Youth Services

Part of Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:32 pm on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 4:32 pm, 24th July 2019

The hon. Gentleman is right. If we intervene once a young person is in the criminal justice system, we are in some ways intervening far too late. That does not mean that there cannot be change from there, but we should be intervening sooner. This week, I have been working with the Minister for safeguarding, my hon. Friend Victoria Atkins, across the whole sector, on making sure that people with a challenged background get a chance to get into employment. It is absolutely right that the hon. Member for Rhondda should mention early intervention.

I do not want to undersell the impact of what Sport England is doing; through that, we will reach more than 3,000 additional young people under 25, giving them key skills, coaching and further opportunities. These projects demonstrate the power of sport to inspire. Culture, arts and heritage can also offer young people in our communities a way out, a new chance, and take them away from the risk of violence and gangs.

I have been looking in the Department for a concerted effort on discrimination and racism and the power of sport to inspire. Today, the Football Association, the Premier League and the English Football League have written to me to set out their next steps on tackling racism and discrimination, following the summit I called earlier this year. They have set out stronger education measures, improved reporting systems and better training and support for referees and stewards. There is more to do, and I expect the issue to be at the top of the agenda for the whole of football in the next season.

Let me turn to the other interventions we have made regarding the school sport and activity action plan. A third of our young people—especially girls, children from poorer backgrounds and some children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds—are doing less than half of the recommended amount of exercise each day. We have published our new school sport and activity action plan, which will ensure that young people are able to get the benefit of 60 minutes of daily sport and physical activity.