10/08/2012

Cameron To Promise Extra Lottery Funding For Elite Sport

Facing mounting criticism over cuts to funding for school sports, David Cameron will announce that extra Lottery funding will be used for elite sports.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday morning he was repeatedly pressed about the cuts to school sport funding, especially to school sport partnerships, which had been designed to encourage competition in sport.

Cameron said some tough decisions had been taken and continued to claim £1bn was going into sport over the next four years.

He said: "If it was just about money and setting targets, we wouldn't have a problem, but the fact is we also have to raise our ambition and change the culture so that we really encourage sport and competitive sport in schools."

Criticism has been ongoing since it was announced ministers have scrapped the target of at least two hours a week of PE in schools.

Cameron responded to the criticism by challenging what was defined as physical education: "The two hours that is laid down is often met through sort of Indian dancing classes. Now, I've got nothing against Indian dancing classes, but that's not really sport.

"We've been taking advice from those schools in the state sector that have some of the best records of getting children involved in sport and their point was if you simply leave it at this two-hour-a-week target, you'll find that schools will try and meet that target and then think they've done their bit. Well, frankly, two hours of activity a week isn't enough."

Cameron has described this summer's Olympics as "the Golden Games", claiming success at elite level spurred on children in school to take up sport.

"I think they've been the Golden Games – they've surpassed everyone's expectations. The medal haul has been incredible; the mood of the country has been fantastic; and one thing I've noticed is as you got to the Games, the mood of the volunteers that welcome you and the armed service personnel who look after you – they've just lifted everyone as well."

He said he would be setting up a charity to try to make permanent such volunteer involvement in encouraging sport.

Cameron also pledged to hold cross-party talks on the issue, after Ed Miliband followed the former Labour sports minister Dame Tessa Jowell in calling for politicians to get together to agree a 10-year strategy.

(H)


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