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- 23 June 2014 00:00
- in Government
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- Last Modified: 23 June 2014 11:22
Shadow Minister for Sport Clive Efford says the Labour Party would provide a long-term plan and clear framework for the sport sector if they are voted into Government in the 2015 General Election.
Efford, who was appointed Shadow Minister for Sport in October 2011, is highly critical of the way that the current Coalition Government has delivered sport – particularly school sport – but promises that there would be far more cohesion for the sector under a Labour Government.
"At the moment, there is a complete lack of joined up thinking in Government when it comes to sport,” Efford exclusively told Community Sport Network.
"That is demonstrated by the way they scrapped the funding for the School Sports Partnerships in 2010 and then two years later, decided to throw money at the Primary PE and Sport Premium instead.
"I actually happen to think that the Sport Premium is the right direction to go in with regard to PE and school sport but the way it was all done really smacks of a lack of long-term planning.
"That is the sort of thing we need to get rid of and that is why we need a long-term plan.
"What we need to do is to agree amongst ourselves, within the entire sport community, exactly what the direction of travel is so we can move there together.
"We need a clear framework that we can move forward on.
"That will allow the sector to hold people like me to account so that when Governments change or Ministers change, the whole thing doesn’t go into reverse.”
Efford also suggested that Labour would be hugely committed to the school sport sector.
The current Government was previously criticised for their delivery of school sport but have since demonstrated huge commitment by announcing their intention to keep the £150 million a year Primary PE and Sport Premium until 2020.
Although Efford said it was impossible to make any guarantees at this stage, he explained that Labour would look to at least match this commitment to school sport, if not better it.
"In terms of specific long-term commitments, I can’t write budgets this far in advance of an election and no one can but what I can say is that we would want to at least match that sort of funding,” Efford said.
"I can’t see that we would want to take any of that money away from the Primary PE and Sport Premium at all.
"But what I really want to see, in addition to what is already happening, is that money used to create better cooperation between local sports clubs, local coaches and schools across the country.
"I would also perhaps like to see the money providing after school activity.
"Therefore I think that that this is an important fund that we would want to build on by perhaps allowing sponsors to come in or allowing National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to come in and put additional money into it.
"That would allow us to really accelerate the whole process because we could then develop a wide network of school activity that would give kids the broad experience of sport that they really need.”
To read the full exclusive "Catch-Up” interview with Clive Efford, Click Here