HC Deb 30 January 1995 vol 253 c673
11. Ms Eagle

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has made to the Department of Health regarding provision for athletes with disabilities in the Disability Discrimination Bill.

Mr. Sproat

The Department of Social Security is in contact with all relevant Departments, including the Department of National Heritage, in taking forward the Government's policy in this sector. In addition, the Sports Council responded to the consultation document issued by the Department of Social Security in July 1994.

Ms Eagle

Is the Minister satisfied with the level of provision for disabled sport in the Bill? Will he reassure disabled sportsmen and women, in the light of his failure to mention them at all in his statement on the restructuring of the Sports Council, that his plans and the Government's plans, as presented in their Bill, include disabled sportsmen and women and do not marginalise them?

Mr. Sproat

We are strongly aware of the need for the Sports Council and other bodies in sport to take into full consideration the needs of people with disabilities. The Sports Council gives out more than £500,000 every year. In addition, the Foundation for Sports and the Arts, the Sports Aid Foundation and the sports match scheme all take fully into account the needs of people with disabilities. As my right hon. Friend said earlier, when the lottery letter went out last year from his predecessor, it specifically mentioned the need to take into account people with disabilities.

Mr. Lidington

Is my hon. Friend aware of the tremendous opportunities that are already being given to many disabled athletes by the Ludwig Guttman sports stadium at Stoke Mandeville in my constituency? Will he confirm that it will be open to the operators of that stadium, or any other sports body, to seek funds under the national lottery provisions to improve their facilities to help disabled athletes?

Mr. Sproat

It is a marvellous facility, and it would he eligible for lottery funding.