South Lanarkshire Sports Clubs (Price Increases)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27 April 2023.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

The First Minister might be aware that South Lanarkshire Council has recently increased the costs to local youth teams and clubs who hire football pitches, swimming pools and halls by up to 114 per cent. I have spoken with many from across the Rutherglen constituency, who fear that they cannot afford those costs and are worried that the clubs might have to fold.

Does the First Minister agree that the Labour administration at South Lanarkshire Council should be focusing on increasing uptake of sports and physical activity; that temporarily suspending the increase is not good enough; and that, instead, it should scrap those damaging price increases without further delay?

The Presiding Officer:

Before the First Minister responds, I remind members of the requirement that questions should relate to matters for which the Scottish Government has general responsibility. I ask the First Minister to answer in that light.

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

While it is clearly for local administrations to determine their own priorities, I am, like Clare Haughey, frankly appalled at the actions of the Labour-led authority in South Lanarkshire. I saw a protest taking place by young people who were suggesting that it is time for Joe Fagan, the leader of South Lanarkshire Council, to go. I have to say that I think that those young people have, frankly, very good judgment indeed.

While families are facing on-going eye-watering hikes in food and energy bills and are having to cut back on other expenditure, this is not the right time to ramp up these charges and potentially deny children and young people in constituencies such as Rutherglen the chance to take part in sport. I can only hope that the council sees sense and turns the temporary reprieve into a permanent one.