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News feature: A Budget to bring optimism to the sector?

Osborne’s latest statement brings increased school sport funding and potential tax relief for grassroots clubs

Published in Sports Management 04 Apr 2016 issue 117
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Chancellor George Osborne delivered his latest budget on 16 March 2016 / PRESS ASSOCIATION
Chancellor George Osborne delivered his latest budget on 16 March 2016/ PRESS ASSOCIATION

The aftermath of the 2016 Budget will not be remembered as the smoothest of periods for chancellor George Osborne, who has held the position since the coalition government won the election in 2010.

After Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigned over what he described as “indefensible” cuts to disability benefits – which were subsequently withdrawn – and his announcement regarding transformational school academisation reforms were derided by those in the teaching profession, it’s fair to say questions were being asked about whether he should maintain his position.

However, one section of society should be able to look through the document the Treasury published on 16 March with some optimism – that being the sports sector. The headline figure, undoubtedly, was that from 2017 government funding for PE and primary school sport will be doubled from £160m (US$225.7m €203.7m) to £320m (US$451.3m €407.3m) as a result of a new levy being applied on sugary drinks.

Additionally, a quarter of secondary schools will be able to bid from an annual pot of £285m (US$402m €362.8m) to opt into longer days and offer activities including sport and physical activity.

Baroness Sue Campbell, who chairs the Youth Sport Trust, was quick to label the move “transformational” for the development of children’s physical literacy, while Emma Boggis, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said the initiative created an “opportunity for the education sector to engage with many of our members”.

Elsewhere, there was more promising news in the announcement, and subsequent launch, of a consultation process which will examine the feasibility of lowering or scrapping corporation tax for grassroots sports clubs.

Originally floated in Osborne’s Autumn Statement to the parliament last November, consultation submissions will be taken until 15 June 2015.

Finally, the government has also pledged to provide £1.5m (US$2.1m €1.9m) in Treasury funding to give “hundreds of children” with limb deficiency access to sports prosthetics.

The Budget 2016 at a glance

£320
The PE and primary school premium from September 2016.

£285
The annual amount schools will be able to bid to host after-hours activities including sport and physical activity.

£1.5m
The fund government has pledged for sports prosthetics for children.

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