Recreation and Leisure (Facilities)

Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th December 1964.

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11.7 a.m.

Photo of Mr John Hunt Mr John Hunt , Bromley

I beg to move, That this House, recognising the necessity to channel the enthusiasm of the younger generation into constructive activity, urges Her Majesty's Government to continue to give every encouragement to the fuller use of leisure time, including further support of the arts and improved sports and youth service facilities. It is not often that an hon. Member has the opportunity of making a maiden speech on one Friday and proposing a Private Member's Motion on the next. I am grateful, Mr. Speaker, to your deputy for the first opportunity and to Providence for the second.

I am particularly pleased to move this Motion, because last year I had the honour of being selected as Mayor of my constituency of Bromley and, as I suppose that I am fairly young as mayors go, I decided to make youth service the theme of my year. I did so because I have been Chairman of the Bromley Youth Service Committee for a number of years, and also because I felt that there was a need to give encouragement to existing youth clubs and to focus public attention on the need for more youth leaders and more youth facilities.

I hope that this debate will perform a similar function, because there is still a great amount of indifference in the country about the needs of young people. The issue is swept under the carpet of complacency until the next outbreak of Bank Holiday hooliganism, when everyone wakes up to the trouble for about 48 hours. The purpose of this debate so far as I am concerned will be not to make party points, but to sound out the intentions of the Government in a number of spheres, and to impress on the Government and all hon. Members the importance and urgency of coming to grips with the problems of recreation and leisure, particularly for young people.

As hon. Members will see, my Motion is quite widely drawn. I shall confine my remarks primarily to the question of youth services, leaving other hon. Members to deal with the allied subjects of sport and the arts.

Although there still exists a good deal of indifference to youth problems, there is no doubt that since the publication of the Albemarle Report there has been a considerable awakening of interest in the rôle of youth clubs and, in particular, there has been a striking change in the attitude of many local authorities to the provision of better youth facilities.

In Bromley, our Youth Service Committee is now assisted by an area youth adviser, appointed by the county council. He, in turn, is assisted by our local youth adviser. In the reorganisation of London local government in which we are all shortly to be plunged, I am pleased to say that in my borough the establishment of the new youth service department will ensure the continuity and expansion of this vital work. I hope that will apply to all the other boroughs which make up the new Greater London Area. Perhaps the Government will keep an eye on that aspect.

The Albemarle Report envisaged that by 1966 we should have 1,300 full-time youth leaders. Substantial progress has been made already towards that target. I understand that by the middle of last year 1,000 full-time leaders were at work. I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will be able to tell us that the Albemarle target will be reached well ahead of schedule. It will be very good news if we are told that, because there is no doubt that the solution of many youth service and youth problems lies in the recruitment of more full-time professional youth leaders.

The recommendations of the Albemarle Report were fully accepted by my right hon. Friends and were in many cases implemented in the lifetime of the last Parliament. I do not think that there is any real dispute between the two sides of the House on this matter. Under the Conservative Government, the National College of Youth Leaders was set up at Leicester and, at the same time, some teacher training colleges were persuaded to include training in youth leadership as an optional part of their new three-year course.

The only reservation I had about the National College of Youth Leaders is that a course confined exclusively to youth leadership can result in someone going into this work and then finding at, say, the age of 45 or 50 that he can no longer cope with the strains and problems involved but having no alternative job to turn to. This is a point of some importance. I ask the Joint Under-Secretary to give consideration to expanding the youth leaders course to a two-year course and including with it training in general social work, so that in later life those who find that they have to transfer to other employment can do so with the minimum of retraining and upheaval. If we are to make the youth leaders' course a two-year one, we should perhaps give some consideration to the disparity which seems to be developing between the salaries of youth leaders and teachers.

I suggest, also, that the Government should consider giving more encouragement to Service personnel to explore the possibilities of voluntary youth work on a part-time basis. In my constituency we have an excellent leader of one of our youth clubs who is a staff sergeant at the R.A.F. Station at Biggin Hill. He has proved a highly successful and popular leader. He has arranged a number of football matches between his club and the R.A.F. There is continual liaison between the youth club and the R.A.F. station. This is a valuable link and could be very useful in creating new interests in many youth clubs. There is scope for the recruitment of more part-time leaders. I ask the Government to give consideration to ways in which that can be done, as this is a matter which they themselves can directly influence.

From staff I turn to buildings. The previous Government authorised the expenditure of £9 million on buildings for the Youth Service during the next two years. I hope that this target will be reached. The great need now is not only for more youth centres, but also for the improvement and modernisation of existing clubs and youth centres. Too many youth clubs are still housed in dingy, dreary, draughty and dilapidated premises, and it is no wonder that they cannot compete with the superficial attraction of smart, contemporary but utterly purposeless coffee bars to which so many young people are being drawn at present.

During the summer the Ministries of Education and Housing and Local Government issued a joint circular to local authorities urging them to allow a wider use of school facilities, particularly for sport. I am sure that this is very important. The difficulty is that most headmasters and many school governing bodies in all parts of the country have a built-in resistance to allowing their premises to be invaded at night by strange intruders. To be fair to them, the problem is often made more difficult by the design of many school buildings.

For example, if they afford access to the gymnasium, they automatically afford access to the rest of the school where there is no adequate supervision of the young people, who may wander about. It is important that in the future design of schools, the gymnasium should be entirely self-contained so that it can be made freely available to youth clubs and similar organisations. After all, it is the community, both as ratepayers and as taxpayers, which has provided the money for these facilities, and we must ensure that they are fully and adequately used.

Only last week I had an example in my constituency of the unfortunate rigidity of the official attitude to the letting of school premises to outside organisations. Bromley has a very flourishing Council of Youth. It is run entirely by the young people. One of the activities on which the council is currently engaged is the sponsoring of an appeal in the borough to buy a bus for the use of old people at a local welfare centre.

One would have thought that this was an example of enterprise and public spirit on the part of the young people concerned deserving of every encouragement and support from authority. Yet when the council applied to local governing bodies for the use of a school hall for a dance to raise money for this purpose the request was turned down on the ground that, if it was granted, it would set an undesirable precedent in the letting of this hall. So these youngsters who have been setting out to build up a sense of social purpose amongst their members have received a slap in the face from local education authorities.

This is a pity. Although one sympathises with headmasters and school governors who want to retain exclusive use of the premises for their own purposes, the time has come for them to take a broader attitude, and the Government should leave local education authorities in no doubt as to their views and as to the feelings of the House of Commons on this point.

This applies, not only to school premises, but to outdoor sports facilities as well. Everyone would agree that there is difficulty in the case of grass pitches because of maintenance. This objection does not apply to such things as hard tennis courts, jumping pits or running tracks. I believe that there is a widespread feeling that these should be made more freely available to youth clubs and bona fide youth organisations. This is one way in which our schools and school authorities can help in the provision of more recreational facilities particularly for the younger generation.

They can help, too, in preparing their boys and girls to use the leisure time which they will have when they leave school. This applies particularly in the secondary modern schools where, the Newsome Report showed us, 25 per cent. of the boys and girls take no part at all in their school clubs and various societies. So these youngsters who leave at the age of 15 go out into the world unprepared to make the best use of the leisure which they will have or of the high wages which they will be earning.

It was, I think, Disraeli who said that the two great civilisers of mankind are increased means and increased leisure. Our youngsters are enjoying both in full measure today. If their interest could only be developed while they are at school, whether it be in music, chess, judo or fly fishing—whatever it is—I am sure it would greatly help these young people, who at that age are basically insecure but receptive, to find an outlet for their energy and enthusiasm. While I am on that point, I wonder how many schools publicise local youth clubs to their boys and girls who are about to leave school. This is another way in which schools can directly enable the existence of local youth clubs in their area to be more widely known.

No speech on youth service would be complete without some reference to Outward Bound schools and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, whose director is my own distinguished namesake of Everest fame. Most schools and certainly many uniformed organisations already play a full part in these schemes. But again I think there are many boys particularly in the 16 to 18 year-old age group who are not yet being sufficiently attracted by these very fine schemes. They are boys who, as we see on occasions, have a great deal of surplus energy and high spirits, and more could he done to draw their attention to the facilities which exist for them in both these spheres. Private firms could perhaps do more in this direction by encouraging such boys in their employment to participate in these schemes, exciting as they are, as well as participating in the more orthodox sporting activities.

It is interesting to see at the moment that there seems to be a trend away from the passive to more active recreations. This is very welcome. We are told that under the lead of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister there are now 1 million golfers in this country, that 5 million people go ballroom dancing every week, that we have 80,000 athletes and that 250,000 people go sailing regularly. I have an idea that there will be mention of that sport later in the debate. I hope and believe that this trend will continue. What we have to do is to anticipate it now.

I should like to know whether the Government have any plans for the increased recreational use of such things as our waterways, national parks or disused airfields which are scattered in all parts of the country and whose runways often make excellent cycling tracks for youth clubs. I have been very interested this week to read the exciting and imaginative Lea Valley scheme which has been prepared by the Civic Trust on the initiative of a number of local authorities in the area. This scheme, as many will know, covers 6,000 acres in a 20-mile stretch of the Lea Valley from West Ham to Ware, and it offers us an opportunity to do something really sensational for the recreational and leisure facilities of our country. I hope that during the debate the Government will feel able to give their blessing and support to this scheme.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Has the hon. Gentleman seen the excellent report on the conversion of slag heaps and derelict sites, issued by the Civic Trust? It is a wonderful guide to local authorities if they will get help from the Government in converting these places into sports fields and recreational centres.

Photo of Mr John Hunt Mr John Hunt , Bromley

I had not seen the report, but perhaps I shall now receive a copy.

There are now 5 million young men and women in the country between the ages of 15 and 20. There are more in this age group than at any time in the past 50 years. While these young people may not yet be entitled to vote, I think that they are entitled to look to the Members of this House to give them encouragement in their efforts to grow up into mature citizens playing a full and constructive part in the life of our country. I have suggested a number of practical ways in which this can be done and I hope that other hon. Members will make other suggestions in other fields and that this debate will show that both sides of the House are deeply concerned with these problems and are determined to play their part in serving youth and in building a new generation of which we can all be proud.

11.27 a.m.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

It is a great pleasure to be able to congratulate the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on the subject that he has chosen, on the practical proposals which he has put forward, and on the grace and skill of his admirable speech. He has made a great personal contribution to the cause for which he pleads and I know that the House will hope to hear him soon and often in the months to come.

Like the hon. Member, I do not desire to turn this debate into a party dog-fight, but perhaps I may be forgiven if I start with a party point. I recall the pledge given by the last Government at the 1959 election: Measures will be taken to encourage youth leadership and the provision of youth clubs, more playing fields and better facilities for sport. I recall an article in the Daily Mail after the Government had had two years in which to implement this pledge. The Daily Mail said that what had been accomplished was as follows: the duty on playing cards had been abolished, betting shops were legalised, and Purchase Tax on footballs, cricket bats, tennis racquets and all essential sporting equipment was maintained at an unfair level. Sports grounds were threatened with increased rates without the right of appeal. The article was headed: Only gamblers have never had it so good. I see the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway) about to rise and, no doubt, to say that by 1964 the Government had done more. I will come to that later. The present Government have made a much better start.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell the House that in the course of the last Parliament the Government were up to schedule in the provision of youth leaders as stated in the Albemarle Report. The local authority expenditure on the provision of sport and recreation had increased five-fold and expenditure on youth clubs had gone up from under £1 million to £4¼ million.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

I said that something had been done; but I shall go on to argue that it was still most inadequate and to express the hope that our present Minister will do better. In any case, I rejoice that the Government have appointed a Joint Under-Secretary of State who is to give the whole of his time to this vitally important task, a Minister who will take the whole job in hand in all its many parts. This is a lot better than having one-fifth, or perhaps in man-hours effectively one-twentieth, of a Secretary of State whose main equipment was "an athletic mind," and who was a kind of distant overlord surveying the work of the four or five separate Ministries among whom this responsibility was shared.

The present Government have appointed a Minister who has every qualification for the task he undertakes. He has lived in sport himself. He is deeply imbued with a sense of the importance of sport in education and the social life of our people. He is known to, and trusted by, the leaders of the governing bodies of our major sports. Above all, he is a man who is used to making firm decisions and to enforcing them, however little they please the individuals concerned or those individuals' vociferous supporters. I am sure that his training every Saturday afternoon will give him the nerve and the will-power he requires to stand up to his civil servants, and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, should that need arise.

I want to follow the hon. Member for Bromley and ask the Under-Secretary some questions about the Youth Service, and how it has developed since the appointment of the Albemarle Committee, of which my hon. Friend was a member five years ago. The Committee said that the Youth Service was then in "a state of acute depression." It said that it should have a new philosophy which it summarised in three words—"association," by which I think it meant partnership, "training" and "challenge." The Committee said that an over-organised, over-paternal service was not likely to attract substantially greater numbers. It said that the leaders of youth clubs must be trained, and it laid special emphasis on the character of the premises required for youth clubs and for youth centres, and on the need for new building. It urged that the Government should give financial help for administration, for the leaders, and for building projects of various kinds.

I should like to ask the Under-Secretary how all this has been developing since 1959. I know, as the hon. Member for Bromley has said, that the first target for leaders was 1,300 by 1965. In my view that is humble enough—1,300 to attract young people numbered in millions. I know that in 1962 the then Parliamentary Secretary spoke of the Bessey Working Party which the Minister had set up in 1961 to consider the training of part-time leaders. But I do not seem to have heard whether the Government have increased that humble target of 1,300, or whether it is now proposed to do so.

Perhaps it is my fault, but I have never heard what happened to the Bessey Report. I have no clear idea of what happened about building. I know that in 1962–63 local education authorities applied for sanction for projects costing £7·9 million and that the Minister approved a total of £3·6 million, or well under half.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, North will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that in 1963–64, 39 schemes for boys' clubs, costing over £500,000, had to be dropped. I know that this year I failed to persuade the hon. Member for Lewisham, North and his Minister to sanction a gymnasium for a secondary school in Derby which was urgently required, although that meant that a promising youth centre would almost certainly collapse.

I am not trying to suggest that the Youth Service has had no results. On the contrary, I know that it has. In Derby there are centres which do extremely well. But I have a general impression that a large proportion of the grants go to organisations which are pretty "respectable", admirable, no doubt, though perhaps a little too rarified or specialised for a large part of the constituency when they want to attract, the boys and girls who need the service most.

I wonder whether the whole thing ought not to be on a larger and more ambitious scale, whether there has been too much reliance on voluntary bodies which already exist, and whether up to now the Youth Service has not been last in the order of priorities which the Ministry have observed. I hope that the Under-Secretary will comment on these points, and either reassure us, or tell us what measures he proposes to give the Youth Service more energy, more challenge and more drive.

I turn now to the provision of facilities for sport and physical recreation, in which our country used to lead the world and in which, alas, it is now falling lamentably behind—the provision of such things as playing fields, indoor sports halls, swimming baths, gymnasia, tennis, racquets and squash courts and all the rest of which the hon. Member for Bromley spoke. Many people will be inclined to judge this question by the medals we won in Tokyo some time ago. I remember that our diver, Phelps, had to go to Cardiff from London to do his training, and that in many other places there were not the facilities which Olympic athletes asbolutely require.

Our provision of sporting facilities is still inadequate in a high degree. I quote the judgment of a group of eminent authorities who wrote the Report, "The Upbringing of Young People", for the Council of the King George's Jubilee Trust some years ago. They said: There is an obvious and a crying need for playing fields and swimming pools, for more strenuous exercise. Such exercise provides a safety valve for aggressive energies and high spirits, and gives an opportunity for enjoyment and physical development now denied to the great majority of children and young people. I quote another opinion drawn up by a group of very knowledgeable men earlier this year.

They wrote: The inadequacies of sporting facilities in Britain, by comparison both with our needs and with the provision made in other countries, are at least as acute as they were five years ago. This does not mean that no facilities have been provided in the last five years. Of course they have, but with the shorter working week and, as the hon. Member for Bromley said, far more people wanting to play games or practise other forms of physical recreation, the shortage of facilities remains as great as it was five years ago.

It is now agreed, as the hon. Member for Bromley suggested, that a great advance would be made rapidly, if the existing facilities of school playing fields and gymnasia and the playing fields of individual firms were opened, under a proper system of control, to the general public. All that would require careful planning with the education authorities, the sports clubs, the teachers and so on; and it would need some money. Extra attendants and caretakers, and the provision of floodlighting and so on, would probably be required.

Much could be done in the public parks, especially where there are hard tennis courts which might be floodlit in the evening. There are football grounds in the parks which could be given much wider use. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will be considering all this in conjunction with the C.C.P.R., the National Playing Fields Association, the governing bodies of sport, the local authorities and the local sporting clubs.

There are two special points which I draw to his attention. The first is the great importance—the hon. Gentleman mentioned this—of the indoor sports hall. I do not know whether my hon. Friend has seen the indoor sports halls in many countries on the Continent, in Moscow, Leningrad and Peking, as I have. In Moscow and Leningrad, they are immense in scale, with a track, splendid facilities for field events, gymnastic equipment, courts for badminton, volley ball and basketball. For every sport there are organisers, leaders, coaches and, if necessary, referees, available for the many thousands who come. Of course, in Moscow and Leningrad and other Russian towns these indoor halls are in use mainly during the long winter; but with our climate here they could be of great value all the year round. I regard this as, perhaps, our greatest single need.

Second, I hope that my hon. Friend will encourage the development not only in every region, but in every considerable town, as soon as may be, of multi-sport centres for both indoor and outdoor games, with installations and equipment of the highest possible international standard. In Germany there are many such centres, some of them built by the city municipal authorities as unemployment works during the slump which followed the First World War. In other countries they are run by clubs—the Stade Francais in Paris, Real Madrid in Spain, Dynamo in Moscow. Dynamo is mainly a trade union club. These clubs have magnificent premises, swimming pools, playing fields, cafeteria, restaurants, dance halls, lecture halls, club rooms and the rest. There has been something of the same kind on a modest scale in Slough for many years. Now, at last, we have the Crystal Palace. In Derby we shall soon have something of which I hope the whole country will be proud. I take occasion to say that Derby has always been pretty advanced in providing facilities for games.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

My right hon. Friend is urging the provision of multi-sport centres in every town and city. Does he agree that there would have to be an order of priorities, and that priority should go to those towns in the North and in Scotland where the problem is most urgent?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Certainly, I agree, and I believe that such provision would have a powerful influence in preventing the flow of population from north to south. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making a most important point.

I was saying that Derby has always been pretty advanced in providing facilities for games. The parks department maintains and administers 100 football pitches, 100 tennis courts, 50 cricket pitches, four hockey pitches, two golf courses, besides bowling greens, facilities for boating, fishing and other sports. For many years, the council has owned what is called the municipal sports ground. Before 1939, it had planned to convert this into a centre of the kind I have described. The war, and the refusal of the Government to give financial help, have left it until now as a white elephant of which the people of Derby have not been proud. But it is a magnificent site, 23 acres in the middle of a large and populous built-up area, with trees and grass, suitable for a first-class centre in every way. I am glad to say that the council has now decided to make it precisely that.

This year, the council is to start building a running track to the best possible specifications laid down by the A.A.A. It is to renovate the existing cycle track, to provide changing rooms, floodlighting, a car park, cycle sheds, and so on. It hopes to add within the next few years a swimming bath which will be open-air in summer and indoor in winter. It intends then, by that time, I hope, with the financial help of the Under-Secretary of State, to build an indoor sports hall with a gymnasium, squash courts, a dance hall, club rooms and the other things I have described. Also, of course, there will be football pitches, tennis courts and so forth. It will take some time before the whole plan can be completed and, as I have said, I hope that by then the Government will have powers to give Derby Council the financial help it will need.

All this requires money, and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will receive from the Treasury the generous help to which the Government are pledged. I urge on him and on the Treasury that, even in our present parlous economic situation, the money he will spend will be a most productive social investment. It will give the nation a very high and, perhaps, a quick return. No one has made a close estimate of what juvenile delinquency and crime now cost the country. Not long ago, a partial survey produced the information that vandalism alone, the senseless destruction of public and private property, costs the country more than £1 million a year. One local council suffered damage to the tune of £39,000 in 12 months through the smashing of street lamps, the sabotaging of parks, the pulling up of plants and trees, and the removal of beacons and street signs. British Railways estimate that damage is done to trains to the tune of more than £500,000 a year. The breaking of windows and damage to floors, doors and ceilings of unfinished houses costs the equivalent of 3,000 homes a year, about 1 per cent. of the national output of new accommodation. Churches in many places have to be closed; hey can no longer be kept open for rest, prayer and meditation.

In Derby we have just had a horrifying example. An old-age pensioners' centre, 400 yards from the Midland railway station, in the very middle of the town, was broken into and set on fire. The precious library of gramophone records was destroyed, and damage to the value of £2,000 was done. This is the work of juvenile delinquents, young people of teen-age who feel that they are not partners in our society.

The task of rounding up, supervising and retraining juvenile delinquents is the life work of many able men and women. It takes up much time and labour in the courts. It costs the nation, beyond question, millions of pounds a year. And, alas, the juvenile delinquent of today is the hardened criminal of tomorrow. To keep a criminal in prison costs £300 a year. Our annual prison bill is about £10 million. Crime is increasing. There has been a 94 per cent. increase of house breaking in Scotland in eight years, another argument for my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). There was a 9 per cent. increase in crime in London from 1961 to 1962 and a further 7 per cent. increase in 1963.

The provision of facilities for games and physical recreation will reduce this frightful burden which the nation bears. I know that there are sports leaders who deny this proposition. They say that a good sportsman can be a bad man. There are psychologists who say that delinquency happens because of broken marriages, mothers who go out to work, constant violence on T.V. programmes and in the Press.

Of course those factors are important, but I prefer the opinion of Mr. Basil Henriques, whose long experience on the juvenile bench gave him unique authority. He said in court that, where there are adequate playgrounds, there is always less youthful crime. That view was emphatically endorsed the other day by Mr. Sage, the manager of our magnificently successful track team at the Tokyo Games. Mr. Sage is a magistrate, and he told me the other day that, from his own personal experience, he is fully convinced that Mr. Henriques's verdict is, beyond all question, true. I hope that the Under-Secretary will make this view prevail in Treasury counsels.

Mention of the Tokyo Games leads me to the last thing I want to say. Sport has become of great and growing international importance. I have the honour to be the Chairman of the International Council of Sport and Physical Education, which, after four years of existence, already has consultative status with U.N.E.S.C.O. The Vice-Chairman is Jean Borotra, of Wimbledon fame, and William Jones, the creator of the International Basketball Federation, is the very able Secretary-General. Sir Stanley Rous, the President of F.I.F.A. and other leaders are active members and supporters. The Council is trying, through its advice to U.N.E.S.C.O., to secure for sport and physical recreation their proper place in the educational system of every country. It is starting a big campaign, and I think a very important campaign, to uphold the principles and practice of fair play, on which all sport, amateur and professional, is built. I hope that when the U.N.E.S.C.O. Conference debates its budget—this is a practical point—the Under-Secretary will urge that the appropriations for its work on sport will be much increased. That, again, might be a magnificent investment. The world is spending £45,000 million a year on preparations for war. It is the young men and women who man the forces and who fight the wars.

Let me read some extracts from a letter from Tokyo, from the editor of a great Japanese news agency, Mr. Iwanaga, which I received the other day. He said that the games were very successful in every respect. He added: But I must report to you about the closing ceremony which was held in the evening of October 24.The National Stadium was packed to the capacity, with the Emperor and all other members of the Royal Family present.The ceremony began impressively with the fanfare and the marching of the flags of 93 participating nations. The last was the Japanese flag, but then there was a surprise. The athletes of various nationalities, more than 4,000 in number, simply refused to follow the order of the ceremony and started rushing into the stadium in one huge mass of friendship and joy. Whites and coloureds, Americans and Russians, all came in together, shoulder to shoulder.Soon Fukui, the Japanese flag bearer, was hoisted on the shoulders of athletes of several nationalities, and the whole procession was a dancing and jumping mass.After due ceremony in which the torch was extinguished and the tune of Auld Lang Syne flowed in the Stadium to make everybody sentimental, a real fun, a riotous fun exploded.The Stadium was literally one huge melting pot of exalted international and inter-racial friendship. It was an atomic blast of good will through sports.The scene brought tears of joy and happiness to the eyes not only of 75,000 spectators in the stadium, but those of an estimated 30 million television viewers all over Japan … for all the streets in every city throughout Japan were practically deserted for 90 minutes.Last night, as we had a post-Olympic get together with the foreign news agency colleagues, everyone was happy and satisfied, and talked to one another 'How good it is to live in a peaceful world,' And every Japanese is reiterating the same topic. I hope that the Under-Secretary will bear all that in mind as he does his daily work.

11.55 a.m.

Photo of Sir Hamilton Kerr Sir Hamilton Kerr , Cambridge

It is always a pleasure to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker). I call him my right hon. Friend deliberately, because this is a non-party debate and because I am always grateful to him for, in my alas! far-distant youth, teaching me some of the secrets of the running track. In Parliament I have run discreetly behind him, although on the running track it was at a far greater distance.

I am sure that we are all grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) for having used his good fortune in the Ballot to raise a subject connected with leisure and youth services. In his doing so, perhaps the mantle of his distinguished predecessor, Mr. Harold Macmillan, has fallen gracefully on his shoulders. No one knows better the art of living than Mr. Macmillan. The art of living surely consists in turning leisure to its fullest and wisest use. I remember that when I had the privilege of being his Parliamentary Private Secretary, during times of particular crisis, I would often see him reading a volume of Trollop, finding, I suppose, in the intrigues of bishops' palaces and rural deaneries some relief from the more formidable tensions evoked from the Kremlin.

Surely the problem of this age, when leisure is more available to all, is that, while the availability is there, so often the chance of using it is not there. The machine which made prosperity in the Industrial Revolution can likewise be an enemy. I remember Lord Avon telling me about his problems in the far-off Caribbean. Having bought a house on a distant island which he thought to be inaccessible, the arrival of jet aircraft and liners disgorging tourists made life virtually impossible with crowds of gaping sightseers surrounded his distant home.

This problem of leisure is twofold. First and foremost, young people are enjoying greater sums of money than ever before, pounds rather than the proverbial pennies. Secondly, the advance of automation, both in the home and in the factory, is giving vastly increased leisure. In fact, we are told by some authorities that if the progress in automation proceeds as expected, by the year 2,000 we may find that we have a working week of perhaps 16 hours, with the possibility of four hours a day for four days, or eight hours a day for two days. A witty friend of mine once tried to evoke a view of that age by describing an imaginary conversation between two friends in a St. James's Club. One said, "Did you hear that Bloggins is having trouble with his son? Why, the boy simply insists on working!"

These two alternatives offer us two very distinct possibilities. If they are mishandled, we may, as my right hon. Friend said, see a further increase in crimes of violence coming fast, but, if wisely handled, this new leisure may create an explosion of creative activity such as we have not seen since, say, the fifth century of Athens, or the fourteenth, fifteenth or sixteenth centuries in Italy.

In 1959, I had the honour of being the chairman of a committee which produced a pamphlet called "The Challenge of leisure." In it we advised that a research unit should be set up to study possible uses of leisure and say how young people could turn this leisure to their best advantage. We came to certain definite conclusions. The great psychologist Adler, when once asked the secret of the happiness of life, said, "Give; give all you have; all is not enough." I am sure that we can appeal more effectively to young people in youth services and other activities by asking them to give rather than by giving things to them.

Turning to the Youth Service, I was always deeply impressed by my experience as Member for Oldham. It was at the end of the war. A very agreeable and charming young lady called Miss Kathleen Brew arrived, and within a few months she had organised the boys and girls in the service of the old. The boys would dig in the gardens of old-age pensioners while the girls would do their shopping. I have never seen a happier band of young men and women giving service of that kind. I am certain that this is an example which should be followed. I was deeply impressed in my constituency of Cambridge, when canvassing in the election, to find two young boys from the Leys School making a weekly visit to a bedridden old-age pensioner. It would be wonderful for the youth service in this country to make the life of our old people less lonely and happier in every form.

Similarly, it would be possible for them to do tremendous work in helping to beautify the country. One hon. Member has mentioned slag heaps. I was intensely impressed on my second visit to Berlin, some years ago, by the change which had occurred since my first visit in 1948, when mile after mile of horrible, shattered, stinking ruins covered whole areas. Since 1948 the people of Berlin had created parks and sports grounds within the city. What a wonderful service our young people could give in beautifying parts of their native cities, particularly in the North, which have their dreary slag heaps. They might perhaps help to check the trend southwards by creating greater amenities. Those are two great services which could be performed, and there is also the great service of overseas work. I am glad that in my constituency of Cambridge the mayor has set up an organisation to deal with overseas service.

What about the other possible activities in this age of increased leisure? I want to mention only two—the two which offer a common language to all classes and to all races, the two which offer the greatest social solvent, namely, sport and the arts. When visiting Salisbury, in Southern Rhodesia, I was deeply impressed to see the running track where a young African, running in bare feet, defeated Gordon Pirie, accompanied by the cheers of white and coloured Africans. When I saw this I remembered what Arthur Bryant had written in his history of the English people—that if only some of the French dukes had played cricket with their tenants before the French Revolution, as the English dukes, they might have avoided a revolution altogether.

I wonder whether hon. Members have visted Timsbury Manor, which was given and created through the generosity of Mr. Oliver Cutts. I believe that part of the success of our Olympic team in Tokyo may be due to the fact that they were able to train there together. It gave a sense of comradeship and it raised their morale. We want more facilities of this kind.

But, while we want more nationally, I should like to see, too, far more done locally. In Finland, we have a model example of a small country which offers marvellous sporting facilities. When I come back to this country, as a ghost, perhaps, in 50 or 60 years' time, I hope to be able to go through the countryside and to see in most of our villages tennis courts, football grounds, running tracks and even swimming baths. As my hon. Friend said, it would do a great deal to diminish the tendency to crime.

May I deal very briefly with the second of the common languages which binds all classes and all races together—namely, the arts. In this respect we are very fortunate in this country.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I wonder whether, for the convenience of the House—and the last thing I want to be is discourteous to the House—I might intervene at this point. We recognise that this is a very wide-ranging Motion, and we do not complain of that. I certainly do not wish to stop any hon. Member talking about the arts, but that subject is the responsibility of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works.

I will, of course, convey to her any comments which are made on this subject, but I am asked to make it clear to the House that we very much hope early in the new year to have a debate specifically on the arts and the amenities. It might be advantageous for the House to have this information at this early point in the debate before some hon. Members participate.

Photo of Sir Hamilton Kerr Sir Hamilton Kerr , Cambridge

I am grateful to the hon. Member. I shall be very brief in my reference to the arts, but the subject is included in the Motion. Perhaps the hon. Member will be good enough to convey to his hon. Friends some of the points which I wish briefly to make.

Photo of Sir Hamilton Kerr Sir Hamilton Kerr , Cambridge

Perhaps we do not fully realise in this country what a wonderful privilege we enjoy as citizens. This country is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of treasures, mainly owing to the fact that we have not seen a war actually fought on the soil of England since Bonnie Prince Charlie turned back at Melbourne, south of Derby, in 1745. This has provided an immense wealth of both public and private collections.

On the other hand, I should like to see far more done locally. I should like to urge local authorities to avail themselves more generously of their power to raise a 6d. rate under the 1948 Act.

May I make one brief proposal. I wonder whether hon. and right hon. Members have been to the Geffrye Museum, in Kingsland Road, in the East End of London. I have been immensely impressed by the experiment by a very gifted lady who is the director there, and who has started a craft centre adjoining the museum, where people who are inspired by the beauty of the objects which they see can try their hand at handicrafts—textiles, for example, or even furniture. Local museums in many parts of the country are often in a very bad way; they are derelict, and their directors are very badly paid. They are not alive and they play no part in the living unit of the community.

Would it not be possible to create in these civic centres, or perhaps adjoining civic centres and museums, these craft centres where, for example, local exhibitions could be held of local artists and local photography? In this way we could make people feel that they are part of a living tradition in their local area. This would be a very great help.

Those, very briefly, are the points which I wanted to make. I believe that we in this country have a tremendous chance of setting what I would call a pattern of living for the second half of this century. Looking at our country and its history I have always felt—I do not know whether hon. Members agree with me—that part of our contribution as a small people in a small island off the Western Coast of Europe has been flavoured by the ideal which we retain of the all-round man. Our good friend Winston Churchill, whose 90th birthday we have just celebrated, gives the perfect example of that—of the orator, the stateman, the painter, the bricklayer. We find it revealed in other distinguished men, such as Sir Bernard Lovell, who at one moment will be heard discussing the vibrations from the collision of two galaxies 5,000 light years ago and the next moment is captaining his cricket team of Knutsford, or playing the organ of his church at Swettenham.

I believe that part of our contribution has been the tradition of the all-round man. This made us inventive, creative and adaptable. Perhaps this little island, although for the moment it may have lost its material or economic power, can even make a greater contribution in this century by setting a pattern of living for the coming age of leisure.

12.8 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

I congratulate the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on the very high standard of his speech and the manner in which he spoke, and also on the views which he expressed. I can assure him that on all these matters there is no difference between the two sides of the House—or perhaps, the three sides of the House, since we have a Liberal present. He also gave us the opportunity of hearing a first-class speech from my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker). Anyone who missed that speech will be well advised to read it in HANSARD. It was a classic of its kind and one which we were all delighted to hear.

My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State issued a warning that he will not deal with the arts. We know that his special appointment is concerned with outdoor recreation and sport, but I hope that he will not take it amiss if I make a few comments on the arts, to which reference is made in the Motion. I hope that he will transmit these remarks to our joint hon. Friend and that for the debate which he has promised us in the new year on the arts and the amenities our joint hon. Friends will formulate some ideas based on some of the remarks which, I am sure, will be made during the course of this morning's debate.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I hope that nothing which I have said would stop any hon. Member wishing to express his views from doing so. I think that the terms of the Motion would allow him to do so. As I do not intend to reply in detail, I thought it was only courteous to tell the House this and also explain what the Government have in mind in respect of this part of this tremendous subject.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for his courtesy. I am sure that we all understand the position very well. There is a division of function in this and he made it plain to us what his particular section is.

I should like to devote a few remarks to a very disturbing report issued yesterday about the acquisition of a number of theatres in London and the Provinces by one of the near-monopolistic combines in the arts, and to draw attention to the dangers which can occur from such a large-scale acquisition of places of entertainment, recreation and leisure.

I hope that this is within the scope of the hon. Gentleman's Motion today, because he, like myself and, I am sure, all hon. Members, wants to see more theatres and more places of recreation—of what might be called passive entertainment—but also of active participation by the young people of today in concerts, theatrical entertainments and all kinds of leisure activities.

These activities are not limited to sport. They also include activities of the mind and the intellect. The near-monopoly of theatres, which is becoming a great menace, will restrict the joys of entertainment and activity in which our people, young and old, can participate.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

Before the hon. Member leaves that point—he spoke about the particular proposal which we read of in the newspapers yesterday—is he suggesting that that acquisition will result in the closure of these theatres and the public not getting entertainment which they are now getting? Could he enlarge upon that?

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

I have not said that it may, but it does carry within it that danger—that any large monopoly in any direction can lead to what is euphemistically termed "rationalisation" and the diminution of competitors. It may well mean that any combine owning a large number of theatres may decide that a few theatres could compete more successfully for the theatre-going public than a large number of theatres competing individually and independently.

That has been the experience in the past, particularly in the provinces, where it can be found, in a large number of towns and cities, that where previously there were a large number of theatres they have been gradually reduced, either by being bought and closed down or by their conversion to other uses. I shall come on to conversion to other uses in a moment.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

The hon. Member will bear in mind that if one is to discuss the topic upon which he is engaged at present at all he must tie it up in some way to "urging Her Majesty's Government to include further support for the arts in the further use of leisure time". It seems difficult to get into it an argument about monopolies in that field.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, the full use of leisure time, including further support for the arts, I would submit, requires that there should be places in which the support for the arts could be expressed even by Her Majesty's Government. That means that there must be places of entertainment left open.

I was trying to argue that a monopoly in the ownership of these places could lead to a diminution in their numbers, or a restriction of their activities, and, therefore, restrict the further support for the arts which is asked for in the Motion. I will not go further into the question of ownership but rather into the uses to which existing theatres could be put, and make a plea for their extension rather than their diminution. That would come, I would submit, within the definition of "further support for the arts".

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

This is to be Government support. One has to bear that in mind.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I will bear that in mind, and that is what I was going to ask for.

The threat to the existing number of theatres caused by the buying up of a large number of them could lead to a restriction in the number of theatres being available, and therefore the number of places in which art could be expressed in one form or another. It could lead to their being restricted in the great variety of the arts and amenities and entertainments which are at present practised in these buildings, and it could lead to a restriction in employment for young actors and actresses who seek to obtain experience in their acting profession in theatres. It could lead to a restriction of employment for the workers in the theatre, whether they are cleaners, attendants, firemen, box office clerks or engaged in any other form of work.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

But we are talking of the use of leisure time. That is a question of their employment. We must not deflect this debate away from recreation and leisure.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

I was only mentioning it in passing.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

The hon. Member has put a number of negative aspects about this item in the papers yesterday. Some of us feel the other way round about this report, that it may be that the talent in television could be siphoned off to help the theatre.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

That would be television and not Government support. We really must keep this on the right lines.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

If the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) is of the opinion that greater leisure should be expressed through greater facilities to watch television, not only in television studios, but also in theatres, that is an opinion on which he and I must differ. The doubts which I was expressing about the way in which the facilities for leisure might be restricted apply in this case.

It has been said that the acquisition of this large number of theatres by this combine will, in the future, be devoted to rebuilding these places. The question of the present restriction on office building in London was referred to in the Press statement which was issued yesterday. This can only mean that there is, in the minds of those who have acquired these theatres, the idea that, some time in the future, when building restrictions are lifted, these theatres may be converted into offices. The number of theatres would thereby be reduced. This, I submit, requires the attention of Her Majesty's Government, particularly in view of the fact that existing regulations and the law regarding conversion of places of entertainment into something else are not sufficiently strong.

I hope that the Government will give attention to the looseness of the wording of the present regulations. I would draw the Minister's attention to the fact that a little while ago the Stoll Theatre, in Kingsway, was demolished and a promise was given that another theatre would be erected on the site. That was done. A small theatre was built in what was previously the basement of the Stoll Theatre and a huge block of offices was erected on top of it. That theatre existed as a theatre for a few months only. Since then it has had a varied career. It has been empty for a while and it is now being used as a cinema.

There is a strong rumour in the entertainment world that it will shortly be converted from a cinema into a television studio, which would remove it from the field of entertainment for the public and the leisure time use of the theatre-going public and remove another theatre from the London landscape. The existing regulations do not prevent that from happening. There is nothing at present to prevent any theatre or cinema being turned into a bingo hall or a bowling alley, or anything coming within the general term of "entertainment"—.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

Order. I do not like interrupting the hon. Member so much, but, with the greatest good will in the world, I cannot translate into the term "Government support" the amendment of insufficiently restrictive regulations. The hon. Member really must address himself to the Motion.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Then perhaps I may ask the Minister to draw to the attention of his hon. Friend who is concerned with the arts the distress caused by the fact that, owing to the looseness of the regulations, the number of places of entertainment is being reduced by conversions. If full use is to be made of the increased leisure resulting from an age of automation and mechanisation, we must have more places for recreation and entertainment.

12.21 p.m.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

I, too, would congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on his putting down this Motion and on the way he moved it. I hope that we shall hear a good deal from him in the future.

I do not wish to introduce an element of party controversy this morning, but I think it unfortunate that the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works has not seen fit to attend a debate concerned with the arts. Her absence very much restricts its usefulness, and I shall postpone a certain part of my speech until we have the further debate on the arts which the Joint Under-Secretary has undertaken will follow very shortly after the Christmas Recess.

Outdoor activities, as opposed to sports, were one of the subjects considered by the Wolfenden Committee, whose Report referred to the enormous heritage we still have—in spite of our large population and small area—in our mountains, rivers and open country, and the sea. It might be useful for a moment to consider whether we are making the fullest use of those facilities, and in that connection the scope of the National Parks Commission is relevant. The Commission has done a wonderful job in preserving sections of the countryside and in providing facilities as far as it can, but the time has now come to give further consideration to its rôle, to the method by which it is financed and to its powers for providing facilities.

Those who have sailed along the South Coast of England will have seen that large parts of that coast are the responsibility of the Commission, nor can they have failed to see that practically the whole coastline is being spoiled by bad planning. I should like the Commission to be given a great deal more responsibility over coastal waters, estuaries, and areas of that kind, so that the diminished areas of beauty that remain on the South Coast may be preserved.

There will probably always be some form of controversy between those who live and work in the countryside and those who go there for their enjoyment, but much of that controversy can be resolved by education and by more clearly defining the rights of those using the countryside in their various ways. Although education has done a lot in recent years, there are still those people who go out into the countryside and then "spoil the market" for others by leaving gates open and dumping litter. Much more education is needed in this respect.

Large tracts of land still belong to or are the responsibility of different Government Departments. There are the Service Departments, there is the Forestry Commission, and there are the various water undertakings, with their catchment areas. We should find out whether some of the restrictions over those areas are unnecessary and might be removed. The time has probably come for the Service Departments to be asked to undertake a comprehensive review of their land requirements as a whole in order to find out whether more land cannot be released. A great deal of the most beautiful part of our country is still taken up by Service training requirements, and that aspect could be looked at again.

We might also see whether all the restrictions on access to catchment areas are really necessary. I should like to see the new reservoirs that are coming into service being used not only to provide water for the great cities but as centres of recreation. I cannot see why sailing clubs should not use those reservoirs, which are often within comparatively easy access of our large cities.

The Forestry Commission should be asked whether all its restrictions of access are necessary. I often find when visiting the Commission's areas that there are too many locked gates. One appreciates the danger of fire, but the Commission could probably be rather more generous with regard to access.

Our transport system is being re-organised, and no matter what the present Government may decide, large mileages of railway will be made redundant, very largely in the rural areas. Further, whatever may be done to preserve our canals, some of them will become redundant. It has been calculated that about 5,000 miles of railway and a fairly large mileage of canals will become redundant in the next 10 years or so. We now probably have a once-and-for-all opportunity of a survey on a national scale with a view to turning our redundant railways and canals into a system of "greenways" for hikers, riders and cyclists, and from which motor cars should be excluded.

A survey of the possibilities of this was done by Mr. Michael Dower, and the results of it were published in the December, 1963, issue of the Architectural Review. He estimated that at the comparatively small cost of about £500,000 a national system of "green-ways" could be established and that the opportunity probably would not occur again. I ask the Government to consider very carefully whether a national survey of this kind could be undertaken in the fairly near future. I believe that now we have an unrivalled opportunity to do that.

The remainder of what I proposed to say concerned largely the responsibilities of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works. In view of what has been said, I intend to defer that. I should merely like, once again, to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley on bringing forward this Motion.

12.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

I have a suspicion that the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples) may well have been talking to the people in the world of sailing to whom I have been talking. At any rate, I suspect that many of us have great sympathy with his views on water resources and not least with what he said about the need for a long hard look at the requirements of the Services. As he rightly said, there is scope for a considerable inquiry into this matter. Clearly, no promises can be made until we have further information, but to anyone who keeps his eyes open it must seem that there are considerable areas which it is not necessary for the Services to use. I do not refer to the well-established ranges, which may be necessary.

If the hon. Gentleman has been talking to the same people as I have, he will also have heard from them that considerable difficulties arise from the regulations for mooring boats. Perhaps the Joint Under-Secretary of State would consult his legal friends on the laws pertaining to the mooring of small boats.

Like other speakers, I must congratulate the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on introducing this Motion. Perhaps I could fasten on to one of the points which he made about what happens to those in middle or elderly life who accept youth leadership training. This is a real human problem. It is all very well to persuade men and women to train for the youth leadership service when they are in their early twenties. But it is a rather different proposition for them at 35, 40 or 45 years of age, when they feel less like it. I suspect that many hon. Members will know personally people of 45 or 50 years of age, who through illness or the change of life, are rather pathetic figures and who exhaust themselves physically and indulge in exertions only legitimately expected of much younger people.

It is not easy to give the answer to this problem. The hon. Member for Bromley said that these people should be trained as social workers, but it occurs to me that this training would be 25 years stale. Whether it would be more useful to retrain or, more useful still, to train them as primary school teachers is open to question. However, it is sufficient to say that the hon. Member raised an extremely important point which the Ministry should consider.

The hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr) made a very pointed remark when he said that young people wanted to give. May I commend to the House the work of Alec Dickson and his Community Service Volunteers organisation, which will be known to many hon. Members, including, I am sure, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker). The point which Mr. Dickson makes is that we need to make it possible for more young people to share in these opportunities of service. When they offer their leisure time for purposes like these, Mr. Dickson says that it is not funds which matter most. The adult community and our welfare organisations, both statutory and voluntary, must be swift to accept their service. I gather that there is some evidence that the voluntary organisations are not quite as ready to accept this service as many of us would like.

It is the view of the Community Service Volunteers organisation that we should be looking to urban renewal, the development of the North-East and Scotland, and developments in the Lea Valley and in the Highlands and Islands from the, point of view of how they can enable young people to participate personally and physically in the reconstruction of Britain. That is merely an enlargement of the hon. Member's point that many young people wish to give.

Perhaps I can concentrate on rather more mundane matters and a number of small practical suggestions which would bear fruit out of all proportion to the capital expense involved. The first is a very dull one. The Under-Secretary of State will know that there are great difficulties about administrative costs. One example of many is that the secretary of the diving section of the Amateur Swimming Association is giving up his post in March. I understand from the Association that it is finding it almost impossible to get a replacement because of the sheer burden of letter writing and secretarial work involved in the expanding job which it is expected to do.

If this is true of the Amateur Swimming Association, it is also true of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association and branches of many other sporting bodies. My proposal is that in cities it would be sensible to set up a central office—a sort of omni—sport office—where secretarial assistance could be given to all amateur bodies. If we argue as politicians that we want sport in Britain to follow what I believe is a good British tradition—the tradition of operating through amateur bodies—we must play fair with the amateur bodies, and enable them to cope with ever-increasing secretarial needs.

I confess that a year ago I argued in the House that the provision of sport facilities for young people was too important a matter to be left to the amateur bodies. Perhaps I was wrong. If I was, then provision must be made to let the amateur bodies do the job properly, because the alternative is a professionally organised set-up, with all the costs and disadvantages involved which hon. Members might appreciate, particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

I support what my hon. Friend is saying. In a recent conversation Mr. Sandy Duncan, who holds so high a place in the sporting world and renders such great service to the Olympic Association, said to me that his first priority would be the provision of secretarial and administrative help to the governing bodies of sport.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

If one proposes central offices for cities, it is not, frankly, realistic to propose central offices for each town. It is fortunate that the Minister has educational Departmental duties. Perhaps he could consider ways of setting up secretarial assistance for branches of amateur bodies in education offices throughout the country and, perhaps, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office could provide in education offices the secretarial assistance required by smaller branches of amateur bodies. That is my first specific point.

My second point concerns the Youth Service. My information is that the provision of outdoor facilities in the south of England is fairly adequate. Much has been done, and we must give credit to the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway) and others who were responsible for this. But it is a different story in the North. My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) will know that it is a very different story in Scotland.

The point I put to my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South in my intervention is valid. If priorities are to be established in the provision of multi-sports centres or indoor sports halls, then there should be a bias in favour of the North and of Scotland and I hope that hon. Members will appreciate that there are special needs in the northern part of this country which do not apply so much elsewhere, particularly in the South-East.

Much has been said about outdoor facilities, but when it comes to indoor facilities I am not able to give the credit I would like to the hon. Member for Lewisham, North, for the word that was used to me on three separate occasions from three separate informed sources about our indoor facilities was "appalling", particularly for five-a-side football and the provision of fairly unadorned halls of about 120 feet by 60 feet in which there could be badminton, basketball and netball. Perhaps I should follow the tradition of the House at this point and declare my interest as President of the Scottish Amateur Basketball Association.

My information is—and, if inaccurate, I would wish to be corrected by my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State—that the Youth Service can provide outdoor and indoor football, netball, table tennis and lawn tennis. It would like to provide but is unable to do so hockey, rugby, canoeing, athletics, judo and sailing. My crisp question, therefore, is: can provision be made to help the Youth Service expand its activities horizontally into other forms of sport?

I have another specific question. My information is that the National Association of Youth Clubs last August had to cancel its festival at Crystal Palace which had been planned for next May. It had to do so for want of a sum of money and perhaps hon. Members would care to guess how much. It was £5,000. For the want of £5,000, I understand, this festival had to be cancelled, rather late in its organisation. Is this true or not? Perhaps my hon. Friend will tell us. There may be another side to the story but we just want the facts.

The next question concerns the provision of technical officers in sport. Here again we must be realistic. Some of us in the past have made perhaps rather absurd requests of previous Governments for the numbers of technical officers who should be provided. I shall concentrate now on one sport—swimming. Apparently, for the whole of England there are only three technical officers whose salary and superannuation are paid out of public funds through administrative costs.

Bert Kinnear, the senior coach, wants seven technical officers and this seems a fairly modest request for the whole of England. What about Scotland? I gather that the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association asked for the services of Bert Kinnear for one week in the year and that this was curtly refused, whereupon the Association asked St. Andrew's House to intervene. It seems grotesque that a country which produces the MacGregors and others should have to rely on an English paid coach for one week in the year. Nor, since 40 men have passed the tough A.S.A. coaching course, is there a shortage of qualified applicants.

May we have information on this, particularly since the Amateur Swimming Association, following the Hungarians and others, has now established for the first time age group championships for young people between 9 and 10, between 10 and 11 and between 11 and 12, which is a wholly desirable idea.

Perhaps it is a bit underhand to tax a Minister with what he himself has suggested as an ordinary back bencher but I would remind my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State that, in a previous incarnation, he talked about the uses that he would like to see football clubs make of the social side of their activities. He used to be eloquent in advancing the case for football clubs becoming social centres and centres not just for football but for a number of other sports.

It would seem that here is a foundation, particularly among the more impoverished clubs of Divisions 3 and 4, and Scottish Division 2, upon which, with the aid of some Government subsidy, we can build. With all sorts of strings attached and subject to inquiry by this House and the most stringent financial control, we must investigate whether such clubs could serve as a base for multi-sports centres. It is very easy for us all to talk about multi-sports centres but these are not created overnight and it is better to have a nucleus to start from. Therefore, it seems sensible that the Minister should come into this and find out from the representatives of the associations to which the clubs belong whether they would be agreeable to forming the nucleus of this kind of multi-sports centre.

I now become critical. I want to know from my hon. Friend—and I have given him notice—exactly what the relationship is between the Architects' Department of the Department of Education and the sporting bodies. I want to know specifically whether the Architects' Department consulted the sporting bodies, with what result and whether the circular from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Department of Education, sent to the local authorities last summer, has been taken notice of seriously rather than politely.

Those of us who, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South, are eloquent on the question of multi-sports centres are clear that we are not going to get, in the forseeable future, for financial reasons and because of shortage of building resources, multi-sports centres in every town, as my right hon. Friend pointed out. Therefore, it would seem sensible that grants given should be attached to providing sports centres for schools so that the schools could use the facilities between 9 o'clock and 4 o'clock and the adult world and teen-agers in employment could use them between 5 o'clock and 10 o'clock.

The hon. Member for Bromley quite rightly talked of the resistance of headmasters and chief education officers. Let us be fair to them. They have a case. They do not want to see any damage done to their schools. It is a question of providing supervision but we must see that inertia does not allow us to waste resources, because this is not an alternative between sports centres in the town and sports centres attached to schools. The alternative, which must be realistically discussed, is whether there are to be sports facilities at all or whether they are to be attached to schools.

Let us get our choice right and find out what the Department has done about this or whether, in fact, very little attention has been paid to the circular, as some of us suspect, and that it was put round merely to keep quiet various difficult politicians.

I wish to raise one other point in connection with this. It may be argued by Whitehall that it is difficult to provide facilities for teenage and adult use in schools, because it would be outside the Ministry of Education Vote. I suspect that officials in Whitehall may well take refuge in the fact that they are answerable to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons and if they set up an organisation, which perhaps was profit-making, to use school swimming baths for adults outside school hours would render them liable to be had up before the Public Accounts Committee for the wrong use of expenditure. As a member of the Public Accounts Committee for two years, perhaps I can say that we are not unreasonable men, and that this form of argument does not hold any water at all.

While we are discussing swimming baths, I wish to make reference to the belief that every youngster in this country should have some training for an aquatic emergency. A few days ago one of my 17-year-old constituents and, incidentally, a former pupil of my own, went out on the Firth of Forth in a home-built canoe which capsized and he was drowned. The hon. Lady the Joint Under-Secretary of State may recollect that there was considerable mention of this in the Scottish Press. From personal experience, I can tell the House that this would not have happened had there been a swimming bath in the town of Bo'ness which has a population of 12,000. So let us be clear about the urgency of this problem.

If, like the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, we are talking of using water resources, as I believe it is right to do, we have to make sure that everyone learns to swim in the same way as everyone learns to read and write. It is only reasonable that this should be done if swimming baths are provided in each town, preferably attached to the largest school, with access by other schools until 4 p.m., and by the adult world from 5 to 10 p.m.

12.52 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

I have considerable sympathy for what was said by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) about teaching children to swim. I represent a constituency which is on the River Thames and where there are a fair number of facilities, but I realise that other parts of the country are not so well placed, and that there children must depend, not on a river or natural lake, but on the provision of swimming pools in order to learn to swim.

There is one other point in that connection to which I think it worth drawing attention. In addition to a life-saving belt, I think that at every life saving station there should be provided the cheap and portable life-saving apparatus capable of pumping air into the lungs, which was developed at Porton, the Army gas establishment. By means of this apparatus people who have been asphyxiated can be revived.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on his speech, which was not only excellent but also brief, and also on his good fortune in winning first place in the Ballot. I have been in this House for 10 years and only once have I won first place. That was some way through my career. Anyone who wins the Ballot in the first year of entering Parliament is destined for high office, because the Whips automatically say, "This man is in tune with Parliament. He must be in the swim", and they promote him very rapidly.

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) has left the Chamber. I thought that he made a non-partisan speech, but he said something at the beginning which did not please me too much. He talked about the previous Government having allowed betting shops and bingo halls, and so on, but he did not refer to the great support which they gave to sport in the last few years. I think that the financial support has risen to about £4½ million. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway) will expand on that.

An example I wish to mention relates to a sports stadium, an athletic stadium, which has been built at Twickenham, at a cost of £90,000. It is the joint headquarters of the Harlequin Rugby Club, and of the Spartan Ladies' Club one of the chief athletic clubs for ladies which trains them for the Olympic Games. This new stadium has not been as well used as I should like. It is large and fairly well equipped. The experience of my constituents who take a great interest in this matter is that the policy should be to erect a fewer number of large and well-equipped stadia rather than a large number of small stadia all over the country. I do not think that it would be right for every local authority to build a running track in the hope that it would be of much use.

The success of the new athletic stadia depends on the clubs which join and the success of the clubs depends to a great degree on the coaching which is provided. There are a limited number of good athletic coaches and a limited number of clubs. It is no use putting down a running track in a village and hoping that the lads will use it. They will not make any progress that way. They wish to go to a place which is well equipped for all kinds of sport, running, hurdles, field sports, and so on. I suggest that it would be better to have fewer well-equipped stadia rather than a large number that are badly equipped.

I was glad that the right hon. Member for Derby, South referred to that wonderful scene at the Olympic Games when 5,000 athletes came into the stadium at Tokyo singing "Auld Lang Syne" and with linked arms. The right hon. Gentleman said that this was seen by 30 million Japanese on television. I saw it myself and I am sure that many other hon. Members did. I believe that this was seen by millions all over the world. I believe, and I hope, that television may be the means of avoiding a third world war. If one sees such wonderful scenes of countries linked in friendship in that way, surely no one would want to go to war with the people whom they have met and seen in such a friendly atmosphere. When I saw that television programme, I could not help feeling that it might be a hopeful sign for the future.

I wish to refer to the excellent work which has been done by the Central Council for Physical Recreation. During the summer I went to one of its headquarters, at Bisham Abbey, near Marlow, on the Thames, and I saw the work being done there; the teaching of tennis, sailing, canoeing and other sports. For a few pounds anyone can take a week's or a weekend course at this sort of headquarters and I am sure that the more we can do to develop that through the C.C.P.R., the better.

I should like to refer to the Council's excellent booklet on Inland Waters and Recreation, particularly as it relates to the Midlands. The Under-Secretary will know very well the area to which I refer. This booklet points to the fact that waterways may be used for all manner of purposes, and there is a reference to the use of unfilled wet-gravel pits as natural lakes. In 27 counties, 5,500 acres of gravel pits are being used for recreation by 168 fishing, sailing, water ski-ing and canoeing clubs. Others are used as nature reserves, providing conditions ideal for the naturalist who wishes to study nature and transitory birds. More and more people wish to use these pits for this purpose and there is a long waiting list. At least 37 clubs have applied to use the pits.

Being connected with the River Thames Society, I know how important it is that we should develop the gravel pits as they fall out of use and become filled with water. It is surprising what goes on in areas quite near big towns, because one has only to go to the reservoir at Staines, over which one flies every time one leaves London Airport, to know that there is a large bird-watching fraternity at Staines which watches birds on reservoirs.

Personally, I should like to see the Staines Reservoir and other reservoirs used for sailing. There is in Sussex a drinking water reservoir which is used for sailing, and I cannot see the difficulty of the Metropolitan Water Board in not allowing these reservoirs to be used for sailing.

I come to my main point, which is to refer to a very old sport, namely, sailing and yachting, which has developed so much in the last few years. It is amazing that in what has been regarded in the past as a rich man's sport how the popularity of this sport has increased. In 1951, there were 13,000 dinghy sailors and yachtsmen and today there are 250,000. This is a tribute to 13 years of Tory rule and the affluence that it has brought about. I am still a dinghy sailor and I find it, a thrilling sport. I have recently gone into specialising on catamarans and find that there is nothing more thrilling than being "flown along on a trapeze" by a catamaran at about 12 knots with the water streaming by one's side.

To sail in the Thames Estuary in a catamaran, and find that it is going faster than a steamship, is a very surprising experience. I would mention that the double-hulled catamaran, apart from being fast, is a very useful boat for beginners because of its stability. It is easy to sail and one which is better for beginners than the ordinary conventional boat.

I want to plead the cause of the British Universities Sailing Association, which, I think, has had a rather rough deal through circumstances no doubt beyond anyone's control at the moment. This Association was formed seven years ago on a voluntary basis and it is made up of vigorous young men and young women. It is representative of and has affiliated to it 25 universities. It runs national championships and international matches. During the last few years it has run matches against France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and America. This summer it is preparing a team for the race against the American universities for the British-American Universities Cup and for the Lipton Trophy. Eliminating races will be held on the Welsh Harp in January, when 40 competitors are taking part.

This sounds like a big effort but, in fact, the subscriptions which go into the Association are very modest indeed The subscription is only 2 guineas per university, making an income of about 50 guineas a year with donations from ex-members and well-wishers. B.U.S.A.— "boozer ", as it is popularly known by the students—does not get an annual grant from the British University Sports Federation. The officials are very sympathetic, but there are technical difficulties pertaining to the nature of sailing.

I speak with some knowledge of this matter, as I have been President of B.U.S.A. for the last five years. If I can put these difficulties on the record perhaps the Under-Secretary would have a look at them and consider if anything can be done to help. A grant can only be given for national championships if the Association makes a loss. These national championships, when held at the seaside, are not very expensive and are covered by the entrance fees and, normally, do not make a loss. This year they were held near Liverpool and made a loss and the British University Sports Federation gave a grant of £54.

If they do not make a loss, I think that there is no grant. There is no grant for international team meetings, which seems to be a great pity because the Association has to give a few pounds to every student to go overseas to help with their fares. I understand that there is no grant for these international races.

Another technical difficulty is that this Association includes Trinity College, Dublin, which, for some reason, is regarded as a foreign university, and also the United Hospitals, which it has always had in its membership, the United Hospitals not technically being a university.

Another difficulty arises out of the particular expertise in sailing as opposed to general athletics, where a student perhaps reaches his peak at 24 or 25 and then falls back. The boy or girl taking up sailing, in which experience counts a great deal, can improve every year until perhaps the age of 30. The Association has found that the older students, aged 26 or 27, the graduates and research students, dominate all the teams. Therefore, it has put on a four-year restriction for rotation in the teams; in other words, the normal research students and graduates are not in the Association sailing teams. That seems to put it outside the British University Sports Federation, which insists on membership being open to research students and graduates. I think that this is a speciality applied only to sailing.

Lastly, the rules of the Association are very democratic. It runs itself. It likes to think that its decisions are upheld and it feels that if it joined the Universities Sports Federation it might become a sort of sailing sub-committee, subject to all sorts of restrictions. I do not know how true that is. The Federation is only two years old and is probably having teething troubles, but it will grow and expand and the officials are very sympathetic. If the Under-Secretary would have a word with it and say, "Please make the rules a little more flexible. Do not be too technical on these rather outside sports", I think that it would help very much to put university sailing on a national basis.

Finally, we all want to encourage sport, recreation and the use of leisure. I have come to the conclusion that it is best done through support given to institutions and other clubs. I do not think that it would be a great help to build a large number of stadia all over the country, just used by the one or two persons. I except, of course, walking and rambling, but, generally speaking, in sport whether athletics, sailing or whatever it may be, the Government support which trickles down through these bodies has to come through properly organised clubs and associations, and anything that we can persuade the Government to do in future to help in widening this will be appreciated not only by the House, but by the whole population.

1.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

I, too, am grateful to the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt), because far too many young people find leisure a burdensome vacuum rather than an enriched source of experience. There is today a grave danger that increased personal affluence will be matched by a creeping cultural impoverishment and that leisure will lead along paths far removed from the long and narrow ones recommended by the Ramblers' Association.

This is not to say that it is the job of the Government to prescribe how we should use our leisure time. Indeed, it is essential in a healthy democratic environment that the pursuit of leisure activity is left largely to the personal choice of the individual. We must provide real choice. It is the lack of real choice about which I complain. We must encourage the constructive use of leisure, in the same way as we encourage participation in other aspects of the nation's life. We can, and I believe we must, provide the kind of society in which the arts and sporting activities will be freely available to all young people as a natural feature of our way of life.

To secure this end in sport and recreation, I believe that the key lies in greater financial support, but not only that. This in itself is not enough. Some years ago the Labour Party issued a most forward Looking political document called "Leisure for Living" in which the proposal was made for a sports council of Great Britain analogous to the Arts Council. I believe that there is an important educational job to be done in relation to sport and education, because far too many youngsters—I myself am in this category, or was not long ago, at any rate—see the world of sport as consisting of the local professional football match on winter Saturday afternoons and of the local county cricket match in the summer.

There is little concept among the broad mass of working youngsters—I mix with them every week in my constituency; I mix with them in my normal and natural life—of the vast horizons of sport and leisure activities which could be opened up to them. It is a never failing source of amazement to me that we do not provide on every beach and in every park facilities for volleyball, which are to be seen on visits to the Continent. It has been suggested that such facilities might be provided in the Central Lobby. This game demands so little space that it would be particularly appropriate in congested cities, where such facilities are most needed. I believe that with a little publicity volleyball could become a national craze.

The same applies equally to the lack of facilities for such sports as basketball and badminton. Running tracks should be a must in every sizeable town. Winter stadia and other indoor facilities for training are required. We should come to terms with our generally inclement climate, particularly in my part of the country. We need indoor concrete practice wickets, indoor tennis courts, etc. The long dark winter nights make indoor facilities as important as outdoor facilities.

Many of the existing facilities are not exploited to the full. There are many school facilities which are reserved for the few which might be made available in the evenings and at weekends for the use of outsiders. I have been having a protracted and largely unsuccessful battle with a local authority to allow the use of a school assembly hall for a local dance club, not run by youngsters, but by people of mature age, people who are quite responsible, so that there is no question of vandalism.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Twelve hours ago by the clock my hon. Friend and I were listening to a debate on the problems of a possible new town near Manchester. Would not he agree that new towns present an unparalleled opportunity to start from scratch to put into operation the sort of planned schools-cum-sports centres to which he is referring?

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for that suggestion. It has been suggested that in the conurbation of Manchester, within 50 miles of which there are over 11 million people, we could do with a major stadium and allied facilities. I hope that the Department responsible for the new town will pay attention to what my hon. Friend has said. Such gymnasia and swimming pools belonging to schools should not be wasted during the greater part of the week.

Many sports are preserved as the privilege of a few. The delights of sailing, which I am glad to see are being spread among the greater part of the population; the delights of pony trekking; winter sports—all these must become the province of all people and not merely of a privileged minority. There is not a public school or a grammar school which does not take justifiable pride in its sporting facilities and in its achievement in producing children with not only healthy minds but healthy bodies.

I well remember from personal experience the contrast between these two worlds of sport, because on Saturdays I used to turn out with the local grammar school. We had an excellent pitch, adequate dressing rooms, hot showers and a free tea afterwards. On Sundays I turned out for my local football team on a stretch of ground more resembling a paddy field where perhaps potholing would have been a better sport.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

The hon. Gentleman seems to be suggesting that public schools and grammar schools occupy a privileged position in relation to sporting facilities. That may have been the case some years ago. Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that half the children in this country now go to schools which have fine new buildings and that splendid facilities exist in most schools?

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

We might add to that that about two-fifths of our schools were built before the 1914–18 war, and there are many schools in the Manchester and Salford area which do not possess even the first elementary sporting facilities.

Photo of Mr Paul Rose Mr Paul Rose , Manchester, Blackley

In view of this contrast, it is no wonder that we are very largely a nation of watchers rather than participants and lag sadly behind other European countries in our provision for sport.

I should like to see other facilities provided. I pride myself on being one of those hardy holidaymakers who occasionally risk our climate and go camping. Some of the facilities for camping in this country are atrocious. At Whitsuntide I was sampling the scenic beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Even as a Lancastrian I could scarce forbear to praise the Yorkshire Dales, but I was unable to find there a camp site with the most elementary sanitary facilities. In the provision of camping sites local authorities might well fill the gaps which private enterprise has left.

Local educational bodies might well take a leaf out of the French book and provide holiday colonies for school children which so often can form their first introduction to the seaside or the countryside. It has also been suggested that those great magnets of recreation, the professional football clubs, could help by adopting schemes such as that which Madrid has. There was an abortive attempt in Manchester to take over a club which has been finding difficulties for some years. Clubs can become the centre of sporting activity and introduce the very diversity I have been advocating.

I have mentioned the growth in the popularity of camping. This has been caused by the fact that more people have mechanised access to the countryside. An even more purposeful occupation and pastime can be derived from the inland waterways. The Inland Waterways Association points out that our canals stretch green fingers into the country by which they can carry urban populations to the remotest parts. This is one of the functions by which we can provide the nation with the widest possible choice. We accept that water acts as a magnet to holiday makers. As the lakes and seashores become overcrowded, this is an additional recreation in which a little Government expenditure and locally-raised money could in the long run prove economically beneficial.

It is only a century since the population of Manchester and Salford took pleasure in cruising down the River Irwell, but those who know the river now know that it would be a hazardous experience unless one wore a gas-mask. Is it too much to hope that we shall provide the kind of environment where young people from the cities shall not be denied the pleasure of healthy activity and spiritual rejuvenation which should be the heritage of all our people?

1.22 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

I am glad to be able to follow at this stage in the debate what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr), because I think that as usual he introduced a most civilised note to our proceedings which have been diverted, almost by a conscious act of Government policy, almost exclusively into the realms of sport.

The Motion we are discussing is introductory until the last line but one, which says: fuller use of leisure time, including further support for the arts"— That is the first-mentioned subject— and improve sports and youth service facilities. Although the Minister said that we shall have a debate later exclusively devoted to the arts and amenities, for which we are grateful and look forward to having it early in the New Year, I think it a little late for him to intervene in the speech of one of my hon. Friends to tell us that the debate today is largely concerned with sport and outdoor activities. If he had wished to inform the House in a more effective way, he could have arranged for a question to be put to the Leader of the House on the business statement yesterday. Then some of us might have been able to enjoy that rare feature in the Parliamentarian's life, a little absence from the House.

I shall not apologise if my speech is somewhat slanted to a discussion of the arts, although I shall say something about sport. That may be an incentive to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works, whom we are sorry not to see here today in spite of the explanation which has been given.

I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge mentioned the civilised and civilising effect of the former Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Macmillan. I am glad that his successor as Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) was fortunate in introducing this subject today and giving the subject of arts and civilised life as prominent a position in his Motion as he gave the subject of sport.

It has been recalled that Mr. Macmillan, even at times of crisis, was able to escape into the world of Trollope and the intrigues of the County of Barset. I live in a county which bears a certain resemblance to that mentioned in the works of Trollope. I hope that the Trustees of the Puddletown Nurses House Charity are not too much put out at the postponement of their meeting so that I might take part in this debate.

Leisure—who are we to talk about it? Members of Parliament surely have no leisure, certainly not in the present situation in the House when the parties are fairly evenly balanced. The sparse attendance here today does not indicate that a majority of hon. Members are indulging in leisure at present. They are hard at work in their constituencies. Nor, indeed, does the fatuous Motion which has been put on the Order Paper by a large number of hon. Members opposite, most of whom are completely unacquainted with the proper running of our Parliamentary business. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]

May I come straight back into order by saying that while that proposal is designed to provide hon. Members with the leisure they hope to enjoy, it would merely mean that civil servants and all sorts of other people who serve us would have to stay up at night even later in order to deal with all the things which could not be done during the working day because the House would be meeting in the mornings as well as the afternoons. [Interruption.] I am sorry if I have introduced a slightly discordant note at the beginning of my speech. Perhaps I may come to a subject which will commend itself more to hon. Members.

Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East

The hon. Member is talking about the proposal that the House should sit during the daytime. Is he aware that Committees sit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays?

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

That is entirely my point. The Motion—.

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

I think the House has heard enough on this point. Perhaps the lion. Member will now come back to the Motion.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

I am most grateful to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for enabling me to pass from that subject on which I have a complete answer to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence): It is my own fault that I introduced it at this stage. No doubt we shall be able to debate it in a most controversial way at some later time.

We have had a fairly wide-ranging debate, in spite of the attempt somewhat to circumscribe it. I wish to speak mostly on the arts and amenities. One of my right hon. Friends pointed out that in the case of action-painting the worlds of athletics and the arts come together. Whereas sport is very largely chosen to use up the surplus energy of some fortunate members of the community, the arts are there for all of us to enjoy, to civilise our life and to improve it. I believe that ugly surroundings make for ugly lives. Much of the ugliness in life today is the product of lack of education. There are just not enough people in the country, even in this second half of this century, who know enough or care enough about artistic matters.

It is still only too true to say that the cheap and nasty in all manner of fields attracts the great majority and makes the most money for those who are interested in that aspect of the problem. There are cheap and nasty books, cheap and nasty newspapers and films. One can give a great catalogue. The Government cannot alter by legislation. Here there is a certain division between our two great parties. I shall indicate the massive support which my party gave to the arts and to facilities for leisure. We have heard a little about that already. I am sure that the present Government wish to continue that good work.

Where the parties differ is perhaps in their approach to the problem of how much Government control there should be. The rôle of the Government in this matter is to cultivate and not to control.

The theme of the Government and the arts was admirably put in a booklet which has been mentioned in the House before, called "Government and the Arts" and it was produced by four hon. Friends of mine, three of them baronets. [HoN.MEMBERS: "Oh."] In order that I should not give a false impression, I would point out that if there are on this side of the House three baronets interested in leisure, there are more than 30 baronets concerned with other great issues of the day. The four are the right hon. Member for Guildford (Sir R. Nugent), the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), the hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr), and the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley).

This is an excellent publication and I commend it to hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is commendably short and should be a most valuable basis for our discussions in the debate which we are to have after Christmas.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

The hon. Member accuses me of advertising. There is an hon. Member opposite who advertised a rival publication a short time ago, and I hope that both will be considered.

The theme of this pamphlet is that the Government have a special responsibility to keep a watchful eye on and to be interested in the arts. Indeed, my hon. Friends came to the decision that a Minister of Fine Arts was not the right way, because that would imply Government interference on too great a scale, but that a Minister with a special responsibility was the answer. The idea of a Parliamentary Secretary was suggested. The present Government have taken that up and there is now a Parliamentary Secretary with a special responsibility.

I differ from my hon. Friends in this. I take the view that a Parliamentary Secretary is not a person of sufficient prestige and standing to look after this great subject, and in the present circumstances when Ministers of State are two a penny surely we should have a Minister of State to look after this subject.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

The hon. Gentleman is drawing upon his knowledge of Conservative Parliamentary Secretaries when he makes this assertion.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

The hon. Gentleman has made a perfectly fair debating point. I will go on to reinforce my point of view by saying that I advocated a Minister of State when Ministers of State were Ministers of State, which they were before the election, but, as I have said, there are now a great number of them and perhaps even a Minister of State has no special glamour, while a Parliamentary Secretary perhaps, as they seem to be a dying race, has some special merit in this field.

Before I leave the subject of what was done by the previous Administration, it should be on the record that expenditure on the arts, which ran at the rate of £4·2 million in 1951–52, had risen to £13·6 million in 1964–65 and that that splendid figure had been reached by doubling the total during the last six years. There had been greatly increased funds available for purchase grants for art galleries and also considerable funds made available in the field of historic buildings. In fact, the Historic Buildings Council has virtually rescued a great number of our fine buildings for all to enjoy. I could give a great catalogue of figures, but I do not think that is necessary at this stage because we can explore it in our later debate.

However, while on the subject of historic buildings, which is one that has interested me for some time, I think it is only fair to say that whilst the Historic Buildings Council with public funds has done a job which has resulted in the rescue of parts of our heritage which would have been completely lost had we not taken this step, whilst we are as a nation getting much better at preserving historic buildings, the buildings alone are of little use to the community unless their surroundings and the amenities of the buildings are also protected.

This is where the Minister in charge of the arts, the Minister keeping a watchful eye, could do something to unravel the complexities of all the contradictory planning laws, all the divergent interests all of whom would like to preserve the amenities of our historic buildings in the countryside and even to some extent in our cities, but who all too often do not manage to converge upon the problem until it is too late, and whilst a building may have been preserved at great public expense the amenities are destroyed and the public enjoyment destroyed, also.

I introduced into the House a Bill, with many drafting defects, to try to deal with the problem, and I think that the House was right in taking the view that the Bill should not reach the Statute Book in the form in which I introduced it and that it was unamendable in Committee. But the Minister of the day issued a circular which embodied every principle of my Bill and he made it clear that it was the wish of the Government of the day that this subject should be dealt with by local planning authorities. The local authorities, with the best will in the world, often do not have the skilled departments and public servants to give them the right advice and are often most cautious about committing any of the ratepayers' money in this direction. 'There are perhaps few votes in it and that, after all, I suppose is a consideration with many politicians. Many good things go undone simply because there seem to be few votes in them.

Before I leave the subject of a Minister of State for the Arts who may appear upon the scene one day, perhaps I should say, to help the Government in their present difficulties, that this Minister of State need not even be in the House of Commons. It might be possible to keep the complement of Ministers in the other House in a slightly happier state by having this Minister in another place.

But I think even the present Parliamentary Secretary must make a supreme effort to get to grips with the problem. So far, all we have heard is that there is to he a review, but reviews very often take a very long time and tell us what we knew already. Possibly the real problem is to find a quite exceptional person to fill this position. What one really needs is a twentieth century Horace Walpole. Possibly the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works will measure up to some of those qualifications. At any rate, I know that she will do her best and that she will have the good will of this side of the House if she really gives her attention to this vital subject of the arts which is so often neglected by politicians.

The Government already, without being unduly intrusive into this field, is a considerable patron of the arts through the Ministry of Public Building and Works. It has on occasion been quite adventurous. Indeed, I hope that it will be more adventurous in the future. Private industry—and I must be careful not to stray from the rules of order—also has contributed considerably to the provision of facilities for leisure and to patronage in the arts. The Institute of Directors is very prominent in this respect. Perhaps the trade unions, too, could take more interest.

To come back to the central theme of the debate, which so many hon. Members have mentioned, I am sure that more education will produce better taste and more consciousness of the problem and that people will make a better life for themselves because they will see how they themselves can achieve it without having it thrust upon them. Those of us who have been in the House a little while know too well that one can pass laws and make exhortations but unless one has the co-operation of the people in doing what one wants nothing ever happens.

Photo of Mr Cyril Bence Mr Cyril Bence , Dunbartonshire East

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be advisable in the second half of the twentieth century to have appreciation of the arts and of music in the curricula of the schools from the primary stage right up to the end?

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

I am grateful to the hon. Member for that interjection. I certainly agree with him that all kinds of activities which perhaps by the purists in education are not regarded as part of the rather dour business of education should receive attention. I have always taken the view that education is education for living. It is not a matter just of the acquisition of academic distinction. And training at university should be to prepare one for life and not merely help to acquire certain skills, which I agree in this technological age are also very important.

I was grateful to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) for making the point that so often the enjoyment of leisure facilities is destroyed for the majority because of the thoughtless acts of a small minority. Indeed, for many people, to enjoy the countryside is to destroy it. Their enjoyment is its destruction. Sometimes it is just thoughtlessness. Sometimes it is quite deliberate, and there is the terrible problem of traffic in the countryside. The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) used the delightful phrase, "mechanised access to the countryside". It is because of mechanised access to the countryside that those who are lucky enough to get there do not enjoy it much when they do get there. My hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples) spoke about the way in which some people when they go to the countryside leave it in a condition which is desperately distressing to farmers and most unpleasant to those who come after them.

We must adopt a sterner attitude towards this small minority. This applies to all the fields of leisure. Why do we have the phrase, "To get away from it all"? What are we getting away from? [Interruption.] Who are we getting away from? Hon. Members opposite can make their amusing sedentary interruptions, but the plain fact is that we are getting away from our fellowmen because we cannot stand the sight of them.

It is not the great majority of our fellow-men whom we cannot stand the sight of, it is the mess and untidiness and lack of consideration of a small minority. If only we were more considerate and made better use of our time and our surroundings when we are at home and we are close together, a great deal of this hectic rush away from our cities would not result in the ruination of the countryside and the lack of enjoyment of those who eventually get there. I was very pleased to hear hon. Members talk about the provision of facilities for indoor sport. We are happy in Bristol to have a great deal of them, but a large part of the country is not so happy in this respect. Such a provision would do a great deal to prevent much of the hectic dashing about, in spite of which no great enjoyment results.

I have spoken a little about the arts, and some hon. Members mentioned museums and art galleries. I have always thought that if one was not careful these institutions could be rather dead institutions, and I have never thought much of an art gallery as a place for hanging pictures. I would much prefer to see them displayed in a great country house which could be visited at leisure. Many thousands of people every year make use of these facilities, and not just for the benefit of the Duke of Bedford, or any other duke, for that matter. The Duke of Bedford probably gives as false an impression of the sort of enjoyment that can be had from the use of a stately home as another duke in his memoirs in a Sunday newspaper gives a false impression of dukes in general.

There is a growing public access to historic buildings in splendid country surroundings in all parts of the British Isles. The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) lives in an historic house which has received public assistance—a grant from the Historic Buildings Council. His family has now given it to the National Trust. He enjoys the advantage of living there and showing it to a large number of no doubt admiring visitors. I quote that instance only to make clear to the House that it is by no means the prerogative of so-called rich, privileged, Tory philistines. Incidentally, if it were not for the rich, privileged Tory philistines, so-called, who scraped and saved over the last 50 years, in declining circumstances before public support came—which at present is on a fairly modest scale anyway—these buildings would not be there for the enjoyment of the thousands of people who see them every summer. And we should not forget that the rich, privileged Tory philistines have to live in these places with no heating during the winter.

I should like to say a few more words about museums and art galleries. These need not be dead institutions. We are seeing a great improvement in that direction. Regional museum councils were set up during the period of office of the last Government to try and improve the position and make for more cooperation between museums. Few museums at present regard schoolchildren as just a noisy nuisance on a wet Sunday afternoon. Museums are becoming more and more a living part of the community, and that goes for public libraries, too.

A museum can be a centre for the district inasmuch as it should be a place where one can study local history and tradition. Many museums have contained large collections of native weapons brought back by some neighbouring major-general in the nineteenth century and that kind of thing. A museum may be strong in a particular subject because of some local benefactor who has handed over his collection, but local museums should strive to cover more local subjects. I know that the Government have been doing more to help them.

I would mention culture, and for the third time because hon. Members opposite ceaselessly interrupt. Culture is not something that can be laid on like a social service. We are fond in the House when we face a problem of saying that a service must be set up to deal with it, or of setting up a Government commission to inquire into it. Both parties are at fault in this. Culture cannot be laid on as a social service. It must grow naturally upon the people. We can help. Politicians should abandon the cynical attitude that there are no votes in the arts or, for that matter, in amenities, and that they are just a fringe interest of this place.

I do not think that we can ever expect to have any leisure in Parliament, but we can, by our example, do much to cultivate the arts. We must not be afraid of them. We must do all we can to bring a better and fuller life to all the people.

1.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Albert Murray Mr Albert Murray , Gravesend

My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State will get lots of advice today and, as a Football League referee, he is quite used to advice in much larger volume. I notice that he is wearing spectacles today. Obviously, he has taken the advice of many of the football supporters who have watched him.

Photo of Mr Albert Murray Mr Albert Murray , Gravesend

Having seen my hon. Friend in action on the football field, I do not think that it is sound advice.

Obviously, the Government do not want to control the sporting and outdoor activities of our youth, but they must set certain patterns. They must encourage local authorities, and I hope that we shall make great strides in this direction. It is a great pity that, as certain sports become popular, so does the commercialism associated with them grow. For instance, in recent years, a good many bowling alleys have been started, but more and more we see the commercial interests associated with them in evidence so that, instead of a bowling alley being just a place where people may enjoy a minor sporting activity, it becomes a place with a larger bar and more opportunities for the spending of money.

As the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) said, private firms could play a larger part in helping sport and youth activities. It is sad to see that many sports grounds in and around London go unused from Saturday evening until the following Saturday morning, and it would be a great idea if arrangements were made for more of them to be used by local schools. Children from many London schools have to go right to the edge of London to be able to use sports facilities, and some of them spend more time travelling than in actually playing. Plainly, there is an opportunity here for the Government, through the education service, to encourage the use by our schools of more local sports grounds and playing fields in the parks

Without doubt, our major national sport in the winter is soccer, and most boys have the opportunity, if they are so inclined, to kick a ball about, whether in the local streets, in the park, or playing for a firm's sports club. Too often, however, minor sports are neglected. Clubs for amateur wrestling, for volleyball, for gliding and so on, find it very difficult year after year to make ends meet. If there is to be encouragement, it ought to be given to more of these sports.

We have seen what happened only recently to our youngsters who are extremely proficient at swimming and diving. Before the opening of the new sports centre by the London County Council, youngsters like Brian Phelps, the champion, had to go to Cardiff or Black-pool to find Olympic-type facilities. Great credit is due to the London County Council for having been one of the foremost local authorities in providing sports facilities. Obviously, not every local authority, not even some of the larger ones, would find it easy to provide facilities like those at the Crystal Palace, but this is the sort of thing at which we should be aiming. It is part of the pattern.

There should be more opportunities all round for our youngsters. At a school with which I am associated, because of the keenness of one of the masters fencing has been taken up as a spare-time activity, and pupils from that school now fence against practically every public school in the London area. This is a London County Council secondary school, but it fences against public schools and beats them because of the opportunities now given and the keen spirit which has developed. Once given the chance, the youngsters do really well.

In my view, private clubs and company clubs for minor sports ought to give youth clubs more opportunity to affiliate with them. Clubs for the minor sports are inclined to be tight little groups and outsiders find it hard to join their small circle. The hon. Member for Bromley spoke of the amount of golf now being played in this country. There are about 1 million golfers but only about 18,000 youngsters receive tuition in how to play. Our approach is not wide enough. Not every youngster wants to play cricket and football, and there are not the opportunities there should be in the minor sports.

Many of us have been distressed by the way our Olympics team has to beg to find the money to take part in the Games. This year, there were lots of squabbles, and it seemed at times that there were more officials going to Tokyo than competitors.

The Government have a great opportunity to broaden the whole basis of sport and to give youngsters interested in the minor sports the openings which they need. I know that the Government will not control sport, but I hope that they will give local authorities, youth clubs and schools the opportunities for which they have been waiting so long.

1.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Epping

The Motion calls attention to the need for facilities for recreation and leisure, particularly among young people and I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) for mentioning, in an intervention, the possibilities which exist in the new towns. My constituency embraces Harlow new town where there is a concentration of young people which in many ways throws a spotlight on our future. The new towns are great social experiments and, by watching what happens there, we can gain an idea of what is likely to happen in Britain as a whole.

One of the characteristics of new towns, especially Harlow, is the number of scientific, technological and similar types of workers, a number which will be increased in the forthcoming age of automation. Many of them have a great desire for all sorts of leisure activity to give them relief and recreation from their work. In Harlow, as in many other new towns, there are many young couples. It is clear that there is a tendency for the birth rate in new towns to rise considerably, with the result that we have many young people and many teen-agers for whom adequate leisure facilities are needed.

In Harlow there is an immense interest in and a multiplicity of recreational activity for both the mind and the body. This vast growth of demand gives a great opportunity to the Government to provide all sorts of facilities which it would not be possible to provide in other and older urban centres. Harlow has had a forward-looking council for some years. It takes the view of my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian about the desirability of giving children the opportunity to learn to swim. As a result, in Harlow there is a swimming pool which is extremely popular. But many other towns do not have such facilities and the Government must turn attention to this problem to see that swimming facilities are provided in all the new towns as soon as possible.

In recent years, there has been a tremendous demand in Harlow for two other facilities. A number of people have demanded that a theatre should be built while others have demanded the provision of a cycle track at which international events could take place. The trouble is that these facilities would require an enormous expenditure. It would obviously be unfair to expect the residents of a new town to meet the whole of this expenditure out of the rates. The result of this problem is an unfortunate conflict in Harlow between those who favour priority for a theatre and those who favour priority for a cycle track. There is a need for both, but if we are to have these things, the Government must seize the opportunity and see what can be done to provide the necessary finance to assist a forward-looking authority.

It is extremely important that we should give youth the opportunity it requires. Many people consider that we are being Lavish and extravagant in laying out large sums of money on facilities of this sort, but it is better to spend money in this way than to complain later about the activities of "mods" and "rockers" and to call for expenditure on repression. In Harlow there are many young people who want to go ahead, and I hope that my hon. Friend will carefully consider the applications which will be made to him to meet their needs. However, I want to make it clear that in this I speak not only for Harlow, but on behalf of all new towns. They have the opportunities of open spaces, of new patterns of life, of an entirely new demand. I hope that my hon. Friend will consider this problem carefully when he decides his priorities.

There is another problem mentioned briefly amid the tremendous morass of verbiage and nonsense talked by the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke), who has now left the Chamber, He drew attention to the importance of endeavouring to preserve the features of our countryside, especially historic features and buildings which give the countryside much of its charm and interest. We must provide a tremendous multiplicity of opportunities. I agree that we should not push people into pursuing some line of recreational activity. It is very important that while we provide these other facilities, we endeavour to keep the unique heritage of our countryside as a great opportunity for future leisure activity.

Unfortunately, many of the countryside's features are rapidly disappearing, especially non-ecclesiastical buildings. Before coming to the House, I spent a considerable time endeavouring to have an ancient windmill at Moreton, Essex, preserved. I make no apology for my campaign on this matter. This was one of the last surviving post mills in Essex. It was a landmark and a monument to the skill of our early engineers. It was also an object of great charm. Ultimately, it had to go, primarily because of lack of funds for its repair and because of the pressure to use the land for other purposes.

Many demands will be made on the available funds, but I hope that unique features of the countryside will be preserved and that the Government will take into account rapidly increasing building costs and will consider increasing the money available for the protection and preservation of ancient buildings. After all, this is not a matter which can be put right later. Once ancient buildings have disappeared, they have gone for all time and if we allow commercialism and other pressing priorities to have their sway, it will be too late to put the matter right later. Posterity will not forgive us if we allow the heritage of our countryside to be swept away under present pressures of the demands for land for other purposes.

It is far more sensible to spend money on facilities and opportunities which will avoid boredom than in repressing youth later. We have a set of young people growing up who will not be content with the limited outlets with which their parents and grandparents had to be satisfied. Education today is seeking to increase the appetites for recreational opportunities. The modern environment, Including television, increases the appetite of young people for opportunity.

In those circumstances, I consider that expenditure on leisure is not a frill or a wasteful form of expenditure but is a vital form of expenditure which we must vastly increase in the future if we are to have the happy and balanced community which I am sure hon. Members on both sides of the Committee believe that we should seek to achieve in the years to come.

2.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

I do not wish to detain the House very long, for a number of hon. Members wish to speak. Much has been said with which I entirely agree and which does not need repetition because I am sure that the Government are anxious to do everything possible to meet the best interests of the country in respect of the matters which have been raised in the debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on having initiated the debate.

There is one aspect of the matter which I think cannot be over-emphasised. If we want to bear in mind the interests of our community in future we must give youth the opportunity of facilities for spending its leisure time in the best way. This is not a new idea. I was at one time representative in the House for Whitechapel and St. Georges, a very active centre of the East End of London and today I represent a very progressive constituency in the Midlands. Both of those constituencies have emphatically confirmed to me how important it is to have adequate youth club movements with full facilities in areas.

These constituencies have somewhat different types of population but they have both emphasised this aspect of activity in the community in order to enable young people not only to enjoy these facilities but to have the opportunity of enjoying them in an atmosphere which will enable them to do so in a manner which is to be the best advantage to them and the community. It is not our young people who sometimes fail. We are the people who fail. We have to see that the energies of youth are properly used and that they are given an opportunity to spend these in the right way.

The House and the country are under the impression that this is a new problem but it is an old problem. Men and women of good will have interested themselves in it for many years. In the first constituency of which I spoke there is a large youth club movement. I have particular knowledge of the Brady Clubs which have existed for over 60 years in Stepney. In the main, they are Jewish clubs although they are open to boys and girls of other faiths. It was felt right by the Jewish community that a movement should be started in the heart of the East End of London which would give Jewish boys and girls and others an opportunity of exercising their leisure time properly. This was over 60 years ago.

A few days ago I went down with the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) to a function in that club. There were some remarkable examples of members' photography and works of art on exhibition and prizes were distributed for practically every form of sport which members of that club had won. There is a parents' association and from Old Bradians of that club and of similar clubs in London we can see how the club members have grown into a manhood and womanhood in a way which showers credit upon the club and themselves.

A similar situation prevails in Leicestershire, where we have the Leicester and Leicestershire Association of Boys' Clubs. There are girls' clubs, too. These clubs afford facilities for many young people and are producing remarkable results in citizenship. Through them young men and women enjoy life not only for sport but also in a cultural sense.

I am very anxious that this should be continued on the right lines. We heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) about the late Basil Henriques. Where did he get his ideas on the manner of treating juvenile delinquency in the way to which my right hon. Friend referred? He got them partly because of his interest in and leadership of a club in the East End of London which, for many years, afforded the opportunities to which I have referred. We are faced with a very high rate of juvenile delinquency. It is no use hiding our heads on this issue. How will the problem be solved? In my view, we must give proper leisure time opportunities, not only to youngsters aged 14 and 15, or so on, but to children from the youngest age. This is done by the Brady Club, to which I have referred.

The Royal Commission on the penal system in England and Wales, in sending out notices to various organisations, stated that it had decided to give priority of consideration to the treatment of young offenders. The Commission said that it would be glad if, in framing and submitting their evidence, witnesses will give this same priority as far as practicable". In their letters, the Commission added: The Commission hopes that intending witnesses will find it possible to submit written evidence at least on young offenders by mid-January, 1965. We face a very large problem and in my view no money which is spent in assisting movements such as I have described is wasted. On the contrary, it has been proved to produce extremely satisfactory results, not least in coping with the question of preventing juvenile offences.

I should like to say, in passing, how many of us appreciate the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, which gives the kind of opportunity to young people for exercising their energies which is highly commendable. There is one point I would like to raise on the question of buildings. As the House is aware, not only is this a question for new towns, but people are moving from the centre of cities to suburbs and outskirts. We find this, for example, in Leicester. The houses in the centre are being taken down and the community is moving to the outskirts. The result is that these facilities to which I have referred are more than ever essential.

On the question of buildings, we need voluntary help in this in the sense of promoting these clubs. The position is that, short of having a benefactor who is willing to sponsor a project, very few clubs can hope to promote a building scheme of any magnitude without the support of the Departments of Education and Science. If I may have the attention of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Education and Science, this is a specific point upon which I should like to have his reply.

We know that grants of up to 50 per cent. of the capital required can be obtained from the Department. To be considered for such a grant, a project must first succeed in obtaining a place in Youth. Service building programmes, which means that the scheme must, first, gain local, and as far as London, for example, is concerned, county, authority. Even before applying for the local priority, the sponsors of the scheme must have a site or a building, as well as outline planning permission, and 25 per cent. of the capital. With land at sky high prices no voluntary organisation, or very few, can hope to compete with the commercial market. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain properties which can be converted for the purpose, and for which planning permission can be obtained.

Even when a site for the right property is available, it is difficult for the club to take a chance. As I have already explained, only when a site is available and outline planning permission obtained, can it apply for inclusion at local level in a youth service building programme, and the final success of the application may not be known inside a year, unless there are special circumstances. It is true that the Department of Education and Science will often give permission for projects without prejudice to grant aid, but the requirement of the priority system must still be met. It becomes a question of purchase in the hope of successful application, and if the application fails there are difficulties.

I should like to know whether the Minister can do anything to help in the direction of giving some kind of facilities to voluntary organisations which are prepared to help towards supplying these building needs. I have kept the House longer than I intended, but this is a very important subject, to which I hope to have a reply.

2.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

I am obliged to the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) for raising this subject. This is a matter which covers not only sport, but the arts, and it is on this subject that I wish to speak.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) will not be offended if I do not follow all his arguments. I did not follow them while he was speaking, so I could not follow them now. Perhaps his hon. Friends would be kind enough to convey to him that those of us who have been in this House for only a few weeks have come to know and love and perhaps admire the delicately patrician way in which the platitudes roll off his lips.

We were all most impressed and much moved by the picture which the hon. Gentleman painted of the duke who was down to his last stately home and was forced to admit the public to look at the pictures on the walls so that he could draw enough money to pay his death duties. It was a remarkable performance and one which I enjoyed. I hope that I shall have the pleasure often of seeing his turn again.

I make no apology for speaking about the arts, because it is part of the Motion. I regret that I was not here for the opening of the debate, but I understand that everything which is said on this subject will be passed on to the appropriate Minister. I want to make three points. They all relate to music and, first, to the way in which the Government can help in dealing with the musical education of a locality and in bringing greater musical opportunity to the people living in the area. Secondly, I want to make a brief point about the provision of musical festivals, both at municipal and national level. Thirdly, I shall speak about orchestras.

On the first point, it is quite evident that municipal enterprise in the arts is absolutely fundamental if one is to get the people of this country having fuller leisure opportunities and enjoying them to the full. We know that local authorities are empowered to spend up to a 6d. rate in the encouragement of the arts in their areas. We know that in London some Metropolitan boroughs are extremely good in this respect. I think of the Borough of St. Pancras and the two with which I am connected in my own constituency—the Boroughs of Fulham and Hammersmith.

We know that there are local authorities who are eager to raise the money to encourage the arts and to encourage municipal orchestras and to put on municipal concerts. The level of musical interest and opportunities in those municipalities is quite high. On the other hand, we find the other boroughs which do not do so well. I do not make this as a party point, but I think of the Royal Borough of Kensington.

I know that there the amount of municipal enterprise shown by the local authority is extremely limited, that very little is done in that area in the way of providing musical facilities for the people in the borough. Having the Albert Hall just down the road is no excuse. The authority is doing little to provide an orchestra of its own and nut on its own concerts in the town hall.

We find, therefore, this great divergence between the two sorts of local authorities. I would hope that the central Government could bring pressure to bear upon those local authorities who are falling down on this part of their job. There are two ways in which action could be taken and which, I think, would prove helpful. One is by action directly upon local education authorities to make sure that music and musical appreciation is taught at all levels, and, secondly, so as to ensure that music does not become the first of those educational facilities which tend to be cut if there is a squeeze on, or if the central Government have to cut the Estimates, or if the local authority is a bit hard up.

If we are to try to encourage the arts, whether musical, theatrical or literary, the first thing is to provide the facilities for playing musical instruments, for putting on a play or for indulging in literary activities, the last of which means that books must be generously supplied for people to read. I would hope that the central Government would at least ensure that local authorities and local education authorities do not fall into the trap, which some have perhaps fallen into in the past, that when cuts have to be made in educational expenditure they begin by making them at the expense of the musical and artistic facilities which are provided.

The second point I should like to make on this part of the argument is that a lot more could be done by local authorities to train musicians. We are fond of boasting'that if, in music, a boy or a girl is a brilliant performer, he or she will undoubtedly reach the top. This is not the real problem, however. The genius, whether it be in composing or in playing, will end up as a Mozart, or playing the piano in the Festival Hall. Where we are lacking in this field, as in so many others, is in the encouragement which ought to be given to the great middle group. We are losing a great amount of musical talent in this country because local education authorities are not providing the facilities for the training of these prospective musicians.

The impetus to such musical knowledge as I have—and I have been playing the piano for about 20 years—did not come from my school, but from my parents. Being brought up in South Wales, one tends to be brought up, I suppose, in an atmosphere of music, if not of deep musical knowledge. One attends eisteddfodau in the local chapel. One attends singing festivals, called cymanfau ganu, where all the chapel choirs come together and sing hymns with great gusto. It is in this sort of atmosphere that musicians thrive, and in which they are created. I should like to see the central Government giving far greater encouragement to local education authorities to run this sort of musical competition in their own areas. One gets it in certain parts of London, but there are vast areas of the country that are quite bare in that respect.

If we are to try to encourage the arts, and particularly music, and to produce first-class musicians, it is necessary that the musicians should be given the encouragement of something to aim at. If one compares competitions and musical festivals in this country with those on the Continent or in the Soviet Union one finds that we have not really started on this. The Soviet Union holds its Tchaikovsky Festival once every three years, I believe, at which pianists, violinists, 'cellists and instrumentalists compete at an extremely high level for the honour of winning the Tchaikovsky Prize for the year—and it is an honour to win that prize. I remember that, some three years ago, the pianoforte prize was shared between Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Ogden—who was horn in Manchester—but one must compare unfavourably the reception given to Ashkenazy in the Soviet Union and that accorded to John Ogden on his return to this country.

Prizes at that level could be sponsored by Her Majesty's Government, and given the name. perhaps, of a British composer. It could be called the Elgar Prize, or the Walton Prize, or even the Handel Prize—it matters not. A competition, in which young musicians from all over the world could compete at the level of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, or the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, would be a tremendous stimulus and give a great impetus to British music.

Another aspect is the position of orchestras. As with so many other things in Great Britain today, we in London are very favourably treated in this respect. We have about five international orchestras all competing for the privilege of playing to us. Looking at Festival Hall programmes, one might find four concerts being given on successive nights by international orchestras, all playing very much the same sort of programme and all competing for a comparatively limited audience. It is quite absurd that when the Festival Hall reopens early next year we shall probably find the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the New Philharmonia and, perhaps, the London Symphony Orchestra on successive nights, all playing very much the same sort of popular classical programme, and all competing for a very limited audience.

On the other hand, people outside London are not served at all well by orchestras of international standing. I remember with regret the failure of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Orchestra. It was a great pity that that orchestra had to fail. It has meant that the whole north of England now has to be served by the Hallé Orchestra, or by the Scottish National Orchestra, which occasionally makes forays over the border into the northern counties. The North-East is particularly badly served in this matter.

I would, therefore, urge on the Government that, either through the Arts Council, or by direct initiative through the Ministry itself, something should be done, first, to rationalise the number of orchestras playing in London, and, secondly, to rationalise the sort of programmes they play. Perhaps most important of all, something should be done for those parts of the country that are at present badly starved of orchestras of international standing.

Frankly, with this sort of thing one must expect to lose money, but if orchestras go to parts of the country that do not normally have the opportunity to hear proper concerts, they will gradually create a demand. It is there, if nowhere else, that the central Government have the function of supplying a need at high level, and not at the comparatively low level that we have under Governments of both sides—this is not a party matter. We should not be satisfied with this level of aid. We need to spend much more money in this direction, and I trust that the Government will take the initiative.

If we compare the amount of music available in England with that available in the Soviet Union, on the Continent and in the United States of America, we find that we are well served in London, but that Britain as a whole is badly served. Whatever else the Government may do during their term of office, I hope that they will do something to bring music to the mass of our people.

2.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

I want, first, to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) on his speech and on introducing this subject to the House today, There have been some most distinguished contributions to the debate and I am sure that the House as a whole has welcomed my hon. Friend's initiative.

A number of speeches have been on matters that are the responsibility of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works. The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science was courteous enough to tell me in advance that he would be replying to the debate, but it is very strange that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works should not be here. I must say quite frankly that I believe that the House has felt itself handicapped to an extent by the hon. Lady's absence. It is good news to know that we shall have a debate on leisure soon after Christmas, but that does not entirely atone for the fact that a number of hon. Members on both sides have made speeches but without the responsible Minister listening to them.

It is my intention, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, to concentrate my remarks largely upon those subjects for which the Under-Secretary has responsibility, but I want to make one or two remarks on some of the other subjects that have been mentioned today. Considerable interest was expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr) in the question of historic buildings. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) to scoff at my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West, but my hon. Friend has taken consistent interest in his subject, and can feel some satisfaction at the way in which Government expenditure in this direction has been increased in recent years.

Since the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act, 1953, was passed £4½ million in grants have been spent on repairs to 800 buildings. That expenditure last year was running at something over £1¼ million. Although my hon. Friend's remarks seemed to evoke some resistance on the benches opposite, I think that there will be general agreement in the House that this is money very well spent.

I thought that the most important suggestion was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples) about access to the countryside. A number of hon. Members rightly stressed the importance of this matter, but my hon. Friend pointed to the paper of Mr. Michael Dower and to the suggestion that there should be a national system of "greenways". I have derived a great deal of enjoyment from walking, and even running, over the countryside, and I know as well as anybody how difficult it is in many parts of the country to find unimpeded walks. In previous debates hon. Members have urged on the Government a variety of means by which greater access to the countryside could be ensured.

This is a proposal on redundant canals and railways which merits urgent attention. I should not expect the Under-Secretary of State today to comment particularly on that suggestion. It is more a matter for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government—.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

—or perhaps the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

Mr. Howell indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

The hon. Gentleman continues to shake his head as I go through the lengthy gamut of Labour Cabinet Ministers. I still have not arrived at the right one.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

It is the Ministry of Transport, about which I hope to say a few words.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

I am sure that the House will be grateful for that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bromley clearly showed that he brings to the House a considerable knowledge of the Youth Service. It is, I suppose, two things—the provider of facilities for young people, and the provider of expert guidance, help and leadership. Since the Albemarle Report there has been a considerable upsurge of activity in the building of youth clubs. I mentioned in my intervention in the excellent speech of the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) that the annual capital expenditure on the Youth Service had increased from under £1 million pre-Albemarle to £4½ million currently.

However, as the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) and a number of other hon. Members stressed, there is still a considerable unmet demand. The truth of the matter may well be that it is harder today for a voluntary body to get a project for building a youth club into the building programme than it was in 1959, because before the Albemarle Report, and before the previous Government took steps to stimulate interest in the Youth Service, there was not a tremendous demand at local level. Those organisations which wanted to get clubs built were often able to get Government assistance within a relatively short time.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Willesden East

Mr. Reginald Freeson (Willesden, East) indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

The hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but if he asks the National Association of Boys Clubs he will find that what I am saying is true in many areas.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Willesden East

I can assure the hon. Gentleman from my experience in the Youth Service in my own local authority that for years there has been a consistent demand from the Youth Service for assistance, but that demand has been rejected. The hon. Gentleman spoke about the rise in expenditure on the building programme from under £1 million to £4½ million. I think he will agree that we now have an annual expenditure of £4½ million because there has been an accumulation of projects over the past few years which have not been started. I could quote instances in my own area. The result is that in the current year schemes are being started, adding to the £4½ million capital projects programme of previous years.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

The hon. Gentleman is not quite right. The £4½ million is the allocation for one year. It is true that some projects programmed in previous years by the Government have not been started for a variety of local reasons. There is, therefore, good hope that during this year, although the Government have programmed projects worth £4½ million, more will be started because of the backlog from previous years. The point is—and this should not be contentious—that, despite the increase in the size of the building programme, there is still a considerable unmet demand.

The Youth Service is not the only provider of facilities for young people. The schools are providing leisure time facilities. Many business firms are providing leisure-time facilities for their employees. One outstanding example is the Shell building across the river. The standard of this provision has been rising considerably over the past decade. Commercial provision, some of it very good, is increasing.

But the Youth Service has an important job to do and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will tell us something about the next building programme. The 1965–66 building programme was announced early last year. It may be unreasonable to expect the hon. Gentleman to have news about the 1966–67 programme. However, I think he will appreciate that it would not only be in accord with the Labour Party's pre-election pledges, but consistent with the wishes expressed by many hon. Members on both sides today, that the next building programme should be larger.

The Youth Service is also a provider of help and leadership for young people. My hon. Friend the Member for Bromley was absolutely right to draw attention to the need for both full-time and part-time leaders. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will be able to confirm that we are likely to secure by 1965–66 the number of full-time leaders recommended by the Albemarle Committee.

Interchangeability was stressed by two hon. Members. There is clearly a problem here. Many people who go into youth leadership will not wish to stay in the job for life. Many will want to change to something else in the middle of their careers. It is not a problem for those who have been trained as teachers and youth leaders at West Hill and other places. They have a choice of career. But those who go on the year's course at the National College at Leicester may have greater difficulty. This is a matter to which the Under-Secretary of State and his Department should be directing attention. The answer may lie in forging closer links with such services as the Probation Service, so that youth leaders who wish to change their occupation in middle life can go on shortened training courses—perhaps shortened courses—in order to qualify for work in some other aspect of the social services.

If full-time leaders are important, part-time leaders are even more so. The right hon. Member for Derby, South asked about the Bessie Report. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will be able to give him some information on it. However, since that Report, schemes for the part-time training of voluntary leaders have been set up all over the country and there have been renewed attempts to attract more adults to helping part-time in the youth clubs.

I am sure that many more adults would be delighted to help in youth clubs and would enjoy the work if only they could summon up the courage and take the plunge. In Lewisham this year there is to be an ambitious campaign to attract young married people to a variety of voluntary work. It is launched in the belief that much of the voluntary work in the borough is starved of support from the younger adults. I hope that not only will we see people attracted by that campaign to help in hospitals with handicapped children and in other social work but more people helping with the youth service.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge quoted Adler's remark about the secret of life and the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) referred to the remarkable increase of interest among young people in giving service to the elderly and the lonely. The hon. Member mentioned Mr. Alec Dickson's project. There is also the new organisation "Task Force", recently started in London, under which over 1,000 young people are giving voluntary help to the elderly and to the lonely. With the encouragement of the Youth Service Development Council, another very interesting scheme has been under way in Portsmouth for two years.

I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary of State will confirm his interest in these developments and do what he can to help those who are helping these schemes for voluntary services. We have recently seen instituted a co-ordinating committee for all these organisations which are concerned with service overseas by young people, under the chairmanship of the Duke of Edinburgh. There is a case for a similar body on the home front. I know that many organisations fostering service by young people feel the need for that kind of organisation and I hope that the Department will look at it.

I am sure that the House would wish to take this first opportunity to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his appointment. Without wishing to detract from that in any way, perhaps I may quote to him something he had to say only last June about the way in which the Labour Party would organise matters as between the Government and sport. He was speaking from this box and was fierce with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), who was then Secretary of State for Education and Science. The hon. Member said: Five or six different Ministries are concerned here, and this is why my hon. Friends have made the case that the structure of Government in this connection is wrong and that we really ought to have a senior man taking over responsibility. Because we want more Government support in leisure, we want this man to be a Cabinet Minister, preferably a Cabinet Minister without Portfolio."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd June, 1964: Vol 697, c. 86.] The hon. Gentleman made a powerful case. I remember being much impressed. I am sure that none of us would want to suggest that his capabilities are any less than the countless numbers of Ministers of Cabinet rank in the present Government. I suggest that, since the Machinery of Government Bill has not yet passed through the House, there is still an opportunity to amend it. If he will expand a little on the powerful case he made in June, I am sure hon. Members on both sides would be anxious to make the necessary amendments next week.

It is to be noted—and will have been noted—in the sports world that, for better or worse, sport is being dealt with in this Government at a lower level than under the previous one. The appointment of my right hon. and learned Friend was criticised by a number of hon. Members opposite because it was felt that he had too many departmental responsibilities. I think they underestimated his capacity for work. If one looks at the two years in which he was concerned with sport, one sees that a remarkable amount of productive work was achieved. He helped to step up the level of progress by local authorities in sport and physical recreation and it is a fact that is often overlooked—I pointed it out to the right hon. Member for Derby, South—that, during the last Parliament, capital expenditure by local authorities in this direction rose to £16 million, which represented a five-fold increase in four years.

My right hon. and learned Friend also set up machinery for co-ordinating Government help to sport and that is of importance. Hon. Members have mentioned the case of Brian Phelps, who had to travel to Cardiff to practise diving. There is a danger that so much attention will have been concentrated on his case that every local authority will want to have an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Admittedly, this is a matter which can be dealt with by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government when it considers approving capital expenditure. But clearly it is important to ensure that there is maximum co-ordination between the various statutory authorities concerned with the provision of sports facilities

If the Department of Education and Science provides a new swimming pool in a school, we do not want the local authority to provide another next door. Again, we do not want two adjoining local authorities to provide Olympic-sized swimming pools when the main need is for training pools and pools for the general public.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Can the hon. Gentleman break down the figure of £16 million, because this can be very misleading?

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

I have not the breakdown of those figures at hand. The hon. Gentleman will know that the 1963 White Paper on Government expenditure shows at the back various items which go to make up the total in the year 1963–64. I speak from memory, but I think that about £13 million went on sport and physical recreation, and that in the following year, the last year for which figures are available, the amount was almost £16 million.

I wish to refer again to the point about the manner of co-ordinating Government help. There is a Inter-departmental Committee under Sir John Lang and I hope that it will be operated with vigour. I point, thirdly, to the increased grants given to the corporate bodies such as the C.C.P.R. and the National Playing Fields Association and the arrangements for help to be given to sport internationally.

Among the achievements of this period I would mention, too, the circular issued jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Department of Education and Science in the summer of this year. As a number of hon. Members have mentioned, it laid stress on the importance of the dual use of sports facilities. The speech made by Sir Donald Gibson, in his presidential address to the R.I.B.A. a month ago, is of great interest in this respect. He said that in future schools should be designed for out-of-hours use by the whole community. Sir Donald Gibson had a number of specific and interesting suggestions to make such as that we might come to playing fields of plastic grass which would not wear so readily as the usual kind.

The Joint Under-Secretary has, therefore, inherited a good deal. I hope he will do his best to keep up the momentum which has been generated in recent years by my right hon. and learned Friend. In particular, I hope that he will concentrate on encouraging the local provision of sports facilities. There is a temptation to pay too much attention to international sport. It is true that there may be a need to help some of the international sporting organisations and more money is being given to international sport, but the really important thing is that all young people throughout the country should have the opportunity of enjoying sport and recreation to the full. Incidentally, this is also the way in which we are most likely to produce international champions. The more people who are playing the greater statistical chance there is of from time to time, throwing up a physical freak who will carry all before him.

In conclusion, may I suggest to the House that there are two things which are of as much importance in this whole sphere, as any provision made directly by Government. The first is that a fair proportion of the annual increment in the nation's wealth should be left in private hands. The plain fact is, whether many care to recognise it or not, that the majority of people have plenty of ideas about the way in which they would like to spend their free time, they have ideas for making full use of leisure opportunities, but they cannot afford them. If there has been a tremendous diversification of the ways in which the general population spend those leisure hours, it is because people are better off.

Secondly, there is the development of the curriculum in the schools. The work of the curriculum study group of the Department of Education is perhaps as important as anything we have discussed today. One or two hon. Members have urged that the curriculum in the secondary schools should be concerned more with life and less simply with work. I would say that the two enemies are these. For the grammar schools and grammar streams over-specialisation and too-early specialisation. For the rest, a philosophy which all too often considers that the kind of education they should have is a watered-down version of the academic curriculum provided in the grammar schools. There are many encouraging developments in this latter respect, many of them stimulated by the Newsom Committee, and I hope they will be pressed forward.

I should like again to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley on introducing this debate and to hope that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will be able to reply to some of the many questions which have been posed to him this afternoon.

3.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I am glad to have the opportunity of speaking on the subject for which I have been given special responsibility. This has been a tremendously far-reaching debate. During the concluding moments of the speech of the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway) I thought that we were dealing with the whole field of education and taxation, which would have made my task even more impossible than I feel it to be at the moment. I will do my best to keep my speech to manageable proportions and to deal with as many points as I can. I hope that hon. Members who raised detailed questions will accept my assurance that if I do not touch upon them, each will be very carefully considered, and if necessary we can enter into further communication about them.

I should first thank the hon. Member for Lewisham, North and particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker), for their very kind welcome to me on assuming my office and the considerate things that they said. I should also like to take the opportunity of joining in the congratulations to the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Hunt) both on his good fortune in being able to raise this subject and also on the contents of his own contribution to this debate, which I think got us off to a very good start.

In respect of leisure itself, it needs no further words of mine to express the importance of this subject. Almost every speaker has, from one angle or another, underlined the growing importance to society of leisure and the fact that we ignore the increasing amount of leisure at our peril. I thought that the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) put it extremely well when he said that what this is really all about is to enable people to exercise a sensible choice. That is exactly how I see my own function in the realm of sport and recreation, and I am sure that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works feels likewise about arts and amenities.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, North asked about the structure of government in these matters and enjoyed himself by quoting one of my past speeches on the subject. That was a pastime which I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the previous 10 years and I therefore make no complaint about it. It was, if I may say so, a good speech and a contribution to thought. I hope that it had some effect on the Prime Minister when he was making his dispositions.

I think that this is the first time that even a junior Minister has been given the special responsibility of spending a considerable part of his time in dealing with these matters. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, who is sitting here, will be voicing views within the Cabinet on sport and recreation, so the situation we have now is that it will be my responsibility to have regard to sport and recreation and for my right hon. Friend, with whom I am delighted to be associated, to act in Cabinet concerning our recommendations.

I said at the outset that for the convenience of the House I should not be able to deal in detail with questions relating to the arts. Having listened to this far-ranging debate, I am very conscious of the fact that time is running short and that there is very much to be said about the questions already raised. It has proved in practice a very sensible way of dealing with the matter, and we hope to have another debate on the arts later on. It would have made my task almost totally unmanageable to try to deal with every single point that has been raised. I said at an earlier stage that I had made this announcement for the convenience of the House but this, of course, did not inhibit any hon. Member—nor has it done so—from speaking about the arts. I undertook to convey to my hon. Friend what has been said. That promise will be maintained.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

The hon. Gentleman has been a little more, or perhaps a little less, precise in what he said about having a future debate. I got the impression that we were to have a debate after Christmas. Can he give that assurance now?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

All I can do, as I did earlier, is to give the assurance that the Government hope to have a debate. No hon. Member speaking from this Dispatch Box in mid-December could conceivably commit Parliamentary time at the end of January or early in February. I can assure the hon. Member that the Parliamentary Secretary is herself very carefully considering what policy she wishes to follow and what changes she wishes to make. She also is most anxious to take part in such a debate. That itself is the best guarantee that the House can have.

On the question of sport it is perhaps a little unfortunate that the luck of the draw has brought this debate on a little earlier than one might have wished. A lot of thinking is at the moment going into the question of the organisation and structure which the Government wish to see in sport. Before very long I hope to produce some proposals which I can announce to the House about how the Government see this matter for the future. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members who have raised questions specifically about sport as distinct from recreation, coaching and so on will accept my assurance that all this is welcomed and will be taken into account in considering the kind of organisation and structure which I wish to create.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) has now disappeared. I wanted to say to him that it is not my intention at all that the Government should control sport. I was delighted that my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Murray) made that point in an intervention earlier. The hon. Member for Bristol, West said that it was our duty to cultivate. He went on to make a rather party political point that the Labour Party did not want to cultivate but wanted to control. Having listened carefully to what he said I made the note that he had not produced a tittle of evidence to support such a contentious argument. Nor is there a word of truth in it. I mention this now, although he is not present in the House, only to get the record straight.

I turn to the general question of recreation. This again is a subject which one could debate all day. Questions about the National Parks and the Forestry Commission were raised, particularly by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples) and the hon. Member for Lewisham, North. The Minister of Land and Natural Resources has responsibility for the National Parks and the Forestry Commission. I am happy to tell the House that a review of the whole policy in respect of these matters is being actively undertaken in that Ministry now. The Parliamentary Secretary was present while the hon. Member was speaking and has taken a note of what was said.

I am asked to say that it is the intention in reviewing National Parks that this should be done with a view to revitalising and making them greater assets to the country for recreation and leisure. The whole question of camping and access and the creation of more National Parks is now actively under consideration. We hope to make a statement before very long.

We are determined to follow a more liberal approach in respect of assistance to recreation and sports clubs, a subject which was raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South. I cannot promise that we can give aid to local authorities, which would require legislation and which would be an extremely involved method of assisting sport and recreation. I agree that the capital cost of obtaining land for all these purposes is almost prohibitive for voluntary organisations. This is a question about which I have already started to think.

We shall also, I hope, be able to do much more to encourage good coaching facilities. This point was specially mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). He raised the detailed point of swimming. It will be my policy, as I think it was that of the previous Administration, to take a more detailed look at the question of assisting coaching. I hope that all the governing bodies in sport will bring their detailed proposals in respect of the structure of their coaching arrangements to our attention so that they can be examined and so that those governing bodies can be helped. We in the Department have had some recent discussions with the Amateur Swimming Association. I hope that the Association, perhaps encouraged by the debate, by what my hon. Friend said and by what I am saying, will make specific proposals for my consideration. This has not yet been done.

My hon. Friend mentioned the position of Scottish swimming coaches and English swimming coaches. He may be aware that the English swimming coach represented Scotland in swimming. This may explain some of the confusion which occurred. I believe that the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association has now applied for a grant. This is under consideration by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I hope that that piece of information will gladden Scottish hearts.

I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Lewisham, North that our main purpose should be to enable ordinary people to enjoy their games, to widen their horizons, and to have extra facilities in which to enjoy their leisure and recreation. I am actively considering how I can do just that. One of the things I should like to do is to encourage the National Schools Sports Association. For a long time the Association has not had any assistance directly from the Government. I take this opportunity to place my views on record. I cannot imagine a more dedicated body of people in this country than those thousands of school teachers who give up their leisure time in the evenings and on Saturday mornings to encourage recreation, sport and the arts. We take these people far too much for granted. As a body of people in our community they probably do more than they ought reasonably to be expected to do. I hope that it will be possible to assist them in their work, which is particularly valuable among senior school children.

If one lesson can be learned from a close examination of the youth and recreation services in recent years it is that the proper and constructive planning of leisure must be commenced in the schools. With a formal educational structure, and then a Youth Service and recreational structure on top of that, there is a tremendous gap. Later I will mention one or two interesting developments in this respect.

Much has been said about the use of facilities. I regard this matter as of extreme importance. The community cannot afford to build elaborate gymnasia and other buildings in schools to be used for only a few hours a day. Capital which has been spent, and justifiably spent, must be justifiably used. This is a matter to which I shall give attention and on which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have decided views.

Circular 11/64 was issued in August asking local authorities to ensure the maximum degree of joint planning. I say for the benefit of my Scottish hon. Friends that the Scottish Office, as often is the case in these matters, was ahead of us in England and Wales and issued its circular rather earlier. So much can be done by joint planning. There are so many hard-paved areas which ought to be used for almost 16 hours a day. They should be floodlit and made available to the schools in the day time and to the populace generally, including recreational and youth clubs, in the evening. It will certainly be one of my tasks to try to bring this about.

I believe, with the right hon. Member for Derby, South, that a great deal can be done about providing recreational centres which serve the school population during the day time and can be available generally during the evening. I am delighted to know that in my home town of Birmingham an interesting suggestion has been made involving the use of four or five of the parks, whereby, in conjunction with Birmingham University and other organisations, such recreational centres will be made available to serve the schools particularly in the central area in the day time, and will be kept open in the evening for use by sports and recreational clubs. I am sure that more developments along those lines must be followed.

My hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Newens) mentioned the Harlow new town project. This is an entirely new development and the local authority is making a contribution to a trust. It is exciting. I have not had an opportunity to look into this project yet, but I hope to do so. I know that my hon. Friend would like the idea to be extended even further, and I welcome this because it is one way in which we can utilise local authority money. If it is not possible to make a direct grant, the establishment of a trust is welcome because the local authorities put their resources into the trust. The management of the affair is not entirely in the hands of the local authorities. Nothing but good can come from bringing in outside experience from universities and similar bodies, and we can then make a contribution. I am watching the Harlow new town development with great interest, and I am sure that we can build upon it.

Some local authorities are doing splendidly. The L.C.C. deserves special mention for its courage in developing the Crystal Palace centre which has proved such an outstanding idea. It may well be that these great projects are far too large for any one authority to undertake, and that there ought to be joint activity with more planning and more consultation. This is very much to be welcomed.

I ought to add one word of warning about these major projects. I agree that it is a question of determining priorities, and before other authorities embark upon them I hope they will carefully consider planning and consultation in order that they can be sure that the facilities they provide are those which are needed in the area and that they will be used to the maximum.

It will be seen from what I have said that I regard the question of the parks departments as being extremely important. I cannot understand why so many local authorities shut their parks at 5 o'clock at night for about eight months in the year when most people are coming out of their offices and factories. It is too soon to follow up the circular which the previous Administration sent out, but I shall keep this matter very closely under consideration. I shall follow it up as soon as I can and I shall be asking local authorities how they intend to implement the terms of the circular. This field of activity, the provision of recreational facilities, making them available throughout the evenings, floodlighting, supervising them and so on, is of special interest to me.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

Do I gather that the hon. Gentleman will be communicating direct with the local authorities? Is this in his sphere of influence, or will he be acting through the Ministry of Housing and Local Government?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

When I say "I" one should read "the Government". We shall be doing this—the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in this connection. We shall certainly want to keep the matter under close observation, and jointly, particularly in respect of parts of my Department which deal with school children. We shall find out what the local authorities intend to do.

I feel that local authorities more and more must have a comprehensive look at this. Too often I find in my experience that they tend to departmentalise themselves. They have a parks department, a baths department, and other departments dealing with other aspects of leisure, and it seems to be no one's responsibility to look at leisure comprehensively. Local authorities should be encouraged in that direction.

I regard regionalism as a matter of great importance. We should have regional surveying and planning and regional provision for sport and recreation. I hope that when I can make some announcement about sport it will be seen that "getting away from London" and getting into the regions is accepted as a matter of great importance. Already a good deal is happening in that respect. We have had, for example, a very interesting survey of sports facilities in Wales from the Central Council of Physical Recreation in Wales. Joint arrangements announced by the North-East Development Council, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and the National Playing Fields Association have resulted in the formation of a North-East Advisory Council for Sport and Recreation. I shall do all I can to make sure that we have regional surveys of facilities which are now available.

This is necessary for two reasons. The first is the need to provide for people living in these localities a fair share of the opportunities. The second is that I believe firmly, as do the Government as a whole, that good facilities within the regions are of first importance in keeping these areas buoyant and stopping the drift away from places like Scotland and the North-East. We shall therefore go on with this.

It is a fascinating development that, more and more, water is becoming the focus point of people's leisure, and particularly family leisure. There has been an astonishing growth in canoeing, sailing and angling. I shall make a note of the point raised by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) who kindly said that he did not expect me to deal without notice with the British Universities Sailing Association. I certainly cannot, but I will look into the matter.

The hon. Member for Lewisham, North mentioned the British Inland Waterways Authority. There are 2,000 miles of inland waterways in the country and the Central Council of Physical Recreation has arranged courses attended by over 8,000 people who are interested in sailing. I can tell the House that, with the agreement of my Department, a site at Cowes has been obtained which can be developed as a national sailing centre. Money is being made available for this purpose. I am happy that it is, and I am sure that further money will be provided by the Government. This is a practical way of enabling people to learn how to sail properly and obtain enjoyment from this sport.

Canals are a separate matter. The Government are extremely well aware of the potentialities of using the canal system for recreational purposes. We are giving special attention to this aspect. I am sure that several things which have been said in the debate will prove of great help in that respect.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

Will the hon. Gentleman also bring to the attention of his hon. Friend the question of railways which are being gobbled up as fast as they become disused?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

That point has not escaped my notice.

Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham

Will the Minister bear in mind also the idea of bringing disused gravel pits into use for water sports?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

Certainly. Yesterday, I was asked to go to lunch by a distinguished sportsman in order to discuss such matters as the use of disused gravel pits. Although I freely confess that it is a subject about which I have very little knowledge at the moment, I hope to widen my knowledge very soon.

The Youth Service itself has not, I think, been debated as a specific subject since the Albemarle Committee reported in 1960. The whole atmosphere in the service has improved considerably since then. First, a few words about the present programme and about Government aid to sport. I want to put certain matters on record, and I think that it would be as well to mention the two together. As regards the Youth Service, although it is true that we now have this magic figure of £4½ million on the capital programme, I think that it will help to put things in perspective if I tell the House that, although we are and have been for two years spending £4½ million on the capital programme, the demand of local authorities each year has been running at about £12 million. I do not want to make too great play of this, but I think that the fact ought to be put on record in the debate.

Because of our system of finance, it has always been very difficult to find out by a breakdown exactly what Government aid to sport amounts to, but I shall do the best I can because I think that it is to the advantage of the House, when we have these debates, to know exactly what we are talking about. Ignoring the general question of local authority capital expenditure over the whole field of recreation and sport, which, I agree, is in the region of £13 million to £16 million, as the hon. Member for Lewisham, North said—

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

Sixteen million pounds just for sport and physical recreation.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

Most of it is local authority spending, and half goes on the Youth Service and projects which can be described as for the Youth Service. The actual direct Government grant to sport is now running at about £800,000, which includes the money for the Central Council of Physical Recreation. Capital grants this year are £250,000, and I should also mention the allocation under the Physical Training and Recreation Act of about £375,000 in England and Wales, so the total under those two heads is £625,000 for England and Wales, plus the amount for Scotland, which makes about £800,000. In fairness to the hon. Gentleman and his Administration, I should say that they had made arrangements before going out of office to increase this total to about £1½ million, £1,375,000 being in respect of England and Wales. I put t nose facts on record. We ought to try to break down out of the general total of education expenditure exactly what we are spending on sport, and we have never had these figures in quite this form before.

Photo of Mr Christopher Chataway Mr Christopher Chataway , Lewisham North

If one leaves out local authority expenditure, over half of which, of course, comes from the Treasury, one gives a thoroughly misleading picture. It would be a mistake if it went out from the House that public spending on sport is £1½ million when, however one divides it up, it must be somewhere near £17 million.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

There are many ways of looking at the same question. I have always thought that the way the figures were presented by hon. and right hon. Members opposite over the past ten years, whatever else might be said for it, was confusing to those of us who were trying to find out exactly what was going on. This is why I have presented the figures in the way I have.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I would rather not give way, if my hon. Friend does not mind, as time is getting on and there is other business before the House.

Leadership in the youth service is still perhaps the most vitally important part of that service. It is true that the Albemarle Committee established the target of 1,300 youth leaders by 1966 and that it now looks as though that target will be reached. We shall all be happy about that. As a member of that Committee, I can say that it fixed the number of full-time youth leaders at 1,300 because it thought that, having regard to the difficulties, lack of training accommodation at the time and the realities of the economic situation, that was as much as it would get out of the Government, and that has been proved to be extremely true. We all knew that the number of 1,300 would be inadequate for the amount of work to be done, as has proved to be the case, but the number was recommended on very practical grounds.

As a result of the Albemarle Committee, the Youth Service Development Council has been established in recent years. More and more it has been getting to grips with the hard problems of the youth service. It met this week when I was privileged to take the chair and when we had before us a fascinating short study upon rural youth work which was accepted by the Council and which will be circulated appropriately to the authorities concerned. This work was suggested to the Council by the Church of England Youth Council.

Grants in respect of youth service work in 1959–60 were running at about £229,000. The effect of the post-Albemarle atmosphere can be judged by the fact that this year that figure has risen to about £1,720,000, most of which has gone to the headquarters of voluntary organisations for special development in experimental work and in capital assistance to voluntary bodies and for student grants in respect of the National College at Leicester and the training colleges at West Hill and Swansea. Considering the size of the problem, it can he seen that although the effort has been expanded, it is still quite inadequate.

There are one or two very exciting things going on in the youth world and I am sorry that I do not now have time to go into detail, especially on the arts side. I should say that the Midlands Arts Centre, situated about a half a mile from my home and to which I hope my children will have access—perhaps I should declare a little interest—is a most imaginative and courageous experiment designed to make available to young people up to the age of 25 a whole range of artistic possibilities. It is also hoped to include swimming baths as well as a large theatre, a small theatre, studios and other facilities of that sort. We have already been grant-aiding the Arts Centre. Industry has also been very generous. A tremendous amount of voluntary help has been given and we shall continue to encourage it. In the same way, the Carlton Youth Art Centre in the Nottingham area, I am delighted to inform it and the House, will be included in the 1965–66 programme, if it can raise its share of the development costs of that project.

One of the things on which not much time has been spent today, but which is of great importance, is social service by young people. Anyone thinking about these problems and knowing young people can understand that there is a tremendous amount of untapped idealism among the youth of this country which is waiting to find expression. With my responsibilities for the Youth Service, I have every intention of aiding and assisting in these developments. It takes dramatic form sometimes—work camps here, work gangs going overseas.

The Portsmouth Youth Action Scheme has been mentioned. We had a report on this only this week at the Youth Service Development Council. These young people in Portsmouth have undertaken a survey of the whole of the town, knocking at every door. They have done this in order to find out where are the needs, where are the lonely people, where are the handicapped people, and the arrangements which ought to be made for them. I believe that Portsmouth Corporation and the people in charge of this project are deserving of every congratulation, because they have tried to make money available for young people to organise for themselves with a minimum amount of interference by adults and others outside. That sort of development is very much to be appreciated.

For a long time we have talked in the House and in the country about the Youth Service. The more one thinks about it the more it is clear that the title "Youth Service" is unnecessarily restrictive in describing what it is all about, and I hope that we can move more and more towards the servicing of youth in so many ways and not necessarily in formal organizations.

Although I am the first to admit that what the formal youth organisations are doing is valuable and should be aided as much as possible, I believe that it is time to change the emphasis a little and to see how we can service young people who do not belong to formal organisations. Indeed, many of the organisations are themselves doing just this. The Y.W.C.A. has done a remarkable coffee bar project, with small groups examining what is likely to capture the imagination of young people who do not wish to be associated with the formal Youth Service and what their needs are. The National Association of Youth Clubs has had three detached workers, one on Tees-side, one in the South-East and another elsewhere, who have been trying to find the haunts which young people occupy. They have gone even into public houses, as well as coffee bars and elsewhere, to obtain information.

In Birmingham there has been a very up-to-date piece of research in that the Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs has gone back into the schools to take last-year school pupils for residential courses, in the first instance for a week, to give them a look at life, as it were, and to enable them to enjoy community life. They are considering the follow-up questions of social living which arise. This sort of development is very well worth while. The hon. Member for Bromley made an important contribution in talking about the need for social service and the need for this type of development. I am very keen about it.

What impressed me most on taking office and looking at the Youth Service was how little detailed information we have at our disposal in respect of the Youth Service. Very few surveys have been done, and a great deal more survey in depth and in marketing research needs to be carried out.

The projects which I have mentioned all show that it is far more expensive to carry on this sort of work among those we regard as the unattached—a name which I do not particularly like and which perhaps had better be changed to the unserviced—than providing ordinary leaders in the Youth Service. Even so, it has been calculated that to do this sort of social service youth work is still, I am happy to say, much cheaper than looking after young people in Borstal institutions and other places of a similar character. We must look at the matter from this point of view.

Although it has been five years since Albemarle and much has been done since then, I am convinced that it is time once more to take stock of the Youth Service and the service of youth, joining the two things together. Nothing is changing more rapidly than the aims, temperaments and ideals of young people, and therefore not to take stock regularly and not to try to assess the changing demands of people covered by the Youth Service seems to me to be the height of folly. There are very challenging questions, for example the whole field of servicing youth which I have mentioned, the question of the numbers of youth leaders, and so on. We all agree that 1,300 is far too few. How many do we need and how shall we train them?

The principle, therefore, is the quality of the youth leadership and the changing type of people whom we must have, because still over two-thirds of our young people are not attached at all to any of the formal youth organisations. The need is for youth leaders in the field with greater social science training and the improvement of the building and the equipment needed to do this new job in changing circumstances.

I believe that all the voluntary organisations should be continually taking stock. They certainly need to take stock once more now that it is more than five years since the Albemarle Report was published. Because I believe that the Government themselves should give a lead here, I am happy to announce that, with the complete agreement of the Youth Service Development Council, a committee of that Council has been established to take stock and to make recommendations to the Council for discussion and to the Government generally. The brief terms which this committee will have regard to will be to assess the progress made in the last five years since the Albemarle Report was presented, and to chart the lines of future development. I am happy to tell the House that Lady Albemarle, who played such a distinguished part in getting the Youth Service going five years ago, has agreed to accept my request to be chairman of this committee and to treat the matter with great urgency.

I hope that the new thinking in Government will produce new thinking throughout the country. I do not believe that it is necessary to go basically to the position that obtained before Albemarle. That is not the intention at all, but it is the intention to say, "Albemarle told us a great deal which we never knew. It altered our thinking. A lot has happened in the last five years and now is the time to have a fresh look and to chart the future".

I am happy to say that I can accept the Motion before the House, which is what the House would expect. Although this debate has on the whole been concerned with the problems of sport and recreation and the Youth Service, it is very important that we maintain a sense of proportion. We often talk more in this House about the problems than about the things which are going right. I think it would be right to end with a word or two about the faith which most of us have, and certainly which members of the Government have, in the quality of our young people.

There has never been a moment when more attention has been focused on the activities of young people. Far more is said about what happens at Clacton on a Bank Holiday Monday than is said about all the mass of good work by girls in our hospitals, by people in schools, by the youngsters in universities, by the many people in offices and factories who are carrying on their education in places of further education. We must get this into proportion. The majority of our young people are decent and keen and they intend to make a contribution to life. The Government do not think that the young people are going to the dogs. On the contrary, we believe, from all the evidence we have, that the quality of the mass of the young people is higher today than it has ever been before. Because of this the future of our country is in good hands.

3.54 p.m.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Willesden East

I hope that the House will bear with me if I make one or two points which have not yet been dealt with along the lines which I have particularly in mind on the specific aspects of education and youth service in terms of the building problem and the like.

These are particular suggestions which I should like to put to my right hon. Friends as ways in which we might speed up and improve upon the provision being made for our youth and leisure facilities. I have in mind, for example, a situation in my own area, Willesden, where there are major extensions being undertaken to a secondary school, right next door to an athletics area, where the local authority is expanding by way of providing a new swimming pool and a new sports stadium.

Several speakers have referred to difficulties in local authority departments, and one thing that I intend to take up again with my own local education officer is the need to ensure greater co-ordination and more intense use by the community at large of the facilities available. At the school I have mentioned, provision is to be made in the next two or three years for gymnasia, but we find it very difficult even to initiate adequate discussion with a view to achieving community use of those facilities. Such a situation needs serious investigation at Ministry level.

Another problem facing the Youth Service, as distinct from the schools and the community at large, is its building programme. The present procedure is that if a local voluntary organisation wants to go ahead with a major project, the local authority must include that project in its submission to the Ministry. An organisation in my constituency after raising money for a considerable time, has recently had the benefit of a sponsor providing a large sum of money. It feels that within the next 18 months or two years it will be able to purchase a very expensive site on which to build a youth centre.

When the Youth Service building programme was originally submitted, this possibility did not exist, so the organizsation will now have to apply to the local authority to have this project included. The local authority will then have to resubmit its programme to the Ministry and, on the basis of experience, we can be sure that if the Ministry does include the additional project, it will inevitably be at the expense of another scheme previously included.

I should like to see a revision of the procedure so that when people, virtually by their own unaided efforts, are able to go ahead with a major building programme they should be able to do it without the local education authority finding out that if consent is given at ministerial level some other Youth Service project that is almost dependent, or entirely dependent, on public funds, will be cut out.

It has been said that £16½ million has been spent by local authorities on sports facilities, and I think that a certain amount of loosening of control is necessary here. I know that in my constituency it has taken four, five or six years, according to the type of scheme, to get swimming pools, a stadium and a sports centre under way. The money needed for their construction will come from the rates, but we have had to wait a considerable number of years for permission to go ahead. I will not elaborate the point that the permissions were all given in 1964, when a General Election was pending.

There is another aspect that causes local authorities much concern. In 1961 there was an economic crisis, which resulted in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government calling for lists of prospective projects. My authority, like many other authorities, submitted a whole list of amenity projects that it wanted to introduce. As a member of my local authority I went on a deputation to the Ministry, and we understood that the idea was to get a national comprehensive view of what was in train and that when the crisis receded we would be given an indication about what could progress.

To this day there has been no further information given from ministerial level downwards on the programming of these schemes. The authority had to guess when it might be suitable to submit a further application and perhaps get approval. It guessed right. It made an application during the period leading up to the General Election. There were swimming pools either on the board or on the ground and a sports centre is now on the way. As I say, we had to guess. This was wrong. Some guidance should be given from the centre about when the authority could expect to have permission to go ahead with its schemes. It did not get it.

I could give many other instances of which I have experience in local council work in which we wanted to go ahead with schemes, but before committing ourselves to heavy expenditure of time and money we had to go to Ministerial Departments because we had not had clear guidance about what would be permitted or when it would he permitted and the extent of the expenditure.

Work on a youth centre is shortly to start. This idea has been knocking about for five years in my district, but now we are to get under way with it. There may be a lesson to be learned here concerning the procedure on the school building programme. About 2½ years ago a plan and specification and an estimated price were submitted to the Ministry for this centre. The general plan was approved subject to one or two minor details. The estimate was approved. The matter then went to tender. If it had been 1 per cent. or so over the original estimate, the whole procedure would have had to be gone through again and a series of negotiation would have had to be undertaken between the local education authority and the Ministry, which would have meant that a great deal more time would have been wasted. Fortunately, this did not arise, although at one time there was a fear that it would arise on the estimating point. It would have meant pushing it out of this year's building programme into another year's programme.

There must be a look at the procedure adopted between local education authorities, the youth service, schools and the Ministry so as to speed up the programming of work so that a building project is not pushed from one programme into another year after year, resulting in constant delay and frustration at local level among people employed in the Youth Service.

I will content myself with these points. If something can be done to meet them, it will help to raise morale in the local authority and encourage the enthusiasm of people, both at local authority level and in the Youth Service, to direct their energies towards expanding the service as the years go by.

3.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

I rise to make one point, which is all that I have time for. I have been listening with the utmost interest to the debate because of the extraordinary effect that it has had on hon. Members opposite. It appears that a great advantage of having a Labour Government is that all vice has been driven out and virtue oozes from every pore.

Members who previously urged that there should be restraint in public expenditure have urged the Government to spend money on every possible occasion. Ministers of chaos have become careful planners, and we are assured that if we go ahead with the programmes to be placed before the House we shall get support from hon. Members opposite.

The point which, if there is still time—

It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.