The Sports Council has made five grants in Cheshire: Mobberley cricket club, £2,524; Macclesfield tennis club, £22,200; Davenham cricket club, £16,310; Padgate sports association, £32,402; Moore rugby union football club, £93,400. I understand that a further 15 applications from sports bodies in Cheshire are currently under consideration.
I thank the Minister for that helpful information, and I am sure that everyone in the House would want to wish those clubs every success with the use of that money. The Minister will recall that, on previous occasions, I have drawn his attention to the shortage of resources in and around my constituency, especially for junior football clubs and for athletics. Will he kindly bring to the attention of the committee, when it considers the next tranche, the existence of that difficult position, which needs rectifying in the interests of everyone in our community?
Does my hon. Friend agree that in Cheshire, as elsewhere, priority should be given to distributing those funds to those sporting initiatives that address as many ordinary folk as possible, rather than to focusing large amounts of money on elitist and somewhat esoteric initiatives?
The Minister will be aware that the second round of lottery grants from the Sports Council to Cheshire sports clubs was slightly better than the first. Will he nevertheless recognise that the distribution of grants generally is erratic? For instance, the north-west, of which Cheshire is a part, received about £1.25 million in the latest round, whereas the south-west received more than £8 million; the east midlands received 15 grants, the west midlands two. Will the Minister involve himself in giving some direction to the Sports Council so that a fairer distribution may operate, and so that urban areas receive a better deal than is currently the case? Only then will the distribution of grants be considered credible by the public.
No. I will not involve myself in that matter, which is a matter for the Sports Council. The House rightly decided to distance itself politically from such decisions. However, I have no doubt that, as time goes by, there will be an even spread throughout the country. The Sports Council is mandated to ensure that that is so.