HC Deb 16 July 1974 vol 877 cc102-3W
Mr. Wellbeloved

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he has in mind for the co-ordination of Government policies for recreation.

The Prime Minister

In its Second Report, the House of Lords Select Committee on Sport and Leisure concluded that energetic action would be needed over the next decade to meet the growing demand for recreational facilities of all kinds. I share that view, and I believe that all concerned are entitled to look to central Government for a lead in this matter.

For reasons which the Select Committee recognises, central Government responsibilities for recreation in England are necessarily distributed among a number of Government Departments and public bodies answerable to them. I have, however, decided that the time has come to place upon the Secretary of State for the Environment a leading responsibility for the co-ordination of policies and the promotion of research in the field of active recreation. This co-ordinating responsibility will be exercised on his behalf by the present Minister of State for Sport, who will henceforth be designated "Minister of State for Sport and Recreation". This arrangement does not involve any change in the present functions and departmental responsibilities of other Ministers, for example, in the fields of tourism and education, but will help to facilitate the co-ordination of the recreational aspects of the Government's policies.

No comparable arrangement is needed in Scotland and Wales where all relevant responsibilities are concentrated in a single Secretary of State. The Minister of State for Sport and Recreation will, however, co-operate with Scottish and Welsh Ministers on broader aspects of policy for sport and active recreation affecting Great Britain as a whole.

The Minister of State's co-ordinating responsibilities will not extend to cultural recreation—the arts, libraries, museums and galleries, and adult and further education in so far as they provide for non-vocational leisure pursuits—which fall within the responsibilities of the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (the Minister for the Arts) and other Education Ministers.