There is an easy way to finance sport in UK schools

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Michael Gove is planning, for all practical purposes,to end sport in UK schools. As the Observer notes:

A battle is raging at the heart of government over a decision by the education secretary, Michael Gove, to slash £162m of sports funding in English schools as the country prepares for the 2012 Olympics and bids for the 2018 World Cup.

So for the sake of £162 million all but the richest children in the UK are to be denied access to competitive sport. But let’s ignore the political incompetence in Gove’s plan and instead ponder the alternatives he might have considered.

Take for example the blog I have just posted about the VAT abuse that the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey promote. When this loss to the UK from this abuse was last estimated it amounted to £110 million a year. Those with any degree of familiarity with this issue think this a massive underestimate. As the Observer noted today:

Two years ago the Treasury said lost VAT receipts from this trade were costing the taxpayer £110m a year and rising, though industry insiders suspect the figure is much larger. With VAT set to rise from 17.5% to 20% in the new year, the Channel Islands tax dodge is expected to balloon further.

In the three months to Christmas last year, one in three CDs were bought over the internet, according to market research firm Kantar. Almost all were bought for £18 or less.

Given this abusive market now extends to most computer memory sales, many car parts and a great many other products I am sure the loss far exceeds that outdated estimate. I have little doubt that the loss with regard to DVD sales alone exceeds the £162 million that is needed to maintain sport in UK schools.

Over recent years we have seen so many supermarket campaigns supposedly supporting schools. Now those who really want to maintain a core part of our curriculum know who to complain to – those  very same supermarkets. If they stopped their VAT avoidance through the Channel Islands the funds to pay for school sport would be available.

If people want to take action to preserve sport in school they know who to complain to. They’re named in the Observer. Start with Tesco,  Asda and Sainsbury. Start letter writing, ask to speak to the manager, or whatever you think appropriate. But please do it now.