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Swire: We will put Lottery cash back where it belongs

In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Shadow Culture Secretary, Hugo Swire said:

"Music, the arts, sport, they can all change people's lives.

They are at the heart of everything we do.

They are vital to our sense of belonging and national identity.

Without them, you end up with a pointless, boring vacuum.

Or as John Prescott calls it - the Millennium Dome.

David Cameron has pointed out that while our GDP is important, there is something else that we must never take for granted. Our GWB.

General Well Being.

Our Quality of Life.

Life isn't just about how big your house is - or how many jags in your garage.

It's about much more than that.

Which is why it's important for politicians to do what they can to champion sport and the arts.

Labour thinks the arts are just about having pop stars over to No.10 for drinks.

1997 - you remember, Cool Britannia - those were the days when even Cherie was talking to the bloke next door.

Remember the theme tune? "Things can only get better!"

Now, 9 years later -

"Things can only get bitter"

Despite New Labour's claims that 1997 was cultural year zero, the truth is that this Labour government has damaged many elements of our cultural life.

This year, Labour's culture minister David Lamy decided to act on the huge number of libraries that are being closed.

The result?

Since his intervention the number of libraries under threat of closure has more than doubled!

Well done David!

I'm sure promotion beckons.

But we shouldn't be surprised.

After all, this is a government that doesn't mind closing libraries, as long as they can open casinos.

Two years ago Gordon Brown forced 12 British films to be scrapped thanks to a badly timed tax announcement.

This year, he threatened our orchestras with a £30 million tax bill until we forced him to climb down.

And this is the Government that has stolen more than £3 billion from the National Lottery, destined for the arts and sport, and diverted it to shore up Gordon Brown's spending.

The largest cut in cultural funding made by any Government in history.

Last week at their party conference, Tessa Jowell took delight in claiming the Olympics as a Labour triumph.

Tell that to Seb Coe!

I think that's what they call "cheek by Jowell".

Let me tell you, the one way to guarantee that 2012 is the greatest games ever is by ensuring it will be a Conservative Prime Minster who welcomes the world to London.

And while were about it, why don't we make doubly certain by making sure it's a Conservative Mayor of London who plays host to the games?

Labour's record on sport is lamentable.

In fact it seems the only sport they have promoted is croquet!

At a time when grassroots sport is in crisis.

And a third of all our children are still doing less than 2 hours of physical exercise a week.

When Sports clubs have been hit by extra costs from the new licensing laws, as well as other red tape and regulations.

Lottery sport money has also been cut by a third.

Is it any wonder that obesity rates among young people are rising?

It's time to do something about it.

To get our children off the couch and on to the sports field.

That's why I am delighted to announce we are commissioning an independent review of sporting facilities available to children across the country.

We want to make sure our young people have access to regular organized sports facilities in the community.

And it will be competitive sport -

Because we know how important that is.

To make sure money is available to community sport, let me make this pledge today.

The next Conservative Government will put Lottery cash back where it belongs - in the hands of charities, heritage, the arts and sport.

This will mean hundreds of millions of pounds extra for these good causes.

Money currently taken by the Treasury to make the Gordon's balance sheet look better will be returned to those who need it most.

This is our commitment to the future of culture, heritage and sport in this country.

While I'm talking about commitments, let me make a few more

The next Conservative government will not sanction the super casinos on every street that Tony Blair and his cronies are so keen on forcing through.

We will not gamble with our future!

Let the Dome be their memorial, not ours.

And at a time when the digital revolution is transforming how we watch, read and listen, we will ensure that the BBC flourishes, but that it doesn't stifle creativity, innovation and investment amongst its competitors.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the BBC.

I know that's a risky thing to say to this audience.

We want a strong BBC, but we want to encourage all those new and exciting businesses in this fast changing creative world.

We will develop policies to make Britain the world leader in creative industries, and champion our film and music industries across the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen

When David Cameron offered me this job, I jumped at the opportunity.

I have been in the arts world for most of my working life.

The arts are my passion.

I believe that a rich cultural life is the mark of a true civilization.

I know that David Cameron shares my enthusiasm for the power of the arts, music, film and sport to change lives and to make Britain a better place for all.

The next Conservative Government won't see this vital part of our national life as an afterthought or an add-on.

We will use sport, culture and Britain's creativity to improve the quality of life for us all."

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