Yesterday’s budget will be poured over by economists and commentators alike for weeks and potentially months to come. With a huge uplift in public spending, there is much to welcome from the budget and that is true of the increase in spending to encourage participation in sports and physical activity.
With the announcement of an additional £29m a year by 2023-24 to support primary school PE teaching and to help schools make best use of their sports facilities. In addition, the government have committed to bringing forward an updated School Sport and Activity Action Plan following the upcoming spending review.
Also to be welcomed is the government’s continued commitment to the Football Foundation scheme. The budget commits a further £8m of investment in local football facilities. This funding will be matched by the Premier League and Football Assocation providing quality football facilities in the areas where there is the greatest need.
At a time where concerns over the health and wellbeing of the population are at the forefront of the minds of policy makers, the emphasis being placed on physical activity is immensely welcome. Recent research released by Yale and Oxford universities shows that those who engage in regular physical activity are happier than their counterparts who are not physically active and in many instances are happier than those who are economically better off but not physically active.
For many, physical activity and sport in particular is seen as a luxury but that shouldn’t be the case. Access to sports should be universal and unrelated to economic or social status, and the steps taken by the government in this year’s budget will help those in lower socio-economic groups to participate in sports.
This can only be a good thing and at Sportside, we will encourage and support any measures that helps to get kids active. We face many challenges in physical and mental health across the UK, from obesity to a rise in social isolation. Evidence suggests that these are problems that can be combatted by an increased uptake in sporting activity and as such it is encouraging to see an emphasis being placed on increasing the funding available.