HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 cc6-8
4. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey) (LD)

What the expected spending of her Department on sport in Greater London in 2004–05 is, excluding spending connected with the UK's 2012 Olympic bid. [166143]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell)

The expected lottery and Exchequer spending on sport by my Department and its sponsored non-departmental public bodies in Greater London in 2004–05 is £81 million. In addition, grants will continue to be committed from London's £81 million share of the New Opportunities Fund in physical education and sport.

Simon Hughes

Greater London, like all other parts of the United Kingdom, will want to be sure that its sport funding continues until 2012 and that Olympic funding is seen as a top-up rather than a substitute. Why has the funding through the sports lottery fund in London gone down from £30 million two years ago to only £6 million last year—nearly £1 million less for every London borough? I accept that she is committed to making sure that we do as much as possible for sport, but something has clearly gone badly wrong somewhere.

Tessa Jowell

With great respect to the hon. Gentleman, nothing has gone badly wrong. Instead, Sport England did the right thing. When its incoming chairman found that the sports lottery fund was over-committed, Sport England introduced a moratorium on the allocation of any new grants. The result was a reassessment of all outstanding grants against value-for-money criteria, linked to the efforts of Sport England to rationalise its organisation and bureaucracy. The result is that £8 million a year is now going back into sport from organisational costs. We can now have confidence that, throughout the country—not just in Greater London—the sports lottery projects that go ahead represent good value for money.

Phil Sawford (Kettering) (Lab)

On sport in London, will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating Mr. Christopher Stanley and the thousands of others who took part in the London marathon yesterday? Will she congratulate the organisers and supporters who made it such a successful event, despite the inclement weather?

Tessa Jowell

I certainly join my hon. Friend in his congratulations. I am sure that the House would want to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate), who achieved an extremely respectable time of under four hours and, in the process, inspired many of us to wear pedometers. That was as far as we got. The London marathon was a great inspiration to those who wanted to be there and to do it, but also to new and emerging champions who will in time do our country proud.

Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Beckenham) (Con)

The Minister will know how important her Department's spending is to Crystal Palace and how important Crystal Palace is to London. Has she given any indication to the Department for Transport of the effect that any delay to the east London line extension might have on the regeneration of Crystal Palace?

Tessa Jowell

The hon. Lady will be aware of the robust plan that has now been agreed for the regeneration of Crystal Palace, and I hope that she will join her hon. Friends in welcoming that plan and the secure future that there is now for Crystal Palace. On her second question, I have not had any specific discussion with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport about that matter. However, in the context of the Olympic bid, we are keeping under review the capacity of London's transport infrastructure to meet the requirements of the Olympics. We are confident that the infrastructure will be capable of meeting the demands of the Olympics that we hope to host in London in 2012.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath) (Con)

I join the Secretary of State in congratulating everyone involved in yesterday's marathon, but I return to the original question on the drop in funding available for sport in Greater London. Will she recognise that there is great concern among sports administrators that the Government are, once again, using the existence of the lottery as a substitute for Exchequer funding for sport?

We join in the Secretary of State's tribute to Sport England for ensuring that less money is wasted in administration, but we remain concerned that the Government have not stuck to the original ambitions of John Major's national lottery and that, by taking away money that sport had a legitimate right to expect from the lottery, and by introducing the New Opportunities Fund and reducing Exchequer funding, they are causing Londoners to lose out.

Tessa Jowell

The hon. Gentleman should look rather more widely. Money for sport comes not only from the sports lottery fund but in substantial amounts from the New Opportunities Fund. There is a programme of close on £1 billion of investing in schools throughout the country, including in my constituency and throughout Greater London, that will, in some cases for the first time ever, give children proper facilities in which to enjoy and play sport—something that children who grew up under the 18 years of his party's Government never had.

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