April 13, 2021

UK government unveils new £300m virus-aid scheme for English sport

UK government unveils new £300m virus-aid scheme for English sport

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reacts during a media interview after arriving at the BBC in central London on November 22, 2020, to take appear on the BBC political programme The Andrew Marr Show. – Britain’s debt is now at its highest level since 1961 as a share of GDP, after the government embarked on a massive spending spree to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

The British government announced Wednesday a new £300 million ($419 million, 347 million euros) recovery package for sport in England as part of a plan to assist the wider economy in coping with the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak, delivering his budget in parliament, said £700 million was being made available to art, culture and sporting institutions to aid their response to the impact of Covid-19.

Britain’s Treasury, or finance ministry, tweeted that there was “£300m to back clubs and governing bodies across a wide range of sports in England”.

Sunak, following comments from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published Tuesday, underlined the government’s support for a potential joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to host football’s 2030 World Cup.

“We’re making available £700 million to support our incredible art, culture and sporting institutions as they reopen, backing the UK and Ireland’s joint 2030 World Cup bid, launching a new approach to apprenticeships in the creative industries, and extending our £500 million film and TV production restart scheme,” Sunak told lawmakers in the House of Commons while delivering his budget statement.

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Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said on Twitter that the £300m fund would “help spectator sports such as cricket, tennis and horse racing”.

Dowden added there would be “£25m to build 700 football pitches to support our bid” and an additional £1.2m put towards the England-hosted Women’s European Championship, which is set to take place in 2022.

England cricket captain Joe Root, speaking ahead of he fourth Test against India in Ahmedabad, was asked about the potential impact of the funding scheme on his sport.

“If it’s going to benefit the game all the way down that’s fantastic,” Root replied. “It’s really important we all do everything we can to look after the game from top to bottom.

“It does take money to do that. The fact the game is being looked after is a really positive thing and it’s great to hear that.”

Wednesday’s announcement follows a £300m sport ‘winter survival package’ announced by the government in November.

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