What Next for Sports Policy as Crouch Resigns
Posted: Fri, 02 Nov 2018 10:39
We knew something was happening inside DCMS this week when a flurry of text messages indicated a meeting on Friday morning was likely to be postponed.
Then as we arrived at the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the year awards news finally broke that Sports Minister Tracey Crouch had resigned
Tracey Crouch left the government over the delays to the introduction of the new £2 maximum stake for fixed-odds betting machines - #FOBT. Of course many in sport wouldn't have picked up that 'our' sports minister has of course other duties in DCMS and gambling has long been a part of the wider brief. The £2 stake was warmly welcomed across Parliament but clearly not amongst the bookmakers who stand to lose money. They lobbied hard and the government caved in, much to the anger of Crouch.
For us in sport this is significant because as we have said numerous times, each Minister puts their own personal flavour into the role and the direction sports policy takes. It's a pity and partly why we exist, to help longer term thinking to prevent this swapping from one direction to another every 2-3 years when the Minister changes. But that is the nature of politics and many other walks of life. A new boss means a new direction.
We are sad to see Tracey move on as she had been generally good for understanding the role of sport in its wider contribution to the government agenda. #sportignfututures was a real attempt to get a cross government approach even if it is not perfect.
However, as others have commented to us she is part of a government that pushed austerity on local authorities - so she must share the blame for the impact this is having in our local communities.
She has also been a little quiet a few times when we would have liked a bigger sport voice - for example when DfE cut £millions from the healthy schools capital programme. Crouch simple shrugged her shoulders.
So we look forward to working with whoever comes next. It is still one of the best jobs in government if you love sport and want to make a difference. We hope that the new Minister doesn't feel the need to tear up sports policy as its stands - but does take a look to tweak certain elements around the issues we raise at the Sports Think Tank.
And we wish Tracey Crouch well on the back benches and hope she is able to champion the causes she pursued in government free from the shackles of ministerial responsibility.