Labour slams SNP for breaking swimming pool pledge
THE SNP has been accused of breaking another election pledge after it failed to meet a deadline to provide school children with free use of swimming pools.
Only Inverclyde and Glasgow councils provide free swimming.
The accusation from Labour came after it was revealed that nine out of ten councils are still charging youngsters for the use of pools despite hopes that by April this year they would all be free of charge.
Labour's sports spokesman Frank McAveety has claimed that it will stymie hopes for Scotland to produce top swimmers for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and pointed out that free swimming is available in England.
He also said it was the latest in a long line of broken promises from the 2007 SNP election manifesto, following failures to provide first-time buyers with 2,000, reduce class sizes, abolish the council tax, write off student debt or provide two hours of PE in schools.
"The SNP manifesto committed them to providing free swimming for young Scots, but no progress has been made," he said.
"It simply isn't good enough that this policy appears to have been written off as yet another broken promise. Instead we are falling behind England."
But Public Health and Sports Minister Shona Robison said that the SNP was barely halfway through its four-year term of office and was working with councils to get the free swimming measures in place.
"Swimming secures significant funding from sportscotland," she said.
"Local authorities are responsible for around 90 per cent of spending on sport in Scotland, and the Scottish Government is providing councils with record levels of funding.
"Many local authorities in Scotland already provide free admission to public swimming pools for targeted groups, and we have a clear ambitions to go further," she added.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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