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Tessa Jowell: London’s Olympic legacy ‘a failure’

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A “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the London 2012 Games to inspire a generation of young Brits to participate in sport has been lost due to “wicked and negligent” government cuts, according to former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

Speaking to the Guardian, the former Labour front bencher said her successors in government – the Conservative/LibDem coalition which came to power in 2010 – had squandered the legacy and left grassroots sport in the UK “back to where it was in 2002.”

In 2010, the then education minister Michael Gove withdrew £162m of funding assigned for the national School Sport Partnerships (SSPs), provoking an outcry.

Gove argued that cash allocated to SSPs had not been spent "as effectively and efficiently as it should have been".

Jowell described Gove’s decision as “catastrophic” and added that Sport England figures show there are now fewer people now playing sport. Jowell said: “(The fall in participation) is on the conscience of those ministers.”

Dean Horridge, CEO and founder of youth activity provider Fit For Sport, believes policymakers must widen the net to ensure initiatives are engaging every child, rather than those already participating in sport.

“Unless we encourage all children to enjoy being physically active from an early age, the Olympics will only ever engage and inspire sporty children and elite athletes," he said.

"Policy must focus on tackling inactivity levels through programmes that reach all children and set them on a journey to an active life. Physical activity for young people should be fun and inclusive which is often lost when we focus only on competitive sports."

To read the full interview in the Guardian, click here.

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A “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the London 2012 Games to inspire a generation of young Brits to participate in sport has been lost due to “wicked and negligent” government cuts, according to former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.
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