HC Deb 27 June 1979 vol 969 cc416-7
3. Mr. Denis Howell

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the operation of the Sports Council and the terms of its Royal Charter; whether he has considered recent criticisms of the role of the Sports Council and its relationship with the Central Council for Physical Recreation; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Hector Monro)

Yes, the Sports Council is working effectively. I am glad to be able to say that representatives of the Sports Council and of the Central Council for Physical Recreation met last week under my chairmanship to discuss their difficulties. Some progress was made in a spirit of great goodwill towards better mutual understanding and co-operation. Further meetings will be taking place.

Mr. Howell

I welcome that reply if it means, as I think it does, that the future of the Sports Council is assured and supported on both sides of the House. At the same time, I acknowledge the proper place of the governing bodies of sport and their independence in the sports world. Will the Minister take this opportunity to deny unfounded criticism in the press, particularly the suggestion that there may be a full inquiry into sport? Will he ask everyone in sport to get on with their development work rather than involve themselves in sport politics?

Mr. Monro

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his helpful approach I note that there is no difference between the Opposition and the Government towards support for the Sports Council. The Central Council for Physical Recreation has an important role. I am sure that we shall resolve the difficulties ahead of us.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Despite these amicable discussions which are now taking place, will the Minister agree that there is a case for stating that a duplication of functions and an overlapping of bureaucracy exists between these two bodies? Bearing in mind the need to channel more money directly into sport, will he reconsider the possibility of holding an official inquiry into this issue?

Mr. Monro

It is not my intention to hold a full inquiry. That would set up even more bureaucracy. I believe that the chairmen of the Sports Council and the CCPR, and their colleagues, under my chairmanship, can resolve the difficulties at our meetings, and there is no need to have a special inquiry.

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