Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Local Government Association


  1.  The LGA was launched in April 1997 to represent local authorities in England and Wales. As the national voice for local communities, the LGA speaks for nearly 500 local authorities representing over 50 million people and spending £65 billion a year on local services. Three years on, the vision of one national body is complete with 100 per cent membership in England and Wales. The Association exists to promote democratic local government, delivering safe, prosperous, healthy and pleasant communities.


  2.  Local councils are the major players in delivering sports and leisure services to local communities. In a 1997 Sport England facilities survey estimates of numbers of visits to local authority sports and swimming facilities came to 6.7 million over a four-week period. In addition to this local council's wider partnership arrangements provide dual use facilities, grant aided trusts operating facilities and services, and outdoor facilities and sports development programmes.

  3.  Local Authority expenditure on sport and recreation services in England in 1999-2000 totalled around £1.5 billion (source: CIPFA). As a discretionary service this investment remains threatened by year on year budget reductions unless nationally and locally the case for sport (or cultural services) can be promoted and proven for its value in addressing the wider social issues of crime, health inequalities, education social and economic regeneration. Sport and cultural services will need to be promoted as a central feature of the local council's developing community strategies and their approaches to modernisation. For local authorities, the hosting of major events will need to support corporate and local community strategies, lead to sustainable development, help to develop strong partnerships and deliver long-term community benefits.

  4.  As identified in last year's Policy Action Team 10 report sport acts as a catalyst for community regeneration and social inclusion. In terms of economic regeneration the sport and leisure sector contribute significantly to the local and national economy:

    —  Value added to the UK economy in 1995 by sport related activity was estimated at £9.8 billion, or 1.6 per cent of GDP;

    —  Consumer expenditure on sport estimated at £10.4 billion;

    —  Employment in sport in the UK shows continued growth accounting for 1.61 per cent of total employment in 1995;

    —  Euro '96 in Sheffield generated an additional £5.8 million of expenditure.

  5.  These types of statistics demonstrate that sport can be a leading player in attracting inward investment, through the direct benefits it brings and, perhaps through the changing culture and image it generates locally. Sport is therefore an important component of regional development and should feature strongly within the agendas of Regional Cultural Consortia and Regional Development Agencies.


  6.  The key issues that we identified from the conclusions and recommendations from the initial inquiry are detailed below with our comments on developments.

  7   "We recommend that the UKSC undertake further research into the impact of staging events on sporting participation as a matter of priority".

  8.  We welcomed UK Sport's series of publications "Major Events a blueprint for success" and UK Sports commitment to developing understanding of the impact of major events, and to the development of an economic impact model to assist with comparing impact studies from abroad. Continued development of the evidence supporting the case for social and economic impact of sporting events and its promotion to local councils will be essential. The impact of Best Value and modernising agenda's are likely to have some effect on local councils' strategies and role within sports provision and hosting of events. The changing role of local authorities in sport needs to be considered within future strategic guidance.

  9.  "The central purpose of a strategy for sports tourism should not be a single promotion campaign for sport but the preparation of a model for securing long-term tourism benefits through sport, including sporting events."

  10.  The Association welcomed BTA's launch of the Sports Tourism department this year that targets sport as an integral part of the British tourism promotion. The BTA has also recently produced a Sports Tourism Advisory Pack identifying the opportunities and key sports/tourism contacts.

  11.  However it was disappointing that the economic and social aspects of sports events were not built upon within "A Sporting Future for All" linking together the opportunities that events can stimulate in providing modern and sustainable community facilities and improved participation and performance standards in sport.

  12.   "The commitment of local government to staging sporting events is often crucial to their success. Local authorities are key partners in sporting events. However major events are not municipal, but national. The Government and national bodies must now recognise this and take a more leading role themselves in partnership with host local authorities."

  13.  Since the last inquiry the Association has developed regular liaisons with UK Sport, in particular in the context of developing the "Cities of Sport" award and contributing to the Major Events Steering Group. We would maintain that local authorities should be placed at the heart of major event strategies, be brought into the bidding process at the earliest possible opportunity and be given clear guidance of what additional resources may be required, and plans for sustaining new facilities within the community.


  14.  Of the listed issues the Association feels best placed to comment on the arrangements for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

  15.  The Commonwealth Games in Manchester is without question acting as a catalyst for a massive regeneration programme in East Manchester. Headline figures of a 1,100 hectare area for renewal purposes, £2 billion public and private investment over the next 15 years and an anticipated 4.5 million visitors are impressive reading.

  16.  Manchester City Council are investing some £13 million into the centrepiece stadium and the Sportcity development will be the largest sports complex in the UK. What is clear is that the input of the council members and officers at an early planning stage has geared the project up for a successful major sporting event and attracted the benefits of partnership in the private sector.

  17.  All of the facilities will have a use following the games. Manchester were quite clear that running the Games was much more than the 10 day event, but more about putting public investment into the area and changing the investment climate. It is estimated that the sports and commercial development will provide up to 5,000 jobs.

  18.  The lessons and messages from Manchester 2002 should be built upon within any development of the Major Events Strategy for multi or single sports events.

December 2000

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