HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc13-4
16. Miss Hoey

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the progress being made by the British Cycling Federation in its organisation of the world cycling championship in Manchester; and what assessment she has made of the value for money provided by the grant given by the Sports Council. [16367]

Mr. Sproat

The British Cycling Federation has assembled an experienced organising committee to prepare for the championships and has provided appropriate assurances that satisfactory arrangements are in place. It is for the Sports Council to consider the value for money provided by its grants to governing bodies.

Miss Hoey

I thank the Minister for that response. Does he share my concern that some of the arrangements for the world cycling championships to be held in Manchester at the end of August have not gone very well? Does he agree that it is particularly important that everything possible is done to make the world championships a successful event? Has any further decision been made on televising them—there have been difficulties—and will he take a personal interest in ensuring that they are promoted successfully so that they bring success to our cyclists and show that Britain can organise and compete in an event in Manchester?

Mr. Sproat

I agree with everything that the hon. Lady says. It is certainly true that the championships were bedevilled by difficulties between the British Cycling Federation and Sport for Television and by the structure of the velodrome. I hope that those difficulties are now completely settled. I also agree that it is important for us to show that we can run world championships in Britain. We have seven world championships this year and we aim to make them world class indeed.

Mr. Hawkins

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is good for British sport that we have two world beating cyclists in Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree? Does he further agree that the development of new facilities, such as the velodrome in Manchester, is extremely important to the promotion of Britain in world sporting events?

Mr. Sproat

I very much agree with the last part of my hon. Friend's question. One of the prime objectives of the new UK Sports Commission is to attract the greatest number of world-class sporting events to Britain. I share my hon. Friend's enthusiasm for Mr. Chris Boardman and, as proof of what I say, we have invited him to be part of the new English Sports Council, and he has accepted.