Local Government and Leisure Policy: The Heritage of Thatcherism
Despite the ideological significance and generally high public profile of the leisure quangos, local government is by far the most significant vehicle for the delivery of leisure services. Local government current expenditure in 1988/9, for example, exceeded £1178 million (CIPFA 1990), compared to which the budgets for the same year of the Sports Council (£41.9 million), the Arts Council (£155.9 million) and the Countryside Commission (£22.2 million) were relatively small. The breakdown of local government leisure expenditure in Figure 4.1 illustrates the fact that the vast majority of local government spending in this area is on sport and recreation. Nevertheless, the local government budget in general, and the budget for leisure in particular, has been subjected to sustained attack over the period since the mid-1970s, and more particularly since the succession of a Conservative government in 1979. Although this attack may have abated in the post-Thatcher period ¡X with, for example, the replacement of the community charge ¡X nevertheless the Thatcher era set the context; it defined the strategic relations between, and the resources available to, central and local government. Thus the material and ideological context within which local government leisure policy operates is constituted by the heritage of Thatcherism.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.