HC Deb 19 December 2002 vol 396 cc85-6WS
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell):

The joint DCMS/Strategy Unit report on sport and physical activity will be published today.

Sport is an important part of many people's lives. It defines us as a nation. It teaches us about life. We learn self-discipline and teamwork from it. We learn how to win with grace and lose with dignity. It gets us fit. It keeps us healthy. It forms a central part of the cultural and recreational parts of our lives. Millions of us are involved in one way or another: as players, as coaches or officials, organising clubs, teams and fixtures, or just watching.

Sport and physical activity can help the Government achieve key objectives. Crucially, it can help us tackle serious health issues. It can also help to contribute to other areas, such as crime reduction, social inclusion and help with the development of young people in schools.

Because of our commitment to sport it is now receiving unprecedented levels of public funding—through both the Lottery and the Exchequer. This joint report on sport and physical activity is about how to get more of that cash to the front line and spend less on bureaucracy, on box ticking and procedures. It makes some fundamental recommendations of how to reform the public and other structures which handle money in sport. And it presents our view of how we would like the sporting world to develop over the next 15 to 20 years.

The key messages in the report are that we should: increase participation in sport, because of the health benefits it can bring and, together with its potential to help reduce crime, tapkle social exclusion and provide a better education for young people; enhance our international success, building on our achievements at the Olympic Games in Sydney and the Commonwealth Games in Manchester; adopt a more focused and strategic approach when bidding for major sporting events, with each of the role of each of the stakeholders being clearly defined; remove layers of bureaucracy and help ensure that more funding and help gets to where it's needed most: to the athletes and the thousands of clubs up and down the country. We can't get there alone. And nor should we. But with the help of the sports councils, governing bodies, local authorities and all the other organisations and individuals in sport, we are determined to achieve that.

Copies of the report are available on the website at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/innovation/reports.