POSTED: May 5th 2010

General Election result not in the balance where sport cash crash is concerned

Election title contenders: Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameroon / lake images
Election title contenders: Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameroon / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, May 05: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland votes tomorrow in a General Election whose outcome remains in the balance for the pollsters but which promises only financial gloom for domestic sport.

Labour government Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and his opposite "shadows" in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have all hinted at tight fiscal times ahead just as the main thrust of the parties have danced around the prospect of virtually inevitable higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.

Ironically, Karl Marx was born on this particular day - albeit way back in 1818 - but his notions of the redistribution of wealth  will not be echoed when it comes to the national grassroots sports budget in the next few years.

Happily, at least, the Olympic Games project is too far advanced and government is in too deep to suffer any direct threat. Indeed, the added bonus of the London award by the International Olympic Committee has been the continuance of a high-employment project in the teeth of the fiercest recession for 80 years.

Manufacturing spread

Organising leaders such as chairman Lord Coe and ceo Paul Deighton have also been able to point out that the 2012 Games are far more than a London-centric circus.

The various manufacturing contracts have been parcelled out right around the country and the North-east, North-west, Midlands and South Wales have all had far more cause for gratitude for Coe's efforts back in Singapore than their grudging and often antagonistic local tax-payers perceived at the time.

On the general national front the prospects are bleak and the various staffs at the likes of UK Sport as well as Sport England and its cousins all have cause to ponder future job options on the basis that, whoever wins the election, will seek to save investment cash by administrative streamlining  (a polite way of describing redundancy and dismissal).

Sutcliffe has been bullish about the £5.5bn of government and lottery funds expended by Labour since Tony Blair's sweep to power in 1997 and the Conservatives' Hugh Robertson has been on the back foot over his party's utterly misguided selling-off of school playing fields under Margaret Thatcher.

However, being realistic, when the nation files into polling stations across the country it will be the images of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg which will focus minds . . . not those of Sutcliffe and Robertson and their own sporting chance.

Keywords · General Election · Sports Minister · UK Sport · Sport England · Coe · Deighton · 2012 Olympic Games ·

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