Three years has now passed since the Olympic Games were held in London. This had an extraordinarily positive effect on the interest of the public in sport, and participation soared to record numbers. But there has since been a decline.
Sport England outlines its longer-term objectives as providing investment in “the people, organisations, and networks that grow and sustain participation in sport”. It is therefore shocking that, despite its half a billion pounds of yearly investment, we are still seeing a decline in participation.
Today the government announced a consultation to look into the way sport is funded. It hopes to re-think the traditional ways of funding sport participation so that tax-payer funded programmes are designed to meet the demands of the consumers.
As stated by Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, who announced this consultation “too many sporting bodies receive millions of pounds of public money and just don’t get the numbers through their doors”.
In a time of economic austerity, it is essential that tax-payer funded services are providing value for money. There should be no debate around the fact that free enterprise creates the best environment for success, and there should be no question that simply throwing money at a sector will improve it.
Crouch is right to point out that public funding “is a privilege, not a right”. These organisations should be made directly accountable to those who ultimately pay the bill: the taxpayer.
Theodora Dickinson is on the Conservative Way Forward Organising Committee.
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