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Olympics (Economic Legacy)

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 20th January 2011.

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Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Labour, Lewisham East 10:30 am, 20th January 2011

What recent discussions his Department has had with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Greater London authority on the economic legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport and the Olympics)

We are working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Greater London authority to ensure an economic legacy for London, and we are in regular contact with the six east London host boroughs. London businesses, including five in the borough of Lewisham, which I know will please the hon. Lady, have already won from the Olympic Delivery Authority contracts with a total value of more than £3 billion.

Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Labour, Lewisham East

May I press the Minister on the affordability of the housing that will be available in the athletes village once the games are over, particularly the flats that will be up for sale on the private market? On a recent visit to the Olympic site, I was told that the anticipated asking price for a two-bedroom flat is between £350,000 and £400,000. Does the Minister agree that that puts those properties out of reach of the vast majority of ordinary people and, in particular, ordinary Londoners?

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport and the Olympics)

I shall answer the question in two parts. Let us remember that a considerable portion of the houses in the Olympic village has already been acquired by Triathlon Homes as affordable housing; that is very much a key part of the scheme. In terms of what happens to the Olympic village after the games, we have been extremely careful with the expressions of interests that we have looked at precisely not to put housing values on it, so I do not know where the hon. Lady got that figure from. It might be a market guesstimate, but it is no more than that at the moment.

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

I am sure we all agree that the economic legacy of the Olympic park will be in part secured by identifying a long-term tenant for the Olympic stadium. Does the Minister therefore agree that when we bid to host the games, the bid book was clear that the stadium's legacy would have athletics at its core, with associated multi-sport availability for the local community? Does he also recognise that the Olympic Park Legacy Company will make a decision on the tenant on 28 January? There are two contenders, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham football clubs, but does he agree that only the joint bid from Newham council and West Ham football club fulfils the commitments we made when we won the games?

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport and the Olympics)

The right hon. Lady is of course correct. At the time of the bid, the commitment was to leave a 25,000-seater mixed-use stadium, with athletics at its core, so we have already broken a part of that, in that there is not going to be-I would guess-a 25,000-seater stadium. I hear what she says about the future of the Olympic stadium, as I have had my ear bent on the issue by a number of hon. Members. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is going through a quasi-judicial process, so it would be inappropriate for me to comment either way at this stage, but I hear what she says.