Council football pitches being closed at alarming rate

From The Morning Star: British football’s recent success is in danger, according to union GMB, after figures showed that more than 700 council pitches have been lost to Tory austerity.

With the government slashing council spending by 49 per cent since 2010, kids’ playing spaces have been one of the hardest hit areas.

North West England has been the worst hit region since 2010, losing a whopping 164 pitches during that period and the numbers show that in total, there were 710 fewer local authority-owned or operated football pitches in the 2017/18 financial year than there were in 2009/10 — before the Conservatives’ austerity project began.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Physical Education teaching declines in England after Tories slash funding

From The Observer: A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank has found cuts in provision and funding of Physical Education across English schools.

The report says: “PE has been reduced in schools across England, with a 5% reduction at key stage 3 and a 21% reduction across key stage 4 reported between 2011 and 2017. This is despite the noted benefits of physical education – not simply on physical development, but also through promoting healthier lifestyles and helping to enhance people’s cognitive and social skills.”

The report adds: “Funding for physical education – supposedly coming from the sugar tax revenues – was reduced in 2017 from £415m to £100m, to part fund an increase in the core school budget. The lost funding should be replenished, potentially funded by an expansion of the sugar levy to other drinks and confectionery with high sugar content.”

[Read full article on Observer website: “Austerity to blame for 130,000 ‘preventable’ UK deaths – report”]

Olympic success under threat from funding cuts, warns UK Sport chair

From The Guardian: Dame Katherine Grainger, the chair of UK Sport, has warned that Britain’s extraordinary record of Olympic and Paralympic success could be threatened by budget cuts.

Speaking at the launch of a three-month consultation into the future funding of elite sport, Grainger admitted that “the suggestion is very strongly that finances will get tighter and tighter” after 2020, with no guarantee that the government will continue to underwrite the estimated £25m annual shortfall from falling national lottery sales.

“We have seen an amazing injection of money since 1996 and I am one of the athletes who have hugely benefited,” said Grainger, a five-times Olympic rowing medallist. “If the money was cut to such an extent that we couldn’t build around sports and athletes, the reality is that success would be affected.”

Many smaller sports which are not funded, such as wheelchair rugby and badminton, are desperately hoping it will lead to UK Sport softening its “no compromise” approach to medals.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Dozens of British sports concerned about a future without central Government support

From Loughborough University: Two years into a four-year plan to cut funding for UK sports, new research shows that non-commercially driven sports will struggle to survive without central Government support.

Following an announcement in 2016 that money given to UK sports will be reduced over four years, Dr Argyro Elisavet Manoli has assessed the current relationship between those organisations and their funding bodies – mainly UK Sport and Sport England – which distribute Government and National Lottery cash.

There are 46 different sports represented by non-commercially driven national bodies including everything from lacrosse, mountaineering and wrestling to archery, angling and baseball.

The study found that funding from the Central Government is vital for both the short and the long-term future of these sports.

[Read full article on Loughborough University website…]