Is my hon. Friend aware that the Nutbrook cricket club near Ilkeston in my constituency, which provides sports facilities for young people in particular, has recently applied to the national lottery sports fund for money to improve its changing facilities? The Sports Council has, quite correctly, asked local organisations for their views and all have been supportive except Erewash borough council, which said that the club's bid would compete with the council's own bid for sports facilities. Does my hon. Friend agree that a local authority should not be able to blight another's bid in that way? What advice can he give to Nutbrook and to the Sports Council about the matter?
I congratulate my hon. Friend on her persistence in the matter of the Nutbrook cricket club. She wrote to me on 16 June last year about that subject and I know that she has been disappointed in one or two of her applications to the Sports Council and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts in the meantime. I assure her that whatever Erewash borough council says or does not say will not blight the hopes of Nutbrook cricket club. The Sports Council will make its own decision about that important matter.
Will the Minister bear it in mind that some organisations which provide funding for sports facilities are suffering because the money that was formerly distributed to them from pools revenue is falling as the success of the national lottery increases? The Barnsley lawn tennis club in my constituency is unable to secure a grant because of a lack of funds within the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. Will the Minister consider equal funding between the various bodies that provide money for sports facilities so as to make up the grants to those bodies which have been affected by the fall in pools revenue?
The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. He will know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer cut the duty in order that the Foundation for Sport and the Arts could continue to operate. I believe that that was the right thing to do and I hope that the sports club in the hon. Gentleman's constituency will apply for funding to the foundation, the national lottery, Sportsmatch or any of the other sources of Government sports facility funding.