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Sport is a lottery winner

SPORT IS a major winner in the revamped lottery priorities over the next three years, with young people in disadvantaged areas certain to benefit.

For the first time, sport is to receive a hefty slice of the New Opportunities Fund budget, gaining an pound;87 million allocation from an overall Scottish total of pound;167m. The pound;6m for outdoor adventure is extra.

The Prime Minister has already backed lottery spending of pound;750m south of the border on sport and physical education, much of it on improved facilities in primaries and secondaries that will be available for community use.

Scottish priorities for sport are less clear but have been framed within the overall target of tackling youth crime.

In effect, the funds could be spent on anything from halls and pitches to localprogrammes that steer young people away from anti-social behaviour. Firmer statements are expected once the consultation is completed in mid January.

But Sam Galbraith, the Environment and Sports Minister, last week told Parliament the fund would "encourage the improvement of school facilities and the wider use of these in the community". It would also support schemes "in which sport can be part of the wider strategy in the fight against youth crime".

The NOF consultation paper, released last week, says several studies show sport in inner cities can lead to significant reductions in crime. A national strategy for dealing with youth crime is being drawn up and will dovetail with the sports expansion. Other out-of-school-hours initiatives will also be supported.

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