Alba proposes free sports facility use for under-18s

Alex Salmond said young people may be being 'priced out' of using sports facilities in some areas.

Alba proposes free sports facility use for under-18s PA Media
Policy could cause a ‘step-change’ in the health of the country.

The Alba Party has said it will bring forward proposals to make sports facilities free for those aged under 18, if elected to Holyrood.

Leader Alex Salmond said young people may be being priced out of using sports facilities in some local authorities, with youngsters in Edinburgh forced to pay £84 per hour for a synthetic football pitch – more than double the national average according to sportscotland.

The former first minister said the policy – which the party says will cost £206m annually – could represent a “step-change” in the health of young people in Scotland.

He said: “As part of a supermajority for independence in the Scottish Parliament, Alba MSPs will bring forward a raft of proposals to help Scotland recover from the coronavirus.

“Our policy of free access to sports facilities for young people will be a key step-change in creating a healthier nation, something that will be crucial to addressing inequality and also help keep money in the pockets of hundreds of thousands of families across Scotland.”

Former boxing world champion Alex Arthur, who is standing for Alba on its Lothian list, said sport should be at the “forefront” of helping Scotland recover from the pandemic, adding: “It is clear though that across the country it is a lottery in terms of how affordable access is.

“By making access to sports facilities universally free to every young person in Scotland, it gives every young Scot an equal opportunity to participate in sport.

“This will be good for young people in many different ways but ultimately it will help our young people start a journey to a much fitter life, something which makes this policy one that Scotland can’t afford not to rollout.”