The participation of schoolchildren in competitive sports will be a key element in the sports policy statement paper which my right hon. Friend announced on 23 March. The policy statement will be published in early summer.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will he give particular attention to the importance of providing sporting opportunities for schoolchildren at primary schools such as Hawes Side and Roseacre schools in my constituency? Roseacre school is an exceptionally good school, but unfortunately it has no sports field, and has never had one, as there is no land on which to build one. During his discussions about developing sports facilities for children, will my hon. Friend consider encouraging those responsible for lottery funding to provide support for children at schools such as Roseacre to obtain facilities at secondary schools and sports centres in the area?
I know of my hon. Friend's energetic pursuit of the interests of Roseacre primary school and I entirely agree that everything should be done to ensure that as many pupils as possible have as much access as possible to high-quality sporting facilities. I am glad to say that, from now on, I understand that the Sports Council will consider as eligible for lottery funds the purchase of a van or a minibus to take pupils to such grounds.
The Minister will have noticed that, under the present funding of schools, there has been a considerable decrease in the number of cricket pitches available. Cricket pitches are extremely expensive to maintain. Will the Minister make a special effort to ensure that extra funding is given to the annual maintenance of cricket pitches?
The hon. Gentleman raises an extremely important point. It is true that cricket is a more difficult sport to deal with because of the size of the field and the quality of treatment that must be given to the square. I hope that the point that he has raised will be dealt with in the sports policy paper.