Olympic Games 2012: Legacy
Lord Mawson (Crossbench)
rose to call attention to building sustainable communities and securing a worthwhile legacy for the London Olympics; and to move for Papers.
My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to introduce this debate today, and I am encouraged by the interest shown by Members of your Lordships' House. I have lived and worked in the Lower Lea Valley in the East End of London for nearly 25 years. In 1984, I founded the Bromley by Bow Centre, which is 300 yards from the Olympic site. I have worked with a team of very able people and members of the local community to grow a community project which has gained a national and international reputation in community development and innovative approaches to the delivery of health, education and other public services.
In 1998 I was asked by the then Secretary of State to become a founding member of Poplar HARCA, the first local housing company of its kind in the UK to take over responsibility for housing from the local authority and to pioneer an approach that would not simply build and renovate housing but would use the capital development programme as an opportunity to develop community regeneration. Our belief is that legacy is not just about land and buildings, as I fear much of the present Olympic rhetoric suggests, but about people, places and sustainable communities. Legacy is also, of course, about sport, but I trust that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, will forgive me if I do not focus on that. He is after all rather more qualified than I am to do so.
Today this £300 million housing company owns and manages 8,500 properties. In 2007 it won the Housing Corporation's prestigious Gold Award for empowering communities and, in a recent ballot, 78 per cent of the residents of 900 homes on three estates voted to transfer their homes to Poplar HARCA. This company is now putting together a £1 billion capital development programme on an area of land on the opposite side of the road to the Olympic site, and equal in size. Yet to date it has not been possible to hold conversations about this with the London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority as prospective development partners.
In 1998 I was also asked by the London borough of Tower Hamlets to be a founding member of Leaside Regeneration, a regeneration company that spans the Lower Lea Valley and which for the first time brought together councillors from the London boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets, social entrepreneurs like myself and business entrepreneurs. At Leaside Regeneration, we do not just write strategy documents but build practical projects that create employment, stimulate the growth of new community-based businesses and put in place towpaths, bridges, road crossings and stations that knit together this fragmented and desolate river valley. One recent project, completed in December, was a £7 million DLR station at Langdon Park, at the centre of the valley, which connects isolated housing estates, opens up dead land for redevelopment and brings top-quality design into an area which was for so long treated to poor-quality materials.
In 1999 I joined two people in a room at the Bromley by Bow Centre and we began to dream about bringing the Olympic Games to east London. We realised that the Lower Lea Valley was probably the only place in London with enough available land. Not all were convinced, but we persisted with our thoughts, and I went to see the noble Lord, Lord Rogers of Riverside, to check that we were not in cloud-cuckoo-land. We thought that if the Olympics were to come to east London, they could act as a catalyst to turn round the fortunes of the Lower Lea Valley and build what we called the Water City—a practical vision that would use many miles of waterways in the Lower Lea Valley to lift land values and once again drive the economy of east London.
All of us who worked with families in the area knew how water, the old docks and their histories were inextricably linked together. Real legacy would need to connect at a deep level to have any meaning. Thankfully, the noble Lord reassured me that we were not mad and agreed to put a team around us so that together we could produce what has become the first document proposing that the Games should come to east London. I keep the document as a memento.
I must declare an interest in all the above projects and explain why it has been necessary to bring them into being. Not only that, but I must come clean about the passion for east London that my colleagues and I share. We are not passive onlookers; we care greatly about the people who live there. Many of them are our friends and colleagues. We are committed to the area long-term.
We are at a historic moment. The next 100 years for east London will be defined by the decisions made in the next 12 months. A great deal is at stake for some of the poorest communities in this country. We worry about what we see taking place under what one very experienced developer calls the smoke and mirrors of the Olympic Legacy. But to understand our concerns and appreciate what we mean by sustainable communities and legacy, we must go back nearly 25 years to the early days of my work.
One of the patrons of the Bromley by Bow Centre for 17 years was Lord Peyton of Yeovil, who on many difficult occasions gave us very practical support and advice. In the early days when we were struggling to dance with the dinosaur of government, he reminded me as the experienced parliamentarian he was that,
"government understands the shape of the forest but has no idea what is actually going on under the trees".
Those words of wisdom accurately described my experience over many years in east London as I watched endless regeneration schemes, NHS structures and the like come past our doors. When you stay in one place for a very long time you watch successive government programmes. Their effect on people's lives is often quite different from the intention of the rhetoric that launched them.
I mentioned earlier some of the organisations that we helped grow in the Lower Lea Valley not to impress you but to remind us all that creating sustainable communities is not about the macro but about the micro. It is about the devil in the detail of local relationships between people and organisations on the ground. It is not ultimately about structures, systems and processes but about individuals, relationships and friendships. It is about people before structures.
The enterprise economy in which we all now live, and which this Government are quite rightly so keen to promote, is all about the devil "under the trees". That is where the fertile soil exists which is absolutely critical to growing a thriving economy and entrepreneurial culture in east London and to moving local residents away from historic state cultures of dependency to play an active and constructive role in co-creating a new place in east London. Only then will they feel any responsibility for its future.
It is this fertile ground under the trees in which Olympic legacy must be rooted. Many of us in east London are increasingly concerned that these crucial local details are still not understood by the more than 40 public sector agencies involved in the regeneration of the area. I am sure that many noble Lords are all too aware of the Public Accounts Committee's recent critical report on the Thames Gateway, which describes in great detail the waste of money and human potential in this area. Real opportunities for deep and sustainable legacy in the Lower Lea Valley are being sliced away and lost.
These are complex matters, but to get a handle on them we must start not at the macro level but at the micro. There are new and effective ways of doing regeneration that are being pioneered by social and business entrepreneurs in the area but which are still not understood. As any successful businessman will tell us, you must first understand the micro—one shop, the building of one supermarket—in great detail before, step by step, you build a national chain. Building sustainable communities is an organic process and the soil is now ready in the Lower Lea Valley.
Noble Lords will be aware of the work of the noble Lord, Lord Laming, in chairing the inquiry into the tragic death of Victoria Climbié, which well illustrated that understanding one life and one experience in great detail can give important clues to the functioning or malfunctioning of complex public sector structures. Our own epiphany came through the death from cancer of a woman in Bromley-by-Bow named Jean Vialls in 1992. Her story has been well documented elsewhere. It led us to cut through the chaos of the local NHS at that time and to build our own health centre with our own GP and primary care team, embedded in a community setting that also addressed people's housing, education and social needs as well as stimulating them to take responsibility for their own future, to get jobs and to develop their own small businesses.
Despite hosting visits from more than 17 government Ministers in recent years, with all the rhetoric which supports our work, it has not got any easier to bring about change in the face of government commissioning structures. Indeed, in many ways it has become harder as we navigate the endless public bodies that have landed in our bit of the planet.
I articulate these realities not to carp or complain—such is life—but to draw attention to the fact that the next 12 months will, for good or bad, cast the die for the next 100 years in east London. What we see emerging, at its simplest, are two options: either we will build a new metropolitan district of London in the east, which we have called Water City—a vision now embraced by the main public sector bodies in their vision for the area—or we will end up with a giant housing estate which will look fine for the world's visitors and their television cameras in 2012, much as Dagenham was full of aspiration when it was first built. But will today's public sector bodies leave us with another Dagenham on our doorstep for future generations? If so, an historic opportunity will have been missed and east London will be destined to another 100 years of relative poverty and deprivation.
It is not clear today which of these it is going to be and, importantly, which of the alphabet soup of organisations has the authority to lead the process. The Olympic Delivery Authority seems to have given up on legacy. It has too much on its plate—I am sympathetic to that—and has passed the baton to the London Development Agency, but the LDA has no track record of creating excellent places for people to live and work. If it does not now engage seriously with colleagues on the ground then yet further opportunities for real legacy will be lost.
The over-complex Olympic process has already lost many opportunities to build on local partners' practical experience in the Lower Lea Valley. These are partners who will still be there in autumn 2012 when the show leaves town. Yet the Olympics still have the potential to act as a catalyst to lift the game on the £20 billion of development that will take place down the valley over the next 20 years. When you live and work in east London, you know that the Olympics are not the biggest show in town. They are, as one Newham councillor recently put it, only the third biggest regeneration scheme in Newham alone.
The Olympic stadium has become the focal point of the Olympic developments but this is really the least of the opportunities springing from the Olympics. Many other opportunities still remain if the ODA does not hide behind its 11-mile security fence and if it allows some small "threads of gold" to connect the inside of its project to the outside world in practical ways. This is not about yet more consultation but is about involving successful local entrepreneurs in co-creating the future.
Spending £9 billion in the area will of course make a difference—don't get me wrong, we welcome the investment—but the key questions are: are we investing the money well; will it make a sustainable difference; will it deliver the maximum added value to local communities; will it transform east London for the next 100 years; or will a great opportunity have been lost? If we grasp this opportunity then we as a nation may have something valuable to share with the International Olympic Committee—some practical clues about how you do legacy in a way that does not leave us, as I have seen at Homebush in Sydney, with a large empty site; or in the position of West Heidelberg in Melbourne where the 1956 Olympics were held and where you can see the effect of getting these decisions wrong on a local community as long as 50 years later.
If we start to understand the devil in the detail of this more practical entrepreneurial and organic way of working which I have described, then we may well be able to produce new thinking about Olympic legacy which explores how you might justify putting projects of this scale into poorer countries in Africa or Asia precisely because the capital spend can be used to generate real legacy, real local sustainable communities and real change. I am fearful that the present approach to the London 2012 Olympics will fail to do this.
What then needs to happen to build a truly sustainable Olympic legacy in east London? I would humbly suggest as a neighbour across the road the following thoughts. There is an opportunity to use the Olympic process as a real catalyst for change in east London. The problem is that the regeneration structures in east London are a mess. Those of us who try to make them work in practical ways know how serious that mess is and how much energy and time are being wasted. The present structures are confusing potential private sector investors precisely at a time when we want them to commit to the area. There needs to be simplification and some agencies need to go.
The key players in my view are central government, the Mayor of London, local government, business entrepreneurs operating in the area and, so often forgotten, the social entrepreneurs and local communities that have a long-term stake in the area. It is surely not beyond our wit to create a simple, focused, business-like structure for east London regeneration that, first, recognises with honesty and humility that each of these key players has both strengths and weaknesses; secondly, recognises the legitimate rights, responsibilities and roles of each of these key players; and, thirdly, enables them to work together rather than against each other or in isolation.
A good start has been made in relation to the future of the Olympic Park itself through the setting up of the Olympic Park Regeneration Steering Group which now includes local government leaders as well as the Minister and the mayor. This approach can be applied to the bigger picture of regeneration in east London and deepened to include business and social entrepreneurs. I humbly suggest that at this critical hour in the life of east London, we now all focus on the needs and interests of the people who live there, that we stop playing games, stop jockeying for position and work together in a way that understands that faith in democracy itself depends on government's ability to deliver real change on the ground in communities where people live and work.
Only then will sustainable communities be created in east London, the Water City vision achieved and an Olympic legacy delivered—a legacy that moves us beyond a past that has locked some of the poorest people in our society into dependency cultures which have wasted so much of their creative human potential. The good news is that the Lower Lea Valley is not full of problems but is bursting with opportunity and is being held back by structures that understand too little of what is going on in the fertile soil under the trees. A worthwhile Olympic legacy is all to play for, but we must act soon or the moment will be lost. I beg to move for Papers.
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour)
My Lords, I am enormously grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for giving us the opportunity to debate this extremely important topic. Perhaps I can reminisce for a moment. I well remember visiting—he probably does not remember—the Bromley by Bow Centre, probably at least a decade ago, and being enormously impressed by the work that he was doing in that area.
In thinking about the debate, I was surprised earlier this week to receive an e-mail from Visit London, an otherwise worthy organisation, with an attachment rather grandly called, "London 2016 News". It concerned the preparations for the Olympics and I am slightly concerned that Visit London seems to have lost four years in the process. I am sure that all the arrangements for visitors will be ready in time for 2012 and not 2016. No doubt that was a mistake.
I start by making my usual declaration of non-interest in this subject. Some noble Lords may have noted that I do not display natural athleticism. I blame some of that on being expelled from my games department for lack of effort—"Harris is excused games for the rest of his school career", at the age of about 12. None the less, I am one of those who is committed to the idea of bringing the Olympics to London. Indeed, I can claim even earlier dreams about bringing the Olympics to London in that I recall a dinner held at Elena's L'Etoile in Charlotte Street in the mid-1990s when the British Olympic Association was first beginning to think about the possibility of seeking to bid for the Olympics in London. This was before we had a Mayor of London and we wondered whether the local authorities of London would be able to unite sufficiently to work towards that end. Perhaps rather rashly, on behalf of 32 London boroughs and the City, I gave the assurance that I thought it was possible and that the bid should be made.
I declare an interest as an adviser to the board of Transport for London. Clearly, the current investment programme in which Transport for London is engaged will help to deliver a transport legacy for east London—I hope well before 2012. There should be a new London overground network in time for the Games; we shall see the East London line extended south to Croydon and north through Hackney to connect with the North London line at Highbury and Islington. The area will also benefit from the Eurostar rail link; 50 per cent extra capacity on the Docklands Light Railway and an extended East London line connecting to an improved London overground network. There will be new walking and cycling routes, as well as extra capacity on the Jubilee line, and that is before the arrival of Crossrail. There will also be the extension of the DLR to Stratford International which will be a further boost to regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley south of the Olympic site.
I also declare an interest as a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, which will face enormous operational challenges in managing the event itself and in preparing for it. Even in that context, where it is largely an immediate operational requirement, there will be a real legacy of benefit to the country. For example, there should be a new control centre which will enable the police to manage national policing operations in a way that has not been possible before. There will also be an enormous requirement for the training of officers all over the country for specialist duties which will be required as part of the Olympics and, again, that will have a lasting legacy benefit.
Above all, I hope that the Metropolitan Police and other forces will use the opportunity to build new types of relationships with local communities, something which I believe is possible as part of this process because every nationality in the world will be represented in London at the Games and it also likely that every nationality in the world is resident in this great city. Building links with those communities will be part of effectively policing the Games.
On the progress being made, I think the signs are encouraging. There will be a substantial legacy in housing and I hope we will see a legacy in other parts of the infrastructure. We shall certainly see a new urban park; and we are already seeing contracts let not just to companies in London but also to companies based around the country. That is all good news and it is all welcome.
However, I want to echo some of the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, about governance and whether the legacy is adequately protected. We have a tripartite arrangement on some of the decision-making, and that is before the Government is included—quadripartite, if that is a word, if the Government are included. There is also local governance, which has responsibility for ensuring that we deliver the greatest sporting festival the world has ever seen. I am confident that we will. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, will tell us exactly why that will be the case. We have the ODA, which is responsible for delivering the physical buildings that are needed to make that happen. Separately, the LDA is required to sort out the legacy. The ODA is required to "have regard to" the importance of legacy. I am concerned that as the going gets tough—there will be times during the next four years when the going gets extremely tough—the legacy will be squeezed.
There is also the potential for shifting costs. I shall give an example although I do not believe that this will necessarily happen. It is possible that the ODA will shift costs on to LOCOG. For example, by investing less in physical and technical security, LOCOG could be required to engage more people during the event itself on day-to-day security. There is the potential for all sorts of problems. I really do wish that we had a more robust governance structure.
I am also concerned about some of the whingeing we hear about this project. On Tuesday of this week there was a debate in another place on the National Lottery. I single out the contributions of two Members of Parliament, not because they came out with particularly ludicrous comments or because they are poor representatives of their areas but because I was amazed by some of the nonsense that was said by people who do not really understand either London or the importance of this project for the nation. Adam Price, the Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, complained that the poorest communities in the United Kingdom were having to finance the regeneration of London. Peter Wishart, the Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire, talked about the traditional support for the disadvantaged, the dispossessed and the marginalised being lost. Of the 10 constituencies with the highest rate of unemployment, six are in London; of the top 50, 10 are in London; of the top 100, 21 are in London. Fifty constituencies—
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour)
My Lords, I am well aware of the point that my noble friend is going to make. I am on my final sentence, which I would probably have concluded had my noble friend not interrupted.
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour)
My Lords, there are 50 constituencies in London with a higher rate of unemployment than Carmarthen. There are 56 with a higher rate of unemployment than Perth and North Perthshire. Given that London subsidises the rest of the country to the tune of £16 billion to £20 billion, those Members of Parliament should look at where the money is going and whether some of that money should be invested in London.
Lord Coe (Conservative)
My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Harris, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing this timely debate. Having been so intimately involved in the Olympic project over the past two or three years, I can say that the noble Lord's work has become very apparent to my teams, both in the London organising committee and in the Olympic Delivery Authority. I know that they would wish to join me in thanking the noble Lord for his groundbreaking work.
I shall endeavour to complete my words on time and to budget. First, I declare my interest as chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, an organisation charged with the staging of those Games. Once again I remind noble Lords that the organisation raises all its money from the private sector. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are two of the biggest sporting events in the world. They provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate sporting excellence. However, as we made clear throughout the bidding process, and subsequently, they are also about so much more than that. At a fundamental level, the Games have the ability to drive agendas, inspire change and work as a catalyst for good in communities in east London and far more broadly.
That is the case not just during the Games, when the eyes of the world will be upon us, but also in delivering for the future that crucial legacy, of which the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, spoke so eloquently. That is why, although of course both the organising committee and the Olympic Delivery Authority have sport at the heart of the Games, sustainability underpins all our thinking.
This is not just a whim or an aspiration. Working with organisations as diverse as the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 and the World Wildlife Fund and in consultation with individuals, businesses, social entrepreneurs and communities around London and the country, we have committed ourselves from the initial planning stage to the concept of a one-planet Olympic Games.
"Sustainability" is one of those words which have become so frequently used in recent years that it is difficult to avoid the stigma of jargon. With London 2012, that is certainly not the case. It is a concept that underpins our vision and all the strategic objectives for a successful Games. The Olympic board all signed up to the sustainability plan at the end of last year. We defined the term broadly and it set out the challenges and commitments for us to meet at all stages of the project in the five key themes of climate change, waste, biodiversity, inclusion and healthy living. Let me be quite clear in case there is the remotest impression in this House that the approach currently adopted by the organising committee is the norm in the delivery of an Olympic Games; it simply is not. No previous host city has ever developed such detailed work from the very outset of its planning.
What does that mean in reality? Naturally, there is a strong focus around the Olympic park and the physical and community regeneration legacy. The park itself will leave the largest urban space created in Europe in the past 150 years: 120 hectares of ecologically managed land, decontaminated, and a huge asset to people living in east London and, more profoundly, the Lower Lea Valley; the Olympic village, built to the highest specification for energy efficiency and accessibility, will leave 9,000 new homes for Londoners and key workers; our venues are designed and built with future community use in mind; and transport infrastructure improvements will benefit commuters and business alike.
Tackling emissions and environmental degradation will lead to direct improvements for communities. The consequences of pollution fall disproportionately on the poor, so spotlighting climate change, waste and biodiversity will help the people of east London and internationally.
Let me be frank: as the chairman of the organising committee, I do not need clean rivers or 95 per cent of site waste to be recycled to stage a successful Games but, more than four years before our opening ceremony, they have already been achieved in some scale through our groundbreaking focus on sustainability.
London, through sport—so often the hidden social worker in our communities— is taking the lead and boosting the standard of living of its population. Promoting inclusive communities is fundamental to that vision, too. London is the most diverse city on earth, and the richness and openness that come from its many cultural influences played an important role in nudging us across the line in Singapore. We should never forget that.
The London Games will be open to all and will promote the change in attitude towards groups which often face disadvantage or discrimination, particularly in disability—the softer legacy, if you like. However, getting this right will also bequeath an invaluable "hard legacy" through people gaining skills and employment and through economic opportunities for social entrepreneurs.
Perhaps I may take two very good examples—first, around skills and our pre-volunteer programme. There will be a need for more than 50,000 volunteers working at venues to help athletes and spectators to get the most out of their Games experience. This programme is now targeting unskilled and historically excluded groups from across the country, and in 2012 some 10 per cent of volunteers will be drawn from graduates of this programme—newly skilled and each with a brighter future for themselves, their family and the communities they live in.
Secondly, on economic opportunities, the London 2012 Business Network, which I launched in Manchester yesterday, will help firms, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, get "bid-fit" for Games-associated contracts. Let us be clear—I say this as someone London-born, Sheffield-raised and Loughborough-trained—that although the capital is the host city, we are taking this message to all nations and regions so all can share.
Finally, London and Britain have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to promote healthy living through sports participation. The Olympic Games will inspire a new generation to take up sports that they may have been unaware even existed, our medals a catalyst for improved and increased participation.
Communities will also benefit from the physical infrastructure: the stadium, specifically designed for community use after the Games, an aquatics centre and a velodrome, finally delivering sporting facilities to match London's reputation as a world leader in so many other areas.
There are 1,685 days until the opening ceremony in east London—that is just 240 Thursdays. We are determined in that time to get the sporting preparations right, on time and on budget to deliver the most memorable Games ever. Even more so, we want to see the next four years and six weeks of sport act as a springboard for the social, economic and cultural life of Britain's people into the future.
The last question I want to be asked at the closing ceremony to the Paralympic Games in 2012 is, "But couldn't we have made much more of all this?". That means that my job and those of my team will not always be easy, but we are all determined that the answer to that question will be "No".
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton (Baronesses in Waiting, HM Household; Labour)
My Lords, I know that very few Members of Lordships' House can do the four-minute mile; I suspect that all could do the six-minute speech, remembering that when it says six minutes on the clock, you are over time.
Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury (Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for initiating this debate. I intend in my speech to concentrate specifically on the cultural legacy that I believe that the 2012 London Olympics can secure.
As everyone who takes part in these debates now knows, the modern Olympic movement was created by Pierre de Coubertin, an amateur boxer, but also a poet. The cornerstone to his vision in reviving the Olympics was to bring sport and culture together in one great festival. He did not simply desire to glory in great physical feats but, as the ancient Greeks had done, to celebrate mind as well as body. That was precisely the line taken in London's bid for the 2012 Games, and one of the reasons it won. It promised to leave a lasting cultural legacy.
"there is a rare chance and a real opportunity: to deepen and widen engagement with culture in all its forms ... Because this time, there will be so much more to the Cultural Olympiad than the ceremonies ... More than the live concerts ... It will be the beginning of something much, much more ambitious. The matching of physical excellence with cultural excellence".
Those words are wholeheartedly to be welcomed: the ambition to place culture as a central part of the legacy of the London Olympics stated absolutely clearly.
In the same speech, Ms Jowell referred to the building of,
"a clear delivery structure which will enable every level and every area of the cultural community to play its part".
It is with that delivery structure that we on these Benches have concerns in the areas of finance and organisation.
When London won the Olympics, there was general rejoicing, but right from the start there were concerns among the cultural and arts sectors that money would be siphoned off to pay for what was essentially a sporting extravaganza—correct concerns, I am afraid. As the costs of the Olympics have escalated, so have the raids on the lottery good causes fund, with knock-on effects for the cultural sector in general, but also for the cultural Olympiad in particular.
The escalation goes on. Simon Hoggart of the Guardian this week calculated that the amount of money we are spending on the Olympics every 44 minutes between now and 2012 is £180,000—equivalent exactly to the annual grant that the Arts Council is threatening to take away from the Bush Theatre. He is quick-witted in more ways than one, apparently. However, these statistics sit uneasily with the stated aim of having culture at the heart of the Olympics.
There are three tiers to the Cultural Olympiad. Tier 1 is the mandatory ceremonies, for which there is a budget, although we do not have a figure. Tier 2 is 10 major cultural events involving key partners such as the BBC, the British Museum and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tier 3 is a UK-wide cultural festival. The last tier is unique to the London bid and is designed to encompass thousands of local and regional events as part of our nationwide celebration.
However, there is no allocated funding for tier 3. This money has to be found locally and by the voluntary arts and heritage groups rooted in our communities. The last diversion of lottery funds hit them particularly hard. At the end of last year, the Minister replied to a Question for Written Answer on lack of funding, saying:
This trust seems very keen on being launched, but less keen on actually leaving port. It has been launched no fewer than three times, most recently in May. This is not clear or structured behaviour and the consequence is that it is only now that the process of tendering for the money involved has begun. Of that money, £6 million has already been ring-fenced for the UK School Games; £24 million is going to the nations and regions; and a paltry £10 million for everything else. Compare that with the £750 million being diverted from the arts via special Olympic lottery games. Can the Minister assure the House that the money will not be taken from this £10 million allocated for those unspecified costs for the mandatory ceremonies?
The Government argue that the arts should contribute to the Olympic bill because the Cultural Olympiad that runs alongside the sporting one will be a huge success. It will not be a huge success if it does not happen, and it will not happen if there are not enough funds. At the moment, there is not nearly enough to achieve what the Government envisage. We on these Benches have suggestions about where extra money can be found for lottery good causes and consequently for the cultural organisations. One is a gross profits tax for the lottery and the other a crackdown on lottery-style games—so-called grey games—which, through imitation, dupe people into spending their money elsewhere than the National Lottery. We believe that these proposals could raise significant amounts. In Tuesday's Olympic lottery debate in another place, the Secretary of State indicated his support for our proposals and I hope that the Minister will confirm today that the Government intend to set up a review into them.
We on these Benches look forward to a successful Olympic Games and we wholeheartedly endorse the idea of the Cultural Olympiad as envisaged by the Government. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate UK talent and creative talent, and to expand audiences, inspire the young and deliver much more than just a worthwhile legacy. This will only happen with proper resources and proper structures.
The Bishop of London (Bishop)
My Lords, one thing is very clear. We are thinking about single individuals. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, will certainly leave a very visible and very important legacy in east London. Like other noble Lords, I am most grateful to him for having introduced this subject. I would like to associate myself with many of things that he has said.
I obviously have to declare an interest, because I am responsible for 500 communities of social entrepreneurs. As faith is such a dodgy question, I had better describe them as such. That is what churches, temples and gurdwaras, actually are—communities of social entrepreneurs. I am also responsible in the Diocese of London alone for 150 schools. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, talked about diversity. He is absolutely right. In one of our schools in the vicinity of the Olympic Stadium in Haringey, 70 languages are spoken. For homiletic reasons, it is convenient that they run from Albanian to Zulu. We have an astonishing diversity. Nowhere in the world has anyone ever before tried to build a community on the basis of that kind of diversity.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, talked about the soil. When my mother worked for George Lansbury in Bow in the 1920s and 1930s, the real social glue that held the community together was membership of a political party or a union. That is no longer the case. The unignorable communities of social entrepreneurs, and the bodies that regularly assemble citizens in considerable numbers, for a good and constructive purpose, are mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches. We need more adequate ways of relating to these communities of social entrepreneurs and to the faith communities in the immediate vicinity of the Olympic developments. We should review how that is being done at the moment and look at ways in which it can be done more adequately.
We are trying to help. Christians in London have set up a new organisation called More Than Gold, chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney. On Tuesday we will license our chaplain for the Olympics, Canon Duncan Green. That is only a Church of England contribution to a general Christian effort—a fully ecumenical effort—that recognises that we have been building good relations with other faith communities for years. We want to work in an inter-faith way. For instance, immediately after the recent regrettable comments about no-go areas in our city were made, we were able, with Muslim colleagues in Tower Hamlets, in the immediate vicinity of the new Olympic developments, to issue a joint statement denying that that description was true in our vicinity.
So there is a very hopeful community here. I agree with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, that if we are thinking about delicate issues of security for the Olympics, part of making them secure will be to involve local faith communities and use them as a conduit of communication with the larger constituency.
We are trying to be positive. However, I echo much of what the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said. We are contemplating a new town of perhaps 40,000 people eventually. That will be one of the great legacies of these Olympics—40,000 people in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. It will have an enormous impact on existing communities and on the whole of east London. I am aware of local frustration at the latest planning applications, which seem to have revised downwards the scale of the original legacy provision. Like the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, I want to know how local people are not only to be informed but more thoroughly involved in these developments.
My last word is that I am certainly not part of the whingers' chorus. The great legacy from these Games that we want for the whole of the UK is inspiration, better health and better confidence. That is what they promise and that is what we are all hoping for. But if that is to be achieved, we need to pay serious attention to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, about engagement with the local community.
Baroness Valentine (Crossbench)
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this debate. I, too, have visited the Bromley-by-Bow Centre and been impressed by his activities there.
Understandably, government attention has focused on staging the Games in 2012, and excellent progress is being made. But it was the promised legacy that persuaded the IOC to pass the Olympic torch to London. There are many forms of legacy, but the Games will have succeeded if they transform people's lives. This morning, I will focus on the once-in-a-lifetime catalyst that the Olympic legacy represents for the revitalisation of the East End of London. It is easy to say that the East End needs changing. It is more difficult to define what it should change to. This week, at the O2 in Greenwich, a certain reformed girl band is singing:
"I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want".
We must uncover what east London really really wants. We must offer a positive, ambitious new vision which embraces and raises the aspirations of east Londoners, new and old.
My contribution to the vision for the area would include building on its potential as an international tourist destination, raising employment by exploiting the area's advantages as a business location, and building modern, necessarily dense, attractive green and waterside housing where people from all walks of life both want to and can live. Perhaps new and old east Londoners want allotments, pubs, wind turbines, mosques or churches. We need to uncover what enables people to relate to their east London village, to make each a place where people want to live and work—a new-generation London.
East London has the potential to be a world-class visitor destination. It has a string of venues: the O2, the world's most popular entertainment venue; ExCel's exhibition centre; the Silvertown aquarium; the Olympic swimming pool and velodrome; and Lea Valley Park. The South Bank has seen extraordinary change in the last decade, so why not the same for east London in the next? It has superb access to markets, with the world's most important financial centres on its doorstep, together with European links via City Airport and the Channel Tunnel station at Stratford, and of course Crossrail will add further links. East London could aspire to be a quartier for French headquarters in Britain; East 15 could become the 15th arrondissement. After all, it takes the same time to get from Stratford to Paris as it does from London to Manchester. Whatever the right answer, the opportunity is there.
The Lower Lea Valley is next door to the Olympic park. It is a forlorn, ex-industrial area where planners have identified the potential to build 35,000 homes in the next decade. It has eight miles of canal and river frontage—the distance along the South Bank from Greenwich to County Hall. Because of the challenges, the Government designated it a priority area for regeneration—before we won the Olympic Games—and appointed an urban development corporation. However, government investment in the Lower Lea Valley languishes. The so-called Legacy Masterplan Framework for 2012 looks almost only at the park. Regeneration infrastructure for the Olympic park needs £2.7 billion of Olympic money, yet only £120 million has been committed to the Lower Lea Valley, an area over twice its size. One thing is for sure—that will not be enough to underpin the targeted 35,000 homes, let alone a broader vision.
The area needs government commitment to providing bridges, roads, schools, health centres and utilities. Perhaps the mayor or the new Housing and Communities Agency could underwrite that investment. It would be naive to hope that developers will cough it all up; the public sector needs to woo them to the area, not deaden potential by taxing first and delivering—maybe—later. Developers have to tackle a plethora of policy and bureaucracy emanating from a veritable multitude of public bodies. There are more bodies responsible for the Thames Gateway than emerged in the aftermath of rail privatisation. Development is subject to regulation from three London boroughs, Lea Valley Regional Park Authority, English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation, the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, the mayor and his agencies, the DCLG's Thames Gateway Executive and a partridge in a pear tree. What is the Thames Gateway? Where is it? The 1980s marriage of convenience by the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, between parts of Kent, Essex and London initially helped to secure attention and funding, but nobody living in Stratford, Greenwich or Ebbsfleet would call themselves a Thames Gatewayer. London now has a mayor and a measure of devolved government so, for Londoners, the Thames Gateway may have passed its use-by date. I could argue that the Thames Gateway was as relevant as Clwyd or Yugoslavia.
Of course London needs to grow eastwards, and these areas need regenerating. But the funding and powers of the Thames Gateway Executive should pass to the organisation set up by the Government to deliver regeneration in this area, the currently underresourced London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. That corporation should be made accountable to the mayor, while embracing the involvement of the boroughs and, most importantly, their communities. Then public money will be targeted where it is most needed, taking account of local people's needs and aspirations. Private investors will then gain the confidence to produce plans for a vibrant, flourishing east London.
Lord Haworth (Labour)
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for allowing me the opportunity to speak in this debate about the regeneration of what he rightly described as the fragmented and desolate river valley that the Lower Lea Valley is. My only qualification for speaking is that I lived for more than 20 years in the Lower Lea Valley in Old Ford. I may be one of the very few Members of your Lordships' House who has lived for such an extensive period of time in the area in question. Not only did I live at Old Ford for more than 20 years, I was married at Bromley-by-Bow registry office. When I participated in sport, which is rather a long time ago, I used to play squash regularly on a Monday morning at Eton Manor, a facility that the Lea Valley Park Authority provided in those days. So I know the area fairly well.
Our house was in Tower Hamlets but less than a minute's walk from Hackney and probably only three minutes' walk from the London Borough of Newham. Hackney Wick station, one of the most desolate places on the railway network which for years has been unmanned—not only was no one selling tickets at the station, there was not even a machine from which you could buy a ticket—was my local railway station.
Some 15 years before living there, in the very early 1970s, my first connection with what is now very much in the centre of the Olympic park was as part of a working party of the governors of North-East London Polytechnic when I was the student representative. We were anxiously searching for a site to build housing on for students and young persons because there was an acute accommodation shortage for students at North-East London Poly and other educational institutions in the early 1970s. I vividly remember identifying a football field at Clays Lane as a suitable place to build relatively inexpensive social housing, which was to be organised on a co-operative basis for students from the polytechnic and other young local authority workers and the like. The problem with that site was that the overhead power cables, which are shortly to be removed from the Olympic site, meant that we could not build our flats higher than two stories.
Those flats were built in the late 1970s and I discovered subsequently, rather to my embarrassment, that one of the blocks of flats had been named after me. "Howarth Court" came into being and, to my chagrin, I discovered that they had spelt my name wrong. It is not only the annunciators in your Lordships' House which occasionally make that error. It has been a source of embarrassment for many years that I had a block of flats named after me with the spelling wrong. After 30 years, they have recently been knocked down.
This brings me to a point that I want to emphasise—the importance of social housing. If housing was a serious problem for young people in the early 1970s, it still is now. All the units of accommodation that we were successful in getting built have now been knocked down to make way for the stadium, so I am glad that in the legacy plan that the mayor has published, a copy of which came in this morning's post in time for this debate, there is a serious emphasis on housing and a commitment that the Games will have an immediate legacy of 9,000 high-quality homes—a great deal more than the ones that were knocked down at Clays Lane—of which at least 30 per cent will be affordable to Londoners on low incomes. There is an aspiration for considerably greater housing development after the Games are concluded in the peripheral areas.
I shall not say very much about jobs, although they are crucial in the area. I merely emphasise, as did the noble Lord, Lord Harris, that east London has more people of employment age who are out of work than almost anywhere else in the United Kingdom. I was going to say something of the importance of the transport link but the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has covered that fairly comprehensively.
I appreciate some of the difficulties that have been referred to in the debate today, and probably there will be some more, but, on an optimistic note, a tremendous amount of work is already going on that I find encouraging. I went back to the site yesterday and walked down the Greenway, newly tarmacked, signposted and better lit public footpath that takes one over a bridge on Marshgate Lane in the centre of the site. The vision of the activity is phenomenal; I have seen nothing like it anywhere in the world, except in China. There must have been a dozen huge earth-moving machines and a dozen large trucks; a fantastic degree of activity was taking place on that site yesterday. It staggered me and the friends of mine who came with me to look at the work that was going on on that site.
There has been a lot of talk about legacy, but some of it is already happening. On the fringes of the park, at Hackney Wick station, new housing developments are taking place. Street lighting is being improved and the station has already been improved. This is a place where I was mugged a few months before moving away from the area, not long after I came into your Lordships' House. It happened on a dark night. The area was an extremely lonely place to go and many people have asked, "Why does anyone want to use Hackney Wick station late at night?". Already that environment is being transformed. The housing being built there and the street lighting make it safer. The legacy is already with us; I am very optimistic about that.
Lord Moynihan (Conservative)
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing today's debate. Let me start by declaring my interests. I am chairman of the British Olympic Association; a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and its audit committee; and a member of the Olympic Board, which provides oversight of the London 2012 project, the composition of which also includes my noble friend Lord Coe, the Mayor of London and the Olympics Minister.
The British Olympic Association's role is to prepare select, manage and lead Britain's finest athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. In Great Britain and Northern Ireland the BOA is responsible for the development and protection of the Olympic movement, whose vision is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport. However, as the host nation, our role goes further to reflect the International Olympic Committee charter. We believe that as important as our success in the 2012 Games is the sports legacy and inspiration which the Games has the ability to deliver to everyone, able bodied and disabled, the length and breadth of our nation.
To date, the focus, as noble Lords have mentioned, has been on the regeneration of the East End of London and the construction of the Olympic park. Now I believe the attention of the nation, the Government, the national governing bodies of sport, Parliament, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and local communities needs to turn to the Olympics sport legacy, which needs to be costed, with clearly defined time lines on policy objectives, accountable, transparent, openly discussed and deliverable. For us in the British Olympic Association the starting point was Gordon Brown's Olympic manifesto as the then Chancellor of the Exchequer. On
"My vision for increasing young people's participation in sport by 2012".
Among others, the article made the following commitments: to,
"make the build-up to the 2012 Olympics the centrepiece of a national campaign on sport and fitness";
"restore school sport to its proper place ... with a wider range of sports and exercises that play to all talents";
"every school should offer four hours of school sport per week by 2010",
and, in addition to those four hours spent within the curriculum time, that every school should,
"offer after-school sport and links with a range of local sports clubs";
"every school should have access to playing fields and better sports facilities";
"every talented young sports star should have extra support to help them train and develop";
and that a target should be set of,
"up to 1 million men and women and young people attracted to volunteer in our schools and communities".
He concluded by saying that this was,
"a great ambition for 2012—a nation fitter in health and stronger in civic spirit".
In November of last year—by now of course as Prime Minister—he went even further by announcing that,
"the Government has issued a challenge to sport. We want two million more active people by 2012".
The time has now arrived for all of us, from Ministers and the Olympic Board, down to local sports clubs, to rise to that challenge. We at the BOA, who also raise money from the private sector—as my noble friend has just mentioned, we have been totally independent for more than 100 years—have been fully and publicly supportive of every single one of the now Prime Minister's commitments.
In our role as a host nation of the NOC we take seriously our duty to ensure that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games leave a fitting sports legacy in this country. We recognise that the Games provide an opportunity to change the culture of health and fitness in the United Kingdom and a real chance to meet the targets set by the Prime Minister. We also recognise that the proposed Olympic sporting legacy was fundamental to London's successful bid to the International Olympic Committee to host the Games. No doubt everyone in this House joins me in hoping that every promise made in 2005 is delivered upon by 2012 and that we all have regular opportunities to monitor those commitments.
I am confident that with an outstanding sports Minister in Gerry Sutcliffe, who is totally committed to a lasting legacy for sport, these objectives can be achieved, but they will neither come cheap nor be attainable without fundamental reforms to the sports policy the Prime Minister has inherited, which has struggled to deliver the commitments for an Olympic sports legacy of the type he has outlined. To that end, a number of reviews are currently ongoing regarding the legacy of London 2012. The Government's legacy action plan is nearing completion. Additionally, Sport England will soon be publishing its own Olympic sports legacy report, and the mayor's plans for London in that context are due to be outlined presently. In the Olympic Board's London 2012 sustainability plan, to which my noble friend has referred, it has been mandated that the British Olympic Association will be consulting with sport and the general public for their views on whether the desired legacy outcomes are being addressed. It is our anticipation that that work will begin later this year.
Aside from all those reviews, the news in late November last year that the first concrete financial commitment on the subject of sporting legacy had been issued by the Government was very welcome in the context of the programme to deliver cultural and sporting activities across the UK. However, key to the Olympic sports legacy, which must touch Olympic and non-Olympic sports alike, is the need to improve sports facilities across the country. A comprehensive Olympic sports legacy needs to address all sports facilities and to address participation, the development of excellence and new systems that ensure that every child in this country has their talent identified and developed to the full.
Expectations have understandably been raised and hope has abounded that community facilities will be reinvigorated, local clubs will be assisted and our children will be offered much, much more. I still think these aims can be achieved and that the Prime Minister's Olympic manifesto commitments can be honoured, but only if action is taken now—decisive action on an all-party basis. The Games and the Olympic movement give us an opportunity to deliver real benefit to all young people, practical value in terms of sport and recreation about which one day I hope our children will reflect, "Our parents never had the chances we have today". That must be our goal for London's Olympic sports legacy.
The Bishop of Newcastle (Bishop)
My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this timely debate. From the other end of the country, I associate myself with many of his remarks. We are all excited about the prospect of the Games coming to London, and it is widely recognised that the legacy of the 2012 Games has to be a worthwhile one for London, the nation and the regions. Just as there is a big smile on the faces of the people of Newcastle this morning for the first time in a long while following yesterday's events at St James' Park, I fervently hope that the same will be true for us all as the Games get under way and for the legacy thereafter.
This speech will be different from many of the others we have heard today because I want to speak from the regional perspective of the north-east. It is hard at the moment, four years away, to feel anything other than that the Games belong to London. I do not sense any kind of ownership of the Games yet in other parts of the country. Yet the construction of the Olympic site and the organising and running of the Games are already having an effect on communities not just in east London but many miles from the capital.
I want to raise two or three points from the perspective of the north-east. First, there is obviously the question of funding. In the north-east there is great concern about the voluntary and community sector; concern that, as resources are targeted towards the Olympics, the essential funding for projects working with some of the most disadvantaged people and communities will suffer. There is a particular concern about the continuing availability of lottery funding. Add to that the significantly reduced ability of the Northern Rock Foundation to fund key local voluntary projects, and the north-east is facing a double whammy. Funding from all sources into the voluntary and community sector has been crucial in enabling the north-east to find its way following the collapse of all the traditional industries in the 1970s and 1980s. If the Olympics cause a further decrease in funding availability in our region, we will not be able to claim that the London Olympics have contributed to sustainable communities across the country.
Secondly, our own experience of regeneration through the creation of large-scale central venues for the arts and culture has been pretty mixed. Although there are some wonderful new buildings on the Tyne, the quayside is unrecognisable from 20 years ago, energy and vibrancy have been brought to the life of the city and we are proud of what has been done, it has been good only for those who are able to access our wonderful new facilities. I meet a kind of dislocation between the cultural opportunities presented by the quayside and the lives of the people who live in adjacent communities, some of whom experience very high levels of social deprivation. There is a dislocation between the wonderful concert halls, art galleries and the like and the people who feel distant from them and do not participate in the activities of the arts, culture and heritage agenda. There is no evidence at all of any trickle-down theory here.
I suggest that there are some lessons to be learnt and it is important that those preparing for the Olympics learn from other situations where large-scale cultural projects have successfully overcome social divisions rather than exacerbated them, so that the legacy for the communities in east London is greater sustainability and more cohesiveness rather than less. For my money, the prime ingredients for building sustainability in local communities are local participation and local ownership. Things imposed on people by central bodies or external agencies do not work, nor do the more cosmetic kinds of regeneration initiatives that we sometimes find. Local participation and ownership, the right kind of infrastructure, a good quality built environment, the best kind of public space; all of these help to build sustainable communities.
In the end, the test is whether people feel included, whether they want to live in a place and, indeed, whether they can afford to do so. Securing a worthwhile legacy for the Games is not just a London issue, the effects will stretch far into the English regions. So let us ensure that there is indeed a worthwhile legacy, not only in London and in the nation but in the regions as well.
Lord Addington (Deputy Chief Whip; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, when I saw that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, was introducing a debate on sustainable communities and the Olympics, I decided that I would address those communities that should be most directly affected by the Games: the sporting communities.
I shall focus on those small sporting clubs that provide a centre of community and involvement for those in them. Anyone who knows anything about amateur sports clubs knows that they become the hubs of people's lives for periods of time. Often a parent who has played in the first team may now be involved in coaching young people. Such clubs, I have discovered, can also become employment brokers, especially for casual labour. These places offer many types of activity and a lot of support.
What do the Olympics do for this type of sport? Potentially they will do not very much directly, unless we are careful, because the elite level can be seen as another animal, something that does not affect or inspire us and is beyond us. The challenge here, which the Government and the entire Olympic movement have accepted should happen, is to try and make the two relate to each other.
We have already heard much about the almost certain improvements to the physical environment into which we are pumping money. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, said that they would not have to clean up the environment in order to run a successful Games and it is absolutely true: you do not need to do that for a major sporting event. As anyone who went to the old Wembley stadium would know, you can attend a wonderful sporting event even though you have to go through a pretty grim area. But in this case we have taken on the challenge of doing something more. We are trying to get in on an idea or a concept and trying to make it accessible. That is quite a big challenge to the culture and nature of what is going on around us.
Thus we have a goal. However, there is also a built-in fear for some smaller groups. My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter—who has apologised for not being in her place, but her contact lens has come loose—mentioned that many of these groups are frightened that their funding will be cut and diverted towards the elite end. We can play our own games by saying that the Olympic Games should create knock-on effects and inspiration. However, if the funding to pump-prime these smaller groups is affected then there is a danger we will lose one of the major benefits: to inspire small communities around the country. If we want to facilitate people in the regions outside London and inspire them to get involved in their own clubs, perhaps in non-Olympic sports, then they will need the extra funding. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, gave a wonderful example of what happened at his athletics club following his own success, when they simply could not handle the numbers wanting to get involved. We cannot achieve a similar result now unless funding is guaranteed. The CCPR has a wonderful way of putting it: the major events have a long sunrise but short sunset.
Concentration on this aspect of the Olympic movement should have started a while ago. As the activity intensifies, where are the structures to encourage local participation and to tie it in with overall Olympic success? Are we guiding smaller groups on how to get in on the benefits? Are we telling them that they should be involved? Are the Government convinced that they are doing enough?
The idea of the Treasury driving sports policy is new to me but it may work because the Treasury, which tends to have more attention-grabbing things going on around it, has the money and the power. I have always felt that if sport is to deliver on its huge potential, it must attract both money and power either directly or indirectly. I believe that the Department of Health should have far greater responsibility for sport. If the idea took off, some lovely accounting procedures and number-crunching could show how greater participation in sport created savings in the NHS. I do not know whether the Treasury will be quite so amenable to the idea.
Can the Minister tell us how the Government are tying these two structures together? How are they helping in this process? How are they encouraging people to back the Olympic idea? That would improve the position not only of the Olympics but, directly, of those people themselves. What if people do not feel that they are competing? That is the real question. If this group of small and, one hopes, self-sustaining communities does not feel that it is part of the Games then it cannot get the benefits of the Games. If we ignore that, we may be ignoring a central driver for social good and the most obviously available benefit of the whole process.
Lord Ouseley (Crossbench)
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, not only for allowing us the opportunity to participate in this debate but for the excellent work that he has been doing as a leader, though he would not necessarily describe himself as that, within east London, among people who need his leadership and inspiration, and for the promotion of the can-do philosophy that he uses to guide his work.
I am prepared to say something quite different in this debate for two reasons: first, the limitation of speaking for only six minutes; and, secondly, my receipt of a letter from a prisoner in Pentonville which connects me back to why I am here. This person is seeking to use his own can-do philosophy to do something about the avoidance of guns and gangs and he is asking for help from within the prison environment. Although that may seem removed from this debate, I would like to talk about how we can connect real-life issues, not only for Londoners but for people right across the UK, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am keen to keep stressing that there are Olympic and Paralympic Games because we are almost forgetting that the can-do culture extends to people with disabilities who will inspire us with what they can do by participating and succeeding.
Sustainable communities are about people, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, spoke about earlier; they concern their vulnerability, their strengths, their interdependency and their quality of life. It is not just about the quantifiable investment, the infrastructure and development, the environment or the economy, although all of those are hugely important. The London Paralympic Games in 2012 have the potential to be inspirational not only for Londoners but for all those who are ready to have their potential unlocked, appreciated, engaged, nurtured and developed for both self and public benefit. They have the potential to challenge the public cynicism that exists both in the north-east of England—although I am sure that Kevin Keegan will put that to rights—and in places such as Peckham which are not that far from east London.
We have to recognise that everything connects to the issues in people's lives. The cynicism extends because people's experience is that they have been promised so many benefits from a whole range of regeneration programmes and investments that have not been realised. This is an opportunity to create and apply a can-do philosophy that inspires young and old, men and women, people with disabilities, the unemployed, the homeless, the poor and the deprived by seeing each person as a special individual.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have already shown how they can inspire enthusiasm, as witnessed in the euphoric celebration that we had on the streets of London in July 2005 when London was awarded the host status. The commendable leadership of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his multicultural team showed that can-do spirit. They won the Games for us to host, against all odds. I was certainly one of those celebrating a victory that he did not expect, and a lot of other people felt the same. We must now push on to spread the philosophy that—whoever, whatever and wherever you are—you can do it in pursuit of your dreams.
No one can deny the sustainable attributes and qualities of the people of London, or indeed of the entire UK population. London is able to regenerate itself, as the noble Lord, Lord Coe, said, and we do not need the Games to create the improvements that are happening. London's diversity is a huge strength in attracting inward investment. Record numbers of tourists visit each year from all parts of the world. London is also home for the many migrants who settle here, filling gaps in the economy left by the outward migration of others to leafy suburban areas and less congested parts of the country. We also observe a growing aged population and more people experiencing disabilities and mental health illnesses. There are increasing levels of dependency.
Three public policy strands are therefore sufficiently important to be explicitly stated within the legacy goals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Community cohesion, social inclusion and anti-poverty programmes must be intensified and connected more comprehensively with all other policy areas. We will not overcome cynicism or the failure to engage with ordinary people who feel excluded from all these initiatives if we do not connect with a diverse range of programmes which all purport to bring social benefits.
Last week the former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, published a pamphlet from which I shall quote one sentence that epitomises the issue we have to deal with. It states:
"Entrenched inequality, which sees people living increasingly separate lives according to their wealth, means there is a danger of a small but significant underclass developing in Britain".
His research found that poor and wealthy households are living ever further apart. While the Government have lifted large numbers of children out of poverty since 1997, 1.4 million children are still poor, despite having at least one parent in work.
The legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games must have a gearing effect that recognises, as it will do, the needs of elite sports men and women, wider participation, and those who are not part of the can-do culture in affluent London. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be costly but they have the potential to be inspirational. There is no doubt that those associated with developing and delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games are taking steps to address the social inclusion, community cohesion and diversity agendas. We in Parliament have an obligation to help to get it right for the benefit of all the people. They can do; we can do; we must do. To use inspirational words which are currently arousing interest and involvement in politics across the Atlantic, I say, "Yes, we can".
Baroness Whitaker (Labour)
My Lords, in following with pleasure the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, I shall narrow my focus to one particular set of communities under the trees, the Gypsies and Travellers, some of whose sites have to be redeveloped. The Olympic Delivery Authority aims, to quote from its website, at,
"reintegrating communities on either side of the Lower Lea Valley ... enabling social cohesion and social, economic and environmental regeneration in one of the most deprived parts of the UK".
It adds that Olympic development,
"will also celebrate cultures, people, languages ... We have taken a deliberately broad and inclusive definition of culture".
The London Development Agency, its delivery arm, states:
"We strive to tackle discrimination and promote equality and positive community relations".
"committed to listening and learning from its partners and stakeholders".
Work is certainly going on with tremendous commitment—I have been around the building sites, too.
However, what happened on one site in Newham was not like these fine modern management words. The Travellers at Clays Lane had lived peacefully with the settled community for 36 years. They were offered and accepted a new site, which then, for complex, oddly unforeseen planning reasons, was withdrawn. The substitute site was a recreation area. It is felt that, in their urgency to vacate the land for Olympic development, the LDA and Newham Council have disregarded the needs and wishes of both the Travellers and other local residents, causing, I am told, much resentment in the local community. Far from gaining any benefits from the Olympics, they believe they have lost some of their scarce green space and community facilities. The good relationships between the Traveller community and the other local residents which had been built up over such a long time have been undermined. Rather than an increased sense of community cohesion, Travellers now feel more segregated and vulnerable.
After this, as I have said earlier in your Lordships' House, the Travellers were given 12 different dates for being moved, and they spent many weeks, with their children, with demolition, noise, heavy traffic and dust all around them, post stopped, phones cut off, and street lights gone. An allegation was made by the ODA that the Travellers had themselves caused health problems by burning toxic waste in a furnace, which turned out not to exist.
The All-Party Group on Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform, of which I am a vice-chair, discussed these matters with representatives from the ODA and the LDA who were kind enough to come in. They agreed that a senior official would deliver an apology about the wrongful allegation in person. Yet again, that is not what happened.
Some of your Lordships may have had experience of developers making life uncomfortable for residents. They will know that developers can be persuaded to negotiate compensation, lessen noise and disruption, and restrict hours of noisy work, often—if they are sensible—through a consultative process where all local people have the chance to be involved. That is not what it was like at Clays Lane. Could it be because the residents were not accustomed to forceful discussions with powerful developers and did not number lawyers and other professionally articulate citizens among them that they were treated with so little respect? What price the ODA's social cohesion policy here? Where was the listening LDA?
We hoped that lessons had been learned after our discussion in Parliament—indeed, the people from the ODA and the LDA assured us that they had. But the episode of the letter to residents is not reassuring. The next test of the reality of the ODA's fine policies about sustainable communities with regard to the Travellers is the nearby site of Waterden Crescent, where the ODA and the LDA assured us that the promised, but so far non-existent, written plan for building works will now be issued every month.
Nobody in these sad episodes is asking for development to stop, and nobody wants the games not to succeed. Indeed, everyone was delighted when the Government pulled off the tremendous coup of hosting the games. But unless all those in the path of the great machine of the Olympic Delivery Authority are treated with as much respect as if they were powerful and influential people, they will end up with a legacy of mistrust, alienation and an impoverished quality of life.
Nearly £9 billion is to be spent in the area to be redeveloped. We shall have the largest new urban green space in Europe. Can we not ensure that this kind of money is spent at all levels with the right values for truly sustainable communities? The Newham Travellers have their own thoughts about a more positive legacy. They would like the opportunity to return to a part of the Olympic park area after 2012, on their own site, where they will be away from heavy traffic. They have some support from the mayors of London and Newham, and the LDA. If this can be written into the Olympic legacy, it would show that the Travellers had finally been heard. I hope that my noble friend, too, can support it.
The Earl of Caithness (Conservative)
My Lords, I was one of those who did not want the Olympics to come, and I doubt that we would be hosting them if we had been honest about the costs that they would involve. However, now that we have the Olympics, it is up to all of us to make them work as best as possible for the whole country.
My noble friend Lord Coe said that he would ensure that they were memorable; I have no doubt that they will be. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked, what will be the legacy? The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London told us of some of the opportunities and the new village that is to be built. I hope that appropriate places of worship will be within that new village, and I hope, particularly, that a Church of England church will be within it, as that is our established church in this country.
Conversely, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle said that the north-east had felt no benefit. As far as I am concerned, Newcastle is practically in London, so if there is no benefit in Newcastle, there is no benefit whatever north of the border.
To the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, I say, "Don't hold your breath about the Government". The Government will mess it up, even though they will do so with the very best of intentions. It happens to be one of the difficulties of government that has plagued every Government in every country throughout the world. However, what I have enjoyed about today's debate is the enthusiasm and passion that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, brought, and his real feel for the community.
I have an equal passion for the north of Scotland. A lot of what is happening there depends on arts and heritage funding, because that produces tourism. Tourism is key in the north of Scotland. We do not have much flexibility with regard to farming; there are not alternative things that one can do down in the south-east; industry, particularly the fishing industry, has been decimated; and Dounreay is being decommissioned. We need jobs in that area, and tourism is perhaps the most important sector for us, because it provides employment and keeps the communities together.
However, the real difficulty with the Olympics is the raiding of more than £1 billion from the National Lottery fund budget. That is having enormous consequences. There is plenty of scope for debate as to how and why the Government force the lottery fund to spend its money in certain ways and whether the heritage is relevant so far as the Heritage Lottery Fund is concerned, in view of some of the recent achievements. Those are questions for another day.
I am delighted to be able to say a big thank you to the Government about what the Secretary of State said two days ago in another place; namely, confirmation that there would be no more raids on the National Lottery fund—£1.1 billion is quite enough and way in excess of what there should have been—regardless of whether the costs of the Olympics will increase, which I am sure they will. They will go well above the current budget.
However, there are two consequences. The first is that, a big foot having been put on the main artery that has stopped the flow of funds going to some worthwhile local projects, there is a loss of momentum—a large one built up over the past years. It is all very well to say that we are going to do something in the future—which I will come back to—but when you lose that momentum, people do not put in applications, they lose enthusiasm and regenerating that is going to be difficult.
My second point is on how one is going to compensate the Heritage Lottery Fund for what is being forced on it at the moment. In our last debate on
There are big questions about the value of land in east London—and, at the moment, about land throughout the country. It appears that there might be quite a discrepancy in what comes back to the lottery. Therefore, I ask the Minister two questions. First, will any repayment to the lottery come back with interest attached? Secondly, would the Government consider allowing the National Lottery fund to have an overdraft account guaranteed by the Government up to £1.1 billion? If it did, the flow of good local projects could be kept going so that we did not have what really worries me—a big stall period for four years in which people lose interest, with consequences for employment and jobs locally.
Lord Young of Norwood Green (Labour)
My Lords, unlike the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, my starting premise is that I believe in the UK version of the Olympic vision. I believe it is good for Britain and good for London. Let us hope that my prediction is better than that of the noble Earl, who seems to be the Cassandra for today's debate. However, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for giving us the opportunity to have this debate and for an inspirational contribution. I took note of his focus on people, places and sustainable communities. People have paid tribute to his track record. If I had a quibble, it was when he seemed to say that it was not the macro that was important, but the micro. Surely the macro is important. We have to deliver the Games. However, I understand the importance of the micro. In fact, surely the task is that we have to combine both.
The noble Lord, Lord Coe, although he did not deliver on time this time—I hope that he will hit the 2012 deadline, and on budget—did well to remind us that the Olympics and the Paralympics are two of the biggest sporting events in the world. As he rightly said, they give us a unique opportunity.
The difference in the UK and in the British approach will be that we have put sustainability at the heart of our thinking. Looking at some of the disastrous attempts to stage Games, with stadiums which unfortunately languish these days, we know how easy it is to invest an awful lot of money and not get the kind of sustainable payback that we are all looking for.
The task is to run a great Olympics and at the same time have this wonderful sustainable legacy. It is ambitious. However, if we look at what we are investing in, we can see that these will be world-class venues with a great afterlife that are not, therefore, just being planned for the games. We will have the largest urban park in Europe for 150 years; 4,000 new homes, many affordable—I would like the Minister, when he replies, to give us some assurances that the amount of affordable housing will not be reduced because of this problem with land values—20 kilometres of roads, 32 bridges, new utilities and 12 kilometres of underground power lines; 7,000 new jobs in construction and 12,000 in legacy; and the key involvement of people who have not been in employment for a long time on the volunteer programme. That is an imaginative and important approach. Trying to involve small businesses and employers is something that I see as a key part of this programme.
I share the concern of the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, about the cultural legacy. We do not want sport to be seen in a narrow dimension. I hope that the Minister will give some reassurance in that respect. We do not want the great sporting event to undermine the valuable contribution that arts can make to not only this event, but the spiritual and even sporting life of the country. I agree with the point made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London—I am not sure whether he is in his place—about the role of faith organisations. However, not only faith organisations but schools need to be fully involved in this programme.
I enjoyed the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on the importance of the sports legacy. He is right to remind us of that. We have a golden opportunity to improve sports facilities and encourage participation. Looking at the disincentive created by the cost of participating in sport, particularly when you come from the disadvantaged areas of your community, I sometimes think that we ought to treat sport in the way that we treat the health service—free at the point of use, certainly for young people. Getting them involved early on makes a vital contribution to their lives.
I agree with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle and the noble Lord, Lord Addington, about the need to ensure that this does not become London-centric. I see that there are moves in that direction. The importance of both regional and local participation is a valid point. I certainly concur with the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, about the importance of community cohesion being fed into this project. If the local communities are not involved, we will only be doing half the job.
I am trying to ensure that I do not incur the wrath of the noble Baroness—unfortunately she is not here—by making sure that I keep to time. Is the Olympic glass half full or half empty? If you are the optimist among us, it is half full. I hope we are going to see it as half full, because we have a wonderful tendency in this country to denigrate ourselves and undermine the possibility for achievement. If we want the Olympics to be successful, sure, we need constructive criticism. However, there has to be a belief that we can do this.
We will never have a better opportunity to create a sense of national identity, inspire a new generation of sports men and women, and create a positive image of the UK. We might even encourage more tourists to Scotland, which might please the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. I want to end on a little e-mail printed in yesterday's copy of the Times which made me smile, which said: "Despite all the criticism" over costs,
"this country is committed to hosting the Olympics so let's just get on with it, do the job well and hope it doesn't rain".
Baroness Murphy (Crossbench)
My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this debate. Not for nothing has the noble Lord been referred to as the Ezekiel of the East End, castigating local public sector bodies in east London for their sometimes wimpish approach to community regeneration. I know, because as chairman, until last year, of the local North East London Strategic Health Authority, I was on the receiving end of the noble Lord's occasional diatribes—which were all the more irritating for being right.
Today, I am associating myself wholeheartedly with his vision for Newham and the Lower Lea Valley, as part of the Olympics' legacy, which has been so admirably described by him and which needs so much input to make it happen right for the people of the East End. I make no apology for coming back to the people who are living there now and will be living there in the future.
I shall talk particularly about the health legacy of the Olympics. We have heard these figures quoted before in this House, but, according to the statistics, a child born in Newham is likely to live seven years less than a child born in Westminster or Kensington and 10 years less if he or she smokes or develops early vascular disease as a result of secondary diabetes, largely as a result of obesity and lack of exercise. The sad fact is that growing up in Newham is bad for your health. One of the youngest, fastest-growing population groups is simply not improving as fast as the population groups of other places in the UK. That is not for want of local initiatives by the NHS and a rather good local authority.
Routine physical exercise is the key, not participation in sport. I remind noble Lords that the Office of Science and Technology Foresight report on obesity published last year outlined the complex issues—the social, technological and cultural drivers—involved. Nevertheless, it cannot be said better than it was said by Tessa Jowell:
"The problem is not the number of calories kids are taking in, but the fact they are doing less to burn them off".
While adult energy expenditure is thought to have decreased by as much as 30 per cent in the past decade, calorie intake appears to be the same or even a little below that of 1980. It is a matter of promoting exercise as a whole.
The key thing that we know about creating urban environments in which physical exercise is encouraged is that you need to make it a part of the central regeneration plan. Even using up 200 or 300 extra calories a day is all that is needed to prevent obesity in most people. The design layouts in the built environment, such as streets, the location of recreation facilities, parks, public buildings and transport systems, can either encourage or discourage. A lovely study in Atlanta by Frank and Engelke showed that when neighbourhoods are divided into four quartiles based on an approach of building healthy physical environments, each quartile increase in mixed land use, making people more likely to walk to shops, schools, workplaces and other destinations such as churches close to their dwellings, facilitates better active living and is associated with a 12.2 per cent reduction in the likelihood of obesity. Each additional kilometre walked each day is associated with an almost 5 per cent reduction. That is why so much of the design of the Olympic park legacy is so vital.
I shall not say much about the sports facility legacy. We feel that it must be important but we know, sadly, that increased enthusiasm for specific sports after a great event tends to be short-lived—rather like the appearance of tennis rackets every Wimbledon fortnight, which disappear a month later. But we know that those facilities are much more likely to be used by local schools and adults if we provide them as part of a naturally increased physically active environment. We must get the physical activity right as a general rule, before we can improve sports. 2012 provides a unique opportunity to address some of the health issues that the UK faces. We can test what really works. Are the Government intending to use the regeneration area as a test bed for some of the ideas expressed in the Foresight obesity action plan, for example?
I end by expressing some concern about the politics of all this. To date, after the euphoria of the bid, the Department of Health has not demonstrated a keen commitment to the Olympics health legacy. There has been a recent reshuffling of public health responsibilities yet again, but no clarity about who is responsible for what in this area and who will interface with other departments involved. Public health specialists in NHS London and its constituent PCTs have some really good work going on. Sport England used to be interested and involved in improving physical exercise, but its input, although greatly appreciated, has now transferred to the Department of Health. There is a worrying vacuum in the department about who is taking forward this particular responsibility. Will the Minister explore in some depth with his colleagues who is in charge of making the Olympics health legacy really work to improve physical activity and the take-up of the sports legacy? I fear that at present no one is.
Lord Clement-Jones (Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on initiating this debate and on his knowledgeable and visionary speech demonstrating his commitment to the regeneration of the East End of London. Many noble Lords have emphasised that one reason for our bid being successful was the legacy aspect. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee's report last year on Olympic funding and legacy made the point that the success of the London bid was to a great extent not just due to the plans for the Games themselves but to,
"visionary emphasis on the Games' potential legacy of a lasting increase in participation in sport by all sectors of the community".
It goes wider: the IOC, in its report on the London bid, said that the London Olympics would be the catalyst for the regeneration and development of the Lower Lea site for the Olympic park and that it would be a significant sporting, educational, environmental and social legacy. There was also, of course, the promise of a cultural legacy, referred to by my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter. These were highly significant factors in our win over Paris by 54 votes to 50. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, and the bid team are to be hugely congratulated on that emphasis on legacy and sustainability which made it the differentiator versus our rivals.
That is all the more reason, as the IOC and the National Audit Office subsequently pointed out in its report last year, why careful planning must be put into place to create a strong and lasting legacy for the 2012 Olympics, particularly as regards the Olympic venues in terms of whole-life costs, ownership and management, to avoid them being underused or unaffordable after the Games. In overall terms, it recommended setting clear, quantified legacy objectives.
Securing the legacy of the 2012 Olympics is a massive task with myriad objectives, as we have heard during this excellent debate. Many organisations are involved—LOCOG, the ODA, the LDA, the mayor, the Assembly, DCMS, VisitBritain, Visit London, the BOA, Sport England, UK Sport, the Legacy Trust, the national, local and sporting organisations, culture and arts organisations, the five host boroughs and even the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as other bodies more local to the area, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson. Ensuring that all those bodies link together effectively under common strategies is vital.
There are great expectations of what the legacy of the London Games should be. A useful recent study prepared by the London East Research Institute and commissioned by the London Assembly entitled, A Lasting Legacy for London?, sets out the experience of previous Olympic cities and how London can learn from their experience. Its verdict is that in the light of that experience, with Barcelona having done particularly well, all the London objectives are challenging or very challenging, particularly as regards skills, sports participation, disability awareness, tourism and employment.
The mayor's five key legacy commitments were launched this January. They are similar to those set out in the Our Promise for 2012 document published last June. These are, under the heading of sporting, to make the UK a world-class sporting nation; under "regeneration", to transform the heart of east London; under "community and culture", to inspire a new generation of young people to take part in local volunteering, cultural and physical activity; under "sustainability for the Olympic park", to make the park a blueprint for sustainable living; and under "tourism", to demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live, visit and for business. Those are noble aims, but noble Lords have rightly highlighted a number of areas in which achieving those legacy objectives are at risk.
On the future use of the Olympic park, the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, referred to the very limited geographical remit of the legacy masterplan framework, which is designed to demonstrate what the future of the park will be, how it will benefit surrounding communities and long-term management arrangements for the park. We need to take the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, seriously when he urges us to engage with the local community, especially business and social entrepreneurs and, indeed, as the right reverend Prelate urged, to engage with the faith communities.
Physical activity targets are also part of the legacy. We heard from the Minister yesterday—and this is a somewhat surprising development—that the Treasury is now responsible for the achievement of some of those legacy objectives. I have never thought of the Treasury as a place that engenders a great deal of enthusiasm in local communities, but there is hope yet. As the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and my noble friend Lord Addington urged, we need to connect with the Olympics at grass-roots level.
Then there is the Cultural Olympiad. There are concerns that we are pulling in different directions. Tier 3, as my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter explained, is all about trying to activate those local community organisations to take part in the Cultural Olympiad, but there are also cuts in lottery funding for those selfsame organisations. We have the Legacy Trust with a very small amount of money dedicated to this task; £10 million will not go very far. The noble Earl, Lord Caithness, spoke about lottery funding being used for the Olympics. We will return to that later this month when we discuss the regulation. I do not intend to talk much further about that.
The essence of the matter, in terms of the local community, was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson—that of moving from dependency. The noble Lord's concern, shared by the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, was that the whole governance structure needs to be looked at, or we will be trying to co-ordinate a huge number of agencies in a very haphazard way. Finally, the noble Baroness, Lady Whitaker, reminded us that there should also be a legacy for disadvantaged communities, such as Gypsies and Travellers. We also have to demonstrate legacy outside London.
In the few minutes left to me, I want to highlight the opportunities and threats surrounding the tourism legacy of the 2012 Olympics. VisitBritain says that 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the net economic benefit over a seven-to-10-year period will accrue through tourism and give a £2.1 billion boost to Britain's international visitor economy. Almost two-thirds of this growth will occur in the four years after the Games. Sydney and Barcelona were particularly successful with their tourism legacy. There is no doubt, as the recently launched Winning: a tourism strategy for 2012 and beyond sets out, that through private-sector sponsorship and inter-agency partnerships, we could have a successful strategy and campaign to deliver that legacy.
That document sets out an ambitious legacy, but it is a chance to reduce Britain's tourism deficit, which now stands at some £18 billion per annum. This accounts for some 40 per cent of the UK's balance of payments deficit. There are currently declining numbers of foreign visitors staying overnight at UK destinations. Despite the very upbeat launch of the tourism strategy for the 2012 Games last September, and the warm words of Margaret Hodge, the reality is very different. The chairman of the Tourism Alliance, representing 200,000 travel, tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses and the leaders of a number of major businesses had to write an open letter to the Prime Minister only a few weeks afterwards in the following terms:
"The DCMS announcement of an 18% cut in funding for the national tourist board, VisitBritain, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games comes as just the most recent in an ongoing series of Government decisions that demonstrate the downgrading of tourism's importance to national policy... The industry does not understand the logic of cutting funding for tourism marketing in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics. The Government has stated that tourism and regeneration will be the two main beneficiaries of Britain staging the 2012 Olympics ... If the planned cuts to VisitBritain's funding are followed and the need for coherent national tourism policy ignored, Britain will almost certainly miss the opportunity to maximize the economic and social benefits that the tourism industry has on offer".
This is a powerful letter. On the one hand, one of the largest industries in Britain, accounting for some 9.4 per cent of UK GDP, writes that it believes that there are great opportunities; on the other hand, the Government have continually failed to give VisitBritain the resources it needs. In fact, it has cut its funding by £9 million, equivalent to 18 per cent of its budget. Do the Government understand the importance of the tourism sector? Do the Government not perceive the need for a strong marketing campaign?
There is much more that I could say on this subject. I hope that, despite the fine words in Winning: a tourism strategy for 2012 and beyond, what the Minister said about the resources available to such a campaign as legacy tourism for the Olympics not yet having been decided are correct, and that further serious consideration will be given to this. On these Benches there is enormous enthusiasm for the Games. We believe that the glass is more than half-full, but the Minister needs to answer these questions constructively and take seriously all the points that have been made in this debate.
Lord Glentoran (Shadow Minister (the Olympics), Culture, Media & Sport; Conservative)
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for initiating this debate. I looked up the noble Lord up in Dod's, because I had not met him, to try to find out where he might be coming from. I was a bit concerned and confused, so I asked if the noble Lord could spare me some time and I thank him for that. We had a very interesting conversation, and told me where he was coming from and what his passion was. My passion is on my lapel: I am passionate about Olympics, all Olympics, but particularly about 2012, and have been ever since the idea was conceived.
Having said that, today's debate is very much on one subject, which is legacy. The word legacy and, in particular, the legacy of the Games, as it has appeared today around the House, means something very different to every single person. I have found it quite difficult to find a way through of my own. I have certain absolute ideas about what I would like to see, but noble Lords also have many. During the course of the debate, we have learned a number of facts. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has given us a lot of facts about all the agencies who are involved in sustainable communities, and so on. I brought some of the papers with me to refer to, but everything in them is covered.
Those interested in the social legacy, if I may call it that, have a number of organisations already set up and in place to deal with that, including the Legacy Trust, Social Enterprise London and the Legacy Masterplan Framework. LOCOG and the various mayors are committed to working on the moral, people and community legacy—the legacy for communities, after the Games have gone and the razzmatazz of 2012 is finished.
However, far more practical things are going to happen. The noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, cheered us up by telling us some very good news—which I hope most of us knew—about how London will be transformed by new transport plans. That has to be good. We have to believe that planners can make the best of that beautiful area, and that a concrete mess will not be left at the end of it. Frankly, I do not believe that will be the case. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, will be able to encourage the noble Lord, Lord Rogers, to continue to work in the south-east. I believe that LOCOG and all those involved, including ODA, which I have heard a lot from in the last few days, are on top of the job and will do what is required.
Two days ago, I listened to a very good presentation, again by LOCOG, on the plans for the culture Olympics—the Cultural Olympiad—and they are hugely encouraging. One of my criticisms to the powers that be so far has been that 2012 is too London orientated. At the start of today's debate, it was too south-east London orientated. When we had the opening discussions and debates in your Lordships' House and we passed the Olympics Bill, now the Olympics Act, this side of the House and the Government said openly and strongly that 2012 should be a national happening, a UK-wide happening, and that there would be benefits across the United Kingdom.
I do not believe that we have done enough. I use the word "we" because we are totally one party. I completely agree, as does my party, with Tessa Jowell on this. We are cross-party joined in proceeding down this road to this event. Therefore, "we" have not yet got a grip on selling the benefits of 2012 to the country north of—I do not know—perhaps Aylesbury or the M25. We must move that way and get up to Newcastle. I listened carefully to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle. I was in Newcastle with my millennium hat on and we did them quite well. It has a wonderful football club, but it is only right that the feelings and the spirit of 2012 should reach Newcastle. It should reach not only there, but also my noble friend Lord Caithness up on the north borders of this nation.
How do we do that? There is a spirit that has to move and excitement that has to be generated. But in more practical terms, we have to turn to participation. The Government have got to get participation going in schools to include the handicapped, the unhealthy and the young. Ever since I have been speaking on sport in your Lordships' House I have talked about cross-departmental activities and happenings across education, health, the Home Office and the DCMS. Have we got anywhere? There answer is no.
One of my real desires, wants and hopes for the legacy is that something will happen and we will get movement across and benefits into health, the Home Office and policing though finding more exciting things which will encourage the young to go a different way. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, will appoint his 12 apostles to go through the kingdom and do what he has been doing in south-east London much more broadly on the back of the happenings and the spirit of 2012.
On participation, we also need more space, more facilities and more structures for school sports. I was on the Sports Council Northern Ireland goodness only knows how many years ago. Even then—perhaps 20 years ago—we were talking about the gap in participation. We lose a huge amount of talent when people leave school and do not make the step into clubs. Yesterday at lunch, I was talking to the chief executive of UK Sport. He agreed that that gap is still there. In the sporting world, the talent we lose in the step between school and club is huge. It cannot be beyond the wit of man and communities with inspiration to take this forward and start to bridge it.
I have been talking to my party colleagues, and I spoke to Gerry Sutcliffe, the Minister with responsibility for sport, yesterday, about the need to improve the funding and organisation of the national organisations which support sporting people; not only the Olympians and people at the top end of sport, but also the sport-for-all end of life—people involved in the Sports Council people and Sport England. Of the 100 per cent of funds that goes to UK Sport—I am not knocking UK Sport—probably only 50 per cent gets to the front line. It is too cumbersome and there is too much bureaucracy. There is not enough clarity. At my national governing body, the British Bobsleigh Association, we have a guy having to work almost full time filling in forms and doing everything necessary to keep the corporate governance right, the audit preparations right, to keep applications right, et cetera. That costs us money that should be paying for people in sport.
This was a fantastically exciting debate. The spirit of 2012 is alive and well, and going well. The legacy is in very good hands. The organisations and the structures are there. The ODA, LOCOG and the LDA are all on top of their jobs. People need to be positive, to sell it to the country and to inspire those around us, including local government and local government authorities. I wish the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, well and I thank him for bringing this debate today.
Lord Davies of Oldham (Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household; Labour)
My Lords, I, too, begin by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for introducing this debate. Up to now in the House we probably have concentrated rather more on the sporting events and the significance of the Olympics on sport. All along the Government have been committed to the concept that the legacy must be fulfilled in order that we get not only maximum benefit from the Olympic Games—I emphasise that the legacy will benefit east London—but also of course that we see the legacy wider across the country too.
As several noble Lords said in their contributions, a major factor in the bid being successful was the extent to which it was demonstrated that these Games would leave not whitened sepulchres and white elephants behind them but support for sustainable communities. The Olympic park would be a feature of the locality, but more importantly, other structures, particularly, 9,000 dwellings, would be available to local communities.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is in an excellent position for bringing high-flown concepts down to the gritty reality of what happens on the ground. I take very sincerely his representations on the necessity for a great deal of work to be done on co-ordination. I think that he suggested that the structures in east London are a bit of a mess. My noble friend Lord Haworth lives in that part of the world and bore testimony to some constructive work going on, and the response of local government. I think that that is the perspective also of those concerned—for example, the noble Lords, Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan—with the development of the plans for the Games. Co-operation is going on with local authorities, but it needs to be improved.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is emphasising more than the local authorities: he is referring to engagement with local communities so that they have ownership of many of these plans, which is exactly in line with the Government's thinking and all those who are concerned with making the Games a success. Certainly, unless we achieve these legacy objectives, we will fall short of that which we expect from the Games.
The noble Earl, Lord Caithness, probably prompted the question of the regions in the most critical form and, in a rather more constructive way, the right reverent Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle also emphasised the regions and the north-east. It is important that we ensure that the legacy is for the whole country. It is certainly the case, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, indicated, that we will need to exploit the great tourist potential of the Games. In fact, many factors explain why the bids should win. London— and the United Kingdom as a whole—is a great tourist attraction for people from all over the world, and we need to improve the facilities and to guarantee that the attractions are up to the mark for 2012 in a way that also enhances them in terms of sustainable heritage after the Games are over.
My response brings slight cynicism to the debate. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for opening with an optimistic perspective. Most noble Lords have stressed the opportunities that are there and need to be seized rather than excessive worries about where we are now. There should not be excessive worries about where we are now. As the International Olympic Committee has made it clear, the Olympic Games preparations in this country at present further advanced than for any other Games that have been held.
We should not do ourselves down in this context. A great deal of thought has taken place; much of that has centred on the great structural activity involved and on cleaning up of that extensive site—the challenge that the location of the Olympic Games raises. Transforming that part of the Lower Lea Valley into the Olympic Park—into one of the great parks of Europe—and which will be comparable to the Royal Parks, which were given to the nation two centuries or so ago, will be a truly historic achievement. A great deal of work is inevitably being concentrated on that. My noble friend Lord Haworth bore testimony to the degree of activity on the site.
Many of the objectives that noble Lords sought with the Games will be realised later. Let me make this obvious point: it is inevitably the case that apart from those directly involved in the Games—those planning for the Games and those responsible for the development of the Olympic Park—there is a feeling that there has not been great activity and that the nation has not been greatly enthusiastic thus far.
I remind the House that we are talking not about the next Olympic Games but about the Olympic Games after that. We have the Beijing Olympics this year. I maintain that there will be a transformation in the public's response. Once the Olympic Games have taken place in Beijing and the torch has been handed over to London, the Games will excite the enthusiasm of many in the nation; the Olympic Games always have that stimulating effect. But London is going to be up in lights at the end of the Games as the next provider of the Olympiad. That is bound to change the nation's perspective and bring about a realisation of the imminence of the Games and the benefits that they can bring.
The focus in the early days will inevitably be on the sporting possibilities. After all, the nation will have to acquit itself in these Games to extremely high standards. The nation would think us remiss if there were not advanced plans for the development of the skills and abilities of our athletes and sports men and women; the training of a great athlete takes many years and our potential victors in 2012 are not necessarily making all the headlines for their achievements at the moment. One or two people who make the headlines in sport today could go on to win medals in the London Olympics.
Having said that, we should shift our perspective to the question of the legacy, because that is of the greatest import. There is the sporting legacy in terms of the stimulus to our young people to engage in exercise and participating sport. I emphasise to the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, that the challenge of co-ordinating the necessary onslaught against the problem of obesity in our nation, which is particularly marked among young people, will be carried out by the Department for Health, but I have not the slightest doubt that the Olympic Games can play their part with regard to encouraging young people to recognise that their exercise and participation in sport can make for a healthier and happier life. We want those objectives to be realised.
I heard the lament of the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, about the diversion of lottery funds towards the Olympic Games. Let me make it clear again—I believe my right honourable friend the Secretary of State made this clear earlier this week—that the budget for the Games is fixed at £9.3 billion. That is what we will expect to see the Games deliver against those resources. Built into that figure is a significant contingency fund as well so the figures are realistic.
However, resources from the Lottery cause pain elsewhere where they might have been directed. While the noble Lord and the noble Baroness omitted the point from their contributions, I know that they are extremely knowledgeable in this area. I hope that they will give due regard to the fact that the Government substantially increased their grant-in-aid funding for the Arts Council England, so it should rise to £467 million by 2010-11—an increase well above inflation over the three years. I therefore hope it will be appreciated that of course the arts will play an important part of the inheritance that derives from the Games and the cultural legacy.
We do not intend to sell the arts short. It is also the case, as a number of noble Lords have emphasised—the right reverend Prelates the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Newcastle certainly did so—that it is important that communities become engaged constructively. A great deal of what will be achieved across the nation and presented both to the tourist and to the British visitor moving around the country will be the product not of central government stimulus—not all of it will come from central allocations from Lottery funds and the Arts Council—but because people are stimulated to play their part in a great opportunity for the nation in the cultural field as well as the sporting one.
I bear out the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine. She is right that co-ordination between local authorities and boroughs is important and that a masterplan in place. She will recognise that we intend to launch the masterplan fully shortly; it will be a product of the co-ordinating activity that undoubtedly is necessary when so many significant actors are on the scene.
In that respect, a contrary perspective was put by my noble friend Lady Whitaker that authorities have not always been entirely successful in their relationships with a minority group like the Travellers. I know the strength of her conviction on justice for Travellers and I know the work that she does. I regret that some mistakes have been made—there is no doubt about that—and apologies have been made to the Travellers for one group's allocation to an unsatisfactory site. That was unacceptable. We will certainly be offering the Travellers the opportunity to return to the Olympic Park when the Games are over, if they so choose. We have pretty clear indications that the successful development of other sites in east London at present are proving satisfactory and, therefore, they may choose to stay where they are, rather than return to the Olympic site.
I am grateful for the contributions from the noble Lords, Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan. They are playing very significant parts in the Olympics. Everyone recognises that without the work done at that level, we would not have made such rapid progress thus far. I know that they have been through trials and tribulations; after all, as the noble Lord, Lord Coe, emphasised, it is quite the biggest project that can be conceived of in the area of sport and athletics for many years, if at all. He is to be congratulated in the leadership that he has offered. The priorities are being responded to and they are clearly to the fore.
We do not have the slightest doubt that we are in position to create the best Olympic Games ever, but we are also in a position to move in a diametrically opposite direction from Sydney. I think the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, made reference to the Sydney experience and the inheritance of the Games being of limited value to much of the city's population, which is certainly true. We are concerned that the legacy will be of benefit to the whole nation. The nation will be stimulated by the Olympic Games, which will be held in London in 2012. We hope we have an excellent performance in the sport and athletics arenas and in the sports that are carried out throughout the country. I make the obvious point that Newcastle Football Club will expect its ground to be used for matches in the Olympic Games tournament.
It is important that, in addition, the cultural legacy is enhanced as a result of the Games, that the whole of Britain takes possession of the Games and that it is excited about one of the most significant developments that this country has seen for many years. The opportunity is so great in comparison with 1948. The Olympic movement was grateful to the United Kingdom and to London for its efforts in 1948, so shortly after the war and for picking up the Olympic Games at very short notice. Those Games operated under some pretty dire privations with limited ambitions but these Games have the greatest ambitions. It is the intention of the Government that those ambitions should be fulfilled.
Lord Mawson (Crossbench)
My Lords, with an eye on the clock, I thank the Minister for his very helpful comments and for the way in which he has responded to the debate. We need to keep the dialogue going. There is not time now to take further the points that he makes, but I will be happy to host a visit to the Bromley-by-Bow Centre for him and other noble Lords who are interested and to show you what the issues look like from the inside of a housing estate a few hundred yards from the Olympic site. I thank the noble Lords, Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan, for their contributions. I am very confident that they will ensure that we return with a very large bag of medals and that the sporting event will be run extremely well. I thank my noble friend Lady D'Souza for helping me to prepare for the debate.
I also thank all noble Lords who have taken part in what has been a far-reaching and, I hope, helpful debate. In the coming months and years, I shall try to keep these concerns before the House and update of the House on progress. My purpose in raising these issues is to attempt to give a view from the inside of the East End of London into what some of these complex issues look like on the ground and to share with your Lordships' House the opportunities that now exist to help us all to learn the lessons of the Dome and other regeneration projects that have not delivered the added value that we had hoped. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Young, that the key is to bring together the macro-responsibilities of the public sector with the detailed micro-understanding of business and social entrepreneurs who are now delivering sustainable projects on the ground in the area.
The debate has enabled me to show your Lordships' House the work of social entrepreneurs which is still too little understood but which has important national and international implications for how we regenerate some of our poorest communities. I hope that we have all found this a helpful debate. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers.