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CAMERON HINTS AT U-TURN ON SCHOOL SPORT CUTS- 2 Dec 2010 00:00:00

Prime Minister David Cameron has taken note of the strongly worded letter that was sent to him by 75 elite British athletes asking him to rethink the plans to cut £162m of school sport funding.

Cameron has ordered  Education Secretary Michael Gove to rethink the cuts after strong concern was expressed at the effect they could have on sport at a local level.

The Prime Minister flew back from helping England's 2018 World Cup bid at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich to address the cabinet on issue.

Cameron said that he is 'looking carefully' at the debate after probed on the cuts by former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe at Prime Minister's questions – hinting at a possible u-turn.

Downing Street then confirmed that the decision to cut school sports funding will been revisited because 'there is some recognition this is being raised at local level'.

Education secretary Michael Gove made the decision to cut the fund from the end of March 2011 that helps 450 school sports partnerships across England.

But 75 athletes including Denise Lewis, Tessa Sanderson and Gail Emms have signed a written letter to the prime minister asking for an urgent meeting to try and stop the fund from being cut.

Emms was the organiser of the letter that includes: ‘With one ill-conceived cut you are on the brink of destroying everything schools, clubs and the national governing bodies of sport are doing to ensure this and future generations embrace sport and physical activity, not shun it.’

The letter adds: ‘The future health of all our children is at risk if you axe this funding. We urge you to act now, please, prime minister, and look again at the permanent withdrawal of funding for school sport partnerships before you condemn millions of children to a lack of sporting opportunities and therefore a bleak future of lethargy, obesity and unhappiness.’

The schools use the money to run PE classes where there are no trained staff, as well as organise sports clubs during and after school and run competitions and events.

The Department of Education said it would be 'redeploying' existing resources for schools sport confirmed that it intended to allocate the money 'in due course'.

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