HC Deb 19 December 1991 vol 201 cc211-2W
Mr. John Carlisle

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the Government's statement on sports policy and its response to the Education Science and Arts Committee's Fourth Report of Session 1990–91, -Sport in Schools"; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Pendry

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the Government's review of sports policy was initiated; and if he will make a statement on progress towards its completion.

Mr. Atkins

I am happy to announce today that we are publishing a statement which sets out clearly and comprehensively our policies and priorities for sport and active recreation. It focuses largely on England and Wales, although where appropriate it covers United Kingdom issues. We are also publishing today the Government's response to the Education, Science and Arts Committee's report, "Sport in Schools".

Very substantial sums are now available to sport from the private sector, including funds from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Football Trust, assisted by recent reductions in the rate of pool betting duty. We now propose to establish a business sponsorship incentive scheme for sport similar to that run for the arts and targeted at the grassroots level. Its initial funding for 1992–93 will be in excess of £3 million and it will cover England, Scotland and Wales.

The statement reaffirms our belief that sport should be free from Government intervention, but that the principle of channelling assistance for sport through independent but accountable bodies remains sound. The present structure, however, is in need of reform and in the statement we announce proposals for replacing the present Great Britain Sports Council with a United Kingdom Sports Commission and a Sports Council for England. These proposals are broadly in line with those which the Great Britain Sports Council itself made in the course of the review which would require the surrender of its royal charter.

The statement, and our response to the Committee, set out a number of ways for improving opportunities for young people to take part in sport particularly by promoting partnerships between schools and other organisations in the local community. We intend to publish guidance on good practice in promoting such partnerships next year. Guidance is also to be issued to schools on the information they should make regularly available to parents on sports facilities and sporting achievements.

These proposals build on existing decisions:—

  • to make PE a compulsory subject in the national curriculum until the age of 16;
  • to require all school children to be taught to swim by the time they leave primary school;
  • to institute a champion coaching pilot scheme for the extra-curricular coaching of school children;
  • to support legislation which will allow school governors to enter into dual use agreements for the joint management of school premises out of school hours;
  • to provide financial resources to promote the greater integration of disabled sport and able-bodied sport;
  • to encourage the establishment of the Foundation for Sport and the Arts providing some £40 million per annum extra finance for sport;
  • to introduce proposals to create a new criminal offence of providing anabolic steroids to minors, and further research to ascertain the extent of the steroid problem;
  • to encourage sporting contact with South Africa on a sport by sport basis for racially integrated sports; and
  • to provide up to £2 million for feasibility studies which will assist Government in reaching a decision on whether to offer support for the Manchester Olympic bid.

This statement represents a comprehensive summary of the Government's initiatives and proposals to take sport and active recreation towards the next century.

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