ELECTION: Rennie serves up positive plan for Scottish sports 

By Lucy Ashton

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has a visit to a tennis club to serve up the party’s plan to boost sports. Describing the plan as a way of rallying Scottish sport and exceptional talent “from the grassroots to elite level”, it is the latest instalment in a week of proposals designed to win over wavering nationalist voters by providing positive alternatives to independence.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto outlines plans for:

Judy Murray and sons, Andy and Jamie, have left a golden legacy for Scottish sport.

  • All grassroots sports to benefit from the investment and interest in our Bounce Back Education Plan with its commitment to new funded entitlements for children and young people to use over the holidays so nobody misses out.
  • Ensuring that Scotland doesn’t miss out on the golden legacy of Judy, Andy and Jamie Murray by supporting the development of more pathways for their potential successors with new accessible tennis facilities and covered courts across the country.
  • Increasing investment in activities suitable for older people and disabled people, including new sporting opportunities, with a particular focus on reducing social isolation and loneliness.
  • Supporting a bid for the 2030 men’s world cup that puts the climate emergency at its heart, puts recovery first and is a model of how to hold climate-friendly major events in future.
  • Creating new national parks, establishing new woodlands and green spaces close to where people live, and appointing an Outdoor Recreation Champion to help everyone get the benefits.

Mr Rennie, pictured right, said:  “We know how important sport, exercise and access to the outdoors is for good physical and mental health.

“More clubs and activities are beginning to restart, and we’re now just weeks away from Scotland’s men’s team appearing at their first tournament for 23 years, and at Hampden of all places. That should kickstart a summer of great sport and activity from the grassroots to elite level.

“After the biggest health and economic crisis in a century, we are looking forward to celebrating and encouraging a return to sport for all.

“I want to present a positive alternative to independence to win over wavering former SNP voters. This plan for Scottish sport is patriotic, ambitious and achievable, provided we have a government prepared to focus on putting the recovery first.

“Our plans extend from helping everyone be more active right up to establishing a new model for how to conduct major international events with a bid for the first ever climate-friendly men’s world cup in 2030.

“I’m proud of Scotland’s sporting achievements and our beautiful great outdoors. Let’s make sure that everyone can enjoy them.”

Other Scottish Liberal Democrat policies include:

  • Working with local government to introduce a package of benefits for carers including free leisure centre access and self-referral to socially prescribed activities and courses.
  • Extending the discounts offered to Young Scot card to more sports centres cultural and arts venues.
  • Promoting more fan ownership and involvement in professional football clubs and leagues to secure better governance, inclusive decision-making, transparency and accountability, and a better fan experience.
  • Establishing an island travel scheme for teams and individuals to compete in national events.
  • Working for an equitable culture within Scottish sport to encourage as many people as possible to take part. We will make sure opportunities are not dictated by gender, ethnicity or any other characteristic, and work to make sure funding allocations are fair.
  • Supporting anti-racism and anti-homophobia campaigns and working to make sport inclusive and intolerant of discrimination at all levels.

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