I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I wish to take this opportunity to place on the record the warmest congratulations of—I hope—the whole House to Seb Coe, Keith Mills and the whole 2012 bid team, including Barbara Cassani, who chaired the bid for the first year, on the excellence of their campaign and the result of which we are all so very proud.
The decision made by the International Olympic Committee on
The very next day, however, that euphoria turned to agony. The events of
Why was it that we won in Singapore against—as many would say—all the odds? There is a simple answer to that question. The IOC was moved by the spirit so clearly articulated and represented in our bid and the presentation to its members. The IOC realised that for London the games were much more than 30 days of Olympic and Paralympic sporting excellence. For London, the games are a chance to transform one of the poorest and most deprived parts of our capital city; to inspire millions of children with dreams of sporting success; to launch a nationwide cultural festival; and to unlock sporting talent, both at home and abroad.
On the strength of our bid to host the Olympic games, we have also begun a programme of sustained support and investment in our young athletes, with the development of the talented athlete scholarship scheme—TASS—and 2012 scholarships. We will bestow on our most talented young people the financial support that they need to realise their potential and to fulfil their ambition.
We look back on a legacy of too much wasted sporting talent, especially in the children of families who are without the financial and other means to devote to nurturing the kind of talent that could become world class. There are too many children whose talent has never been developed, simply because their families could not afford the cost of their ambition. The talented athlete scholarship scheme and 2012 scholarships are direct and practical ways to address that problem. We celebrated the success of our gold medallists at the Athens Olympics, but we should remember that five of those medals were won by a combined margin of less than half a second. That is why, if we are serious about ensuring that talent and potential are realised, those two schemes are so important.
The results are already impressive. At the Amateur Athletics Association under-20s national indoor championships this year, TASS athletes won six gold medals, seven silver medals and six bronze medals. As one TASS athlete said:
"As a student I am continually worried about money. At least now it should be easier for me to train and compete without worrying about paying for it."
Two weeks have passed since we were awarded the games and we know that our focus now has to be on delivery. There is no time to waste. Much of the effort and a substantial share of the resources spent on bidding for the games were focused on preparing for delivery. I am delighted to announce today that the Government have already taken the first major step in the development of the best ever Olympic park in Stratford. I have today given the London Development Agency the go-ahead to start the massive construction and regeneration programme that will shape the Olympic park to be ready in seven years' time. The first step is the undergrounding of the power lines that blight the Olympic park and the lower Lea valley.
Now that the Secretary of State has introduced the subject of money, can she give us—as she develops her argument on the Bill—her estimate of the total cost of the entire project and some idea of the cost to London council tax payers per year, and for how many years?
The answers to both parts of that question have already been clearly set out in the submissions to the IOC and before the House. We have before us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just to develop excellent Olympic facilities, but—working closely with my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister—to deliver sustainable communities and a powerful legacy for one of the most deprived areas of Britain. I pay the warmest tribute to the Deputy Prime Minister for the imagination that he has shown in understanding the potential of the Olympic development for the east end of London.
I apologise to the Secretary of State if she was planning to discuss this point, but when she addresses regeneration will she consider the several hundred businesses that will have to be displaced? Many of them feel that the level of compensation they are being offered is inadequate. Will she give an undertaking to look at the issue and ensure that no one loses out in that process?
It is about 350. The matter is one for negotiation between the LDA and the businesses concerned, and I am aware of the progress of those negotiations.
The Government were clear and consistent in their support for London's bid, and I also pay tribute to all the major political parties in the House who were such strong and consistent supporters of the bid—
With the exception of the hon. Gentleman.
I underline the importance of cross-party support and consensus in securing the bid but it is absolutely clear that we cannot bid for, win or stage the Olympic games without clear and unequivocal Government support.
"London badly needs better transport and more police. It does not need the Olympics."
He also objected to people in Twickenham paying for facilities in the east end of London, some of which will be used for only 18 days and then demolished. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we do not mind everyone jumping on the bandwagon as long as they can eat some humble pie?
I can assume only that Dr. Cable was not speaking for his party, but it would not be the first time that we have heard a chorus of different voices from that party—the flexible approach to policy.
I shall allow more interventions later but I want to make some progress, as many people want to speak in the debate.
I may be counting my chickens but I believe that the Bill is evidence of cross-party support for the games and of our determination to get moving with their staging, to set up the structures to deliver them and to make sure that the public interest is protected and that public money is properly spent, so that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are delivered on time and within budget.
Investigations by Robert Booth, a freelance journalist, showed that towards the end of 2003 a heads of term agreement was reached between the London Development Agency, acting on behalf of the bid team, and Stratford City Developments that neither would frustrate the planning applications of the other. At the time, Sir Stuart Lipton was a director of Stratford City Developments and also chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, which was conducting a design review of the Olympic bid team's proposals. There is no evidence that Sir Stuart took part in the design review, but does it not show the need for complete transparency in all the many public-private sector arrangements that will be needed to deliver the project? There should be proper parliamentary scrutiny of such arrangements.
I have noted my hon. Friend's intervention and I shall be happy to write to him further. The important thing is that substantial sums of public money and, through the lottery, of the public's money will be invested in the games.
The public sector undertaking in relation to the staging and to building the infrastructure is £2.375 billion. There will be additional investment arising from regeneration in the area immediately surrounding the Olympic park and further investment in London's transport structure, so the long-term benefits for London will be considerable. No one could deny that transparency has already been established in setting out the costs of the games.
Order. May I explain to the hon. Gentleman and to the House generally that we do not normally refer to people outside the Chamber during debates?
I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
The Secretary of State is talking about London, which is the key part of the Olympic bid, but places throughout the country want to take part in our great success, and in Shrewsbury we hope that we can host a rowing event on the River Severn, so will the right hon. Lady discuss how Shrewsbury and Shropshire can take part?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. I note that he joined the tribute that I made to Lord Coe and his colleagues at the beginning of my remarks. If he can contain himself, I shall come back to the point about the importance of the whole UK benefiting from London's hosting the games.
I want to set out for the House the shape of the Bill. The Bill does three things: it creates the public body that will get London ready to stage the games—the Olympic delivery authority; it provides the powers needed to meet IOC requirements for the way that the games and the Olympic environment are managed; and it provides the Mayor with an Olympic-specific power so that he can meet his obligations as the signatory to the IOC's host city contract. I shall provide an outline of the scope of the legislation in each of those areas, before describing in more detail how some of the clauses will work.
The Olympic delivery authority will be the body that manages the Government's interest in the Olympic construction project and the public money going into it. It will make sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place by 2012, and that all the venues are built. Clauses 3 to 6 and schedule 1 allow for the authority to be created, grant it the necessary powers and functions and specify how it will be structured, organised and funded. Clauses 8 to 16 deal with transport, and establish the ODA as the co-ordinating authority for the Olympic transport plan. Existing transport authorities will be under a duty to co-operate with the ODA in order to implement the plan and to deliver Olympic transport services.
The Bill also provides for the creation of an Olympic route network and the ODA will be able to issue traffic regulation orders on that network; for example, to establish Olympic lanes or parking restrictions. Obviously, the authority's role will need to evolve over time. Before 2012, the ODA will focus on acquiring land—80 per cent. of which is already under public control—constructing venues and planning transport.
Will the authority have an obligation to pursue sustainable development in its operations? This is a huge opportunity for a low-carbon games. In my constituency, we have a major manufacturer of solar cells. We have a vital opportunity to develop a showcase for that industry, and to catch the imagination of the general public and deliver a low-carbon games.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. Sustainability was one of the key characteristics of the bid when it was presented to the IOC back in February and it is certainly a very clear criterion that the Deputy Prime Minister will be looking to address in all the regeneration investment that will be going into the Olympic park.
I want to make progress, if I may.
After the games, the Olympic delivery authority will take charge of reconfiguring the venues. That is vital, because of our intention to use the Olympics as an opportunity to create facilities with a lasting purpose, not just in London but right across the UK. Indeed, a number of facilities, such as swimming pools and indoor arenas, will be relocated from the Olympic park to other parts of the UK. This is an absolutely critical issue in meeting the very high legacy threshold that we have set in judging the success of the games.
The ODA will have a small board containing between seven and 11 people who will provide expert advice and oversight in each of these areas. There will be direct lines of accountability to the Secretary of State, who will make board appointments and have the power to direct the ODA if necessary.
We have discussed these arrangements with the Office of Government Commerce, which is satisfied that they are fit for purpose. The OGC will be engaged throughout the process in ensuring the most rigorous oversight of the tenders and then of the contracts as they are let. The ODA will also be the planning authority for the Olympic park. To ensure propriety, decisions on planning applications will be taken by a discrete planning committee. The committee will follow the model established by the urban development corporation.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the work that she did to secure the success of the Olympic bid, but in terms of being able to spread the benefits of the Olympics around the country, can she also give consideration to the fact that, if contracts are going to be let, regional development agencies should be involved in this process so that companies in the regions might access all the work that will come out of the Olympic bid?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right and it is for that reason that we have on the face of the Bill given regional development authorities a responsibility in this respect, which would by implication extend not just to bidding for contracts but to seeking to maximise the tourism benefits of the Olympic games to their region. This is all part of the intention to ensure that the whole UK benefits from the games; obviously the games will have the greatest economic impact in London but we hope that by purposeful policies, starting early, we can spread those benefits throughout the UK.
Northampton is in the middle of one of the Government's growth areas and therefore well placed to help with the regeneration process. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that towns that might want to provide training facilities, provide support for teams or provide premises for different sports will be able to access the guidance and be on an absolutely level playing field for bidding to be part of this enormously successful project?
In addition to the role of the regional development agencies, which I have outlined, the nations and regions committee that was established by the bid team will continue to underpin the efforts to secure the maximum UK-wide benefit of preparation camps and the other potential opportunities that I have outlined, and I am sure that my hon. Friend, who is a passionate advocate for her constituency, will ensure that people in Northampton have a chance to secure some of those benefits.
No; I am going to make some progress.
The Olympic delivery authority will be the planning authority for the Olympic park. As I said, to ensure propriety, planning decisions will be taken by a discrete planning committee.
The importance of the ODA to the Olympic project is evident—a single body with a clear task, accountable to Parliament. The ODA will be a time-limited body, focused on delivering the London games, and clause 7 therefore provides for the Secretary of State, having consulted the Mayor, to lay an order to dissolve the ODA at that stage.
I shall now turn to the way in which the legislation seeks to meet the clear requirements that are set down by the International Olympic Committee. It will be equally important that there is careful management of the Olympic environment during the games to fulfil the commitments that have been given in London's bid book.
The ODA will co-operate with local authorities to ensure that the streets are kept clean and well lit and will be able to step in to do that work itself if necessary. It will also have a role in enforcing the regulations that restrict unauthorised advertising and trading around venues. Those regulations will be needed to comply with the requirement of the host city contract. Clauses 17 to 31 and schedules 2 and 3 aim to restrict the commercial exploitation of the games in five ways: by updating the existing Olympic symbol protection legislation, for instance to include protection for the Paralympic symbols; by providing additional protection against ambush marketers who try to associate themselves unfairly with the games, by using words like London, summer and 2012; by allowing regulations to be made restricting unauthorised advertising around Olympic venues; by allowing the same sort of regulations to be made restricting unauthorised street trading; and by making ticket touting a criminal offence in relation to Olympic events. These provisions all reflect the commitments made in London's bid documents to meet the requirements of the IOC's host city contract.
I turn now briefly to the Mayor's powers. It was the Mayor of London, along with the British Olympic Association, who signed the host city contract with the IOC, and to provide absolute clarity that the Mayor can honour his commitment, clauses 32 and 33 will give the Mayor a specific Olympic power to comply with his obligations under the contract and to prepare for and manage aspects of the London Olympics. Clause 33 also provides that the GLA's Olympic power can be switched off by the Secretary of State.
I have set out for the House the way in which the Bill will meet the particularly stringent IOC requirements in relation to the control of advertising, with criminal sanctions to enforce breaches, and I have set out the role of local planning authorities—
I am most grateful to the right hon. Lady because this could reduce the length of my speech. Under clause 4, which refers to the ODA's planning powers, she herself said in her earlier comments that the LDA is in negotiation with roughly 350 businesses at present, but under the terms of the Bill the ODA has to implement the current planning guidelines. That means that there is a limit to the negotiations. Is she saying that the planning legislation overrides the negotiations that the LDA is currently undertaking, such that 350 businesses could well go out of business because they cannot get the proper value that they should get?
I think, with respect, that the hon. Lady is confusing two things. The LDA is negotiating relocation with up to some 350 businesses and I do not wish to be drawn on detailed negotiations of a contractual nature. The LDA is the proper body to negotiate with those business and to secure a satisfactory outcome. That is the point. This does not impact on the planning powers of the ODA.
Clauses 21 and 22 set out the role of the ODA and of local planning authorities. There are further powers relating to the control of street trading in the vicinity of Olympic venues and sanctions to curtail that. Consistent with the IOC's requirements, clause 29 makes ticket touting a criminal offence specifically in relation to the 2012 games.
I have mentioned the importance that the IOC attaches to the protection of Olympic symbols. That protection is extended in clauses 30 and 31. Clause 31 and schedule 3 create a specific event association right in relation to the 2012 games. The measure is designed to prevent people from using innovative ways to associate themselves with the games but without using specific protected words or symbols.
I add my voice to the congratulations to my right hon. Friend on the role that she played in winning the bid. A number of provisions in the Bill are designed to ensure that the priority is to deliver the games by 2012. Is she confident that the Bill contains enough protections to safeguard the regeneration aspects of the development, so that the focus is not exclusively on delivering the games?
I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention and pay tribute to his advocacy of the Olympic bid and the regeneration of the lower Lea valley, which will bring great benefits to his constituents. He has been an advocate for many years when the Olympic bid did not have many friends to call on. We would miss the opportunity of a lifetime if regeneration were not inextricably linked to the purposes of the creation of the Olympic park and the lower Lea valley. I can assure my hon. Friend of the priority that is given in the Bill to regeneration.
My point is about regeneration and the protection of existing communities. In the boroughs surrounding Stratford and the other sites, there are many very poor people. There are also many artistic communities that have limited and low cost facilities. Will the Secretary of State ensure that the games do not end up with a succession of yuppie flats and developments, and that the beautiful people and the rich do not move in after the games and take over the whole area, and that instead it will be of real benefit to the poor and needy of north and east London, who should not suffer because of the games, but should benefit from them?
I thank my hon. Friend for that important point. I hope he will be reassured in part by the fact that the Olympic village will represent a substantial contribution to London's affordable housing. Working with the communities around the Stratford park and the lower Lea valley has been an important part of the bid's approach to date, and it will continue, because of the risks that my hon. Friend outlined.
The last time the Olympic games were held in London, it was against the backdrop of a world devastated by war and a country looking for inspiration. In 1948, just over 4,000 competitors from 59 different countries competed. School buildings were used to house athletes. A temporary track was built at Wembley stadium and many Government buildings were converted to temporary uses. The games could be watched on television only by those who lived in Britain. Athletes were asked to bring packed lunches. Despite all that, the games were a success. Three years later, the nation celebrated the Festival of Britain. The festival raised the nation's spirits while promoting the very best in British art, design and industry.
Sixty years later, the 2012 games will be very different. They will probably be the biggest ever staged. They will be held in a brand-new Olympic park with nine world-class sports venues. Over 11,000 athletes from 200 countries will compete and will be watched by 4 billion people across the world. They will create a legacy like no other in Olympic history. They will leave behind the biggest urban park built in Europe for 150 years, 3,600 new homes—affordable homes—12,000 new jobs, three new schools and a generation inspired to get active by the opportunities of sporting excellence. The games will create economic opportunities across the UK, billions of pounds worth of contracts, and a huge boost to tourism and the UK's global exposure. Training camps for athletes will be spread around the nation.
I have been waiting patiently to say something nice to the right hon. Lady. May I say on behalf of the Scottish National party how sincerely and wholeheartedly we congratulate London on securing the games? It is incumbent upon her to match the rhetoric and demonstrate that it truly was a national UK bid. Now that we have secured the games, may we consider the ludicrous funding arrangements—the £1.75 billion of lottery money, which will deprive the grassroots sports organisations that we require to do well in 2012?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention, which was well worth waiting for. He has been consistent in at least one respect—his opposition to using lottery funds to meet the costs of the Olympics. That will not change. That is the way the public contribution will be met, in large part. However, I welcome his conversion to the value of the games, not just to the people of London, but to those of Scotland as well. I thank the people in Scotland who have throughout recorded their strong support for the games coming to London. That was an important and persuasive part of the case that we presented to the International Olympic Committee.
Throughout the country, we will see training camps for athletes. In the run-up to the games, the torch relay will sweep the country, heralding the start of a nationwide cultural festival. There will be music, comedy, fireworks, carnivals and a special Olympic Prom, all to embody the bid's major themes of voyage, exploration and exchange.
Delivering the 2012 games and Paralympic games will be a challenge like no other. I am sure that in the years ahead we will see, perhaps in all parts of the House, doses of scepticism as the plans for implementing the games are rightly subject to scrutiny. I hope, however, that that healthy scepticism will not tip over into unhealthy cynicism.
As a nation, we have an opportunity that we must seize—an opportunity to deliver tangible facilities and transformation to one of the poorest parts of our country, and to bring changes in the quality of life of the people who live there that they could not have dreamed of. We also have other, more intangible opportunities to seize—to express pride in our country, to express solidarity, to celebrate the tolerance in our diversity, and to be guardians of the dreams of millions and millions of young people. That is a prize which, I hope, will continue to unite the House in the years between now and 2012. I commend the Bill to the House.
I begin by echoing the comments that I made in this Chamber on
It is important that there is real support for the Olympics and Paralympics on both sides of the House. The intervention of Pete Wishart on behalf of the Scottish National party suggests that we have indeed obtained the support of all parts of the House.
I would love to be nice to the Secretary of State because I am from Broxbourne and we are absolutely delighted to have got the canoeing. May I congratulate the Government and everybody who played a part in bringing the Olympics to London and just north of the M25 to Broxbourne, which is fairly near Scotland, but probably not near enough? May I make one plea, because it is very important that the Olympics are for everyone, and too often we see the corporate moguls move in? It is important that my constituents, the people from Waltham Cross and Cheshunt, which are not particularly rich areas, should have a chance to go to the canoeing in Broxbourne and take part in this great celebration.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention and I echo his comments. I think he will find that the elements of the Bill that outlaw ticket touting for the Olympics will go some way to ensuring that what he hopes will be the case for his constituents.
It was the cross-party support for the London 2012 bid that went some way to ensuring and convincing the IOC that Britain was united in its ambition to host the Olympic and Paralympic games. It is with the same spirit of co-operation that we approach the Bill and all other legislation that may be needed in order to deliver the games. We all know the potential that the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics have to transform London and the lives of so many young people throughout Britain.
We hear the phrase "a lasting legacy" used on many occasions when talking about London 2012. It underpinned the whole of our bid. That legacy is twofold. There is of course the opportunity to regenerate one of London's poorest and most rundown areas, although in doing so it is important to ensure that those displaced by the project are properly compensated. I hope that the Secretary of State will have recognised from the interventions from my hon. Friends the Members for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) and for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) that there is still considerable concern about the issue among those businesses and others who will find themselves displaced by the regeneration. So there is that opportunity to provide low-cost housing to thousands of families, to improve transport and infrastructure links and to build some of the world's finest sporting facilities for years to come. Those are all matters that the Bill has the power to deliver.
What the Bill does not address is the part of the bid that so impressed the IOC delegates: the commitment to inspire thousands of young people throughout the country and indeed the world; to bring something into the lives of boys and girls, to give them a reason to work harder, something to aim for—the thought that perhaps they could be standing on the podium collecting Olympic gold in 2012.
On the Saturday after the bid success was announced my swimming teacher, who is herself a British world championship triathlete, talked about her son, who rows for Reading Bluecoat school in my constituency, which managed to qualify for the Henley regatta for the first time ever this year. She hoped that the bid success would inspire him—that if he works hard he could be there in 2012. That is the spirit of enthusiasm, optimism and dedication that we want to encourage by having the Olympics in London.
However, those aspects are not dealt with in the Bill, and we shall be looking to the Government for further reassurances that they are putting in place the mechanisms that will deliver on that promise to our young sportsmen and women, not only to those who may be Olympic athletes of the future, and encourage an interest in sport and a healthy lifestyle as an offshoot and a legacy of the Olympic games.
I seek a couple of reassurances from the right hon. Lady—first, that she will speak to authorities such as my Conservative-controlled authority in Enfield, which has been somewhat lacking in its support for the Olympic bid. I hope that it will be able to change its mind and get fully behind it. But the real reassurance that we need is that the Opposition will now get behind the Mayor of London and support the precept that will be critical to delivering the Olympic games in 2012.
If the hon. Gentleman will wait, I have something to say about London authorities and the Mayor of London in relation to the Olympics.
The Bill establishes the framework for London's games, a games that the Opposition, along with the Government, hope will be the finest the world has ever seen. We also hope that it will be a games that produces a significant, if not the largest ever, crop of British gold medals, and medals generally. We also hope that it will be a games that is delivered on time—it has to be delivered on time—and to budget. We will continue to give our support to the Government, but that does not mean that we will not criticise or raise concerns when we have them.
We support the Bill, but all hon. Members must be careful to ensure that the Bill will genuinely deliver what we all want to see—the best Olympics and Paralympics ever—and that means that it must be subject to proper scrutiny. There are issues that should be raised at this early opportunity if we are to ensure just that.
We all know that the ultimate guarantor of Olympic funding is to be discharged in a sharing arrangement with the Mayor of London and through additional national lottery funding. Any cost overrun will be picked up by taxpayers, by London council tax payers and, potentially, through loss of income to charities and other good causes throughout the country.
The Minister for Sport and Tourism has already made it clear that almost every Olympic host city has seen the cost at least double from initial estimates. In evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on
"On the financing, one point that was very interesting on our visits to cities that have already run Olympics was that in broad terms, on the cost, every one of them has doubled from the first figure that was given."
Sydney and Athens ran more than 100 per cent. overspends. Sydney's original bid costs were estimated at £1 billion and the games ended up costing about £2.3 billion. The final figures from Athens are not yet established, but the original bid estimate of costs was again £1 billion, and costs published to date are £3.98 billion.
The Opposition are determined that London should learn the lessons from those cities, and we must ensure that the games are brought in strictly to budget and on time. We owe it to the many thousands of athletes who will be participating to do just that. We also owe it to council tax payers and to taxpayers, who will be left to pick up the tab long after the last medal is awarded if we do not put the right financial controls in place.
We are pleased that Government propose that the Olympic delivery authority's accounts will be examined and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General, who will lay a copy of the statement and report before Parliament, because I assume that that will allow the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee to examine and investigate the accounts. Perhaps the Minister will be able to confirm the PAC's role when he winds up the debate.
However, in the interests of transparency, and to allow the House fully to consider and discuss the development of the work, I hope that the Government and the Secretary of State will go further and agree to have an annual debate in the House on progress on the preparations for the games so that it is open to proper parliamentary scrutiny.
The Government and the bid stakeholders have made public commitments to the IOC to establish the ODA. In particular, commitments have been made that the ODA will have development control powers in the Olympic park, powers to acquire land, and powers to control and co-ordinate Olympic transport. All those commitments are delivered on within the Bill.
The Secretary of State will appoint members of the ODA after having consulted the Mayor of London. The Bill is not about Olympic goals or sport development. It is about street sweeping, massive building projects, and developing transport and infrastructure links. All those are complicated, costly and difficult to deliver. We have seen what can happen if we do not get the delivery of such projects right. That is why it is essential that we have the right people to do the job—not political appointees or placemen, but professionals, experienced in managing and delivering large-scale projects on time and on budget. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us how the Olympic delivery authority will be appointed, and reassure us that the process will be open and transparent and that the Government intend to seek proven professionals.
In the light of recent events, security is at the forefront of all our minds. We remember that the Olympics have been the victim of attacks on past occasions. We welcome the provisions to allow consultation with police commissioners from the metropolis and the City of London, and the British Transport police, as part of the transport plan. The Bill makes no mention of the overall involvement in security and policing of the event as a whole, although I understand that a Cabinet-level security committee will oversee the games. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us more about the security arrangements and their funding, but if he cannot do that today, I trust that in due course a Minister will announce the arrangements to the House.
I believe that security has been costed at £23.125 million. Given the events to which the right hon. Lady referred, does that figure not seem rather low? Might not the Government have to think again about what is needed?
The hon. Gentleman is right, in that there is a costing for security. I understand, however, that it is not £20-odd million, but £225 million. Perhaps the Minister can tell us, today or on another occasion, whether that is the total sum or whether, as I suspect, other sums will be available from policing budgets or the overall Home Office budget. I am sure, however, that the Government will keep the matter under constant review.
One element of the Bill worries us particularly. We recognise that delivering the games is a huge task, and that additional powers will be needed to meet the challenge. We also understand that we need to grant the Mayor of London Olympic-specific powers allowing him to fulfil his obligations as a signatory to the host city contract. The powers in the Bill are far-reaching, however. Clause 32 is potentially the most controversial measure, as it gives the Greater London Authority—and therefore the Mayor—very wide-ranging powers.
In its impact assessment, the Government claim that that there is no risk in the clause because
"power is to be clearly defined and time-limited to address any perceived risk of overspill".
Yet the clause gives the GLA power to
"do anything . . . for the purpose of complying with an obligation of the Mayor of London under the Host City Contract" or to prepare for and manage the games. It contains no requirement for the GLA to consult the London boroughs that will play such an important role in delivering the Olympics. We fear that the absence of a requirement to consult not only the boroughs that will be the homes of event venues but those that will have to help deliver the transport, street cleaning and logistics to deal with hundreds of thousands of visitors to London will have a major impact on the ability to deliver those services. I hope that the Secretary of State will be willing to work with us to develop a framework allowing proper dialogue and decision making with the London boroughs.
I agree about the importance of negotiation with the London boroughs, but it worries me that the Greater London Assembly has no effective control over the Mayor, while the Secretary of State is an appointee to the Olympic delivery authority. Is there not a democratic vacuum between the role of the ODA and the role of the Assembly?
I share some of my hon. Friend's worries. It is notable that parts of the Bill give powers to the Mayor of London specifically, while others give the powers to the Greater London Authority. It would be helpful if the Minister could elaborate on the distinction that the Government draw between the two persons of the Mayor and the authority. Perhaps he will tell us how they think the democratic process will be available to ensure that the powers are being applied appropriately, so that we have a genuine London games and not just an event for which the Mayor is responsible. It is important for all London authorities to be part of the process, and not to feel that any interests that they have are being sidelined by the actions of the Mayor.
Is not what my hon. Friend said particularly pertinent given that the Olympic bid team felt unable to appear before the London Assembly recently when it had security questions to ask? Does that not suggest that the Bill should include a reference to the Assembly? I declare an interest, as a member of the Assembly.
As my hon. Friend says, he has particular experience of the role of the authority and its need to be involved. I am sorry that the bid team could not appear before its members. I sincerely hope that that will be possible in the future, and that on subsequent occasions relevant questions can be answered.
I think the right hon. Lady is confused about the Greater London Authority Act 1999. The Mayor is directly elected and, as the only executive member of the Greater London Authority, has the role outlined in the Bill. I think that is quite right.
As a former member of the Assembly, I know that the London bid team has given evidence in the past. No doubt the successor bodies will do so in the future. I do not think anyone opposes such involvement, and I think the right hon. Lady may have misunderstood the position.
I am grateful to the hon. Lady, if she is right about the bid team having appeared before the Assembly. It seems that we have two Assembly members in the Chamber, each giving a different view. Perhaps the hon. Lady and my hon. Friend Mr. Pelling would like to discuss the matter outside the Chamber.
London now contains a number of elected bodies. The Assembly is elected, as are the London borough authorities and the Mayor. All elected bodies will have a role to play, and should be able to express their views and feel that their constituents' interests are being served. I can tell the hon. Lady that there is a practical point to be made about both the boroughs and the Assembly. If the games are to be delivered, given the implications for the whole of London, all who have been elected to fulfil their various roles should be able to participate in consideration of how that delivery will be achieved.
"take action in respect of places outside London."
I cannot believe that that is what the Government intended. I do not think I am the only Member who is alarmed to learn that the GLA will have powers to
"arrange . . . construction . . . undertake works of any description" and
"acquire land or other property" anywhere in the country. That may not be what was intended, but those are the powers that the Bill gives the GLA. I ask the Secretary of State to look at the clause again and discuss it with the Local Government Association to ensure that, as representatives of local authorities across the country, its members are comfortable with it.
We want to ensure that the benefits of the games are brought to the United Kingdom as a whole, although given my local interest I am pleased that the excellent facility at Dorney lake has been chosen as the venue for the rowing. Of course it is not possible to bring Olympic events to towns and cities all over the country, but the games can attract tourists and visitors who may then wish to see more of what our country has to offer. I would be grateful if in due course the Secretary of State were to provide us with more guidance about how she intends to bring the benefits of the games to a wider audience. We should discuss the possibility of towns and cities offering training camps and sporting facilities to visiting athletes.
Many hon. Members have intervened on behalf of constituency interests today and on the previous occasions on which we have discussed the Olympics. I am interested to hear what assistance the Government will give to local authorities which are interested in hosting training camps in their areas.
We must not forget that the Paralympics is an important part of London 2012. My constituency benefits from an excellent sports association for the disabled, which counts among its members Paralympic medallists, including gold medallists. Up and down the country, talented athletes are watching what the Government do to promote and encourage them to capture British golds at the Paralympics. The Bill does not address that matter, but we expect the Government to provide greater clarity in due course about the resources to support competitors in the Paralympics.
It is worth remembering the sense of joy and euphoria that was felt not only in London but across the UK when the announcement was made. Given the dark days that have followed, it is important to recall the power of this sporting occasion to lift and inspire the British people. The Olympics have the potential to bring a positive change to the whole of the country. It is now up to the Government to live up to that potential and deliver a lasting legacy by hosting the finest Olympic games that the world has ever seen.
Order. Before I call the next speaker, I remind the House that Mr. Speaker has placed a 15-minute limit on Back-Bench speeches, which applies from now on.
I addressed a gathering in West Ham on Saturday as part of the VE and VJ celebrations. After we had reflected on the dreadful events of 7/7, I urged my constituents to take the joy and elation back from the callous bombers who destroyed many lives and our euphoria. Today, I urge hon. Members to take our joy back and to continue to celebrate our amazing victory in bringing the Olympic games to the United Kingdom.
The Olympic games is a prize that we, as a community, strived to gain over the past three years. Many West Hammers contributed to the attainment of that prize—for example, by contributing to community forums to garner support or talking to international or national delegations. Children sent their hopes and dreams to the International Olympic Committee, and the council contributed ideas and expertise to the bid. We contributed to the bid, and we demand the right to celebrate winning that amazing prize for West Ham. West Ham is proud, excited, expectant and optimistic, and it is beginning to celebrate its success, and I humbly ask hon. Members to celebrate London's and the UK's success.
My constituents are looking forward to participating in the games. We hope and expect that some of our residents will compete. Some of our residents will work as technicians, reporters, photographers, translators, artists, vendors, taxi drivers, chefs, medics and hoteliers. We expect some people to start companies, to sell services and to make their first million because of the inspiration and opportunity offered by the games. We are asking our people and our businesses to consider what they might reap from the largest peacetime event in history.
Some of our residents will be among the 70,000 volunteers who make the games so special. Recruitment has already begun, and to date 17,000 Londoners have volunteered, which shows their excitement about and commitment to the games. In my borough, more than 500 volunteers have received training and will participate in the London triathlon and volunteer for other activities in our libraries and schools. The opportunities to volunteer will help to reinvigorate civic pride and civic engagement, which will possibly provide skills, build confidence and increase employment.
The physical and economic transformation of my constituency will hopefully be matched by a blossoming of the unique cultural vibrancy of those dynamic and creative communities. The bid team acknowledged the importance of the cultural development framework prepared by the five boroughs, which includes the concept of a new east bank for London—a community- focused yet internationally renowned cultural hub stretching from Stratford city to the Greenwich peninsula.
To achieve those objectives, we must plan because, to use a well-worn phrase, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. Some are concerned that previous Olympic games did not reap the expected social and economic benefits given the financial outlay, although it is difficult to ascertain what social and financial benefits were expected. If one does not plan to reap a specific and quantifiable benefit, one will fail, and the social legacy of the games was not top of previous Olympic agendas.
As a local councillor from Newham, I have discussed the benefits with a number of local, regional and national agencies. Those benefits will massively change the deprivation indicators in east London. If we work to ensure that the legacy of the Olympic games is the renewal and regeneration of an area of the country—and indeed of a generation—we will succeed.
One concern is that the Bill does not refer to local authorities such as my own, and their role has not been recognised. I contend that the opportunities presented by the games will be fully realised, deep rooted and sustained only if the community is engaged with the physical and social changes. Local authorities are uniquely charged with that responsibility and are uniquely positioned to discharge it. Sir Robin Wales, the elected mayor of Newham, has already contributed as a member of the London 2012 legacy board. I ask the Secretary of State to ensure that the legislation fully recognises the essential role of local government in the planning, delivery and legacy phases of the London 2012 Olympics.
The regeneration of communities is a partnership between the different tiers of government, their agencies and the communities they serve. Without such partnerships, the renewal and regeneration of areas will not be accomplished. The Olympics will bring billions of pounds of business to national, regional, and local companies over the next eight years and more. The Olympics will see the creation of 19,000 new jobs in construction, ICT, media, retail, health, hospitality, sport and the creative industries.
Although I welcome the new jobs that the Olympics will bring, particularly in the construction industry, we must remember that the Government are also creating new construction jobs through programmes such as building skills for the future, and better homes. I hope that hon. Members agree that in planning for the Olympics we must ensure that we have enough training places to allow our young people to obtain the necessary skills to take advantage of those jobs and that we have sufficient capacity in the construction industry to meet the various demands.
I agree with my hon. Friend. If we do not set up training programmes and plan to get our children into those jobs, we will simply fail. The games will bring an opportunity for us to showcase our talent, creativity, innovation and design to global audiences, and will transform the local and regional economy.
We must, however, remember that there will be casualties from the regeneration of the area. Local businesses will be displaced because of the need to create space for the Olympic Park stadium. The Bill allows for the necessary compulsory purchases. I ask the Government and the London Development Agency to take immediate steps to reassure the businesses concerned and to proceed to expedite the responsibility of relocation and compensation. Land must be acquired at a fair market rent.
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for allowing me to pursue an issue that I took up with the Secretary of State—that of compensation on compulsory purchase. As I understand the Bill—I will be grateful if she tells me differently—the LDA is limited to the current terms of the planning Acts, which means that it cannot go beyond compulsory purchase price. Can the hon. Lady explain where she sees the area for negotiation?
I am about to deal with that.
We need to ensure that the planning that is essential for the continued vibrancy of the companies concerned is expedited as quickly as possible. Firms have talked to me about wanting a fair price and about needing to ensure that any red tape is dealt with sympathetically so that they do not incur down time and therefore financial loss, which will mean a loss of confidence among their suppliers and customers. I ask the LDA or the Olympic delivery authority to streamline the planning and licensing permissions to avoid delays that might otherwise impede the relocation process.
I am further concerned by reports that break clauses in leases are being used as a device to lessen compensation, which may result in job loss and a loss of economic activity in the area. We all want the games to bring in additional businesses and business growth, not to see the demise of long-established businesses of international renown. Access to increasing opportunities is vital. Newham is the tenth poorest area in England and Wales and the fourth poorest in London. It is flanked on its western borders by the London borough of Tower Hamlets and the London borough of Hackney, which are the first and second poorest areas in the capital.
Think of the vast area of deprivation, the lack of skills, the high mortality rate, and the low educational achievement. West Ham has the lowest employment rates in the country. A third of our households contain no one in employment. Our people die six years earlier than those in the community of Westminster. More than half our children live in poverty. Imagine what could be achieved for this community by the benefit of the games. A games that fails to benefit these people—benefit, not displace them—will be a failed opportunity and a failed investment. If we can secure these benefits for the community, it will reciprocate.
The country and the world can rely on the energy and enthusiasm of east Londoners. After all, more than anywhere else in the world, this is where the world comes together. Some 110 languages are spoken in Newham schools alone. It is a place where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated. Every athlete will find a community to cheer them on.
In return for the honour of hosting the games, we promise that visitors from the rest of London, the rest of the UK and the rest of the world can expect the warmest of welcomes in the east end. As staff, hosts, passionate spectators, and enthusiastic and efficient volunteers, West Ham residents will make the 2012 games unforgettable. In return, we must collectively ensure that the 2012 games are remembered not only for providing a truly world-class event but for providing long-lasting benefits to east London, to London, and to the whole of the United Kingdom.
Notwithstanding the appalling tragedy that befell London the day after that wonderful moment as Jacques Rogge fumbled with the envelope and announced that London had won the Olympics, Lyn Brown is absolutely right to say that today we must use our discussion of this vital Bill as an opportunity to celebrate the success of London and of the whole country.
I have had opportunities on other occasions to give my thanks to all those who have been involved in that wonderful success—Seb Coe, Keith Mills, Barbara Cassani, the Prime Minister, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport team, including the Secretary of State and the Minister for Sport and Tourism, and many others, including the large number of elite athletes and young athletes who joined us as part of the bid team in Singapore. They all deserve our praise for a fantastic achievement. A few days before the announcement of the result, the Prime Minister anticipated how he would react were we to be successful, saying:
"it's not often in this job that you punch the air, and do a little jig and embrace the person next to you".
I can assure hon. Members that when the announcement was made in Singapore very many people were punching the air, doing jigs and embracing the people next to them, but we understand that it also happened in London and right across the country.
We all know that winning the bid is not the finishing line but merely the starting gun that signals the hard work that is necessary to ensure that we deliver what we promised to deliver in 2012—the best-ever Olympic and Paralympic games. This Bill is part of that process of getting on with the work that is necessary to achieve that. We all know how important it is to get on with it quickly, because there are huge prizes to be won. We know that from all the other countries that have benefited from having the Olympic games. Just one example suffices to illustrate it. Before the 1992 games, Barcelona was ranked as the 16th most popular destination for tourists; since then, it has been for many years consistently ranked in the top four. If other countries and cities can benefit, there are also huge prizes for London.
Of those prizes, five crucial ones are on offer. First, above all, the delivery of the 2012 games will help to invigorate our sporting nation. It is worth reflecting that one influential International Olympic Committee member said, after London had been awarded the bid:
"Seb's presentation was not so much on London as on sport."
It was, and rightly so. The underpinning philosophy that should guide the way in which we deliver the 2012 games is the way in which it can invigorate our sporting nation. That is a vital goal. This week, as our schools finish for the summer holidays, 70 per cent. of those leaving school will drop out of any sporting activity whatsoever—that is a staggering 390,000 children. We need to find ways of persuading them to continue being involved in sport, and the Olympics will help in that process. It is frightening to think that by 2020, on current trends, 70 per cent. of women will do no exercise other than walking. We are all aware of the problem of obesity, which has trebled among children in the past decade, and overall is costing this nation £8.2 billion a year. I mention that figure to draw attention to it in comparison with the cost of the Olympics. Obesity is costing £8.2 billion a year. The expenditure of some billions of pounds on the huge prize of the Olympics pales into insignificance by comparison. The games will inspire the nation to get active, and I welcome that.
The Bill will also create a lasting legacy for our sporting infrastructure. Unlike some of the previous games, it is being planned so sensibly that there will not be enough "white elephant" sports facilities to start, as in the cliché, an "albino zoo". That will not happen here because of how we have planned for it.
Secondly, the games will enable the regeneration of three of the most deprived boroughs in the United Kingdom, and will bring broader economic benefits across the whole country. The games will be crucial in the lower Lea valley, which will blossom and benefit hugely, like so many other areas.
Thirdly, the Bill will enable zero waste games, which will help set sustainability standards for the future. The IOC recognised that our games offer comprehensive and positive environmental legacies, which are prizes worth striving for. Fourthly, the activities leading up to the games will showcase our country's excellence in art and culture. Indeed, the bid already did so with schemes, such as the "40 Artists, 40 Days" project, in the countdown to
Fifthly, another crucial prize, the games will unite the nation, sharing in the build-up to 2012 and in the excitement of the games themselves. Those are the huge prizes to be won, but several hurdles need to be overcome to ensure we attain them. It will not come as any surprise to the Minister or his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that from time to time, supportive of the games as we are on the Liberal Democrat Benches, we will be critical of some details. Earlier this month, David Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics, said,
"This is one issue where politicians can truly unite and show the public that they can co-operate when they need to and challenge when they need to do so, but do it in a way that is for the greater public good."
Any concerns or criticisms that we may have on some details will be discussed with the Government in the spirit of finding a way forward for the benefit of the games and the nation.
As Mrs. May said, we face some challenges. We must deliver the games on time, and we have got off to a flying start with our intention to get the Bill on the statute book as quickly as possible. We need to avoid all the delays that could arise from unclear lines of responsibility. In a recent debate in Westminster Hall, some of us referred to the huge complexity of the current arrangements in sport. This Bill, together with other activities connected with planning for the games, adds a number of additional bodies to that sporting framework. It is crucial that each body knows what its responsibilities and lines of communication are and what it is accountable for. We must get that right to avoid problems of delay. I am not thinking just in terms of structure; I am thinking of areas, such as construction and transport, where we need to ensure perfect co-ordination.
During the debate on Crossrail, the right hon. Lady, like me, was concerned about some aspects of the Bill. We are concerned that current arrangements for Crossrail give the Office of the Rail Regulator power to give overall primacy to Crossrail above anything else. Conflicts may arise about some transport arrangements for the Olympic games, so I am delighted at the agreement that that issue will be looked at by the Crossrail Select Committee.
We also need to ensure that Crossrail and the Olympic games do not conflict over the need for people with relevant skills. I hope that the Minister will work closely with the Department for Education and Skills to ensure that we provide appropriate training now to ensure that we have people with the right skills to carry out the jobs, rather than us having to rely on workers from overseas.
We must deliver on budget. That will be a challenge. Other countries have had difficulty maintaining their budget plans. We have robust budget plans for the games, but prices can change. Construction costs are increasing at three times the rate of inflation. We need to explore how further to protect Londoners from significant increases in their council tax, more than has already been announced, and how we can ensure that no additional raids are made on lottery funds.
We must deliver a safe games. The IOC approved Britain's security arrangements and praised us for our role in helping to make the Athens games safe. Our plans are robust, but in the light of the recent terrorist attacks they must also be seen to be robust. There needs to be greater reference to security in the Bill. It is surprising that the Bill places no specific duty on the Olympic delivery authority to have regard to security in planning decisions. I hope to return to that issue.
There is a need to balance the IOC requirements with the needs of UK residents. The Olympic movement is an immense force, overwhelmingly beneficial, but with the potential to be overbearing. While honouring the requirements of the IOC to restrict advertising, street trading and ticket resale, legislation needs to be light touch and flexible. We should not gold plate any IOC requirements in respect of those issues.
We must ensure that throughout the next seven years and right up to the games we maintain the current, fantastically high level of support for the games. It is worth looking at reports in local newspapers the day after the announcement was made. The Herald in Glasgow, for example, said,
"Scotland can expect a huge tourist boom, as spectators extend their stays to take in the sights."
A newspaper in Gwent, Wales said:
"Gwent can expect excellent knock-on effects from London's selection to host the 2012 Olympic Games."
"The Olympic Games in 2012 will trigger a huge sporting bonanza for Northern Ireland."
From all the nations of the United Kingdom we have seen an immediate reaction of genuine excitement about winning the games and genuine belief that all parts of the United Kingdom will benefit. My local paper, the Bath Chronicle said:
"Cheers could be heard across the city", and in Birmingham the report was,
"This is great news, not just for London but for the whole country . . . This is a huge regeneration opportunity, which we will seize with both hands to ensure that all our communities benefit."
That is what people expect and we must ensure that they are not disappointed. We must ensure that each part of the country is given the help and support that it needs to maximise its potential. As the Secretary of State said in response to an intervention, the nations and regions support group under Charles Allen has a crucial role to play. I know that it has been working long before we won the bid but it has already held meetings subsequently and I hope that the Minister will tell us a little more about the support that each part of the country can expect.
I find the Bill's references to regional development agencies confusing. It implies that RDAs can undertake work in their regions in relation to the games if the Olympic delivery authority asks them to do that. One would have thought that they should be able simply to get on with work if they believe that it is appropriate for their region.
We have already heard what the Bill does. It creates the Olympic delivery authority; gives that authority powers to provide a transport infrastructure, including sophisticated traffic management, low carbon vehicles, the Olympic javelin train from King's Cross to Stratford, with a travelling time of only seven minutes and so much more; empowers the Mayor of London to spend council tax revenues for use in the games, and fulfils various IOC requirements on touting, training and advertising and ensuring that the Olympic environment is clean and hassle free. The Bill will achieve great things but it also asks us to take a leap of faith.
We took a leap of faith with the bid and we were proved right. However, we are being asked to take a leap of faith with the Bill. It does not mention many key issues such as immigration and tax arrangements for athletes, their entourage and supporters. It does not refer to the role that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise will have to play in dealing with the likely flood of counterfeit merchandise. It does not mention the huge challenges that we will face in 2012, when we shall have not only the games but digital switch-over in London. The media authorities have the huge task of ensuring clear spectrum for broadcasters who want to beam out each day's events in London.
Even when the Bill refers to key issues such as the prize of setting new sustainability standards, it often does not go far enough. For example, I should like the ODA to be made to have regard to sustainable development in fulfilling its planning responsibilities. That could be done in clause 5.
The Bill requires a leap of faith for another reason. During the passage of the Gambling Bill, I criticised the Government for including so many opportunities to give the Secretary of State secondary powers. One in every 10 clauses in the Gambling Bill gave the Secretary of State secondary powers. In the Bill that we are considering, one in every three clauses provides for a new power for the Secretary of State through secondary legislation. I hope that the Minister will assure us that, when the Committee considers the Bill, it will see as many of the regulations as possible in draft form.
We will pick up on several other issues in Committee. I have already referred to the problem with Crossrail. Why, in outlining the mayoral powers, does the Bill contain no provisions to enable the Greater London assembly to scrutinise their exercise? Why do not restrictions on ticket touts include more onerous restrictions on newspapers and online market places such as eBay advertising illegally touted tickets? Is it not odd that, in relation to the role of the powers of the GLA, the Bill does not refer specifically to consulting the ODA or, as many others have said, local authorities?
Are not hospitality packages another touting problem? A ticket with a face value of £50 can be sold on with a rather grotty lunch attached for £750. Is that not a form of touting for which we need to watch out?
There are many examples. Hon. Members know of people paying large sums for a towel and getting a free ticket to an event thrown in. I know that the Government have been considering ticket touting seriously, but I hope that the time will soon come when we debate ways in which to prevent not only ticket touting for the Olympic games but all other forms of touting.
Given the outlawing of ticket touting, does the hon. Gentleman agree that there should be suitable arrangements for the resale back to the Olympic authorities of tickets that people are, for practical reasons, unable to use? People need to be able to sell those tickets on, so that other people who wish to visit the games have a genuine opportunity to do so.
The right hon. Lady is absolutely right. I should like to reflect, in passing, that if some of the events organisers who complain about ticket touting were to establish more effective operations to enable the official resale of tickets for people who, perhaps through illness, are unable to use them, some of these problems could be resolved. Stopping ticket touting, especially in this internet age, requires far more than that, however. I am delighted that there are tough measures in the Bill, but I hope that they will go wider and address the issue raised by Mr. Walker, for example.
I have already mentioned the fact that the role of the RDAs appears to be somewhat restricted, and I hope that we shall have the opportunity to address that. I would like the Minister to answer at least one of the questions put by the right hon. Member for Maidenhead. Yes, the Olympic development authority is to produce an annual report and give it to the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State will ensure that it is available to Parliament. That is welcome, and I hope that the same will apply to the annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General into those accounts. However, I entirely support the right hon. Lady's call not only for the report to be made available to Parliament but for an annual debate to be held in Government time on the subject.
Given this country's proud record of being almost the founders of the Paralympic games, I hope that we shall always ensure that whenever we talk about the Olympic games, the Paralympics will be given equal importance. In that respect, is it not somewhat strange that while the Bill refers explicitly to the need to comply with the Race Relations Act 1976, there is no similarly explicit requirement to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995? I hope that that omission will be remedied.
In the run-up to the bid, huge numbers of people across the country gave their support. Now we have succeeded, and we celebrate that. We praise all those involved in ensuring that success. We recognise, however, that we have but seven short years in which to deliver the commitment that we made to provide the best games ever. The Bill forms part of the necessary procedures that will ensure that we do that. I can assure the Minister, his Secretary of State and the House that we will give our full support to the Bill, notwithstanding that there are areas in which we believe that it could be improved. We will continue to provide our support over the next seven years to those working on every aspect of the preparations for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and, as a starter for 10, we will certainly support the Bill.
I am pleased to take part in this debate on what will obviously be a massive event for London and for the whole country. I strongly endorse the remarks made by my hon. Friend Lyn Brown, in which she pointed out that this will be a great event that is to be celebrated and welcomed, and that, above all, the basis of the bid was the regeneration of an impoverished part of north and east London. We must ensure that the games provide that regeneration, which will help the poorest people in that community, and that that assistance carries on after the games. We do not want to see the removal of the poor people of London to make way for the Olympic sites and all that goes with them, as has happened in other cities. The example of Barcelona is interesting, because that city managed to ensure that there was a huge social development spin-off from its games.
My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham mentioned employment opportunities. My borough borders the City of London, hers borders Canary Wharf, and Hackney borders both, as does Tower Hamlets. We have not seen an enormous number of jobs in the City or in Canary Wharf being made available to people in the surrounding boroughs. Instead, large numbers of people come in to fulfil those functions in both those places. I hope that the Olympic experience will not simply be the shipping of more people from further and further away and more commuter jobs, but that the chronic unemployment in that part of north and east London will be tackled.
As a proud London MP, I hope that those things will come to pass, that London as a whole will benefit from the games, and particularly that the terrible housing crisis that faces the poor people of London, with more than 250,000 on waiting lists, will in some sense be alleviated by the construction of the Olympic village, and that it will be housing for affordable rent.
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is great news that the London Development Agency is setting up a business support and job brokerage unit, with people appointed by Christmas, to make sure that the concerns that he, I and other Members share are fully addressed?
I agree with my hon. Friend on that point. The London Development Agency, the Mayor and the Minister will have to be assiduous not just in ensuring that all the Olympic facilities are developed, which is crucial, but that all the spin-offs go where they are intended to go. We told the world that our bid was on behalf of a multi-cultural city of London, and that it was about regeneration of a poor part of our city. We must deliver not just on the glittering stadium but on all the other things, too.
As a London MP, I also have a lot of sympathy with points made by colleagues from other parts of the country. While the games will obviously be held in London, and the major construction work will take place in London, we must ensure that the construction materials, prefabrication of buildings and so on are sourced from British-based companies operating in areas of high unemployment and problems, so that there is a real spin-off all around the country. As someone who grew up outside London, in the midlands, I can imagine people feeling, "Here we go again. London is getting everything and the rest of the country is not benefiting." I am sure that the Minister is well aware of that, and it is up to Members of Parliament to ensure that their areas do benefit.
I want to raise some specific items, and I hope that the Minister will reply to them. London's transport infrastructure was a problem area for the bid, particularly in comparison with that of Paris. The Mayor is well aware, as is the Secretary of State, of the need for huge improvements in the underground and bus networks and such tram networks as will have been developed by that time. Crossrail will not have been completed by that time, so it will not have much effect.
North and east London have a considerable network of railway lines. I am glad that they are no longer under threat of closure, as they were in the dark days when the Conservative party was in government, but rather have benefited from increased investment and increased usage, which is very welcome. I want the Minister to address the issue of the East London line, however. At the moment, the East London line extension, which has been approved, goes only as far as Dalston, whereas if it could be included in the Olympic development plan it could go through to Clapham junction, which would link up with facilities in south London that are to be used as part of the Olympic games. If it could be extended from Dalston junction to Highbury and Islington, it would link up with the Victoria line, and the spur off to Finsbury Park would link it up to the east coast main line. A direct tube network would therefore link east coast main line trains either at King's Cross or stopping at Finsbury Park to go straight into the Olympic area. Such a short extension of the line would not be horrendously expensive, but it would be a valuable link within the rest of the London network. I have pressed that case on the Mayor and the Secretary of State, and such an approach seems highly logical at this stage.
My other points relate to the creation of facilities around London that can be used to assist the Olympic games development. There is a shortage of swimming pools across London. My hon. Friend Meg Hillier will know that there is a splendid baths facility in Hornsey road in Islington, which was used as a training centre for the 1948 Olympics. Sadly, the baths have been closed, and a succession of developers has failed to develop the site. However, the building is still there, and more discussions are being held about it. The Hornsey road facility is the only 50 m pool in north London. We will need pools of that size for training purposes, and I urge the Minister to join me on a 91 bus trip to have a look at the baths together. I am sure that he will be bowled over and open his cheque book immediately to ensure the development of Hornsey road baths as a sports facility once again.
Earlier, I asked the Secretary of State about local communities. A considerable artistic and creative community exists around Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets and the Olympic area in general. That is partly due to economic factors, as the rent for artists' studios and creative space there has always been relatively cheap, compared with the rest of London. I suppose that that is reminiscent of Hampstead in the 1940s and 1950s, since when the many artists who used to live there have been priced out.
Artists, sculptors and people of a creative bent make up an important part of London life. It would not be a good Olympic legacy if they were all to be expelled from their low-cost facilities to make way for the games. I hope that the relevant authorities and the Mayor will remember that part of London's creativity stems from all the art and artists that areas such as north-east London supply. I hope that real efforts are made to protect the conditions for artists and ensure that buildings removed to make way for Olympic sports facilities are replaced with equally cheap and accessible places for such people. In that way, we can maintain the wonderful ethnic and artistic diversity that is London. Most artists subsist on less than £8,000 a year, and so obviously have little chance of renting a studio in an expensive venue.
My final general point is more global than local. It has to do with the conditions under which much sports equipment, such as shirts and clothing, is manufactured around the world. The sweatshop mentality behind the production of high street brand names can be traced back to child labour and sweated labour in south Asia, Indonesia and many other countries. There are serious campaigns demanding that the equipment and clothing that will be bought and used are manufactured on an ethical basis. I hope that the Secretary of State and the Olympic authorities will take those campaigns seriously. These games are about diversity, equality, fairness and accessibility, and the Government must ensure that all the clothing that is licensed and used comes from ethically sustainable sources. The equipment and clothing that is available should be manufactured in places that do not use sweated labour or employ workers in dangerous working conditions. Such items should be put together in places that have good employment practices and where unions are recognised and workers have rights—all the things that we want for ourselves.
I am indeed aware of that campaign. It is one of the factors that caused me to discuss the matter. I support Oxfam's campaign, and I hope that it is accepted as part of the basic requirements for the games. We can make these games very different from what has gone before. They can be advantageous for London and the country as a whole, but we must work very hard to ensure that they are.
Mr. Foster spoke about accessibility, and I agree with him. It is right that the Bill should refer to the race relations legislation, but why on earth does the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not appear on the face of the Bill? I assume that that is merely an oversight, as the hon. Gentleman said, and that all games facilities will be fully accessible. Obviously, they will have to accommodate the Paralympics, but I want to be sure that every facility will be fully accessible.
The Bill gives various people enormous powers—in respect of planning, development, contract letting and so on—that must be exercised with caution, openness and transparency. There has to be some means by which we can prevent a house price and building boom from taking off in north and east London, as that would remove from those areas the very people who have made their homes there, and who have won the bid for London by their poverty and their needs.
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is incumbent on the Minister in his winding-up speech to expand on the Secretary of State's earlier comments about "discreet" planning powers for the new Olympic authority. I do not know what "discreet" means in this context. Does it mean that the authority will meet completely in secret, that it will take its decisions secretly and that people will not know who is on it? Does my hon. Friend share my concern about that, and does he agree that the Minister should explain what "discreet" means when he winds up?
I have been mulling over the use of this word. It could mean discretion, being discreet or lots of things, but it is a very odd word to use where planning authorities and planning permission are concerned. As Members, we all get involved in planning matters, and the one thing that we all demand is openness, transparency and accountability for the decisions being taken. So I hope that we will not hear too much more of this word "discreet", and much more about the taking of open planning decisions, so that we can ensure that nothing dubious is going on.
I hope that the Minister will recognise that the people of London welcome the games and want them to succeed, but that there are issues that we must assiduously address to ensure that the benefits are what we said they would be when the team won the bid in Singapore, and that the real beneficiaries are the people who desperately need the benefits that this regeneration plan can bring.
It is a great pleasure to take part in a debate that is so welcomed in all parts of the House. Harry Cohen asked the Minister to explain what was meant by "discreet", but I rather think that in this instance, it means specific and is spelt slightly differently.
It is a palpable pleasure that the UK has won the bid for the Olympics, and I add my congratulations to those offered to Lord Coe and his team and, indeed, to the Government. As one who participated in the debate to persuade the Secretary of State that perhaps we ought to back the Olympic bid, I am delighted that London and the UK have secured it. There has been a great transformation, in that the Scottish National party also welcomes the successful bid—[Interruption.] Pete Wishart, who conceded the point, should know that anybody trained to sail on the Clyde will find it easy to win gold medals on the channel at Weymouth.
I welcome our securing the bid, the boost to sport and the interest that the young are already displaying in the Olympics and in the challenge of getting involved. It is they who will be the medal winners in a few years' time, and we all share their palpable enthusiasm—exemplified by what happened in West Ham on the night of the bid. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I chaired a health authority that covered the boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, so I am well aware of the deprivation in that part of world. Having visited the Lea valley, I can only congratulate those who had the vision to see the opportunity that the east end now has—as, indeed, does the whole of London.
Today is the time not to carp and criticise—none of us wants to do that—but to ask questions to ensure that we establish the basis for a truly successful games. If the Minister cannot answer my questions today, I hope that he can answer them in Committee. We have talked at length about the Olympic delivery authority that the Bill sets up, which is chaired by the Mayor of London and has a limited membership. I hope that among that limited membership there will be a chief executive of the calibre to deliver such a complex and enormous operation as the Olympics will be. I also hope that there will be a project director used to delivering complex construction projects on time and at cost. One of my particular concerns is potential difficulties in the planning system that might delay construction.
My right hon. Friend Mrs. May enunciated the difficulty of working out to whom the ODA will be accountable. The Secretary of State indicated that she would appoint the members. We have expressed a desire that the House should have an annual debate, with the Public Accounts Committee or a Select Committee being able to take evidence on progress, but that still would not answer who is ultimately responsible for delivery. Responsibility is diffuse at present. Does the London Assembly have any powers or ability to question the ODA, or to manage its overall criteria? Who will be able to remove under-achieving members of the ODA? Will it be the Secretary of State or the Mayor? How will we judge whether someone is or is not doing a good job?
A complex structure is emerging, as Mr. Foster pointed out when he said that he wanted clear lines of responsibility. We need, as soon as possible, to see an organisational structure. The number of organisations already involved could lead to complex relationships. Unless carefully managed with clear lines of responsibility, that could lead to confusion.
It is important that the organisation committee includes a member with responsibility for the country beyond London, and its composition should not be purely geographically based. May I ask the Minister to take cognisance of that when considering the organisation of the games? We should also consider the historic significance of this country's role in founding the modern Olympic movement. In particular, I think of Dr. William Penny Brookes who in 1850 founded the Wenlock Olympian Society, which celebrated its 119th running of the Olympic games just a couple of weekends ago. I hope that we will at least be able to send the torch through Much Wenlock on its way to London in 2012.
. I do not represent a Gloucestershire seat, but I think that Gloucestershire can claim to have recreated, at an even earlier date, the original Olympic games on Dover hill, but I take my hon. Friend's point.
We do not want an ODA that is too big, and the operation has to be clearly and tightly managed.
Some financial questions are very much at the front of the minds of London council tax payers. Obviously, we want the Olympics to keep to budget, and we recognise that the Treasury has already set aside contingency sums. In the bid document, the Government also accepted responsibility for any cost overrun. That has been divided broadly between the lottery and the Mayor of London. If there is a cost overrun—we all hope that there will not be—we would like to know who is responsible for what percentage share. Council tax payers in London will find it daunting if, according to a current estimate, they are to pay an extra £20 on a band D council tax bill for the next 40 years. We need clarification of whether the 12 per cent. Treasury tax take on the Olympic lottery will be used as a further contingency, or could reduce council tax payers' contribution of £20 a year to half of that.
If the hon. Lady will give me a second so that I can finish my point, I will be happy to go away—[Laughter]—to give way. I will go away at the end.
We must also ensure that council tax payers have an idea of the finite sum of money for which they will be responsible. The Bill should set out the amount of money that London council tax payers will be responsible for at, say, 2005 prices plus inflation.
I suggest to the hon. Lady that she is raising a scare by suggesting that London council tax payers will be paying for 40 years. Does she not agree that the benefits to London will be enormous? I agree that we need clarity, but the benefits to Londoners are particularly important, so it is only fair that they should pay their share.
I agree that London will benefit enormously. I hope that the hon. Lady will take part in the Committee stage, when we can tease out how much London council tax payers will be responsible for. It would also be sensible if they could see on their bills a statement of how much the Olympics are costing them each year.
I have long believed that there should be a bigger role for the private sector in the delivery of the Olympics. We want to ensure that the private sector has as much access as possible to the bidding. I am slightly concerned that an organisation such as the London Development Agency could itself take responsibility for construction. With the best will in the world, while it may be a good commissioner, it is not a good provider. We have to ensure that the private sector gets as much access to the contracts as possible.
One of the issues that I was keen to tease out from the Secretary of State was planning. The Bill gives the ODA planning powers similar to those that the London Docklands Development Corporation had, and we have seen what a success the LDDC was. One thing that concerns me is that the current compulsory purchase powers in the planning Acts are passed over to the ODA for the purposes of the Bill. If that happens, many businesses will find themselves not receiving the compensation for removal that they believe, and their valuers tell them, that they need and deserve.
If we were, for instance, to adopt the French system for the provision of the Olympic facilities, people could be bought out at a price that they could accept and there would be no delays in delivery as a result of the planning system. The planning system could be one of the keys to delays and hence cost overruns. Why is the Minister not prepared to adopt the French system of buying people out?
We have also to consider the impact on businesses around the Olympic site that perhaps do not fit the image of the modern Olympics, such as old warehouses that are not a pretty site but are outwith the envelope of the Olympic developments. What sort of compensation should they be looking for?
Several hon. Members have raised the issue of transport, and earlier this week we debated the Crossrail project and the impact that its construction might have on the Olympics. My hon. Friend Mr. Field, who unfortunately cannot be here this afternoon, made the point that Crossrail will be being built during the Olympics and will mean that Charing Cross road will be closed for two years, not only to traffic but to pedestrians. The businesses in Charing Cross road, especially the bookshops, are part of the cultural offering that London makes to any visitor, and those businesses will suffer severely. I was pleased to hear that the Select Committee will be able to consider the interaction of Crossrail and Olympic construction, and I hope that such issues can be resolved sensibly, because I am a great supporter of both.
We want to see London's transport links developed, but we must be careful about the interaction of their construction with the construction of the new Olympic venues and village. The pressure on the construction industry will be enormous. Hon. Members have already mentioned the need to ensure that we have enough people in training to provide the building skills that will be required, but we must recognise that people will need to come in from outside the UK. We should encourage as many as possible to come to ensure that we can deliver all the projects. The East London line extension is one of those projects and Jeremy Corbyn has already mentioned the impact on his constituency. It will also have an impact on my constituency. Several stations will be closed for varying periods—two years, 18 months, a year.
Is the hon. Lady suggesting that local people will not be trained and able to do the construction work and that we should spread the net wider? Surely part of the Olympic legacy should be that we ensure that local people are trained in construction and able to take well-paid jobs.
I agree with the hon. Lady. We want to ensure that as many people as possible are trained to take advantage of the jobs that will be available. However, I doubt that we can train sufficient numbers, so people will come from all over the world with their skills, at management and professional levels. I have no objection to that, because the introduction of new skills raises the level for everyone. That is a real legacy that the Olympics will provide. However, we must also ensure that the construction projects are managed so as to minimise disruption to everybody else as they try to move around London to get to work and create the wealth and infrastructure that we need to deliver a world-class Olympic games.
The East London line development is a case in point. We must ensure that it is delivered in a way that minimises disruption to everybody. We need better transport to Heathrow, from east to west. We also need to build into that, in the case of my constituency, the tram from Beckenham to Crystal Palace so that people can then travel on the East London line. The issue of Crystal Palace has been of concern for many years. We need to ensure that we get that development right, too. If we can achieve everything that I have mentioned—it is a long menu—we will have a world-class Olympics, and it is thanks to all hon. Members encouraging the Government and our team for 2012 that we have the Olympics in seven years' time.
First, I inform the House that I am a trustee of TimeBank UK, the largest volunteer group in the country, which is charged with the volunteer programme for the Olympics. My hon. Friend Lyn Brown said that she thought that 15,000 people had volunteered, but in fact they are volunteering through our website at the rate of one every five seconds. More than 30,000 have registered so far, and we held a meeting this week to discuss what to do with them for the next seven years. We need only 75,000 volunteers in total and at this rate we shall have them all by next weekend.
I am closely associated with Stoke Mandeville and have been part of its fundraising team to make the Paralympics the best in the world. I am proud to say that we have already raised about £7 million.
I was interested in my hon. Friend's comments on volunteering and I am pleased that so many people are coming forward. The knack is to ensure that the volunteering programme reflects the diversity of both London and the UK. Do his figures show how the different communities that make up London and the UK are reflected in the volunteers?
I do not have that breakdown, but I will get it for my hon. Friend. Given TimeBank's existing work—for example, it carries out all the mentoring on behalf of the Home Office for families who take in asylum seekers—I am sure that the strength and commitment of its team will be satisfactory, but I will obtain the figures and place them in the Library.
Like everyone else, I congratulate the team. Seb Coe, Keith Mills, Mike Lee and Alan Pascoe have done well, but two people have not been given enough credit. The first is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State who had the unenviable task, three years ago, of convincing a rather sceptical Cabinet that the bid was worth while, but to her great credit, she gathered support and did so. We must not forget that. The second person was one of our ambassadors in Singapore, who, so my spies tell me, was doing the rounds with great élan: the Prime Minister's wife was corralling many members of the IOC and introducing the Prime Minister to them. The campaign was very much like a general election campaign—that is where some of the other bid teams got things wrong—where the last four days are critical. We got the last four days right and France did not. That was the key, so we should also commend the Prime Minister's wife.
I was lucky enough to see the Sydney bid at close hand, as I visited Sydney twice before the games. I made a post-games visit to Athens as part of my Select Committee work. Making such a bid is like a couple of entrepreneurs setting up a start-up company: they have got to the starting line and obtained their money—in this case, we have been awarded the games. There is then a rather difficult situation, after the initial public offering, in that the management of the company last only for the next 18 months and, because they cannot cope with managing a brand-new company, are replaced by professionals. We should not be surprised if the current management team is not the same in 18 months' time. That is normal and we should expect it.
The key thing is to ensure that the ODA understands how companies are built and developed, and that the appointment of people to the management team is critical. I realise that the Secretary of State will make those decisions, but we need to understand that members of the management team will need to be replaced, not at regular intervals, but in two or three years' time.
Two things worry me, and they have been raised by other Members. The first is security. There was a hijacking at the Munich games in 1972 and a bomb at Atlanta in 1996. Greece did not expect expenses for security of £2 billion, which it had to take on the hip. The Athens games cost the Greek Government 10 per cent. of gross domestic product. In any normal economy, that would be overwhelming. Given the problems that face any major world event, security is critical and I do not really see why it should always fall on the home team to provide the money. The IOC is a very rich organisation indeed—it will probably take between £20 billion and £30 billion in TV fees over the next 10 years—and although it is generous in giving at least $1 billion to the host city, I do not see why there should not be a separate fee for security, and we need to argue for that between now and 2012.
Secondly—I will not be popular for saying this—we must look again at how this matter is managed in the House. We did have a Minister without Portfolio whose only portfolio was managing the dome. The dome was built on time and to budget. It was popular with some people. The only thing that did not materialise was our 12 million visitors—we only got 6.8 million. Everyone who told us that we would get 12 million was wrong, including every tourism expert and everyone from British Airways. If we can have a Minister for a rather minor event like the millennium dome, it seems to me that, as we grow our expertise in the Olympics, we need a Secretary of State for the Olympics, or a dedicated Minister for the Olympics only. That is very important. The Secretary of State has wide responsibilities. She not only has the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but she is Minister for Women too. As this complex, difficult area develops, the Government should look at establishing a Minister for the Olympics.
The ODA will report to Parliament and it will be required to send an annual report to the Secretary of State. I wonder whether we might beef that up. It is critical that the Government find time every year for the House to debate that report, as other hon. Members have said. I say that because I chaired a meeting two weeks before Singapore on the design implications of the Olympics. About 100 designers attended and the Minister for Sport and Tourism was there. One aspect made me nervous, and it has been raised by my hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn, who is no longer present: housing.
In essence, so far the housing looks to be rather like Le Corbusier and the 1950s high-rises that went up in south and north London that we are now blowing up and taking down. We could be much more Port Sunlight, New Earswick and Welwyn Garden City. We need a very different approach on this and, if we go for high-density, cheap housing, we will deeply regret it within 10 years. It will not be the site that we think it is in legacy values. That is why there should be a way for hon. Members to feed our expertise into the system.
In The Observer last Sunday, there was an interesting article by Tim Payton, in which he floated the idea of Olympic parks across Britain. I am greatly attracted by that idea. We are all struggling in our constituencies, wondering which 1 per cent., or 1 per cent. of 1 per cent., we can get of the big budget of the Olympics. We are struggling to find out how we can participate if we are not a London borough. I just wonder whether the Olympic parks might be a good idea.
I also wonder whether we can persuade the Minister to look at that 12p in the pound of the lottery that goes to the Treasury. Although £750 million from the lottery will be made available for the games, a hell of a lot of money is still going to the Treasury from that 12p. Could we make that a bond that could go into the market to develop the Olympic park idea, so that if we beefed up the regional development agencies' interest in this whole procedure, we could at least give some of the money from the 12p to each RDA, to make some sort of infrastructure facility bid?
I live in Kent. We are the largest local authority. We do not have a single Olympic event. We do not have any facility that could host an American team or a Japanese team, and therefore we shall need to come for money.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it would be nice if we took the Olympics across the country and perhaps had dedicated sports centres and training centres that would allow the whole country to join in the Olympic year. Is that the sort of thing he is considering?
It will not be for me to consider, but last week we had a debate in Westminster Hall on elite sport and, when the Minister for Sport and Tourism replied to the debate, he said that that evening he was seeing Charles Allen, who was in charge of the nations and regions part of the Olympic bid. We are all trying to understand how we can participate. For example, I think that my constituency has the second-best windsurfing in the world, in Sheerness, but of course we do not have a hotel facility for 80 people. Even if we built a hotel for 80 people, we would not be able to use it as a hotel once the windsurfing teams had gone. We do not want a white hotel. We want some system that will help us understand. If we want windsurfing, we must approach the international body first, then the British Olympic Committee and the British windsurfing organisation. We do not have the experience or expertise to understand the decision-making process, nor do we have the money. We are trying to understand what we can do. I hope the Minister will say in his winding-up speech that there will be a one-day conference so that all our chief executives, not just of the RDAs and councils, but of sporting bodies, can reach a better understanding of how we can participate.
It would be good if the RDAs could be challenged to do an Olympic audit. It would be instructive to know how many swimming pools, tennis courts or equestrian centres we have that are of Olympic standard. If they are not suitable, our councils must find the money to build them so that we can attract those sports. If we do not do that, Paris will, and so will Brussels, Hamburg and Berlin. We are competing for overseas teams not just inside the United Kingdom, but across western Europe. Hon. Members will remember that our Athens team took accommodation in Cyprus and our team to the Sydney Olympics took accommodation in Brisbane for two years. That is big business and we need to understand how best we can participate.
If the Minister is so minded, I should be interested in serving on the Committee that will consider the Bill.
The Olympics could be a huge catalyst for sport. There are three things that we do not have in the UK: there is no sports think-tank, there is no archive of every piece of sports film ever shot, and there is no sports museum. If there is some way that we can lasso the Olympics system in order to upgrade sport to the prominence that it should have but has never had, this is the one opportunity to do that. With regard to sport archive development, will the Minister convene a meeting with the British Library to ask it to serve as the digital infrastructure for the United Kingdom and make the Olympics its first priority so that we can gather all the films that have been made about sport in the United Kingdom? Because the British Library is the best in the world, perhaps the project could be extended to garner sports film from the whole world.
As I have said before, the film of the 1948 Olympics, which was made on nitrate, is three hours long and has never been shown on television—I am still praying that BBC3 or BBC4 can find the time—was saved and digitised only because two people spotted it in a can about eight years ago in the British Film Institute library. We must not lose such material.
Another aspect that has not been discussed because it is not entirely covered by the Bill is the legacy that we leave the world from the games. Those of us who celebrated the millennium remember 300,000 people in Pall Mall. Why can only 80,000 go to the opening ceremony? Why can the celebration not take place all over London? Why should it not be celebrated in every football stadium? Would it not be wonderful if, like the opening of the millennium celebrations which started with Sydney harbour bridge being lit up with fireworks, we lit up all the cities around the world that have hosted the Olympic games, sharing an opening ceremony with all those cities and bringing a family of cities into the Olympic movement?
We should leave something so that people could say, "Ah, yes, London did that", much as we did in 1908 when we created the marathon. We also created the winter games in London in 1908 by freezing a swimming pool in the middle of the athletics pitch and skating on it. That eventually led to the winter games of the Olympic movement. In 1948 we introduced the photo finish and starting blocks. We have contributed many things as legacy, but they are tiny. It would be good if we contributed something major.
When de Coubertin set the marker for the games in 1896, it was for sport and arts. There were gold medals for poetry and music. We have a Nobel prize for literature, and it would be great if we could return to some aspects of the creative part of the Olympics. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham said that 120 nationalities would participate. Would it not be spectacular if there was some way in which we could celebrate their cultures and our culture together, beyond just sport?
Once again, I commend everyone who has made this possible. It is the most exciting thing that will ever happen in my time. My son called me from school to say, "Dad, dad, we can go." He is only 13, and we do go to lots of sporting events. I said, "Son, I am not going to take you, I am going to watch you."
I am grateful for the opportunity to make my maiden speech to the House today. First, I add my congratulations to London on its successful bid to host both the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012. I am sure that London's Olympic bidding team must have taken great encouragement and inspiration from Manchester's tremendous success in hosting the Commonwealth games back in 2002. Members from across the north-west region will surely agree that those games were not just a great sporting spectacle, but succeeded in bringing together communities, including my own, in a way that few other events can do. The residents of Cheadle made up a considerable proportion of the vast army of volunteers whose selfless contributions made the Manchester games such a success. The community spirit and enthusiasm shown three years ago by my constituents is typical of the local population, whom I am privileged to represent.
It is also an immense privilege to succeed my friend and colleague, Patsy Calton, as Member of Parliament for Cheadle. Hon. Members will no doubt recall the courage and determination that my predecessor demonstrated only a matter of weeks ago in this very House. Having known Patsy for many years, I know that her qualities as a person and as a Member of Parliament were not defined only by the bravery and commitment that she displayed throughout her illness. She was an inspiration to, and a great servant of, the community in so many other ways. The drive and tenacity that she showed when assisting her constituents was matched only by her attention to detail and her sharp mind, which she employed in the House and in Committee. Her sheer work rate on behalf of the people of Cheadle will be celebrated for many years to come within the constituency and beyond. She came closer than most to bridging the gap between being a champion of the local community and a politician of national standing.
Let me take a moment or two to explain a little more about the constituency of Cheadle. It is located on the southern tip of the Greater Manchester conurbation, and many local residents consider their area to be part of Cheshire, as the constituency historically was. Even the briefest tour of my constituency amply demonstrates why residents feel this way. The word "leafy", used frequently to describe the constituency, simply does not begin to do justice to Cheadle. We are blessed with magnificent, award-winning parks and nature reserves, such as Bruntwood park and Gatley Carrs, and tree-lined streets throughout the local area. I would advise any hon. Member fortunate enough to be visiting the area that there are few better days out to be had than taking a trip to Bramhall hall, a magnificent 14th-century manor house and its surrounding park.
A number of hon. Members have probably visited my constituency over the past few weeks, and I hope that they all enjoyed themselves as much as I did. However, I assume that Members of the party to my right are unlikely to be putting in an appearance again for some considerable time.
It is not just the precious green belt and open space that make our area so special. We have a number of district centres, all with unique characters, which serve to provide a network of villages and community centres across the constituency. Cheadle village, Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall are all distinct local centres with a range of amenities but which also face constant challenges from out-of-town retailers and other pressures.
Cheadle is considered a prosperous area and the statistics appear to bear that out. An initial assessment would show that local people, in general, are highly educated, highly skilled and relatively highly paid, particularly in a regional and sub-regional context—a typically affluent suburb, some might say. That broad-brush approach, however, does not tell the whole story. It does not, for example, take account of the large number of pensioner households in every part of the constituency. Nor does it take account of the pockets of deprivation that can be hidden from Government funding formulae. It also fails to recognise the needs and expectations of the community.
The dire funding arrangements for local services are the topic of debate locally. As leader of the local council for the past three years, I can say that there is a certain grim predictability about the financial settlement for local government every year. It leaves the council that is responsible for so many vital local services in an unenviable position, as both a low grant and a high council tax authority. It means that a two-pensioner household in Heald Green can end up paying more council tax than, say, a Cabinet Minister is expected to pay in a different authority area, although our council spends less per head than any other Greater Manchester authority. Moreover, all the evidence suggests that the situation is likely to be exacerbated by council tax revaluation.
A pupil at King's Way school in Gatley in my constituency is funded at around £1,000 per year less than a pupil at a school just over a mile away, in neighbouring Manchester. Local schools already achieve excellent results, but so much extra potential could be released if we benefited from a fairer funding regime. All the signs suggest, however, that the inequality will only get worse unless something is done.
The position is replicated across a range of local services. Indeed, not long ago my predecessor had to fight tooth and nail to retrieve £1 million of funding for Stepping Hill hospital that was rightfully its money. As for crime and antisocial behaviour, we are all familiar with the raft of legislation that has emanated from the Chamber in recent years. The sad reality is that, during the same period, my constituency has seen the closure of one police station and the failure to establish a long-promised police post in Cheadle Hulme to replace it. There is no shortage of legislation, but there is a pressing need for more police officers to enforce the law. The principle of fairness underpinned the Liberal Democrat election campaign in May, and I intend to pursue it in respect of the funding of local services in Cheadle.
I am sure I am not the only Member whose constituents need and deserve a vastly improved transport network. Fortunately, my constituency has a coherent strategy as part of the south-east Manchester multi-modal study. The strategy includes completion of the Manchester airport eastern link road, as well as construction of the Poynton bypass and the A6 Hazel Grove bypass. The current road network, involving the infamous "road to nowhere"—the airport link road—only serves to funnel traffic on to suburban roads in the Heald Green, Woodford and Bramhall areas, where the infrastructure is totally unsuited to coping with the volume.
I am not the first Member for Cheadle to refer in a maiden speech to the importance of delivering the A555 relief road scheme, but I hope for the sake of my constituents, and indeed neighbouring constituents, that I am the last.
While I intend all those serious issues and many more during the time for which local people allow me to serve in this role, I consider myself one of the most fortunate Members in the House in being given the opportunity to represent such an attractive, confident and cohesive community. It is therefore with sadness for the loss of my friend, but also with immense pride, that I have the privilege to serve the people of Cheadle. The constituency has seen some of the benefits that a major sporting event such as the Olympics can have for a community, in so many different ways. Other Members have said the same this afternoon. With careful planning, I hope that London can repeat that success in 2012 not only for the capital, but for our country as a whole.
I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for indulging me and other London Members, who have had to duck in and out of the Chamber to find out the impact of this afternoon's traumatic events on our constituencies and constituents.
I congratulate Mark Hunter on his maiden speech. As far as I am aware, I have never visited Cheadle, and although he did not say anything that put me off the idea, I suspect that it may be a little time before I get the chance to do so. I congratulate him on his model maiden speech and wish him well for the remainder of the Parliament.
This afternoon's events again bring into juxtaposition the Olympics and terrorism in London. It seems to be an unholy coincidence that just as the euphoria of the bid success in Singapore was succeeded by terrible atrocities the following day, today we are debating the Olympics and again we have seen appalling events in London. By 2012, the pain caused by the horrors of a couple of weeks ago, which will never be forgotten, will, I hope, have eased. A successful games will be the best memorial to those murdered two weeks ago. So far as I am aware, my constituency suffered more than any other two weeks ago, in that four of my constituents—Rachelle Chung Far Yuen, Michelle Otto, Neeta Jain and Anthony Fatayi-Williams—were victims. Those four people came from four different ethnic backgrounds, which reflects my constituency's diversity, London's diversity and our country's diversity.
Diversity was a key factor in our successful bid. Every visiting team will have its own home crowd, because among London's residents there are people with roots in every nation in world. Some of those residents are recent arrivals to our shores, while others have been here for generations. The Norman Tebbit cricket test was out of place when it first appeared; it is out of place now; and it will be ancient history when we host the games in a few years' time. People will back the GB team as well as the team from their roots country, which is how it should be. The GB team will be strengthened by our country's diversity, because competitors from different backgrounds will add to our chances of striking gold, and the whole of our country will support it, irrespective of ethnic roots. A successful 2012 games is the best way in which to answer the bombers. I am pleased that the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, has announced that relatives of the victims and those who were injured will be given pride of place in the stadium at the games.
Bombers and terrorists do not believe in the Olympics or the Olympic ideal. My hon. Friend Derek Wyatt has referred to the history of the ancient Olympic games. The Olympic truce was another feature of the ancient Olympics. We should consider trying to stop wars around the modern world, at least for the couple of weeks of the games, in the same way as wars were stopped in the ancient world as part of a religious duty. Greece tried to engender such a truce before and during the Athens games.
We must build quickly and locally on the great enthusiasm for the Olympics. Good practice notes are needed to help communities and local authorities use the games as a focus for their own sporting endeavours. As has been said, London council tax payers will pay some £20 a year towards the cost of the games, and if we are to maintain enthusiasm, we should spread around the benefits.
How should we go about arranging training camps for visiting teams and how can other countries' Olympic associations find out what is available in our different communities? Shaftesbury Barnet harriers, one of the country's leading athletics clubs, is based at the Copthall stadium in my constituency, where there are also two specialist sports colleges and many other public and private sports facilities. Some of those are in need of investment to bring then up to scratch, although in many cases it is not a large amount of money. We need to know whether that investment is available and how it can be readily accessed to ensure that in hosting visiting countries' teams we can provide the facilities that they need to ensure that they can compete to the best of their ability. Will there be some co-ordination among areas able and willing to host visiting teams or a competitive environment with one authority bidding against another? I would prefer proper co-ordination around the country and around London to ensure that the games are distributed fairly.
Does my hon. Friend agree that co-ordination is also needed as regards the delivery of apprenticeships? We need to ensure that companies that are already established in delivering skills for jobs, such as Stonebridge House, are used in the bid process.
My hon. Friend makes an important point. I hope later to raise one or two issues concerning the construction projects.
In housing visiting teams we should build on diversity around the country to try to host teams in communities with which they have links. For example, in my area we have a large Jewish community with many excellent connections and roots in Israel. We have one of the largest Indian communities in the country, and many African nations are represented. Is it possible for several areas or local authorities to get together to put in a joint bid to host some of the larger teams? We need some guidance on how those arrangements should be made and accessed. The proposed Olympic delivery authority could play a useful role in the co-ordination of such activities.
My hon. Friend Ms Butler anticipated my remarks when she mentioned the role of apprenticeships as we go about organising the construction projects. It is fair to look at what has happened elsewhere. In Greece, much of the construction work, large and small, was farmed out around the whole country, benefiting the whole of Greece and the Greek economy. There is no reason why that should not happen here, given that this will probably be the biggest and most important construction site in London and the south-east, if not the whole country, once terminal 5 is completed.
My hon. Friend also said that this should be an opportunity to ensure that there are plenty of local jobs for local people. Foreign teams of construction workers may arrive from all over the European Union, perhaps in the same numbers as their sporting teams given the scale of the project. There is no excuse for not making efforts to ensure that local people are trained up, through the apprenticeships that my hon. Friend mentioned, to play their part in building the major projects in the east end. It would be alienating for local young people if they saw people coming in from outside and the sporting facilities going up with no jobs for them.
Those who work on the sites must have proper terms and conditions and health and safety arrangements. That is particularly so in the case of overseas workers. During the last Parliament, the Work and Pensions Committee's report on the work of the Health and Safety Executive highlighted the problems of health and safety in the construction industry, with particular reference to the position of migrant workers. I hope we can take that into account in our approach to the letting of construction contracts.
As a fellow GMB member, I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who makes an excellent point. The GMB has played a major role in that success. Trade unions can play a constructive role in ensuring that the work force plays its full part in delivering such projects on time. We have some excellent trade unions working in the construction industry. Their job is not only to ensure decent terms and conditions and health and safety but to act as a proper link between management and work force to deliver these important projects.
Many others Members wish to speak, so let me say in summary that we would welcome a cultural Olympics throughout the capital. London is the cultural capital of the world for theatre and art. The Olympics will bring enormous economic benefits to London and the country as a whole. The legacy of the Olympics will be long-lasting.
I congratulate all those involved in the bid. It was a hard but worthwhile job, and a job well done. Now the real work starts to deliver the Olympics. I know that all my colleagues in London, in this House and in local government will do their utmost and make great efforts to ensure that the games are successful, as will the Government.
It is a pleasure to follow Mr. Dismore, particularly as it is not a Friday, when he is not constrained by a time limit. I noticed the passion with which he spoke about the Health and Safety Executive, which we will hang on to with great interest.
I congratulate Mark Hunter on an excellent maiden speech. I did not go to Cheadle during the campaign, although I have to admit to spending a lot of time on the telephone, talking to his now constituents. He should not take it for granted that I will not call in future, but I congratulate him and look forward to hearing his contributions in the years to come.
Like others, I congratulate the bid team on a fantastic triumph. Seb Coe and the others deserve every accolade. We should not forget the efforts of Barbara Cassani, who laid the foundations at the beginning of the bid. For Londoners it was a rollercoaster week with such euphoria on
London will reap tremendous benefits: the legacy, the development of the facilities and the inspiration to our young people. I agree with Lyn Brown that we must involve the boroughs as much as possible. I should be interested to hear from the Minister how parts of London with facilities to offer can put them forward. Will there be a sort of clearing house? In the Croydon and Bromley area there is Crystal Palace, which has already been mentioned and does not need a clearing house, and schools such as the Whitgift with tremendous national-class facilities, which it would love to make available. Guidance is needed on how that is best achieved.
Plans for London are undoubtedly ambitious. There will be a number of temporary facilities, such as Lords, Wimbledon and Horseguards Parade. There will be places around the country, such as Weymouth for rowing and sailing, in which I take a particular interest. The Lea valley site is extremely large. Canary wharf is only 85 acres; Lea valley will be 500 acres. It will need top-class management to fulfil its potential and to bring about the necessary restoration and regeneration of the east end. I do not want to make party political points, but lessons can be learned from the Jubilee line and the dome. Derek Wyatt held out the dome as a triumph; others might not see it that way. The lessons of development and project management have to be learned from those projects.
A lesson is to start building early. If we leave it to the last minute, as in Athens, there will be the inevitable scramble, which we want to avoid. A key player will be the Mayor of London. I am pleased that he is given substantial powers to cut through bureaucracy. With a major development, many organisations feel obliged to be consulted and want to have their finger in the pie. It will take a fairly ruthless so-and-so to cut through that and drive the project forward.
The people of London still need clarity about finance. The Secretary of State said in her opening speech that the position was clear. It is clear if the games are on budget, but if the cost overruns, it is not clear who will pay and how the contributions will be found. If the Minister is not in a position to elaborate tonight, will he provide a steer in the coming months?
I want to consider the affected businesses. I have taken a particular interest in one company, F. H. Brundle, whose sole proprietor is a constituent of mine. He has run a business in the relevant area for several years and owns a freehold site. However, he is obliged to relocate. He is a builder's merchant who picks up passing trade that comes from the east end of London into the development sites of the City and the west end. The London Development Agency is offering to relocate him five miles away in Beckton or 12 miles away in Rainham Marshes. Neither site has freehold available. My constituent has a freehold site and there is therefore no question of like-for-like compensation.
My hon. Friend Mrs. Lait made the point in relation to clause 4 that the sums of money are equivalent to those that would be paid if the land were purchased compulsorily. If that is the cap, the businesses will lose money. They have to find a new site and build on it and relocate factories. Not all the staff will be able to move with them. There will be redundancy payments and relocation costs. Investment value will be lost because the businesses have freeholds but will end up with leaseholds. Business will be lost in the transition and because the firms are no longer on such a prominent site. My constituent estimates that he will lose several million pounds.
I know that the Minister has an open mind and that he does not want such consequences. However, the Bill suggests that, with all the good will in the world, there will be losses. I hope that either I have read it wrongly or the matter can be tackled in Committee. I hope that there will be scope for proper compensation for the businesses that are affected by the problem.
Before the bid was successful, the line was always that the matter was for the LDA to determine. The Minister knows that I asked about that on several occasions and the Secretary of State claimed that it was a matter for the LDA. However, the LDA says that it is constrained by statute and finance. We are going around in circles and only two people can cut through the problem—the Minister and the Secretary of State. I would be grateful if the Minister could tackle the matter as a priority because businesses will be seriously affected. There is a lack of suitable alternative sites nearby. The sites on offer from the LDA are not ready to plan for or start development. There is uncertainty about the available funding and compensation. Many businesses are already worried about the time frame for their location.
The Olympic games will be a major project, subject to the scrutiny of the nation and the world. There are bound to be problems. There will be scandals, accusations of corruption and issues that we have not anticipated. It is incumbent on us all to keep our nerve when the going gets rough. We are not considering a political issue. All the parties want to get behind the games and make them a success. London has the ability to put on a great games, but we must deliver.
I, too, would like to praise all those involved in the bid, but I would like specifically to single out those who have not been mentioned by name earlier. Over the past few days, we have discussed the difficulties involving our cleaning staff here in the House who have been campaigning hard for an increase in their pay. I want to pay tribute to all the back-office staff—secretaries and the like—who have worked so hard on the Olympic bid and who have not been named. Yes, a lot of good work has been done by Lord Coe and his colleagues, but without the support staff, none of it would have happened. So I want to put on record my praise for them.
Many right hon. and hon. Members have commented on the tremendous opportunities offered by holding the Olympics and the Paralympics. I hope that we take the opportunity to embrace what has come out of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the good will that exists to ensure that people with disabilities are rightly and fully included in our wide-ranging society. In that regard, we must ensure that we give equal weight to the Olympics and the Paralympics.
My constituency can look back for inspiration to the 1920s, when Bob Leavers from Longton was a swimmer of some renown. More recently, it has seen the emergence of a brother and sister sprinter partnership in Alex and Ashleigh Nelson, who have won some championships in the past few months. It is important that we start now to identify those inspirational athletes, and that we inspire our young people to come forward to be trained and brought through.
I would like the Minister to consider this suggestion: across the country, we have many specialist sports colleges; let us rebrand them. Let us make them specialist Olympic colleges. Let us really seize every opportunity provided by the Olympics and the Paralympics to ensure that we inspire our young people to embrace this opportunity. There are other, more wide-ranging facilities in our communities. Many of the schools in my constituency have swimming pools. Over the years, there have been various swimming galas, but they seem to have lost the impetus that they had in the past. Let us take the opportunity to ensure that all our facilities used to the maximum. Let us do an audit to determine which schools have swimming facilities, running tracks and so on, and ensure that they are being used to the utmost and made available to the community. There are also many new facilities such as children's centres springing up in my constituency. Let us look at those to see whether we can bring them into use for the Olympics and Paralympics.
The difficulties involved in ensuring that athletes are able to compete has been mentioned. This might sound corny, but I urge all our communities around the UK to adopt an athlete. Let us identify the athletes in our communities and embrace and support them. Let us help them and work with them to give them every opportunity over the next seven years to get into pole position—I hope that I am not mixing up my sports—so that they can fully participate, up there with the best, and bring home gold for us.
Of course, the not-so-young can also get involved. I am sure that hon. Members will be amazed, seeing this athletic form standing before them, to learn that older athletes or potential athletes can get involved, not only in sporting events but in other areas such as volunteering. It is important that it is not only Londoners who feel able to volunteer. We need to ensure that people across the UK can volunteer to take part.
I chair the National Strategic Partnership for Volunteering in Sport, and I am sure that my hon. Friend will be pleased to learn that we have just held a meeting here in the Commons this morning. Indeed, some of the other members of that body were in the Gallery a moment ago. More than 25,000 people have already signed up for volunteering. I do not know what I am going to be doing in seven years' time, but I want to endorse the point that my hon. Friend is making: everyone in the country can participate in the games by signing up, and they can sign up now.
I am grateful for that intervention, because it is important to make sure that every community is involved. Given some of the difficulties that some communities are facing at the moment, this is a good time to stretch out the hand of friendship to them, and to make sure that they are part of the plans in the lead-up to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Several Members have started to put forward their constituencies as possible training venues. [Interruption.] I hear the cry, "Surely not" around me. It is important that a complementary approach is adopted, as some constituencies might have facilities that are perfect to host a particular training venue, and adjacent constituencies might have other facilities that would support and complement that. We must avoid a bidding war, and work with rather than compete against other areas to ensure that bids are coherent.
As many Members have mentioned, sport and volunteering are not the only possibilities arising from the Olympics. Over the past couple of days, colleagues representing north and east Staffordshire constituencies have come together to try to give some political leadership to the region. We are looking to form a north and east Staffordshire Olympic taskforce to engage with various agencies such as the regional development agency, the north Staffordshire regeneration zone, the various city and county councils, the Staffordshire sports partnership and, as has been mentioned, trade unions. A tremendous opportunity exists for trade union membership across the UK to be used as a conduit to bring in volunteers and to spread the message about how people can get engaged and take part in various activities. That huge network needs to be tapped into.
Builders, plumbers and the like will be required to construct facilities in London. Many Londoners already find it difficult to obtain a plumber, however, and if they all go off to work in the constituency of my hon. Friend Lyn Brown and in Hackney, Hendon and other areas, there will be a gap. Let us therefore encourage our young people to go into careers in plumbing and building—there will also be vacancies locally as others go off to do work in the areas being developed. My hon. Friend Joan Walley has a facility in her constituency for training people with such potential, and we must make sure that learning and skills councils are on board.
The north and east Staffordshire area is ideally placed for logistics. Teams travelling from all over the world will wish to set up in different parts of the UK and to bring over equipment in advance. Storage and distribution facilities will therefore be necessary. Without wanting to plug north and east Staffordshire too much, it is a perfect location for such activities. As a final plug, the Olympics will need an official supplier of ceramics, and where better than Staffordshire?
I hope that the Olympic team will consider setting up regional park-and-ride facilities across the wider UK, to which people can drive and then get public transport into London, rather than everybody being required to drive down to the south-east and then get a train. That would ease congestion in the area and ensure that the whole package is better for those coming to the Olympics.
On ticketing arrangements, which several colleagues have mentioned, I hope that the International Olympic Committee will give careful consideration to providing better concessionary arrangements for hard-working families. I also hope that steps are taken to ensure that people across Britain are able to afford the tickets and that a suitable public transportation package is put together.
The question of fair trade has already been raised in the debate. It is vital that we make sure that the Olympics and Paralympics do not provide an opportunity for manufacturers to sell sports equipment and national team clothing put together by child and sweatshop labour in developing countries at poverty wages. We must show real world leadership and make sure that these Olympics and Paralympics are the fair trade games.
In conclusion, the news about the Olympics is excellent for the UK. People across the country must be able to seize the opportunities that come their way and take advantage of every possible spin-off. We must work collectively as a country and not in competition with each other. We should save the competition for the Olympics and Paralympics.
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I shall keep my comments brief to allow other hon. Members to make their contributions, but first I want to congratulate Mark Hunter on his excellent maiden speech. I had the opportunity to visit his constituency recently and can confirm that it has many beautiful and leafy roads for people to walk along. I look forward to returning in the not-too-distant future.
I want to echo many of the sentiments already expressed in the debate about the benefits that staging the Olympic games in London in 2012 will bring to the UK. I am very proud that Scott Wilson, an engineering consultancy in my constituency, will play an important part in some of the logistics behind the event. The Secretary of State spoke about the potential benefits for the whole of the UK, and I agree that the Olympics will provide a lasting legacy in terms of sporting facilities. The games will give us a unique opportunity to showcase our country and to unite behind the event.
However, as my hon. Friend Mrs. Lait said, it is time to ask questions. I want to bring to the attention of the House concerns that the scope of the Bill could make it difficult for community organisations and the business community to show their support for the 2012 Olympics. Community organisations and many small and medium-sized firms can never hope to be official sponsors of this great event, as such a role costs many thousands of pounds, but I am sure that they will want to support an event that will be an integral part of our lives for the next seven years.
One specific concern is that the Bill will prevent any references to the games from appearing in our communities other than those made by the media and the official sponsors. There is an important balance to be struck between protecting the official sponsors of the games and people's broader freedom to note this important event.
Official sponsorship is an important part of the revenue stream needed to fund the games, and I understand that we must protect the value of the games for potential sponsors. In many ways, the Bill is designed to prevent ambush marketing, in line with one of the IOC's requirements. I am sure that hon. Members will be familiar with the IOC's definition of ambush marketing, which refers to all
"intentional and unintentional attempts to create a false or unauthorised commercial association with the Olympic movement or the Olympic games."
The inclusion of the relevant clause in the Bill is understandable, as large corporations have engaged in blatant ambush marketing in many recent high-profile sporting events. However, I believe it important that we distinguish between unfair association, involving an implied endorsement and a consequent marketing gain, and mere reference to or allusion to the games, in which an Olympic logo might not even be used. Here, I am referring to schedule 3, under the terms of which, any reference that may
"create in the public mind an association between the London Olympics" and words such as
"2012 . . . twenty twelve . . . gold . . . silver . . . bronze . . . London . . . medals . . . sponsor" and even "summer" would constitute an infringement.
There is a big difference between ambush marketing and reference to the event by a third party who is not an official sponsor. Such a party could be a small local business or even a community group. That the use of the words that I have listed might infringe the law is a matter of great concern, and it does little to support our cross-party efforts today to get as many people as possible involved in the forthcoming event.
If there is no implied suggestion that an organisation or business is an official sponsor, or that people could be confused into thinking that such an association existed, such an organisation should not fall foul of the legislation. We need to consider this issue very carefully. The danger is that we will tip the balance away from encouraging the country to support the event, toward what could look like censorship. That is a particular danger for community organisations and businesses. A passing reference by them to the games could mean that they were committing an offence, and they could face a fine of up to £20,000.
I fully understand the need to provide certainty in order to protect sponsors' rights and, indeed, the integrity of the Olympic movement. But I want the Minister to reassure us today that care will be taken and that we will not gold-plate this legislation. We must not put in place draconian rules that exceed the needs of the IOC, and which risk alienating the public and business by outlawing reference to the games in publicity or in events, for fear of incurring the heavy fines to which I have referred.
This is a unique opportunity to unite the whole country, but it is important that we strike the correct balance between guarding against ambush marketing by those who seek to benefit from the games commercially without being sponsors, and taking account of those who want to support their community and the games—be they businesses or other organisations—and to be part of one of the most important events in our country's history.
It is a pleasure to follow Mrs. Miller, who is entirely right in saying that this is the beginning of our opportunity to scrutinise this Bill and to celebrate. I hope that, as a Member from outside London, I can demonstrate in my contribution that we in Crawley are truly delighted that the Olympic games is coming to London and to the UK.
Most of my friends and family will find it hilarious that I am supporting a sporting activity, given that I object to walking 15 yd to the car, but I have to say that I have been completely enthused by the whole process. I am glad to say that I have form on this issue, in that, as early as the beginning of last year, I was asking my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State what the Olympics will mean to towns and cities outside London. I suspect that I was flying a few kites, without really being certain that the bid would come to anything. However, I am delighted that there is evidence in Hansard that I was interested in the issue then. I remain interested in it, and committed to ensuring that not only Crawley but the rest of the UK benefits from the fantastic opportunity presented by the Olympics and Paralympics coming to this country.
It is completely fortuitous that Crawley happens, in a few weeks' time, to be opening one of the best sports facilities that this country will see. It includes a fantastic running track, a leisure centre that will be the envy of the country and a 50 m pool. The pool has been provided for the people of Crawley—it was their money, and they built it. But we can see that there are fantastic opportunities to enthuse and engage with young people. I am glad that my political history lies in an enlightened Labour council that has always provided first-class facilities. To see that matched now by the Government's commitment to making sure that the games come to the United Kingdom is to see something extremely special to us all.
When we were building the facilities, we were worried we would not have enough money, and I am glad to say that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and Tourism received a delegation from Crawley to hear about the benefits the development would have. We began then to be a bit more excited by the idea that there might be opportunities for us in our part of the world to be able to contribute. And we believe that that is what we are doing in Crawley—making a contribution to the tremendous bid. It is not just about getting our name on the map, but about contributing to ensure that the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will be the most successful ever, and I firmly believe that they can be.
Part of the Olympic bid involved diversity, and many hon. Members have mentioned that. For a town with almost 15 per cent. of its people coming from different ethnic minority groups, it is important that we deliver an Olympics that truly encompasses all the fantastic diversity that we have in the UK.
There are several other reasons why we are very keen. I have mentioned the enlightened approach of Crawley borough council, which has delivered fantastic athletes to the UK. Not a Member will not be aware of Daley Thompson, the fantastic decathlete who won gold in 1980 and 1984—an Olympic gold medallist who came from Crawley. He was offered free facilities, in Crawley, to make sure that he was able to achieve his magnificent wins. The same goes for Mick Jones, the hammer thrower, who won gold at Manchester in 2002 and who continues to compete. A woman I am particularly proud of and know well is Jane Blackburn, who won gold for archery at the last Paralympics. The House can see we have a fantastic history of not only contributing facilities but making sure that people are developed from those facilities and will be encouraged to be able to take part in what will be a fantastic games.
I have some questions for the Minister. I am keen that Crawley plays its part, but I firmly believe that we need an orderly collection of towns and cities able to contribute and that things should not be done simply by saying, "We have better facilities, so it should be us." We should be able to look to the ODA to assess properly the facilities and opportunities that towns and cities can offer and to ensure that they are recognised in such a way that we feel secure about having been offered an opportunity.
I firmly believe that would leave a good legacy for many years. I have spoken with people who were involved in the Sydney bid, and I have family members in Sydney who are involved in the volunteer programme, which continues to this day. People are continuing with the volunteering habit that they developed in the Olympic games, and that has to be a tremendous spin-off, which we need to accept and develop, and we have heard from other hon. Members just how that can be done.
We have fantastic links. Gatwick airport is in the Crawley constituency, and we are developing plans for a university campus to offer accommodation. Having said all that I have said about a co-operative approach, I do not think that there can be a better town than Crawley to contribute to this fantastic games. That is precisely what I am saying to my right hon. Friend the Minister, to ensure that we are considered and that we make this truly a magnificent time for the United Kingdom.
I very much agree with what Laura Moffatt had to say about the opportunity that the Olympics, as a celebration of sporting excellence, can offer us, not only in fostering sporting excellence across the United Kingdom and identifying sports people who will win medals for us, but in taking the fullest advantage of the sports facilities that different communities can offer. For London, this celebration of sporting excellence is important. We shall see many facets of sport across greater London and the games will bring many nations together. With so many different people, London offers such diversity.
One matter that has not been mentioned so far is that the bid was successful because it offered the prospect of being the greenest Olympics. Public transport will be used to allow people from across the whole of London to reach the games. It is important, especially for my constituents in south London, that the Government's very good promises to invest in the East London line and extend the trams across south London, particularly to Crystal Palace, will provide support for good green travel plans.
I am pleased that much reference has been made to the accountability of the Olympic delivery authority on the potential for cost overruns, especially in the context of the role that the Greater London Assembly has to pay—has to play, but also potentially pay—in holding the Mayor to account and scrutinising the power given to him by Parliament to restrict that budget if he has a two-thirds majority in favour of doing so.
I made an intervention earlier in the debate about the great reluctance of the Mayor, the London Development Agency and members of the Olympic bid team to present themselves before the London Assembly when its members recently had questions to ask about the efficacy with which the bid would be taken forward. It strikes me that there will be a conflict in the procedure if the ODA refuses to appear before the Assembly when it has a role in restricting the budget that may be made available for this important initiative for the country as a whole. A sensitivity has been created by the tremendous gearing towards the London taxpayer when only 8 per cent. of the GLA's spend is funded from London council tax payers.
That is a helpful suggestion. It might also be helpful to require the ODA to appear once or twice a year before the Assembly for scrutiny. That might be a way to facilitate understanding, rather than create potential conflict, which would not be helpful to progressing this important initiative.
I am also concerned about how the ODA will proceed on issues such as decontamination of the land, burying the power lines and any problems left over from the small nuclear power station—the GLA raised that issue recently. All those issues have the potential to cause significant cost overruns, so it is important to have transparency on them.
The role of the London Development Agency has not been mentioned positively so far in this debate, but the agency and the GLA should be congratulated on the positive role that they have played so far in the success of the bid. The LDA will have a significant role to play in the future and I shall be interested to see what the relative roles of the agency and the GLA will be, as laid out in the schedules to the Bill. Significant powers will be given to the GLA, and on balance that should be seen as a positive development.
It is important that the LDA should also be required to report frequently on its performance with regard to the Olympic process. As someone who used to sit on the LDA board, I have noticed the significant transfers of spending from other parts of London that are not close to where the Olympics will take place, even areas of great social deprivation. Such developments should be closely followed.
In conclusion, the Olympics offer the prospect of sporting excellence, but it is also important to ensure the greatest excellence in the way in which they are delivered, because London taxpayers cannot afford any kind of cost overrun when the gearing in the London tax schemes is so high.
I add my congratulations to Mark Hunter, whose speech displayed an excellent grasp of all the issues affecting his constituency and obvious dedication to it. I wish him well in his future political life in this place.
I wish to congratulate my right hon. Friend the Minister and the whole Olympic bid team on their hard work and determination in bringing the Olympics to London. There is nothing like an international race involving the French and the Brits to get the heart and lungs pumping. We were a little late out of the blocks but still took the winner's tape, which shows the mettle of the British team.
Along with the rest of the country, my constituents have welcomed the decision to bring the games to London in 2012, because they recognise the prospects for the whole country. Like my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, I have been amazed by the reaction from children and young people. On numerous occasions when I have visited the schools, clubs and colleges in my constituency, they have shared with me their hopes and dreams of success in the future, focusing particularly on 2012 as the culmination of all of their ambitions. Imagine the effect on all those hopes and dreams when Conservative-controlled Dudley council announced plans to close Brierley Hill swimming baths, a facility that serves my constituents and those of the Minister for Trade, my hon. Friend Ian Pearson. Many of my constituents from Brierley Hill, Amblecote and Quarry Bank learned to swim at Brierley Hill and many children still receive their lessons there. Local schools use the baths and the leisure centre is home to the Brierley Hill and Stourbridge swimming clubs and to the Dudley Dolphins diving club. In addition to competitive sport, the baths and the rest of the leisure centre provide local people with opportunities to improve their fitness and to relax.
The decision to close the baths is in direct conflict with advice from Sport England, whose survey proved that Dudley as a whole has poor provision of sporting water space. Our club swimmers and juniors have great prospects for achievement in 2012, but no hope of assistance due to that short-sighted council decision. The blow was all the harder to take when the first citizen of Dudley, the mayor, added his vote to close the baths. The local newspaper, the Stourbridge News, which serves Dudley, South and my constituency, has launched a campaign with SOS—Save our Swimming—to retain the baths, or at least to encourage the council to find an alternative piece of land for a replacement facility, to provide a venue for learning vital life skills and for maintaining the fitness and health of all my constituents, as well as developing the talents of young swimmers and divers in Dudley and Stourbridge.
I hate to be the spectre at the feast, but my constituents voted for me to protect their interests and to champion their rights. They have the right to good health and good local council services and, most importantly, my younger constituents deserve the chance to dream and to achieve. All that will be harder to attain in the light of that short-sighted decision. I ask my right hon. Friend the Minister to join me in condemning that decision, to add his name to the petition to save the baths and to use his good offices to prevail on Dudley council to reverse the decision.
I apologise for the fact that I was unable to be in the Chamber for the first few minutes of the debate, especially as the whole debate has been so positive and enjoyable. Such a spirit of celebration and consensus is particularly appropriate on the day before the recess.
I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend Mark Hunter on an excellent maiden speech. He knows, probably better than most people, that Patsy will be a hard act to follow, but I am confident that he will do well. I welcome him to the House.
I feel that the debate would benefit from a Scottish perspective. As many Members will know, there has been much support in Scotland for the London Olympic bid. The Scottish Executive supported the bid team, and many polls conducted among the Scottish public have shown a high degree of support. Generally, certainly in the House, there has been cross-party support among Scottish MPs, with the possible exception of the Scottish National party, although perhaps, as we heard earlier, even the SNP may yet be convinced of the benefits to Scotland. I am certainly convinced that Scotland will benefit greatly from the Olympic games in London.
As Members may know, Hampden will be one of the locations for the football tournament. Glasgow is ideal for that, as there is intense passion for football in the city; Rangers and Celtic matches always provoke a lot of cheering and high spirits. Indeed, Scotland would be an ideal location to kick off the football tournament, which will be held before the main opening of the games. I hope that the organisers will consider that option.
Scotland has hosted other national sporting tournaments. The special Olympics were held in Glasgow in early July and were a great success, partly because the city has a reputation for being friendly and good at hospitality. Scotland also has a national treasure in the tartan army, which is famed for travelling round the world to support our team; the army was much loved by the French people during the World cup in 1998 and is held in great affection. However, at the last World cup, people were unable to see the tartan army in such large numbers, as unfortunately Scotland did not qualify. However, we Scots have also learned to lose with good humour. It is important to be able to do that in sport, and certainly in many cases the taking part and the enjoyment are also important.
My hon. Friend Mr. Foster mentioned the way that sport can unite the nation, and I was reminded that even sports that are not usually on the front or back pages of newspapers—sports that do not usually get a lot of publicity and generate a lot of interest—can unite the nation. I recall the winter Olympics, when, like many others, I went into the office to work the next day and found that everybody had been up until the small hours of the morning watching the curling team's victory. That is not a sport that one would usually expect the masses to be interested in, but it provides an example of how sport can unite people and get their enthusiasm going.
Obviously, huge economic benefits are likely to be experienced across the UK. David Williams, chief executive of Events Scotland, has estimated that that benefit will run into hundreds of millions of pounds for Scotland alone. Obviously, that will involve training camps being set up, attracting teams to come and prepare for the games; Scotland is well placed to do that. Sports facilities of international standard, such as the Scotstoun stadium, which has international standard badminton and athletics, Strathclyde country park with its rowing lake, and even the Tollcross Olympic swimming pool over in Edinburgh, will, I am sure, act as great attractions. Indeed, in my constituency we have a £14 million world-class training complex for a range of football clubs—Murray Park, based in Milngavie. So Scotland has world-class facilities, up to international standards, and I am sure they will help Scotland, through the London Olympics, to attract teams from around the world to benefit the economy.
As other hon. Members have mentioned, the games are also likely to act as an inspiration to achieve sporting excellence within the UK. Not all Members can claim the experience of my fellow Scot and right hon. and learned Friend Sir Menzies Campbell of participating in an Olympics as a competitor, but I am sure we all share the desire to see young people raise their ambitions to become Olympic champions in 2012.
Last week, in fact, two young constituents of mine, David and Stephanie, visited the House with their parents. After the tour, when they had learned all about the history, I was chatting with them outside and they were saying that they were keenly interested in sport. Of course the conversation turned to the Olympics and the excitement that if they persevere and train hard, it might even be possible that they too could compete not just in the Olympics, but in the Olympics in the UK. That thought acts as a wonderful motivation for young people taking part in sport. Indeed, Andy Murray, who is fresh from doing Scotland and Britain proud at Wimbledon, has said that the thought of playing Olympic tennis at Wimbledon with the backing of the crowd would be perfect, and I too think that would be perfect, especially if it put us in with a shot at the medals in tennis.
In addition to the economic benefits that would surely arise from the training camps, there is the issue of tourism, which needs to be looked at seriously. We must be careful to ensure that strategies are in place to encourage people to use their visit to London, perhaps for the Olympics, as a starting point for a visit to other parts of the UK. The central belt of Scotland is just five hours on the train from London—or an hour on the plane, even if that is a slightly less environmentally friendly way to travel. It takes a little longer to get to the north of Scotland or the wild west—the highlands and islands—but it really is worth the trip, and many areas of the UK would fall into that category.
We need to get better at stimulating tourism across the UK by visitors to London. When I was studying in London, sharing a flat with students from America, south-east Asia and around the world, I often felt like an outreach of the Scottish Tourist Board. Often the attitude was, "I have seen London so I have done the UK." We need to open up people's horizons and say, "London is fabulous but actually there is so much more on offer in the regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland." We need to ensure that we are very much on the ball with encouraging that. The UK is a diverse, rich network of communities and there must be some new, inventive ways in which we can spark interest in tourism to other areas.
I conclude by saying that, obviously, we need to maximise these fabulous opportunities for London, Scotland and the rest of the UK. Many congratulations to everyone involved.
Jo Swinson is right to draw attention to the UK-wide tourist opportunities that the Olympics provide. I echo that.
I am delighted that the Olympics are coming to east London. I repeat my congratulations to all involved in the successful bid, including the ministerial team, who did extremely well. Waltham Forest is one of the four local authorities that are in the Olympic park, and Leyton in my constituency will house the velodrome for the cycling and, I believe, the BMX sports. Waltham Forest contains Chingford. For a long time its MP was Norman—now Lord—Tebbit. He once made a famous statement about getting "on yer bike" to find work. All these years later, I am pleased to say it is a case of getting "on yer bike" for the Olympic cycling in Waltham Forest.
The 2012 Olympics promise to be the greatest event on earth. The world's eyes will be upon us and it is in the national interest that we make a success of it. It brings many opportunities, especially for the regeneration of an environmentally and financially poor part of east London. Lots of jobs will flow from the construction work and services, and we need to ensure that the local population, including local youth, is trained up with the skills necessary to benefit fully from that employment. Extra resources must be put into that skills training.
There are health advantages to be had as the population is inspired to get fitter, taking part in sport using existing facilities and, after 2012, the legacy facilities. It is important that schoolchildren are given the chance and encouraged to get fitter, too. In recent years there have been attempts at free access schemes—for example, to swimming pools. Those schemes must be expanded to offer schoolchildren free access to pools and tracks. Arts for the Olympics should not be neglected, and we should utilise the talents of those who are more artistic than sporty. I echo the remarks made by my hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn about utilising art.
Many Londoners are worried about the cost of the Olympics and especially about a rise in council tax. The Olympic precept on the council tax as an element of the funding package to meet the games' costs is due to commence in 2006–07 and last for 10 years. In a press release in May 2003, the Mayor stated that the maximum addition to council tax to fund the Olympics would be £20 a year on average on a band D property. That strikes me as a reasonable precept. It would raise £625 million. If there were a cost overrun, that would require £650 million from the precept and the council tax charge would be for 12 years rather than 10.
The agreed funding package for specific Olympic capital costs is £2.375 billion, but if the costs go beyond that, although the Government are the ultimate guarantor of Olympic funding, they would expect to agree a sharing arrangement with the Mayor of London. So cost overruns still have the potential to cause damage to council taxpayers and they must be avoided. The costs must be kept under control. It is important to keep construction costs from spiralling, as happened with the dome, the Jubilee line, the Scottish Parliament and several other projects. We do not have a good record of controlling costs, but we must do so for the Olympic facilities. That means letting the tenders and getting the work done early. The later it is, the more the contractors have the taxpayer over a barrel, and that must not happen.
There is a lot to do with the transport improvements and the infrastructure work, but the Government are also committed to many other building projects. Building schools for the future was an election pledge that I strongly supported, so that every school that needs such building work will get it over the next 15 years. There is the work on major new hospitals and the modernisation of older ones, such as Whipps Cross University hospital in my constituency. That will be the second nearest hospital to the main Olympic facilities and the nearest to the velodrome, should there be a cycling accident, which I hope there will not be, so that must be modernised, and I am keeping up the pressure for that.
There is also much building associated with regeneration, including the Thames Gateway and Stratford city, and the Government have also set the decent homes target, which is a strong target to build and improve many homes. Therefore, we must really get a grip on the construction and get on with it. The Government should relax the requirement that they have had up to now to build primarily via the public finance initiative, and instead use all appropriate means to finance construction, depending on what offers the best value and what gets the job done quickly.
Quality work is also important, a point that I made in an intervention during the Tuesday's debate on the Crossrail Bill. It is important to work in partnership with the trade unions representing construction workers. I admit that I have a vested interest because I am on the parliamentary team for the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, but I draw attention to early-day motion 591 in the name of my hon. Friend Mr. Clapham, which points out that safe systems of work and dignified terms and conditions, often with a directly employed labour force, is the route to world-class projects being built safely and delivered on time, and the Heathrow project is given as an example.
I agree with Mrs. Lait that there must not be planning hold-ups. We need a proper and fair planning process, but a prompt one. In some cases, the national interest of facilitating the Olympics may need to be invoked, but that should not be left until the last minute.
"To ensure the Government's loudly proclaimed aim of delivering the greenest games ever we're seeking your help to strengthen the bill for environmental and social gains. The All Party London Olympics Bill Research Paper [05/55] includes a whole section on regeneration and planning but this is missing from the Olympic Bill".
"The 2012 bid was built upon a foundation of sustainability but the London Olympics Bill fails to uphold this. We appeal to you to raise this as a mater of urgency."
Well, I have done, and I hope that as the Bill goes through Parliament the Minister will take that on board and we will get the greenest games ever.
My hon. Friend has obviously studied the Bill in some detail. Could he help the House by saying whether the normal section 106 arrangements apply, or are they suspended because of the special nature of the planning procedure that is being invoked?
I have not studied the Bill in sufficient detail to answer my hon. Friend. I understand that the new Olympic delivery authority will have strong powers, but perhaps the Minister will clarify the specific point raised by my hon. Friend when he replies to the debate or in due course.
I come now to a bit of local politics. Newham is understandably thrusting in getting regeneration for its own area and was a powerful advocate for the successful bid, but its record with its neighbouring boroughs is not ideal. We do not want Waltham Forest—in my case Leyton and Leytonstone—
Let me finish my point and I certainly will.
We do not want Leyton and Leytonstone to be Newham's car park, or the route used by masses of through traffic to access the facility. Better co-operation between the planners in the boroughs concerned, at an early stage, is essential. Waltham Forest must not be bounced by having some of the disbenefits forced on it.
Does my hon. Friend agree that the five boroughs concerned have done remarkably well in pushing together the benefits of the area that they all hold dear? In fact, the London borough of Newham may have been the driving force in creating the cohesion between them, keeping them together and pressing for the agendas that they all hold dear: inward investment, skills and education, health and opportunity, and opportunities for our children.
That is a good point, well made. But we want Hackney to do even more. We also do not want any more road routes sprung on us at a late stage, for instance over the environmentally important marshes. We do, however, want public transport to be improved as quickly as possible. Reopening of the Hall farm curve in Waltham Forest would provide a north-south rail link through the borough and, crucially, to Stratford, the main station for the Olympics. That project should move to the top of the agenda.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind makes some interesting points. It says that the Olympic delivery authority should be
"subject to the same safeguard in terms of promoting disabled access as local authorities when acting as planning authorities."
Disabled people want to enjoy the spectacle of the Olympics, as well as the Paralympics, and they should be able to do so. The RNIB also says that all buses in London should be subject to a requirement for "visual and audible announcements" for deaf and blind people, including
"the many tourists visiting London for the Olympics".
There is no commitment to that so far, and I think that there should be.
As for the costs, a House of Commons Library paper gives a lot of ballpark figures—estimates—but one of them worried me. I am not convinced that £23,125 million for security will be sufficient, especially in view of the threats that we have faced and the bitter experience that we have had. The Government must think again about that estimate.
As I said, Waltham Forest is one of the four Olympic park boroughs, but it is not in a position to be the active contributor that it could be, because for the past few years it has been at the bottom in terms of the allocation of Government grants to London authorities. It has pared down its operation and become more efficient, but it now needs to be able to provide and facilitate more. It needs more resources to do that, and it cannot divert already stretched resources. I urge the Government to take that special factor into account in the next series of local authority funding settlements. Waltham Forest must be given more if it is to be a partner in the Olympic process.
Young people need to enjoy the inspirational and health benefits of high-quality physical activity. A new community sports facility, the SCORE project, is due to open shortly in Leyton. It will prove valuable during the Olympics, but schools have a vital role as well. Children are a captive audience. The Building Schools for the Future project must be brought forward in Leyton and Wanstead. It is currently at the back of the queue, which is not acceptable. In 15 years it will be too late. Waltham Forest is bidding for private finance initiative resources for a new pool and track complex. The borough wants to provide a replacement 25 m pool, track refurbishment and a new sports hall as Olympic training facilities and to reconfigure the surrounding area, including parts of the town hall complex and of Waltham Forest college. I hope that the Minister and his team will consider that bid favourably.
For a long time, the Tory-controlled London borough of Redbridge has failed to get its act together on the development of a swimming pool in the Wanstead area. That situation has existed for many years, and the Olympics provides an opportunity to rectify it. Wanstead is near enough to the Olympic action for a swimming pool to be valuable, if it is built. The London borough of Redbridge should revisit those plans and submit them to the ODA and the Government, who should consider them favourably. Finally, Waltham Forest must play a significant role in developing the local legacy benefits, which will also require resources and expertise.
The Olympics will cost, but it in my opinion they should be well worth it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for not only east London, but the whole of the UK, and it is in the national interest that it is nothing other than a success.
None of us will forget where we were when we heard that London had won the contest to host the 2012 Olympic games. The whole country is conscious that the games can be a tremendous showcase for our capital city and our country. I, too, congratulate the Secretary of State, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, Lord Coe and the team behind the bid. We all remember great Olympic moments of the past such as the titanic struggle between Sebastian Coe, as he was then, and Steve Ovett a couple of decades ago or Kelly Holmes's recent triumph in Athens. I am sure that the 2012 games will bring us more memorable sporting moments, hopefully with British winners.
As has been said, sadly, the moment of celebration when we won the games will for ever be entwined with the terrible events of the next day, when terrorism came to our capital city and an act of hate against the very diversity and plurality that helped us to win the games brought death and grief to London.
We await news of today's events, which show that that moment has not yet passed. We are still hunting those behind the bombings and still engaged in the much longer fight against the ideology that led people to commit terrible crimes against ordinary people who were going about their daily business. Our capital city and our country will not give up in the face of those who have attacked our way of life. We will lift ourselves to reclaim the spirit that won the games and we all hope that we will stage a games that captivates the world and of which our country is proud.
The Bill sets out a structure for managing the planning of the games and the financial arrangements for the huge investment required to make them a success, both of which are vital factors in a successful Olympics. The British people celebrated winning the games and look forward to a wonderful sporting showcase, but they also expect the games to be properly organised and delivered on time, and they expect the costs to be controlled. They are entirely right to take that approach, which is why it is welcome that the Bill sets out proposals for the ODA to manage our approach to the games.
The ODA faces a huge logistical and financial task. It must plan the games in a manner that inspires and maintains enthusiasm while commanding public confidence. It must ensure value for money and that the games result in not only 17 days of fantastic sport, but a legacy of lasting benefit to the whole country.
The ODA has one other essential task, which is to deliver on the Government's intention that the whole country should benefit from hosting the games. Of course the primary benefits will be in London. London is the host city and London will receive the lion's share of the spending involved. We understand that. But the Minister and the Secretary of State will be aware that, to maintain the great spirit of optimism about the games that we witnessed at the announcement, there must be continued efforts to ensure that other parts of Britain benefit.
Hon. Members from many parts of the country have pressed Ministers for their areas to host events or training facilities, each arguing the benefits of their own area. The west midlands, like other regions, will want to host training for competing countries and to play as large a role as possible in the games. There is already a commitment to host football in Birmingham at Villa Park. We have some excellent sporting facilities in the region, and a long tradition of producing wonderful athletes. Any country that comes to the west midlands to prepare for the games will find first-class facilities and a very warm welcome.
There is another dimension to what the west midlands can contribute to the Olympic games. The region is the manufacturing heartland of the UK. It has good access to London. We have world-class companies that excel in their fields and a strong record of innovation in science and technology. In information and communications technology, a recent survey found that more than a third of the sector in the region is growing at more than 20 per cent. per annum. Property and accommodation costs are much lower than in London. The region has led the way in ethnic minority business start-ups and has a highly committed work force that will relish the opportunity to help to deliver the games. Given the enormous amount of construction work that is needed, along with equipment and supplies, the west midlands is well placed to make a tremendous contribution. Of course, that will require investment to ensure the right mix and level of skills, but what we need most of all from Government is the opportunity to make the kind of contribution of which the region is capable.
Today, I spoke to people at CBI West Midlands and our regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. I am pleased that clause 34 specifically refers to regional development agencies and their role in preparing for the games. In our region, they are already working together with local authorities, educational institutions and the tourism sector to ensure that the region makes the most of the opportunities offered by London hosting the games. Their plan covers three essential elements—facilities for teams to prepare, business procurement and tourism—to ensure that the region extends the warmest possible welcome to the hundreds of thousands of people who will come to Britain in connection with the games. I assure Ministers that I will send them a copy of the plan, and I hope that they and the organisers of the delivery of the games will give it full and proper consideration.
In thinking about how the country can share fully in the games and go beyond the formal hosting of events and provision of training facilities, important as those are, we must also think about how the investment and job opportunities involved in making the games happen can be shared around the country. Although London will host the games, the west midlands can, in many ways, make the games. If the country pulls together to deliver the games, as I am sure that it will, we can create a truly unforgettable event.
No other sporting event has the global reach of the Olympic games. We will recover from the attack on our way of life that took place two weeks ago and triumph over the ideology that led to it. If we manage this project properly, our Olympics can show Britain at its best—a modern, open country, confident in itself, sure of its place in the world and the showcase for a sporting festival in which the whole world can share.
It gives me great pleasure to add my congratulations to the bid team, particularly the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and Tourism, who was a champion of the Olympics before it was popular to be one. Other Members have mentioned the Mayor of London. This shows what we can achieve when we work together.
We all know where we were on
That reminds us of the contrast. London was bombed and may have been attacked again today because we are a world city. We won the Olympic bid because we are a city of the world and that world is reflected in London and throughout the UK. Hackney is a diverse borough, with all the countries competing in the Olympics represented in Hackney alone, let alone the rest of London and the UK. Since the bombings of
I am delighted to follow my hon. Friend Harry Cohen. He was right to remind the House that the Olympics is not simply about Stratford, with respect to my hon. Friend Lyn Brown. Hackney Wick sees the largest amount of sporting activity in London every Sunday. Not many of my colleagues present, but perhaps some of their constituents, will have played Sunday league football on Hackney marshes. The games are often described as the Stratford Olympics, but it is important to remember that four boroughs will host the Olympic park. Hackney is proud to be one of them. Arenas will be built in Hackney, with the basketball centre as a lasting legacy. We will also see redevelopment of its important business centre—plans that local people have been frustrated to see, but have accepted, being put on hold as we bid for the games. We will see important environmental improvements to those football pitches and elsewhere. We will see access to about 5,000 new homes, many of which will be affordable and welcome to my constituents. Critically, for Hackney as a whole, we will see the delivery of the East London line extensions, at last. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] I welcome that support.
Very importantly, the Olympics will be the catalyst for further transport improvements. We will see the North London line become a turn-up and go service, with eight trains an hour. Hackney will effectively get its tube thanks to the Olympics, which will connect Hackney better with London. I welcome the comments of my hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn that we seek a further extension to Highbury and the Victoria line by 2012.
Hon. Members on both sides have mentioned extra council tax. I do not take any council tax increase lightly, but it is a small price to pay for the many benefits that will come to London, particularly to my constituency. We will also see a sporting legacy. Yes, we must see the investment in elite sport that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State outlined in her opening speech, but we need to see physical activity for all. The health impacts will be enormous for east London and the UK. I look forward to seeing more detail from her and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how to ensure that sporting opportunity and physical activity penetrate deeper than just to the elite sportsmen and women whom we hope will bring back gold in 2012.
Environmental concerns are at the forefront of many of my constituents' minds, particularly because part of Hackney marshes and Mabley green will become a car park for the duration of the games. That is not something that an hon. Member is likely to stand up and welcome, but the pitches, which I have walked around, are in poor condition and need investment, so I welcome the assurances of better facilities and improvement and replacement of metropolitan open land. Although we lose the facilities temporarily, it is a price worth paying if those improvements come. I put down a marker for my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Minister that I shall be watching like a hawk to ensure that that happens.
I also welcome the new linear park that will be created and the fact that the power lines in east London will be buried. A transformation will occur, with bridges over cleaned-up rivers and waterways and, bizarrely, a link with Mr. Walker, as he and I will be at either end of the new Lea valley park as it stretches properly into Hackney at last.
The Olympics will also bring important cultural benefits, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State outlined. Hackney benefits from being the borough with the highest density of artists and creative businesses in the country. Many hon. Members have mentioned the relocation of businesses in the area. We must preserve diversity in those relocations. Again, I echo the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North. Hackney is greater than the sum of its parts and the artists and creative businesses contribute enormously to that. It is important to work out a formula that ensures that they can remain and contribute on a continuing basis to the diversity and creative talent of Hackney, and that they are not squeezed out by yuppie or any other sort of development.
I visited the Travellers on Waterden road, who are concerned because they still do not know where they will be relocated. They and I and others locally recognise that they have to move from their site in the Olympic park. I was reassured by a meeting with the London Development Agency yesterday, when it assured me that it is still working with Hackney council to work out a relocation package that will allow the Travellers to continue their lifestyle, as has been guaranteed.
Hackney is fully signed up to the Olympics and it is important to highlight to hon. Members who perhaps do not know it—I want especially to reassure Mrs. May—that the Olympic boroughs propose to establish a co-ordination unit to work with the Olympic delivery authority and act as a key link with the Olympics organising committee. That is a sensible step, which builds on the collaborative work that has already gone on between the five boroughs.
The co-ordination unit will focus on communications, the essential legacy issues, business support—to ensure that local businesses gain benefits—sorting out the regulatory functions and creating and helping to deliver the vision for culture and creativity that is part of the Olympics. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister will support that rational and co-ordinated approach and, in doing so, help to reassure hon. Members who have raised anxieties about the matter.
Legacy is the main reason for my support and that of the people in Hackney for the Olympics. We welcome the physical sporting legacy. The basketball zone is certainly a better legacy than a car park. We look forward to international basketball champions training in Hackney for many years to come. I have mentioned the environmental legacy but we need to highlight it more, especially given that the Government, the Mayor and the Olympic delivery authority will naturally and rightly focus on delivering an Olympic park on time and on budget. We need to ensure that the environmental benefits are connected not only to the development of the Olympic park but to the future of the Lea valley and the Lea valley park.
I am especially concerned about jobs, skills and business opportunities for local businesses and local people. Other hon. Members pointed out that, too often, they can go elsewhere, not to local businesses and people. When I spoke to the LDA's chief executive yesterday, I was reassured that he and his team are recruiting a special business unit to provide support for business skills. That is imperative to ensure that London benefits and is not leapfrogged as other businesses throughout Europe compete for the important work around the Olympic zone.
The hon. Lady makes an excellent point that is linked to debates that we have held about vocational education. Does she agree that, if ever there were a trigger for focusing the House's attention on expanding our vocational education so that children in our schools today can benefit from the opportunities, it is the Olympics?
I am delighted that the hon. Lady is so supportive of the Government's 14-to-19 education agenda, which is being pursued along precisely the lines that she has described. I agree that we need to ensure that children across the UK, but particularly local London children in Putney, Hackney, Islington, Leyton, Wanstead and Newham benefit from the games. We need to ensure that young people in our schools today are in a position not only to be trained for the jobs that will be available during the development of the Olympic park, but to develop skills that will provide them with an opportunity to get good, long-term jobs thereafter.
It is worth highlighting for the benefit of hon. Members who are not connected with east London that the London Development Agency is setting up a business intelligence unit and an Olympic business club, as well as providing business support for businesses in the area and a job brokerage scheme. Hackney council and the other borough councils are anxious to work on that scheme to ensure that local people really benefit.
The packed lunches of 1948 have been mentioned. Perhaps we have moved on from that now. Hackney has been in the lead in setting up a catering and hospitality centre and we are hoping that one of the legacies of the Olympics will be a centre of excellence for food and hospitality. No borough could be more appropriate than Hackney to host such a centre, as it already has restaurants of every nationality and some of the best food in London. We hope that the centre will become a training venue in which people can skill up so as to get the benefit of the jobs available in the food and hospitality industries in this city and internationally.
I want briefly to turn to matters outside Hackney's boundaries. Other hon. Members have come up with suggestions for how we can embrace the popular interest in the 2012 Olympics in the UK. For the special Olympics, which were held in Ireland a little while ago, each town and city adopted a country. Perhaps we could consider such a scheme here. Similar approaches have also been suggested. Each national group that comes to the Olympics is represented in Hackney and, I am sure, in the other four Olympic boroughs. I am sure that the national groups in my borough will be keen to welcome and link up with the national teams from their home countries. London is multinational—that was one of the strengths of our bid—so let us celebrate that and make it a central part of the work that we do between now and 2012.
The games have strong backing. We have heard about the number of people who have registered on the website to volunteer and to support the bid. It is important that communication and the involvement of citizens are continuing themes of the activities of the Olympic organising committee.
Will my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State consider a proposal supported by my hon. Friend Mr. Love and me: the people's games? This is a proposal to develop a mutual organisation in which every citizen is entitled to own a share and thereby become part of a sounding board for the Olympic organising committee. In that way, every citizen in this country could have a real stake in the games. Whether they are from Northern Ireland, east Dunbartonshire or east London, they could become closely involved.
I finish by saying that Hackney is four-square behind the Olympics, but we know that the hard work to ensure that local people and local businesses benefit from them starts here. We are up to that challenge and we look forward to the Olympic games coming to London in 2012.
I apologise for not being here at the start of the debate. As I mentioned in an earlier intervention, I was chairing a meeting of the National Strategic Partnership for Volunteering in Sport, which was being held in the House. I just wish we could find a shorter title for the organisation; we are working on it.
A massive contribution will be made to the games by volunteering. Today's debate has quite rightly been dominated by London Members; London will benefit to a great extent from the games. However, the way to engage the entire population across the country is through the distribution of training camps—I shall come back to that later when I talk about Loughborough's contribution—and through volunteering. At least 70,000 volunteers will be required. It is interesting that, of the five candidate cities, only London submitted a volunteer file with its original application.
We have made an enormous contribution in the past through our history of volunteering in sport, but I do not think that has been recognised by some of the other cities. There are stories that there were more British volunteers than Greek ones at the athletics in Athens. People feel that they want to contribute to sport, and many do so through volunteering.
I am sure hon. Members know that this is the year of the volunteer, and August is the month of sports volunteering. This morning, we launched the campaign to raise its profile with Tanni Grey-Thompson, a great Paralympian—the Paralympics must be integral to our purpose—who is known not just as a gold medallist across a wide range of sports but as a coach and volunteer. She wants to put back into her sport what she has managed to get out of it over the last few years. That is a demonstration of the commitment from many people across the country.
It is estimated that this country has about 6 million unpaid sports volunteers, which is equivalent to 720,000 full-time jobs. Volunteers are paid nothing not because they are worthless but because they are priceless. Their contribution to sport, both at grassroots and elite levels, has made an enormous difference in this country. I hope that Members can squeeze into their diaries for August, which are probably full already, something related to promoting sport in their constituencies and making sure that people register themselves on the website to volunteer in 2012.
Does my hon. Friend accept that one of the big problems has been the sale of playing fields—particularly in urban areas where schools have in the past, though not recently, been encouraged to sell them—and the propensity of local authorities to charge far too much for sports facilities, thereby pricing many people out of sporting activity so that they end up back in front of the television?
I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. As he knows, I have a great passion for grassroots sport in particular. I still play rugby every Saturday afternoon during the winter, at the playing field of the school that I attended until I was 18. I must admit that on Saturday afternoon we are the only team that uses the pitches, tennis courts, basketball courts and indoor facilities of that school. The costs have increased dramatically over the past few years. In terms of the legacy of the Olympics, we should make it successful across the country. Unless there is a legacy not only at the elite level, about which I want to speak specifically, but at the grassroots level, nobody will feel that there has been enormous benefit.
Great expectations have rightly been raised since the announcement. Everyone wants a training camp in their constituency, and everyone thinks that every 14-year-old they know who is quite good at sport will be in the Olympics. The reality, however, is that we will have a team of only about 200 or 300 athletes. I wish people well, but most of those who will be competing in the Olympics in seven years' time are probably already in development squads. Many people who are very excited about the Olympics will still, like me, be playing on muddy pitches around their constituencies in 20 years' time, and not competing at elite level. It is therefore important that we get the right combination of funding for elite athletes who will go on to win gold medals, to which having the Olympics in London will make an enormous difference, and ensuring that the real legacy is not just 50 m swimming pools but swimming pools across the patch, decent playing fields and decent changing rooms across the country. So my hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn makes an important point.
In relation to the sale of playing fields, there has been a step change, and while we have not reached the point at which we are not selling any off, at least there has been a massive reduction in sales of playing fields. In many cases, where a playing field has been sold, it has been replaced by a better facility, as is the case in my constituency.
In terms of regional development, places such as Loughborough, Sheffield and Bath—I see that Mr. Foster is back in his place; we follow each other around all the time—have, as part of the English Institute of Sport, some of the best facilities in the world for athletes. The Chinese team has already been to look around facilities such as ours, and will probably locate themselves at one of our three bases. As other Members have said, however, I am keen on not just Loughborough benefiting, but the whole of Leicestershire and possibly the whole east midlands. We cannot provide all the facilities for the Chinese team, but we could do athletics, netball, basketball and a wide range of other events, and we have a 50 m pool and cricket academy. Others events would have to be farmed out within the region, so a great partnership would be required. Every Member rightly wants something to come to their constituency, and every area with a 25 m pool wants to match itself with a country somewhere in the world, but we should create a clearing house so that the competition is proactive rather than destructive.
Finally, the success of the games will be measured by the number of gold medals that our athletes win. Every nation has always done much better in the medal tables when it has hosted the games than when it has not. The target for what our athletes achieve in Beijing in 2008 is already pretty ambitious, and we hope that they do even better in 2012. As I said, though, the people who will succeed in 2012 might already be in the development programme. I agree with UK Sport and the British Olympic Association that we need stability in the funding that is made available. We want the four-year programme to 2008 to be extended to 2012, and funding to be increased to ensure that our children and youngsters are able to win gold.
By making our young people winners, we will make sure that all of us are winners in 2012.
No, as I want to allow time for Justine Greening to speak.
The Olympic games represent a golden opportunity for us. Fantastic contributions have been made in the debate, and all hon. Members know what the games will mean to their patch. My final thought is this: we won the 2012 games because the Government, sport and the media were united. I hope that we can keep that united front over the next seven years. If we do, London will be a great host city, and the 2012 games will be the best ever.
I shall begin by thanking Mr. Reed for allowing me time to make a brief contribution at the end of the debate. I apologise for not being present for the start, but I want to add my congratulations to the bid team, who did a superb job in winning the games for our capital city and our country.
The Paralympics will be coming to this country as well as the Olympics. Hon. Members have said that sport must be made accessible to all, and that is true of both the Olympics and the Paralympics. We must never forget that there will be a second event when the main event is over, and the organising committees that the Bill establishes must kept that clearly in mind.
Moreover, we must ensure that our public transport enables everyone to reach the Olympics. The key tube stations that people will use must be adapted so that disabled people can get to all the Olympic and Paralympic events.
People in Putney are delighted that London will be holding the Olympic games—especially if the finances are carefully controlled. Many Putney MPs in the past have had an interest in sport. I want to follow in that tradition, although my predecessors have tended to go for football rather than Olympic sports.
The Lawn Tennis Association in Putney is building its national headquarters in Roehampton, and Southfields station will be the main tube stop that people will use as they head for the Wimbledon tennis events. I therefore make a plea that that station should be rendered accessible for disabled people, and for all those using it in both the Olympic and Paralympic fortnights. I lodge a request with the Minister that he seriously consider having a lift put into Southfields station, so that it will be accessible for everyone who wants to use it when the games are on.
Finally, I repeat my congratulations to the bid team on their success in securing the games for London.
There is the prospect that the games will give our economy a considerable boost. The boost delivered as a result of the Barcelona games was estimated at £11 billion, and the amount is surely likely to be much higher now. For the environment, there is the prospect that we will have the largest new urban park in Europe. For Londoners, there is the prospect of regeneration of the lower Lea valley.
For those still at school—such as Amber and the 30 children from the east end who represented us all so effectively in Singapore—there is the prospect of achieving Olympic success in their own capital city, or of becoming an Olympic volunteer. Most importantly of all for all of us who care about sport, there is the prospect of a sea change in the relationship between sport and Government. In the fortnight since Singapore, I have been struck by just how much this opportunity means to so many different people, but also by how expectations have now been raised in so many different areas, as Mr. Reed said only a moment ago.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and delivering on it will not be easy. However, before I turn to that issue I should like to put on the record—as my right hon. Friend Mrs. May did before me—my and my party's appreciation for all the work done by those who brought the games to London. I pay tribute to Lord Coe, Keith Mills and everybody who worked at London 2012 during the bid process. At the celebratory party in Singapore after the vote, I was struck by the many personal and professional sacrifices that so many of their team made to work on the bid. We are all very much in their debt.
I also want to pay tribute to the three main stakeholders. First, I pay tribute to the Government, and particularly to the work done by the Minister for Sport and Tourism and, of course, in her absence, by the Secretary of State, in bringing the games to London. Secondly, I pay tribute to the Mayor—I never thought I would say that at the Dispatch Box—and thirdly to the British Olympic Association, and to the Princess Royal in particular, who has been somewhat left out. I saw her lobbying and working on the country's behalf day in, day out in Singapore, but she has received very little praise for it. To all of them and to the many others who have worked on the bid, we in this House and all those whom we represent owe a considerable vote of thanks.
The Conservative party has always supported the London 2012 bid. As will be signified at Second Reading tonight and, hopefully, as the Bill continues its passage through the House, that support will continue. It will most certainly continue so long as the cross-party consensus that we have established continues to be a genuine two-way—perhaps I should say three-way—process.
That is today's great improvement.
I was enormously grateful for the briefing session provided by the Secretary of State's civil servants before this debate. I hope that that process will continue through a regular series of briefings and consultations, particularly on issues such as the Olympic delivery authority board members nominated by the Secretary of State. Perhaps the Minister can confirm that during his winding-up speech.
We also want to ensure that the spirit of the London bid is upheld in two particular ways. First, London 2012 should be a games for athletes and it should empower the youth of this country through sport. Secondly and most importantly, and as I have already mentioned, the Government must deliver on the wider sports agenda. London 2012 provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the structure and funding of sport in this country, and it must not be missed.
As so often with debates on sport, today's has been excellent—remarkably so, given the short time between today and publication of the Bill late last Thursday. I congratulate Mark Hunter on his maiden speech. It was an extremely confident opening, if I may say so, and his experience of the Manchester games made it very relevant. It was an excellent debut and I welcome him to the House on everyone's behalf. He was joined by his colleague Jo Swinson, who gave us the Scottish angle. Her points on tourism and training camps were particularly well made.
On the Government side, we heard from Lyn Brown, who spoke up in support of her borough, and from Jeremy Corbyn, who talked about legacy issues and—rightly—an ethically responsible games. Derek Wyatt, who is always a thought-provoking contributor—sadly, he is not in the Chamber at the moment—made a typical contribution. Mr. Dismore—he, too, seems to have slipped away—talked about terrorism and construction. It was good to see him having an outing outside of a Friday.
Mr. Flello talked about volunteering, a concept which we will all support. Laura Moffatt discussed the benefits to her constituents, and very well, too. Lynda Waltho—sadly, I have lost her, too—spoke about swimming baths. It is difficult to comment on her contribution without knowing the facts of the case; I was going to say that if she wanted to explain them to me, I would see what I could do.
As an east-end MP, Harry Cohen made some extremely sensible points about cost overrun—a point to which we will return. Mr. McFadden talked about the regional aspects of the bid. I wish him well in attracting the benefits to his region. Meg Hillier is another who spoke up well in support of her constituency, and she reminded us of some timely security concerns. My friend Mr. Reed, who is something of a House expert on sport, made some excellent points about the levels of expectation, volunteering and elite sports. I can only say that I entirely agree.
On my own side, we heard excellent contributions from my hon. Friend Mrs. Lait, who spoke of the financial and planning aspects of the bid. Her warnings were well made and relevant. My hon. Friend Richard Ottaway spoke about the businesses in the lower Lea valley, and I hope that the Government will take note of the issues that he raised, to which we shall return later. My hon. Friend Mrs. Miller voiced well-expressed concerns about ambush marketing, and with her commercial experience she made an informed and valuable contribution. My hon. Friend Mr. Pelling spoke of the role of the London Assembly, and he, too, was quite right. Finally, it was nice to hear my hon. Friend Justine Greening talk about the Paralympics, highlighting that area.
Let me turn to my party's position. The detailed provisions of the Bill can be worked on in Committee, but seven key principles govern our approach. The first is accountability to Parliament. The London 2012 Olympic games is a national event, and we want to ensure that the ODA and other Olympic bodies are accountable, through the Secretary of State, to Parliament. The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport will clearly have a role, but I hope that the Government will agree to two more things, in particular. First, there should be an annual debate in Government time, ideally at this time of year, once the accounts have been published. Secondly, the ODA should be subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office and thus, should it wish to, by the Public Accounts Committee. I hope that the Minister will confirm that those ideas are acceptable.
The second principle is partnership working. The powers available to the Mayor of London in this legislation are extensive and therefore, in some ways, controversial. However, if London is to deliver the games on time and to budget, it is vital that the ODA and the Mayor work in partnership with the boroughs and use their reserve powers only as a last resort, and preferably only with the agreement of the Secretary of State. One way to reassure the London boroughs, which have concerns about that, would be to ensure that they were represented on the ODA board. Furthermore, I hope that as the games draw closer they will be encouraged to second staff to the ODA for a reasonable period before, during and after the games. Perhaps the Minister will also address that point when he winds up.
Thirdly, there is concern about cost overruns, a subject raised by several Members on both sides of the House. The memorandum of understanding signed by the Government in 2003 puts the burden of any overspend firmly on the lottery and on Londoners, but previous games have considerably overrun their budget. It will almost certainly not be the fault of Londoners if the cost of the games overruns. One of the key marketing messages throughout the bid process has been that these games are for the whole United Kingdom. I very much hope that the Government will re-examine the 2003 memorandum now that the games have been secured.
Fourthly, there is the issue of businesses in the lower Lea valley. The Minister is aware of our concerns, and I am grateful for his intervention following the Westminster Hall debate a couple of weeks ago. However, it is clearly wrong if existing businesses end up paying for the privilege of hosting the games, and I hope that effort will be put into resolving that issue over the summer so that the Minister can report in Committee that progress has been made.
Fifthly, there is security, which is, sadly, again much on our minds today. Clearly, it will be a key concern as we count down to 2012, and security issues must be incorporated at every stage in the delivery process. Despite the fact that the London 2012 website details the formation of a new Cabinet-level Olympic security committee, there is no direct mention of security issues in the Bill. Perhaps the Minister would confirm the Government's position.
Sixthly, there is the question of the tax take on the Olympic lottery game, and it will not surprise the Minister at all to hear me raise that once again. It is, in my view, simply indefensible for the Government to profit to the tune of an estimated £320 million from a game designed to finance the London 2012 Olympics, particularly when they were so keen to exempt the Live 8 concerts. Given the Minister's constant assurances that the games will not run over budget, that money ought to be used to create a lasting legacy from the 2012 games. Personally—a purely personal view—I favour giving the money to the British Olympic Association to establish scholarship funds at arm's length from Government to help aspiring young Olympians in future. That is the sort of eye-catching initiative that would give the games a worthwhile legacy. I know that the Minister cannot give me any further assurances on the matter tonight, but he ought to be aware that it is a subject that we intend to pursue. I suspect that that will not surprise him.
On the wider sports agenda there is the issue of the reform of the structure and financing of British sport. There is now wide agreement that there should be one clear funding stream for sport. The performance director of UK Sport said only last week following the meeting of the British Olympic Association:
"The management of the investment in sport should be through one body."
I could not agree more.
On the financial side, delivering the Olympics will by any reckoning place the national lottery sports principal funding stream under extreme pressure. I cannot see that there is any chance of delivering the many promises made to sport during the bid process without a step change in Government—let us be honest, by that I mean Exchequer—funding. The Government must take action now to cut some of the unnecessary and overlapping bureaucracy and radically to reform the structure of the financing of sport in this country.
I should like to finish where I started. The London 2012 Olympic games are a unique and remarkable opportunity for this country. We should all record our thanks to everyone who has brought them to us, notably tonight the Secretary of State and the Minister. As Conservatives, we will continue to offer the Government our wholehearted support for this fabulous opportunity as long as the process is accountable to Parliament, as long as partnership not compulsion is the key principle of delivery and as long as there is genuine progress on the wider sport agenda.
Delivering the 2012 Olympics on time and to budget will be a hugely testing undertaking. Seven years is not in all honesty a great deal of time. However, I firmly believe that, if we all remain true to the principles that have guided the bid thus far, Britain can stage a great and remarkable Olympic celebration in 2012.
I start by saying thank you to all hon. Members this afternoon. It has been a successful debate and, to a large extent, it has mirrored the way in which we have taken the nation forward. The nation has been united behind the project of winning the 2012 games. I, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, Seb and all his team have felt proud to lead a nation that was united with a tremendous amount of pride.
Like Hugh Robertson, I did not think that I would be standing here congratulating the Mayor, but I should like to congratulate some others, including the press. Broadly speaking, the press were behind the bid, and that was helpful.
The unity of purpose behind the bid was epitomised when the evaluation team was here. We were all at No. 10 sitting around the Cabinet table just a few weeks before the general election. The leaders of the various political parties were all there with the Prime Minister and they sang off the same song sheet with a unity that even shook the evaluation team of the IOC. It showed clearly how we were all behind the bid. Hostilities broke out five minutes later of course, but for that period we were united. There is only one thing that can do that; it was sport itself that brought the nation together.
I congratulate Mark Hunter on his maiden speech. It was a thoughtful speech. He gave us a vivid tour of his constituency. Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, I was not involved in the by-election; we were out gathering votes in other areas of the world. The hon. Gentleman said that the north-west, through Manchester's Commonwealth games, had played a significant part in getting the Olympics for us. It was a multi-sport event, and he described the fantastic role played by some of his constituents who were volunteers for those games. That showed the pride of the north-west and it helped us significantly to convince people in the IOC that we can and will continue to stage major sporting events.
The challenge now is to deliver the games with a legacy for London and the whole of the UK, as well as for the Olympic movement. We have made some clear commitments to bring young people back into sport through the Olympic movement. We made those commitments genuinely in relation to this nation and internationally, and we will live up to them.
Mrs. May said that we had spent a lot of time travelling the world and learning from cities that have staged the Olympics. We did, and I hope that we will learn from any mistakes they may have made. It became clear to us that the process has three stages. The first is winning, and there is no doubt that Barbara Cassani, who set up the company, and Seb Coe, who later led it to victory, brought together the skills that we needed in a partnership to win the games. We now need to deliver one of the biggest construction programmes that this country has seen for many years. The third stage will be the delivery of the games themselves. Each stage requires particular skills, and the two companies have been designed with that in mind. The first is the London organising committee for the Olympic Games and the other is the Olympic delivery authority, which the Bill will set up.
The ODA will be responsible for delivering the construction projects, and people can be confident that no favours will be done when the chairman, chief executive and board are appointed. We are looking for the best in the world and if we have to go internationally to get people to go on that board or join the staff, we will do just that. Seb and Keith Mills will be the chair and deputy chair of LOCOG, and they will seek a chief executive in the near future. They will be looking for the very best.
I assure the House that we are approaching the setting up of those two companies very professionally. We have learned the many lessons from Picketts Lock, the dome and Wembley, so the companies will be set up to deliver those two main functions. The Office of Government Commerce has "destruction tested" the structures we propose, and we will set up a programme management committee to oversee the process and provide an early-warning system. We have spent a lot of time on the structures and on the budgets and financial structures. We were commended by the IOC on that chapter of the bid document, and it said that our structures were robust. It drilled down deeply into that chapter, and that is why we are confident that the structure will hold up.
We took the view that an overview was necessary as an early-warning system. If things start to go wrong, the programme management committee can inform the steering group and the board, which consists of the three stakeholders—the Mayor's office, the British Olympic Association and the Government. It would also inform the two major companies that will manage the project.
On the wider issues of the nation and regions, the committee that has already been set up and functions well under the able chairmanship of Charles Allen will continue its work. I met the committee last week and I was pleased to see the depth of representation, at a senior level, of the regional development agencies, the regional sports board and many others.
I shall not go into detail on all the questions that have been posed in the debate, because I am sure that in Committee and through the many contacts that we will have over the months and years ahead we will be able to explain the process and ensure that we get it right. It is in the interests of the nation to get it right, because it will provide many opportunities way beyond sport. Sport is the vehicle for many other opportunities, including regeneration and tourism. The committee will continue to function and I hope that many Members will be involved as the weeks and months unfold.
There is no doubt that there will be competition for the training camps. In my region of Yorkshire, the regional development agency and the sports boards have already carried out an audit, through the universities, and I should not be surprised if they had not already contacted people in various countries to encourage them to come to the county well before 2012.
As my right hon. Friend knows, the world-renowned Gateshead international stadium is in my constituency. The Secretary of State explained in her speech that the Bill will include guidelines for the role of RDAs in attracting training camps and, in turn, regeneration. My hon. Friends Mr. Clelland and for Blaydon (Mr. Anderson) and I will be meeting our RDA, One North East, during the recess to get the process under way, but does my right hon. Friend the Minister agree that a fundamental element in the success of training camp bids—especially ours in Gateshead—is the complete and unified support of local communities, as was the case in London, from whose success we all hope to benefit?
Yes. I am sure that all the RDAs will work together and we shall give them every encouragement and assistance, wherever we can do so. The opportunities are there.
We cannot go into the wider issues in this debate, but the talented athlete scholarship schemes, talent identification and the world class performance plan will develop the sustainable structure for sport that many people want.
We shall deal with the Mayor's powers in more detail in Committee, but we shall be working with the Mayor and the London Assembly to ensure reasonableness in the operation of those powers. I think that the provisions of the Bill will ensure that the powers are used properly for the purposes for which they were designed. They were necessary to deliver our obligations to the IOC, as was right, but there are enough checks and balance to ensure that they are used reasonably.
Earlier, I asked about the relationship of the London boroughs and the London Government Association in respect of powers that relate to the rest of the country. Are the Government willing to include those bodies to ensure that the reasonableness is tested by them, too?
Absolutely. We should expect that, even though it is not stated in the Bill. There will be consultation and we believe that it should include all major partners, such as the local authorities and the LGA. As the project has developed, we have seen those partners come together on issues such as planning, and I would never have believed that we could have achieved so much even before we started talking about primary legislation. There has been a fantastic demonstration of support and partnership across local authorities and political parties on planning issues.
Members asked about funding. The figures have already been set out, but there were questions about overrun, which will be dealt with through a memorandum of understanding. Our work on the funding mechanism was helped by our experience of talking to people in other Olympic cities, especially Sydney. I shall never forget the person who said, "Do not underestimate the budget. If you have to go higher, it will be seen as a failure so make sure your calculations are realistic."
Will my hon. Friend bear with me? There are only a few minutes left for the debate and there are a number of things I want to cover.
There will be a £17 billion investment in transport, which will include the East London line extension and the docklands light railway upgrade. Members will be able to discuss the details in Committee. That played a major part in winning our bid because, as Members know, we did not get the best grades for our answers to the 25 questions a year ago last January.
Security formed part of our submission; it was part of our candidate file. I believe that the IOC was satisfied with what we were saying about home security and I have no doubt that that matter will be further explored in Committee. I can assure hon. Members that we will not leave it untouched. There is no doubting that we have a first-class security and intelligence service in this country. We were there in Sydney and very much so in Athens; our people were leading the security committees there. Security will be one of the major considerations.
On the Olympic delivery authority, I emphasise that it is very important to bring in not just the skilled but the best in the world, and we will search the world to contract those people. We think that they will be attracted because, as has already been said, the national stadium will be more than an Olympic stadium; its design will revolutionise the way that sports facilities are used around the world in years to come. If we can build an 80,000-seater stadium, reduce it to a 20,000 capacity and build it back to a 40,000-seater capacity using designs that we believe are now attainable with existing materials and engineering skills, it will bring a whole new dimension to stadium design. If one looks at the legacy of Sydney, one sees that real difficulties were encountered with its national stadium. We saw what happened in Athens and in Barcelona. We believe that we can introduce a whole new dimension to stadium design. Our proposal to use facilities on a temporary basis and then to move them around the world is an important development, so the challenge to develop such stadiums and associated further facilities, and the opportunity that that presents, is immense.
Many initiatives have already been taken to ensure that the skills base and the opportunity for regeneration do not pass the east end by. More need to be taken and a major responsibility of the ODA company will be to ensure that we can drive that quality regeneration in the most effective way. It will also—it is embedded in the Bill—be one of the greenest Olympic games ever and it will be commended by the IOC.
We believe that all those elements are now in the Bill. We believe that we have got the structure right. We believe that we have put the right checks and balances in place and taken the correct approach to the budget; that will be very significant.
No, but on the question that I am sure the hon. Gentleman wants to raise, I think there has been an incorrect interpretation of the compulsory purchase orders. We want to ensure that there is a fair settlement for all those who will be displaced. I will ensure that the ODA understands that. We want to achieve that settlement. We do not want traders to be put out of business. I have taken a personal interest in this; I will continue to do so, and I hope that all parties will come to the negotiating table to try to get a reasonable and fair settlement. Yes, the balance of powers has now gone to the LDA; I acknowledge that. The LDA has now won that bid, but I hope that we can still have an air of co-operation and transparency, which will bring a fair settlement to all those who will be displaced. I will watch that very carefully and if the hon. Gentleman wants to meet me to discuss it, I will be more than pleased to see him.
I thank all those who were involved in the bid. All of us, from the bidding team right through to those of us who have been involved in this in the Government, have been given a fantastic opportunity to present this nation in the best light. Many thought we could not do it. But the Secretary of State and I never doubted it, even though one or two of our colleagues in the Cabinet did from time to time. [Hon. Members: "Name them."] I will not name them. Could I? Yes, but I will not.
It was great to be out there in Singapore. The only thing I do say is that Jacques Rogge is now going to get a letter from me, from Sheffield, and Seb Coe and I will have to present it to him because I hope he will never leave anybody in suspense again when opening an envelope.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a Second time.