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Dawn speaks at the Sport and 2012 Olympic Legacy Opposition Day Debate 24 June 2015

Dawn speaks at the Sport and 2012 Olympic Legacy Opposition Day Debate 24 June 2015

Dawn Butler:

I am sure that the Mayor of London is a lover of statistics and will enjoy this one: 71.2% of adults in Brent would love to do more sporting activity, compared to 55% in the country as a whole. Unfortunately, however, the lack of access and opportunity prevents that from happening. I declare an interest in being the Member of Parliament representing Wembley stadium, where we should have seen a lasting Olympic legacy.

Chris Bryant - Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport:

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and it is a delight to see her back in her rightful place in this House.

There are further dangers ahead. Let us take swimming, for example. As I said, this is the one sport in which participation among girls and boys is equal. Swimming is the most popular form of activity in this country, with 2.6 million people taking part every week. There are, however, many things that put people off swimming, including communal changing rooms, lack of privacy, tired facilities, never learning to swim in the first place, particularly among poorer families, and simply the cost of using a swimming pool. Every Member will have heard of the problems faced by local authorities in maintaining leisure centres, and many of us might have had to fight for swimming pools to stay open in our own constituencies. In fact, the number of pools is pretty stable, at about 5,000 in England alone. More than half of all local authority pools, as opposed to pools in expensive private members’ clubs, were built before 1985 and require significant investment to continue to operate and be attractive to modern swimmers. There are dramatic challenges ahead in respect of just that one sport. We must ensure that more people go swimming.

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