Funding Community Sport

– in the Scottish Parliament at 9:15 am on 25th September 2008.

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Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None 9:15 am, 25th September 2008

Good morning. The first item of business today is a debate on motion S3M-2589, in the name of Margo MacDonald, on the legacy from lottery funding for community sport. Miss MacDonald, you have 13 minutes.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

Thank you, Presiding Officer. I should say at the outset that I imagine that this is the only occasion that you will have to put up with me for 13 minutes during this session.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I also thank the members who have come to this morning's debate. I tried to find a topic and a motion that would attract support from all parts of the chamber—we will see whether I have been successful at decision time.

On Monday evening, I attended a reception for our Paralympians in the national museum of Scotland. The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon, did the honours—very graciously, I might add—but there was one teensy-weensy bit in her speech that did not quite ring true with me, although it made us all feel pretty good, particularly the parents, coaches and other volunteers among the athletes and their supporters. Nicola Sturgeon said that sport was in our psyche in Scotland. If only. The Government and its predecessors have made genuine efforts to encourage people to take up sport and exercise—I pay tribute to them—and they have supported elite athletes to an unprecedented extent. Stewart Maxwell's predecessors as sports ministers, one of whom I am glad to see is present this morning, have all brushed up on their sprinting techniques as they have dealt with my lobbying, my complaining and—yes, I will admit it, on the provision of adequate numbers of fully trained physical education teachers—my nagging.

On-going campaigns on television and elsewhere have successfully raised public awareness of the benefits of and enjoyment to be had from sport, and the performance of Scots athletes in Commonwealth and Olympic games and world and European championships have thrilled and inspired all age groups. However, some studies suggest that, although standards are rising among sports participants, fewer of us are taking part. Although there are improvements in the statistics on, for example, heart and lung disease, our waist measurements are growing inexorably bigger and our children vie for top spot in the obesity league.

It is because it is urgent that we make history of that last fact about our national fitness, and because of the opportunity to inspire people that is afforded by the Commonwealth games, that my motion urges the Parliament to support the return, as soon as possible, of a substantial part of the lottery funding already earmarked for Scottish activities but diverted to help pay for the London Olympics. Subventions from the lottery could start in three years' time, but I hope that, after hearing the case studies that I have prepared for the debate, members will agree to pursue an earlier start to the resource being injected into the development of community sport and the support of young athletes, for whom it might make the difference between attaining a personal best and a Commonwealth games qualifying standard in six years' time.

I know that some people in the voluntary sector have concerns that the third sector will be the losers in any rescheduling of the supply of lottery resources. I hope that I have been able to reassure them on that. I have simply made a case for the urgency of speeding up the delivery of a resource that has already been scheduled and I have concentrated on the resources that will be earmarked for sport. Other members may concentrate on aspects of volunteering, for example, other than the support activities undertaken by the parents whom I met at the receptions for both groups of Olympic athletes.

My first case study is Ross County athletics club in Dingwall. Last Tuesday, 53 young athletes aged between nine and 17 turned up for coaching by scottishathletics-qualified coach Alasdair MacDonald—no relation. The previous week, 63 young athletes turned up, no doubt inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics. Those numbers are up on last year's average of 30-plus members, but unfortunately nothing else has improved in the past three to four years.

During that time, the Ross County club members have tried to raise their standards on a muddy field. It is sloping and holed, and it is used for shinty and football. Injuries are common. It is very easy to go over on an ankle in such conditions, which is something of a discouragement to athletes and their parents, who would prefer them not to go hirpling to school or to be laid up at home with a cast on.

There are also no showers or other indoor facilities. In fact, if Alasdair MacDonald wants to take his young athletes for intensive indoor coaching, the nearest facility is Grangemouth. If that were not enough of a disincentive, the cost of transporting even a minibus-load of athletes is almost prohibitive. If overnight accommodation is required, the indoor facility is just a dream.

Inverness has a good track and what local athletes describe as reasonable facilities, but other communities across the Highlands and Islands are much more likely to experience the same muddy fields as Ross County club does in Dingwall. In spite of that, among the regulars, James MacPhail has won the under-17 400m Scottish hurdles championship. He is ranked sixth in the United Kingdom, but if he is to improve on that, he has no option other than to transfer from Ross County to Inverness, just as Ian Coghill did as the Scottish under-13 high jump champion—high jumping on a sloping field can also injure one's health.

The schoolchildren, part of whose school playground it is, are forbidden to play on that so-called sports facility when it rains because it is so dangerous. Alasdair MacDonald negotiated for a half-tartan track when the new public-private partnership Dingwall academy was being built. Everyone thought that it was a great idea but said that there was no money to provide it.

Far from current and past Government good intentions getting youngsters into sport, the lack of facilities and money to support sports club activities results in the old story of fewer and fewer young athletes continuing to compete in adulthood. I have described the prohibitive cost of a visit to indoor facilities for Ross County AC, but Wester Ross athletics club folded because of the prohibitive cost of travel. The MacDonald league of athletics clubs, which sustained regular sports meetings for clubs the length and breadth of Scotland, is now almost exclusively contained in the central belt because of travel costs.

The Highlands and Islands clubs have regrouped in a Highland league, and it is grand that coaches such as Alasdair MacDonald and athletes from the deprived sporting areas are still motivated to the extent that they are, but in narrowing the geographical base of their league, they narrow their competitive opportunities and therefore their potential.

Ross County AC represents exactly the sort of community sport that I would like lottery money to be spent on. Alasdair MacDonald could be joined by other local volunteer coaches if the expense of gaining coaching qualifications at Grangemouth, Meadowbank and Scotstoun, for example, was not so off-putting and if there was help with travel and overnight accommodation.

The two young men who have already proved themselves at Scottish championship level would not have to leave their local area if decent facilities were available, and one of our granddaughters, who shows promise as a pentathlete, could be properly coached in hurdles—yet another event precluded by a sloping, muddy field. That is the reality that can be addressed only by resources being invested in facilities and coaches. The sooner we start, the more athletes and coaches will be motivated to gain places at the Glasgow Commonwealth games. We would then be talking realistically about a genuine legacy.

My second case study concerns Leith judo club. This week, as every week, 250 young athletes will attend judo teaching and coaching sessions overseen by the UK's leading judo coach, Billy Cusack, in a church hall in Leith. There are no showers or changing facilities there, either. The players are youngsters from all over the Edinburgh area, but mainly from the sometimes less-than-salubrious areas in the north of the city. There are approximately 20 players of top-flight international standard out of the 50 seniors in the club.

At the Commonwealth games in Manchester, 10 medals were won by club members—one club provided 10 medals for Scotland—and Billy Cusack admits that he and his athletes were disappointed that, at the Beijing games, only one medal was won by the Leith club—by Sam Ingram. However, he is nevertheless confident of getting closer to Leith's usual medals total at the 2014 games in Glasgow.

He hopes that, long before then, his athletes will have a practice area that is light years away from the one that they are presently forced to use, which he fears will cause serious injury due to the floor crumbling away with dry rot. He also hopes that the club's new premises will have changing rooms and showers, and a general-purpose strengthening and conditioning room would be nice too. He is currently in negotiation with the City of Edinburgh Council with a view to renting an unused industrial unit. He hopes that the facility will be temporary and that it will cost the club less than the £12,000 to £16,000 that he presently has to pay each year.

However, there is always an alternative open to a coach such as Billy: the British Judo Association would love him to relocate to a centre of excellence south of the border. The athletes who have come north to be coached by him would be likely to return south of the border if he did so, but Billy wants to encourage them, build on what he has created in Leith and keep Sam Ingram, who is one of the English athletes who have come north to have the excellence of training that is provided here. He wants to inspire and encourage the 200-plus youngsters who attend the club and maintain the high standards of performance that encourage kids from Leith to be all that they can be.

I will now dive in at the deep end, which is still possible for a diver from Edinburgh. However, Sally Wood and Robyn Matthews, two young women who learned to dive here and have been coached to a standard that makes them realistic possibilities for the Commonwealth games, will have to find other facilities if they want to pursue their goals, because the Royal Commonwealth pool—known as the Commie pool to locals—is due to close next year for refurbishment and upgrading. It is estimated that that will take about two years so, if their family circumstances allow, Sally and Robyn will be off south to the most suitable facilities and coaching. Members should remember that they are still studying and that it will cost their parents a lot of money, but they will have to go south for the most suitable facilities and coaching.

Even with that disruption to their lives and studies, those two young women are probably envied by the two talented divers who have had to pack in their sport because of the closure of Bon Accord baths in Aberdeen. When the baths closed, it was inevitable that, without divers to work with, the diving coach would be forced to seek out venues with 5m and 10m fixed boards and 1m and 3m springboards. Once again, a dedicated and professional coach has been lost to those of Scotland's youngsters who are ready to have a shot at diving after being inspired by young Tom Daley's performance in Beijing—it is the time to take it up—and to the remaining diver in Aberdeen, who is a Commonwealth games prospect provided that she can move to another diving venue.

Those are three case studies of the reality of sport in our communities and the difficulties that our best—and potentially even better—sportsmen and women experience. We are now in an economic slow-down at best or a recession at worst for the next two, or possibly three, years. Local resources are already stretched so, if we are serious about the various programmes and initiatives that are designed to encourage people into sport, we dare not put them off until the economy recovers.

I move,

That the Parliament, in view of the reduction in lottery funding for the development of community sport in Scotland, supports calls for a substantial sum of National Lottery funding to be released as soon as possible, without prejudice to the outcome of ongoing consultations on aspects of the wider remits of lottery funding, thus ensuring both support for ongoing coaching programmes and a legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow that benefit the population of Glasgow and all of Scotland, and believes that such funding is capable of enhancing the Glasgow games so that, in addition to supporting a spectacular event, the investment would lay the foundations for health and sporting improvements across the entire population of Scotland.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I congratulate Miss MacDonald on perfect timing in the verbal equivalent of the 5,000m. I notice that Mr McAveety has completed his vocal warm-ups, so I ask him to speak to and move his amendment S3M-2589.1.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 9:28 am, 25th September 2008

Depending on your courteousness, Presiding Officer, it may be a marathon rather than a sprint, although I am up for the sprint, in case any member is willing to rise to the challenge. Margo MacDonald touched on good coaching; my sprint coach says that he has seen a week-on-week improvement in my performance, so I am looking forward to my challenge being taken up.

I thank Margo MacDonald for bringing the matter to the Parliament for debate. It is courageous of her to do so, because it takes up all her time for independent members' debates for the rest of the session. That shows her commitment, which she has demonstrated over a number of years, to using sport as one of the key agencies of improvement for the whole of Scotland. Members should look around the neighbourhoods and areas that she mentioned in her case studies, which make a welcome contribution to the debate.

My amendment's purpose is to amplify many of the issues that she has identified and try to ensure that we do not repeat some of the difficulties that have emerged in the necessary desire to find resources for the UK Olympics. Existing good causes in Scotland should not be jeopardised in future years. I hope that all members share a commitment to work together to find ways to ensure that the good causes that have received money from the lottery are not undermined by any further redirection of money. I also hope that we will seize the opportunities that their work provides to maximise what the 2014 Commonwealth games can achieve for the benefit not only of the city of Glasgow—especially the east end of Glasgow, which I represent—but, in particular, our aspirations for sport throughout Scotland.

We are not alone in that ambition. All members have recently received a document from the authorities in the former industrial areas throughout the UK expressing concerns about fair access to lottery allocation. That document was prepared by an organisation called the Alliance—I do not want to excite too many people in the Liberal Democrats about a great period in their recent history—and its purpose was to try to identify the best way to maximise the use of lottery moneys.

Margo touched on some of the building blocks that are required. On that, I can speak from experience not only as a minister responsible for sport, but as a city councillor in Glasgow and someone who was central to the development of the sport for life strategy. That document's gestation more than 10 or 12 years ago was difficult. It moved from assumptions about the level of infrastructure to trying to identify more progressive provision throughout the city. It considered how to provide broader ranges of sporting activities, particularly in any new sports centres, and how to improve the quality and range of the sports infrastructure when we engaged in investment or partnerships with sportscotland or any other sports or voluntary organisation.

That has benefited the city, even though there were initial difficulties in some of the change agenda. I testify to the painfulness of that changeover in my constituency, which lost a local baths. However, a model is now emerging from the individuals who were involved in that campaign. We were sometimes on different sides, depending on our experience, but we are now working effectively together on the broader remit of a major project that we hope will receive funding from the local authority, the lottery and other sources.

There is an ambition to invest more effectively. The reason for the investment was an ambition to aim higher, which has resulted in Glasgow being successful in its bid for the 2014 games. However, we must ask what we want for Scotland from that success. Irrespective of where members have stood on the issues in the past, there is agreement across the Parliament that mechanisms exist that could be used creatively to address the need for additional lottery resources between 2008 and 2014. However, dialogue between UK ministers and the Scottish ministers is required to determine how best to do that. We cannot arrive at any definitive solutions this morning, but we have already had briefing papers from a variety of organisations that indicate where some resource allocation could come from.

The debate is also about achieving a much wider commitment throughout Scotland. Margo MacDonald touched on the experiences in Dingwall, Leith and other parts of Scotland. Two local authorities in the areas that have the least participation in sport are Glasgow City Council and North Lanarkshire Council. Glasgow City Council has now given an additional £250,000 for elite performers from the 2014 commitment. Other authorities in the west of Scotland have emulated that. North Lanarkshire Council has a big commitment to use the children's Olympics to promote sport more effectively. Reasonable ambitions are already in place and we want to develop them as a team effort, to ensure more effective resource allocation.

People often ask what the benefit will be for my constituency, which has unfortunately been described as one of the most disadvantaged areas in the UK. At the end of the process, we will have within an area of 2 square miles a games village with 1,500 houses—at least a third of which I hope can be allocated to social housing—a national arena and a new velodrome. I know that that might upset Margo MacDonald because of the debate around a velodrome for Edinburgh. However, I understand that she would be willing to campaign on the issue of the velodrome—I invite her to make a contribution.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I am grateful to the shadow minister for allowing me in. I want him to get an all-bells-and-whistles, all-singing, all-dancing velodrome with a spectator arena. The facility that we want for Edinburgh is a top-flight coaching velodrome. I hope that that puts minds at rest.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I was speculating on your longer-term motives behind today's debate, but I think that you have just indicated what your next big campaign may well be, Margo. Members heard it here first—an exclusive for the Press Association.

We will have a games village in the east end of Glasgow that will provide a quality of housing that I hope will be emulated elsewhere in the UK. We will have a national arena and a velodrome. After much controversial discussion, we will also have headquarters in the east end, not just the HQ of sportscotland but the HQ of Culture and Sport Glasgow. We will have a national swimming centre in Tollcross and a national hockey centre on Glasgow Green. I can envisage already the 2011 election campaign being around the question, "What have you ever done for the east end of Glasgow?" I did not articulate those opportunities for the east end because of my naturally partisan commitment to that area. The east end of Glasgow has had much difficulty for generations, but we now have the confidence in it to make a big infrastructure investment there and demonstrate that we want to use that for a much wider agenda. That is what I will focus on in the next few minutes.

Many of the papers that we have had from the lottery distributors, such as the Big Lottery Fund, have raised concerns similar to those raised by the voluntary sector and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, in that they have asked what ambition we have to use 2014 in a much more rounded way. The Government's initial consultation on legacy, as well as the local authority's consultation, show that there is an ambition to think much more widely about the games legacy. The idea is that we should use the 2014 games for regeneration opportunities, not just for Glasgow but, with more ambition, for other parts of Scotland, with more resources being made available for infrastructure investment.

We can also use the opportunity to widen volunteering, because there is a direct connection between certain social groups and volunteer activity. If we can break through that barrier to find the 15,000 volunteers that are required for the games, that will have a real benefit for those communities and for those individuals' long-term self-esteem and job opportunities.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

I thank Mr McAveety for giving way. I will refer to this matter later, but the Health and Sport Committee wrote to the cabinet secretary on 24 April about volunteering. Part of our concern about volunteering is that volunteers tend to be drawn from already active sporting participants. Does the member agree that we do not want that repeated at the 2014 games? We want people taken up as volunteers who are not, as it were, the usual suspects.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I concur with that view. We already have the Clyde gateway project in the inner east end, which has identified ways in which we can work with groups who have been excluded for a long time. There are many more things to add, but perhaps we can do that in the summing-up speeches.

We have a shared ambition to ensure that there is fairness and equity in the distribution of lottery funds for good causes. However, I think that the long-term concern of members across the chamber is to ensure that the UK Olympics are not funded at the expense of other sports commitments across the UK. I hope that, through today's debate, we can have a shared commitment to open up discussion with key decision makers at Scottish Government level, local authority level and, more important, UK level, given that the UK has responsibility for the lottery and for other commitments around the Olympics.

We want to employ a strategy that ensures that the Glasgow Commonwealth games will be as important to Scotland and the UK as the 2002 Manchester games were.

I move amendment S3M-2589.1, to insert at end:

"and also tackle poverty and deprivation, improve economic performance, protect the environment and historic heritage and support artistic endeavour, and notes the particular role of community and voluntary organisations in delivering this legacy."

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I do not want to be unnecessarily heavy handed in what has been a good-natured debate, but I ask members not to use just other members' first names when referring to them, even when they refer to Miss MacDonald.

Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party 9:40 am, 25th September 2008

I join Frank McAveety in congratulating Margo MacDonald on raising this important issue, as it provides Parliament with an opportunity to unite and send a clear and strong message.

Let me make the Government's position clear from the outset. Our vision is that the games will provide a lasting legacy across all Scotland and across a wide range of sectors. Our legacy will be as much for Gretna and Grampian as it will be for Glasgow. It will be as relevant to skills coaching as it will be to sports coaching. That is why we launched a series of consultations within 100 days of winning the bid and why we have created a formal legacy process.

We will deliver a legacy across Scotland through existing resources, but Scotland's legacy could be so much bolder and stronger, and be delivered faster, with substantial lottery funding. Our vision is that that lottery funding would support a wide range of initiatives including, but not limited to, sport. We would engage with the third sector to ensure that the funding was used across the range of good causes.

The enthusiasm of the people of Scotland for the successful bid for the Glasgow 2014 games was remarkable. Over one and three-quarter million individuals and organisations pledged their support for the bid, as did every political party represented in the Parliament. Much of that support was inspired by the great opportunities presented by the Glasgow 2014 games to make real improvements to people's lives, raise our sights as a nation and regenerate communities. From the outset of our bid, legacy has been at the centre of our plans. Delivering a games legacy is the heart of our overwhelming case for lottery funding to be returned to Scotland. That funding would help us to transform the wealth of ideas into a legacy that would benefit communities throughout Scotland and harness the passion and enthusiasm generated by the Commonwealth games.

Our vision is of a legacy that will help people live longer, healthier lives in strong, resilient and supportive communities, valuing and protecting the built and natural environment, with new and better skills development, and employment and volunteering opportunities. We want the games to be a catalyst to achieve and maintain historically high levels of physical activity across Scotland, and to create more opportunities for people to be active at any stage of life. We would use lottery funds to provide a strong sporting legacy for Scotland. Retaining the diverted lottery funds in Scotland would help us to realise our ambition for Scottish sport and enrich our nation, create champions and boost Scotland's standing in the world as a country of sporting winners.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I very much appreciate what the minister has just said about legacy. Does he agree that, while everyone is bathed in the warm afterglow of the Beijing Olympics, we should start building the legacy now?

Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party

As I said at the start of my speech, we started doing so within 100 days of winning the Commonwealth games bid. We launched the consultation document and we have had public meetings across the country, a written consultation and a consultation with young people in Scotland. It is not about starting now: we started last year.

We want to strengthen links between schools and clubs, improve facilities and access to them, especially in deprived areas, and increase the number of quality coaches and the availability of trained officials. We need strong club structures across all our communities, with clubs that are easily accessible, ready to embrace all abilities and have strong links to the wider community infrastructure. At the local level, we must work more imaginatively to ensure that we maximise investment in facilities and make the most of existing facilities. We need to break down the barriers that stifle the growth of our existing coaches and officials, who are so pivotal in nurturing future Scottish sporting stars.

The games also present opportunities to embed ethics and equality throughout Scottish sport, tackling discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and ensuring safe and fair participation. The games can help us tackle the significant inequalities in Scottish society. Our aspiration is that the games legacy will give fresh impetus to existing programmes and deliver new, sustainable programmes that give opportunities for Scotland's most disadvantaged to rebuild their lives, regain respect and restore their confidence so that they have a better share of Scotland's increased prosperity. The games can help us to create better-educated and more skilled communities, and to recognise those sometimes undervalued groups, such as older people and those with a disability.

We want to maximise the impact of imaginative initiatives that place sport and the arts at the heart of learning. We want to use sport, the arts, culture and creativity to help make our young people successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

The legacy of the games can help to build communities where people can live their lives safe from crime, disorder and danger. It is well recognised that sport and cultural activities can present desirable and exciting diversions for young people. They can also provide experiences that trigger young people to decide that they want to give something back to their community. We want to use the opportunity of the games to rekindle the sense of pride in our communities and increase community engagement.

The construction of the venues for the games and the delivery of the event should be exemplary in environmental terms. Legacy funding should support initiatives that promote a shift towards more sustainable, healthy and active forms of transport such as cycling. Such initiatives will help to deliver our goal of reducing Scotland's carbon footprint. We want to maximise the opportunity that the games present to showcase Scottish products and services, to enhance Scotland's reputation as a place to visit, and to show Scotland as a dynamic location for international businesses and an attractive place in which to work and study.

The people of Scotland are overwhelmingly positive about the opportunities that arise from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. However, Scotland's ambition will inevitably be constrained by the diversion of £150 million of lottery funds from Scotland to pay for the London 2012 Olympics. The Parliament is not calling for lottery money to fund the delivery of the Commonwealth games. Those costs are rightly being met by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council. However, we are seeking the return of Scotland's lottery funds to allow us to capitalise on the inspiration, ambition and levels of engagement that were generated throughout Scotland by our winning bid.

Now is the time to lay the foundations that will allow people throughout Scotland, especially those from disadvantaged communities, to improve the quality of their lives. Now is the time for the Parliament to stand united in a common cause, because the people of Scotland deserve no less.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative 9:47 am, 25th September 2008

I am delighted that Margo MacDonald has chosen for debate today the important topic of the legacy from lottery funding for community sport. I also welcome the fact that she rewrote her motion to address some of the concerns that were being expressed. I note that, although we are debating Scottish sport and sports funding, we all recognise the importance of lottery funding in other sectors, especially the voluntary sector.

The Scottish Conservatives agree with Margo MacDonald that significant national lottery funding is needed in the development of community sport and community sport facilities in Scotland in the run-up to 2014. No one disagrees that some of the money that would otherwise have been destined for sportscotland has gone to support the development of the London 2012 Olympics. Although the Conservatives are happy to be 100 per cent behind the London 2012 games and want everything to be done that will make them a British success story, it is legitimate to argue that some additional lottery funding should, as a consequence, be allocated to grass-roots sports development in Scotland, especially as no lottery money is directly involved in funding the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, which should also be a British success story.

The 2002 Commonwealth games in Manchester did receive funds from the lottery. We agree with the highly respected Louise Martin, who said that, on current funding levels, sportscotland

"would not be able to both train elite athletes ahead of the 2014 Games and maintain grassroots support."

The Scottish Government's approach of seeking additional lottery support for community sport was endorsed by the Local Government and Communities Committee in its stage 1 report on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill. The committee noted in section 87 of the report that

"the Scottish Government is not now precluded from making a policy decision" to seek

"lottery funding, allowing more money to be invested in grass-roots sport development in Scottish communities. The Finance Committee strongly recommends that the Scottish Government pursues this issue, and reports to it on progress as soon as possible. This Committee endorses this recommendation."

The UK Government has announced a legacy trust of £40 million for the Olympic games, £34 million of which will come from the national lottery. Perhaps we should consider an equivalent, or something similar, for the 2014 Commonwealth games in Scotland.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I inform members that, if they want to check on where sportscotland stands on all this, Louise Martin will be the speaker at today's lunchtime meeting of the cross-party group on sport.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

I thank the member for that important intervention.

As a party, we are proud that it was a Conservative Government that set up the national lottery. Since it was created in 1994 under John Major, more than 300,000 local projects in the UK have benefited from lottery funding totalling more than £21 billion. It is clear that the recent tremendous success of Britain's Olympians and Paralympians was at least partly due to the decision to introduce a national lottery in 1994. Since 1997, more money could have gone into sport and other good causes. That is why we regret the UK Labour Government's political decisions to divert lottery money into what John Major called—in an excellent Telegraph article on 28 August—Labour's "pet projects".

Research suggests that between 1997—when it took power—and 2006, the Blair Administration spent £3.2 billion of national lottery money on schools, hospitals and other state services. That is money that would otherwise have gone into the original five good causes. I am delighted that David Cameron and the Conservatives at Westminster are clearly committed to reforming the national lottery so that it supports only the five original good causes—sport, the arts, heritage, and the voluntary and community sectors. That pledge will be warmly welcomed throughout those sectors. If Labour wants to go to Mars, that is okay with us—but not on lottery funding, please.

We all agree that, if we are to secure a lasting legacy from the 2014 games, we must invest now in the sports infrastructure in our communities so that young people—indeed, people of all ages—can work towards the games; so that our top sportsmen and women can hope to achieve medal success; and so that the thousands of others who are inspired by the games to get involved in sport can do so in their communities.

Last week, in Jack McConnell's excellent members' business debate on making 2014 a year of sport in Scotland, I mentioned a letter that I had received from a constituent in Lochgilphead, who is in despair. The case is worth mentioning again. She has three children who are members of the Mid Argyll Athletics Club and who have excelled at long and middle-distance running. However, this term, they have had to abandon training altogether because there is no longer a suitable venue since the brand new high school was built with no track and field facilities. That is hugely ironic as many Lochgilphead residents, led by Hugh MacArthur and Bill MacAllum, founded a trust to build running facilities for mid-Argyll youth on the very ground where the new school has now been built. It is hugely frustrating to have young people who are dead keen on athletics and a dedicated coach, but no local facilities. I would be interested to hear the minister's comments on that. The nearest proper running track is in Scotstoun, which is a 200-mile round trip from where my constituent lives.

I have also been approached by constituents in the Highlands whose children are involved in competitive rowing. They say that adequate resources are not made available through the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association and they query the support that rowers receive when they represent their country. I lodged some written questions on that, but I would be grateful to hear more from the minister.

I note that there is a special national lottery game —dream number—dedicated to the 2012 Olympics. Perhaps there should be a similar game dedicated to the 2014 Commonwealth games.

I hope that all parties in the Parliament will unite to try to secure a positive legacy for Scotland from the 2014 games. That means investing in our communities in the run-up to the games.

In its response to the Government's consultation on delivering a lasting legacy for Scotland from the 2014 games, the Health and Sport Committee noted, tellingly:

"the committee is acutely aware ... that there is little, if any, evidence that other countries have achieved ongoing legacies as a result of hosting major sporting festivals."

We therefore face a real challenge. Let us all try to rise to it and make Scotland an international example of how to secure a lasting legacy for communities.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 9:54 am, 25th September 2008

I intimate my apologies to the Parliament for my impending discourtesy of leaving the debate before it has concluded. Just before I entered the chamber, my next-door neighbour informed me that she has discovered a leak. I am anxious not to remain in a condition of uncertainty about my property over the weekend. I hope that I have the sympathy of both the Presiding Officer and members.

I congratulate Margo MacDonald on securing this very important debate. I am sure that it is beyond dispute that we all want a legacy to be delivered, but as Jamie McGrigor has just pointed out, and as the convener of the Health and Sport Committee, Christine Grahame, will no doubt highlight, that committee's inquiry into pathways into sport has adduced no—or at least very slim—evidence that sporting legacies have been bequeathed to nations that have held major sporting events.

Of course, that it is not to say that such legacies cannot be bequeathed; certainly the Liberal Democrats and everyone else in the chamber want that to happen. However, we must be realistic, set achievable objectives, formulate a workable plan and then work very hard to deliver the kind of legacy that almost every major city that has hosted a major event has so far failed to secure.

The fact is that any such achievements have tended to centre on structural regeneration. For example, we know that as a result of hosting the Olympic games Munich got its tube system, and that vast areas of the Barcelona waterfront were completely regenerated. Frank McAveety has just made it clear that not only will there be physical regeneration in Glasgow's east end but Glasgow City Council has recognised that such regeneration is seen not as an end in itself but as a means to a much more successful end.

The Liberal Democrats want a tangible legacy for communities not only in Glasgow but, as the Minister for Communities and Sport has made clear, right across Scotland, with support for sporting and leisure activities at grass-roots level. I do not think that such a legacy should necessarily be about creating elite athletes; that issue is being dealt with elsewhere, although perhaps not perfectly. Instead, we want a legacy that might stimulate people's engagement with and involvement in leisure and sporting activities. Although we certainly hope that that kind of stimulus will be provided in the run-up to and during the London Olympics and, again, in the run-up to the Commonwealth games, the evidence to support such a hope is simply not there.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I hope that this is an intervention, Ms MacDonald, and not an advertisement.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

It is a genuine intervention, Presiding Officer.

I can speak only from experience but I was, as a very small girl, a member of Hamilton baths swimming club when Eleanor Gordon won a bronze medal at the Helsinki Olympics. I realise that that dates me—it was in 1952, if anyone wants to check—but I assure that Ross Finnie that simply training in the same water and with the same club as someone who had just won an Olympic medal was inspirational and created a legacy.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

I want to be clear about this. Margo, you are too young to remember Anita Lonsbrough

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

My point is that although many people have been inspired by successful athletes the evidence does not show that that provides the legacy to which we are all aspiring and in which cause you, Margo, have been one of the leading figures. [ Interruption. ] I just caught the Presiding Officer's starey eye. Oh, dearie me. [ Laughter. ]

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

No, I must make progress. I am not going to be lured into making another mistake.

We must examine what works or does not work in inducing people to take up sport and leisure activities. My experience is not in athletics; I spent 10 years as a youth rugby coach, which I suppose is rather different in that one has to play on what Margo MacDonald called "sloping, muddy" pitches. I found that the people who were crucial in inspiring people to join not only Greenock Wanderers—where I coached for 10 years—but every other sporting club, in running them and in making them work were the coaches, an overwhelming majority of whom were volunteers who invested huge amounts of time and effort. Coaches in many clubs—and, indeed, in the examples that have been cited by Margo MacDonald—face a conflict of interest: they are caught between the burden of having to perform in difficult circumstances and the inducement to move to a better club and raise standards. Of course, all that depends on whether the facilities exist. After all, different sports have different levels of requirements with regard to equipment.

The shopping list of the things that we might want to do—which will include supporting coaches and volunteers, putting more coaches into schools, providing access to facilities and improving or building new facilities—goes on and on. However, we have to decide on a plan, and I hope that the Government's consultation document will give us an opportunity to concentrate on the areas that will allow more people to take an active interest in sport. People might well be inspired by the event, as Margo MacDonald has suggested, but they will probably be brought into activities more by the facilities that we put in place.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party 10:01 am, 25th September 2008

I welcome this opportunity to speak in Margo MacDonald's debate on the legacy that the 2014 Commonwealth games will leave for the people. Such events use lottery funding for precisely the purpose for which the lottery was first established. By the way, I will give a medal to any member who can tell me which person said:

"We've struck gold for Glasgow but the hard work starts from here. This is not about politicians taking glory, or about the sporting world coming to Glasgow on its own. It's about making sure there is a lasting legacy."

That was said by Elizabeth I of Scotland. I do not know whether the Queen does the lottery, but she can certainly recognise a legacy when she sees one.

The finest legacy we can hope to gain from such a great sporting occasion is a population that is free from the stigma of being the sick man of Europe. However, if we fail to retrieve the lottery money that is by right Scotland's from the black hole of the London Olympics, the legacy of the collapse of industry and job prospects that our young people living in the immediate vicinity of the Commonwealth games can look forward to—a life expectancy of 54 years, obesity levels that are through the roof and levels of smoking, alcohol abuse and drug taking that show few signs of going down—will bring shame on us all.

The Scottish Government is funding 80 per cent of our games and Glasgow City Council the other 20 per cent. What has happened to the £150 million of Scotland's lottery share that could and should be used to ensure that there are sporting facilities to serve this generation and future generations in a lasting legacy of health and optimism?

For the 2002 Commonwealth games, Manchester received £112 million of national lottery funding that spurred the regeneration of the eastern part of the city and provided a number of excellent sporting facilities. However, the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, has insisted that there is no cash available for the 2014 Glasgow games. What he really means is that Westminster has allocated all the money to the London Olympics and that Glasgow can go sing for it. Well, this is our Commonwealth games and our east end and we want our money. Glasgow is not being narrow in this. After all, the amount of lottery money that is raised in Scotland is surely enough to support projects all over the country and ensure that the 2014 games leave a legacy in which we can all share.

We should by all means train up the next generation of Chris Hoys and Caitlin McClatcheys in facilities close to home. However, we must also breed the mentality that sport is not just for the elite, but is something that everyone can enjoy and benefit from physically and mentally.

Andy Kerr has spoken up well for the repatriation of this money, and Steven Purcell has stated that

"we need the funding in place to maximise the Games' potential" and that

"the legacy of the Games is more important in many ways than the Games themselves".

I know that, among others, the LintelTrust, which has a fantastic record of working with people in positions of disadvantage, is working on legacy projects that are targeted at ensuring that the 2014 Commonwealth games will be remembered not only for feats of sporting prowess but—even mainly—for the long-term improvements in quality of life that they leave for all our people, particularly those whose lives are blighted by poverty or discrimination.

Let us remember that we are not holding out a begging-bowl and that we will not tug our forelocks as we demand our money back. Scotland contributes to the lottery and expects its share to be available to spend on good causes that will benefit the Scottish people.

I thank Margo MacDonald for choosing such a vital issue for debate, and emphasise that her desire as an Edinburgh MSP to see right done by the citizens of Glasgow will surely result in tangible long-term benefits for the whole population of Scotland.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour 10:05 am, 25th September 2008

I join other members in congratulating Margo MacDonald on her speech. She is, of course, far too modest. She claims that she nags us all into submission, but, as the Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson, would say, she charms us all into submission. I hope that at 5 pm, the Parliament will signal the strength of support for the 2014 Commonwealth games and our strong desire to ensure that they leave a lasting legacy for this generation and future generations.

Glasgow City Council and the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland are to be congratulated on securing the games, whose potential is enormous. For the ordinary person in the street, there is a sense of anticipation, growing excitement and an inkling that we will witness something quite special when the best of our athletes compete with some of the best athletes in the world. For the athletes, the games represent an opportunity to compete, showcase their talents and have their hard work recognised. An unprecedented opportunity exists for Glasgow and Scotland that extends far beyond sport—important though sport is—to the regeneration of an area of the east end of Glasgow. Frank McAveety has already spoken about that, and I am sure that Margaret Curran will speak about it far more knowledgeably than I can.

We should consider the recent Olympics and the special Olympics in Beijing. Simply participating in those games was a significant achievement for many of our athletes. There was the glory of winning medals for a few, but people's drive, motivation, ambition and the sense that they were striving to do well stood out. We all shared their journeys through watching our television screens and reading our newspapers—none more so than the young people who were enthused by a new generation of athletes. The names of athletes such as Chris Hoy, Andy Murray and Katherine Grainger could be heard in conversations. My local tennis court down the road, which was previously used intermittently by those of a more mature age, is now enjoying a revival with a stream of young people, some of whom are clad in white and some in jeans. All of them carry tennis racquets and dreams of being a tennis star. We need to harness that power and energy, mostly for our young people and our communities so that the legacy is theirs.

I want to talk a little about some of the extraordinary activities that are going on in my area in West Dunbartonshire. A programme that is on offer through West Dunbartonshire Council's outdoor education service, which Margo MacDonald has visited, underpins the need for holistic education for young people. The project improves their health and wellbeing and provides a grass-roots introduction to a range of sports. It covers children in their very early years—there is orienteering for three to five-year-olds—through to children in primary school, and there are taster courses and multi-activity residential courses for secondary pupils. There is also a summer watersports programme. Young people are sought out who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate. The programme nurtures abilities or talents that could lead to a vocation in sport and the pursuit of excellence. The country might find its next Olympic or Commonwealth games medallist as a result of such small grass-roots programmes.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I hope that the member will not think that I am being patronising in saying that that programme was the best example that I came across of coping with what we unfortunately call the NEET—not in employment, education or training—group. The boys whom I saw there were learning how to build and repair mountain bikes and were going on to work for professional qualifications that would lead them into employment.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

I entirely agree with Margo MacDonald. The programmes to which she is referring are the more choices, more chances pre and post-16 programmes, which are unique. They offer the lowest-performing 20 per cent of pupils in West Dunbartonshire the opportunity to participate in outdoor and sports activities, to obtain qualifications and to move on. The results so far are impressive. There is a 95 per cent attendance record, reduced exclusion records, positive changes in young people's behaviour and a growing sense of achievement in sporting activities. Many have gone on to further education and employment. That is the kind of legacy that we want to see from the 2014 games. We want our young people to have improved confidence, aspirations and abilities combined with the physical regeneration of the east end of Glasgow and beyond.

I turn to resources. Ross Finnie was right. We can have aspirations, but we need money to fulfil them. The money for the London 2012 Olympics has come from a range of lottery funds. The contribution from Scotland is £116 million, not £150 million, towards a total of £1 billion in the UK. There are also a number of dedicated lottery games—the dream number and scratchcards. The UK Government has made it clear that income from those games will revert to general good causes after 2012. There is only one point on which I agree with Jamie McGrigor: that money could be a potential future funding stream for Glasgow 2014.

However, serious and mature dialogue is required. The Scottish Government is consulting on the Glasgow 2014 legacy, which is welcome, but I hope that it will send a signal that we need to impress on local government the importance of sport contributing to the achievement of national outcomes, that we need better data to guide and monitor progress, and that we need to develop a Scotland-wide approach to planning and investment in sports facilities.

Margo MacDonald is right that there is a lack of facilities. She is also right to point out that facilities are closing in many local authority areas in Scotland. One signal that the Government can send today is that that must stop if we are to build the legacy that we want from the 2014 Commonwealth games.

Photo of Ian McKee Ian McKee Scottish National Party 10:12 am, 25th September 2008

I join other members in congratulating Margo MacDonald on facilitating this timely and important debate.

Estimates vary on exactly how much lottery funding Scotland has lost due to the need to finance the London Olympics, but we know that at least £13 million of funding, which should be delivered directly to sport in Scotland, is a casualty, and that the total shortfall exceeds £100 million. Diversionary sales away from mainstream lottery games to dedicated London 2012 games sales add to the cash haemorrhage from Scotland. Margo MacDonald is right to protest and to suggest that some form of redress is appropriate.

I am sorry to introduce a different note to the debate, but I should make it clear from the outset that I have personal reservations about how we view the Olympic and Commonwealth games and, indeed, elite sport in general. I am old-fashioned enough to regret the way in which those great sporting occasions are being turned into vehicles for a chauvinistic tendency of the worst sort—the "My country's won more medals than your country" tendency. Sometimes I despair when I read about yet more athletes risking their health by injecting large doses of illegal and often dangerous drugs or simply by overtraining to the point at which their body frames can take no more. The days when the Olympic ideal ruled, athletes found satisfaction in competing rather than in winning, and individuals were more important than countries probably never existed, except in people's imaginations, but I am sure that I am not alone in being concerned not only about the increasing pressure to succeed at all costs, but about the obscene sums of money that those events now cost to mount. How can that possibly be justified when there are so many other things that need to be done in our country?

The motion mentions the legacy of the 2014 Glasgow games, the funding of which, it is claimed, will support "a spectacular event" and

"lay the foundations for health and sporting improvements across the entire population of Scotland."

The games certainly have the potential to be spectacular—they should be if we consider the money that is involved—but I hope that Margo MacDonald will forgive me for doubting that the health effects will be for more than a tiny proportion of the population, let alone the super-ambitious target for all of it.

Only yesterday, Heidi Victoria MP, a member of the equivalent of our Health and Sport Committee in the state of Victoria and a sports commentator on Australian television, told me that her view is that all major Australian sporting events are of benefit solely to the tourism industry and not to health at all. Indeed, as Ross Finnie has already said, there is little if any evidence of a health legacy from any major games in recent history. Furthermore, it seems that the boost to tourism lasts little longer than a year after the event.

I believe that tourism, important though that industry is to Scotland, need not be the only way that we benefit from holding the Commonwealth games in Glasgow. The smooth running of the games will require the services of thousands of volunteers. I support the idea that, as Christine Grahame said, the bulk of the volunteers should be recruited from among those who would benefit the most, rather than from among the usual suspects. We should involve people whose confidence and sense of worth would be increased by the experience of playing a major role in ensuring that things go smoothly. It is not too ambitious to expect that many people who gained that experience would find it easier to reconnect with the world of work afterwards. However, as Volunteer Development Scotland pointed out in its excellent briefing paper, such volunteers need to be trained, and training costs money. Lottery money could help in that regard.

Volunteer Development Scotland has also suggested that lottery money could go to support the 80,000 volunteer sports coaches in Scotland.

That is a great idea, but it would be no less great an idea if the Commonwealth games were not taking place in Glasgow. We could do tremendous things to encourage exercise among the general population—which is Margo MacDonald's target—if we had the £300 million that is the estimated net cost of the games to the public purse.

Although I support the immediate release of lottery money to encourage physical activity among all sections of the population of Scotland—although I doubt whether the investment would be sufficient to achieve all the goals in the Labour amendment—I must confess that I find more difficulty in associating that with the health benefit of the games. It is particularly ironic that one of the reasons why there will be no international diving pool in Scotland for about two years is because the only one that exists is being refurbished for the Commonwealth games.

Like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol", I am tempted to say, "Bah! Humbug!" when the Commonwealth and Olympic games are mentioned in association with health. However, I appreciate that I am probably in a minority of one.

Let us all hope that I am wrong and that the turn of events ultimately helps me, like Scrooge, to see the error of my ways.

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour 10:18 am, 25th September 2008

Like others, I pay tribute to Margo MacDonald for lodging the motion for debate, and congratulate her on the work that she has done over the years on the support and promotion of sport, particularly as chair of the cross-party group on sport, the lunch-time meeting of which she did a great job of advertising earlier. I have given it another mention, just in case members missed the earlier one.

Today's debate gives us an opportunity to showcase the benefits of sport and the benefits that the 2014 Commonwealth games will bring not only to Glasgow but to the wider community. It gives us a chance to build the case for additional funding and to show the link between sport and other policy areas that we discuss in this Parliament.

Jackie Baillie outlined how special she felt the Commonwealth games were, and I share that view. Sport is something that is central to a lot of our communities. When I embark on my weekly run, on a Sunday morning, I see people of all ages and profiles out running—they are a bit like me, struggling to get around the 3 or 4 miles that they are attempting. That very much brings home to me the fact that people are participating. I see it in my constituency, from Cambuslang and Rutherglen rugby club to Rutherglen Glencairn football club. I also acknowledge the work that volunteers do and the work that people in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang sports council do to promote sport and to invigorate and inspire youngsters. That is important.

There are important policy areas with which we can find common ground. In recent weeks, we have discussed in the Parliament the obesity action plan. One of the facts that was raised in that discussion was that 21 per cent of primary 1 pupils are overweight. The Health and Sport Committee has considered in detail the issue of health inequalities. If we start to plan the sporting legacy of the Commonwealth games, we can encourage people to get on to the streets and the sports field to participate in sport and so become healthier. That will benefit the health service, as fewer people will have to use its facilities. It will also benefit the country's economy, because, hopefully, if the country is fitter, people will contribute more to our economic growth.

The Commonwealth games represent a fantastic opportunity for youngsters who are training just now and are considering joining sports clubs, because the event allows them to have the ambition of competing for their country in the 2014 games. I also acknowledge the benefits for infrastructure before and after the games. That is the case not only for my constituency, which straddles Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, but throughout Lanarkshire and the rest of Scotland.

Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour

On that point, will Mr Kelly join me in welcoming the £5 million of heritage lottery funding that has allowed North Lanarkshire Council to refurbish Summerlee heritage park in Coatbridge, which will reopen this weekend as a national landmark heritage facility and a fabulous visitor attraction that Commonwealth games tourists might want to visit?

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

I thank the member for that intervention, which was another useful advert. I urge everyone to sign Elaine Smith's motion on the issue.

I welcome the Olympics coming to London in 2012. I am already seeing some of the benefits of that in my constituency, in that the Toryglen sports development centre has been appointed a football training venue for the Olympics. I know that that will inspire many young footballers in the Toryglen area.

I recognise the importance of lottery funding to the Commonwealth games. We won only one gold medal in the 1996 Olympic games, and our success in the recent Olympics shows that our lack of success in the 1996 games was due to underfunding. The additional funding this year made a big difference. I hope that further funding can contribute to our success in 2014.

On lottery funding for the games, we have to recognise that a balance must be struck between the needs of the voluntary sector and the requirements of other lottery fund recipients. I acknowledge the work that the Big Lottery Fund does to support sports projects, such as the recent grant that was made to St Anthony's primary school in my constituency, which enabled it to buy badminton equipment.

The SNP Administration must take on board some of the issues around targets for PE and improving the infrastructure of schools. There are also challenges for councils. The total budget for sport across the councils is £500 million, but that will come under pressure as council budgets are decided for next year.

This has been an excellent debate to promote the cause of sport and identify the other policy areas whose outcomes we can improve by increasing participation in sport. I congratulate Margo MacDonald on using this motion to keep sport on the agenda. Let us keep talking sport up.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party 10:24 am, 25th September 2008

I will start as James Kelly finished, by commending Margo MacDonald for using her limited debating time to debate this crucial subject. I also want to pay tribute to the terrier-like campaigning abilities that she brings to the cause of securing added funding for Edinburgh. Although I might not always agree with her on issues such as trams and capital city funding, I think that she is excellent at doing what she does.

Therefore, as a Glasgow MSP, I make no apology for saying—as Bill Kidd has said—that I would like the lion's share of any lottery funding that is recouped to return to the city. It would be nice to have the money: we can argue about where to allocate it once we have it.

There is a growing consensus that money for good causes has been plundered in the dash for cash to underwrite the spiralling cost of the London 2012 Olympics. It was a shame to hear Jackie Baillie being an apologist for the £116 million that has been directly plundered from Scottish funds.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

Does the member not believe that Scottish athletes will benefit from participating in the London Olympics?

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

They will benefit from participation in the London Olympics, but they could benefit a heck of a lot more from £116 million.

I wish London a highly successful games, and any legacy benefit that can be achieved for Scotland will be welcome. However, if one were to ask community groups and voluntary sector organisations in Glasgow—the area that I represent—whether they would choose to hope and pray, and hold their breath, for some form of legacy from London, or be given the opportunity to access up to £150 million that should be in the hands of lottery fund distributors in Scotland, they would say that they would rather have the cash.

I met an organisation in Royston in Glasgow called the Northern Rock Festival Group, which Frank McAveety knows quite well—I have seen a picture of him there, strumming a guitar. It is a community music group that works with young people. I have discussed ideas with the group for how a Commonwealth games legacy might benefit young people in Royston and Springburn—I will return to that later. However, the Northern Rock Festival Group tells me that given a choice between holding its breath for a London legacy and having the opportunity to reaccess up to £150 million, it would rather have the cash.

That is the crux of the matter. Communities and community groups throughout Scotland, and Scottish society—all of us—will suffer because of that funding shortfall. The money could be used to build grass-roots sporting facilities and to build on community activities to achieve a legacy, whether from London in 2012 or, more significantly, from Glasgow in 2014. Within that funding shortfall, there will be a loss of £13.1 million for sportscotland, but the loss to sport goes far deeper than that.

I am sure that Margo MacDonald will agree that sport is not a standalone activity: the aim is for sport to be a positive part of all our lives. Sport can bring people together, integrate and inspire people, and turn lives around. Last night, I had the pleasure of hosting a meeting of the cross-party group on racial equality in Scotland. We were joined by Ros Micklem, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland. She said that, as part of the 2014 legacy, she wants to work to bring communities together in Glasgow and throughout Scotland. That is positive work that is not always related directly to sport.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I heartily endorse what Bob Doris says about sport bringing different strands of the community together. Many of those good Scots who play for the Scottish Saltires are Asian Scots, who want to play for Scotland rather than the country of their parents' origin.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

I thank Margo MacDonald for that intervention.

I will give two further examples of how we can use the Commonwealth games and sport for a legacy in Glasgow. A project that I have mentioned before in the chamber is operation reclaim, which is based in Springburn in the north of Glasgow. It revolves around rugby, football and cricket coaches and Strathclyde Police working with disadvantaged youngsters in the community to break down territorial boundaries and reduce crime. The project hopes to move into the Maryhill area, but it is cash strapped, so lottery funding could help to facilitate that move. The project is using the 2014 games, and sport in general, as a force for good in society.

The second example is the Northern Rock Festival Group, which I mentioned before. It is interested in producing a CD, for which young people would make up and record songs that represent each Commonwealth country that will participate in the Commonwealth games. Young people who might not go to an athletics track or a swimming pool can still connect with the Commonwealth games in their area. Such projects can give disadvantaged youngsters something positive from the Commonwealth games in Glasgow.

I endorse the fantastic idea of running on the dream number ticket, to recoup some money for Glasgow's Commonwealth games. I wanted to intervene on Jamie McGrigor, who I see has left the chamber. The Tories might have been about to say that if they were to get into power, they would return the £150 million to Scotland—I would like an acknowledgement of that in their summing-up.

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour 10:30 am, 25th September 2008

This debate gives some of us an opportunity to advance a powerful, unified and telling message about the contribution that lottery funding can make in Scotland, not only to sport but to quality of life. For other members, it is an opportunity to nitpick, score points and be negative. That is a price worth paying if, at the end of the debate, the Parliament can send a strong and powerful message that the lottery will make a difference in Scotland.

Margo MacDonald has been tireless in her efforts to promote the links between education, better health and sporting activity. We know that intervention and participation in sport at a young age can make a real difference to what young people achieve in their education, the quality of their life and their health. We should view the opportunity that the Commonwealth games brings to Scotland in that context.

Jamie McGrigor was right to raise the lack of development of facilities in our new schools. Those are once-in-a-generation opportunities to make a difference to a local community. We need to be more thoughtful about how we plan our investment and the range of facilities that we deliver, because they can make a difference to local communities, particularly in more isolated areas of Scotland.

Ross Finnie was right to talk about realistic objectives, and to consider not only what the Commonwealth games brings to Scotland in terms of structural regeneration. Frank McAveety was right to speak about what the Commonwealth games can bring to Glasgow, and the east end in particular.

My family is from the east end of Glasgow—many still live there and, as people who know me will testify, I am a regular visitor to that part of the city. It breaks my heart to see what has happened there over generations: the deprivation, the poverty, the drug addiction, the alcohol abuse and the physical decline in the area. However, there is still pride and hope there, and many people in the area look forward to what the Commonwealth games will do to bring their quality of life up to the standard that others in Scotland currently take for granted.

We should not just assume that we are starting with a blank canvas. I give credit to what Glasgow City Council has done—and is doing—to make a difference in the city, through regeneration projects and building new schools. There is imagination there about capturing the opportunity that the Commonwealth games bring. We should aid and assist Glasgow in every way that we can.

What happens in the east end of Glasgow will spill out into the rest of the city, and to the surrounding areas. The people from the constituency that I represent will go to Glasgow to use the cultural and sporting facilities in which Glasgow City Council has invested, so it is clear that other areas will benefit from what goes on there.

We must grasp the bigger picture. I did not agree with the tone of some of what Bill Kidd said or with everything that he said, but he was absolutely right to put the games into the perspective of what they can do to transform the life of people in the city of Glasgow. As the minister rightly said, we want to use the Commonwealth games to boost Scotland's standing in the world. However, as Ian McKee said, the way in which to boost Glasgow and Scotland's standing in the world in the long term is not to provide a one-off event, but to get rid of our image as the sick man of Europe and of violence and educational underachievement. That means that, although lottery funding must be used to boost and enhance sport, it must also be used to tackle the endemic poverty and deprivation and the lack of educational opportunities. It must be used to boost the number of volunteers and the social infrastructure in areas.

If we transform Glasgow's statistics on matters such as poverty, ill health, violence and deprivation, at a stroke we will transform Scotland's statistics and push Scotland way up the international league. Therefore, let us use the Commonwealth games as an opportunity to invest in our sporting infrastructure but, more than that, let us ensure that we tackle the deep-seated and deep-rooted problems that have blighted our society for far too long.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 10:36 am, 25th September 2008

I am glad to follow that thoughtful speech by Hugh Henry, which was one of several good speeches. In recent weeks, we have had the exhilarating spectacle of our country's athletes winning medals in unprecedented numbers at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, and the warm afterglow from that, as Margo MacDonald put it. For most of us, that is a novelty never before seen or heard of, like a fortnight of sunny weather in Scotland in July. However, Ian McKee is right to make the caveat that we should not be carried away by the nationalist competition and should concentrate on the community and health aspects. The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games should lead to all-round improvement in the number of people involved in sport, including athletics, swimming and the sit-down sports, both competitively and through participation by people who want to enjoy themselves or get fitter. Margo MacDonald knows about that theme and has rightly banged on about it for several years.

I hope that the minister will not mind if I say that I was a little disappointed by his speech, which was rather heavy on public-relations speak and generality and light on commitment. I hope that that reflects the fact that he is awaiting the outcome of the consultation on the legacy of the games. On a broader point, it would be a sad mistake to set the Glasgow Commonwealth games against the London Olympics, as rivals. The opportunity is far greater than that. The Glasgow games should be the culmination of three years of events here—the London Olympics, the Glasgow world table tennis championships, the Ryder cup, which James Kelly has mentioned before, and other possibilities. In many ways, that is a PR man's heaven and the sort of publicity that no Scottish Government could purchase to raise the profile of sport and athletic endeavour in Scotland.

The phrase "raise the profile" is a PR man's phrase. In practice, as Jackie Baillie touched on, it means that young people will watch top-class sporting activities in their country on television, which is something special; that many will attend events in athletics, swimming, water sports or team sports; that they will meet athletes personally; that they will see young people just like them performing at the highest levels, pushing themselves to the limit and providing aspirational role models; and they will think, "I can do that and win a medal," or just think that they would like a shot.

We have heard about the evidence suggesting that no link exists between such events and levels of competitive or participative activity. Frankly, I do not accept that. The relationship is complex, but I simply do not believe that the engagement of thousands of ordinary people, not least as spectators, volunteers and workers in shops, hotels, pubs and transport facilities, supporting the 2014 games and providing services to celebrity visitors from around the globe, will not lead to huge interest and opportunity and a step change in popular attitudes to and participation in athletic pursuits. On any view, the games must be at least an opportunity to be realised, so we must use all our endeavours to ensure that we take it. For example, we must develop a better symbiosis between the organisations that support international-class athletes and the local clubs that gave them their original opportunities. The volunteers whom Ross Finnie rightly talked about give endless time to youngsters, some of whom may have lesser talents, but for them sport is a motivator without parallel.

To capitalise on the opportunity, we need investment. The Liberal Democrats have said repeatedly that the erosion of lottery funding to support London 2012 must be tackled. We are told that £112 million of support from the lottery was provided for the Commonwealth games in Manchester. The Big Lottery Fund has helpfully identified that £116.4 million has been transferred back from Scottish lottery distributors to support the London games, with the proceeds of dedicated lottery games on top of that.

Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party

Just so that we are clear about the Big Lottery Fund's briefing, it has said that £116.4 million has been transferred directly from Scotland to the Olympics in 2012 but, in addition, the impact of diverted sales will take the figure up to nearer £184 million.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

I take that point. As I said, the dedicated lottery games for the Olympics will have an impact. The return of the money from the lottery in due course after 2012 would be, in practical terms and to an extent, too late. It takes time to develop programmes and build up the spend carefully and effectively. There must be ways of accessing monies in advance, perhaps by phasing spending, utilising future lottery revenue stream or using the dream number, which Bob Doris mentioned. That would enable steady and planned investment in capacity building to revolutionise community sport. The two Governments must have a positive dialogue on those issues.

Frank McAveety was right to say that we do not start from a standing start, as we have many good facilities in place and more are being developed. However, we have been seduced into believing that money alone is the ultimate need when, in fact, the central need is for expertise and capacity building in existing sports clubs. Many sports clubs do a great job, but they would do much more if they had the capacity and skills to move to a new level. Many do not have youth development policies or the ability to up their game in the organisational sense. The Government should make a commitment to support the expansion of local sports clubs of all kinds. We must help to build their capacity and expertise and link them with the development of modern, purpose-built facilities and effective recruitment of young people. We need the vital links to school clubs and facilities, so that we do not lose young people from life-enhancing activities when they leave school.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

My final point is simply that we should stick with the positive tone with which Margo MacDonald opened the debate and send a joint and united message from the Parliament to those who are involved in the issue of lottery funding.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

Several members have gone over time. I did not want to cut them off, but the debate is fully subscribed, so all that happens is that members at the end of the list have less time allocated to them.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party 10:43 am, 25th September 2008

I shall bear that in mind, Presiding Officer. Those rebukes always seem to happen just before I get to my feet.

I congratulate Margo MacDonald and I acknowledge the validity of her case studies. I will not be pessimistic, but I want to be realistic. I applaud all those who secured medals and competed at the Olympic games, which is indicative of their sacrifice, energy and talent. In particular, I applaud the Paralympians, who to an extent still have the Olympic spirit. However, I share Ian McKee's concerns about the motive behind holding substantial sporting events.

The Parliament should note that the air of caution in the debate has come from members of the Health and Sport Committee—Ross Finnie, Ian McKee and me. That is not because we want to rain on a sunny parade, but because we heard the hard evidence—not anecdotal evidence, worthy though it is—about the impact of the legacy of international sporting events. The Parliament has committees because they have time to consider the detail.

I commend to the chamber the letter of 23 April 2008 that the committee sent to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in response to the consultation. Members will find it on the committee pages of the Parliament website. The contents of the letter bring a hearty dose of realism to the debate. In saying that, I am not saying that any committee member wants to prevent all these good things from happening; we are simply saying that, if the bar is set too high and the aims are unrealistic, the whole thing will fail, and we do not want that to happen.

As Ross Finnie rightly said, we know the structural advantages of holding such events. The committee is simply concerned about the health and wellbeing of Glasgow people and those in the nation at large. That is what we are focused on in our inquiry.

I say to Margo MacDonald that there is no hard evidence that interest in the sport follows on from Olympic success. Rhona Martin told the committee that fewer people are taking up curling and we have fewer curling rinks than was the case in the years before she and her team won their gold medal. Liz McColgan told us that fewer people attend her athletics club than was the case in the years before she won her gold medal. I do not like telling the chamber these things, but that is what people on the front line told us. I accept that issues also arise in relation to facilities and transport, particularly in rural areas where populations tend to be more scattered. Those issues are part of the problem, but the committee is where it is on the subject.

I share Ian McKee's concerns about the selection and training of our potential Olympic gold medallists. On television earlier this morning, a young girl of 12 was being interviewed about her quest for sponsorship to become a gold medallist at the next Olympic games. How will that quest for gold distort her life? The girl is only 12. Is she going to commit herself to full-time training, special diets, psychiatric support and counselling—everything that we know it takes? We know that it takes all that to make an elite athlete because we have been told that that is what it takes; we have not invented it.

In the debate, we must distinguish between elite sports, sporting activity, physical recreation and physical activity. The committee's focus was on physical activity, and I am afraid that, when international events are held, people just buy in the Pringles crisps and cans of lager and sit with their feet up on the pouf watching our athletes and other sportsmen and women on television and applauding them. People say, "That was just great. I stayed up till 2 o'clock in the morning to watch it." However, doing that does not mean that they will go on to take part in physical activity.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

I will continue, if I may.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing and the minister should note that the committee was unanimous on the matter. There is nothing party political in all of this.

What happens elsewhere in the world? Ian McKee referred to what happens in Australia. The evidence that we heard from Australia told us that, if a country overemphasises its focus on elite sport, it can disfranchise people by

"creating an environment in which only the best can participate and in which other forms of intervention are given a much lower priority."

In other words, a country puts its money into people who might get a gold medal and not into those who simply want to participate in physical activity. That is wrong. It is a distortion of not only the Olympic tradition but the legacy to which we refer. The committee also found that Australia was not a fitter nation as a result of hosting the Olympics; Australians are just as fat and as prone to sit and watch sport on television with their Pringles crisps and cans of lager as people in Scotland are. The Olympics did not make Australia a fitter nation.

As I said, I want to bring a dose of realism to the debate. Cabinet secretaries and ministers may not like that, but the committee takes a cautious view of what must be done. We want our elite athletes to succeed, but we also want to reach the target of making Scots more physically fit and active. That is particularly the case for women in the west of Scotland. Perhaps, for that group, a simple target should be set. We should say, "We know that women in the west of Scotland are the least fit and active. Let's see how we can improve their health standards." We should not be overly ambitious. That could serve only to make the Parliament—not the Government, but the Parliament—fail.

I ask the chamber to look at what the committee has to say on the subject. Jackie Baillie and other Labour members may smile, but the committee has looked rigorously into the matter. I will not sprinkle my speech with fluffy, happy talk when the facts and the evidence do not support my doing so.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour 10:49 am, 25th September 2008

Cue a woman from the west of Scotland.

In opening, I will declare an interest. Along with other MSPs, I participated in a programme that was run by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation for the very reason that Christine Grahame outlined: busy women need to be encouraged to participate in sport and fitness regimes. I found the programme interesting. Indeed, one of the sports that I was introduced to was boxing, which I not only enjoyed but, surprisingly, was told that I was good at. I may continue with it—who knows?

The debate is welcome. I will return to the substantial issue that Christine Grahame raised later in my speech. I assure her that Labour members do not dismiss what she said. She injected into the debate a welcome dose of realism, to which we need to pay attention. However, the focus of my speech will be on the importance of sport in tackling the challenges that Scotland faces and, as members would expect, the legacy of the Commonwealth games, particularly for the east end of Glasgow.

Like many other members, I pay tribute to Margo MacDonald for bringing the debate to the chamber. When I was Minister for Parliament in the previous session, I worked with her on the many occasions when she brought debates to the chamber. She always tried to focus on issues that were of national importance to Scotland and on which the chamber could find a degree of consensus. Of course, her tireless commitment to sport is a willing example of that.

Notwithstanding the issue that Christine Grahame raised, awareness has been growing over recent years that we should not simply observe and glory in sport but try to facilitate and encourage participation in it at all levels. In the best tradition that Margo MacDonald has established for debates, I decided that I would not focus on the things that divide us. However, other members have done that and, given the nature of my personality, I will have to take the bait, so members will hear a slight note of discord from me. In his summation, I ask the minister to give details of the SNP commitment to PE in schools. If we are to rise to the challenge and to ensure a legacy, particularly in the east end of Glasgow, it is vital that we know when the commitment will be fulfilled and how much it will cost.

Leaving aside partisan divisions for a second, we know that access to sport needs to be widened. I agree that people can be inspired by elite athletes. Robert Brown was absolutely right in saying that we should not be dismissive of those who observe sports, as that can be the spark that inspires them to participate in any one of a number of sports. We have to give out the message that all forms of participation are worth while. Indeed, we are much more aware that sport is not just about the achievement of winning medals but about improved health and quality of life for the people.

As I said, I will focus on the Commonwealth games in terms of the regeneration of the east end of Glasgow and what that wider legacy means for people in the east end. As I am sure Christine Grahame is aware, Richard Simpson has pointed out to many of us that the Health and Sport Committee heard evidence that no direct link can be found between hosting big events and health improvement. That is no act of God, however, and things need not always be thus. Given the huge opportunity that the Commonwealth games present, it is incumbent on all MSPs to work to achieve a shift in that outcome.

I do not want to be partisan in the debate. I understand absolutely that, in politics, there will always be arguments about money—about who gets it and how we share it. I hope that I will always be an advocate for Scotland and someone who fights my corner to get resources. However, in doing that, let us not be cynical about the opportunities that the London Olympics present for Scotland. We must not think that young Scots, including those from the east end of Glasgow, are not already thinking that those games are theirs, too. They will be inspired by those games and will respond to the opportunities. Members should be careful about the tone that they adopt in the debate. If we allow the debate on the London Olympics to become too divisive, we will simply waste a huge opportunity.

The achievement of Glasgow in gaining the Commonwealth games is a special one, particularly for those of us in the east end of Glasgow. The games give us an opportunity to begin to tackle the legacy of health inequalities in the east end. We can use the opportunity to think about regeneration across the whole of the east end. The local community can welcome people into the area and show their great achievements to them, with pride. The games also give local people an opportunity to shape the resources that are coming to the city and to ensure that they are made to work for the people.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

Oh, gosh!

If the recent Beijing Olympics and Paralympics inspired people, how much more inspired will they be if the games happen on their doorstep? The legacy of the Commonwealth games could be significant in tackling health inequalities, but only if we ensure that the inspiration of sport is deepened and networked throughout all our communities.

We must ensure that we maximise opportunities for those who need them most—those who are most distanced from access to sports. We must work with the communities of the east end of Glasgow on planning, investment, construction and delivery. If we do that, we may be able to turn around some of the statistics that have been referred to.

Earlier, I mentioned Margo MacDonald. In the last 10 seconds of my speech, I would like to put a request to her. I hope that she will play a role in the work that I am doing in the east end of Glasgow to move this agenda forward. Notwithstanding her commitment to Edinburgh, I invite her to come to my constituency to talk to young people and communities there.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

I would like you to finish, Ms Curran.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

I would like Margo MacDonald to come to the east end of Glasgow, to see whether she can inspire people there, as she inspires us, on the importance of sport in Scotland.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

I would be delighted to come to the east end of Glasgow.

Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party 10:55 am, 25th September 2008

Christine Grahame may have upset some people, especially women from the west of Scotland and some Australians; she can expect a few e-mails and letters about what she said. Margaret Curran made a thoughtful speech. It is not the case that I and others do not want the London Olympics to be a success. For me, the nub of today's debate is that the money that is available must come to Scotland sooner rather than later; that is the issue on which I wish to concentrate.

I thank Margo MacDonald for lodging the motion that we are debating. Today's debate will enable us—constructively, I hope—to get to the nub of the problem. I will address some of the specific points in the motion, especially the call for

"National Lottery funding to be released as soon as possible".

As I have said before, that is one of the most important aspects of the debate. Margo has described eloquently some of the problems that arise when people do not have proper sporting facilities. A lack of modern, up-to-date facilities forces young people to go elsewhere not just to train but to take up their chosen sport in the first place. That is not acceptable when we are looking forward to the 2014 Commonwealth games. Sometimes, the problem leads kids to drop sport altogether. That should be of concern to all of us; it is certainly of great concern to me.

If we do not put the necessary facilities in place now, kids who hope to take part in the 2014 Commonwealth games will not be trained up in time to do so. I hope that Margo MacDonald will agree that that is the nub of her motion. Eventually, the lack of proper facilities will cause us to lose young people who are training at the moment. It will also discourage other young people who want to take up sport or exercise from doing so. That is why we say that we need the money that has been taken from Scotland to fund the London Olympics—our money—to put facilities in place right away.

In its reply to the Scottish Government's consultation on securing a positive legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth games, the Big Lottery Fund states:

"We believe the 2014 Games present an unprecedented opportunity for Glasgow and for Scotland. Quite apart from the sporting significance, there are very big potential gains in terms of community involvement, ownership, cohesion and celebration; grassroots participation"— that is very important—

"employment, employability ... regeneration of Glasgow and the wider region".

Frank McAveety's amendment is eminently sensible; the Big Lottery Fund made the same points in its response to the Scottish Government's consultation. However, we need the funds now to enable us to bring about regeneration. Those funds have been denied us—they have been taken away from Scotland at a crucial time. We should not forget that, unfortunately, what has happened in the east end and other parts of Glasgow has been going on for 50 years, rather than just one, two or three years. If we want regeneration, we must take that on board.

I hope that Frank McAveety will pay attention to what I am saying, instead of having a conversation with another MSP, as I am speaking to his amendment. I agree with what he is saying, but the problem has existed for 50 years. Certain politicians must take responsibility for that. We are trying to turn the situation around. There are many good people in the east end of Glasgow and throughout Scotland but, as elected members, we have a responsibility, not just to the people of the east end or Glasgow but to the whole of Scotland, to present a united front to Westminster. We must lead by example and demand that the money that has been taken from Scotland at a crucial time be given back now, to fund regeneration and increased participation in sport. I hope that, regardless of our politics, we can move forward together and say that, for the good of Scotland, Glasgow and the 2014 Commonwealth games, we need our lottery money now. We do not deny London the Olympic games; Westminster should not deny Scotland and Glasgow the 2014 Commonwealth games.

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour 11:00 am, 25th September 2008

This is my first contribution to a debate that is mainly about sport. I welcome Margo MacDonald's choice of subject and her emphasis on securing a legacy from lottery funding. As ever, she has brought a relevant issue to the chamber for discussion.

It is not the case that I am not interested in sport—I am. From case studies that I have carried out in my constituency, I can testify to the fact that there is no shortage of interest in sport in Glasgow Kelvin, which is home to the Kelvin hall, the Scotstoun leisure centre and Broomhill sports club. I am sure that there are examples around the country of small, community-based sports clubs like Broomhill, which are important. Parents and local people organise such clubs for children between the ages of five and 14. At Broomhill, 500 young people take part in all types of sport, including running and girls football. I will certainly not forget that, because, when Andy Kerr was the Minister for Health and Community Care, he twisted my arm up my back to take part in the early-morning run around Victoria park with the children, who had a good laugh at me because of how unfit I was. I told them that that was a good reason for them to continue to participate in activities at Broomhill sports club. I have the photographs to prove it, but members will not get to see them.

The importance of sport to our health and lives is unquestionable. It may not be in our psyche, but we should strive to support it. If we want to get young men and women active, we must ensure that there is a wide range of opportunities. Margo MacDonald shares my view that dance is not unrelated to sport. Modern dance—hip-hop and street dancing—is one way of enabling young people to become physically active, because they see themselves as future Justin Timberlakes. If members do not know who Justin Timberlake is, they should ask Jackie Baillie, because she is the fount of knowledge about popular music in the Parliament. On a recent visit to St Thomas Aquinas secondary school in my constituency, I was amazed to see 50 young men and women take part in street dancing in a PE class. I know that Frank McAveety does a bit of it at Labour socials, but we will not talk about that. I am making a serious point—if we can get young people to be active by doing something that they think is cool and hip, there is a chance that they will develop a wider interest in sport.

There is no doubt that winning the Olympics in 2012 and the Commonwealth games in 2014 has been an amazing catalyst for improving our commitment to sport at grass roots and beyond. We want to achieve a lasting legacy for Scotland. I will not forget standing with others at the back of Glasgow city halls when it was announced that the Commonwealth games bid had been successful. Goodness knows whom I hugged that day, but being there was an amazing experience. The initial excitement was quickly transformed into the most exciting prospects for Glasgow and Scotland that we can remember. Glasgow sees the games as Scotland's Commonwealth games; I hope that we will all share in them. Labour members make no apology for supporting both the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth games, which will refocus our aims and expectations for athletes and for sport, which are central to our aspirations. As Hugh Henry and Margaret Curran ably set out, those aspirations extend beyond sport to opportunities to regenerate the poorest parts of our city.

It is important to note that the decision to make sport a basis for regeneration was a deliberate choice by Glasgow City Council. Credit is due to the whole team at the council, whose objectives I support fully. That is not to say that other parts of the city will not benefit hugely, and in that I include the parts of the centre and west of Glasgow that I represent. As other members have mentioned, the games will drive existing plans to improve public transport, which will serve new residents and new communities in my constituency, especially at Glasgow harbour. The benefits go wider.

I agree with Bill Kidd that the legacy is more important than the games themselves, but that is where my agreement with him ends. His approach this morning was wrong. We in Labour will support a fair deal for Scotland on national lottery funding, but funds and support for the games must come from a variety of sources. Language such as the "repatriation" of our cash and

"money that is by right Scotland's" will not bring about consensus between us. If we are to have a united front at all, we should be united in the idea that the London Olympics and the Scottish Commonwealth games in Glasgow will bring about a lasting legacy for the UK and Scotland from which we will all benefit. Alex Salmond said:

"the 2014 games will be cheap compared with the London Olympics".

It is not necessary to set one against the other, and we should stop doing that.

In Sri Lanka, when he heard the announcement about the 2014 games, our First Minister promised to put on

"the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen."

I hope that the Government will make that promise a real promise. Whatever happens, it is our obligation to work with Glasgow City Council to ensure that, whatever the sources of funding are, we live up to that promise and make the Commonwealth games a lasting legacy for Scotland, while helping to bring about some of the regeneration and change that the country deserves.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat 11:07 am, 25th September 2008

I warmly congratulate Margo MacDonald on having brought the debate before us. She set out the scene in Scotland very well and in great detail. Hearing Margo speaking as much as she did about Ross County Football Club and Dingwall, I began to wonder whether it was John Farquhar Munro in a frock who was among us. Then again, now that I look at Margo MacDonald, I have to say that I have never seen her smoking a pipe, so there is no cause for confusion on that front. Anyway, I warmly welcome what she said.

I cannot let the opportunity slip to say that funding problems have been faced by Ross County, Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee and, I think, Livingston, on the youth front. The minister is aware of the situation, and I believe that it has been resolved. I understand that fresh applications will be allowed in November.

The debate is about delivering sport and getting children off the streets and making their lives really worth while. I have seen that with my own eyes at Ross County, and I absolutely commend what has been done. Clubs have reached out to children who might otherwise never even have thought about sport of any type.

Frank McAveety brought his experiences as a former minister and councillor to the debate. His point about the necessity of continuing dialogue between UK and Scottish ministers was well put.

The Minister for Communities and Sport gave us a good overview of his role. I liked his mention of the links with schools and clubs, which must be built on.

Jamie McGrigor—quite apart from his mention of Labour going to Mars, which he will have to explain to me after we leave the chamber, as I did not quite understand it—raised the issue of the diversion of lottery funds away from what he saw as core functions. I would say yes and no to that. He should recall the link with the roles of community schools. It is not necessarily bad to put lottery funding towards education, provided that there is a community school or health aspect to it.

I will return to Ross Finnie's speech in a minute or two, but I will first refer to some other comments from around the chamber. Jackie Baillie spoke about taking a Scotland-wide approach to facilities, which I think is absolutely correct, and that is a precursor to what I shall say in my concluding remarks about my own constituency. To Ian Ebenezer Scrooge McKee I say, "Bah! Humbug!" His points were in fact well made, and I fancy that he achieved rather more support in the chamber than he might have been aware of. I think that he was hinting at the fact that attainment, no matter the level of ability, leads to higher self-esteem. That leads straight to James Kelly's point about how health and self-esteem contribute to the economy. Hugh Henry—although he is not in the chamber at the moment—spoke about the very strong link between education and health, which we cannot forget.

Robert Brown said how good it will be for young people here to

"see young people just like them performing ... They will think, 'I can do that'".

That is absolutely the correct sort of attitude. If young people see Scots just like them on the telly performing, they might think, "Maybe I could do that." That attitude helps to encourage people.

Christine Grahame spoke about the importance of physical activity. Like my colleague Ross Finnie, she was adamant about the need for realism about what we can achieve and about the size of the task that is before us. Ross Finnie made play of the realism aspect, too. He was very honest when he announced to us that he was leaving the chamber for a leak—I think that that is a first in the chamber. We hope that his flat is all right. He spoke about the need for plans to be achievable. He said that we should have something like a leisure audit—if I understood him correctly—of what works and of what we must build on for the future. Ross Finnie associated himself with remarks that have been made about the importance of voluntary coaches.

Turning to my own constituency, I mentioned the problems around rural access last week, as did Jamie McGrigor. I referred to a letter from my constituent Christina Raeburn, which referred to the sheer cost of allowing her and other children in remote parts of Scotland to go to suitable sports facilities. We have heard from Margo MacDonald about how far away they can be. That issue remains.

I commend and thank the Minister for Communities and Sport for meeting me and my constituent Billy Manson last week, and for discussing with us the lack of sports facilities in Caithness and Sutherland. That highlighted one of the things that has been standing in the way of lottery funding helping with plans to build a sports centre in the middle of Caithness. At first appearance, it does not sit absolutely happily with Highland Council's capital plan. Those of us who have been councillors know that there is a great deal of difference between a capital plan and a capital programme. That is possibly an example of where we need to encourage more working together. It now falls to me to try and work the issue out with Highland Council, and I will liaise with the minister on the matter. It is only when we get things like that right that we can start to deliver.

While we have different organisations looking at slightly different ways of delivering sports facilities, we will not get very far. I have one example of where things went completely wrong. When I was a district councillor, we negotiated a deal with a housing developer to build a sports centre for my home town, Tain. It was in accordance with the plan, and it received a recommendation of approval from the planners and officials, yet the planning committee of the then Highland Regional Council voted it down. That was a great loss, and it is an example of exactly what we must not do in future.

I commend Margo MacDonald for a superb debate.

Photo of Mary Scanlon Mary Scanlon Conservative 11:13 am, 25th September 2008

Like other members, I pay tribute to Margo MacDonald for giving us the opportunity to discuss some of the more challenging aspects of this highly topical and controversial issue. When it comes to lottery funding, we need to focus more of our attention at the grass roots. We should be doing that irrespective of whether the Olympic and Commonwealth games are happening in the UK.

In talking about grass-roots sport and the promise of two hours of PE a week taught by specialist PE teachers, I do not include the walk to school, as Maureen Watt did in her proposal. The education ministers can do more to include some reference to access to facilities in the inspection and monitoring of schools, as well as physical literacy, which we heard about when the Health and Sport Committee met at Murrayfield stadium.

Scotland's champion athletes—be it Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger, David Florence or Aileen McGlynn—would all tell us that grass-roots support launched them on their successful careers. The effort that is involved on their part and on the part of coaches, often in difficult circumstances and with tight budgets, is commendable. That was highlighted by Louise Martin, Liz McColgan, Craig Brewster, Shirley Robertson and the Scottish Rugby Union in evidence to the Health and Sport Committee.

The two key issues are undoubtedly the provision of suitable facilities and the availability of professional and amateur coaches. As Jamie Stone mentioned Caithness, I will use an example from Highland. Young competitive swimmers in Inverness have to undertake a round trip of 300 miles to practise at the nearest 50m pool, which is in Stirling. I will also use an example from Moray. The Deanshaugh playing fields in Elgin were once a hive of football activity, with three full-sized pitches accommodating school games and adult football. In November 2006, Moray Council began environmental improvement work on the pitches, which are on a former landfill site; the work was due for completion by March 2007. The council issued a press release at the time, which stated:

"Once the project is completed there will be four full-sized football pitches and one seven-a-side pitch".

Almost two years on from the start of the work, people are still waiting and there is no prospect of football being played at Deanshaugh in the near future.

Colin Rennie of Fields in Trust Scotland said that

"three out of four pitches are not fit for purpose".

I acknowledge that some advances have been made, particularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In coaching, one of the biggest problems is probably the decline, over a number of years, in the number of people who give voluntary assistance and the decline—mainly as a result of other pressures in modern teaching—in the number of teachers who offer extra-curricular activities. Taken together, those are serious concerns, which must be addressed with immediate effect.

In response to Bob Doris's question, our MP, David Mundell, has said several times that he supports the call for the £150 million in lottery funding for the Commonwealth games in exchange for the money that is being diverted to the London Olympics.

When people—I include myself in this—talk about obesity, they make the assumption that only young people are obese. In fact, Nigel Don and I learned last week at a meeting of the cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament on obesity that the greatest prevalence of obesity is among people between the ages of 65 and 74, so let us not assume that obesity affects only young people or those under 40.

The problem that we are debating is complex, but we must not shy away from addressing it. The Scottish Conservatives have developed an outdoor education policy whereby, between primary 7 and secondary 3, every pupil would be entitled to a week's residential course in outdoor education. I know that that in itself is not the answer, but it is a contribution towards it.

Greater support is needed for the voluntary sector. Volunteer Development Scotland's positive suggestion that there should be accessible and tailored training of volunteer coaches is constructive, given that 80,000 of the 90,000 sports coaches in Scotland are volunteers.

Olympic medallist Rhona Martin confirmed in evidence to the Health and Sport Committee that her curling club went from 200 members to 30 after her success; Liz McColgan's club, the Hawkhill Harriers, went from 80 members to fewer than 30 following her success. Shirley Robertson confirmed that sailing training had to be done in the south-west of England; Craig Brewster spoke about all the open spaces with signs saying, "No ball games allowed"; and we have a limited number of 50m pools in Scotland. It is not a lasting legacy that we should be looking for, but a rescue package for sport in Scotland.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 11:19 am, 25th September 2008

I thank all the members who have spoken in this measured and thoughtful debate on how we can secure a Commonwealth games legacy for 2014 and beyond. We can achieve that if we have the imagination and the vision to tackle the issue of resources through the lottery and other sources.

Ian McKee mentioned a Dickens character. Initially I thought of Micawber, as Ian McKee seemed to be hoping that something might turn up. After I had heard his whole speech, I thought that he was more like Gradgrind, because "facts, facts, facts" were central to his arguments in the debate. That point is important, because we must try either to change that debate or to recognise that it is not the only debate that is relevant to this agenda.

Depending on circumstances over the next few years, we may have to take a measured view of our intentions. In my opening speech, I argued that there is nothing wrong with cities or nations seeking to boost their status and gain recognition through hosting events. Such events are important for many of the other agendas that have been mentioned, such as tourism and our economic profile. However, the compelling argument has been that if we are serious about doing something about where we are, statistically, with regard to health and to social and economic disadvantage, we should try to use a big event such as the Commonwealth games much more imaginatively.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

I think that I can speak as convener of the Health and Sport Committee. Does the member accept that the committee's intention was not to prevent that from happening, but to be realistic and to say, in effect, "This is terribly hard, so make your targets something that you can achieve and do not let people down."

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I accept that, but I do not think that it is an either/or question. There is an intention to try to do the right thing.

One of my great political mentors said recently:

"The Games have the potential to inspire long-term change in Scotland by developing new skills, improving people's health and reaping the full benefit of the global coverage of Glasgow and Scotland as host to a major international sporting event."

I thank Alex Salmond for that contribution. I think that there is commonality across the chamber about what we want to achieve. The debate is about how we achieve it. I disagree with the tone of some of the comments. I do not think that we should argue with other ministers in the United Kingdom—I say this with due respect for our own Minister for Communities and Sport—by saying, "What you have done in the past is utterly and totally wrong and therefore you are guilty of neglect." We should say, "We recognise that that has happened, but we want to make a change over the next few years." The challenge is to move away from the curmudgeonly approach that one or two members have taken and instead to give credit where it is due.

One member identified an issue regarding the east end of Glasgow. Like Margaret Curran—and, to be fair, everyone else who represents the area—I try to make a difference. That is why we argued a number of years ago that regeneration should be a consideration in decisions on the siting of national facilities. If that had not been one of the factors that was considered, the east end of Glasgow would probably not have emerged as the ideal location for the national arena and it would not have got the consequential benefits that flow from that decision. I made a minor contribution to that decision, but the fundamental factor behind it was that we decided to use the location of a national facility as part of a drive for change.

A fundamental issue is raising young people's aspirations. I understand what was said earlier, but there is a young athlete called Mahad Ahmed—he is originally from Somalia, so he has come from a very difficult part of the world—who has made his home with his family in Glasgow. He is only 12, but he is the best sprinter for his age in the UK. He said, at the age of 12:

"You'll be seeing me collecting Gold at the Commonwealth Games".

That is a reasonable ambition for someone who has talent. Chris Hoy took a series of measures and sacrificed a large amount of his own time and his personal wellbeing—he could have done other things with his time—to find the extra little bit that made the difference between not getting a gold medal and getting the three gold medals that he won in Beijing. The coaching apparatus behind him—locally in Edinburgh and subsequently at the major facility in Manchester—made him the incredible athlete that he has become and the role model that he will be.

The central point is that coaches matter. Frank Clements, who now works in Glasgow, said that money has to be pumped into sports development, especially the volunteer clubs, because they are the key to change. I agree with those comments.

We can contribute not only through the lottery: the minister and the Government have responsibility in respect of the resources that they put in year on year. I hope that additional resources will be provided in future spending rounds.

I see that John Lloyd, the esteemed former editor of the New Statesman, is in the press gallery. Forty years ago, in 1968, Parisians said that we should imagine what is possible rather than what has been. That should be our ambition in this debate. We can argue about the past, but the debate is about shaping the future. I hope that the Parliament can speak with one voice in that debate.

Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party 11:24 am, 25th September 2008

This morning's debate has sent out a clear message about the importance that the Parliament places on delivering a lasting legacy from the Glasgow Commonwealth games. Scotland is not unique in wanting such a legacy, but we are unique in starting to plan so early. This morning has been an example of Parliament at its best—united in its view that it is fundamentally wrong that our good causes should be penalised to pay for London 2012.

I welcome, and will reflect on, members' suggestions on how substantial lottery funding could best be used to capitalise on the potential of the games to inspire change across Scotland. Such ideas will make the difference between a good legacy and a great legacy. Although the legacy plan will be led by the Government, I know that we can achieve a successful legacy only by working in partnership. We will continue our work with local authorities and other organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to agree the priorities.

Our vision—let me stress again—is to inspire lasting change across all of Scotland. The lasting legacy of the games must not just help the people of Glasgow, but touch the lives of every community in Scotland and create opportunities from which the entire population of Scotland can benefit. The legacy must benefit not just sport, but all the good causes.

We heard many welcome and interesting speeches in the debate, so let me try to respond to a few of them in the time that I have available. In his opening and closing speeches, Frank McAveety made some interesting points, especially on the issue of volunteers. We need not just the usual suspects—a phrase that I think he used—or long-time volunteers to be enthused by the games; we need to get new people to come in and get involved. I first volunteered for the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth games and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Jamie McGrigor talked about the funding for grass-roots and community sport. Such initiatives should be central to what we are trying to do. We want a genuine legacy not just for elite sports, but for grass-roots and community sport.

Both Ross Finnie and Christine Grahame pointed out—quite rightly—that achieving a legacy from the games will be difficult. However, that will not be impossible if we work together, plan early and—Christine Grahame made this point—have realistic ambitions. The games are a means to an end, as Ross Finnie said. I absolutely agree.

The main point that I took from Bill Kidd's speech was that the legacy for Glasgow should be about improved health and optimism in the city. I cannot agree more.

Jackie Baillie highlighted the more choices, more chances legacy in further education, skills and employment. Again, that is a central part of the legacy that we want to see. She also said that Scotland will lose not £150 million but only £116.4 million. I presume that she got that figure from the Big Lottery Fund briefing paper that we were all sent. Of course, £116.4 million is the direct loss in terms of the money that will be transferred from Scottish lottery distributors to the Olympics. However, the following sentence in the briefing paper, below that table, states:

"In addition, there will be an impact as a result of diversionary sales away from mainstream Lottery games to dedicated London 2012 games sales".

The briefing paper estimates that that will take the loss to Scotland to a total of £184 million. We have said, entirely reasonably, that £150 million of that should be retained here in Scotland to build our legacy plans.

James Kelly stated that there are challenges for Government and for local authorities. I agree. There are challenges for us all—for Parliament, for other organisations, for individuals, for charities and good causes—to get involved in the planning process if we are to achieve an overall legacy that is a success.

Bob Doris asked the very relevant question whether community groups want the chance to apply for the missing money. Of course they do. It would make an enormous difference if those groups got that chance.

Hugh Henry gave a very thoughtful speech. Particularly pertinent was his point about Glasgow's health statistics. If we could change those, we could transform the health statistics of our country.

Robert Brown complained that my opening remarks were a bit general. However, we are in the middle of analysing the consultation responses—as he mentioned—so it would be wrong for a minister to stand up at this stage to say which specific projects and proposals will be supported. Surely he agrees that we need to ensure that the interim plan, which will be published by the end of the year, gets the opportunity to be developed before the full plan is published next summer.

Sandra White mentioned that it is no good waiting until after 2012, as some have suggested, for some of the lottery money to return. We need to plan and invest now. We need to use the six years that we have available to ensure that we get the maximum out of 2014.

Margaret Curran and Pauline McNeill said that we are not in an either/or situation, in which we must choose between the Olympics and the Commonwealth games. I absolutely agree. The 2012 games are part of our plans in building towards 2014. The Olympic games will be a stepping stone towards 2014, so we should do all that we can to ensure that Scottish athletes get the maximum out of 2012.

The issue of PE in schools was raised by both Margaret Curran and Mary Scanlon. Clearly, our expectation is that schools will continue to work towards the provision of two hours of good-quality PE for each child every week. That expectation is explicitly reflected in the guidance supporting the new three-to-18 curriculum. We are also committed to increasing continuous professional development of primary teachers in the field of PE. Over the next three years, we are investing £1.8 million to support the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh in running a postgraduate certificate in education for PE. Already, around 600 primary teachers have taken part.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

Has the minister costed the provision of PE in schools by specialists?

Photo of Stewart Maxwell Stewart Maxwell Scottish National Party

As I said just a moment ago, we are committed to meeting that target and we are working with local authorities to do so. The target is stated explicitly within the three-to-18 curriculum guidance. We are also investing £1.8 million in the professional development of primary school teachers. That shows our commitment to increasing the amount of quality PE in our schools.

The Government is ambitious for Scotland. We are determined to do all that we can to use the historic event to deliver a bold and innovative legacy. We believe that the games offer us an opportunity to make unprecedented progress in tackling our nation's health problems. We want to engage and galvanise people in Scotland—from all age groups, from disadvantaged communities and from across all social groupings—to challenge themselves to help to improve Scotland's health status and to make a difference, no matter how small.

We want to transform grass-roots sport so that we can increase and sustain high levels of participation in the physical activities that are witnessed throughout Scotland today.

Most athletes' interest and commitment to sport started at an early age. The continuous support of families, local sports clubs, community coaches, schools and teachers plays an invaluable role in contributing to the development of our young sportsmen and sportswomen.

Lottery funds could be used to recruit, train, motivate and support volunteers across all sports, in every area of Scotland. Sport brings to the surface Scotland's emotion—our energy, our pride and our passion—which we should use to maximise our opportunities in 2014.

Lottery funds could be used to increase the availability and affordability of access to community facilities. Local authorities will obviously play a key role, as they reach every community in Scotland. They can ensure that access to sport is a right, not a privilege.

We could use lottery funds to harness the tremendous interest in the games to get schools, communities and other groups to take part in experiences that would give young and old a better awareness of the benefits of, for example, a healthy lifestyle, volunteering, sport and culture. Lottery funds would allow us to deliver a range of innovative volunteering programmes.

I believe that the support and enthusiasm are there. Everyone that I speak to is genuinely excited about the 2014 games. However, lottery funding is crucial if we are to achieve that full potential. Today we must unite, stand up for Scotland and speak with one voice on behalf of all the groups across the country that will be badly hit by the siphoning off of money from Scotland to fill the Olympic budget black hole. Let us support the motion and the amendment to send out a clear united signal of our intent to claim back Scotland's lost lottery money.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent 11:33 am, 25th September 2008

Unused as I am to having eight minutes in which to summarise a debate, I hope that members will forgive me if I do not quite hit the target. However, the last shall be first.

I was pleased to hear the Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell, say that he had a clear vision for sport's contribution to community development, but then he went and spoiled it all when the words "quality PE" rolled off his lips. He mentioned that in conjunction with a somewhat truncated form of PE teacher training. However, we can talk about that at another time.

As usual, I agreed with almost everything that was said by the shadow minister, the former minister Frank McAveety—yes I did—and I was encouraged to hear about the investment that Glasgow City Council and North Lanarkshire Council have put into areas that need the sort of community and personal development that can be achieved through sport or, as some members called it, physical activity. There is a difference between physical activity, recreation and sport, which I have not time to go into. However, I am glad that Christine Grahame got that one right. She did not get some other things right, but I will mark her contribution later.

We should not deprecate the fact that it is often the usual faces who turn up to volunteer. Manchester created a cadre of 5,000 volunteers, many of whom used the experience, and the skills that they acquired, to move into employment. It is a good idea to have volunteers. Having said all that, I whole-heartedly accept Frank McAveety's amendment.

Other members picked up on Jamie McGrigor's initial comments on the importance of investment in schools and on the indivisible and unbreakable links that there should be between sport and physical activity and exercise in schools—properly taught by properly qualified physical education teachers—which carries over into community clubs. I was very pleased that Jamie McGrigor saw that link; to me, it is at the very nub of the debate.

Ross Finnie spoke about the importance of coaches and facilities. Of course, that is where the money comes in. We cannot offer people the opportunity to become coaches if we do not offer a bit of support where it is needed. I gave the example of a person from Dingwall, or the far north of Scotland, having to come to the central belt to achieve their sports qualifications. The people whom we would want to get involved in personal development and community development are the very people who would need that support. That point came out clearly in what Ross Finnie said.

At this stage, I should apologise to members who made excellent speeches that I may not have time to refer to.

Bill Kidd correctly identified the potential for community development. However, I share some of the reservations, voiced from other parts of the chamber, about the tone that is sometimes adopted. I took Bill Kidd's words at face value, and his analysis was correct. However, if we are to negotiate with Westminster, and I think that we will have to, we should perhaps remember that we can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.

I agree entirely with what Jackie Baillie said about the sense of excitement that already exists about the Glasgow games. However, I do not believe that the only important developments that come via sport are the ones that come via elite athletics events. That is not true. However, expectation has been created—perhaps because of the spectacular Beijing Olympics.

I confess that, before the Beijing Olympics burst on to our television screens, I was for the first time ever more interested in the politics of the games. However, I was absolutely knocked over by the quality of the sport and its presentation. I am sure that I was not alone in that. I am sure that the Olympics have had an impact on the sense of anticipation in Scotland about the Glasgow games. We should not talk them down.

Despite what I have just said, I agreed entirely with Ian McKee when he talked about big events and proportionality. We should not forget that sport is supposed to be about athletes and about personal development and the expression of excellence. It is not supposed to be about tables showing how many medals America got, and so on. We used to have an ersatz cold war every four years over the medals tables; I thought that we had at least got away from that, but no, we have put another one in its place. I greatly regret that.

The one thing on which I did not quite agree with Ian McKee was his questioning of the link to health. I believe that his point was answered later in the debate by the member who said that the feel-good factor and the growth of self-respect feed into a general holistic feeling of healthy living.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I am so sorry—if I were not into my final minute, I would have referred to Christine Grahame's terrible experience of running round a hockey field in outsize knickers, freezing. I am sure that that experience had an impact on some of the things that she said this morning.

In closing, I will say that most of the important points have been identified—the importance of sport and PE in schools, the importance of community development, and the absolute necessity of having coaches of the best quality, because they will be the inspirers of future athletes and healthier Scots.