Be afraid, be very afraid
Published 24/10/2010 | 05:00
The sheer scale of the cuts announced in the UK last week to the annual spend on sports will not have gone unnoticed here, especially against a backdrop in which drastic levels of cuts and tax increases are coming our way.
In the UK, the estimated £9.3bn cost of hosting the 2012 Olympics remained largely untouched in the spending review. Sport England, which distributes funding to the grassroots via the governing bodies, and UK Sport, which is responsible for elite athletes, both had their exchequer funding cut by almost 30 per cent, although they will receive extra Lottery money to soften the blow.
Otherwise, the cuts will have a devastating impact, especially at grassroots level. Some of the headline cuts were stopping payment of the £160m which funded a PE strategy in schools; a 26 per cent cut in the fund which runs local authority playing fields and swimming pools; and a 40 per cent cut in capital investment.
In July 2009, An Bord Snip recommended a direct cut in sport spending here of €21.7m and a further €16.4m cut in the horse and greyhound racing fund. It is now possible -- especially given the degree to which the country's economic position has worsened since then -- that the level of cuts could be even more drastic.
It is not hard to imagine the damage that will be done to sport in Ireland if similar percentage cuts applied by chancellor George Osborne are applied by Brian Lenihan in December's budget.