.

The hon. Gentleman also drew attention to the paucity of resources available for youth exchanges on an international basis as compared with what is available in other European countries. I know from my own direct experience in this work, before entering this House, that one of the difficulties is the legal problem. By definition education is only something which happens to British children within the frontiers of Britain. If we believe that one of the elements of education is to prepare people for a wider sense of international understanding and contact with others in countries near to us geographically then by definition we must spend money bringing these people together. We must make progress in this direction.

In the short time available it is possible to draw attention to only a few points unless one hogs more than one's share of the time. I hope that this brief debate, crammed into a few hours at the end of an evening in Opposition time, is not an indication of the lack of attention, concern and priority which the Government afford to this important and vital social sphere.

It is some years since I was working professionally in the youth service. What distresses me most at the moment is the total breakdown in confidence between so many voluntary organisations and the Government—the feeling that there is no adequate consultation. That cannot be put too strongly. There is a feeling of high-handedness on the part of the Department—a feeling of a lack of sensitivity and of taking into account the experience, feelings and hopes of the people who are doing this work in so many organisations.

I want to pick out one or two points which appear to be at the centre of the Government's thinking about the future of the youth service. We hear that they will put more emphasis on de-centralisation. People should not necessarily reject the concept of more importance being placed on the direct relationship between local authorities and the youth work that goes on in a local area, but we must take on board the real anxiety that exists among organisations about the possibility that, as a result, they will fall to the bottom of the priority list in terms of local authority expenditure and that at a time when local authorities are faced with financial stringency right across the board the resources will not be available for the sort of important and exciting work that should be done.

We also understand that the Government will concentrate a good deal more on channelling resources into the deprived areas. The real fear amongst people in youth organisations is not that this should happen ; they are delighted that it should happen. But they fear that it will happen by way of economies in other spheres where important and successful youth work is going on. The Government must reassure youth organisations on that point.

The other thing about which there is a great deal of worry among those who are carrying the main burden is the Government's announcement that there is to be a review of the effectiveness of work at national and local level, particularly in respect of voluntary organisations which have financial arrangements with the Government. People are not against the concept of a review ; they would welcome one. But they feel that if it is to be successful it is essential to retain the confidence of the people who have carried the main burden, and will go on doing so. This means that it must be an independent inquiry, set up after the fullest possible discussions with all concerned—an independent inquiry which has the confidence of both sides.

Another concern that I frequently come across is the feeling that the Government are becoming too rigid in respect of the age range with which they say they are primarily concerned. They say that they will limit their attention to the 14–20 age group, and nothing outside. There is a feeling among those who have been doing the work that if the programme is to be successful there must be more flexibility at both ends.

I know that the Government are making almost a fetish, even in youth work, of the idea of organisations standing on their own two feet, but as somebody who has worked in this sphere I ask the Minister to exercise just a little imagination. Let us consider the important new development that has taken place in recent years—community service by youth. Has the Minister imagined the agonies among young people who are trying to undertake useful social work in the community when they find it increasingly difficult to raise the necessary resources to finance their work, so that more and more of the time which they need for social action is taken up in trying to find the pounds with which their social action can be undertaken?

It is totally unimaginative for the Minister to suggest that youth service organisations will gain an enhanced status if they can stand on their feet. The Government should be saying about these young people, "This is a sound social investment, in terms of the service they are providing ; it is a sound social investment, in terms of the education of the young people involved. We will give more urgent attention to providing the financial resources which will enable this programme to expand". This parsimonious, miserly attitude which seems to be creeping into the Government's approach is very alarming.

It is not good enough to reject all the specialist work done in previous years. It is time that we had a White Paper setting out the Government's thoughts on the development of the youth service. Such a White Paper would provide an ideal opportunity to take into account the relevant and important views of the Home Office and other Government Departments concerned with the social problems intimately related to the new type of development in youth work. Until we have the opportunity to debate a coordinated presentation of the Government's thinking, we shall be pecking away at the problem in a totally inadequate fashion.

9.5 p.m.

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

I am the third ex-chairman of a regional sports council who has spoken in the debate. I wish to add to the tribute paid by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Health (Mr. Denis Howell), who started the Sports Council. Although I did not agree with some of its methods, it was a beginning of which the hon. Gentleman has the right to be proud.

What I found particularly frustrating when I was chairman of a regional sports council was the way in which everything done had to be advisory. We had to spend a great deal of time trying to get local authorities on-side. The regional sports council, and indeed the Sports Council itself, had no powers. It seems that the new Sports Council will have direct powers to grant money and that it will be given teeth. I hope that very soon we shall have some indication about where the regional sports council will fit in.

I support the suggestion of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) that we should have a White Paper on the sports councils and recreation. I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of bringing in other Departments and obtaining a co-ordinated series of views. We could see in such a White Paper what was planned and where the regional sports councils fitted in. It is most important that the work that they have done—the preliminary surveys of facilities and the opportunities in their regions for joint ventures—should not be wasted but should be co-ordinated under Dr. Bannister's Sports Council so that the maximum use can be made of sports facilities. As what is referred to as the Fourth Wave—the wave of leisure—progresses, sports facilities will be used almost round the clock, at least until late at night.

I wish to make the plea that the new Sports Council should pay particular attention to minority sports. In view of the high cost of some of these sports, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide the necessary facilities and facilities for training. I hope that sports like fencing will get a fair crack of the whip from the new Sports Council.

In conclusion, I welcome the fact that the Government are now dealing at arms' length with sport and are not directly interfering with it. We must all watch like hawks to make sure that the funds which are made available are increased over the years to come.

9.15 p.m.

Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)

You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are the political umpire, and I shall try in our limited time tonight to act as a 100 metres runner rather than a 10,000 metres runner. We have had a useful and very important debate. All of us who have been overseas will know the importance of international sport, and I shall touch on that in a moment. Many people are brought close to it through television. There were the European Games at Athens. There was our nation of 50 million people represented and third ; the Soviet Union, with 200 million second. But who won the Games? A nation which has not yet been given de jure status—East Germany. Its flag was flying there and, through the television, for all the nations of the world to see. It is a small State of 18 million people, but very important politically. It is important that we should show the flag, not in the old-fashioned sense at the masthead of a battleship, but at athletics meetings, at international games, Olympics and so forth.

I represent Hull, where they work hard and they play hard. We have sportsmen—boxers, Rugby League players, besides soccer. I inquired of the people on Humberside to find out what they knew about this new Sports Council, and I found that they knew little or nothing about it. So we come to the magic word "participation" which is in vogue in local government and which is in vogue in international affairs. Where has been the participation in this case—at Leeds or Hull or elsewhere? Indeed, one of the councillors in my constituency told me that he had not even heard about what is happening. So we fault the Minister here, for his lack of thought, for his insensitivity, his lack of democracy, for behaving in almost a fascist or totalitarian sense, almost imposing upon sport his idea which, he said earlier, was put in the Conservative election manifesto. The whole thing was in his mind quite a long while ago. One of the unhappy features for people in the localities is that this new set-up is imposed upon them.

In an earlier exchange we had the Minister and a former Minister almost like Cassius Clay versus Joe Frazier, one saying, "I did", and the other, "I did not". I should like a White Paper not, as is usual, about the future, but about the past, and what my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) did. The facts must be there, and we should have the evidence before us. We who have been here during the last six years know what has happened, but I should like a White Paper about this.

International sport is so important and yet we are told by the former Minister that the 66⅔ grants have gone down to 50 per cent. The Minister may like to know that sporting bodies do come to this House of Commons ; they come to see back bench Members on either side, as well as to see Ministers in their offices. What do they tell us? We heard a few moments ago about the less fashionable sports, whether international or local, swimming, skating, tennis, athletics. We are told—and we must believe these decent honourable men who tell us—that they lack money. Where is this wonderful kitty the Minister was talking about earlier—all these millions he is putting into the scales so that we can do better? Will whoever winds up the debate tell use more about the financial help which is to be given to these unfashionable or lesser known sports which were mentioned?

In the context of the outside world, publicity, knowledge and participation it is most important that the chairman, as in the past, should be a Minister. It is democratic, it opens up the councils activities and sweeps away the cobwebs to have Questions in the House. The people in Leeds or Hull via their M.P. can find out what is happening from the Minister. Here we have a non-democratic body, accountable neither to the House nor to the public, but working behind doors.

Mr. Denis Howell

With no appeal.

Mr. Johnson

With no appeal. So it is important internationally, locally and democratically that a Minister should continue to be in the chair. It gives status when the Minister, as chairman of the council, comes to a particular town ; it confers importance and lustre upon what is happening locally.

Dr. Bannister is a wonderful athlete. I yield to no one in my admiration for his performances. But Dr. Bannister for two days a week? It is not sufficient. This is a full-time job. I advise the Minister to think again about this, and to put a man in this job, whether or not he is an athlete, who will give his full time to the task.

What the Minister said about the money he is to spend is laudable. The last thing I want to do is to make a political cockpit of athletics and games. If the Minister wants to make a success of his job and if he wants the Opposition to think better of him than his performance tonight warrants, he had better carry out all those pledges, election or not. Let him keep those pledges so that we can say he has done a good job. We shall judge him on his performance, not on his words at the Box tonight when he has been indulging almost in a slanging match with his predecessor.

9.23 p.m.

Mr. Richard Hornby (Tonbridge)

I will deal briefly with one or two points raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite. First, I do not agree with the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson) that the number of Questions asked here is the best test of administrative efficiency. It is, of course, a useful way of casting a spotlight, but there are other ways of doing this.

I think the status accorded to the new Sports Council is right, with two provisos. It is important that it should publish an annual report and that that report should be debated annually in the House. We can track what is being done in that way. The status of the new Sports Council is right because it has a number of points in its favour. First, the grant-aiding function is important. Funds are to be handed over to it in toto and it can start straight away on its work.

On the transitional problem of clubs which are worried about the present situation, they are naturally and understandably worried, but it would have been difficult to get the new Sports Council started in the new framework unless the slate had been wiped clean straight away and the concept of the Sports Council disbursing its own money in its own way as it thought fit had been introduced from the word "go". If there had been a great time lag and a backlog of decisions, with funds being subtracted from what was available to the Sports Council, I believe the work of the new Sports Council would have been much more difficult.

The general principle of pushing decision-making outwards from politicians to sportsmen and from Westminster and Whitehall to the various local authorities is the best practice. I believe local people are able to take better decisions than we can on these matters, and I believe they can take them more quickly. There is a considerable bureaucratic delay and waste of time and valued manpower if decisions have to go backwards and forwards for approval to Westminster—decisions which could have been taken with greater local knowledge on the spot.

On the matter of membership of the Sports Council, there is always a temptation to try to represent everybody on such a body. I hope the Sports Council will resist the temptation. I hope it will choose the best people, and I hope the regional councils will produce a representative element in geographical terms. The sports bodies will then have their own voice. I feel that the Sports Council will operate best if the best people are there in their own right and if my hon. Friend does not strive to achieve to exact a representative balance.

I should like to give one word of advice to the council. I hope it will not forget the educational principles laid down by Lady Plowden about the need to remember the priority areas where the need is very great in terms of social requirement. The local authority will want to add its own voice and make its special case on such matters. I hope such authorities will be listened to when grants are disbursed.

Also to be considered is the matter of balance between national excellence and more general participation and, of course, these matters are linked. Young people wish to emulate national standards which they see on television, and there will follow a desire to participate. If, however, in the disbursement of funds the balance is tilted in a certain way, I hope it will be in favour of opportunities for people to participate in sport rather than towards national needs, particularly in some of the sports which my hon. Friend mentioned which are more attractive to sponsorship and which can be assisted in that way.

I welcome what my hon. Friend said about the need to encourage fuller use of sports and recreational facilities to make them more readily available to everybody. This goes particularly for the Forestry Commission, which has done enough damage to the countryside. It owes the country a great deal in balancing the picture, despite the recreational provision it has already made. The water authorities have also been mentioned, and what remains to be done is enormous. Commercial firms can help in this respect, and there is a great need to stimulate partnership between one user and another. In conclusion, I wish Dr. Bannister great success in his task. He is an admirable choice.

9.28 p.m.

Mr. Terry Davis (Bromsgrove)

I, too, wish to express concern about the effect of the Minister's decision on local sports clubs. In the area of North Worcestershire which I represent, we do not have a professional football club. We do not have an army base with sports facilities which can be developed. We do not have a reservoir available for water sports. But we do have a rapidly growing population ; a new town and a tremendous demand for recreational facilities.

The previous policy has worked very well for Worcestershire. I understand that the Worcestershire Squash Racquets Association, for example, has now developed a league as a direct result of the expansion of facilities which have flowed from the grants received from the regional council for physical recreation. We also have a great need for sports centres and especially for multi-purpose sports centres. The Minister referred to this development but it seemed to me that he was talking in national terms.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths indicated dissent.

Mr. Davis

The Minister shakes his head, but he was talking about large-scale multi-purpose sports centres. My interest in North Worcestershire is in small sports centres. We have one which is being established and developed just outside my constituency at Droitwich. That centre is in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) and is halfway through its development. The changing accommodation has been built. The cricket ground has been prepared. However, other projects will not be completed, as I understand the Minister's announcement. We have a similar proposal in Bromsgrove to convert a cricket club into a multi-sports centre. It is a small-scale centre, but it is important to the people of Bromsgrove.

As I have said, we do not have a reservoir, but we do have a new town at Redditch, where there is an embryo sailing club which proposes to use a man-made lake. Only last week, a representative of the Central Council for Physical Recreation visited Redditch to say that, as a result of the Minister's announcement, his council was unable to help with a grant. The people in Redditch who wish to establish a sailing club appear to have been told by the Minister that they should look to their local authority for help. However, the authority is already experiencing great pressure on its rates as a result of the new town development, and it is difficult to see how help can come from that quarter. Alternatively, the Minister says, the people must depend on their own efforts ; in other words, they should stand on their own feet.

The Minister referred to his party's Election promises. I assure him that the sportsmen of Worcestershire did not think that they were voting for the kind of rushed policy that the hon. Gentleman has announced. They did not realise that they were voting for a situation where his Department would inform the regional body by telephone of the Government's decision at a time when it was preparing its list of priorities. In North Worcestershire, we are extremely distressed at the hon. Gentleman's announcement.

9.32 p.m.

Mr. James Scott-Hopkins (Derbyshire, West)

I congratulate my hon. Friend on what he has done. The principle of having an independent council must be right, and I support it. I also agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Ton-bridge (Mr. Hornby) said about it. It is right that it should report to Parliament at least once a year so that hon. Members have an opportunity to question what it has done in the past 12 months. I think that that answers the point made by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson).

I am also very pleased that my hon. Friend has seen fit to give the council grant-aiding powers. That brings me to my second point, which concerns local councils and trusts which have been set up only to find themselves landed with the quick curtailment of grant. In my constituency there is such a body in Ashbourne. It was about to apply to the regional council for a grant. There were problems over the acquisition of land by the local authority, and for that reason it held up its application. However, the local trust had raised £20,000 for the project. A third was to come from the county, with the remainder from the local council, together with the grant from the regional sports council. The grant is available no longer, and it occurs to me to wonder whether my hon. Friend cannot follow the suggestion of the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Dr. David Owen) about phasing out grants over a period of, say, 18 months. Failing that, will it be possible for the new council to take up what has been dropped as a result of the existing curtailment? I rather doubt it.

I agree with the criticism that has been made that, now that these matters are in local government hands, this kind of expenditure is liable to go to the bottom of a local authority's priorities when it is considering other important factors of spending in its district.

My hon. Friend spoke about the additional uses and priorities upon which the new council will concentrate. He said that it would try to encourage the greater use of reservoirs. There are a fair number of reservoirs in my part of the world, and it is sad that they are not more widely used. Anything that can be done to accelerate their use will be greatly appreciated by people in the areas immediately surrounding them and, indeed, by people who will come from much further afield to enjoy the facilities.

There is the further problem concerning access to our national parks. I do no more than refer to it, in view of the short time remaining for the debate.

Finally, I raise my voice in protest at the fact that we have listened to 100 minutes of speeches from the two Front Benches out of a total debate of 150 minutes. That is not a good balance.

9.35 p.m.

Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)

I, too, will be brief. I shall try to confine my remarks to a "four-minute mile."

The Minister's action will tend to penalise rural areas, because they depend on grants to supplement their voluntary efforts. In the Bassetlaw area, which nobody has ever heard about, we have the famous Bassetlaw cricket league. Several villages are in this league. In the 320 square miles of my constituency there are only two cinemas and one dance hall. Yet everybody is sports mad. It is virtually the only activity in which youth can take part in in a rural area. This is why it has produced players like Mick Jones and other international footballers. There is nothing to do but hunt foxes or kick a ball.

The rural areas will suffer because if a county council has money to spend it has to expend it on the best possible cost effectiveness basis. Therefore, it will spend the money in the towns and areas of dense population where more people will use, for example, a swimming pool or other facility. This is common sense. But in the rural areas the local villages with their cricket teams or youth clubs will suffer. In the past they have supplemented their facilities by writing to me asking how to get grants from the Government. I have put them on to the East Midlands Regional Sports Council and in most cases they have been successful, because they have been backed by local effort. These rural areas tend to be mainly conservative, so the Minister will find a lot of pressure put upon him by upset local bodies of opinion.

I think that the Minister's tremendous faith in local authorities is not justified. There is a system for helping them to create sports facilities, but they do not take advantage of it. I refer to derelict areas. There are many slag heaps not only in my constituency, but in others nearby. There are ponds among these slag heaps. Children are forever sailing rafts on those ponds in the summer or skating on them in winter, and often they fall in. The Sheffield Morning Telegraph has run an extensive campaign to protect children from this danger. The local councils can get 75 per cent. grants towards the cost of filling in the ponds and landscaping the slag heaps to turn them into playing areas. Very few local authorities have taken advantage of this system ; it is always at the bottom of their priorities. This is the kind of setup which the Minister envisages with the co-operation of the regional sports councils. But the local authorities are not claiming the grants because they are refusing to find the other 25 per cent. They always make excuses.

Not all authorities are like that. The Nottinghamshire County Council, which is Tory-controlled, has made Holme Pier-point, an area of clayworks and derelict land which floods, into a national rowing centre where people can have Olympic sculling, and so on. The Labour Government put up about £250,000 and the Nottinghamshire County Council made the rest available. It has a first-class record in sports complexes. There is one at Bingham, which my hon. Friend opened, and another at Worksop. However, because of cost effectiveness, such facilities have to be in areas of high population, and the rural areas are therefore heavily penalised.

The Minister spoke about co-operative use of sports facilities. He is kidding himself if he thinks that he will have any success in that direction. We wish him every success. However, I cannot see two professional football teams, such as Manchester City and Manchester United, sharing the same ground or Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United sharing the same ground. It is obvious that there would be a tremendous saving if that could be brought about, but there has been and will be little progress because of local prejudices and antagonism between rural district and county councils over the different things involved. I hope that the Minister will re-examine the policy and see why the system of providing 75 per cent. grants to local authorities for converting slag heaps into sports facilities and play areas is failing.

9.39 p.m.

Mr. John Sutcliffe (Middlesbrough, West)

May I put two pleas to the Minister before he winds up the debate. I have literally one minute in which to do that.

I speak as the chairman of a local association affiliated to the National Association of Youth Clubs, and a very worried chairman indeed. Would my hon. Friend tell me precisely what will take the place of the youth and community work referred to in the report as a guide to the youth service as a whole over the next 10 years? Would he please give an undertaking to consult whichever body he chooses to replace the Youth Service Development Council? Whether it be the Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations, or whatever it is, will he consult it on the question of partnership, of grants, capital and headquarters, and on all the matters that are being considered? For a Conservative Government not to give all possible encouragement to voluntary youth work would be disastrous.

9.40 p.m.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Midlothian)

If the Minister for Sport is candid, he will admit that he is a very uncomfortable man, because during the debate we have had a whole series of extremely serious and well-informed contributions from both sides of the House, from all parts of the country, amounting to a rather devastating criticism of what the Government are up to.

I thought my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) and the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison) had tumbled to something which perhaps the Government have not, and that is the extent to which both those responsible for the training of youth leaders and the local authorities themselves have already geared themselves to the philosophy of the Paper of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), "Youth and Community in the 70's".

I concede that that is not a perfect document. My hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath never claimed that it was—but it did at least add up to a coherent plan, and whatever minor gaps there may have been, at least it tacked the problems not so much of youth but of the "young adult" in society. The document was realistic, it was practical and, above all, it was costed.

I agree that some changes may have been necessary, but what the Secretary of State for Education and Science has done has been to dismiss this concept of youth and community service without offering any alternatives whatsoever. Is there not an obligation on these Secretaries of State who suddenly change gear to select somewhat carefully their new speed and their new direction? Until now in this debate we have detected no sign that there is a new direction.

The nub and crunch of the report is that youth work is an invitation to young people to become involved in the stuggle to build a society that is just, compassionate and, indeed, participant. Is that right or wrong? If it is wrong, what would the critics put in its place.

My fear is that under the Government's proposed arrangements—and I think that the Secretary of State will take this in the way it is meant—youth work will become more and more like a pale second-rate imitation of commercial entertainment of young people, ever-dependent on the usual things—darts, dancing and table tennis—and appealing more and more only to the young male teenager, and more and more to the immature. My own experience in a previous incarnation before I came to the House of the 18 months on board a ship-school justifies the fears that I am expressing. It is only too easy for that to happen, and the present system will simply pass by many of the lively and energetic young men and women who, under an all-too-thin layer of sophistication, may be in real need of help.

What matters is that the many dedicated people, outside the House, engaged in youth work should be wiser if they read tomorrow's HANSARD, and we look to the hon. Gentleman for some sense of direction to be marked out in this debate. What has happened is that an imaginative scheme of youth work devised by my hon. Friend has been nipped in the bud. The Youth Service Development Council, given birth by Albemarle, has been brought, at the age of 10, to a somewhat premature death. Nothing, but nothing, has been put in its place. We have been left with a vacuum.

We are bound to raise the question of the independent Sports Council chairman. The Minister said that it was not good that he should be a lobbyist for funds. But, like many others, I have known Roger Bannister for 10 years. He is an excellent chairman, and we know his contribution to British athletics and the track. But the notion that he can do in two days a week the job that my hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath did seven days a week is simply fanciful.

This brings up the key rôle of the chairman. If he is to be seen and to talk to people and to do his job as he must, he will not have many free weekends between one Christmas and another, albeit the Minister "will assist him in his endeavours". Does the Minister recognise that there are 170 governing bodies in sport? How accessible is Dr. Bannister meant to be? If this job is to be done properly, it demands a great deal of mixing with people, and not someone who, through no fault of his own, is limited to the top of Mount Sinai, which seems to be the rôle that is being devised.

I know from Cliff Lloyd today that the Minister met the Professional Footballers Association in early June. It is now mid-July. I do not criticise the delay, but the Government must understand that the association's request for an independent tribunal with an independent, legally-qualified chairman which has wide support. It is in accord with natural justice that players should be represented on the disciplinary committee and that there should be an ability to appeal against a decision of the disciplinary committee, provided that the appeal is endorsed by the player's professional association and is not frivolous.

In my opinion, there is a principle here which goes far wider than the P.F.A. In the new set-up proposed by the Government, what provision will there be for players and participants, as opposed to governing bodies, to be represented at the highest level?

The Minister said that local authorities were less unenlightened than my hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath thought. But the Minister should place himself in the position of some hard-pressed member of a local authority at his wits' end how to balance the revenue and expenditure. They are only being human if, under the new system, they decide that there are perhaps more important priorities than expenditure on sport. My right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland), the former Secretary of State, will understand this very well.

The danger is that in authority after authority the steady and real, if undramatic, growth of local sports initiative which has been carefully built up over the last five years will lose its momentum. For example, the Minister wrote to me on 24th May, in reply to representations which we had had from the National Skating Association :

As for the provision of facilities in this country, indoor rinks have in the past been provided by commercial companies and by local authorities. Under the new system, what councillor in his right mind will propose any substantial funds for a new skating rink? This is just one example. More's the pity for this sport, because we as a country should take more heed of provision for girls as well as boys—and skating is one of the sports in which massive participation by girls is possible.

What bothers me is the position of the growing number of still minor sports referred to, for example, by the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison). Alexander Flinder, chairman of the British Sub-Aqua Club, gives this rather dour account of a meeting on 24th June, when the chairmen of the governing bodies met the hon. Gentleman to hear about the new Sports Council : The meeting was shocked at the implication of the Government's intention to phase out the local capital grants scheme. This excellent scheme has proved the most successful method of encouraging local enterprise, and setting up of regional sports facilities in areas which were devoid of these amenities. My own organisation, which has more than doubled its national membership in the last five years, could not have achieved this without grants towards the cost of expensive equipment installations. This story could be repeated many times among smaller sports.

This is not the occasion for synthetic rage across the Floor, but we want the Minister to understand that there are those of us who have moved in sports circles during the last 10 years who cannot fail to detect the dampening effect of the Government's new measures on the enthusiasts who have made British sport what it is. So it is with a sense of incredulity at the short-sightedness of what is being done on the youth side and with a sense of sadness at what is being done on the sports side that I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to go into the Lobby to condemn the Government tonight.

9.50 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. William van Straubenzee)

I well understand that the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) was, as I am, under a close discipline of time. I am sure that he and the House will be understanding if I have to deal swiftly with the arguments which have been presented by the hon. Gentleman and, in particular, by my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison) and the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd). My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment has asked me to say on his behalf that he will wish to write to hon. Members who raised specific matters subsequently to his speech, and I hope that that will be regarded as according with the courtesies of the House.

I respond at once to the hon. Gentleman's request—I do not think it necessary, but he does—for a new direction in the youth service. Briefly, because of the time, I shall explain the new direction already signalled by my right hon. Friend's announcement which appeared in HANSARD on 29th March. With respect to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West, whose temporary absence from the Chamber I regret, it is not factually correct to say that all the recommendations in the report by the Youth Service Development Council have been rejected.

As for what a good many people, such as myself in a small way, who have been closely connected with the youth world in one way or another, would regard as the grandiose conception of a centralised youth and community service based on what many, again including myself, would regard as the untried philosophy of the "active society", I make no apology for saying that that has been rejected. But, as I shall show in the few minutes available, a number of other proposals have been accepted.

It is our view that we do not require a centralised service. It follows from that, as the report itself shows, that a successor council is not necessary. Indeed, the report goes out of its way to say that there would be no point in having an advisory council for its own sake.

Here are the Government's priorities. They accept a number of the priorities stated in the report. For example, they accept those for the socially deprived, in particular, early school leavers, and for the young immigrant. They accept—this is the direct answer to the point raised by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West, for he is quite wrong in what he says, and the matter is clear in my right hon. Friend's announcement—that the age limits of 14 to 20 should be interpreted liberally in accordance with the recommendations in the report.

The point of difference is that we on this side do not accept that there is one central road to success. What we require is not splendid phrases but practical support for initiatives from wherever they come.

Under the present arrangements, as has been said, a 50 per cent. grant is paid from the centre. We are in the Department today—or, rather, we were—administering a large number of small grants. I regard this as inefficient, expensive, and inappropriate. Further, it favours the better off areas of the country at the expense of the less wealthy. The revised arrangements under discussion with both local authorities and the voluntary bodies—and no words of mine can emphasise enough the importance the Government attach to the voluntary bodies—are that from April next year the detailed supervision should be undertaken by the authorities and no longer at the centre, and that there should be a pound-for-pound grant from the centre, matching each pound made available by the authorities, with a maximum of a third. Therefore, it is open to such a project today to obtain a third from the local authority and a third from the Government, with, I believe, much better results for the project as a whole.

I accept that if I ended there and gave no more there would be overall savings. But the announcement has made it crystal clear, as has the Amendment, that the Government's intention is to maintain in real terms its support for the youth service. That means, for example, that there will still be vested in the centre the ability to provide 50 per cent. grants for the cost of a few projects of national or regional importance. There will still be vested in the centre—and this is very important in the light of what was said earlier—the ability to invest in the youth service by the machinery of the urban programme, which ties in exactly with the priorities I gave earlier, and the ability to respond to experimental projects which are initiated locally, or to initiate them.

All this adds up to a new and distinct approach. Like my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, I do not accept for a moment the Opposition's narrow approach towards local authorities. I do not understand how a party which less than 24 hours ago was lambasting me for not giving greater freedom to local authorities is now lambasting me for giving them greater freedom. In a large number of places that freedom will serve to cement together the work of the local authorities and of the voluntary bodies, both of which are of the greatest importance. This is a very useful step forward. The social priorities can be achieved through the mechanisms of the urban programmes. In particular,

there is still vested in the centre the ability to initiate and respond to interesting developments.

In common with many other hon. Members, I have spent a considerable time in a voluntary youth organisation. I entirely accept that in some cases, regrettably, the relations between such organisations and local authorities are not good. But it is a policy of despair which proceeds on the basis that they can never be improved. The right way to improve them is to give encouragement to the local authority to make provision for its youth service by a matching pound-for-pound contribution from the centre. That is the change of emphasis. It does not require a centralised administrative machinery. It is diffusing responsibility entirely in accordance with our philosophy, and that is why I commend the Amendment to the House.

Question put, That the Amendment be made :—

The House divided : Ayes 190, Noes 161.

Division No. 433.] AYES [10.00 p.m.
Adley, Robert Dykes, Hugh Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Astor, John Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Howell, David (Guildford)
Atkins, Humphrey Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Awdry, Daniel Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Baker, Kenneth (St. Mnrylebone) Emery, Peer Iremonger, T. L.
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Eyre, Reginald Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Beamish, Col. Sir. Tufton Fenner, Mrs. Peggy James, David
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Fidler, Michael Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Benyon, W. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Kershaw, Anthony
Biffen, John Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Kilfedder, James
Biggs-Davison, John Fookes, Miss Janet King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Fortescue, Tim King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Body, Richard Fowler, Norman Kinsey, J. R.
Boscawen, Robert Fox, Marcus Knox, David
Bossom, Sir Clive Fry, Peter Lane, David
Bowden, Andrew Gardner, Edward Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Gibson-Watt, David Le Marchant, Spencer
Braine, Bernard Glyn, Dr. Alan Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Bray, Ronald Goodhart, Philip
Brewis, John Gorst, John Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gower, Raymond Longden, Gilbert
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Loveridge, John
Bryan, Paul Green, Alan Luce, R. N
Buck, Antony Grieve, Percy McAdden Sir Stephen
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) MacArthur, Ian
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray&Nairn) Gummer, Selwyn McCrindle, R. A.
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Gurden, Harold McNair-Wilson, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hall, John (Wycombe) Maddan, Martin
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Madel, David
Clegg, Walter Hannam, John (Exeter) Marten, Neil
Coombs, Derek Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mather, Carol
Cooper, A. E. Haselhurst, Alan Maude, Angus
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Hay, John Mawby, Ray
Cormack, Patrick Hayhoe, Barney Meyer, Sir Anthony
Critchley, Julian Hiley, Joseph Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Crouch, David Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Moate, Roger
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Holland, Philip Monks, Mrs. Connie
Dean, Paul Hornby, Richard Monro, Hector
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia More, Jasper
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Neave, Aircy Ridsdale, Julian Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Trew, Peter
Normanton, Tom Rost, Peter Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Nott, John Russell, Sir Ronald van Straubenzee, W. R.
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Scott, Nicholas Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Page, Graham (Crosby) Scott-Hopkins, James Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Paisley, Rev. Ian Shelton, William (Clapham) Wall, Patrick
Peel, John Sinclair, Sir George Ward, Dame Irene
Percival, Ian Skeet, T. H. H. Warren, Kenneth
Pink, R. Bonner Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Weatherill, Bernard
Pounder, Rafton Soref, Harold Wells, John (Maidstone)
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Spence, John Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Price, David (Eastleigh) Sproat, lain Wiggin, Jerry
Proudfoot, Wilfred Stanbrook, Ivor Wilkinson, John
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stewart-Smith, D. C. (Belper) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Raison, Timothy Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Redmond, Robert Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Worsley, Marcus
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Sutcliffe, John
Rees, Peter (Dover) Tapsell, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES :
Rees-Davies, W. R. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Tebbit, Norman Mr Keith Speed.
Abse, Leo Gourlay, Harry Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Allen, Scholefield Grant, George (Morpeth) Mulley, Rt. Hon. Frederick
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) O'Halloran, Michael
Ashton, Joe Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Oram, Bert
Atkinson, Norman Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oswald, Thomas
Barnett, Joel Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Bidwell, Sydney Hamling, William Palmer, Arthur
Bishop, E. S. Hanman, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hardy, Peter Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Booth, Albert Harper, Joseph Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Heffer, Eric S. Pendry, Tom
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pentland, Norman
Bradley, Tom Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Perry, Ernest G.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Huckfield, Leslie Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Prescott, John
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Rankin, John
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Hunter, Adam Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) lrvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Carmichael, Neil Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Roper, John
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Sandelson, Neville
Cohen, Stanley Judd, Frank Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Coleman, Donald Kaufman, Gerald Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Kinnock, Neil Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Lambie, David Sillars, James
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Latham, Arthur Silverman, Julius
Dalyeil, Tam Lawson, George Skinner, Dennis
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Leadbitter, Ted Small, William
Davidson, Arthur Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Spearing, Nigel
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Leonard, Dick Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lestor, Miss Joan Stallard, A. W.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Strang, Gavin
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Lipton, Marcus Taverne, Dick
Deakins, Eric Lomas, Kenneth Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Delargy, H. J. Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Dempsey, James McElhone, Frank Tinn, James
Dormand, J. D. Mackenzie, Gregor Torney, Tom
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Mackintosh, John P. Tuck, Raphael
Driberg, Tom McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Duffy, A. E. P. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Watkins, David
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Marks, Kenneth Weitzman, David
Evans, Fred Marquand, David Wellbeloved, James
Faulds, Andrew Marsden, F. White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Whitehead, Phillip
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Meacher, Michael Whitlock, William
Foley, Maurice Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mendelson, John Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Freeson, Reginald Millan, Bruce Woof, Robert
Galpern, Sir Myer Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Garrett, W. E. Molloy, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Ginsburg, David Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
Golding, John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Mr. James A. Dunn.

Main Question, as amended, put :

The House divided : Ayes 190, Noes 161.

Division No. 434.] AYES [10.11 p.m.
Adley, Robert Grieve, Percy Page, Graham (Crosby)
Astor, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Paisley, Rev. Ian
Atkins, Humphrey Gummer, Selwyn Peel, John
Awdry, Daniel Gurden, Harold Percival, Ian
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Pink, R, Bonner
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Hall, John (Wycombe) Pounder, Rafton
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Hannam, John (Exeter) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Benyon, W. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Proud foot, Wilfred
Biffen, John Haselhurst, Alan Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Biggs-Davison, John Hay, John Raison, Timothy
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Hayhoe, Barney Redmond, Robert
Body, Richard Hiley, Joseph Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Boscawen, Robert Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Rees, Peter (Dover)
Bossom, Sir Clive Hill, James Southampton, Test) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Bowden, Andrew Holland, Philip Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Hornby, Richard Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Braine, Bernard Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Ridsdale, Julian
Bray, Ronald Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Brewis, John Howell, David (Guildford) Rost, Peter
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Russell, Sir Ronald
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hutchison, Michael Clark Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Bryan, Paul Iremonger, T. L. Scott, Nicholas
Buck, Antony Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Scott-Hopkins, James
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) James, David Shaw, Michael (Sc'gh & Whitby)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray&Nairn) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Shellton, William (Clapham)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Kershaw, Anthony Sinclair, Sir George
Chapman, Sydney Kilfedder, James Skeet, T. H. H.
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Soref, Harold
Clegg, Walter Kinsey, J. R. Spence, John
Coombs, Derek Knox, David Sproat, lain
Cooper, A. E. Lane, David Stanbrook, Ivor
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Cormack, Patrick Le Marchant, Spencer Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Critchley, Julian Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Crouch, David Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Sutcliffe, John
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Longden, Gilbert Tapsell, Peter
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Loveridge, John Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Dean, Paul Luce, R. N. Tebbit, Norman
Desdes, Rt. Hn. W. F. McAdden, Stephen Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Dykes, Hugh MacArthur, Ian Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Edwards. Nicholas (Pembroke) McCrindle, R. A. Trew, Peter
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) McNair-Wilson, Michael Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Elliott, n. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Emery, Peter Maddan, Martin Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Eyre, Reginald Madel, David Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Fell, Anthony Marten, Neil Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Mather, Carol Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Fidler, Michael Maude, Angus Wall, Patrick
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Mawby, Ray Ward, Dame Irene
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Meyer, Sir Anthony Warren, Kenneth
Fookes, Miss Janet Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Weatherill, Bernard
Fortescue, Tim Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Fowler, Norman Moate, Roger Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Fox, Marcus Monks, Mrs. Connie Wiggin, Jerry
Fry, Peter Monro, Hector Wilkinson, John
Gardner, Edward More, Jasper Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Gibson-Watt, David Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Glyn Dr. Alan Neave, Airey Worsley, Marcus
Goodhart, Philip Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Gorst, John Normanton, Tom TELLERS FOR THE AYES :
Gower, Raymond Nott, John Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Mr. Keith Speed.
Green, Alan Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Abse, Leo Booth, Albert Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Carmichacl, Neil
Armstrong, Ernest Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)
Ashton, Joe Bradley, Tom Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)
Atkinson, Norman Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Clark, David (Colne Valley)
Barnett, Joel Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)
Bidwell, Sydney Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Cohen, Stanley
Bishop, E. S. Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Coleman, Donald
Blenkinsop, Arthur Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pendry, Tom
Cunningham, C. (Islington, S. W.) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Pentland, Norman
Dalyell, Tam Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Perry, Ernest G.
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jone, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Davidson, Arthur Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Prescott, John
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Judd, Frank Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kaufman, Gerald Rankin, John
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Kinnock, Neil Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Lambic, David Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Deakins, Eric Latham, Arthur Rhodes, Geoffrey
Delargy, H. J. Lawson, George Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dempsey, James Leadbitter, Ted Roper, John
Dormand, J. D. Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Leonard, Dick Sandelson, Neville
Driberg, Tom Lestor, Miss Joan Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Dunn, James A. Lipton, Marcus Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lomas, Kenneth Sillars, James
Evans, Fred Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Silverman, Julius
Faulds, Andrew McElhone, Frank Skinner, Dermis
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Mackenzie, Gregor Small, William
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackintosh, John P. Spearing, Nigel
Foley, Maurice McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Spriggs, Leslie
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Stallard, A. W.
Freeson, Reginald Marks, Kenneth Strang, Gavin
Galpern, Sir Myer Marquand, David Taverne, Dick
Garrett, W. E. Marsden, F. Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ginsburg, David Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Golding, John Meacher, Michael Tinn, James
Gourlay, Harry Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Torney, Tom
Grant, George (Morpeth) Mendelson, John Tuck, Raphael
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Millan, Bruce Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Milne, Edward (Blyth) Watkins, David
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Molloy, William Weitzman, David
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wellbeloved, James
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Hardy, Peter Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Whitehead, Phillip
Hefter, Eric S. Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Whitlock, William
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas O'Halloran, Michael Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oram, Bert Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Huckfield, Leslie Oswald, Thomas Woof, Robert
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Palmer, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE NOES :
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Parker, John (Dagenham) Mr. William Hamling and
Hunter, Adam Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Mr. Joseph Harper.
Irvinc, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred

Resolved, That this House welcomes Her Majesty's Government's decision to fulfil its election promises by establishing an independent sports council with enhanced status, wider powers and larger funds at their disposal ; believes the sports council should have wide discretion in the allocation of those funds for local and regional purposes ; and notes with approval the intention to continue support for the Youth Service and to ensure that it is used effectively.