New Government must take the lead to make the UK healthier, happier and more prosperous

The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG) has issued the following statement following the result of the 2024 General Election

We welcome the newly elected Labour Government and look forward to working with it to unlock the full potential of the sport, recreation and physical activity sector to achieve the five missions set out in its manifesto.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer faces an in-tray including a physical and mental health crisis across all ages, a stagnant economy, concerns about community safety and growing inequalities.

The sport, recreation and physical activity sector can play a major role in addressing these challenges and transforming the lives of millions by improving physical, mental and social wellbeing from childhood onwards; taking pressure off the NHS; creating a healthier, more productive workforce; fostering community cohesion; reducing crime and anti-social behaviour; and strengthening PE and school sport.

Rather than an after-thought, the principle of getting more people, more active, more often must be embedded as a priority right across Whitehall. It needs to be led from the very top of Government and it needs to be backed by proper investment.

We call on the new Government to pledge to make the UK the most physically active nation in Europe. This is no small task, but the prize is enormous: it would deliver an additional £3.6bn in economic growth, £1bn in NHS savings and £71bn in wellbeing benefits.

The new Government has the opportunity to work with our sector, take the lead, and drive that change. The sport, recreation and physical activity sector stands ready to play its part in delivering a healthier, happier nation.

Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver MBE added:

“The new Labour Government takes office at a time when there is a desperate need to focus on building for the future, including prioritising the health, happiness and success of the next generation. Helping young people access and enjoy daily physical activity and balance the demands of the digital age through the human connection of play and sport can deliver more bang for the buck than many other interventions. The Youth Sport Trust has nearly 30 years experience of delivering positive outcomes through physical education and school sport and we stand ready, alongside others, to share our experience and insights with Keir Starmer and his team to deliver change.

“During the election campaign, the Labour Party set out an ambition for this to be the healthiest generation of children ever. This ambition can only be achieved by harnessing the fundamental importance of play and physical development in the early years, and the sense of belonging and resilience which come from physical activity and sport in the teenage years. Using play and sport to foster fun, friendship and life skills will help get children to engage more fully in schools, in communities and in life.

“We know children who are physically active on a regular basis have better mental, physical and social wellbeing and do better in school. We hope the new Government will build on the principles which underpinned the previous Labour’s Government’s successful PE and school sport strategy and significantly increased children’s physical activity levels, by rebuilding local co-ordination and delivery teams in every community, reimaging physical education and creating active and well schools across the country.”

The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG) is comprised of the following organisations:

  • Active Partnerships
  • Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)
  • Sport for Development Coalition
  • Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • ukactive
  • Youth Sport Trust
Published on 5 July 2024