Physical Training and Recreation

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham All Saints 12:00 am, 2nd July 1959

asked the Minister of Education how far the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937, is being implemented; and what facilities have been provided under this Act in recent years.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

Under this Act, as amended in 1944, my Department makes annual grants to certain national voluntary bodies concerned to promote physical training and recreation. Grants are also made towards the capital cost of premises and equipment provided by local voluntary bodies. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the grants paid since 1952.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham All Saints

I thank the Minister for that information, but is it not the fact that when one reviews the national progress in recent years one finds that the one black spot that has developed is in recreational and sporting facilities—particularly swimming baths? Is it not time that the Act was brought from the deeper recesses of the Ministry and given the prominence it deserves? Will the Government do something about it?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I think that when the hon. Gentleman looks at the figures for 1958–59, which are very substantially higher than those of the payments made in previous years, he will see that the progress is encouraging.

Following are the details:

Details of the annual grants to national voluntary bodies and of grants to local voluntary bodies towards the capital cost of village halls, community centres, playing fields, swimming baths and other recreational facilities for adults are as follows:

YearNational BodiesLocal BodiesTotal Payments


(1) The large increase in the grant to national bodies in 1958–59 is mainly due to the fact that the whole instead of only part of the grant to the Central Council of Physical Recreation was paid under this Act. Formerly part of it was paid under the Social and Physical Training Grant Regulations, 1939. The amount paid to the Council under the Act and included in the figures given above was £33,912 in 1957–58 and £119,385 in 1958–59.

(2) Until 1st April, 1959, capital grants were made to minor local authorities as well as to local voluntary bodies. By virtue of the Local Government Act, 1958, capital grants have been restricted to local voluntary bodies since that date.

(3) Annual grants are paid to the Central Council of Physical Recreation, National Council of Social Service, Council of Social Service for Wales and Monmouthshire and the English Folk Song and Dance Society. In addition small annual grants are paid to certain athletic associations towards the salaries and expenses of national coaches.