Ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the representative body for 170 sports governing bodies, has published a ‘Red Book’ report, highlighting how sport, and fitness, contribute to the health of the UK economy. "But more sustainable funding is needed to help Britain prosper, on and off the sports field." The report clinically picks apart government department policies on sport, from the Department for Transport to the Home Office, urging them to spend more on sport.

CCPR says sport is good for people, good for the economy

Launching the report at a meeting in the House of Commons yesterday, the CCPR called for the Chancellor to double Exchequer funding for sport and recreation – a move towards sustainable investment which would see Britain prosper on and off the sports field.

However, even if the Chancellor were to double the Exchequer funding for sport and recreation, the UK would still lag behind the level of investment of its main international competitors, said CCPR, "and that this is reflected in both our international sporting success and grassroots participation."

Data commissioned by Sport England show that before the 2004 Olympics, Australia invested £51 per person per year, compared to only £21 in England, resulting in an international success rating of 6.12 medals per million population, compared to 1.06 in England; with participation levels of 39 percent, compared to England’s 28 percent.

Margaret Talbot, chief executive of the CCPR said: “This new report details the massive contributions provided by national governing bodies and their clubs, to the economy and to the health and community life of the nation, and to the priority policies of government departments. They could do even more if the government were to commit a more sustainable approach and to double Exchequer funding.”

CCPR chair Howard Wells, now also CEO of the Irish Football Association, said:: “It is high time that the government fully appreciated the significance of the opportunities provided for local participation in healthy, well organised activities, and the billions of pounds-worth of time given by well-qualified and dedicated volunteers, in the 151,000 clubs up and down the country. Without them, our society would be even unhealthier, with less community activity and less successful sports team. It’s time that government investment matched their contribution – 26 percent of all volunteering happens in sport and recreation.”

British Cycling’s CEO Peter King said:

“We’ll be delighted if the CCPR Red Book pushes cycling up the government’s agenda. More funding, and broader funding for cycling would enable us to further expand our activities, particularly in ‘participation’, where we expect to make an increasing impact over the next few years. British Cycling is poised to make a big contribution to the government’s various priorities connected to sport and recreation."

A PDF of the Red Book can be downloaded from: http://www.ccpr.org.uk

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