HC Deb 07 March 1994 vol 239 cc10-1
13. Ms Hoey

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he last visited a public swimming pool; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sproat

My right hon. Friend's visits to public swimming pools have been curtailed since he became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. His last visit was to the pool in Basingstoke in August last year, which he greatly enjoyed.

Ms Hoey

I hope that both the Secretary of State and the Minister will swim the next time they go to a public pool.

I have an important question about the battle that seems to be going on between the Minister's Department and the Department for Education Does he understand the concern about swimming and young people, especially in regard to the national curriculum? As Minister for sport, what is he doing to ensure that all youngsters will not just be taken along to swimming pools and, once they can swim, told, "That is it: no more swimming", but will be able to swim regularly and properly as part of the national curriculum?

Mr. Sproat

I very much hope that they will continue to do so. As the hon. Lady no doubt knows, under the national curriculum, young people must now be able to swim 25 m by the age of 11. I hope that, having learnt to do so, they will continue to swim.

Mr. Spring

Given the importance of swimming as an excellent exercise for people of all ages, can my hon. Friend confirm that the national lottery is likely to enable the construction and development of many more public swimming pools?

Mr. Sproat

My hon. Friend has made a very good point. The refurbishment of swimming pools, or building from scratch, will certainly be eligible for funds resulting from the national lottery.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister aware that if he went to Bolsover, he would not be able to visit the swimming pool? A few years ago, a Select Committee investigating subsidence decided to visit the Bolsover pool and found that it was riddled with subsidence. The net result was its closure. Now that the Government are talking about closing down the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, will they provide money from the new CISWO so that Bolsover can get its baths back?

Mr. Sproat

The hon. Gentleman will know that CISWO is a matter for the Department of Trade and Industry. I very much hope that it will be protected. As for the Bolsover swimming pool, it would certainly be eligible for funds from the national lottery, either to refurbish it or to rebuild it in a place where there was no subsidence, but which was also in Bolsover.

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