SCOTS have failed to respond to a £500million a year push to encourage them into being more active, with claims they are too embarrassed to take part in sport or worried that it’s too elite.

Despite hundreds of millions of pounds of public cash being ploughed into physical recreation, a parliamentary report has found the number of Scots taking part in sport or recreational activity has stagnated.

And high hopes that the 2014 Commonwealth Games would create a “legacy of sport” appear to have been in vain, with Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee admitting it has seen “no current evidence of an active legacy from the 2014 Games”.

The lack of public response to the massive investment – much of it coming from cash-strapped council coffers – has raised the question of whether the outlay represents value for money.

The Committee has now called on the Scottish Government to set out the impact of pressures on local government budgets on sporting participation rates “given the prominent role of local government in delivering sports services, and the increased charges at a local level to participate".

Convener Neil Findlay MSP said: “We are disappointed that overall participation figures have remained fairly stagnant over the past decade.

We look forward to a response from the Scottish Government to tell us what its plans are to increase participation rates and to hear what lessons have been learned over the past decade".

The Sport for Everyone Phase 2 report looked into why some Scots adults were failing to achieve the Chief Medical Office physical activity guidelines of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise a week, 150 minutes of moderate intensity or a combination of both.

Figures for 2015 revealed just 63 per cent of adults met the target - the same as in 2014 and a similar rate to previous years.

Feedback to the committee revealed many Scots who opt out of physical activity do so because they are too embarrassed and worried they might “look foolish, especially in large leisure facilities or palaces of sport – their image was of ultra-fit people in spandex,” states the report.

Another setback was poor early years’ experiences, with a negative experience of PE at school blamed for a lack of participation in later life, and concerns that sport is elitist and lacking in positive role models.

The report calls for activities to be available in a wider range of venues and settings and for communities to be more closely involved in initiatives to boost participation.

MSPs also recommended steps to encourage more role models to inspire particular groups and an increase in the number of volunteers across Scotland.

The Committee’s report also conceded that the anticipated bounce effect of the Commonwealth Games had not occurred. It adds: “It is also clear from the evidence provided that the Games Legacy is not universally felt. Some parts of the country feel the Games and its legacy passed them by to a great extent with Glasgow and the Games and any new facilities seeming very far away.”

The committee has called for the Scottish government to explain whether it believes an “active legacy” can still be achieved and how it might happen.

It added that it had been left disappointed by a lack of progress in participation figures, despite £500m of public funds going into physical recreation, of which £400m comes from council budgets.

MSPs highlighted evidence of a real terms fall in the local government revenue budget of 6.2 per cent between 2010/11 and 2016/17, with a further 2.2 per cent drop expected between 2016/17 and 2017/18 on a like-for-like basis.

The committee's report noted that net revenue spending on sport related services has reduced since 2014/15.

Despite the report’s warning of a stagnant sporting nation, Sport Minister Aileen Campbell said: "We have made good progress in recent years - in 2016, 79 per cent of people said they regularly take part in sport or physical activity compared with 75 per cent in 2011.

“Meanwhile walking participation rose from 57 per cent to 67 per cent over the same period. For our school pupils, 98 per cent now complete two hours PE per week, compared with less than 10 per cent in 2005.

"We know sporting bodies are also seeing membership growth. Scottish Cycling report a 12 per cent increase over the past year, Scottish Athletics has seen a 10per cent annual rise, while Scottish Swimming membership has increased by a quarter over the last decade.

"We know there is more to do, and have established 179 Community Sport Hubs, which are helping some 150,000 people participate in sport and physical activity. We are also putting active travel at the heart of our transport planning, doubling investment in walking and cycling to £80 million per annum from next year."

Maureen McGonigle, founder of Scottish Women in Sport, said she was surprised by the report’s findings. “So much work is being done and there are so many positive stories particularly from 2014 in the West of Scotland, that I find it quite surprising to hear that the numbers of people taking part in sport is stagnant.

“I know that most people involved in sport that I speak to believe there is more participation.

“Whatever the level, it is important that we work on to encourage more people into taking part in sport.”