Orders of the Day — London Olympics Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:38 pm on 21st July 2005.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North 2:38 pm, 21st July 2005

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.