British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake has welcomed the Government’s pledge not to cut elite funding in its Comprehensive Spending Review.
Cycling received a £26.92 million windfall from UK Sport for the London Olympiad – a 21.5 per cent rise on its funding for the four years in the build-up to the Beijing Games.
But UK Sport – the Government agency responsible for the distribution of funding to Olympic sport – has seen its budget for 2011-15 slashed by 28 per cent with chancellor George Osborne wielding the axe in the biggest UK spending cuts since World War II.
UK Sport currently hands out £90m of public money to elite Olympic athletes, with an additional £35m coming from private sponsorship and National Lottery funding.
However, the Comprehensive Spending Review confirmed sport’s allocation of National Lottery cash will increase to 60 per cent, safeguarding funding for elite athletes in the build-up to London 2012.
“We fully appreciate the current economic climate and the tough decisions that have to be made,” said Drake. “In that context, the fact that both UK Sport and Sport England are able to commit to existing funding levels through to March 2013 is extremely welcome news.
“Vitally, this creates the stability we need to focus on the job in hand ahead of London 2012, both in terms of elite performances and the wider growth and development of our sport.
“It is no surprise that the picture will change post-2012 and over the past 18 months we have already prepared for this by working hard to grow other revenue streams through membership and commercial partnerships, such as with our principal partner British Sky Broadcasting.
“That work will continue to ensure we will be well placed to build further on the excellent momentum gained over the past few years across all areas of activity.”
British Olympic Association chairman Lord Colin Moynihan added: “In this difficult economic climate we welcome the Government’s continued support for the key elements of the London 2012 Olympic Games programme.
“In particular, we strongly support the safeguarding of funding to the National Governing Bodies of Olympic sports and elite athletes through a combination of Exchequer and lottery funding. This funding is critical to the success of Team GB at London 2012.
“It will ensure athletes from across the UK are able to perform to the best of their ability and in doing so, inspire future generations of sport participants and act as a catalyst for national pride and unity.
“The BOA recognises that it is important now more than ever, for all stakeholders in sport to utilise resources in the most cost-effective way and we will continue to work with partners to deliver services to sports and athletes as efficiently as possible.”