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Labour accuses Tories of cutting grassroots sport funding by half since 2010

By Tom Walker    09 Aug 2021
The Conservatives cut free swimming for children and pensioners within weeks of coming into power in 2010 / Shutterstock/Michael Brin
Labour accused the Conservatives of slashing grassroots sport funding by nearly half since coming to power
The Conservative government spent £657m on sport during 2019-20
Labour says this compares to £1.24bn spent by Labour during its last year in office, between 2009-10
Tories cut free swimming for children and pensioners within months of coming into power in 2010

The Labour Party has accused the Conservatives of slashing grassroots sport funding by nearly half since coming to power – and in the process dismantling the London 2012 Olympic Games legacy.

Shadow sport minister Alison McGovern said that Labour had spent more than £1bn on sport and recreation facilities during the fina financial year of being in power (in 2009-2010).

That figure, when adjusted with inflation, equates to around £1.24bn in "today’s money" and – according to Labour – is double the £657m spent by the Conservative administration in 2019-20.

Referencing the currently ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games, McGovern said: "Team GB has performed brilliantly in these games so far and our athletes are fantastic ambassadors for our country – brave and determined, pushing the boundaries, winning medals and breaking records.

“Sadly, the Olympics legacy that should have been built on from 2012 onwards – not in medals, but in a country that puts health, physical and mental, first – is not there.

"That is because of the actions of the Tory government from 2010 onwards. A Labour government is urgently needed to meet the country’s ambition for sport and fitness.”

Labour's claims seem to be backed up by some of the official figures available.

During a recent parliamentary session, a question outlined how, under the Tories, the number of PE teachers had fallen by more than 10 per cent – from 26,005 in 2011 to 23,513 in 2020.

In June 2010 – within weeks of coming into power – the Conservatives axed more than £100m worth of leisure projects.

These included cutting free swimming for children and pensioners, which was introduced by Labour in 2009 to support the London 2012 legacy efforts.

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