Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, today (Thursday) launched a new policy consultation on how more people of all ages and backgrounds can be supported to take part in sport and physical activity.
The consultation document called “More Sport for All” examines a range of policy ideas designed to shape a long term strategy and support community sport. Some of the ideas being explored are:
• a proper levy on the Premier League’s revenue from the sale of their television rights to help develop grassroots football;
• a new levy on sports betting to support community sport and help raise awareness about problem gambling;
• re-introducing two hours of sport for every primary school child which Labour introduced and which the Tory led Government axed;
• tough new targets for increasing female participation in sport and upping the women on the boards of our top sporting organisations; and
• a ten-year National Strategy for Sport.
Speaking at an event for sports stakeholders at the London Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Harriet Harman said:
“People across the country are passionate about sport whether it’s them or their children taking part or watching it at events or on television. It’s also important to public policy because of the many physical and mental health benefits that it provides people of all ages.
“We were all proud to host the Olympics and Paralympic Games in London two years ago but instead of seeing increased participation, things have got worse especially amongst young people as a result of the government axing School Sports Partnerships.
“Labour wants to help everybody to do more sport and physical activity – from children to the elderly, girls and well as boys and people from all backgrounds and regions.
“Our consultation looks at a number of ideas which aim to boost investment in community and grassroots sports by getting tough with the Premier League and betting companies, bringing back two hours of sport at schools a week and encouraging more people to take part – girls as well as boys.
“We need strong government leadership to create a long term innovative plan for sport and that is what this consultation seeks to do.”
Clive Efford MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Sport said:
“If we are going to get more people active then we have to empower the people who do most of the work in our communities to have more influence over how we plan, organise and deliver sport and physical education at local level.
“Increasing participation is not something that can be dictated from central government. We have to agree on a long term set of objectives and then all play our part in achieving them.”
Notes to editors:
The Consultation Document “More Sport for All” can be found at http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/agenda-2015/policy-review/policy-review/more-sport-for-all
Levy on TV rights
The Premier League agreed a 5 per cent voluntary levy on TV revenues to develop grassroots football in 2001. But over the years, the League has been criticised over what they count towards this levy and as a result, the sums going to grassroots have fallen short.
Labour is consulting on the need for greater transparency about the sums that the Premier League receives in TV revenues and then puts into grassroots sport to ensure that the 5 per cent target is hit.
Levy on sports betting
Businesses that make money from sport should contribute to sport. At present there is a levy on the gross profits made by betting companies from betting on horse racing. This money goes to support horse racing and amounted to £82 million in 2014.
Labour is consulting on whether to introduce a similar levy on all sports betting, including online betting, to fund support for problem gambling and to improve community sports facilities and clubs.
Two hours sport at school
The last Labour Government introduced two hours of sport into schools and it had positive results. In 2002 it was estimated that just 25 per cent of school children were taking part in two hours PE and sport each week – by 2010 this was 90 per cent. Michael Gove, as Education Secretary, axed these two hours and stopped collecting data on participation through the PE and Sport Survey. He also axed School Sports Partnerships.
Under a Labour government, every primary school child would receive two hours of PE and sport a week. We will bring back the survey so we can chart progress and consider if we should set more stretching guidelines in future.
Boost for women’s sport
Sport is every bit as important for women as for men, yet 1.8 million fewer women than men play sport regularly.
Labour is consulting on tough new targets on women and girls’ participation which Sport England would have to meet through working with National Governing Bodies and the organisations who receive public money from them.
We are also looking at how we can ensure sports governing bodies have more women on their boards – just one in five top positions on boards are taken by women. 22 out of 45 National Governing Body boards do not even meet the 25 per cent minimum expectation set by Sport England and UK Sport.
Ten-year National Strategy for Sport
This Government has shown poor leadership and lack vision for sustainable sport in the community.
Grassroots organisations often find it difficult to navigate the funding they need from different government departments and would benefit from a more long term and joined up approach across Whitehall which also links in with local authorities and the national governing bodies.
That is why Labour is consulting on a ten-year national strategy for sport in the community which will be backed up by plans drawn up by local sports networks.