Sport betting levy amongst 'innovative' Labour sport plans

image copyrightReuters
image captionA new levy could cover online gambling under the plans

A betting levy to help fund community facilities and treat gambling addiction is among proposals by Labour in a "long-term innovative plan for sport".

Moves to push Premier League clubs to contribute more to grassroots football are also being considered.

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman said the Olympic "legacy" of increased participation had failed to materialise after London 2012.

And she said "strong government leadership" was needed to achieve it.

Ms Harman will also consider restoring a requirement that school pupils do at least two hours of sport a week, which was removed by the coalition as part of education reforms.

Pressure on clubs

The proposals are part of Labour's More Sport for All consultation.

At present, betting firms face a levy on horseracing profits - which raised £82m last year - and Labour is considering extending the levy to cover all sports and include bets placed online.

While the Premier League also introduced a voluntary 5% levy on television revenues for the grassroots game, the party believes the way that sum is calculated means it is often less that it could be.

image copyrightPA
image captionHarriet Harman called for "strong government leadership" on sport

The consultation is looking at increasing transparency into how sums are calculated and exploring measures that would pressure the country's richest football clubs into properly meeting their promise .

The plans being considered also include:

  • New targets for female participation in sport
  • Increasing the number of women on the boards of sporting organisations

Ms Harman said: "We were all proud to host the Olympics and Paralympic Games in London two years ago, but instead of seeing increased participation things have got worse, especially amongst young people, as a result of the government axing school sports partnerships."

She added: "Our consultation looks at a number of ideas which aim to boost investment in community and grassroots sports by getting tough with the Premier League and betting companies, bringing back two hours of sport at schools a week and encouraging more people to take part - girls as well as boys.

"We need strong government leadership to create a long-term innovative plan for sport and that is what this consultation seeks to do."

Clive Efford, Labour's shadow sport minister, added: "If we are going to get more people active then we have to empower the people who do most of the work in our communities to have more influence over how we plan, organise and deliver sport and physical education at local level."

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