Friday, 7 September 2012

A BBC survey has found significant cuts in council sports facilities across the UK

In Scotland where sports provision is a legal requirement 15 out of 26 councils (58%) had reduced services compared to 99 out of 276 (36%) English councils.

Lord Moynihan told the BBC he will call for legislation to force councils to set aside funding for leisure provision. He said: "When we see facilities being cut back then those who have been inspired by the Games don't get the opportunity to really engage in sport. We should be looking at changing the law to make provision of sport and recreation opportunity a statutory requirement. At the moment in England it's discretionary and once it's discretionary it's inevitable that councillors will be looking for discretionary cutbacks first."
The difficulty with this approach is that, as the Scottish figures show, just having a vague legal duty doesn't protect services from cuts. Local government in Scotland is facing the bulk of Scottish Government budget cuts and something has to give.
Perhaps Lord Moynihan, a former Tory MP, should focus his efforts on persuading the UK government to stop cutting public services. That is the best way of giving councils the resources to create a meaningful Olympic legacy.

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