There have been 34 exchanges between Mims Davies and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
|Wed 24th July 2019||Youth Services||33 interactions (3,554 words)|
|Tue 16th July 2019||Lotteries Regulation||21 interactions (2,385 words)|
|Thu 4th July 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||46 interactions (1,379 words)|
|Tue 25th June 2019||Gambling Levy: Online Gambling and Greyhound Racing (Westminster Hall)||8 interactions (1,349 words)|
|Wed 12th June 2019||Discrimination in Sport||2 interactions (1,086 words)|
|Wed 12th June 2019||Cornish Wrestling||2 interactions (1,287 words)|
|Thu 23rd May 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||17 interactions (616 words)|
|Mon 20th May 2019||Billy McNeill MBE||2 interactions (1,335 words)|
|Wed 8th May 2019||Full-time Social Action||4 interactions (1,746 words)|
|Thu 11th April 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||43 interactions (1,147 words)|
|Thu 11th April 2019||Discrimination in Football||63 interactions (3,032 words)|
|Tue 19th March 2019||Gambling-Related Harm (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,910 words)|
|Tue 12th March 2019||Online Gambling Protection (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,898 words)|
|Thu 7th March 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||29 interactions (885 words)|
|Wed 13th February 2019||Communities: Charities and Volunteers||29 interactions (3,743 words)|
|Fri 8th February 2019||Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) (Amendment) Bill||5 interactions (1,311 words)|
|Thu 7th February 2019||Social Media and Screen Use: Young People’s Health||3 interactions (253 words)|
|Mon 4th February 2019||Sport in the UK||51 interactions (4,821 words)|
|Thu 31st January 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||24 interactions (600 words)|
|Thu 31st January 2019||Fashion Industry||2 interactions (132 words)|
|Thu 24th January 2019||Newcastle United Football Club: Regulation||10 interactions (1,785 words)|
|Tue 22nd January 2019||Grassroots Football Funding: Wembley Stadium (Westminster Hall)||16 interactions (1,967 words)|
|Tue 15th January 2019||Coventry City Football Club (Westminster Hall)||4 interactions (1,539 words)|
|Thu 13th December 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||12 interactions (381 words)|
|Tue 13th November 2018||Local Sporting Heroes (Westminster Hall)||7 interactions (1,651 words)|
|Tue 6th November 2018||Centenary of the Armistice||4 interactions (1,717 words)|
|Tue 9th January 2018||BBC Pay||3 interactions (76 words)|
|Thu 21st December 2017||Oral Answers to Questions||3 interactions (48 words)|
|Thu 23rd November 2017||Uber: Personal Data Theft||3 interactions (44 words)|
|Mon 20th November 2017||TV Licence Fee (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,162 words)|
|Thu 16th November 2017||Oral Answers to Questions||10 interactions (171 words)|
|Thu 14th September 2017||Oral Answers to Questions||3 interactions (48 words)|
|Thu 7th September 2017||BBC Transparency (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,120 words)|
|Thu 20th July 2017||Fox-Sky Merger||3 interactions (58 words)|
Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the voluntary youth workers, both in my constituency of Crawley and up and down the country, who give so much of their time not just through council youth services but through other youth groups such as the Cubs, Brownies and Scouts?
The Minister is making some important comment, given that a 15-year-old was shot by somebody on a motorbike in Coventry last Saturday. The point that I am trying to make is that 87% of local authorities have cut at least one portion of their youth services over the past 10 years, and we must do something about that. To put it another way, £3 billion has been cut from youth services over the past 10 years, so how are the Government going to try to make up for that, bearing in mind that police resources are badly stretched? I am not making a political point, but we still have a shortage of policemen.
Youth First provides fantastic youth services across Lewisham, and it was instrumental in bringing the community together when 15-year-old Jay Hughes was murdered last November. However, it is chronically underfunded owing to cuts to our local authority, so it cannot provide the detached youth workers that the Minister just mentioned. Does she agree that we must invest in youth services, so that they can play that vital role in tackling youth violence and supporting our communities?
It is good to hear that there are some isolated examples of youth work going on, but in my county of Derbyshire every single youth worker has been made redundant—ironically, on the same day we had our first knife stabbing by young people, in Buxton. That is what is happening up and down the country. Isolated examples—the NCS lasts for two weeks—are no replacement for the long-term relationships and commitment that youth workers give young people around our country.
I thank the Minister for her kind words about our meeting. I welcome the fact that the Government have agreed to review the statutory guidelines and how councils are fulfilling their duties. Will she ensure that the guidelines set out a basic right for every young person to access youth services every night of the week, or will this review just be a wishy-washy statement of principles for councils to follow?
I am grateful to the Minister for that, and I have to say that Newham has in the past benefited from such projects. However, the applications were due in yesterday, and the money has to be spent by March. It is a complete waste of money to try to do these projects in an ad hoc way, year after year. We need a proper, costed programme that runs from the beginning of the year and can be planned properly, instead of squandering the money that is put in place.
I thank the Minister for giving way. My constituency has seen a significant rise in knife crime and organised gangs. Recently, two youth workers, Fran Belbin and Lloyd Samuels, came to my surgery and explained their frustrations with the funding formula that my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) mentioned. It would be fantastic if the new Prime Minister committed to a five-year strategy that gave all sorts of bodies, whether from the voluntary sector or the council, a good go at improving things for our young people, because at the moment, people are bidding against each other for bits of funding and are given very short timescales for preparing a plan. For instance, this year, people were made aware of the funding only a few weeks before the school holidays, and having been awarded the funding, they have a week to pull things together for the young people. That is not good enough.
I am grateful. Young people from the poorest backgrounds are four times more likely to suffer a traumatic or acquired brain injury. There is lots of evidence that those teenagers who do, and who have less developed executive functions in their brain—though some parts of their brain will already be very well developed—end up being the youngsters who get excluded from school, because they appear to be misbehaving, and end up in the criminal justice system. Is it not vital that we make sure that those teenagers, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, get the medical and rehabilitation support that they need, so that they do not end up in the criminal justice system?
The Minister raises an interesting point. We need joined-up Government, with the involvement of education, including further education, which has lost a lot of money. Often, if we can channel a young person into further education, they can make their mind up and may want to go to university. It is a joined-up process and that is the approach that has to be taken.
I thank the Government for scheduling this general debate on the role and sufficiency of youth services. The Opposition welcome any new moneys announced today, because they are certainly needed for the youth-work sector. I join the Minister in welcoming the all-party group’s inquiry on youth work, which was published earlier this year, and commend my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) and the National Youth Agency for their role in that important body of work that will have a lot of influence on this debate.
Youth services play a vital role in our communities. They provide a safe space for young people to be creative, develop friendships and learn new skills, all with a trusted adult. However, this vital public service and the youth-work profession continue to be misunder- stood and under-appreciated. Youth work is often misportrayed as sport, which is not what it is. Too often, youth services are depicted as a meeting place for young people to knock a ball about on a battered ping-pong table, yet that could not be further from the truth.
Youth work is a distinct educational process that focuses on young people’s defined needs through non-formal learning. Its key purpose, as outlined in the recent all-party group inquiry, is to facilitate young people’s personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential.
Youth services also play a crucial role in interacting with other services for young people where additional needs or opportunities are identified from formal education and social services to criminal justice, healthcare, housing and benefits. However, over the past decade, the Government have failed to recognise those benefits and have dismantled the entire infrastructure of youth services.
Since 2010, local authority spending has fallen from £1.1 billion to just £384 million, a 70% reduction in real terms. In my home county of Lancashire—you might know it well, Mr Deputy Speaker—that reduction rises to 78%. In the Minister’s own patch of Hampshire, the scale of cuts is even higher at 95%. As a result, at least 760 youth centres have closed their doors up and down the country. However, there are still fragments of excellent provision across the country. Labour councils have sought to protect services and their communities and, where funds have been cut, have innovated to continue to deliver a service for young people.
Barking and Dagenham Council is soon to open London’s first youth zone to offer first-class facilities to thousands of young people. Despite cuts in the council’s budget, it is innovating to ensure that all young people still have access to youth services. However, the youth service in England no longer exists as it did—as a service provided in every local authority area—with its specialist team of professionals and dedicated buildings and projects for young people.
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As vice-chair of the all-party group on youth affairs, I have looked at the role and sufficiency of youth services closely over the last year, alongside colleagues from across the House and the brilliant National Youth Agency. Access to quality youth work and services for young people is fundamental, particularly in areas of significant deprivation such as Mansfield and Warsop. The reduction in services in recent years is well documented.
The APPG on youth affairs led a year-long inquiry to understand the role that youth work plays and the impact of recent changes. We had a brilliant time visiting some fantastic services in different parts of the country. I enjoyed spending some quality time with the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle). Although we do not always find total consensus on every issue, not least the things that I just mentioned, this is probably one on which we broadly agree. We might articulate it in slightly different ways; we will find out a bit later.
It was plain to see that the quality and the existence of these services is variable at best. The fabulous multimillion-pound Myplace centres that we visited in Mansfield or the brilliant YMCA facilities that we visited in Lincolnshire contrast with tumbledown scout huts and even minibus-based youth centres in many cases. Even in my own county of Nottinghamshire, the service is hugely varied.
My takeaway, informally, has been that the accessibility and locality of these services is far more important than fancy buildings. If young people cannot reach them, they are wasted. The Garage, which the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown visited, is connected with the Garibaldi School in my constituency. Although it is literally a scout hut on the side of the road and has needed significant refurbishment recently, the fact that it is next to the school and is local, so that people can get there, makes it almost a more positive contributor to the area, which is a particularly deprived part of my constituency, than the big, fancy Myplace centre in the middle of town.
I urge the Government to consider the possibility of linking up school facilities with youth work organisations and qualified youth workers. They need to be separate from schools, but basing those services there or nearby makes them as accessible as possible. The Shed and Vibrant Warsop are brilliant examples of how those services can be brought closer to home and into the local community. Warsop, which is a small town on the edge of Mansfield, did not have any youth services whatsoever until the voluntary sector stepped in and brought those services to the local estate, which made them much more accessible. It is a really positive scheme.
In April, the all-party group set out clear recommendations on what needs to be done. The report is detailed, and I encourage colleagues who have not had a chance to read it to get hold of a copy. It found that too many young people do not have the family support or the social networks they need to adequately support them into adulthood. Youth services can provide an important safety net for young people at risk of going down the wrong path. For too many, they are the only secure place that offers them safety and continuity.
In the UK, we are lucky to have a proud history of charities and organisations working with young people—from uniformed groups, such as scouts and girl guides, to social enterprises and local charities. I have been pleased to see Government support particularly for uniformed services and the extra funding for those services, as well as the many positive elements that my hon. Friend the Minister mentioned in the National Citizen Service.
I have met so many brilliant volunteers and youth workers in Mansfield who make a hugely positive impact on young people. I know the importance of youth workers in particular, and the importance of such intervention was absolutely clear from the inquiry. It was brought home to me recently in a panel discussion with young people, organised by the British Youth Council. We talked about the proactive and preventive approach to youth services, which is so much more effective and cost-effective than the kind of crisis management we so often find ourselves doing.
Whether it is the trusted adult who steers a young person away from gangs and violence or who provides a safe space in the community for activities that forge friendships and skills for young people to get on in life, youth workers transform lives. Providing vital early intervention services keeps people out of trouble, frankly. We have so many discussions about some of the major societal challenges we face, such as knife crime, but youth services, particularly with trusted youth workers who forge connections with young people, can have a huge impact on those issues.
In many areas, such as Mansfield, we need to do more to support youth services and ensure that especially the most vulnerable young people have access to youth workers and services. Those services can help people feel supported and less isolated. They can improve mental health, tackle loneliness and, as I have said, steer children away from gangs and crime. It is a prevention service, and as we heard today in Prime Minister’s questions, prevention is better than cure. It is better for individuals, families and communities, and for the public purse as well.
The loss of youth services can lead to significant costs—social and economic—in later years if young people do not receive support early enough. Through my own role on the Education Committee, I know the statistics on how many young people who do not get access to those services or to early intervention end up excluded or in the criminal justice system. It is very clear across all these sectors that prevention is the key. Youth services can play a key role in filling the gap in a more effective and cost-efficient way than needing expensive crisis services later on.
A key recommendation from the all-party group report was that we need clear statutory guidance that defines a minimum and protected level of youth service. I am pleased that the Government have initiated a review of that statutory guidance, with the National Youth Agency joining forces with the Local Government Association to lead on the Government consultation. I know it is due to report later in the year, and it should inform our local choices and local youth partnerships to strengthen those services. That review of what is a sufficient youth offer is very welcome and much needed. I am grateful to the Minister for securing the overdue review and renewal of youth work qualifications, which we have discussed, led by the NYA. I appreciate her update in her opening remarks on the progress on the funding for that, which I inquired about during PMQs a few weeks ago. I understood, as of a few days ago, that it was still awaiting the final sign-off. I do not know whether she can confirm that it is entirely done and sorted.
The Minister is nodding, which is brilliant news. I know that the NYA will be relieved to hear that.
There needs to be a consistent understanding of the level of service, and suitable data should be available to answer the question of whether there is sufficient youth work in any particular area. For example, we do not know the sector’s balance between private, public and voluntary sectors. It is important to explore the changes that have happened over the last decade and examine exactly what we have in place now before we decide whether that is good enough. The reinstatement of the NYA audit, which determined levels of local authority provision, would help us to start to understand the picture at a national level. The last of these reported back in 2008, and things have clearly changed in our provision and youth work since then.
We have witnessed a reduction from 75% to just 25% of the youth workforce holding qualifications in youth work, and we have seen a nearly two-thirds drop in the number of new youth work graduate and postgraduate students since the peak. We are now in a position where there are not enough professionals in the sector, and we need to tackle this issue. With preventive services, as with anything we are trying to reinvigorate—for instance, the recruitment of teachers or doctors—the time involved in training people and putting in place qualifications to get people into the sector can be too long. We need to be looking now at how we support those qualifications, to ensure that if the Government do go ahead with plans for something, such as having youth workers more closely related to schools and tying those things together, we have youth workers trained and ready to deliver that. Pushing for those qualifications, and for the funding needed for their renewal, is absolutely vital.
I do not want to bang on for much longer—
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I am glad that we have had the opportunity to debate the positive impact that youth services have on our young people. Youth centres provide young people with safe spaces in which to learn, develop trusted relationships, build friendships and develop interpersonal skills. They should be at the heart of our communities, but, sadly, after nearly a decade of austerity, many parts of our country have no recognisable youth services at all.
I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) for his persistence in securing this debate. He is chair of the all-party group on youth affairs, which recently conducted a parliamentary inquiry into youth services. He spoke eloquently about his areas of expertise, which are wide and varied, and I learned a lot from him. He also spoke about the importance of evidence and why he was involved in this work. I hope that the Minister responds positively to his recommendations, and I look forward to her response.
We also heard a number of very passionate speeches. We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) who spoke passionately about knife crime, the impact of trauma on our communities and how youth services can help in prevention, building resilience and ensuring that our children have trusted adults to whom they can go to be connected with the relevant agencies.
We also had a passionate speech from my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Ruth George), who spoke emotively about Fairfield youth club in her constituency and about how, when she spoke to young people there, they spoke of the need for a safe space and how, sadly, this club was their only safe place and the only way to keep them out of the grips of the local gangs.
Many other Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham), mentioned the importance of youth work in tackling youth violence. My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham West and Penge (Ellie Reeves), who is my neighbour and friend, talked about the impact of losing a young person’s life—Jay Hughes—on the local community and the role that youth work can play in rebuilding that community.
My hon. Friends the Members for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Gill Furniss) and for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) and the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) also mentioned those points. The great role that NCS plays was mentioned by the Minister and the hon. Members for Crawley (Henry Smith) and for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton). My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South (Gordon Marsden) made some positive points about the scheme but also asked some questions, which leads me on to a few issues on which I wish to touch.
Currently, 95% of all Government spending on youth services goes to the NCS, despite the fact that only one in 10 eligible young people participate in its programmes. Since it was established, the NCS has received £1.5 billion, and it spent £10 million on a brand refresh earlier this year. Let that sink in. This is alongside a landscape in which spending on youth services has fallen by 70%, 760 youth centres have closed their doors and over 14,000 youth workers have lost their jobs in the last decade. Surely, it is unsustainable to spend millions of pounds on a programme that is simply not attracting the numbers when there are hundreds of brilliant youth centres and talented youth workers crying out for funding across the country.
The hon. Member for Mansfield (Ben Bradley) quoted the APPG’s report and spoke about the importance of family support into adulthood, youth work being one of the only safe spaces for young people and why we need trusted youth workers. He also pointed out that there are not enough professionals in the sector and mentioned the importance of early intervention. I agree with all those points.
My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South spoke about the impact of cuts to council funding and pointed out that Blackpool Council is losing £700 million. He also mentioned the overall negative impact of these cuts on all the services that interact with young people.
Labour is absolutely committed to rebuilding the youth sector to ensure that it is fit for the modern age—a youth sector that has open access, is diverse and has the interests of young people at heart. I remember chatting with the chief executive officer of UK Youth about consulting young people on the kind of programmes they wanted to see. After she had got feedback from lots of young people, UK Youth put on a course called “Money for Life”, which focused on budgeting and money management. The organisation was concerned that no one would turn up, but it was inundated with young people. That just shows how important is to have young people at the heart of designing youth work. We need to ensure that the programmes we create are relevant to them.
Labour is also committed to ensuring that our youth services respond to the unique challenges that young people face. Youth centres should be safe spaces for every young person, where they can speak to adults they trust and who have built up relationships with them over time. Trauma-informed training will be necessary to ensure that youth workers are equipped to deal with the various issues and challenges that young people face today.
Before I end my remarks, I have several questions for the Minister. Successful grantees of the Government’s youth endowment fund will need to demonstrate their plans to spend £100,000 or more by March 2020. This freezes out small charities from the outset, setting some of our brilliant grassroots organisations up for failure. Does the Minister agree? If not, can she outline exactly how the youth endowment fund will support small charities? In what ways have the Government consulted young people to ensure that the youth endowment fund is directed to the right organisations and projects? Do they have any plans for any potential underspend from successful grantees of the fund?
We all know—it has been said many times in this Chamber—that 3 to 6 pm is a particularly dangerous time for young people, so do the Government have plans to provide youth work during those hours as part of their public health strategy to tackle violence and keep young people safe? What date will the Government publish their review of the statutory youth guidance? We have talked about it many times, but there still does not seem to be a date for this. What work is the Minister doing to ensure that youth services receive adequate funding in the upcoming spending review? Barnardo’s and the Children’s Society estimate that this funding needs to be around £3 billion.
UK Youth and other leading youth bodies wrote to the new Prime Minister today asking him to make Britain the best country in the world to be young. Will the Minister call on the new Prime Minister to back the asks in that letter—in particular, to unlock the £50 million NCS underspend and deliver a 10-year spending commitment to the first ever youth charter? Our young people are fantastic, but to reach their potential, they need to be given the right opportunities. It is vital that fully funded youth services are part of that picture—services that are varied, accessible and fit for the modern age. Following his speech yesterday, if the new Prime Minister wants to be known as a dude and not a dud, he could start with our youth services, making sure that they are delivered locally with a universal offer and diverse provision and established with and for our young people. So dude, don’t under-deliver. We need action, not rhetoric.
I thank the Minister for recognising what the London Borough of Newham is doing, despite the financial restraints, but I gently say that £1.4 million is very difficult for my local council to find. We collectively need to find ways of funding local government to fund local youth services, otherwise there will not be the people I had in my constituency to help young people through the difficulties they face.
I thank the Minister for her statement. I appreciate the prudent approach that she has taken to the issue. As she knows, I wrote to the previous Secretary of State last summer to raise my concern that society lotteries had been waiting for six years for the result of a review into their regulation. More than a year on, it is now a full seven years that the sector has been waiting for an answer from the Government. The delay in making that decision has left society lotteries facing an increasing uncertainty, unable to make substantial plans for the future.
Society lotteries achieve a lot of good for our country, as does the national lottery. They raise hundreds of millions of pounds a year for good causes, funding charities as varied as Barnardo’s, the Stroke Association, Friends of the Earth and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, as well as many others. Major benefits of society lotteries include their flexibility and predictability, which charities tell me is exceptionally useful because it allows them to prioritise funds where they will have most impact.
The Minister is right that transparency must be paramount, and we agree with her about the importance of openness on what the costs of this fundraising process are and where the money goes. People who take part in the lotteries need to know that they are not just taking a punt but getting value for money.
I understand the feeling that sometimes there is a conflict of interest between society lotteries and the national lottery, and I agree with the Government’s stated aim to
“achieve a balance between enabling the sustainable growth of society lotteries on the one hand while also protecting the unique position of the UK-wide National Lottery”.
The Minister mentioned Mystic Meg. If she was Mystic Mims, what would she say the impact of the changes will be on the fundraising for good causes that the national lottery provides to the arts, culture, heritage and sport? When will the new regulations come into force?
The second issue is the age limit on national lottery products. There are 450,000 children gambling every week in our country; the number has quadrupled in recent years. For many young people, scratchcards are a gateway to gambling from the age of 16. We do not think that is right, particularly when we are struggling with an epidemic of gambling addiction across the country. Gambling is fun, but it can also be dangerous when it is poorly regulated or gets out of control for an individual. In my view, and in that of the Labour party, there is absolutely no need for a consultation on this issue.
The Minister’s predecessor, the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch), announced last year that she would gather evidence on the topic. It is our strong view—I am sure Members across the House will agree—that we already have all the evidence we need. Those who gamble should be adults, so the minimum age for all gambling products should be 18. It is as simple as that.
I welcome my hon. Friend to the Dispatch Box. I completely agree that there is no need for a consultation about the age limit. Frankly, we should just get on with it—there is enough evidence out there.
Secondly, while I welcome the Minister’s comments, I am slightly concerned. Will she tell the House whether there was real, powerful and compelling evidence why society lotteries should be restricted to a gain of only £100,000 on the prize money? If there is clear evidence that they damage the national lottery, will she publish that? If there is not, will she tell us why we have been in such trepidation about moving the prize money total?
I thank the Minister for advance sight of the statement. I welcome the ongoing improvements in UK gambling legislation, which the Department has been bringing forward, and I appreciate and welcome the consultation to increase the age of playing the national lottery to 18.
I do not think the Government should be differentiating between Lotto and scratchcards—it should be 18 for all. I am concerned that the Government felt the need to put this comment in the statement:
“My initial view, based on the evidence reviewed so far, is that such a split could be the best approach.”
We are approaching a gambling epidemic in the UK, and the grooming of young adults in the gambling arena should be stopped, and stopped now.
The Gambling Commission was mentioned a number of times in the statement. I have concerns that extra administration will consume its budget, which should be tackling gambling-related harm. Last year, the national lottery paid its chief executive officer £100,000 more than it donated to gambling charities, and I take the opportunity to remind the Secretary of State once again that my preferred option is a mandatory levy.
Recent years have seen an increase in Camelot’s profits against a backdrop of a decline in lottery funding for good causes. However that is to be addressed, we should never forget that we are using gambling to raise funds for charities, and that charities exist because the Government have let down particular areas of our society. Many of the charities being supported should be Government-funded in the first place. Will the Government please reconsider their age-limit review, and will they guarantee the percentage of gross profits to be allocated to good causes?
I thank the Minister for her statement and her recognition of the good that society lotteries do across the country through the funds that they raise. She has been clear that the jackpot will not be lifted to the £1 million that the society lotteries had hoped for and is now looking to place new transparency requirements on society lotteries. In the light of that, will she outline the problems she sees with the extensive reporting requirements on charities that justify this further action and the delay in raising the jackpot total to £1 million?
Will the Minister explain what steps she has taken to increase the transparency of how the proceeds, particularly from large-scale lotteries, are spent?
Given gambling’s tendency to be habit forming, the later that it can be put off until, the better. Certainly, gambling should not begin before adulthood, should it?
As the UK city of culture, Hull benefited enormously from national lottery funding. Will the same amount of money be available in future for arts, culture and sport with these changes—the point that my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson) raised from the Front Bench—or does the Minister think that what happened in the Netherlands will happen here and that less money will be available from the national lottery?
The Gambling Commission evidence that, for scratchcards, people under 18 did not really suffer was based on a small sample size. Would it not be better to have a proper consultation on and examination of this aspect?
With greater transparency for society lotteries, can we also publish a proper breakdown of how the money is spent?
The £2 billion raised each year by lotteries helps to fund charities, sports and heritage initiatives in my constituency and across the country. I recognise that the Minister must strike a balance, and I know that some of the society lotteries might be disappointed at the limit not being £1 million. Will she confirm that the growth in society lotteries has not been, and will not be, to the detriment of the national lottery?
1. When the Government plan to review their guidance on the statutory duty for local authorities to provide youth services. 
Up and down the country, there is less and less for our young people to do. The Government’s own civil society strategy says that youth work and youth services can be “transformational”, so why has funding for them fallen by 70% since 2010?
The Government’s serious violence strategy rightly placed programmes for young people at its heart. Will the Minister assure the House that that strategy is going to start delivering those projects on the ground, to divert young people away from gangs and crime?
On Independence Day, may I congratulate all my American cousins on this fine day when they broke away from Britain? I still have my green card from when I emigrated.
Youth services should learn from what is done in the best cities in the United States. It is high time that we put proper Government resources into youth services and stopped relying on charities, although partnerships are good. The fact of the matter is that in most constituencies, youth services are on their knees.
I agree that local authorities have a role to play in youth services, as well as the charitable and voluntary sector, but does the Minister agree that the private sector also has a role? In my neighbouring constituency of Grimsby, a youth zone is being proposed, funded by local entrepreneurs. Does she agree that that is one way forward?
I am delighted to see so many of my former Whips Office colleagues, including the Chief Whip, in the Chamber to hear me speak at the Dispatch Box for the first time—no pressure.
UK Youth, a leading national charity, estimates that the National Citizen Service underspent by more than £50 million this year. Many organisations are desperate to support our young people. Will the Minister explain what plans the Government have to reallocate the underspend to the many fantastic charities that support our wonderful young people?
2. What recent progress his Department has made on increasing access to superfast broadband in rural areas. 
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5. What recent steps he has taken to improve the quality of local youth services. 
“Positive for Youth” was the Government’s last comprehensive youth policy document. It contained many good examples of joint project working between local authorities and charities and philanthropic businesses, a pledge to youth-proof Government policy, and a pledge to publish annually a set of national measures to demonstrate progress in improving outcomes for young people. When does the Minister plan to update the House on that progress?
6. What steps he plans to take to increase the provision of FM frequencies for commercial radio in (a) the UK and (b) Morecambe Bay. 
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7. What steps his Department is taking to help tackle loneliness. 
I am proud of the work that the Government are doing on loneliness, but according to Age UK more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone. Loneliness is thought to be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In Chichester, we have some fantastic projects such as the Rotary Club’s Building A Generation, in which every two weeks older people go into Chichester College and meet, and share experiences with, college students. What more support is available to encourage such innovative, community-based solutions for tackling loneliness and to help to spread them more quickly across the country?
These Chichester people seem very decent folk indeed. I think it is partly the effect of the Member.
Earlier this year, the Minister was good enough to come to a meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on suicide and self-harm prevention and speak to us about the loneliness strategy. What steps will she take in response to the Samaritans’ paper on loneliness in young people, which is a particular concern?
10. What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the regulation of commercial local radio. 
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12. What steps he is taking to ensure that the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham benefit (a) neighbouring boroughs and (b) Walsall. 
I understand that the training venues will be announced later this year. Will the Minister put in a good word for the British judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall?
Five junctions up the M6 from Walsall is the great city of Stoke-on-Trent, which stands ready to play its part. How will the Minister ensure that the benefits to which she has referred are felt throughout our region and not just in the conurbation, and what strategy does her Department have for a long-lasting legacy programme so that those benefits do not disappear once the games have ended?
T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. 
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Does the Minister agree that one of the crucial aspects of tackling loneliness is raising awareness of the services, support and activities that are available in local communities, and what are the Government doing to achieve this?
On behalf of all my colleagues on the Benches behind me, I would like to wish the very best of luck to the England cricket team. We also wish the best of British to all our British tennis players at Wimbledon, and we would like to thank the Lionesses for inspiring a generation.
Our children are facing a deadly obesity crisis. Obesity is rivalling smoking as a leading cause of cancer. Being healthy is about keeping fit and having a healthier diet, but the sugar tax has also been very welcome in promoting a healthier lifestyle, especially for children and young people. The Sports Minister has a responsible role to play in tackling obesity, so will she today publicly commit to resisting any call to scrap the sugar tax, even from her favoured candidate for Prime Minister?
As this is 4 July, Independence Day, and despite this week’s football result, will the Secretary of State, who like me has an American spouse, comment—positively, of course —on the very many benefits of our special relationship with the US?
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T4. As we head towards the long summer holidays, sports centres are becoming increasingly important for families. Two years ago, Staffordshire County Council pulled the plug on my pool at the Kidsgrove Sports Centre. After lots of false starts and undelivered promises, we are still without a swimming pool. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how we can actually deliver a pool for my constituents? 
My hon. Friend—I believe him to be my hon. Friend—raises a very good point. Not only would 1% not break the bank for the betting industry, without greyhound racing the gambling industry would lose £2,500 million a year. I will be quite blunt: I think it is criminal that the industry does not pay 1% or more—1.5% or even 2% if necessary. There is no point in imposing a levy for the sheer sake of it, but we have to remember that back in 2008-09 we were on some £14 million. Since then, the amount has probably halved. We are building it back up to £10 million now, but I would like to see around £20 million going towards rehoming greyhounds.
The public demand good welfare—it is also in the interests of the industry—and for the betting industry to deliver that money. Otherwise, there will be huge pressure not to have greyhound racing at all. That is the point I stress. The amount of welfare funding at the moment is a voluntary 0.6%. I will talk about the good companies that come up with that. Previously, too few betting companies have coughed up the cash, and there are still a few more to go—especially online betting companies based overseas.
I congratulate the Minister, and her predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch), on getting the bookies around the table, and on getting them to contribute to the British Greyhound Racing Fund, which was set up to protect greyhound welfare. I also congratulate the betting companies themselves—Betfair, Betfred, Sky Bet and William Hill—that have committed to meet the 0.6% target in January in this year, raising a projected £3 million a year. That will take the total amount raised up from £7 million to £10 million.
However, too many companies still do not contribute. Many independent bookmakers, and a growing overseas betting presence, do not pay their fair share. Not only is it wrong from the point of view of the greyhounds’ welfare, it is wrong for the rest of the betting industry, because if some companies are making that donation so should they all. Bookmakers profiting from greyhound racing have a responsibility to support it, whether they trade on the high street or online. Of course, high street bookmakers have contributed and still do.
When we consider that £2,500 million is staked annually on live greyhound racing in the UK, the welfare conditions of some of those animals remain shocking. They are improving, but with more money they could be much better. Greyhounds bred for racing are animals, not assets. They are gentle, athletic breeds. They feel pain, whether due to damaged limbs or dental problems, and they need love like any other dog. We must ensure that all kennels are up to scratch.
I thank the Greyhound Board of Great Britain for all the work that it does inspecting and helping to raise standards, and I thank the Kennel Club, the Greyhound Trust and other welfare charities for the great work that they do in rehoming greyhounds. An increase in cash for the British Greyhound Racing Fund would make a great difference to greyhound welfare. Even the commitment made in January for the betting companies to reach 0.6% merely reverses a decade-long trend of drastically declining income from the voluntary levy paid by bookmakers.
Income for the British Greyhound Racing Fund has fallen by half in the last 10 years, from £14 million in 2008-09 to just £7 million last year. While online betting continues to thrive, retail betting is suffering. Some 60% of BGRF funding currently comes from retail betting, but the introduction of the £2 maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals which, by the way, I am very much in favour of, will result in a decline in the amount of money received. That is why we need to increase the percentage of the levy.
A statutory levy that targets greyhound betting equally, levied on all bets placed on UK greyhound racing, will be fair on betting companies and on greyhounds. A strong greyhound welfare system requires strong long-term financing. Take horse-racing as an example. The horse-racing betting levy covers the gross profits of all gambling operators offering bets on horse-racing in Great Britain. Last year alone, the 10% statutory levy on profits generated around £100 million to support infrastructure improvements, a reduction in injuries, better data and higher prize money.
A similar statutory levy on greyhound racing, but based on 1% of gross turnover, would generate £11.6 million for greyhound welfare. A levy of 1.5% would generate £17.5 million. That is where I would like it to be at the very least, because I do not believe that it would affect the industry very much at all. In fact, it would make for a stronger industry. Immediately, the money would provide a more stable income stream for animal welfare activists and charities that improve kennelling standards, pay for veterinary bills and rehome greyhounds. It would also create an even playing field between contributing bookies.
As the sixth most-watched sport in Britain, the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds, from registration to retirement, must be a fundamental part of its successful future. Last year, 4,963 injuries were sustained by dogs in the greyhound racing industry. We welcome the industry giving those figures, because that was something that we put in our report. Almost 1,000 died or were euthanised. I do not want greyhounds to be euthanised because it is not economic to keep them going. That simply should not happen. Enough money should come from the betting industry to rehabilitate those dogs and get them rehomed.
A campaign is under way to ban greyhound racing altogether. I believe a statutory levy will better protect welfare and the industry in the long run. The industry should embrace that—if it does not, greyhound racing will be under pressure in future. It is wrong of the companies not to embrace the levy and pay more. I congratulate the Minister and the gaming companies that have contributed a voluntary levy on their hard work, but I urge her to do more and greater things to get more money out of the gaming industry.
After Brexit, the Government should come forward at the earliest opportunity with primary legislation to introduce a statutory levy, to equalise welfare contributions and protect greyhound racing. Believe it or not, the statutory levy on horseracing was introduced before we joined the EU, and it is quite difficult to introduce a levy under EU law. As we leave the EU, we can put a statutory levy on online gambling and racing greyhounds. I would very much welcome that, because putting it in place would bring into line a lot of the gambling companies that are not paying at the moment. We in this House, and people across the country, all want our greyhounds to have a good retirement. Let us ensure that those that can be rehabilitated after racing have a good life. We can then have a good industry that is well run with good welfare conditions that are well funded by the gaming industry.
The most difficult part is that, to a degree, we can name and shame companies that are not contributing, but those that are offshore and well away from the UK probably do not worry too much about their reputation. How do we get at them to ensure they contribute? More people are moving to offshore online betting.
I accept what the Minister says, but I am a great believer in needing quite a big stick to bring people into line now and again. I would have thought that the idea of bringing in a levy in future would concentrate minds in the industry. If it delivered the 1% to 1.5%, we would perhaps not need the statutory levy, but sometimes the stick needs to be available.
I have the unexpected pleasure of responding to this debate.
Sport is a unifying force, a force for good. It has been incredibly moving to hear so much support across the House for something that we all agree is extremely important. We are proud that this House stands together tonight against the homophobia seen at pitches, on stands and at matches, and against xenophobia, racism and sexism.
The hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) made a great intervention about social media companies, which need to do more. We all agree that they need to be held accountable. It is not okay that for years on end damaging and toxic tweets can remain accessible and online for all to read.
I am glad to hear that the English Football League, the FA and the Premier League promote good behaviour and work to make a stand against abuse. However, I acknowledge the importance of education in tackling that from the bottom up, as well as from the top down.
My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) made good points about ensuring that more is done. In my role, I will continue to push for all governing bodies to do more, and I do not doubt that the Ministers will do the same. I was glad to hear that my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Mr Dhesi) joined the Twitter boycott to protest against racism targeted at footballers. My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) made some bold suggestions and rightly called for clubs to take responsibility. The hon. Member for St Ives (Derek Thomas) made some interesting points and gave us the first mention of wrestling this evening.
People know that I am a doctor—it is no secret—and I work on the frontline of our NHS. I see what gang violence does and how it damages our communities and ruins the lives of young people. It is also no secret that I am a boxer in my local community, and I see what sport can do to heal. Sometimes in debates in this place sport is not given the importance that it deserves, compared with issues such as Brexit—that is a fact. That does not mean that it is not of equal importance when we look at the transformative merits it possesses to change lives. I see that. As a humanitarian doctor, I have been in refugee camps where I have seen people wearing Man United shirts. They might not have food or security, but they proudly support a football team. That is something that no one can take away from them: they identify with a team.
Let us talk about communities. I am a Liverpool supporter, and I heard my friend on “The Anfield Wrap” talking about Mo Salah and how he has become such an important and integral part of the Liverpool community, the Liverpool family. He quoted:
“Being Scouse is a state of mind.”
The importance of sport and physical activity cannot be overestimated. I stand here with great pride tonight, joining colleagues from across the House to celebrate that sentiment. We face a time in which our community, our society, is fractured—we have to be honest about that—but let us ensure that there is no room for those fractures to permeate the very thing that does so much to unite us.
We must also understand that discrimination in sport is not just about players on a pitch, or even about fans; it is also about what goes on in the boardroom. It is about understanding that we need representation from all groups at boardroom level—women, people from the black and minority ethnic community, and our LGBT brothers and sisters all need a seat at the table.
Tonight, I hope that everyone present unites with me to say that together we want to stamp out racism, sexism, homophobia and any form of discrimination in sport.
Good evening, Mr Deputy Speaker. Meur ras—thank you—for allowing me to speak in the debate. The people of Cornwall will be saluting you.
I come from a part of the country that has a very proud history and culture. Our population dates back to the stone age and is steeped in history and lore, particularly in mining and fishing. Some of our ancient traditions still exist today. Every year in Cornwall, people participate in the ancient tradition of hurling through the streets, and in the merry mornings of May, the ’Obby ’Osses descend through the streets of Padstow. In recent times, we have seen a huge resurgence in the sport of gig rowing. We are proud in Cornwall to be home to those historical cultural events, which are unique to our county.
Today, I wish to shine a spotlight on Cornish wrestling. I will, if I may, refer to Cornish wrestling in the Cornish tongue for the rest of the debate—I will be referring to wrestling as “wrasslin”. That is how we describe it in Cornwall. I have had a large number of media requests about this debate, which I was not expecting.
Cornish wrasslin bears no relation to the wrestling that people may have seen on television. It is not WWE. There are no ropes, nothing to jump off and no cage fights or tag teams. The sport of wrasslin in Cornwall sums up the Cornish very well. It is a game of power, skill and strength. Cornish wrasslin is a form of wrestling that has been established in Cornwall for several centuries. It is a unique sport that has witnessed a steady revival since the establishment of the Cornish Wrestling Association in 1920.
The history of wrasslin was recorded first in “The History of the Kings of Britain” in 1139, in which Geoffrey of Monmouth suggested that Corineus, the medieval legend, wrestled a Cornish giant named Gogmagog at Plymouth Hoe. Two Cornishmen were recorded in a poem of 1590 entitled “Poly-Olbion” at the battle of Agincourt, carrying carried a banner of two Cornish wrasslers in a hitch or a hold. In the 17th century, historian Richard Carew wrote of Cornish wrestling:
“Wrasslin is as full of manliness, more delightful and less dangerous”
than hurling. I can just imagine two burly Cornishmen, with hands the size of shovels, striding out into battle at Agincourt, proud of their sport and proud of their county.
In more recent times, we have seen a mini revival. Both Devon and Brittany have a history of wrasslin, and they have competed with Cornwall in inter-Celtic matches. Cornish wrasslin is the oldest sport in the British Isles, and alongside hurling it is the oldest sport indigenous to Cornwall.
The objective of Cornish wrasslin is to throw the challenger from a standing position, with no grappling or holding on the ground. A bout begins when the competitors grab each other’s jackets by the collar, lapel or sleeve, in what is known as a hitch. To win the bout, the competitor must score a back. A back is scored by throwing the opponent on his or her hips or shoulders. There are four pins on the back of the jacket, and three have to touch the ground to score a back and win the contest. A single pin touching the ground only counts as one point but can be accumulated and scored at the end.
There are many different techniques and throws to defeat an opponent and score a back. Crooks and heaves are the most popular. Crooks are a variation of a trip, to catch an opponent off guard, while heaves are used by heavier, more powerful wrasslers to lift their opponent in the air and fling them on their back.
The wearing of canvas jackets is essential and makes gripping easier, and competitors also wear shorts and socks. One crucial thing to keep in mind is that strength is not the main contributing factor to wrasslin. Many techniques and moves can be deployed to get a back. In fact, competitors from Devon are said to have used more kicking, which has not always gone down particularly well with the Cornish.
One of the most famous encounters between wrasslers from Devon and Cornwall must surely be the great wrasslin bout of 1826. Any match between Devon and Cornwall was almost always hotly disputed and always bore a pridely grudge, and this was no exception. James Polkinghorne was due to meet Abraham Cann. James Polkinghorne was born in the St Keverne and was usually associate with St Columb, for it was here that he was the landlord of the Red Lion inn. He set forth to uphold the honour of Cornish wrasslin when he took on Cann the challenger.
The match was to find the champion of the west of England and it took place at Tamar Green in Devonport on 23 October 1826. The ultimate result has never been agreed and it remains a matter of controversy to this day. It was from St Stephens that James Polkinghorne set off, in his gig rowing boat, on a long trip with his brother to Tamar Green. Information about the controversy surrounding the event from the outset can be found in an article on the heyday and decline of wrasslin. In 1960, the late Leslie Jolly, a recognised authority on wrasslin, wrote in a Cornish gazette that he wondered whether Polkinghorne was the right person to take on the challenger Cann. Jolly’s grandfather, of Penscowen, St Enoder, was a renowned wrassler during the early part of the 19th century, and he made the case that Parkyn of St Columb Minor would have been a better representative. Parkyn had been champion for 20 years, but he was 52 and Polkinghorne a mere 38. Parkyn’s claims were supported by some involved in the sport, including in St Columb, but nevertheless it was Polkinghorne who eventually went across the Tamar.
Cornish wrasslin has not always had a good name. Before the sport’s governing body was founded, there were all sorts of things going on in Cornwall. The attraction of wrasslin brought about a bout in Bodmin. One of the competitors entered the ring and threw two roach men. That success was immediately followed by an attack by the Bodmin men, which led to a general riot. The contenders congested in a pugilistic style, the combatants armed themselves with bludgeons from the wooden rickshaw in the church town, and a fight ensued. Heads were laid open, teeth knocked out and the battlefield was quickly strewn with the maimed.
During the 1930s and 1940s, several members of the Chapman family achieved great wrasslin success. Grandfathers, fathers and sons all fought. Many Cornish towns and villages held tournaments, and hundreds would turn up to watch the contests. The Hawkeys and the Warnes were also well-known wrassling families, but the most famous competitor of the day was the heavyweight champion, Francis Gregory of St Wenn.
Gregory had his first match when he was 13 and he was the youngest Cornishman to show his skills at the London Palladium in 1927. He represented Cornwall seven times from 1928 at the official Cornu-Breton championships. He won seven times, on four occasions in Brittany. Later, he moved north and changed his sport to play rugby league for Wigan and Warrington and was capped for England. Taking up professional wrestling, he became known as Francis St Clair Gregory, and in November 1955 he made his first appearance in a wrestling match shown on British television.
More recently, in the face of fierce competition and promotion, Cornish wrestling waned to a small group of stalwarts. To put a stop to the decline and help raise awareness, in 2004, the Cornish Wrestling Association became affiliated with the British Wrestling Association. Publicity increased and training sessions took place in Helston, Truro and Wadebridge. Those measures have helped wrasslin make a strong comeback. Based at St Columb Major, today Ashley Cawley is the current Cornish heavyweight champion. He is also the Cornish Wrestling Association’s public relations officer, while his uncle, Mike Cawley, is the association chairman. Ashley’s father, Gerry, came out of wrestling retirement and won two championships recently.
Over the summer months, the Cornish Wrestling Association runs tournaments in villages and towns across the duchy. They also feature at the Royal Cornwall Show. All ages are welcome to participate and there are several children’s categories. There is now a plaque in St Columb Major to commemorate the fight between Polkinghorne and Cann. The contests are overseen by three referees called sticklers, who award the points.
It is thought that Cornish wrasslin evolved the way it did because it is safer for wrestlers to land on their backs. The wrestlers are taught to grip tight and to avoid putting their arms down to soften the blow.
Wrestlers swear an oath in Cornish before wrasslin. The translation is:
“On my honour and the honour of my country”—
I think they probably mean Cornwall there—
“I swear to wrestle without treachery or brutality and in token of my sincerity, I offer my hand to my opponent.”
I will give the Cornish a go:
“Gwary whec yu gwary tek”,
which means, “Good play is fair play”.
While it has been good to give the Minister a tour d’horizon of Cornish wrasslin this evening, I have some specific asks for her. Perhaps next time she passes through Cornwall, she would like to take me on in a bout of Cornish wrasslin. Given the current environment, perhaps the quickest way to sort out the leadership contest is to put everybody in a Cornish wrasslin ring and let them duke it out and find out who is the strongest contender.
My first objective is to raise the profile of this wonderful traditional sport. I hope that we have managed to do that through the debate. Secondly, I seek the Minister’s support in getting help from Sport England to recognise Cornish wrasslin as a defined sport. That would allow Celtic tournaments between Brittany and Cornwall to continue. Sport England generously gave Cornwall £9,000 in 2012, and I hope that we can restore some of that funding.
Thirdly, the Commonwealth games are taking place in Birmingham, and there has been Greco-Roman wrestling in previous Commonwealth games. We have a chance to showcase all that is great about the British Isles. Will the Minister therefore help me to lobby the Commonwealth games committee either to put Cornish wrasslin in future Commonwealth games or to allow our fantastic sportsmen and women who do Cornish wrasslin to have a spot at the opening ceremony to demonstrate how good the sport is?
I hope that I have provided some entertainment in talking about a sport that I care passionately about. I hope that the debate has showcased Cornish wrasslin.
4. What steps his Department is taking to ensure adequate funding for (a) education, (b) research, (c) treatment and (d) support to minimise gambling-related harm. 
According to the Gambling Commission, the gross gambling yield of Great Britain’s gambling industry is £14.4 billion, yet the amount donated through the levy for gambling-related harm was less than £10 million. A statutory levy of 1% would equate to £140 million. I know that such a levy is being considered, but what alternatives exist to raise a guaranteed amount over a period?
Some gambling companies sponsor football clubs to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds, and in return, they get branding on T-shirts and around grounds, seen by thousands in stadiums and millions on TV, including millions of children. Yet we found out recently that some of those sponsors gave as little as £50 to GambleAware—the charity that funds research and treatment of gambling addiction. Currently, just 3% of gambling addicts get the treatment they need. When the stakes are so high and contributions so low, how can the Minister justify refusing a mandatory levy?
I call Jim Shannon—not here.
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T2. I add my best wishes to the England women’s team for success in the forthcoming World cup. Will the Minister give them the best possible send-off by ensuring that the Government commit increased funding to football facilities at grassroots level? 
Next month, UEFA will start the process of recruiting 12,000 volunteers from host countries, including Scotland and England, for Euro 2020. They will be expected to give a huge time commitment and to work for free in complex roles that involve huge responsibility, including anti-doping. Is that not just exploitation dressed up as an opportunity, and will the Secretary of State raise it with UEFA directly?
T3. For what it’s worth, I recently appeared in panto as Sir Lancingalot in the North Lancing residents association’s version of “Robin Hood”. [Hon. Members: “Oh no you didn’t!] Oh yes I did! Also in Lancing, I am attempting to arrange a programme of midnight football over the summer, which I did a few years ago in another part of my constituency that is affected by antisocial behaviour. With the help of Adur Athletic football club, the local police and the local council, we laid on football between 10 and midnight on Saturday evenings for teenagers who otherwise, as they admitted themselves, would be getting up to no good on the streets. It completely changed the dynamics between those kids and the police, who came and joined in enthusiastically. Does the Minister agree that that is a constructive way of dealing with antisocial behaviour, getting kids engaged in sport, and engaging those kids with the police and other local people in a positive way? 
Last week, Wolverhampton Wanderers became the latest football club to commit to rail seating at its stadium. Football fans want safe standing, clubs do, and the governing bodies are on board as well. It has been eight months since the Government announced their consultation and a review of this. When will it come to a close?
T4. If we are talking about our acting accolades, Mr Speaker, mine was winning a national best actress award with the Young Farmers—a strange dichotomy, but true. Yesterday, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee went to the Chelsea Flower Show and carried out an inquiry into the value of garden tourism to the nation—it is already some £4 billion. Does the Minister agree that if we put garden tourism in the tourism sector deal, we could double this money, at least, and benefit the economy? 
As the Member with the privilege of representing Celtic Park, I rise to echo the tribute paid to the late, great Billy McNeill by my hon. Friend the Member for Argyll and Bute (Brendan O’Hara), whom I congratulate most sincerely on securing this debate.
For some bizarre reason, there is a strange irony whereby many Scottish MPs do not, in fact, support the club based in their constituency, but I would argue that we are all the richer for that. I declare openly, and perhaps confess, that I am an Airdrieonians supporter. I will return to Billy McNeill’s link to Airdrie in a few moments.
Since being elected as the Member for the east end of Glasgow, I am proud to have had a good relationship with Celtic football club, which is a massive, iconic part of the east end. For those driving along London Road, that towering statue, produced by John McKenna, of Billy holding the European cup aloft is quite a sight to behold, particularly with the thousands of green and white scarves attached to it over the past few weeks.
Following Billy McNeill’s sad passing, it is hard to describe how much of an impact his death and, most importantly, his life have had throughout the city of Glasgow, regardless of people’s age or even which football club they support. As my hon. Friend has already outlined, Billy McNeill will be forever known in history as the first player from these islands to lift the European cup when Celtic triumphed in Lisbon back in 1967.
I would have expected nothing less, but my hon. Friend paid a typically warm and thoughtful tribute to the career and life of Billy McNeill, so I do not intend to repeat much of that. However, when he informed me that he had secured this evening’s debate, he told me—tongue in cheek, I am sure—that I am not allowed to mention Airdrie, a hurdle at which I fell just two paragraphs into my speech.
The link between Billy and Airdrieonians goes back to the Scottish cup final of 3 May 1975 when, unfortunately, Celtic defeated the Diamonds 3-1 at Hampden Park. Following the match, Billy announced his retirement from playing football. It was his 822nd and last appearance for Celtic. Remarkably, in a career spanning so many years, he was never substituted, which is a tremendous achievement for any player. I cannot recall any other player who made that many appearances without being substituted.
As my hon. Friend outlined, Billy went on to have a career in management, with spells at Clyde, Aberdeen, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Hibs and, of course, two spells at the helm of his beloved Hoops. Both on and off the park, Billy made an enormous contribution to the beautiful game, so it is right that so many people from all across the footballing community came together to mourn his passing and remember his life.
And it is not just people of Billy’s generation who wish to mark a life well lived. On Saturday morning, I was at Our Lady of Peace in Barlanark to cheer on St Francis of Assisi Primary School, which went on to win the Billy McNeill memorial cup. It is fitting that the cup was won and retained by a team from the east end of Glasgow. Many of the boys and girls who were playing recognised Billy McNeill’s contribution and seek to emulate it in the years to come.
Tonight, though, has been a fitting tribute to a man who entertained so many and brought so much happiness, as we have heard, particularly to those dearest to him. He will, of course, be sorely missed, but his contribution will never be forgotten, and I am glad that we have had the opportunity tonight to immortalise him in the Chamber and in Hansard. For that, I thank my hon. Friend most sincerely.