The Tour de France and Commonwealth Games have re-ignited many people’s interest in sport and the positive impact it can have on individual health and community participation – it’s fun!
Increasing participation is not something that can be dictated from central government. What we need to do is agree on some long term set of objectives and then help everyone, nationally and locally, to play their parts in achieving them.
But, recently, we have gone backwards. For instance, in 2002, just 25 per cent of school children were taking part in two hours PE and sport each week. Because of the initiatives and investment by the then Labour government, this reached 90 per cent by 2010. Unfortunately, Michael Gove, as Education Secretary, axed these two hours. He also axed School Sports Partnerships. It’s not surprising that activity has slumped.
In July, the Labour Party published a consultation document “More Sport for All” which makes proposals on how everyone, from children through to the elderly, both women and men, can be supported to do more sport and physical activity.
The policy ideas, include:
• ensuring the Premier League meet their commitment to give 5% of the 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;
• adopting 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.
Obviously the media attention has been on proposals to levy the Premier League and sports betting to invest in grassroots’ sport, but there are many other policy ideas as well. I’d be interested to hear what you think.
You can read and respond to the consultation at