UK Politics

Labour Party: Impact of the Coalition Government of School Sport

News   •   Nov 17, 2010 10:48 GMT

"I have grave concerns "- Darren Campbell, Olympic Gold Medallist

Labour Shadow Cabinet Ministers Andy Burnham, Ivan Lewis and Tessa Jowell will this morning host a Select Committee style hearing into the future of school sport and the London 2012 Olympic sporting legacy. Olympic athlete Darren Campbell will be joining representatives from the school sports movement to react to recent developments in school sport.

Two weeks ago, the Coalition Government decided to cease funding for, and effectively dismantle the infrastructure responsible for supporting school sport in this country. Through ending support for School Sport Partnerships, they are stripping away the very bodies that have transformed school sport and were entrusted to deliver so much of the Olympic legacy promise made to the international community and the people of this country.

In schools, a decade of progress under Labour was yielding real results, giving young people in state schools the same sporting opportunities that have long been enjoyed in private schools.

Olympic Gold medallist Darren Campbell, said:

"The transformation we have seen in school sport in recent years is allowing millions of young people across the country to take part in more sport than ever before. I have grave concerns that cutting the funding for the School Sport Partnership network will have a hugely negative impact on the sporting opportunities that are available to our young people."

Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, said:

"In 1997, Labour inherited a school sports system in the doldrums. We changed all that to ensure that every child had the opportunity to take part in high quality sport, including competitive sport. All this is now under threat.

"Just when we are working to inspire young people across the globe through our International Olympic and Paralympic Legacy, our own children are being let down. It's good that David Cameron is supporting our World Cup bid in Zurich, but he needs to pay more attention to the damage his Government is doing to the grassroots of sport here in the UK."

Tessa Jowell MP, Labour's Shadow Olympics Minister, said:

"Five years ago, when London won the bid for the Olympics, we made a promise to the international community and the people of this country - to transform a generation of young people through sport.

"With the eyes of the international community on London, the Coalition Government are placing this legacy in danger, in clear contradiction to everything that the Olympics should mean for our country."

Ivan Lewis MP, Labour's Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, said:

"At a time when we are preparing to host the Olympics and fighting an obesity crisis, this dismantling of support for school sport is perverse and short-sighted.  Parents and young people will feel badly let down by the threat of reversing the historic progress over the past decade in levels of participation, including the resurgence of competitive sport. It will hit disadvantaged young people the hardest and makes a mockery of our commitment to deliver an Olympic legacy."

Earlier today, the senior Shadow Ministers visited a school in Walthamstow that has seen its BSF funding that was focused on improving sports facilities cut, its specialist sports status taken away and will now lose further support for sport as the £162 million School Sports Partnership programme disappears.