Every child and young person should have access to quality sport and physical activity opportunities no matter where they live. We want to ensure that all people get two hours of physical education at school—equal opportunities for boys and girls. We are providing £600 million to boost school sport. Further details of our plan will be set out in our sports strategy.
Thirty-odd years ago, in weather like this, my friends and I would spend eight hours a day every day of the school holidays, and every evening during term time, up at the cricket nets. Now, they are mostly unused, except on practice nights. My old hockey club, Northop Hall, used to run seven teams on a Saturday, but now it just about manages to scrape three together. I commend the work that James, Matt, Emily, Chris and others do in coaching the next generation of youngsters. What more can the Government do to encourage participation, remove barriers to entry and get more kids out from in front of the screen and into team sports, which bring amazing benefits to mental and physical health?
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: all children should have the chance to play sport and experience the benefits of being physically active. He is right to talk about facilities, which are important. We have supported more than 80 sites in Wales since 2021. Getting children more active in those facilities will be a central part of our upcoming sports strategy, in which we will set out our ambition to embed physical activity in every child’s life by driving up standards and making sport more accessible and more inclusive.
About 47% of parents say that the cost of living crisis is making it difficult for their children to participate in sport. The levels of participation among the poorest social groups is down on six years ago. What will the Secretary of State do in her plan to drive up participation in sport in those communities?
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight the importance of sport. A significant proportion of the £300 million that is going into sports facilities across the country will go to disadvantaged areas. As I mentioned, we are bringing forward a sports strategy that will set out how we ensure that everybody around the country can take part in sport and that it is inclusive for everybody.
Obviously, if we beat the Australians in the tests, that would be even better for young people. Let us go to Chris Elmore, a big cricketer.