News Release: Call for Government to keep its word on sports funding for capital

Royal Commonwealth PoolThe Scottish Government will not keep a commitment it gave to fund refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, according to Stewart Maxwell, Minister for Communities and Sport.

He made this admission in Parliament last week. Green MSP Robin Harper had asked if the Government was prepared to keep the pledge that had been made in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Candidate City File. Specifically the commitment for £28.8 million to be “100% Scottish Executive” funded.

Mr Maxwell claimed this was not a commitment, just a guarantee. He continued: “It was not intended that the City of Edinburgh Council would exercise the Scottish Government’s guarantee instead of finding the funding itself. That was fully understood by City of Edinburgh Council officials at that time.”

The sports minister stated that the 100% funding pledge was made due to “conflicting timetables for submitting the [Glasgow Commonwealth Games] bid and for sportscotland’s consideration of the funding application for the works at the Royal Commonwealth Pool”.

But Save Meadowbank spokesperson Kevin Connor said he was “baffled” by this explanation.

“The minister is clearly confused. SportScotland announced that the Commonwealth Pool application for £4 million had been successful back in July 2004, while the Glasgow bid document was completed three years later in May 2007.

“The Scottish Government were fully aware of SportScotland’s funding commitment to the Commonwealth Pool when they submitted the Glasgow bid, but presumably because of the proposal to use the pool for the diving competition, they chose to provide 100% of the funding.”

Campaigners want the Scottish Government to keep to its word and honour the funding pledge in the Commonwealth Games document.

“This is an important Government commitment for sport in Scotland’s capital city,” continued Mr Connor. “The Candidate City File is an official document, presented to all Commonwealth countries and fully supported by the Scottish Government. Now we find the Government wants to renege on a promise.

“Who could blame people for questioning the sincerity of the government’s commitment to the Commonwealth Games specifically, and to sport generally? By pulling the funding, Edinburgh Council will be forced to spend £32 million on the pool. By keeping its promise, £32 million would be freed up to provide an upgraded Meadowbank, rather than the current plan to radically downsize the facility and sell off much of the land for housing.”