HC Deb 24 July 2002 vol 389 cc1162-3W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the Government's expenditure plans are for sport following the 2002 Spending Review. [73448]

Tessa Jowell

Increasing opportunities for all to participate is key to the Government's strategy for sport. As a result of the Spending Review, the Government will channel £6 million into talent scholarships up to 2005–06. When combined with funding from other sources, these will provide quality-assured support to 2,000 young people in higher education.

The Youth Sports Trust has already produced web-based guidance for local coordinators and teachers. Now, for the first time, they have a clear framework for responding to the needs of talented young sportspeople of different ages and abilities. Next year, we will build on those foundations. We will expand the website into a one-stop shop for teachers, coaches, mentors and parents; develop a national support network based around specialist sports colleges; introduce a full programme of summer schools and performance camps for different ages and abilities; and ensure a much stronger emphasis on sporting talent within all parts of our national strategy for gifted and talented education. For the first time, teachers and coaches will be working together to ensure that all of our talented young sportsmen and women reach their full potential while continuing to receive a broad and balanced education.

As a final rung of the talent development ladder, over £25 million over the next three years will enable the key recommendations of the Coaching Task Force to be implemented. This investment will create 3,000 full-time, qualified Community Coaches to help develop sports skills across the country by 2006, with particular emphasis on improving opportunities for those in areas of deprivation.

For the first time, nationally-recognised qualifications will be established to give coaches a professional career pathway, and we will create new opportunities to enable skilled coaches in a number of disciplines to be deployed across the country.

There will also be support for governing bodies of sport to help them make the most of our new coaching initiatives. This will ensure that new coaches work in partnership at local level with clubs, schools and other regional organisations supporting sport.

Complementing this, £ 4 million of funding for the Step into Sport programme will enable more than 60,000 young people to achieve awards for leading sport. By developing a sense of teamwork, responsibility and self-esteem while serving their schools and communities, the young sport leaders of today will form the volunteer and coaching base of our sporting future.

These and other programmes stand to benefit more from the extensive reform of Sport England that is now under way. I expect substantial savings to be made and these resources to be directed into our priority programmes for sport.

Finally, the Government is committed to ensure that funding of the World-Class Performance programme in the four years leading up to the Athens Olympics remains as high as in the run-up to Sydney, our most successful Olympics since London in 1920.