Jeremy Hunt: School sports cuts possible
Cuts to the school sports budget in the near future are possible, Jeremy Hunt has suggested.
The Culture Secretary, who is in charge of funding for sports, told Channel 5 News he couldn't "promise" the funding for athletic youngsters would be protected for the rest of the Parliament.
“I can’t promise beyond the current spending round, but for the next two years this is a protected area of the budget," he said.
Mr Hunt also hinted there might be cuts to elite sport funding, suggesting there would be discussions in government about whether it was a priority.
“[Predicting] the outcome of the spending round...is obviously something I can’t do, and we need to have this discussion across government. What I would say is they have shown that if you give them money they deliver. They are able to make a very, very strong case but I am afraid I have to leave it at that.”
Mr Hunt's comments came as David Cameron accused teachers of not "playing their part" in developing competitive sport in schools, and called for a "culture change" to ensure a lasting legacy from the Olympics.
Speaking to LBC radio, the Prime Minister also defended the Coalition's decision to scrap compulsory targets for physical education, saying the Labour government's 'box-ticking' was counterproductive.
"We need a big cultural change, a cultural change in favour of competitive sports," he said.
"The problem has been too many schools not wanting to have competitive sport, some teachers not really wanting to join in and play their part, and so if we want to have a great sporting legacy for our children...We’ve got to have an answer that brings the whole of society together to crack this.
"More competition, more competitiveness, getting rid of the idea of all must win prizes, and you can’t have a competitive sports day.”
Mr Cameron claimed Labour's compulsory target of two hours physical activity per week was "not really solving the problem".
“In fact by just saying, ‘look, I want you to do this many hours a week’ some schools think ‘right, as soon as I’ve hit that minimum requirement I’ve ticked the box and I can give up,'" he said.
A Department for Education spokesperson described the target policy as "unenforceable", and said it "took up far too much of teachers’ time".
However Labour's Andy Burnham rejected the claim as "tripe".
The Prime Minister also dismissed reports that the Government had sold off a number of school playing fields over the past two years, saying the accusation was "simply not true".
An investigation earlier this week claimed the Department for Education had sold off 21 fields since the Coalition came to power. However Mr Cameron said 14 of those sales were due to schools closing, and a further four were the result of schools amalgamating. Click here to see the full list of school playing fields sold under the Coalition.