HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc563-4
36. Mr. Hain

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aid is provided for sport in black South African townships. [28772]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Tony Baldry)

We are currently funding, in conjunction with the British Council, an initiative with the United Kingdom Sports Council to develop sports administration and coaching, and we are about to embark with Voluntary Service Overseas, on a two-year sports development pilot programme. Both projects are aimed specifically at disadvantaged communities in the townships and rural areas.

Mr. Hain

I welcome the Minister's statement. Does he agree that the Springboks' victory on Saturday was a magnificent advertisement for the new multiracial South Africa? Does he also agree that it is vital that there is investment in black township sports so that standards can be raised? In that context, will he welcome the coming tour by the Soweto cricket club, which will play at Ynysygerwyn in my constituency next Wednesday? Will he fund such tours in future so that people will be given opportunities always denied to them historically?

Mr. Baldry

I do not think that anyone reporting on South Africa 10 years ago would have dreamed that a multiracial South African rugby team would win the world cup. The presence of President Mandela at the Springboks' game on Saturday was a further sign of South Africa coming back into the world. As I said, we are supporting the development of sport in townships. We want to support the development of South Africans who have been disadvantaged as a result of apartheid.

Our programme also aims to re-establish those sporting links between the UK and South Africa and to develop sport as a means of community development and bringing youth into organised structures. I certainly welcome the visit to the hon. Gentleman's constituency.

We are helping to finance stands for a tour by English cricket teams to townships in South Africa later this year. So a lot is happening. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage has just visited South Africa and has been able to take forward much of this work.

Mr. Harry Greenway

Is my hon. Friend aware that Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who is a lifelong friend of mine and with whom I had a meal a week ago, is returning to South Africa to spend such days as are left to him? No one has done more for South Africa than Trevor Huddleston. He hopes to do just the sort of work that my hon. Friend describes to bring better sporting, cultural and educational opportunities to black children. Will my hon. Friend's funding be available to Archbishop Huddleston?

Mr. Baldry

We have an aid package to South Africa of £100 million over three years, including some £60 million of bilateral aid. It is clear from my earlier answer that we are supporting worthwhile projects to help those who have been disadvantaged by apartheid fully to come back into the world. Of course, if Archbishop Trevor Huddleston comes forward with a project, we will look at it, as we look at any of the other projects, all of which we hope will be of worthwhile benefit to the people of South Africa.