HL Deb 05 July 1995 vol 565 cc1085-6

2.46 p.m.

Lord Howell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Who has been appointed Chairman of the United Kingdom Sports Council; what is the salary of the post and the time commitment expected; what is the remit of the post; and what is the appointee's previous experience in international sports administration.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, Sir Ian MacLaurin is the chairman-designate of the United Kingdom Sports Council. Sir Ian has declined to draw a salary for this appointment, which will involve one day a month. Sir Ian will oversee the establishment of the UKSC, which will prepare and implement policies to promote and further our participation and influence in international sport. Sir Ian has considerable business experience and associations with sport.

Lord Howell

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that interesting and revealing information. We wish Sir Ian well and we welcome this new sports council. However, it is operating in the jungle of international sports administration. The chairman who has been appointed has no experience in that direction. Nor do I believe that by working one day a month Sir Ian can possibly represent British interests abroad. Will the Minister inquire—I do not think that she will have the answer to this part of my question—why on earth at his first meeting of the council last week Sir Ian dispensed with the services of the chief executive of the English Sports Council and the principal officer of that body, who are the two most experienced people in international sports negotiation? That does not augur very well for the future of British interests in international sport.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, the noble Lord is perfectly correct. I do not have the answer to his question. I knew that they had a meeting but I did not know the result. I congratulate the noble Lord on being one step ahead of me.

Lord Dean of Beswick

My Lords, my noble friend made an important point as to whether one day a month is sufficient. With the way international sport is now structured, it has become something of a jungle. I hope that the Minister will listen with care to what my noble friend said. If there is any need to review the case, it should be referred to the new appointee, whoever it may be after today's announcement regarding the new Cabinet.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, the day-to-day management of the UKSC will fall to a chief executive, under Sir Ian's direction. We shall have a first-class government agency to represent us internationally. Sport will for the first time get the lion's share of sports council funding. The proposals represent a major push to revive young people's involvement in sport.

Lord Addington

My Lords, does the Minister agree that the new council should have up-to-date sports management skills? With the new restructuring and the idea of going for enhancing our reputation in key areas of sport, we need immediate experience. People who just know about business will not have the cultural background to enhance our position.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, Sir Ian really does have a super pedigree. He played cricket for Kent; he is a keen golfer; he is a member of the Lord's Taverners; and he is on the Committee of the MCC. You cannot do much better than that!