Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May has made a bold reshuffle to the cabinet, with a number of high-profile changes likely to affect the leisure sector.
John Whittingdale has been sacked as secretary of state for culture, media and sport, with former Home Office minister Karen Bradley named as his successor.
Whittingdale took up the post in May 2015 and had publicly backed 'Leave' in the recent referendum campaign. Last week he offered reassurances that government funding for UK Sport and Sport England would not be cut as a result of the UK voting to leave the European Union.
On receiving the news, Whittingdale tweeted: "Has been a privilege to serve as Culture Secretary. I wish my successor every success & will continue to support creative industries."
Little is known of the political views of Bradley, who worked with May at the Home Office as head of the modern slavery bill and becomes the fourth culture secretary in little over two years. Prior to her election in 2010 as MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, Bradley worked for tax and accounting giants such as Deloitte and KPMG.
Meanwhile, the government has confirmed that Jeremy Hunt is to stay in his role as health secretary. The continuity that this brings could bode well for the eventual publication of the much-delayed childhood obesity strategy. Seen as a David Cameron legacy project, doubts had been expressed over whether it would see the light of day under Theresa May's administration.
The new government has been urged by ukactive to continue the work of its predecessor in taking strides to tackle the UK’s physical inactivity epidemic. Some of the standout achievements under David Cameron included the 2013 launch of Public Health England, publication of last year’s groundbreaking Sporting Future strategy and the announcement in March of a £520m ‘sugar tax’ on fizzy drinks to fund physical activity in schools.
“The previous government and the coalition before it did a huge amount to firstly recognise, then to begin to treat, the issue of physical inactivity and has made several strong steps to doing so over the past years,” said ukactive executive director Steven Ward.
“However, there is still a long way to go before building activity back into the DNA of the nation becomes a truly national priority.
“The ukactive team and our membership will seek to work closely with the new administration over the coming months to quickly identify where there are opportunities to raise the profile of physical activity and create long-lasting policy change, as well as areas where there we can collaborate with our members to deliver physical activity on the ground.”
First published on www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Jak Phillips, 14 July 2016