Sport

Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 7:13 pm on 12th July 1988.

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Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath 7:13 pm, 12th July 1988

I beg to move, That this House condemns the failure of Government policies to provide for the requirements of British sport, including a genuine Sport For All policy which meets the needs of community-based sport and recreation; deplores Government intentions to privatise the management of local authority sports facilities, and the sale of school playing fields; regrets the reconstitution of the Sports Council, removing the democratic right of British sport to elect its own representatives; condemns the failure of the Government to deal with the problem of criminal hooliganism in society as a whole and the imposition of unacceptable club membership schemes which remove the civil rights of genuine football supporters and which force upon football clubs arrangements which are impracticable and expensive; and calls for the development of a strategy for sport which is coherent and meets the needs of the whole of British sport.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

I remind the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment standing in the name of the Prime Minister.

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

The debate is about the social purpose of sport, which is being undermined by the Government at every turn. Sport ought to provide millions of our people with opportunities for enjoyment in their personal lives and with a sense of challenge and achievement, and there should be pleasure for us all in the triumphs of those who delight the nation with superb performances.

Sport should enrich the society in which we live, but the Prime Minister tells us that there is no such thing as society. She is now firmly in control of sports policy, so we must assume that she regards the role of sport in society as irrelevant. Alone of all nations, Britain offers not a penny piece to those seeking to attract here the great festivals of international sport—the Olympic games, the Commonwealth games and the world student games. Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Sheffield are all cash-limited or rate-capped and left to their own devices. That is very sad, because international sport has an enormous contribution to make to the multiracial society in which we live.

The debate takes place at a time when many of our national sports—football, cricket, rugby and tennis—are producing abysmal performances. We hope that the members of our summer Olympic team, to whom we send our best wishes, will have better fortune than their comrades in the winter Olympics.

The future of all British sport is to be found in school sport. It is there that the basic skills are taught and lifetime enthusiasms generated. Never has morale in school sport been in such a state of collapse. The Government's running conflict with the teaching profession is having disastrous results. Forced contracts in Scotland are decimating school sports and directed time in England and Wales is totally destroying their voluntary nature.

Photo of Mr John Taylor Mr John Taylor , Solihull

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

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

Not yet, it is too early.

When the English Schools Football Association tells me that it fears for the future, the rot has certainly set in. Two weeks ago, I attended the annual schools' athletic championships in the west midlands. For the first time in the history of those championships, 40 per cent. of the entrants failed to turn up. Judges had to be recruited from the crowd and people were asked to judge the javelin or the shot because teachers were not there. I inquired about the reason for this terrible situation and was told by physical education teachers that they were being directed to do other things and chose to to do their own things at weekends.

Anybody who doubts the disastrous effect on school sports of the Government's policy should stop for a minute or two to consider the report of the Secondary Heads Association. It represents headmasters in 5,161 schools that are teaching 4,095,500 secondary school pupils. A survey by the Secondary Heads Association found that 95 per cent. of all schools have witnessed a rapid decline in the number of team fixtures during the last two years.70 per cent. of schools have inadequate playing fields and indoor facilities.75 per cent. of pupils no longer have the opportunity to learn to swim. That is an utter disgrace and a threat to public health as well as to the future of British swimming. The association found that 40 per cent. of schools have inadequate facilities for dance and gymnastics.So few schools employ groundsmen that nearly half of all playing fields (by Department of Education and Science criteria) are substandard. There could hardly be a more damning indictment of a Government who are failing in their duty to produce future generations of British sports people as well as facilities for people who enjoy sport for their own pleasure.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

My right hon. Friend spoke about swimming. Does he agree that, following the recent tragedy in the North sea, it was established that one of the troubles was that many workers on the oil rig could not swim?

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

That is not within my personal knowledge, but I am happy to accept it. It is possibly the case. As I have given way to my hon. Friend, perhaps the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. Taylor) wishes to intervene.

Photo of Mr John Taylor Mr John Taylor , Solihull

The right hon. Gentleman is very gracious, and I appreciate his giving way. I was about to pursue a theme that he was developing earlier in his speech, when he said that the fountainhead of all successful sport was in schools. Is that true of our successful golfers, such as Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle or of our snooker player Steve Davis? Many of our most successful sportsmen have developed their skills with good coaching, outside the school system.

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

I cannot follow that irrelevant remark. It would be like following Nigel Mansell round the motor racing track—which has nothing to do with school sport, I concede.

I want to talk about the scandal of the sale of our educational sports grounds. The Central Council of Physical Recreation has done an excellent job in drawing our attention to the fact that the Department of the Environment's own land register shows that 5,000 acres of sports fields are up for sale at present. That area is equal to a city the size of Coventry, and it is a reflection on the Government that they have allowed that to happen.

School sport in London, after the abolition of the GLC and the proposed execution of ILEA, will be in a catastrophic position. In its last year, the GLC spent almost £40 million on sport and recreation in London. Neither the boroughs nor the Government have provided anything like that amount. In their amendment, the Government make some play of increasing the Sports Council's grant by 37 per cent. but they do not tell us that £5 million of that was provided to compensate for the abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan counties, so it is a false figure. In 1981, the Sports Council grant was £19 million, of which £5 million went to the governing bodies; today the grant is £38 million, of which only £8 million goes to the governing bodies. Not only local authorities but the governing bodies of British sport are being crushed by Government policies.

ILEA is rate-capped and the effect on London is that ILEA is having to close down 12 school playing fields. That is an absolute disgrace. ILEA is also cutting swimming time for pupils and the number of teachers and instructors who train pupils in London schools.

Photo of Mr Frank Haynes Mr Frank Haynes , Ashfield

The Minister is to be condemned. He is a product of school sport, yet he preaches to the nation about what the Government will do with school playing fields. He is an utter disgrace.

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

I hope to reinforce my hon. Friend's judgment in the course of my remarks.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The right hon Gentleman and other more senior hon. Members know of my interest in the subject and of my anxiety some years ago to promote a Bill—which the right hon. Gentleman supported—on the sale of playing fields.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke about ILEA. Is he certain that ILEA is determined to close those fields? Is it not rather that, after consultation with my hon. Friend the Minister, certain boroughs will take over those sports facilities, thanks to the Government's initiative?

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

I am coming to that point. By 1990, when ILEA goes, there will be a tremendous crisis because the playing fields will go to the London residuary body. It will have to dispose of the playing fields, at present used by children in inner-London areas, to the highest bidders. That is what has happened to the Lyceum theatre. I spent an hour this afternoon with ILEA, so I am sure of my facts.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

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

Yes, although I assume that the Minister will make a speech later.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

All the playing fields to which the right hon. Gentleman referred would go to the London education authorities and not to the London residuary body. After April 1990, it will be for the London education authorities to decide whether the playing fields have educational value and therefore whether they will remain in the control of education authorities for use by local students.

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

That is a completely unsatisfactory reply. Will those arrangements apply to the playing fields that ILEA so thoughtfully purchased outside London for use by children from inside London? That was one of the central questions that I was about to ask the Minister. We need a reply. Perhaps he will tell us. I shall certainly give way again if he wishes.

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

Oh.

The London borough of Waltham Forest would like to buy Waltham Lodge but it cannot because of what is to happen in 1990. That is an example of the difficulties that authorities face.

Opposition Members wish to draw the Minister's attention to a number of priorities on sport in schools with which we expect him to deal tonight. First, as an absolute minimum, physical education time ought to occupy at least 10 per cent. of the school curriculum. Nothing like that is provided in many schools at the moment. Secondly, we want in-service training for PE teachers, especially in primary schools, which are badly served in terms of sport and recreation.

Thirdly, we need greater flexibility in planning and provision for sport in local authorities and local education authorities and we should like the massive capital receipts to be unlocked in the interests of the sporting needs of the British people. Fourthly, we need development officers for sport. Given all the problems associated with boredom in our society, the need for more development officers stares one in the face. Such officers could create new sporting opportunities and attract people into playing a positive role.

There should be no more sales of school playing fields and where such sell-offs are projected, we want an assessment of both their present use and the future needs of sport. Finally, we seek 100 per cent. discretionary, if not compulsory, rating relief for all sports clubs that serve the community.

Let us consider local authority sport. The Sports Council's recent strategy document is entitled "Sport in the Community: into the 90s". There is no hope of pursuing that strategy unless we allow local authorities to provide facilities for all their citizens. In my own city of Birmingham, there were 620,000 users of indoor leisure facilities last year and there were 3 million sessions of swimming. All that is now threatened by the proposed privatisation of management. It is the city council that has built the facilities and attracted people to them. [HON. MEMBERS: "He thinks this is funny."] This Minister thinks that everything is funny. Charm oozes from every pore, but action from nowhere; he is stultified.

The Minister's own constituency of Lewisham has 202,800 users of indoor facilities and 740,000 swimming sessions. We should take these issues to the people. We should ask the people of Lewisham, as well as the people of London in general, why, when a local authority—not always a Labour authority—has taken the initiative and had the courage to provide facilities, that authority should be undermined by its own Member of Parliament.

The consultation document has turned out to be a total disaster for the Minister. Last week, he told the House that he had had 348 replies and that he was putting them in the Library. We had a count today and discovered that only 211 of the replies are to be found in the Library. What has happened to all the others? Of the replies to his consultation document, our analysis shows that 95 per cent. representing local government Conservative, Labour, Liberal and every other hue regard the consultation document as a disaster and reject it. The responses have been overwhelmingly hostile to the Government.

The Minister says that he wants private enterprise to manage the facilities. There has been nothing to stop private enterprise building sports halls and swimming baths, had it wished to do so, but it has not. Faced with the opposition to policy mark 1, which was to privatise everything, the Government brought out policy mark 2, which was to privatise the management resources. That policy was manifest nonsense. After management had been privatised, local authorities would have been left to pay all the loan charges and insurance, to pay for the equipment and maintenance, and to subsidise sport for the unemployed, the handicapped and pensioners. No wonder the local authorities to a man rose up in opposition to that ridiculous policy.

Policy mark 3 is to privatise but to allow local authorities to decide the pricing policy and the philosophy. We need to know what that means. The Secretary of State for the Environment never attends sports debates or sports meetings. He has never been through a sports turnstile in his life. He is never seen at any sports ground. That is why he is the Cabinet Minister responsible for these matters. On 22 July 1987 he told us, in respect of his own legislation: The enabling power will … allow the level of fees and charges under existing, new or amended charging powers to be prescribed or varied."—[Official Report, 22 July 1987; Vol. 120, c. 277.] How can the Minister say that local authorities can have their own pricing policy when his boss, the Secretary of State, says that he will prescribe what the pricing policy should be? It is a total contradiction.

The Minister must come clean and tell us: will local authorities have the power to prescribe charges for privatised management schemes, or is the Secretary of State's diktat to apply? The other day the Minister said: Where a council wishes … to subsidise its pricing policy, it is perfectly entitled to write that into the contractual arrangements."—[Official Report, 1 July 1988; Vol. 136, c. 650.] If a council is free to fix the prices, why should it want to subsidise those prices? It makes no sense. It can only make sense if it means that the council can fix prices but if the Secretary of State disagrees, he will give a direction, and at that point the council would be free to subsidise if it wished to do so.

The privatisation of the management of local authority sports facilities will price thousands of young people out of sports facilities. They will be turned on to the streets to find their excitement in other ways. It will also mean that many sports facilities will become bastions of middle-class activity, as has happened, for example, with lawn tennis to its detriment. No sport can prosper and produce champions unless the base of the pyramid is large enough.

The Sports Council recognises the dangers. In briefing notes it says: the willingness of local authorities to build new facilities in the future is a matter of concern". Of course it should be. No local authority in its right mind will build new sports facilities just to hand them over to private management. That is a reality of life which the Minister must accept.

The Minister has talked about joint schemes. He takes refuge in his statement about exemption for joint shemes provided in schools with local authority recreational support. In Birmingham, where we are doing this, it was after a great fight with entrenched interests. The problem is that although under the Education Act 1986, the Minister wants joint schemes between education and recreational departments, under his new proposal, school governors have a complete say. School governors and heads can decide whether joint schemes in schools will be open to the public. Therefore, we cannot find any comfort in what the Minister has told us about joint schemes. We would like to see more, but his own legislation precludes that.

One of the saddest features of the Government is the contempt in which they hold the democratic process. We see it time and again. Good people are removed from the Sports Council, the Countryside Commission and regional authorities. The test for the Prime Minister and for the Minister is: is he one of us? They do not ask themselves whether the person will make a contribution to society.

The Minister is applying that dictum to the Sports Council, which is par for the course for him. He has removed all regional chairmen of sports councils without consulting the House. He announced that, as he usually announces such things, by a written answer to a planted question so that he did not have to explain to the House why he was removing the right of the Central Council of Physical Recreation to elect the representatives of British sport whom it wants on the Sports Council. That is the essence of democracy and was a right first accorded by me after the White Paper in 1979, and followed by every Conservative Minister until the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. We want to know why he has decided to depart from the wisdom of all others who have held that office. We are entitled to an answer.

The Sports Council will have no representatives of local government or of British sport. I have heard just today that the one representative of the Football Trust, which the Minister tells us will help pay for his membership scheme, has had a letter from the Minister telling him that his services are no longer required. That is a disaster. That member has served only two of his three years as a representative of the Football Trust which is putting millions of pounds into community sport. No doubt the Minister will explain why he thinks that there should be no democracy in the Sports Council.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me one initiative taken by the five members who have just retired from the Sports Council?

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

If the hon. Gentleman means the nine chairmen of regional sports councils, I would regard it as inconceivable that those nine, covering the whole country, have never put forward any initiatives for sport.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House of one initiative taken by the CCPR members who retired on 30th June?

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

If the hon. Member will look at the history of those sports that the CCPR represents, he will find that it is responsible for the voluntary control of them all. Everything that has been achieved in voluntary sports has been the result of the initiatives that the CCPR members took as representatives of British sport.

We know why the Minister wants to move in the direction he does. For him, the game is up. In an unguarded moment, he wrote a letter to the Sports Council chairman in November 1987, in which he stated: The Sports Council is to become the executive arm of Government. That is what he wrote. Like everything else, sport is now to be brought under the immediate control of No. 10 and the Minister. The consultation exercise showed that 95 per cent. of those involved did not wish to go along with the Government, but that comment by the Minister before the consultation process began proves beyond peradventure that it was an absolute sham and was never intended to influence the Government—and it has had no influence. It was a totalitarian concept. Ministers who treat Parliament, sport or local government with contempt do themselves no service, and any Minister who does all three simultaneously is beyond recall.

I turn to the subject of football club membership schemes, relating to one of the greatest problems facing our country. One of the other great problems this country faces is the presence of Conservatives on the Government Benches. Serious violence confronts our nation, and it is spreading throughout our cities and rural areas. It is also to be found on the beaches of Spain. Yet the Government have not yet begun to approach the problem rationally.

It is not just a problem for football, but one for society —although if one does not believe in society, it is unlikely that one will be able to cure the problem. Three times I have offered to join an all-party examination of this serious national problem. Three times that offer has been rejected. For the fourth time, I make that offer. This matter transcends party political considerations, but the Government are looking for scapegoats or alibies.

The giveaway occurs in the plan that the Minister put before the House. He said that football violence was such a serious problem that he had to impose a membership scheme on every football supporter because that was the only way of getting the problem under control. But he added that the scheme will not be introduced next year and will have to wait another 12 months; the nation is to be terrorised for a further 12 months.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

Nonsense. That is stupid.

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

The hon. Member for Luton, North ( Mr. Carlisle) says, "That is stupid," but if football violence really is a serious problem affecting everyone in the country, it should be seriously dealt with now, not in 12 months' time. That 12-month delay is one of the greatest derelictions of duty that I have ever encountered during my time in the House.

We all know that really it is an alibi, and I can tell the House the reason for it. It may be remembered that three years ago, the Prime Minister first sent for the Football Association chairman, and that the No. 10 propaganda machine was busy carrying the message that the Prime Minister was now in charge and that everything would soon be under control. In the three years that followed, disaster followed disaster. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have much to answer for, as do many others.

Football itself has co-operated in every way. The Minister looks abashed, and no doubt will tell the House why he stated before the European football championship that the Football Association could not have done more and that he was delighted and pleased that it had co-operated with the Government in every respect. Those were his comments, and that is what he told me. In March, I wrote to the Minister and, on behalf of the Opposition, expressed the gravest doubts that the measures taken by the Football Association and by the Minister would be successful in curtailing the situation in Germany. The Minister replied that he was totally satisfied with the association's arrangements for dealing with the potential problem. I can only tell the House and the country that that is what happened, and I will publish that correspondence if the Minister disputes what I have said.

It is not immediately clear to any of us why the problems in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, disgraceful though they were, should justify a scheme covering all legitimate, law-abiding football supporters throughout the country. That was a panic reaction to a serious situation. The Minister's membership scheme is totally impracticable and it will not work.

One can imagine the scene one Wednesday night at one of our great football grounds for an FA Cup replay Along comes a supporter in the darkness, tendering his gate money, and the old boy manning the turnstile is expected to study his identity card. The supporter arrives at the gate at 7.20 pm for the replay, pays his money and receives his change—and then he must produce a card. The gatekeeper, locked in his little compartment, will have to study the photograph on the identity card to make sure that it is correct.

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

The Minister has said that the card must bear a photograph—I am not inventing all this.

The gatekeeper must then insert it into the machine. At that point, the gatekeeper might have to tell the supporter, "You can't come in." There may be another 300 people queuing behind him, yet the elderly gatekeeper will be looking through his grille saying, "Please go away." The whole thing is farcical. The gatekeeper will do what the police already do when there is likely to be trouble when supporters having no tickets arrive at all-ticket matches. Then the police say, "Open the gates and let them in."

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

I may tell the Minister that if he has ever been to a football match, he can never have seen anything. One of the troubles about the identity scheme is that it has been imposed by people who have never gone through turnstiles in their lives. I was personally present at the match between West Bromwich Albion and Leeds last year when 200 supporters turned up without tickets. They threatened to cause mayhem in the area, and I do not blame the police for responding on that occasion by saying, "Open the gates and let them in." If the Minister blames the police, no doubt he will take up the matter with the Home Secretary. Perhaps he will tell us how he proposes to deal with the problem. I use it merely as an illustration of the practical difficulties posed to the man on the ground.

Photo of Mr Andrew Hargreaves Mr Andrew Hargreaves , Birmingham, Hall Green

What is the right hon. Gentleman's solution?

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

My solution is to deal with the problem of hooligans where it exists, not to create it [Interruption.] I am grateful for my hon. Friends' support, but I do not want to overdo my generosity with time. Let me draw my hon. Friends' attention to the cost and the total impractability of providing such a scheme. A club in Holland facing the same problem installed an expensive and sophisticated electronic device. It lasted one week. The so-called hooligans poured in sand, chewing gum and bent cards, which destroyed the system. Such a system can work only if there is a policeman at every turnstile ——

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

No doubt the hon. Gentleman is going to tell us about Luton, but we are discussing a national membership scheme, not a localised one. I challenge the Minister to tell us whether he has examined the scheme and whether what I am saying is accurate. But I can assure him that it is accurate: the scheme simply did not work.

If we are to have a centralised computer system that will require a policeman at every turnstile, who will pay for the policemen? Will they be regarded as being inside the ground?

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

That will impose a charge of many more thousands on the football clubs. I am glad that the Minister has made it clear that another tax is to be imposed on football clubs going about their legitimate business.

Let us examine the cost of all this. How many thousands of turnstiles are there in this country? I calculate that there might be 2,500 on any one Saturday, and I am told that the electronic devices might cost £1,000 a time. The Minister can tell us what calculations he has made, but the cost of a centralised computer will be enormous. If half the turnstiles are in operation for half the clubs playing at home on a Saturday afternoon, the cost of feeding in thousands of cards at precisely the same time between 2·45 pm and 3 o'clock will require a very costly computer. Moreover, the cost of using British Telecom lines back to the centralised computer may be as much as £5 a minute. We begin to see how the cost is mounting up. If I have got it wrong, no doubt the Minister will tell us the cost of policing and of the terminal, the computer and the photograph machine.

There are other substantial reasons why everyone, including Leicester university, is opposed to the scheme. It is an affront to civil liberties to say that no man shall take his relative of friend to a football match unless he is registered well ahead of time and has a membership card. I wonder whether the House realises that the only other instance in which it is forbidden to visit a recreational club without a membership card is attendance at a pornographic film. Lawful football supporters are being linked with viewers of pornographic films, and I fundamentally object to that on their behalf. [Laughter.] I think that my hon. Friends are enjoying my speech. I assure them that I have only two more points to raise, and that they will wish me to raise both of them.

First, there is nothing in the package to deal with the racist chanting that we hear in football grounds. I am not surprised by that. Nothing in the Government's approach to the South African question in sport gives us any confidence that they understand the important role of sport in society, particularly in a multiracial society.

We cannot conclude the debate without something being said about the proposal by certain clubs to disrupt the Football League. If sport is about responsibility to society, that must embrace football at all levels. We appreciate the need for our top clubs to be on equal terms with continental clubs and to have the resources to keep good players in this country, and that must be provided for in financial terms. We may well have to have some sort of premier league, but it must be within the existing league structure. No club can provide for itself unless it concerns itself with the health of every other club in the country. That is a question of morality, which clubs would be well advised to consider.

Let me add that, if the proposed premier league or anything like it makes no provision for promotion or relegation, the Government should be aware that they will be creating a cartel, and the Office of Fair Trading and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission may well become involved. The Independent Broadcasting Association should also consider whether its policy is in the national interest. On behalf of the Opposition, I have written to Lord Thomson that he must examine the proposals of independent television companies.

Where the Government are taking the action that we have long urged on them—on passport control, sensible attendance orders and stiffer sentences—we shall give them our support, but the truth is that their sports policy lies in tatters. That policy contains no strategy for sport in the community, or for dealing with the evils of hooliganism that the Government visit on football. The Government deserve the censure that we seek to impose on them tonight.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East 7:57 pm, 12th July 1988

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof, welcomes the Government's success in encouraging increased participation in sport and recreation and the opening of new facilities, stimulating private sector sponsorship and increasing grant-in-aid to the Sports Council by 37 per cent. in real terms since 1979–80, bringing forward proposals for competitive tendering to increase the efficient management of existing facilities, announcing proposals for restructuring the membership of the Sports Council to enable it to carry out its responsibilities more effectively, thus setting the scene for the structure and direction of sports policy for the 1990's, providing the police and the courts with comprehensive powers for tackling the problem of criminal hooliganism and in taking a firm lead in ensuring an integrated approach to vigorous law enforcement; and also welcomes the anti-hooligan measures announced following the Prime Minister's meeting on 6th July with the football authorities.". I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) for raising the subject of sport, and in particular the theme of sport for all. I am delighted that in doing so he has given me the opportunity to draw the curtain on the Opposition's favourite era, the 1970s, and to reveal how the Government have achieved more sport for all in the 1980s —and how we intend to keep up the momentum through the 1990s and beyond.

Perhaps Opposition Members have not noticed, or do not wish to notice, that since they left office the participation in sport and active recreation by people of all

ages and incomes has increased significantly, and that local authorities' spending on sport and recreation has continued to grow.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael , Cardiff South and Penarth

Does the Minister not recognise that the great impact has been made by responsible local authorities, which seek to make leisure provision in their own areas? Will he pay tribute to their initiative?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I certainly pay tribute to the fact that local authorities' spending on sport and recreation has increased. I also pay tribute to the substantial increase in sponsorship. Last year another £40 million—that is as much as the Sports Council grant—was put into sport and recreation. Moreover, the level of grant aid to the Sports Council has increased far above the rate of inflation, and additional public spending on sport and recreation through other budgets, including those of the urban programme and the Manpower Services Commission, runs into millions of pounds a year.

Moreover—this is a key point—there has been a continuing and growing increase in sponsorship, not just at the top level, but sensibly packaged to assist the development of sports at grass roots, as well as recognising the importance to the marketing mix of companies— [Interruption] I can give dozens of examples. Let me start with the Trustcard initiative in the world of rowing. It is not just at the top of rowing—[Interruption.] Opposition Members ask for examples and when I give one they ridicule it. They ridicule it because they know that it is right, not just for rowing, but throughout sport.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Other right hon. and hon. Members want an opportunity to speak.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. I remind the House that this is a short debate and that many right hon. and hon. Members are seeking to take part. All the sedentary interventions and attempts to intervene are at the expensive of time and other hon. Members' speeches.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

To be more specific, the Sports Council estimates that 23 million people now participate in sports, compared to 17 million 10 years ago—an increase of 6 million. We now have more than 1,000 swimming pools, more than 1,100 sports halls and 99 artificial pitches, compared to 30 five years ago. Local authority spending on sport and recreation was estimated by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy at £650 million in 1986–87, a substantial increase in real terms since 1979. The Sports Council's grant for the present financial year is £39 million, compared with £15 million in 1978–79, an increase in real terms of 37 per cent.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

Is the Minister prepared to congratulate my local authority, Ogwr, which is currently building a new swimming pool, even though it is threatened with rate capping because of its action? Will he ensure that it is not rate-capped?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I happily congratulate the hon. Gentleman's local authority if it has wisely recognised the importance of public provision for sport and recreation in the building of a new swimming pool. I have just given due credit to local authorities up and down the country for recognising the importance of providing adequate resources and facilities for the development of leisure.

On top of public provision, private sponsorship of sport from £60 million in 1980–81 to more than £160 million last year. The provision of sports facilities is certainly thriving. Our goal must be to maximise their use for wider participation and the development of excellence.

The introduction of competition into the management of local authority sport and leisure facilities will mean more value for money in the running of those services and more incentives for people to use them. The right lion. Member for Small Heath has still not grasped that point, despite my repeated attempts to help him to do so. He persists in misunderstanding. He also continues to ring the alarm bells over recreational land and playing fields in particular. There is no evidence that there has been a net loss when land that has gone out of recreational use is balanced against gains in provision.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman and other Members who have taken part in sports debates that it is important that we know in detail the availability of recreational land and playing fields in Britain. Currently, that information is not known by the Government, the Sports Council or the Central Council of Physical Recreation. When my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) brought his Bill before the House he rightly pointed out the need to assess and identify in detail the availability of such land so that we can monitor and increase its use by specific targeting of resources to obtain greater participation. It is participation that we want first and foremost.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The House will be grateful for the remarks that my hon. Friend has just made. Will he consider instituting some form of register so that all the Departments—including his own and the Department of Education and Science—and all interested parties know exactly what sporting playing fields are available, so that we can obtain an accurate figure of whether any are being lost?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I have aleady spoken to the Sports Council about the importance of collating all the information that is available. I believe that that is the best source of information, and it is important to ensure that we bring in as much knowledge as possible, not just about specific facilities, but about their use. I hope that the regional councils for sport and recreation can assist in identifying that information.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

It is critical to make progress in order to give other hon. Members a chance to speak.

I shall respond on issues concerning the Sports Council and its membership, to which the right hon. Member for Small Heath devoted much attention. Membership of the council was one of the issues on which I invited comments in my open letter to the chairman on 19 November. Many of those who responded argued that the council as a then was, with 32 members, was too large and unwieldy to be effective. I have considered their responses—and the others—carefully in the light of the royal charter. I wrote to the chairman of the Central Council of Physical Recreation on the subject again on 13 June and I have considered his replies to me carefully.

It seems clear that the Sports Council will be better able to do the job provided for it by the royal charter with a significantly smaller membership than it has had. The primary aim of the Sports Council is to promote participation. It follows naturally that the pursuit of that aim will also enable us to identify, nurture and develop excellence in sport.

That excellence should be supported from schools to governing bodies by an effective structure geared to serving our promising sportsmen and women. The formation and development of an appropriate and effective structure to take British sport into the 1990s is the challenge faced by the Government, governing bodies, sportsmen and women and underpins the comprehensive review of sport which I am currently undertaking.

Neither grass roots participation nor excellence is furthered by having the Sports Council run by a board that is too big to operate effectively. Thirty-two members are too many. I intend, therefore, to reduce the membership to less than half the level that the council has had. It is my intention not to renew the membership of the seven members whose appointments ran out at the end of June and I have asked a number of other members to resign. I shall be looking to appoint a small number of new members in the next few weeks.

The right hon. Member for Small Heath spoke about the governing bodies of sport. He did not explain how the governing bodies, or anyone else involved in sport, are helped by having a Sports Council too big to carry out effectively the job required of it by the royal charter. Even with 32 members, the council was a long way from representing more than a small proportion of all governing bodies.

Like everyone else connected with sport, the governing bodies will benefit from a more effective Sports Council. It will be for the new council to decide just what its consultative arrangements are to be. I know that the chairman is keen to ensure that close consultation is maintained with the governing bodies. It is inconceivable that the Sports Council could operate without effective consultative arrangements with the governing bodies of sport.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

The governing bodies will have a major role to play in the future operations of the Sports Council. They will be playing that role——

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. The Minister has made it clear that he is not giving way. The hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) must not persist.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

They will be playing that role on behalf of sportsmen and women. That is their job.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. Did the hon. Gentleman not hear me? He must not persist in disregarding what I have said.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Their job and mine is to serve sportsmen and women. I make no secret of my belief that they would he better able to do that job if they encouraged active sportsmen and women to play a greater part in running the organisation.

I held a conference for sportsmen and women in May. It was the first conference of its kind in this country, possibly in Europe, and I was delighted by its success. More than 150 sports people came and many of them contributed a great deal. The conference more than confirmed my belief—I wish it would that of the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers)—that active sportsmen and women have a great deal to offer in the way that sport is run.

Some governing bodies already involve active sportspeople in their decision-making process. I wish that they all did. I hope that they all will.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. The way in which we usually conduct our debates is to seek to rebut arguments with which we disagree in the course of debate by making speeches, not by sedentary interventions or seeking to intervene.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

One of the aims of the review of sports policy that I am conducting will be to bring active sportsmen and women much more into the administration of sport, both in running governing bodies and in the development of national sporting policies as a whole. That is why Sebastian Coe, Clive Lloyd, Steve Ovett, Tessa Sanderson, Duncan Goodhew and Jeoff Thomson together make up over 40 per cent. of the membership of the three reviews that I have initiated in my first year of office—reviews on drug abuse in sport, on sport for the disabled, and on sport and recreation provision in the inner cities.

Top-level sport in particular has changed radically in this decade. The pressures, including from the media, financial incentives, commercial interest and the level of competition itself are often intense. Who better can we choose to reflect, consider and implement new approaches to sports policy and sports administration than those coaches and participants, active or recently retired, who are willing and able to help? We need gold medal support in administration and management if we are to expect gold medal performances on the fields of play. We must solve today's problems with today's people. I shall be talking to the Sports Council and other sporting organisations about how we achieve that goal.

I shall now deal with competitive tendering. It is a sign of the weakness of the Opposition's Front-Bench thinking and continued outdated dark age vision of sport that they have to resort to scaremongering about our proposals for competitive tendering. If I interpret their views correctly, they would much prefer to maintain the status quo in local authority sport and leisure facility management. They would duck competition in the provision of services off the track, while purporting to promote competition on the track. They would enshrine for posterity the right of the direct labour organisations to manage facilities, without incentives for efficiency, better marketing and greater use. Worse still, they continue to misunderstand the policy.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

They talk in their motion of privatisation, failing to understand that competitive tendering offers in-house DLO management a competitive chance to continue in that role. Their motion is defective. On that issue alone it should be withdrawn.

If the Opposition are to be believed, our proposals will undermine that ideal state of affairs and result in the closure of facilities, a massive lock-out of disadvantaged groups and a mushrooming of cowboy private sector operators looking to make a fast buck.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

That is absolute nonsense. In case some Members had not noticed, we are moving into the 1990s. We are not stuck in the 1970s. We need to bring the sport and leisure service up to date and give it a sound base from which to grow and prosper. I very much doubt that even one local authority or one sports organisation could put its hand on its heart and argue otherwise. Indeed, I understand that a survey, commissioned by the London borough of Greenwich, into consumer satisfaction with its sport and leisure service found that a majority of the residents did not use the publicly provided facilities, not because they did not want to take part in the activities offered, but because they wanted, and preferred, to use privately run facilities.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman when I have clarified the Government's proposals.

The service found that public awareness of the services provided was low and that many within the borough's disadvantaged groups did not feel that the facilities had been provided for use by them.

In short, while the borough's provision may be good, there seems to be little effective marketing of its facilities, and the very groups within the community, about whom we have heard great concern, are not using the facilities. I am not sure where that leaves the right hon. Gentleman's case for no change to current management practices. Under competitive tendering the local authority would have to be more imaginative in its marketing if it was to compete successfully with private sector bids for contracts.

Our proposals for competitive tendering will bring forward the achievement of sport for all, in a way that has manifestly not been achieved under the current closed shop regime.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

We are creating a market for management contracts, supported by effective controls vested in the local authorities. Where marketing exists, the consumer gets a better deal. Our proposals would yield a greater use of existing facilities by all groups within the community, through more effective management and marketing. At the same time, we have listened to, and taken very full account of, the main concerns expressed by local authorities and sports facility users. We are not proposing to allow the free market to control completely the pricing levels of facilities.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

If they so choose, local authorities can determine what charges will he made to all, or to particular groups of users. In other words, the control of pricing is written into the order. By the order I mean the proposals that will come before the House, which will deal specifically with this and a number of related issues for the management of public sector local authority sport and recreation facilities.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

I thank the Minister for giving way. Perhaps he is not aware of a major consideration affecting the northern part of the country. Many of the mining communities have famous rugby league teams, such as those in Castleford, Featherstone and Wakefield. Because the mining industry has run down, local authorities have had to purchase two of the grounds. Under the new policy, what will happen to those rugby league teams? Will the local authority have to put them out to private management, which could mean the death of the rugby league clubs? How will the policy affect the teams whose grounds are now owned by the local authority?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Many sporting facilities are owned by local authorities and run by clubs, not least Rugby League, Rugby Union and football clubs throughout the country. While those facilities are run by the clubs on local authority grounds, they will not be put out to private sector management or to competitive tendering. They will go out to competitive tendering only when employees of the council are running the sports facilities. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman raised that point and enabled me to clarify it.

Throughout the country many Rugby League and Rugby Union clubs manage themselves and the clubs run their own operations. I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman is nodding in assent. If no employee of the local authority is running the club—we know of no Rugby Union or Rugby League club being run by a local authority, but I should be happy to learn of any—the club will not be put out to competitive tendering, because the management is already in the hands of the club.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

What will happen if the council has to purchase the ground and is assisting in maintaining it?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

If the council purchases the facility, there is no intention of privatising it. We are talking specifically about competitive tendering for the management of facilities in council management and under direct labour organisation management, not about private sports clubs which occupy council-owned sports grounds.

Photo of Mr Allan Rogers Mr Allan Rogers , Rhondda

I thank the Minister for giving way. What would happen if a bowling club ran and operated a bowling green on a long lease from a local authority, but all the maintenance of the club and its grounds was carried out by the local authority?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

The bowling green would continue to be managed by the bowling club. Any council facilities, such as mowing, would go out to competitive tendering under the order. [Interruption.] When Opposition Members get a clear and direct answer, they continue to misinterpret it.

Such things as pricing policy, facilities for disadvantaged groups, the timing of access to facilities and subsidies will continue to be dealt with by local authorities if they so wish. The order relates specifically to management contracts, which will leave a private sector management team with the opportunity of marketing facilities far more effectively, because every additional person that uses the facilities provides additional income for the management. That is sport for all personified.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I have spoken enough on that issue on two occasions in the House. I am glad that Opposition Members agree with that, so I shall happily move on.

I have no doubt that in coming months, particularly during our consultations on the terms of the order to implement our proposals, we shall return to many of the issues that I have mentioned today. We shall bring forward a draft order that will go out to full consultation, and we shall debate the result of that consultation exercise on the draft order.

I now come to a subject that has little to do with sport, except for the harm that it does. I am referring to the hooliganism associated with football. The House will know that the Prime Minister and other Ministers met the football authorities last week to discuss the dreadful events in West Germany last week and the continuing problems of hooliganism in the last domestic season. We have made considerable progress since the agreement reached between the Government and the football authorities in February 1987; but the problem is still there, and we have to do more.

The Prime Minister told the football authorities of the action that the Government were taking. Considerable police resources have already been devoted to football, backed by restrictions on alcohol under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol) Act 1985 and new powers for the police and courts under the Public Order Act 1986. The police will intensify their efforts to deal with criminal behaviour. The Government are considering how better to enforce restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the vicinity of football grounds and ways of prohibiting convicted football hooligans from attending matches here and abroad.

The Prime Minister welcomed the decision of the FA to withdraw from the friendly international match arranged in Italy in November and to reconsider other such matches arranged for next year. We pressed the football authorities to establish a national membership scheme to control access to all Football League matches. I regret that the football authorities do not believe that such a scheme could be introduced on a voluntary basis. The Government will therefore bring forward proposals for legislation to give statutory backing to a national membership scheme. A working party under my chairmanship, consisting of representatives of the football authorities, the Government and the police, will begin work very soon to look at all the details, and to take account of the points that the right hon. Member for Small Heath has raised.

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

Will this working party include any football supporters, such as the National Federation of Football Supporters, which I have always found very responsible and extremely helpful? It is very important to have on the working party people who watch football from the terraces.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

The working party will have representatives from the Football Association and the Football League, who I hope are ardent supporters of football. As for taking advice from various bodies which represent football fans, we shall talk to both major bodies and consult them on their reactions to the detailed schemes that we are working up, but we will not talk only to them. We shall talk to a range of computer companies about card schemes. We will consider bringing forward as comprehensive and foolproof a scheme as possible to deter the ugliness of hooliganism within the ground.

It is no use saying that there are no problems in the ground. Everybody knows that there are problems inside as well as outside. From the first day of the season at Scarborough last year, to the last day inside the Chelsea ground, there were problems, and we must tackle them. The package of measures put in place in February 1987 must deter hooliganism inside grounds. We must also face the problems outside grounds, which were prominent in the domestic season and during the European championships.

The right hon. Member for Small Heath mentioned my support for the FA in its preparation inside grounds for the championships. I congratulated it. There was not one incident inside any of the three grounds in which our first round matches were played. The problems in West Germany occurred outside grounds. We are tackling that through UEFA and the Council of Ministers for Sport, where we are taking appropriate measures to tackle the problem. It is no use allowing potential hooligans to travel to grounds knowing that they can get in.

I have noted with deep regret the support that the right hon. Member for Small Heath gave the authorities in their view that, in case of there being problems outside grounds, we should let people in. We must stop that. A national membership scheme would stop that problem arising in the domestic season.

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

The Minister said, when asked, that of the 2,500 league matches that were played last year, only eight caused him great difficulty. When I said that he had supported and congratulated the FA, I said that I had here his document mentioning the problem inside grounds, but a memorandum that he sent me is clearly designed to deal with people's activities outside grounds. The Minister ought to face the facts. Of course football clubs have a slight difficulty inside grounds, but the problem is outside grounds, in society, and that is where we have to tackle it.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I deeply regret that the right hon. Gentleman believes that problems such as those that occurred inside Scarborough are minor and are not a serious issue that needs tackling. It requires total commitment from the football authorities, the Government and the police to stamp out the problem of hooliganism wherever it occurs. That is why we are proposing measures for inside and outside grounds.

Although there were eight major incidents inside grounds, we must not ignore the fact that there were 6,000 arrests associated with football hooliganism inside and outside grounds in the domestic season last year. That is a serious problem of law and order and it is associated with our national game. It requires the complete determination of everyone who has the game at heart, to say nothing of law and order.

I regret that it is necessary for us to legislate for a national membership scheme, but there comes a time when it is the Government's duty to act to protect society from some elements in it. We must do that, however, as the measures taken so far have not worked as effetively as we would have liked.

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

Does my hon. Friend agree that a contributory factor to hooliganism on the terraces must be the behaviour of players on the field? Will he include among those whom he consults referees, managers and players' representatives to see whether we can re-establish rather more traditional standards of sportsmanship and behaviour on the field? People on the terraces often see dreadful behaviour on the field, and hear the foulest language and abuse of referees, which often sparks off bad behaviour on the terraces.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I agree that it is essential that our top sportsmen and women, whether in football or other games, should set an example. They are looked up to by many young people who enjoy sport, and if they see players ignoring or rejecting authority on the field of play, they naturally, although wrongly, follow that example. It is essential that a good example be set. I congratulate Liverpool football club on having the fewest bookings last season and on playing outstanding football. That should be more widely publicised. It is a credit to the game, and that example should be followed by other clubs. The FA should take tough disciplinary action over major incidents when professional fouls, which have become all too common recently, or other problems associated with bad behaviour on the pitch arise.

Photo of Mr Terry Lewis Mr Terry Lewis , Worsley

Perhaps I might lower the temperature a little. Can the Minister explain how the card membership system will control the mayhem which sometimes occurs in the centre of Manchester when there is a full house game at Old Trafford or Maine road? That is the crux of the matter.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Uncharacteristically, the hon. Gentleman has not listened to what I said. There is a twin-track approach. We must tackle problems inside and outside grounds. With regard to the latter, we are reviewing exclusion orders, attendance orders and probation orders. We must have punishments that deter hooligans associated with football from behaving badly outside grounds.

Membership cards can exclude people convicted of football-related hooliganism from the ground. That should be a significant deterrent, as one of the recurring problems is that people gain access to a ground three months after receiving an exclusion order which may, for example, have been served just before the summer. They may have a shorter exclusion order, which is of no deterrent effect. That card can be used as a deterrent to stop people who have been convicted of hooligan-related offences going to a football ground of any of the 92 clubs, not only for a year or two, but I hope for much longer.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

Will my hon. Friend consult the football authorities and Ministers about the success that we have had in Scotland with the alcohol problem inside and outside grounds? Will he comment on my firm belief that unless we have custodial sentences for hooligans we shall never stamp out the problem, especially on the continent? Will he have discussions with Governments on the continent to explain that releasing hooligans the morning after a match and sending them home with a pat on the back does no good to anyone? Custodial sentences are the only way forward.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I am glad that my hon. Friend echoes my firm belief that we need effective deterrents. It was clear that a number of people who were detained overnight in German police stations regarded that as a free bed for the night—they had nowhere else to stay and got into lights as a result. That is appalling. We must make sure that punishments fit the crime.

Two interesting points can be learned from my hon. Friend's comments about alcohol in Scotland. One is that there is strong policing there, and I support that, as I am sure all hon. Members do. The second is that the Scots started earlier with alcohol restrictions. Lessons are to be learned from both initiatives.

As for the membership scheme, I hope that hon. Members on both sides recognise that we must act, as the measures taken so far have not reached the level of service to football or deterrents in law and order that we need. Decent football supporters—the vast majority of those who go to football matches—are as frustrated as anyone by the continuing blight of hooliganism and violence that is ruining their game. Of course hooliganism and violence are not confined to football, but football provides a focus for the thugs to operate on. I believe that decent supporters will welcome a package of measures that offer some prospect of curbing the problem.

I want the interests of the game and of law and order to be served. I do not want for ever to be talking about police containing the problem, and at what cost. Clubs should be thriving businesses providing entertaining football with trouble-free crowds watching in comfort. We must have a more businesslike approach and greater professionalism throughout football. Club boardrooms must play their full part and the FA and the Football League must show imagination and leadership. I want our football clubs to be more a part of their communities.

Clubs and communities should benefit one another. I see future chairmen and directors being proud of the part that their clubs play in local communities. The first attraction and concern will be the game on Saturday, but we must get away from the idea that the ground is unused between match days and is left as an empty mausoluem. I want directors to think of themselves as running important sport and leisure assets. The football in the community project fits in well here, and I hope that it goes from strength to strength.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Blaenau Gwent

What calculation has the hon. Gentleman made of the reduction in crowds —particularly for poorer clubs—that would result from the introduction of his scheme? What financial support does he suppose he will introduce to assist the clubs that are hit by his methods?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

We can look at examples in English football now, not least at Luton, the club of which my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North is chairman. Initially there was a considerable drop in membership, but then the families started coming back to Luton and attendances went up.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

Has the hon. Gentleman been there?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Yes, I have been there; yes, I have seen; yes, I have spoken to families at the turnstile, who will come only to home games and will not travel away. That is not surprising. There are no incidents in Luton. It is not a matter of "Fortress Luton", as it was before the full membership scheme banning away supporters was introduced.

The clubs should finance the scheme. I seriously believe that there are terrific commercial opportunities for the membership cards— [Interruption.]

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. I can hear only one hon. Member at a time. Mr. Moynihan.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I firmly believe that there will be substantial commercial benefits for sponsors who are associated with a national membership scheme that has such a large number of different supporters and therefore access to a large customer base.

Much of what I have described represents the beginning of our blueprint for the 1990s. Sport does not, and should not, stand detached from the rest of society in this country or elsewhere. It must be able to change, adapt, grow and prosper, just as other activities, such as business and trade, do. Its administration and organisation, of which the Sports Council is an important part, must be constantly under review. I have begun that process and I intend to continue with it for the sake of a healthy and prosperous sports structure that delivers benefits to all members of our community.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley 8:36 pm, 12th July 1988

I have to tell the Minister that I have never heard anything as daft in my life. One can kid some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. The Minister kids no one with his proposals. They are shabby and will act against the people that so desperately need the facilities that local authorities provide.

The Minister can help clubs in the Football League by enabling them to get shot of the police charges that they have to stand. The Government did that in Wapping. Surely they can help to provide proper police control by paying these charges.

I must correct the Minister on one point. Nothing that the Government have done has increased the number of people who participate in sport. All the credit goes to local authorities for ensuring the existence of the facilities for people to use. The Government have not spent more money on funding sports facilities. They have reduced the rate support grant by one third since they came to office, and unfortunately leisure amenities have been hard hit. Local people have made up the difference in local authorities' spending.

People ask how to become a member of the Sports Council. Obviously, standing beside the Minister on a political platform helps.

A point about competitive tendering: we should compare like with like. If local authorities are to allow the private sector to come in, the Government must remove their shackles so that they can compete with the private sector. For instance, Metro Catering cannot move into the private sector because of Government restraints.

Private profits mean high prices. Kids from these areas will not be able to use the facilities. When I was a kid I learnt to swim in what was known as the brown waters, where we were unsupervised by adults and in danger. We could not afford to use the swimming baths in the centre of Doncaster—we could not afford the transport—so we went over the fields unsupervised. Many children have drowned through lack of supervision. The Minister should be concerned about depriving kids of supervised training, without which they may disappear to some canal water.

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney , Makerfield

My hon. Friend spoke about local authorities providing resources for sportsmen. A local authority is providing resources for Max Robertson, the Olympic hurdler and 400-metre British record holder. This Government, in the year of training for the Olympics, have taken away his benefit and his housing benefit because he is not available for work as he is training to represent Britain in the Olympics. That is the way the Government behave when a local authority provides free facilities so that someone can train for the Olympics.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. I am sure that the Minister will have to ask my hon. Friend for the name, so that that young lad can be adequately financed to carry out his training. That is known as putting one's money where one's mouth is.

The old Ardwick urban district council built a leisure centre which increased the number of children who were able to swim. The Doncaster metropolitan district has now spent £23 million building a sports and leisure complex to ensure that Doncaster has one of the best leisure facilities in the northern region. The Queen laid the foundation stone, and we were extremely proud of it. Doncaster raised the funds to build that centre by selling off council-owned land to build debt-free. Because debt charges affect prices, building something debt-free lowers its price.

The Minister is kidding people about the residuary bodies looking after the school and local authority land transferred to them. That is not happening. Residual bodies are selling land. They are flooding the market and lowering prices, but that is to the benefit of their friends and colleagues, who are able to buy.

One of the most—if not the most—deprived areas in the country is Mexborough. I do not see the private sector rushing in to build facilities for the people there. It was Doncaster council's intention, following the completion of the Doncaster leisure centre, to ensure that there were adequate facilities for the people of Mexborough to enjoy. They created much of the wealth of this country through their blood, sweat and misery working down the mines. They kept industry going, and they have the right to the facilities that the private sector will not provide but the local authority will. The Minister's proposals will hinder the progress of providing such facilities for the people of Mexborough.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North 8:42 pm, 12th July 1988

I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond), who made a reasoned argument, which will no doubt be well listened to by my hon. Friend the Minister, as he has voiced the opposition to the Government's proposals felt in his part of the world. His speech was in a rather better temper than that of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), who, characteristically, kept the House in suspense for over 50 minutes, being egged on by some of the yobbish tendency sitting on the Benches behind him. One got the impression that his speech was probably his swan song on this subject in the House.

There is no doubt, as my hon. Friend the Minister rightly pointed out, that the right hon. Gentleman is a man of the 1970s, with the policies and remedies of the 1970s. We are now into the 1980s and we have to face the reality of the situation. I am glad to see that the right hon. Member is now back in the Chamber. We need 1980s solutions to 1980s problems. That is why we were pleased to hear what may well be his last speech on the subject.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister on his spirited defence of the Government's admirable record. He was too modest to mention the many other measures that he and he alone has taken—on the drug scene, to improve the lot of the disabled in sport, and within the inner cities. The concept of a Minister responsible for sport who is interested in sport and sportsmen and sportswomen, and who dearly loves those sports that he played and which he wishes to encourage others to play is welcome. My hon. Friend is a man of great calibre, and we are lucky to have him lead us in this debate.

My opinion is different from that of the right hon. Member for Small Heath. He always wants it both ways. He accused my hon. Friend of using the Sports Council as the "executive arm"—my hon. Friend has used that phrase —and accused the Government of not taking enough interest in sport, not spending enough money on it and of interfering with local authorities and their policies on sport. The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways.

Many hon. Members do not think that there should be a Minister responsible for sport—my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks), is one of them. In my early and rather green days in this place, I signed an early-day motion supporting that view. However, having a Minister of such calibre and having money to spend on sport puts a different complexion on the matter. The right hon. Member must decide whether or not he wants Government interference.

Photo of Alan Meale Alan Meale , Mansfield

Is it right that the Minister responsible for sport should treat sport as a social or economic problem? That was the impression that the Minister gave me tonight. Is it not time that Ministers decided to treat sport seriously, and set up a Select Committee on sport—as the hon. Gentleman rightly pointed out, sports involve millions of people—so that at last we can have a say, rather than having a Government who bring issues of sport to the Chamber only when problems occur with particular aspects of it?

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. Meale) will know that I share and support many of his views. I do not want to ruin his political career by saying that. Some attention should be given to his interesting idea for a Select Committee, an idea that has much support in his party, and on which he tabled an early-day motion. I am sympathetic to that idea, but he has misjudged the Government by saying that we regard sport purely on a social basis. As the right hon. Member for Small Heath said, sport is big business, and for that reason and that reason only, the hon. Gentleman's idea will commend itself to the House.

I admire the courage of my hon. Friend the Minister in taking a decision about the management of the Sports Council that could not have been easy. It was that the Sports Council had become too large and unwieldy—so large that its meetings could not take place in its headquarters and it had to hire rooms from the British Medical Association in its adjacent building. It is remarkable that it had grown into such a dinosaur that it was representing no one. My hon. Friend is right to bring into the Sports Council more active sportsmen and sportswomen who are involved, day to day, in both participation in, and, in some cases, the administration of, sport. The new, slimmed-down Sports Council will be of benefit to sport in general and to those associated with the work that the council does.

I fully support, as I have said publicly in the presence of Labour Members, the Government's intentions about competitive tendering. If everything in the garden were lovely, and every leisure facility and swimming pool run by a local authority were making a profit, there would be no need for the exercise that my hon. Friend the Minister is proposing. If a Labour Member could point to a local authority that is making a profit, for the value and benefit of its ratepayers, on a particular facility, and that has been joined by many others, I would give way to that hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South

Bearing in mind what my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) said, will the hon. Member tell the House why he believes that it is a sine qua non, especially of swimming pools, that they must make a profit before they can exist and be run by local authorities? Surely they are there to provide a service, especially for our young people.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, but he must answer, as we all do, to the ratepayers in his borough as to whether that swimming pool is giving ratepayers full value for money.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South

It takes them off the streets.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

If the hon. Gentleman will listen, I shall answer his point. He is right to assume that in many cases swimming is a social and educational service. The Government do not dissent from that view, because they have written into the proposed legislation the fact that local authorities and education authorities can subsidise where necessary. Each borough council must ask itself whether that pool is being run to its maximum efficiency. There is nothing wrong in that question being asked and competitive tendering being invited to ensure that ratepayers obtain maximum value. Opposition Members do not like that, because they do not believe in value for money, but my constituents and ratepayers do.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

Is my hon. Friend aware that a swimming pool in Streatham has lost £750,000 in one year?

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

My hon. Friend will know that the list is endless. The difference is that the few pools that have taken on private management—although not all of them—have turned in a profit and are still providing a good service to those areas. The pools are full, or they would not be making a profit.

Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North

The hon. Gentleman seems to be causing confusion where there is none. Any fool can make a profit. The district of my constituency has the biggest sports centre in Britain, with a throughput of 1·1 million people a year. It charges 90p for swimming. If it was handed over to Mecca, it could charge £1·90 and it would make a profit. Plenty of people would still use the pool and pay £1·90, but not those who live in the area. People will be drawn in from other areas, and excluded from using that pool will be those who cannot pay £1·90 for a swimming session. I know that it is not the way that things are done in Cape Town, but can the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a social concept, too? If all that we are talking about is profit, he wins the argument. If we are talking about any sort of social decency, he loses the argument.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The hon. Gentleman was either not listening to what I said or thought that I was speaking Afrikaans and did not understand. In response to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), I agreed that a form of social responsibility is contained in the proposals, in that the local authority can subsidise a facility. We hope that educational authorities will take the same initiative, but what is wrong with asking whether that pool is well managed? The proposals will provide great interest and a great opportunity to those who want to manage such facilities. They will introduce a new era of management into our pools and leisure facilities. At the same time, it will be of direct benefit to ratepayers and to those who wish to use the facilities.

Photo of Mr Allen McKay Mr Allen McKay , Barnsley West and Penistone

The pools and leisure centres are already managed by professional managers, who were appointed before a brick was laid to advise local authorities on how to obtain maximum benefit from their facilities. The managers that the hon. Gentleman has mentioned are already in place and will run the centres exactly as they do now.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The hon. Gentleman makes my point—all is not well. Is he happy to ask his ratepayers to continue the bad management of facilities for the sake of political dogma? Is it right to allow that position to exist and not to say to the ratepayers, "We believe in value for money."? My hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans) has given an example of a facility that is losing thousands of pounds, yet Opposition Members seem to be happy for that to continue. We believe that we should examine those facilities.

I fully support the principles that have been stated. The benefits will be enormous, not only to the local community but to the ratepayers. Facilities will improve. Many facilities are completely out of date and local authorities either do not have the cash or, perhaps because of Government policies, cannot put the money in. Local authorities can go to the private sector and obtain an injection of funds into those facilities. Where that has happened— —

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I will take him to Richmond to show him the excellent facilities there. The pool is full all the time and the facility is making a profit.

The right hon. Member for Small Heath and the Minister mentioned playing fields. The right hon. Gentleman was right to point to the conclusion of the Central Council of Physical Recreation, which I believe came originally from the Secondary Heads Association, that many of our playing fields are inadequate and not in the condition that we would like. Many hon. Members will concede that that problem should be arrested.

The main problem is that we do not know what playing facilities we have. When I introduced the Sports Fields and Recreational Facilities Bill, I thought it remarkable that officials of the Department of the Environment and of the Department of Education and Science had no means of telling exactly how many playing fields there were, and whether they were sports facilities in schools, in factories or in the private or public sectors. It is time that we resolved that problem by introducing a register.

Before the right hon. Member for Small Heath basks in the pleasure and the honour that I am giving him for helping me to introduce that measure, I say to him that. although the motion talks about Government intentions to privatise the management of local authority sports facilities, and the sale of school playing fields", laying the blame at the Government's door, he and his hon. Friends should ask themselves whether their local authorities are guiltless. After directive 909 from the Department of Education and Science gave education authorities the ability to sell parts of playing fields as school rolls drop, many Labour authorities took that initiative and sold the fields.

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that, if a Labour Government came back to power, they would introduce legislation to stop the sale of playing fields? The right hon. Gentleman will understand, as do most rational people and organisations, including the National Playing Fields Association, that some fields will not be saved. I do not dispute that policy. The House, local authorities and sports council should know exactly how many playing fields exist and how many have been sold over the past few years.

One problem which has been in our minds over the past few weeks, months and—for those of us who have been Members somewhat longer—decades is the violence associated with football. The problem always seems to rear its head. Many Conservative Members share the concern of the right hon. Member for Small Heath about the membership scheme and its effect on democracy. He said that it was an affront to civil liberty. Undoubtedly, football is in crisis yet again. It has been in crisis almost since the right hon. Member for Small Heath entered Parliament. Just when we seem to be getting on top of the problem, it rears its head again—often because it is lit up by the media and sometimes because of a challenge in Europe, as occurred in the past month. The football authorities—league and association must understand that patience is running out, not only in the House but among constituents. The majority of our constituents want peace and harmony in our towns on a Saturday afternoon. The Government have taken the decision to legislate on membership schemes extremely reluctantly. I think that they understand the great worry of Conservative Members about the liberty issue.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

I am a supporter of Greenock Morton, which unfortunately was relegated from the premier league. Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that when he and the Minister speak about national membership schemes and the football authorities, they are referring to matters exclusively English? Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that this scheme will not apply to Scotland?

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

I note what the hon. Gentleman says. I sympathise with him in his dilemma and am sure that his team will bounce back if his enthusiasm is shared on the field next season. The proposals are restricted to the 92 English clubs and do not apply to Scotland.

I have represented Luton for nine years. Matters came to a head in the FA cup game with Millwall. My hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans) will explain this matter more fully if he catches your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker. The membership scheme in Luton has brought three things to our town. First, it has brought peace on a Saturday afternoon. For every football fan who goes to watch Luton play, four or five people go to Luton for other reasons—for example, to shop or see their family. We now have a peaceful town on a Saturday afternoon. We are grateful to the club for the membership scheme which it introduced.

Secondly, the scheme has brought responsibility. Those who go to the club are responsible citizens. If they were not responsible, they would not apply for a card in the first place. We are proud of that and of our membership of well over 20,000.

Thirdly, the scheme has brought pride in our town and our club. Luton has rightly been held up as the club that has tried to tackle the awful problem surrounding the game. The police—the few that appear—can now go home at half-time.

We should like a national membership scheme. We have always felt that the away scheme was inadequate. Every person who wants to go to a football match should be able to become a member, and I see nothing wrong with that. The right hon. Member for Small Heath talked rather mockingly about clubs. He knows full well that many football games are all-ticket matches. It is as though everyone is a member. A person cannot get into the club, even with the help of a little man behind the grill, without a ticket. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) is not here. He knows that it is almost impossible to get a ticket to get into Cardiff Arms park, but a ticket is needed to get in. However, people do not riot. If they have forged tickets or cannot get in, they accept it.

Some provision must be made before people go to a sporting fixture. The Government propose that those who want to go to a game must make provision for it. There is nothing wrong with having a national membership scheme. It could be financed through a central system. An enormous amount of money could be generated by the company which won the order to use a mailing list or which carried advertisements. My hon. Friend the Minister is right to say that the clubs should bear part of the brunt of the cost. It was a confused public who last week saw Paul Gascoigne sold to Tottenham Hotspur for £2 million while football clubs plead poverty and say that they cannot afford this type of scheme.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

I have given way once already to the hon. Gentleman.

We must all take the responsibility, and I take the point about law and order in general. But at the same time the football authorities must realise that our patience and that of the British people is at an end. That is why my hon. Friend the Minister is right to introduce the scheme, which will receive massive support in the House and outside.

Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence) 9:05 pm, 12th July 1988

I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate. I congratulate the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), who opened the debate on behalf of the Opposition. My hon. Friends and I will have little difficulty in following him into the Lobby in due course.

This has been a sharply political debate and in some respects it may herald the end of what I had perhaps rather ingenuously assumed to be a bipartisan or even a tri-partisan approach to sport. The Minister—I do not say this lightly—must take some responsibility for that. Although he may have become a good Minister for the Government, I regret to say that I believe that he has become a poor Minister for sport. I do not know how he conceives his responsibility, but, as one who actively participated in sport for many years, I conceive his responsibility as being to fight for sport, to extract every last penny that he can from the Government and to influence every policy of the Government so that sporting opportunity is increased and participation widened.

I regret to say that the Minister has been party to policies for sport that are more noted for their political consistency with Government doctrine than for their contribution to recreational opportunity or sporting excellence. Nothing exhibits that more eloquently than his attitude towards the Sports Council. He wants—quite legitimately—to involve more of those who have been recently active participants in international sport. There is nothing new in that. The right hon. Member for Small Heath did precisely that in 1965 when he had the good sense to allow his eye to fall on me and to invite me to become a member of the United Kingdom Sports Council when I was still engaged in active participation in international sport.

If, by including more of those who are either currently or recently active, the effect is to cause an exclusion from the Sports Council of the wide range of interests that make up sports in the United Kingdom, inevitably a council will be created that is out of touch in material respects and that lacks a proper balance of interest. It must be said that the council was established by royal charter to give it independence. To describe it, in a phrase that I suspect the Minister may come to regret, as the Government's executive arm, at best is constitutionally doubtful and at worst confirms the suspicion that the Minister sees it as no more than an adjunct of his own Department.

The Minister's attitude towards the issue of violence associated with football has already been the subject of considerable discussion in the debate. I shall not add to that, save to say that the Government's proposals assume that all football clubs are the same, that they have the same resources and the same pattern of spectator attendance; and, are prepared to contemplate that the proposals may have the effect of preventing casual attendance, which for many football clubs is an extremely important part of their income.

No doubt we can have an unproductive debate about whether football is the cause of violence or whether violence arises from other causes, but one cannot ignore the fact that there has been violence in Spain caused by British holidaymakers and that there is violence in otherwise previously quite peaceful rural areas. I suspect that if we find the causes of those outbursts of violence, we may find information that will assist us in dealing with the cause of violence associated with football.

What is the purpose of privatisation? If it is truly to make more efficient use of resources, who could possibly oppose it? But it must be said that local authority management of sports facilities is concerned with the achievement not simply of profit, but of social and sporting objectives, which may transcend the narrow issue of the precise terms or form of the management of a particular facility.

How will the pursuit of profit enable local authorities to achieve such objectives? Can the Minister guarantee that there will be no reduction in opening hours if facilities are privatised? Can he guarantee that there will be no increase in admission charges? Can he guarantee that minority interests will be properly protected in the use of such facilities? Can he guarantee that revenue saved will be available to be spent on new and additional facilities?

What will the Minister do if lower standards of maintenance become established which have long-term consequences that lead ultimately to greater costs? At the moment much of the private management of facilities is concentrated on facilities which have a tourist and leisure component. I want to know—and the House is entitled to know—how competitive tendering will help in the provision of facilities for high-level training for outstanding competitors.

The Minister and I both had the good fortune to participate in the Olympic games—he with rather more success than I, it has to be said. Each of us had the benefit of an education and attendance at universities where the quality of facilities was such as to allow us the opportunity to realise our full sporting potential. I remember the days when there was hardly a proper running track in the city of Glasgow. I remember the days when people used to train in public parks. Because they were not students of the university, they were excluded from those facilities.

The great upsurge in facilities which took place in the 1960s and 1970s was financed by the public purse with a public purpose in mind. Where does the Minister think that those extraordinary athletes who now form part of the United Kingdom team came from? Where does he think that the exuberant black athletes who are likely to win medals for us at the summer Olympic games came from? They came not from the cloisters of universities, but from the publicly provided facilities in the inner cities.

The Minister wants a programme for sport. I will give him one. First, exempt sporting bodies, including the British Olympic Association, from paying corporation tax, and £3·5 million will go back into British sport. Let us have nationwide mandatory rates relief for local sports clubs. Let us have tax relief to encourage sponsorship. The Minister referred to sponsorship. Let us encourage more of it by giving tax relief for that purpose. Let us remove VAT from subscriptions to clubs, at least for those under 21.

It is a pity that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury finds it necessary to leave the Chamber at this point.

As part of that programme, let us encourage the multiple use of publicly owned facilities, such as schools, which for too much of the week lie empty and unused. What are the Government going to do about that? Finally, let us stop Government interference in sport. Sportsmen and sports bodies know best how to manage their own affairs.

If the Minister would fight for that programme, he would have the support of the whole House, and certainly of all the sporting interests in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield 9:12 pm, 12th July 1988

It is my belief that the success of sport is determined by those who are running it. I believe that we have not only a poor soccer side but a pretty awful cricket side as well, and I am not all that happy with our tennis players either.

About 20 years ago, the cricket authority abdicated its responsibility to young cricket players by producing wickets at county level that produced results. People loved to go and watch the Denis Comptons of this world score hundreds between start of play and lunchtime, but the wickets that were produced approximately 20 years ago had a serious effect on the game. That complete dedication to getting results in county matches was transferred to minor county cricket, then to club cricket, and then to school cricket. It was not necessary to prepare the wicket properly and we have now lost the art of preparing the wickets on which the game is played. Unfortunately, for over 20 years players have not been taught to bat properly and bowlers have only to run in and wait for the wicket to do the work. Our test side is the poor relation of all other test sides and that is the responsibility of the Test and County Cricket Board and not the responsibility of the Government or the House.

We have weak management in the TCCB and weak part-time selectors. We have seen England's opening batsman knock over his wicket when given out and we have seen the captain arguing with the umpire. I do not know why he was not sent home that evening. That is the sort of image being presented to our youngsters. We must ask the people who run cricket to resign so that we may get back to playing the game properly. If we do that, in 10 years we may produce a side capable of beating other nations.

My hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) said that the Lawn Tennis Association was run by a load of upper-class twits. Anyone who looks at our tennis players will sympathise with that view, because we have not produced a men's champion at Wimbledon for 52 years, or a ladies' champion for 12 years. We should ask the LTA where all the money is going and why we cannot produce a tennis star—not 10, but one.

Why do we not have a man in the top 100 players or a woman in the top 50? The reason is simple. It is that over the last 20 to 30 years, the coaching and facilities provided by the LTA, the governing body of British tennis, have not been sufficient. Stefan Edberg lives in London and was coached by an English coach who offered his services to our tennis players but who was told by the upper-class twits that he was not needed. That is a mirror of what has gone on in lawn tennis for the last 20 to 40 years.

The football authorities abdicated not last Thursday at the Prime Minister's meeting but in the mid-1960s, when they agreed with players who negotiated contracts that the game could not afford. That was when the trouble started. The manager of Leeds United said that it was not a game but a war. From that moment on, the game started to deteriorate and the number of supporters who went to enjoy the sport started to decrease. Because of the way that that team played, using every possible infringement within the law, the game started to decline. We saw the start of the professional foul, the taking of five yards along the touchline and the wasting of time with a minute to go. The offside tactic made the game boring, the crowd became frustrated and trouble broke out on the terraces.

Where is British football now? It is not in Europe and may not even be in the World Cup. We have lost half our supporters in 20 years, because gates have dropped from 40 million 18 million. In that time we have lost two thirds of the professionals and public perception is that football is the root of hooliganism and the breakdown of law and order in and around football grounds. Hon. Members have mentioned that.

Identity cards are about separating football fans, 99·99 per cent. of whom are very good supporters of th game. I want to see a national scheme for identity cards so that we can separate the criminal from the football fan. I am trying to get football off the hook.

Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North

If 99·9 per cent. of football fans are decent people—we all agree with that—is it not approaching the matter from entirely the wrong end to introduce a draconian scheme to sort out the 0·1 per cent.? Would it not be better for the Government, who make a lot of noise about law and order, to pin down the 0·1 per cent. as they have so conspicuously failed to do over the past decade?

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

The hon. Gentleman has made a good point. I shall put my argument another way. Public perception is that football is the root of the problems in our cities. Football is made responsible for every breakdown in law and order in and around football grounds. Where there is no football ground, someone only has to put a scarf around his neck and say, "I am a football fan," for his crime to be hung round the neck of football.

It would protect the identity of football if it did not have every single crime committed in and around a football ground blamed on it. People say, "It wasn't Liverpool fans or football fans who were to blame at Heysel stadium." Nobody knows. We do not even know who is a football fan and who is not. A national identity card scheme would mean that if somebody misbehaved it would not be football's responsibility, but the responsibility of the Home Office and the police. It seems that it is being made football's responsibility at the moment, and that is wrong.

At Luton we had tremendous problems of violence. We introduced a membership scheme, and although it would not be suitable for football nationally, it has worked for Luton. It is proved beyond doubt that we have removed violence from the game at Luton. We have not had a single arrest inside or outside the ground for two seasons. We have brought families back into the ground and the Arndale centre does not have to close from 4.40 pm to 5.40 pm every other Saturday. There have been 34 arrests at away games and, lo and behold, not one of those arrested was a Luton member.

I said to the police, "Don't talk to Luton Town about those 34 arrests. They were not members of Luton Town Football club." The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police would agree that there has been no increase in violence or trouble in those counties on Saturday afternoons. When those yobboes, bullies and cowards realised that they would have to fill in an application form, they disappeared and their gangs broke up because Luton is no longer a place in which to meet to cause mayhem on a Saturday afternoon.

I am sure that the national identity scheme will be sponsored, that a lottery will be held and that up to 6 million people will pay £ 1 a year to join in the lottery. There will be a prize of £50,000 every Saturday for 20 Saturdays and the other £3 million or £4 million will go into football.

I have every hope that a national identity card scheme will make football look the game it is. It will bring families back into the clubs. It is the big clubs that are nervous of the national identity scheme, not the small clubs. The scheme will be their saviour because mum will suddenly allow dad to take his son to the football game. Few wives will allow their son or daughter to be taken to a football ground at the moment. We have to make the ground a place that is perceived by the family to be safe to go to on a Saturday afternoon.

The first two years of the scheme will be difficult, but in about seven years the 18 million attendances will have gone up to 30 million, we shall return to the heyday of football and people will be able to carry on their normal Saturday business. Twenty years ago, people were proud to own a house near a football ground and those days will return because the Minister has had the courage to face up to football's problems; and he will solve those problems in the process.

Photo of David Blunkett David Blunkett Opposition Spokesperson (Local Government & Poll Tax), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 9:25 pm, 12th July 1988

It would be helpful if the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans), as chairman of Luton football club, and the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) got their act together. We have the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield describing the All England Lawn Tennis Association as a bunch of upper-class twits for not making the performance of our tennis players more acceptable and competitive, although it makes a substantial profit and is not run by the local authority, and we have the hon. Member for Luton, North describing local authorities as incompetent because they do not make a profit.

As was said so ably by the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell), it is clear that sport and recreation are not intended to make a profit. I do not know whether the Minister felt that he was more a croupier than a cox when he was involved in that activity. If he had been organising the first major Athenian games or the games at Olympus, I wonder whether they would have been sponsored by Dimitri. Perhaps we would have Dirnitri putting a drachma a metre on how far someone would run. No wonder we have a marathon of 26 miles 100-odd yards. It was probably decided on how much someone could make in profit.

That is what is being said tonight; it is not so much the playing fields as the paying fields of Eton that have been described to us. It is nonsense because a profit will not be made by managing our sports and recreation facilities and our swimming pools privately. The Government know that. I should like Conservative Members to name more than half a dozen football clubs that make a profit. Football clubs are run by patronage. We have the patronage of us, the community, who deliberately sponsor and pay for the facilities that we want. That is our choice and that is true of every major sports facility and swimming pool. Private management does not produce a profit. It allows local authorities to put money in the pockets of others. That is what is happening.

The average subsidy—because that is what it is—to a swimming pool is £150,000-plus; for those attached to sports facilities it is over £200,000. In the so-called privatisation, the Minister proposes that we, the community, pay a sum of money to people to make a profit out of us using our sports facilities. It is nothing to do with them making the facility profitable. What they will do is make money for themselves. We should distinguish that clearly. It is not about involving people. In the 1980s we should be moving to user participation and community management, with people in the community, the users and the interest groups being involved in the management and direction of sports facilities.

The proposal is quite the opposite. It is that we hive off the sports facilities. The last resort of any management that has given up is privatisation. Those were the words of John Banham, now director general of the CBI, formerly director of the Audit Commission. He is right. It is about whether we give up running things democratically and efficiently on behalf of the community and handing them over to others to make money out of the needs of the community.

I have a particular interest in the debate because Sheffield is attempting to host the world student games in 1991. The same applies to Manchester's bid for the Olympic games. The Government have failed completely to give anything except lip service to assisting my city to host the games—an opportunity to put on a major international event to provide sports facilities of world class to ensure that people from this country do not have to go elsewhere for decent training facilities.

Far from being willing to give even one cent—I use the word "cent" deliberately rather than "penny" because we are moving entirely into the American era of sponsorship and making money out of sport—the Government are doing the opposite. Every measure announced by the Secretary of State since the games were awarded to Britain —in terms of restriction of capital, intervention to stop the partnership between the public and the private sector, and between a pluralistic approach and the interests of the community—has undermined the possibility of successfully staging those games. That is an indictment of a Government who preach that they are in favour of joint partnership between the private and the public sector, and that they are in favour of sport for all and in developing facilities, but who then take every step to make it impossible for a major local authority to stage the games.

If we are for sports development and for community involvement, we must debunk once and for all the accusation that Labour Members are living in the dark ages of the 1970s. I presume that what is meant by the dark ages are the times of genuine enthusiasm of men and women for the sport in which they are engaged. I refer also to the £40,000 or more that the Amateur Swimming Association itself contributes directly to facilities, and for the time that is given night after night, weekend after weekend, by people who care about what they are doing and who are themselves in partnership with the managers of sports facilities and swimming pools in making them a living community asset.

If that is what is meant by the dark ages, then presumably it was also the era before we suffered a 50 per cent. increase in crime, before the Heysel stadium disaster, and before there were the disgraceful scenes in West Germany. In trying to deal with what is happening outside football grounds by restricting access, we must recognise that it is a social malaise. It is a blight upon our country. It is a matter of fostering greed, self-interest, and thuggery —and then blaming others for an environment and a climate that has been created by the grab-all, money-all society that the Minister and his colleagues foster. That is what it is all about. It is about market forces and economic greed. It is about taking away social responsibility and community involvement and replacing it by the money box. That is what we are debating tonight. We are talking about trying to create— —

Photo of David Blunkett David Blunkett Opposition Spokesperson (Local Government & Poll Tax), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I shall give way only to those who have sat through this debate.

It seems to me that there is tonight a real divide, such as that described by the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East. On one side are those who are committed to a healthy and fit society in which recreation and sport are available and accessible to all, and affordable to every member of the community, so that we may be proud as a community of the way in which we foster that involvement in creating a world that young people feel belongs to them, that they can own, and in which they can take part.

That is the difference between us. It is the difference between rattling the money box, going for profit, and believing that privatisation is the god of all, or believing that we move forward as a society in giving people responsibility and a sense of involvement, and in creating a healthy world in which young people feel that they can play a part. The difference between us is shown by our belief in accessible, affordable facilities that are actually Ours.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde 9:33 pm, 12th July 1988

This has been a fascinating debate, but is has been too short. I hope that the Minister with responsibility for sport will, when he winds up the debate, guarantee that he will fight for a full day's debate on the subject in Government time. Many of my hon. Friends wished to take part in the debate, but it became clear— —

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael , Cardiff South and Penarth

Will my hon. Friend note that several of my Welsh hon. Friends have been present for this debate, but the lack of time has prevented me, for instance, from making the stirring plea for help for Welsh sport that I wished to make? Will he note also that not one Welsh Conservative Back Bencher or one Welsh Office Minister has been present? Will he ask the Minister to take that into account as well?

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

That is the only intervention that I shall allow, as the debate has been circumscribed as a result of interventions, but I want the Minister to realise that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) speaks for many Opposition Members.

As the debate has progressed—I hope that the Minister is listening, because I notice that he did not listen very carefully to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell)—it has become clear that Opposition Members are much more interested in sport, recreation and leisure for the mass of our people than are Conservative Members. The contributions from my hon. Friends the Members for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) and for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett), and from the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North East (Mr. Campbell), demonstrate that Opposition Members follow the lead given by my right hon. Friend in his powerful introduction of the motion. We represent the sportspeople of this country.

Once more, a motion to debate sport has come from the Opposition. The last time that the Government instituted such a debate was in 1980. Although the Minister was not in the House at the time, he was on our side of the argument about the boycott of the Moscow Olympic games. I well remember how he supported me at the 'English-Speaking Union when we opposed the Prime Minister's stand on the issue.

As my right hon. Friend said, we are not discussing a peripheral issue. Whether or not the Minister recognises it, he presides over an important and fast-growing activity, which generates some £4·5 billion of consumer expenditure. He must accept that he has a great responsibility. Of course sport is big business, but for many of us it is much more important that it means a truly healthy society. That is what separates the parties on the issue.

As has become abundantly clear, the Government increasingly feel that commercialism is much more important than our belief that sport relates to the needs and aspirations of the community. It is true that the Minister is a genuine sportsman, and that causes us some difficulty. Many of us gave him the kind of baptism that every Minister would like on coming into office. My right hon. Friend warned me, and I must plead guilty to being one of those who welcomed him, saying that, after a crop of pretty awful Conservative Sports Ministers, here was a man who, possibly, would "stand tall" for sport. We now find that he is following the same line as the rest and not living up to our expectations.

We had serious hopes for the Minister. We wanted him to do well for sport in the Government, the House and the community. We wanted him to elevate sport, but he has let us all down. His press conferences in West Germany during the European championship were nothing short of a disgrace. He merely heightened the tension. When he should have been combating the problems, he mystified the German authorities and UEFA officials.

It is not enough for the Minister to say, as I am sure he does privately, that he has a philistine, unsporty boss, and that he does not mean half of what comes from his office. The fact is that we expect him to stand up and fight his corner.

One of the most disgraceful parliamentary actions of recent years was the Minister's handling of the Green Paper on compulsory competitive tendering for management in local authority sports facilities. After promising me, in a parliamentary answer on 24 January, that he would place all the consultees' replies in the Library, he did so 158 days later, at 10.55 am on 1 July, five minutes before making his statement to the House. That was prised from him only when the Leader of the House insisted that he come to the Dispatch Box. He would have answered a planted question on that day on this important issue, as he did on the restructuring of the Sports Council, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath rightly condemned.

The Minister's explanations are as woefully inadequate as his proposals. His statement on competitive tendering clearly echoes his master's voice. It is ideology, dogma and prejudice winning over common sense and reason. When we were eventually able to read the consultees' replies, it became obvious that the Minister had not wanted us to read them. There is widespread and hostile opposition to the proposals, even in the watered down form in which they appeared.

I shall quote from the replies of one or two local authorities. One said: The Council aims to encourage the use by young people, disadvantaged groups and those new to sport. The Council considers it to be important that these measures are not prejudiced by purely financial targets. Another said: I should express my reservations about the applicability of contract control over privately-operated sports and leisure facilities. Those quotations come from local authorities that consider themselves to be radical. They show that the local authorities are diametrically opposed to Thatcherite plans. They are respectively from the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London borough of Wandsworth.

The Audit Commission, not known for its Left-wing tendencies, also replied to the Minister. It said: the benefits of cheap sports facilities may not simply accrue to the individuals using them directly. They may encourage a fitter, healthier and safer community, by teaching children to swim for example. Or they may, by encouraging 'at risk' groups off the streets, reduce vandalism and petty crime. There were many other replies. The Bromley Gymnastic Association urged the Secretary of State to leave the supply and control of sports facilities in the hands of the local authorities'". One gentleman wrote: As a Conservative voter, I feel there is a danger of shifting too far towards private control … Whilst there are strong arguments in favour of 'privatising' … I have serious doubts that the private sector will do this to the satisfaction of anyone but themselves and urge you 10 reconsider your position".

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

I shall not give way.

The borough of Lewisham, in the Minister's constituency, said: The recent report on the inner city produced by Lord Scarman following the Brixton riots stressed the value to the community of good quality, accessible sports and leisure opportunities. The Green Paper is at odds with this view. As my mother said when she came to see my national service passing-out parade, "Our Tom was the only one in step."

The Minister was new to the House when we debated capital punishment in 1983. He went out to the people in his constituency and asked how he should vote. They told him to vote for hanging and he did. If he believes in vox populi, vox dei, why does he not believe in listening to his constituents on an issue of this sort?

My right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath raised the important issue of sport and recreation in schools. I agree with what he said. The Minister must recognise the importance of our youngsters who wish to participate in sport in schools. The closure of physical education training colleges at Madeley, Dartington, Anstey, Bingley and Nonington, and the closure of physical education courses at colleges such as St. John's in York and a course at Dartford show that it is a problem when we consider the predicted bulge in numbers pssing through primary and middle schools.

As my right hon. Friend said, the Minister has to stand up and insist that 10 per cent. of the curriculum is devoted to sport. He should insist in a loud voice that the value of sport in schools should be recognised. It has been mentioned that the people whom we are applauding as heroes now did not come through the elitist system, but came through our school system. The Minister must answer that when he replies to the debate.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

No. I wish to get on. I have already given way to an hon. Member representing a Welsh constituency to put it on record that there is need for a better and longer debate on this matter.

I shall direct the rest of my speech to an issue that is fundamental to the nation—the way in which our national game will go from here. It is clear that the Government, and especially the Minister, do not understand football. It is not just because the Minister supports Charlton Athletic, which is not a bad team. One of his biggest blunders is the proposed legislation to introduce a national membership scheme for our football clubs based on the Luton Town scheme. The hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans) has a lot of power. If that scheme is to be emulated, we should examine it more closely.

When the scheme was introduced, we must remember that John Smith, the executive director of Luton Town, said that it was more to protect the away supporters from the Luton hooligan element. I do not believe that the chairman of Luton Town will disagree with that. As a result, Luton's thugs caused problems only when away from home. Since that time, Luton's average home league gate has fallen dramatically by about 27 per cent. to just 8,039.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

The number of home fans has gone up. The figure that the hon. Gentleman is quoting represents home fans. The away fans have not been in the ground.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

I checked the figures this morning with the Football League.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

The chairman is the author of the scheme, so of course he defends it. If the Minister keeps interrupting he will not have much time in which to wind up the debate, so he had better shut up. [Interruption.] I remind the House that we both boxed for Oxford, but I am a heavier guy.

The attendance figure that I have given is despite a successful season for Luton, with a cup win, three Wembley appearances, an FA cup semi-final and ninth place in the league. With that scheme in place, Luton should have the lowest police charges in the league, but instead they are halfway down the table.

Clearly, if the Luton scheme was imposed on football, many clubs would die.

Mr. David Evan:

rose——

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

Many clubs do not have the lucrative sponsorship contracts or long cup runs, so the sad truth is that the Government do not understand the problem.

Almost 18 million spectators watched football last season—more than almost all other popular sports put together. During the past three seasons 7,000 league and cup games have been played and there was trouble in 0·8 per cent. of them. In total, 0·03 per cent. of those attending games were in trouble. There were 2,500 games last season, and there was trouble in eight grounds. Those figures show the scale of the problem. They also place it in a European context.

The disgraceful scenes in West Germany could not be ignored by Governments. The thugs who caused havoc in Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt were by no means only English. Hardly any English supporters attended the final, yet there were 80 arrests. The all-party football committee asked the Minister to convene a meeting of Sports Ministers from UEFA countries to discuss common problems and find common solutions. Instead, there was the summit, which relates not to European football but to our home clubs.

I want to give the Minister an opportunity to reply to some of those points. Clearly, he has been sucked into the Luton scheme, but if he will not listen to the football authorities, why will he not listen to the centre for football research at Leicester university, which his Department commissioned to look into membership schemes? It found that there would be no merit in introducing such a scheme. The Minister has to answer that finding.

I cannot go into many of the issues that I wished to explore, because of the lack of time, but the Minister must build on what has been done since Heysel. There is a success story in football and he must build on it. The 50 per cent. membership scheme introduced only one year ago has two more years to go. It has been pretty successful. We must build on such proposals.

The Minister, himself a sportsman, should recognise, even if his Secretary of State does not, that through sport people can experience life at its best—its peaks and troughs, elation and despondency. Sport is a massive influence, so let us harness it to the benefit of society, to give the young opportunities in life rather than to turn them towards boredom and lawlessness. We must ensure that moral and social moves, not the cheque book, define the parameters of sport. The challenges facing sport are constantly evolving. It is not just about sponsorship and television, but about youth unemployment, early retirement, inner-city decay and many other factors.

The Labour party recognises sport in that social context. We therefore hope that those who agree with us on this issue will join us in the Lobby, because the Government and the Minister have no answers to the problems that we pose.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East 9:51 pm, 12th July 1988

With the leave of the House, I should like to reply to the debate.

If a man hears only what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, then Opposition Members have pushed that truth to the limit. The hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) gave a list of areas in which the Government should interfere and then, at the end of his speech, said that we should stop Government involvement in sport. It is a bit rich for him to complain about an open letter in which the Government rightly say that they wish to assess the relationship between the Government and the Sports Council. That relationship should be questioned.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) repeated the phrase "executive arm". That is a bit rich from a right hon. Member who, in 1965, when the Sports Council was established as an advisory body, was its chairman as the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science with responsibility for sport. He is critical of our assessing the relationship between the Sports Council and the Government and whether there should be executive power, and he is critical of our reviewing sports policy, but that is essential if we are to move away from the dark ages of the 1970s and develop a policy that is geared to serve the sportsmen and women of the 1990s.

I do not hesitate to face up to that challenge. We shall come back to the House and go to the country with a programme that is right for developing excellence and participation among the next generation of sportsmen and women.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) wanted a Government committed to a healthy and fit society and participation for all. We can do no better than examine the facts and what has happened in the past 10 years. There has been an increase of 6 million, from 17 million to 23 million, in the number of people who participate in sport. The average frequency of participation in sport in 1977 was once every three weeks. The hon. Gentleman should praise the fact that it is now once a fortnight and that more people from all groups are involved. [Laughter.] The hon. Gentleman laughs, but that is fact and he does not like it. Let him look at the financing of sport in this country. Opposition Members should listen——

Photo of Mr Allan Rogers Mr Allan Rogers , Rhondda

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Many Welsh and Scottish Members are here this evening. The Minister who is now responding on behalf of the Government and who opened on their behalf—I applaud his hard work—has no responsibility for Wales or Scotland.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I have heard what the hon. Gentleman has to say; I remind him that it is not a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

Let all hon. Members look at the financial position of sport and recreation in this country. Every part has enjoyed a major increase in real terms—local authority spending, spending through the voluntary sectors of the Sports Aid Foundation and the Sports Aid Trust—and money going into the Sports Council. There has also been a substantial increase in sports sponsorship, which has risen from £60 million in 1980– 81, to £128 million in 1985–86, to £146 million in 1986–87, to £164 million—with a £40 million increase in sponsorship of sport in the past year. That is a record to be proud of. We are encouraging companies in Scotland, Wales and England to ensure that we obtain more sponsorship of sport to develop tomorrow's talent, to back today's, and to ensure that we increase participation——

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) for raising the subject of disabled sport and the initiatives that have been taken in the past 12 months. The other initiatives, as he rightly pointed out, were on drug abuse in sport and on the inner cities. I hope that we shall have all-party agreement that it is essential to shift public opinion—especially the press —away from considering the outstanding perform-ances of our top sports men and women who have disabilities in the news pages to considering them in the sports pages, in which they should be granted recognition as outstanding sportsmen and women.

This is why I have embarked in the past 12 months on the 10-events initiative and the full review of sport and recreation for those with disabilities. It is essential to raise the profile of disabled sport. The initiative includes £100,000 for the Paralympics in Seoul. I hope that all hon. Members will wish our able-bodied and disabled sportsmen and women at the consecutive Olympiads at Seoul this autumn every success ——

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

It is shameful that the hon. Gentleman should say that. It shows the importance that the Opposition attach to sport, and it is disgraceful and despicable.

I want to answer a number of important points about competitive tendering. The whole purpose of the competitive tendering regime is to yield better value for money from local authority expenditure, to seek more effective management of our facilities, to ensure that facilities are better marketed and to generate sensitivity to the needs of the community. Of course, the proposals recognise the concerns expressed by hon. Members on both sides about the continued use of facilities by disadvantaged groups and promising young sportsmen and women. That is why local authorities will retain their discretionary powers over pricing, opening hours and admission policies. They would, if they chose, use those powers in drawing up tender specifications and, if appropriate, continuing a level of subsidy.

With these powers remaining, the notion of facilities being taken over by profiteering private sector managers is a fallacy. Once the tender specification is drawn up, local authority employees will compete on equal terms with the private and voluntary sectors for the management contracts. That is why we are building on the success of the private sector management. of Cromwell squash and snooker club in Alton town council, of the Romford ice rink in Havering, of the Kingfisher leisure pool, and. the Hadleigh swimming pool in Babergh district council. There are many more examples, and when these measures are in place there will be more throughout the country.

I turn to the important issues of football in its positive context, and the problems of football hooliganism. It is essential that there is a twin-track policy and that we should address the problem outside and inside the grounds. Often, the two will require different measures and that is why we are considering how best to enforce restrictions on the sale of alcohol within the vicinity of football grounds. That is why we are reviewing exclusion orders, probation orders and attendance orders. That is why we are looking at stopping convicted football hooligans from attending matches here and abroad. We are not going to stop in committing ourselves absolutely to ensuring that we achieve a comprehensive package to fight football hooliganism here and abroad.

Question put,That the original words stands part of the Question:—

The House divided:Ayes 205, Noes 277

Division No. 408][10.00 pm
AYES
Abbott, Ms DianeGalbraith, Sam
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Allen, GrahamGarrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Alton, DavidGodman, Dr Norman A.
Anderson, DonaldGolding, Mrs Llin
Archer, Rt Hon PeterGordon, Mildred
Armstrong, HilaryGould, Bryan
Ashley, Rt Hon JackGraham, Thomas
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Barron, KevinGrocott, Bruce
Battle, JohnHarman, Ms Harriet
Beckett, MargaretHaynes, Frank
Bell, StuartHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Benn, Rt Hon TonyHeffer, Eric S.
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Henderson, Doug
Bermingham, GeraldHinchliffe, David
Bidwell, SydneyHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Blunkett, DavidHolland, Stuart
Boateng, PaulHome Robertson, John
Boyes, RolandHood, Jimmy
Bradley, KeithHowarth, George (Knowsley N)
Bray, Dr JeremyHowell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Howells, Geraint
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Buchan, NormanHughes, Roy (Newport E)
Buckley, George J.Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Caborn, RichardHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Illsley, Eric
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Janner, Greville
Campbell-Savours, D. N.John, Brynmor
Canavan, DennisJones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Kirkwood, Archy
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Lambie, David
Clay, BobLamond, James
Clelland, DavidLeadbitter, Ted
Clwyd, Mrs AnnLeighton, Ron
Coleman, DonaldLestor, Joan (Eccles)
Corbett, RobinLewis, Terry
Corbyn, JeremyLitherland, Robert
Cousins, JimLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cox, TomLofthouse, Geoffrey
Cryer, BobLoyden, Eddie
Cummings, JohnMcAllion, John
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcAvoy, Thomas
Cunningham, Dr JohnMcCartney, Ian
Dalyell, TamMacdonald, Calum A.
Darling, AlistairMcFall, John
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)McKelvey, William
Dewar, DonaldMcLeish, Henry
Dixon, DonMcNamara, Kevin
Dobson, FrankMcTaggart, Bob
Doran, FrankMcWilliam, John
Duffy, A. E. P.Madden, Max
Dunnachie, JimmyMahon, Mrs Alice
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMarek, Dr John
Eadie, AlexanderMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Eastham, KenMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Evans, John (St Helens N)Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Martlew, Eric
Fatchett, DerekMaxton, John
Fearn, RonaldMeacher, Michael
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Meale, Alan
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Michael, Alun
Flannery, MartinMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Flynn, PaulMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMillan, Rt Hon Bruce
Foster, DerekMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Fraser, JohnMorgan, Rhodri
Fyfe, MariaMorley, Elliott
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Mowlam, MarjorieShort, Clare
Mullin, ChrisSkinner, Dennis
Murphy, PaulSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Nellist, DaveSmith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSmith, Sir Cyril (Rochdale)
O'Brien, WilliamSnape, Peter
Orme, Rt Hon StanleySoley, Clive
Parry, RobertSpearing, Nigel
Patchett, TerrySteinberg, Gerry
Pendry, TomStrang, Gavin
Pike, Peter L.Straw, Jack
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Prescott, JohnTurner, Dennis
Primarolo, DawnWall, Pat
Radice, GilesWallace, James
Redmond, MartinWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Rees, Rt Hon MerlynWareing, Robert N.
Reid, Dr JohnWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Richardson, JoWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Robertson, GeorgeWilson, Brian
Robinson, GeoffreyWinnick, David
Rogers, AllanWise, Mrs Audrey
Rooker, JeffWorthington, Tony
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)Wray, Jimmy
Rowlands, Ted
Ruddock, JoanTellers for the Ayes:
Salmond, AlexMr. Frank Cook and Mr. Adam Ingram.
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
NOES
Aitken, JonathanButler, Chris
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelButterfill, John
Allason, RupertCarlisle, John, (Luton N)
Amess, DavidCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Amos, AlanCarttiss, Michael
Arbuthnot, JamesCash, William
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Chapman, Sydney
Ashby, DavidChurchill, Mr
Atkins, RobertClark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Atkinson, DavidClark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Colvin, Michael
Baldry, TonyConway, Derek
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Batiste, SpencerCoombs, Simon (Swindon)
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyCope, Rt Hon John
Bellingham, HenryCran, James
Benyon, W.Currie, Mrs Edwina
Bevan, David GilroyCurry, David
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnDavies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnDavis, David (Boothferry)
Blackburn, Dr John G.Day, Stephen
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterDevlin, Tim
Body, Sir RichardDickens, Geoffrey
Bonsor, Sir NicholasDicks, Terry
Boscawen, Hon RobertDorrell, Stephen
Boswell, TimDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bottomley, PeterDover, Den
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaDunn, Bob
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Durant, Tony
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Dykes, Hugh
Bowis, JohnEmery, Sir Peter
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesEvans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardEvennett, David
Brandon-Bravo, MartinFallon, Michael
Brazier, JulianFarr, Sir John
Bright, GrahamFavell, Tony
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonFenner, Dame Peggy
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Browne, John (Winchester)Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Fookes, Miss Janet
Buck, Sir AntonyForman, Nigel
Budgen, NicholasForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Burns, SimonForth, Eric
Burt, AlistairFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Butcher, JohnFox, Sir Marcus
Franks, CecilMartin, David (Portsmouth S)
Freeman, RogerMates, Michael
French, DouglasMaude, Hon Francis
Fry, PeterMawhinney, Dr Brian
Gale, RogerMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Gardiner, GeorgeMayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Garel-Jones, TristanMiller, Sir Hal
Gill, ChristopherMills, Iain
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir IanMiscampbell, Norman
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gower, Sir RaymondMitchell, David (Hants NW)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)Moate, Roger
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Monro, Sir Hector
Gregory, ConalMontgomery, Sir Fergus
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')Moore, Rt Hon John
Grylls, MichaelMorrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Gummer, Rt Hon John SelwynMoss, Malcolm
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)Moynihan, Hon Colin
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Mudd, David
Harris, DavidNeale, Gerrard
Hawkins, ChristopherNeedham, Richard
Hayes, JerryNelson, Anthony
Hayward, RobertNeubert, Michael
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hind, KennethNicholls, Patrick
Hunt, David (Wirral W)Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hunter, AndrewNicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Jessel, TobyOnslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Kilfedder, JamesOppenheim, Phillip
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Page, Richard
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)Paice, James
Kirkhope, TimothyPatnick, Irvine
Knapman, RogerPatten, Chris (Bath)
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Patten, John (Oxford W)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Knowles, MichaelPawsey, James
Knox, DavidPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanPorter, David (Waveney)
Lang, IanPortillo, Michael
Latham, MichaelPowell, William (Corby)
Lawrence, IvanPrice, Sir David
Lee, John (Pendle)Raffan, Keith
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Rathbone, Tim
Lightbown, DavidRedwood, John
Lilley, PeterRenton, Tim
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)Rhodes James, Robert
Lord, MichaelRiddick, Graham
Lyell, Sir NicholasRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
McCrindle, RobertRidsdale, Sir Julian
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Rossi, Sir Hugh
Maclean, DavidRost, Peter
McLoughlin, PatrickRowe, Andrew
McNair-Wilson, Sir MichaelRumbold, Mrs Angela
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Ryder, Richard
Madel, DavidSackville, Hon Tom
Malins, HumfreySainsbury, Hon Tim
Mans, KeithSayeed, Jonathan
Marlow, TonyScott, Nicholas
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Shaw, David (Dover)
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)Thorne, Neil
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')Thornton, Malcolm
Shelton, William (Streatham)Thurnham, Peter
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Tredinnick, David
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Trippier, David
Shersby, MichaelTrotter, Neville
Sims, RogerTwinn, Dr Ian
Skeet, Sir TrevorViggers, Peter
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)Waddington, Rt Hon David
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Waldegrave, Hon William
Soames, Hon NicholasWalden, George
Speed, KeithWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Speller, TonyWaller, Gary
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)Ward, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Squire, RobinWatts, John
Stanbrook, IvorWells, Bowen
Steen, AnthonyWheeler, John
Stern, MichaelWhitney, Ray
Stevens, LewisWiddecombe, Ann
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Wiggin, Jerry
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)Wilkinson, John
Stokes, Sir JohnWinterton, Mrs Ann
Stradling Thomas, Sir JohnWinterton, Nicholas
Sumberg, DavidWood, Timothy
Summerson, HugoWoodcock, Mike
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Yeo, Tim
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Tebbit, Rt Hon NormanTellers for the Noes:
Temple-Morris, PeterMr. Peter Lloyd and Mr. Alan Howarth.
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Question accordingly negatived.

Question. That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments) and agreed to.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER forthwith declared the main Question, as ameded, to be agreed to.

Resolved,That this House welcomes the Government's success in encouraging increased participation in sport and recreation and the opening of new facilities, stimulating private sector sponsorship and increasing grant-in-aid to the Sports Council by 37 per cent. in real terms since 1979–80, bringing forward proposals for competitive tendering to increase the efficient management of existing facilities, announcing proposals for restructuring the membership of the Sports Council to enable it to carry out its responsibilities more effectively, thus setting the scene for the structure and direction of sports policy for the 1990s, providing the police and the courts with comprehensive powers for tackling the problem of criminal hooliganism and in taking a firm lead in ensuring an integrated approach to vigorous law enforcement; and also welcomes the anti-hooligan measures announced following the Prime Minister's meeting on 6th July with the football authorities.