Spending on Sport (Gender Audit)

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 22nd November 2012.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Labour, Worsley and Eccles South 9:30 am, 22nd November 2012

What plans her Department has for a gender audit of public spending on sport.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Department measures sport participation by gender via the Taking Part survey. In addition, Sport England’s Active People survey provides more detailed data on sport participation. Together, those provide a good understanding of the gender implications of public spending on sport. The Department has no plans to undertake a specific gender audit.

Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Labour, Worsley and Eccles South

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. The Active People survey shows that more than 2 million fewer girls and women than men take part in sport, at both weekly and monthly intervals, but 12 million say that they want to take part in sport. Is not it time we had a full audit of public spending on sport to find out what it is spent on and why so many fewer women than men take part?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The hon. Lady puts her finger on it. We know that there are participation issues, so rather than simply continuing to audit it, we are taking action. We already have our £1 billion youth and community sports strategy, which is looking at ways of ensuring that girls take part in sport, and the Active Women programme, a £10 million lottery programme aimed at getting women into sport. Of course, the most important audit of all was the Olympic games this summer, in which the very first gold medal was won by a woman, as indeed was the last. That is evidence that things are moving in the right direction, but clearly there is still more to do.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Labour, Bradford South

Is it important to build on the success of the Olympics, particularly in participation, but the reason a survey is important is that we are seeing a drop in the number of girls involved in school sport, so there is a need to measure what is happening. I think the Secretary of State should speak with the Secretary of State for Education, who does not seem to like sport.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I speak regularly with the Secretary of State for Education on this and many other issues and to ensure that we continue the excellent work of the school games, which has done so much not only to improve girls’ participation in sport, but to help more disabled people get involved.