London 2012's funding legacy has been criticised by a House of Commons Committee ©Getty Images

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report, criticising the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Sport England for a "lack of vision and drive" over the use of funding on projects after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Committee chair Meg Hillier said there had been "precious little to show by way of legacy" from London 2012 and was particularly hard on Sport England.

"The lack of vision and drive has seen Sport England pay out £1.5 billion ($1.8 billion/€1.7 billion) of taxpayers' money without knowing where two-thirds of it went, and there's a paltry 1.2 per cent increase in active adults to show for it [between November 2016 and 2019]," said Hillier.

"More waste, more loss of desperately needed public money. 

"As the cost-of-living crisis bites hard, DCMS must set out what it will do differently to achieve change where it has not succeeded."

The DCMS was operated under a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition from 2010 until 2015; and since, the Conservative Party has been in power.

The report made the claim about missing money because, it says, Sport England "does not track the distribution of grants issued to national organisations".

Sport England refuted the claim that it did not know where its grant money went.

"Sport England invests public money responsibly and transparently, recording and publishing data on all grant recipients, including location data right down to postcode level," said Sport England in a statement. 

"This is all clearly available online, with information on where every pound that we spend goes."

Stratford was regenerated as part of the London 2012 legacy ©Getty Images
Stratford was regenerated as part of the London 2012 legacy ©Getty Images

Within the first three years of the Games taking place, adult sports participation fell, with it only rising by 1.2 per cent again after a strategy refocus.

The report was also critical of the DCMS and Sport England's approach in tackling inequalities and barriers to participation.

The Committee was not convinced the DCMS worked effectively with other Government departments to make people more physically active in their day-to-day lives.

The DCMS pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic causing participation levels to drop, even though the Committee report showed issues prior to the outbreak.

"This Government has made the nation's health and fitness a priority, and people's activity levels were at all-time highs before the pandemic," said a spokesperson for the Department.

"Through the pandemic we provided £1 billion ($1.2 billion/€1.13 billion) to support leisure sectors such as public pools and leisure centres as well as grassroots and professional sports, and we continue to drive up participation, particularly for under-represented groups."

Recommendations were outlined in the report, with the Committee stating Sport England should provide them a breakdown of how the money was spent, the DCMS setting out how it would increase participation and it working with the Department for Levelling Up to make sure facilities are sustainable.

Former Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston defended the legacy of London 2012 last year at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Former Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston defended the legacy of London 2012 last year at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Prior to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Former Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston - replaced by Stuart Andrew in September - defended criticism of the Games legacy 10 years on from the Opening Ceremony, claiming the regeneration of East London had achieved this.

Critics pointed out the failure to deliver promised social housing as well as the drop in active participation.

Approximately 26 per cent of English adults were deemed to be obese in 2010, as were approximately 16 per cent of children.

National Health Service statistics in 2019 saw this figure rise to 29 per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children.

The United Kingdom Government has been criticised for cutting funding in grassroots sports, which has been particularly affected by consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Birmingham 2022, Huddleston pledged to distribute equipment used at the Games to schools around the country, adding that school facilities will be opened up to the public more to allow people to stay active.