Sport: Health and Well-being of Children and Young People — Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:11 pm on 9th December 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Brookman Lord Brookman Labour 12:11 pm, 9th December 2010

My Lords, I add my support to my noble friend Lord Pendry, someone who, by the way-many of you will not know-has spent all his political life dealing, both in the other place as a Minister and here in this House, promoting sport both in general and as a basic requirement for the wellbeing of children and young people. My noble friend Lord Pendry is exemplary in this respect. Sport is vital in this country. We all know about it, about the test victory the other week and how brilliant that was and about how disappointed we all were when we did not get the World Cup. Is not sport in schools-for children and young people-of utmost importance to us all?

My noble friend Lord Pendry mentioned the debate last week in another place, which I thought was brilliantly handled by Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh. Together with many other MPs, he congratulated the Youth Sport Trust and school sport partnerships as being responsible for achieving major advances in youth sport over the last decade. This is a fact that cannot be hidden. The advancement has been quite remarkable because of those two organisations. However, the coalition Government defeated the Motion that was put before the other place overwhelmingly-which has not been mentioned yet. It seems to me that the Government want to end what they refer to as ringfenced funding and allow schools to decide how best to teach and develop young people. The enormous amount of money that has been cut has been mentioned. People are worried about it.

There are some 450 school sport partnerships in being, covering every school in the country. My reading of that situation is that they have been a very strong success story. In this respect they should continue to fulfil the job of ensuring our children and future generations enjoy sport and, as a consequence, have a healthier lifestyle facing them. I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister means it when he states that he will reflect on the Government's approach to school sport. Leaving school sport partnerships to further build on their success would be welcomed in this House and across the country.