Olympic Games

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 8th March 2004.

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Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The arguments that I set out for the benefits of the Olympics for Scotland are exactly the same as those for Wales. The millennium stadium will be an Olympic venue, and just as I am grateful for the Scottish First Minister's support, so I am grateful for the support of the Welsh First Minister.

Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence)

I support the London Olympic bid, but there is a certain amount of concern in Wales. The right hon. Lady will know that the Sports Council for Wales has already cut grant funding—only half to two thirds of projects currently receiving grant aid will receive the full amount that they have been promised—because of the introduction of the Olympic lottery game. Bearing in mind the fact that the millennium stadium will host just one football match, the right hon. Lady will understand that the people of Wales are underwhelmed by the prospective bid.

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Let me deal with the last point first. Yes, that is the case, but there will also be opportunities to establish training and preparation camps for visiting teams in Wales, which has to sell the case for locating camps there. As for the hon. Gentleman's point about the lottery, there is a misunderstanding among a number of home country sports councils. Very simply, the position is that £300 million of sport lottery money will be allocated to the Olympics, but the decisions about the way in which that money is spent will be taken collaboratively by the four home country sports councils to ensure that each is content with the nature of support for elite athletes that that lottery money will fund.

Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Labour, Sheffield, Attercliffe

I am sure that my right hon. Friend is aware that in Westminster Hall last week we had an excellent debate on the benefits of a successful London Olympic bid, but will she assure me that in the event of a successful bid, funds will not be diverted either from sports projects in the north and other parts of the United Kingdom or from grass-roots sport? The Olympic bid should be a success for the whole country, so will she do her best to press the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make sure that funding is available for facilities in the rest of the country, which should not be hurt by a successful Olympic bid?

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Yes, of course. I and my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sport argue, and will continue to argue, the case for sport. My hon. Friend is right—it would be wrong if a successful bid to host the games in London were to lead to a reduction in funding for community and school sports facilities in the rest of the country. Underlying the bid for the Olympics is the ambition to get more kids playing sport, competing and becoming champions.