§ Mr. Simon Coombs
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what reports she has received on the United Kingdom sports sponsorship market for 1996; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Sproat
The Department's sports sponsorship consultant has recently submitted his annual report on the condition of the UK sports sponsorship market. This report confirms that sports sponsorship in the UK generated more than £300 million in 1996, a real-terms increase of some 19.3 per cent. over the corresponding figure for 1995. Most people are well aware of the major sponsorship deals agreed by football, rugby, and cricket, but I am particularly pleased to see from this report that there were a large number of sponsorships agreed in 1996 involving schools and young people, most notably British Telecom's support of school sports worth £750,000. This is an excellent example of the links called for in the Government's policy statement, "Sport: Raising the Game", issued in July 1995.
The expansion in the UK sports sponsorship market is extremely good news for the sports sector, particularly given that this is additional to the thousands of national lottery projects being supported up and down the country.
Furthermore, the sportsmatch partnership between sport, business and Government continues to flourish, and was responsible for an additional £6.4 million to the overall sponsorship market. A wide range of sports have benefited from this excellent scheme.