Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review and Budget have been welcomed cautiously by a group of leading bodies in the sport, recreation, and physical activity sector. It comes as the Conservative party had announced its “Levelling Up Agenda”, which has included additional support and funding in education, employment, and skills.
Active Partnerships, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the Sport for Development Coalition, ukactive and the Youth Sport Trust have released a joint response, represented by the Chair of the collective group and CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards.
The collective notes the importance of the £235m investment in new and refurbished community sports facilities and parks, alongside the 200m that will be provided for the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme. Questions remain, however, as to how these changes sat within short and longer-term objectives. Huw Edwards added:
“In particular, the additional funding announced for schools should now pave the way for a guaranteed long-term funding commitment for PE and school sport, built on a national drive to get every child active for 60 minutes every day. This should be part of an ambitious new School Sport and Activity Action Plan with measurable national targets to drive up activity levels, health and wellbeing across young people of all age groups.”
The budget will also see £3.8bn investment in skills for young people and adults, stressing the importance of lifelong learning. The current funding is not ring-fenced and does not highlight the important role sport can play in addressing inequalities of all kinds. He went on to say:
“…sport and physical activity interventions can play an important role in addressing health inequalities, helping young people develop skills, confidence and positive social connections, and reducing crime and antisocial behaviour. These outcomes help generate pride in place and support the Government’s ambition to level up the country.”
To learn more about the sectors’ impressions of the budget, see here.