Thursday, 21 October 2010

Youth Sports Slashed in South-East Sheffield: Cuts to sports are too fast and too deep, says Betts

Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] warned today that youth and school sports in Sheffield face huge cuts as a result of this week’s Government spending review.

Clive Betts said that the scale of the Coalition’s cuts, announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to youth and school sports threaten to reverse the huge advances achieved over the past decade.

Clive Betts said
”The Con-Dem coalition government has announced plans to withdraw the extra money that all recognised specialist schools receive to promote their specialist activity.

This includes specialist sports schools. There are four in Sheffield; two of them - Handsworth Grange Community Sports College and Westfield Sports College – in South-East Sheffield.

This additional ring-fenced funding is £129 per pupil per year. Westfield Sports College is getting nearly £177,000 this year. This additional money is simply being taken away.

Further, the Institute for Financial Studies has now concluded that ‘real-terms spending on school pupils will decrease by 2.25% over the next four years’, even with the inclusion of the pupil premium. So, specialist sports schools are going to get a double whammy.”

Clive Betts continued:

“The government is also scrapping Labour’s guarantee of five hours of PE and sport to young people. Every local school will lose thousands of pounds provided for PE.

Parents want to see their children competing on the pitch, in the pool or in the gym because youth sport is also the best way of keeping youngsters fit, healthy and out of trouble.

I’m sure local parents and coaches will be appalled to see the damage David Cameron and Nick Clegg are about to do to youth sport.

Over the last decade, we’ve made significant progress in levels of participation, including the resurgence of competitive sport. And, here in Sheffield, we have superb sports facilities which thousands of children enjoy using each and every week of the year.

Ten years ago, just one in five local children did five hours of sport a week. After years of extra investment more than nine out of ten do so today”

Clive Betts added:
“This is just the start of major cuts in support for young people and support. It is inevitable that there will be further cuts in youth provision supported by the City Council, because of the huge reduction in government grant announced this week.”

Further information:
In the Spending Review, the government announced that it is:
• Scrapping Labour’s commitment to give a guaranteed five hours per week of PE and Sport to young people, reverting to a basic two hours per week;
• Tearing up Labour’s Sports Strategy for young people
• Cutting almost £160 million of funding for sport in schools;
• Withdrawing government funding for the Youth Sport Trust; and
• Ending the specialist status of sports schools and colleges. This removes their ring-fenced annual funding (£129 per pupil per year). The money will revert to the central schools budget and be re-distributed amongst all secondary schools.

Sheffield has 4 specialist sports schools:
• All Saints Catholic High School
• Handsworth Grange Community Sports College
• Westfield Sports College
• Wisewood School and Community Sports College