London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill

– in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 6th March 2006.

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Report received.

Clause 3 [Establishment]:

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland 6:11 pm, 6th March 2006

moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 2, line 31, at end insert—

"( ) The Olympic Delivery Authority will be a non-departmental public body accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State."

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I open by thanking the Minister and, although they are not in their places, the Bill team for the considerable patience they have shown in Committee and in particular for the letters and the written follow-ups that I think we all have had.

The purpose of my amendment to Clause 3 relates directly to one of the letters I have had and I think we all have had which starts:

"We undertook to look again at the degree of control the Secretary of State has over the Olympic Delivery Authority".

I am very content with what is in this document. The purpose of the amendment is to try to get at least a part or summary of it into Hansard for reference should it be needed at a much later stage. This will all be happening over many years to come and I should like as much clarity as possible on the face of the Bill, and that which I cannot get in the Bill I should like to have in Hansard. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 6:15 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, for the way in which he moved the amendment and for his thanks to me and to the Bill team for the way in which we sought to respond to various issues that were raised in Committee and usefully considered afterwards. I hope that I can satisfy him on the points he makes. I realise that he wants in Hansard a very clear definition of the position of the Olympic Delivery Authority. I shall seek to re-emphasise that again.

The ODA, as a non-departmental public body, is accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State. I do not think that it is necessary for that to be on the face of the Bill because, as I sought to explain in Committee, it is a classification rather than a legal definition and as such does not have a proper place in the Bill itself. However, it does help to clarify the nature of this non-departmental public body. It will be recognised that the term NDPB covers a wide range of institutions. This one, like others, indicates that it operates at arm's length from government. I think that that is the important point as regards the noble Lord's amendment. This arm's-length arrangement has already been put in place as regards the ODA and will be reflected in the financial memorandum and management statement being prepared in relation to it. Once the authority has been set up and the right structures and people put in place, the Government will let the ODA get on with doing the job of preparing for the games.

It may be helpful to reassure noble Lords that, as I said in Committee, where the Bill provides the Secretary of State with powers of control over the ODA these are included only as a backstop and could not be exercised in a manner that allowed the DCMS to interfere with the management of the ODA on a daily basis. I sought to reassure noble Lords that what was suggested at one stage—that the Secretary of State might be interested in expenses claims from members of the ODA—was an indication of exactly how we do not intend the ODA to operate. We want it to be at arm's length from government and to have proper authority over all matters that are within its remit while nevertheless being responsible to the Secretary of State.

We envisage that the expenditure threshold for the ODA will be set at about £20 million, subject to the Chief Secretary's agreement. That level should strike a balance between allowing the authority to get on with the job without day-to-day interference while still giving the Secretary of State oversight and accountability over very large projects, as the House and the other place would expect. In a similar way, a threshold will be agreed and set for staff salaries and other payments such as travel allowances. Only on rare occasions when payments are above the threshold would the authority need to refer to the DCMS, and that is likely only with the appointment of senior members of staff.

The Bill provides powers enabling the Secretary of State to exercise some control over the ODA, but, again, such powers are part of the usual arrangement between any department and its appropriate NDPBs. These backstop powers of control are generally used only in two types of extreme situation: either where the body is failing or on those rare occasions when the decision to be taken is of such fundamental importance that it is a matter in which the Secretary of State needs to be involved.

The House will be reassured to know that when submitting its annual report the authority must specify any direction that the Secretary of State has given during the year, thereby identifying the full accountability which it has exercised. This will give both Houses of Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise the Secretary of State in giving directions to the authority and assess whether it is being overburdened. I hope that that gives the House and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, who has pursued this issue with his customary diligence, adequate assurance that the department's relationship with the ODA will be at arm's length. It will allow the authority to get on with that very important job which we all recognise it has without undue interference. Consequently its classification will be that of an NDPB, and of course we will honour that classification.

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that very clear statement on where the ODA stands. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 [General functions]:

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, Amendment No. 2 is grouped with Amendment No. 3. In Committee I sought to remove from Clause 4(3) the reference to relevance—first, that the Olympic Delivery Authority should "wherever relevant" have regard to maximising legacy benefits, although I am not seeking to pursue that now; and, secondly, that it should seek to,

"contribute to achieving sustainable development".

I find it hard to conceive of occasions when the legacy issue would not be relevant. My main concern is to hear from the Minister when contributing to sustainable development would not be relevant to the ODA, because the Bill as drafted provides the excuse not only to say that something is not relevant, but to brush it aside and hardly discuss the matter at all. My contention is that that is always relevant.

In Committee, the Minister said that my suggestions were unrealistic. I was not persuaded then and, in response to his example, regarding the use of street cleaning products not being relevant to sustainable development, I took issue with him immediately and said that methods whereby certain products were swept down the drains was, indeed, relevant.

Since then, the House has considered in Committee the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill. My noble friend Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer tabled a similar amendment in relation to the duties of regional development agencies. The ODA has some similarities. One can see the genesis of some of the attributes of RDAs in this Bill and my noble friend's amendment would have required RDAs always to have regard to sustainable development. The Minister sought to reassure her, but in a way that did not wholly reassure her and does not reassure me, at cols. 242 and 243 on 28 February. In mentioning what had occurred in 1995—that may have been an error and he meant 2005—he stated:

"The RDAs have already profiled a number of case studies demonstrating their contribution to sustainable development", and that in addition to,

"tasking the RDAs to contribute to, and report on sustainable development, a range of other measures are in the train".

He added that my noble friend should,

"appreciate that over a number of years a lot of effort has gone into ensuring that sustainability plays an increased part in the RDAs' role".—[Hansard, 28/2/06; col. 242-243.]

Yes, indeed, but none of that is as good as primary legislation. Neither the Minister, in relation to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, nor the noble Lord, Lord Davies, have given your Lordships an example of where contributing to achieving sustainable development might not be relevant. Nor did he—and I invite him to do so—give any assurance that the Secretary of State would give guidance or even directions on this issue, in order to strengthen the position. Under our amendment, he can do so.

I am not asking for anything that is extreme and I hope that the Minister, if he is unable to accept the amendment, will at least help those of us who think that this matter is important to understand where we are going wrong. Perhaps he can provide some assurance as to the thinking processes of the Secretary of State and the use of directions or guidance. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for clarifying these issues again. We had a significant debate in Committee, as she indicated.

The success of London's bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games was due, in large part, to the strength of the environmental commitments made in our bid to the International Olympic Committee. Not only do we want to deliver the best games ever, but we share with the noble Baroness the ambition to ensure that they are the most sustainable, too.

I appreciate what she is seeking to achieve with these amendments, but as I emphasised in Committee, we have in the Bill what we think is a clear commitment to sustainable development. Clause 4(3)(b) requires the ODA to contribute to achieving sustainable development in exercising its functions as set out under Clause 4(1) and (2). But, as the Bill makes clear, the ODA should need to do so only where relevant to the exercise of its functions.

The ODA is currently developing its procurement policy and sustainable development strategies which will enable it to meet the requirement set out in the clause. Both the ODA and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, LOCOG, take very seriously the commitments which have been made in the document Towards a One Planet Olympics to ensure that the games will be low carbon and zero waste, conserve biodiversity and promote environmental awareness.

Whether in terms of the provision of transport infrastructure, or construction of the venues and other facilities, or water recycling, sustainability will be central to the planning and delivery of the games and the ODA will play a key role. The requirement at Clause 4(3)(b) is sufficient to make sure the ODA guarantees that it contributes fully to sustainable development in exercising all of its functions—but only where to do so is relevant.

I hope that the noble Baroness will recognise that we entirely share her objectives. It was crucial to the argument that we put in our bid to the IOC, and that it bore excellent comparison with all the other bids in terms of its sustainable element. While the noble Baroness rightly sought reassurance on this issue, both today and in Committee, I hope that I have given her the reassurance necessary so that she feels able to withdraw her amendments.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, I hope the Minister will forgive me for saying that, while I entirely share his sentiments about the importance of sustainability and I understand the examples that he has given, he has not addressed my amendment. I asked when such considerations might not be relevant, because if they are always relevant, the words "wherever relevant" are irrelevant, unnecessary and totally misleading.

I will read what the Minister said, but with little hope that it will be much clearer. However, I can see that half of my argument is still open, but that the other half is firmly shut. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Spokesperson in the Lords (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Spokesperson in the Lords (Disability), Work & Pensions, Deputy Chief Whip, People With Disabilities, Non-Departmental & Cross Departmental Responsibilities

My Lords, the central theme of the amendments in this group is that they are all inspired by concerns over disability, but not exclusively so.

Much of the inspiration for the wording of the amendment came from the reply of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, to a large group of amendments that I moved in Committee. He stated:

"The heart of the Olympic bid was the trailblazing quality of its provision, particularly for social inclusion. Disability provision was crucial".—[Official Report, 31/1/06; col. GC81.]

This first amendment in the group seeks to put that provision in the Bill, or, at least, given that in Committee one should be seeking clarification, now ascertaining in which part of the Bill it should be stated "up front". It would sit well with subsection (3)(a) regarding the "desirability of maximising the benefits".

Perhaps we can try to bring in something here or perhaps the Minister can give me an idea of exactly how social inclusion will be covered. I am not referring to just one group; we are talking about groups which might feel that they are being excluded—for example, people in a lower economic strata. It has been drawn to my attention recently that such a measure could be a very good vehicle for combating anti-gay media hype. If we can get some type of commitment or if the Government can give us an idea of where they will use such a commitment in the Bill and where the Bill will state that it must be done, that will help. If the Minister cannot do that, I suggest that inserting words of this nature in the Bill will be helpful.

Then we address the ever-complicated and ever-thorny issue of transport. I understand that the Government have moved a long way and have done a lot but, unless these things are stated up front, people tend to make mistakes. Amendments Nos. 11 and 12, which are concerned primarily with transport, are fairly straightforward. They say that initially you must consult and have greater concern with these matters. Amendment No. 12 would insert two new subsections stating that the authority must consult,

"the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee", and,

"such other persons or bodies which represent the interests of disabled persons as he considers it appropriate to consult".

I should have thought that it would be very helpful to have at least the DPTAC reference in the Bill for the simple reason that it is a very complicated process, as the noble Lord knows because we dealt with transport issues and disability legislation only last week.

I should be very relieved if the Minister could give me some assurances and also say where the Bill ties those who are dealing with this matter to ensuring that they get the maximum amount of information up front so that we do not have to go back eternally and chase our tails in putting in something that we have missed. I know that the Government's intention is good—that is not in dispute. The question is: where is the commitment or guarantee to so do? Where is it referred to in the Bill? Is it up front, where those who have a requirement to act in that way will notice it? I do not want them to go back and have to spend more money and also delay any changes or positive provisions that have to be made. If the Minister can give me any assurances on this, I shall be very satisfied. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 6:30 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, we had an intensive debate in Grand Committee on disability issues. As a result, I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and placed a copy of my letter in the House Library. In my letter, I set out to answer the questions which he had addressed on the issue of access for all. I hope that he felt that that letter offered significant assurance that the best practice standards and lifetime home standards will be adopted for homes in the Olympic park.

The noble Lord will recognise that the ODA will be a public authority within the meaning of the relevant provisions of disability legislation and so will be subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as subsequently amended. When these requirements come into force, particularly in terms of the specific duties to publish equality schemes, the ODA will involve the views of disabled people in its planning and report on progress. It will be required to do that as a responsible public body.

As I explained in Committee, the Government believe that these duties on the public sector are important tools in transforming our society into one that is more equal and provides greater opportunities for disabled people. Ministers are likely to bring forward the necessary regulations in the next year, and certainly well before we make significant developments with the Olympic park and access to it. So, although I cannot give a definite commitment about precisely when these regulations will come into force, the noble Lord can rest assured that we intend that they will do so as rapidly as possible for more general issues with regard to the nation, although there are certainly also relevant issues in relation to the Olympic Games.

I turn to the noble Lord's amendments. I cannot accept Amendment No. 4, which would require the ODA to have regard to social inclusion and the promotion of diversity and equality in carrying out its functions. Of course, the authority will be covered by race relations and disability discrimination legislation, and it will have specific duties to contribute to sustainable development and the long-term legacy of the games. But it is hard to see that an additional general requirement to promote "social inclusion", "diversity" or "equality" is either appropriate or necessary on top of the existing duties.

As I said in Committee, I believe that it is for a body with a wide-ranging scope, such as the GLA, to deliver on those agendas. The ODA is a technocratic delivery agency and, as a public body, it will have regard to the disability Acts to which I referred and the regulations that we will bring into place subsequent to them. But I do not think that it would be appropriate to give it duties beyond its remit.

I turn to the noble Lord's Amendments Nos. 11 and 12. As I and my colleagues in the other place have already stated, we want to ensure that the games are accessible to all and we have started planning for disabled access. As I indicated in Committee, how can we think in terms of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics and not provide adequately for access by disabled citizens? Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 are about ensuring that the Olympic transport plan takes account of the needs of disabled people. We have plans to do exactly that, and we will ensure that, in its final version, the Olympic transport plan takes full account of the kind of points to which the noble Lord referred. In particular, we will ensure that that the ODA consults representatives of the interests of disabled persons in drawing up the plan.

I turn to the question of a list. The noble Lord has indicated certain bodies which should be consulted. Amendment No. 12 would require the ODA to consult the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and other representatives of disabled groups. Clause 10(3) sets out the key organisations and people that the ODA will need to consult in preparing and revising the Olympic transport plan, but of course there are others whose input will also be crucial.

As I said in Committee, it is not possible for us to produce an exhaustive list of bodies that the ODA should consult, but Clause 10(3)(k) makes provision for the ODA to consult such other persons as it thinks appropriate in order to meet the noble Lord's concern about the disabled—a concern which I share, as will the ODA. We fully expect the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee to be one of the groups consulted. Paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 will enable the Secretary of State to give guidance and directions to that effect if, for some reason, such consultation does not take place. I ask the noble Lord to recognise that we do not necessarily achieve these objectives by drawing up a list. Even if at this stage we were tempted to be exhaustive, we might well leave out from the legislation other bodies which we had not envisaged.

However, I assure the noble Lord that the broad objectives that he expresses are entirely shared. It is obvious that the body to which he referred will need to be consulted. I know through vast experience in other areas of action and legislation that if the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee were not consulted, it would make its views known, and Secretaries of State do not ignore such representations. If it happened in this case, the Secretary of State would have the power to take action to ensure that consultation took place. I hope that the noble Lord will feel reassured by those comments and that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Spokesperson in the Lords (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Spokesperson in the Lords (Disability), Work & Pensions, Deputy Chief Whip, People With Disabilities, Non-Departmental & Cross Departmental Responsibilities

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply. I shall deal with Amendment No. 4 first. Social inclusion seems to be an aim of the games and, to be perfectly honest, it would not have hurt to try to work in a general duty such as this because it has been implicit in much of what has been said. But let that rest where it is. I think that we are going to have to keep a watching brief on this matter to ensure that the best benefits of that part of the process are fulfilled.

The noble Lord has gone quite a long way in saying that the objective of Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 is expected to be part of the result and in saying that there shall be consultation with the bodies suggested here or their successor bodies. If I understood the Minister correctly, this would be part of the normal process and it would be totally inappropriate, if not abnormal, if they were not consulted in this process. That is as close an assurance as we can get, so I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 [Planning]:

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 4, line 34, leave out "specified case" and insert "case specified by an order of the Secretary of State subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament"

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, at the previous stage I asked the Minister whether he could explain the words "in a specified case", in Clause 5(4)(b), which provides that when the ODA is appointed as the local planning authority, the Mayor of London may direct it to refuse an application for planning permission in a specified case. The Minister referred to reserving the Mayor's right,

"to refuse applications in specified cases", using the same terminology,

"and those specified cases relate to the special"— that may be Hansard over-egging it—

"spatial development strategy".—[Official Report, 31/1/06; col. GC 108.]

It is certainly special because there is only one. I queried that because it seemed to me that it did not need to be said. The spatial development strategy, otherwise known more easily as the London Plan, has a particular status, in any event. The Minister went on to say that the Mayor retains that power—the power that he already has. As far as I understood, he did not explain the word "specified".

I have tabled this amendment which amplifies the expression by referring to it as a "case specified by an order" subject to the negative resolution procedure so that we could have a more detailed explanation of the position. I am not sure whether what this refers to is heralding a new development order or whether it is the same as, or different from, the current position under an order made under the GLA Act giving the Mayor the right to direct a local planning authority to refuse an application in certain cases. In the GLA Act, the term is not specified; the term is "prescribe", which is perhaps rather more familiar to your Lordships. As my noble friend said on the previous amendment, we seek clarification and I hope that the Minister can help me understand better what leads to specification as provided by Clause 5. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, I am grateful for the way in which the noble Baroness has presented her amendment. Had she suggested that we cross swords, I would probably have beaten a retreat from the fray on the ground that I am no match for her on planning issues. However, I can reassure her that this is not a matter of clashing of swords but it is a meeting of minds on these issues. I shall do my best to explain in detail exactly why I believe we think alike about the powers of the Mayor, the areas in which they will be used and the nature of the ODA and its responsibilities, although I shall ask her to withdraw her amendment.

In Grand Committee, we discussed extensively the powers of the Mayor of London to direct planning authorities to refuse planning applications. In that debate, I gave reasons why the Mayor should be able to direct the ODA to refuse planning ambitions in some limited circumstances. I shall try to make the case again today, as I appear not to have been convincing in Committee.

The amendment would require the Secretary of State to make an order which would define those cases in which the Mayor can direct refusal of an application. The trouble is that it would put the ODA, in its role as planning authority for the Olympic park, in a different position from other planning authorities in London, when our intention under the Bill is to ensure that the ODA is foursquare with other planning authorities in London. We believe that is the right approach. The Bill as drafted already gives the Mayor power to direct refusal of applications, when read in conjunction with Section 74 of the Town and Country Planning Act. The cases in which the Mayor can direct refusal are already set out in the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000, made under Section 74 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

I would like to respond to the issue on which we had some divergence in Committee about the spatial development strategy—the London Plan. I shall have to be somewhat technical here as I was unconvincing in Committee and I hope to be rather more convincing today. The noble Baroness asked whether the London Plan would be a material consideration in the ODA's decisions on planning applications. I can confirm that the London Plan will have the same status for the ODA as for all other planning authorities. By virtue of Section 38(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the spatial development strategy, which we all know as the London Plan, is part of the development plan and is, therefore, more than a material consideration. Section 38(6) of that Act states that a determination under the planning Acts must be made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. In addition, Clause 5(5)(e) of the Bill requires regard to be had to the development plan in discharging the functions of the ODA. Again, when referring here to the development plan, we also refer to the spatial development strategy. I hope that reassures the noble Baroness that we have a clear grasp of the concept of the spatial development strategy.

On the Mayor's planning powers, under the Greater London Authority Act 1999, the Mayor of London has responsibility for strategic planning across London and for ensuring that the strategic planning interests of London as a whole are taken into account by decision makers. In order to carry out this responsibility, the Mayor must have a means of intervening in the decision-making process where issues of genuine strategic importance are concerned. Accordingly, the Mayor has the right to direct a local planning authority to refuse a specific application for planning permission—I hope I am responding to the concern of the Baroness about the nature of "specific"—if he considers the proposal would undermine the spatial development strategy or otherwise be contrary to good strategic planning in London.

This Bill would allow the ODA to be appointed as a local planning authority in place of the relevant local authority to allow it to oversee a co-ordinated approach to the development of the Olympic park, which embraces more than one authority. When such a step is taken, the Bill therefore translates the power of the Mayor to direct a local authority into a power to direct the ODA. A specific case will be one that meets the criteria set out in the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000, made under Section 74 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It must be right that there is consistency and that the ODA should be in exactly the same position as a local planning authority because the success or failure of strategic policies is ultimately determined through individual development control decisions. It would not be appropriate for this Bill to amend the way that the planning process works, and we have no intention of doing so. Had we assayed that course, I would be in even more difficulty than I am in now in responding to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. I can confirm that the Government's intention in Clause 5(4) of the Bill is to preserve the Mayor's powers of direction so that the Mayor will have the same powers within the ODA boundary as he has in those parts of London outside that boundary.

I hope the noble Baroness will feel that I have defined the issue sufficiently accurately and in a rather more convincing form than I was able to do in Committee so that she will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 6:45 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister and I hope that he will not take it amiss if I say that I am also grateful to those who briefed him. He is absolutely right: the ODA should be foursquare with other local planning authorities on this. Having confirmed that nothing new is heralded by the reference to a "specified case", that it is backward-looking and that the existing position will continue—which is extremely helpful—I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 [Security]:

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 5, line 12, at end insert—

"( ) the incorporation of infrastructure and facilities for such purposes in all arrangements which it makes"

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 6, I will speak also to Amendment No. 8. I apologise to the House; Amendment No. 7 on this issue, which we debated in Committee, was tabled in error. I will not be referring to it.

I hope that the Minister can add to the assurances given on 2 February, when we debated the matter, and in the letter he subsequently wrote to me. Everyone agrees that security at the games is an extremely important issue, but these amendments go a little further than the Bill might be read as going—I have quite deliberately put it in that way. I have generally referred in these amendments to infrastructure, facilities and the timing of considering infrastructure and facilities, to make the point clearly that these matters need to be written in throughout the preparations for the development of venues—indeed, before planning permission is granted, right at the design and thinking stage.

The amendment in Committee was tabled after I had had an exchange with the Metropolitan Police Authority and the property services division of the Metropolitan Police Service. They have asked whether any further assurances can be given. The Minister told the Committee that a Cabinet-level committee would lead on security arrangements, and that the Secretary of State has powers of direction which could be used if necessary. My amendments are to ensure attention to the rather less obvious considerations, not of applying security during the games but of preparing for them so that there are places at venues where anyone whom the police have to arrest can be held and where the police's equipment—and, my goodness, I suspect that they are going to need quite a lot for crowd control and so on—can be stored. I am thinking of all those sorts of things; I do not need to repeat the list today.

These are not add-ons. They need to be thought about from the very beginning. We must all have had experiences where something thought about seriously a bit late in the day is less than satisfactory. I hope that the Minister is able to say a little more. At the very least, I will now read into the record a paragraph from his letter of 14 February, when he said:

"Security arrangements are of central importance to the successful delivery of the Games. That is why it is essential to design in security from the outset"—

I emphasise "from the outset"—

"by working with the ODA, police and security services to design venues that minimise risks".

I add that it is not just a question of minimising risks; it is a question of planning for how you meet eventualities. Anything more that the Minister can say to reassure those who, quite properly, are already—more than six years out—concerned with this level of detail would be welcome. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for the way in which she moved her amendment. My letters, although commented on favourably, never seem to achieve the desired result, which is to reduce debate on the issues that I discuss in them, but I hear what she says. She appreciated receipt of the letter in which I sought to give the most obvious commitment on the fact that security will be a concern of the ODA from the outset. The ODA has a duty to plan for safe and secure venues, and the interim ODA is already doing that. The authority has made a good start in planning for safety and security. The provisions in this Bill will ensure that it continues that work.

I just do not believe that the amendments are necessary. I appreciate that security is of the greatest significance for the games. We could not have had a sharper reminder than on the day following the announcement of the wonderfully successful bid for the games, with the most catastrophic event in London of recent years. Everyone is well aware of the fact that security has to be to the fore. The ODA is already consulting the police on all major aspects of the Olympic park design. It is establishing a close working relationship, which will continue, because there is no way in which it can deliver these games in a safe and secure manner without the fullest possible such consultation. The point of this duty of consultation is to build security in from the very start of the Olympic project, and I want to reassure noble Lords that that is happening. We do not need a requirement to consult in the Bill. The interim authority is already acting in a way that should reassure noble Lords on this.

Nor can the Bill specify in exact detail all the ways in which the ODA will discharge this security function. The Bill gives the authority the overarching duty; it is then for the ODA to fulfil that duty. That applies particularly to Amendment No. 8, but the same point applies for Amendment No. 6. We put the ODA under a duty to have regard to safety and security, and to consult. It is inevitable that it will need to agree with the police exactly what infrastructure and facilities are necessary to guarantee that these commitments are carried out.

In Committee, I gave an indication of the sort of budget that we have already allocated for security—some £213 million. I am glad that the chairman of the London organising committee, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, is in his place. I hope that he will not feel moved to speak at great length on any of these amendments, because I hope that I am able to establish that he is both carrying out his duties in these terms and aware of the necessity for a budget. Some £23 million will come from LOCOG's own budget, raised through private sponsorship. The remaining £190 million, as I have indicated, will come from the wider public sector funding package. In addition to this substantial budget, the police and security services will be working to ensure that London and the UK are kept safe and secure. The ODA will have regard to providing security arrangements through all its plans for the games and it is already carrying out this work.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, was correct when she pointed out in Committee that the Secretary of State holds a power of direction over the ODA in reserve. However, I am confident that that reserve power will not need to be exercised. I cannot conceive of anyone concerned with the serious development of the games not putting security as their very highest objective.

The noble Lord, Lord Higgins, indicated to me that he was not able to be present this evening, but in Committee he raised an important point on whether the security services should be specified in the Bill as a statutory consultee. I indicated in Committee—and I reiterate the point today—that that is not necessary. It is achieved in the way in which the Bill is drafted. The Bill places an obligation on the ODA to consult those with the preponderant voice on security in its broadest sense—that is, the police. The police will take the advice that they need, including from the security services, in order to give their view on guaranteeing security for the games. It is not for the ODA to consult a range of interests and then to reach a view on its own about what security arrangements are needed. We would not expect the ODA to have the expertise to do that, nor would it be a proper burden to place upon it. Rather, it is for the ODA to consult the police, who will provide that co-ordinated view on how security is to be sustained.

I hope that the noble Lord will recognise that the Bill fully takes on board the very proper anxieties about security and that the noble Baroness will therefore feel able to withdraw her amendment. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, when he reads Hansard, will share in the general reassurance.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 7:00 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that. I think that he misunderstands our references to his letters. They are models of clarity and elegance, which is why we wish to read paragraphs into the record. I am sure that he will understand that the points made in semi-public correspondence can helpfully be put on to the public record. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 not moved.]

Clause 7 [Street lighting and cleaning]:

Photo of Lord Dixon-Smith Lord Dixon-Smith Shadow Minister (the Environment), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

My Lords, the Minister will recall a somewhat scrappy group of amendments in Grand Committee dealing with Clause 7, among which was a probing amendment of mine to explore the limits of the obligations imposed by the clause. Unfortunately, it was not an amendment that proposed a solution to my—and, in the end, the Minister's—dilemma.

The Bill says:

"The Olympic Delivery Authority may arrange with an authority responsible for cleaning or lighting a highway or other area to which this section applies for cleaning or lighting to be carried out in a specified manner or to a specified standard during all or part of the London Olympics period".

Subsection (5) says:

"This section applies to any highway or other area to which the public have access and which the Authority reasonably expect to be used . . . (c) by persons travelling to a London Olympic event".

My problem was, and, indeed, still is, that that could be used to describe any road in the country. It is a completely open-ended potential liability.

In Committee, I suggested to the Minister that, if we were to put the words "where appropriate" at the beginning of this clause, that would enable the Olympic Delivery Authority to have discretion in the matter, so that it could make decisions to undertake this action where it thought it proper to do so. My mythical Scot from John O'Groats, who felt aggrieved because he could not get a new street light as he was marching to the Olympics, would disappear into the mists where he deserves to remain. I remind the Minister of his reply:

"I shall look at the point raised by the noble Lord. Those words are not before the Committee at present, but I shall look at the end to see whether we can meet the anxieties expressed today by some alteration to the clause".—[Official Report, 2/2/06; col. GC192.]

We still have the clause as it is; we do not have a government amendment. I thought that it was worth tabling my amendment again. It seems to me that the amendment would give the Olympic Delivery Authority a reasonable discretion, which it should have, rather than the open-ended commitment implied by the Bill. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Borrie Lord Borrie Labour

My Lords, is there not adequate discretion in the word "may" in the first line of the clause?

Photo of Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Conservative

My Lords, I may be seeking the indulgence of the House, in which case I hope that it will be granted, but my noble friend's amendment covers broadly the same concepts as I sought to cover in an amendment in Committee. The Minister will recall that I was unable to move it at that stage, as I was participating in the debate in the Chamber relating to the Speakership in my capacity as chairman of the Association of Conservative Peers. I said that I would move the amendment on Report. I fear that I was foiled at the end of last week by taking to my sick bed, so my amendment was not put down. Nevertheless, it relates to the relationship with the local authorities responsible for aspects of public services. I hope that the Minister will be content if I expand on this somewhat.

The amendment which I sought to move on the last occasion was to Schedule 1, page 31, line 15, at the end insert:

"(4) The Secretary of State shall ensure that the Authority includes at least one member who represents the interests of the London borough councils".

As the Bill stands, there is no formal provision for any London local authority representation on the ODA, yet it has many provisions that will significantly affect the powers of local authorities, including the loss of powers in relation to planning, cleansing, lighting, transport and licensing functions, which of course are touched on in my noble friend's amendment.

It is, of course, local authorities which have the current expertise in many of these areas. Naturally, the Olympics are an event of unprecedented scale, but it is fair to point out that many London local authorities not merely operate these services just on a day-to-day, run-of-the-mill basis, but have significant experience of running them to facilitate major national events.

The City of Westminster, for example, which drew this amendment to my attention, has a fine record in delivering services to ensure the smooth setting up, running and completion of major national one-off events such as the Queen's Golden Jubilee, or, to pick a more recent example, the enormous Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, as well as large annual events such as the Notting Hill carnival and the London marathon. In 2012, Westminster will be the host borough for four Olympic events as well as the start of the marathon. Venues being used in Westminster will include Hyde Park for the triathlon, Regent's Park for road cycling, Lord's cricket ground for archery and Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball. These are venues where the local authority already has, in many cases, huge experience in facilitating big events.

So it would seem just plain common sense for local authorities to be formally represented on the ODA in order to create a clear channel to feed in their many years' experience of operating the basics—services such as cleansing and lighting, which are the subject of the clause and which need to be got right. It is essential that there should be a voice at the table that can represent London local authorities to bring this knowledge and expertise to bear directly on the direction and operation of the ODA. The concept of an individual or authority having lead responsibility in pan-London matters is very familiar to anyone who has experience of private Bills in London, where a single authority promotes a Bill on behalf of the ALG as a whole. If the Minister casts his mind back, he will recall that when he was a London member he moved a Ten Minute Rule Bill to abolish the Corporation of the City of London—different times and different agendas.

In terms purely of structure, the Government have clearly acknowledged that the model for the London fire authority, which includes borough representation, is working so well that they are actively consulting in rolling out this model to encompass other parts of the GLA family, such as Transport for London. Therefore, not adopting the structure for the ODA seems to run counter to the structural changes being made elsewhere in London.

The Minister's response in Committee to my amendment, which I could not move but which was supported by my noble friend Lord Glentoran, was:

"When we considered how the ODA ought to interact with the borough councils and with others that greatly impact in its work—and on which it is in many ways dependent—we took the decision that the ODA board members should be chosen not for their representative quality, which is not the role of the board, but for the expertise that they bring to the overall organisation of the infrastructure relating to the games".—[Official Report, 31/01/06; col. GC70.]

It seems to me that the response that I have just cited is torpedoed by what is stated in Schedule 1, page 31, line 15, which immediately precedes the provision in the amendment that I failed to move in Committee and failed to table for Report. Schedule 1(3) states:

"In appointing members of the Authority the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of their having experience relevant to—

(a) the nature of the authority's functions, and

(b) the places in relation to which they are likely to be exercised".

Both those paragraphs seem to me to call for exactly the kind of experience that an appropriate representative from the London boroughs would contribute.

I have sought the indulgence of your Lordships' House—the Whip is nodding that I have done so and I concur with him—but I should be grateful for a somewhat more extensive response than the Minister gave in Committee.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, we discussed these issues extensively in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, is doing himself an injustice by disparaging the quality of his amendments. They provoked an interesting debate, although not one to which I replied to the satisfaction of all concerned, otherwise noble Lords would not have tabled their amendments today; nor would the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, have made the contribution, that he has. I shall try to do better this second time.

I accept that the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, has tabled the amendment because he seeks to limit the potential liability of the ODA to provide street lighting and cleaning. Otherwise, its powers, duties and obligations would appear to be almost limitless—up to the mythical Scotsman worried about lighting in his street well north of the Border. However, my noble friend Lord Borrie nailed the issue almost immediately with his characteristic perceptiveness. Clause 7 states that the ODA,

"may arrange with an authority", for street lighting or cleaning to be carried out during the Olympic Games period.

I fully appreciate the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. I am certain that he shares with me one objective. We want to ensure that, with the spotlight on London, London looks at its best in 2012. In fact, we want a great deal of the country to look at its best in 2012 because the Olympic Games go well beyond London. Clean, tidy and well-lit streets form an important part of the environment looking good. We must recognise that we are not just talking about visitors, vast numbers of whom we anticipate being here. Television can be very adept at picking up such detail. That is why we want the country to look as good as it possibly can. We want to put on the best games ever and we want to ensure that they take place in the best possible environment.

To deliver that, the Bill gives the ODA the ability to enter into arrangements with authorities, not the authority that governs that benighted Scotsman—he would be benighted if he thought that his street was not well lit but that would not necessarily be relevant to the Olympic Games—but to those areas relevant to the planning and provision of the games and the focal point of everyone's attention while the games are on. The ODA will have a limited budget, so it will need carefully to consider in which areas it will need to enter into arrangements with particular authorities. It is bound to be selective, so I want to lay to rest the anxieties of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, on that score.

The ODA has the ability, not an obligation, to enter into arrangements and it will have to make the choice. Let me reassure the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, on this point. The Bill does not place any obligation on a local authority to provide additional services such as street lighting and cleaning. It states that the ODA may arrange with the local authority to improve cleaning and lighting. Of course, that will be part of an agreement struck by the ODA, exercising its proper authority, and the local authority concerned.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, for emphasising that when the ODA approaches Westminster—I am sure that this is true for the other boroughs concerned—it will receive a welcome response. Several of those boroughs—Westminster is clearly an outstanding example—are used to putting on events to which the nation's and, sometimes, the world's, attention is focused, to a very high standard, including guaranteeing that the lighting and street cleaning are of the very highest standard.

I also want to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, that I sought to disabuse the Committee of the notion that that outcome could be achieved by a representative quality to the ODA's board members—that there should be a local authority representative on the ODA. We do not conceive of the ODA as being representative of interests in those terms. I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, with the leave of the House, by reading an extract from an advertisement for ODA board members, which lists the areas of expertise, interests and capacities that they may have. One of them mentions local government/communities. It states that the successful candidate:

"will be able to give evidence of significant successful experience of community liaison; an understanding of key local, social and political issues in London; significant leadership experience within local government; a clear vision of how to ensure delivery of the legacy for the local area and its people, not just in terms of regeneration".

So we are looking for expertise on the board that will reflect exactly the area that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, was concerned to emphasise without thinking that that should be a representative role of an ODA member. When the board is drawn up, that is clearly an area of expertise and experience that we will expect to be represented by a board member or some board members.

I emphasise that the Bill does not place the ODA under an obligation to provide street lighting and cleaning in all areas touched by the games. It will be for the authority to take the decision about which areas will be covered. It will of course negotiate with responsible authorities to ensure that it hits the highest standard possible. So the ODA is not being overstretched; it is not under an obligation. However, it has a clear remit to carry out its work and present the games in the best possible environment, which includes clean streets and well-lit areas. The authority will make sensible decisions, alongside appropriate local authorities, to guarantee that that is achieved. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, will be reassured on those points and will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Lord Dixon-Smith Lord Dixon-Smith Shadow Minister (the Environment), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 7:15 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, to whom I have only one word in response—touché. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Brooke for raising the wider perspective to the issue, which he was unable to do in Grand Committee. That has enabled a more thorough and, to a certain extent, a more focused debate. As I said, our debate in Grand Committee was a little scrappier and certainly not as well focused. The Minister has clearly directed our attention today to the issue. In the light of his explanations, especially given the significance of what is reported in Hansard in interpreting the Bill, that is enough to satisfy me on this occasion. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

moved Amendment No. 10:

After Clause 9, insert the following new clause—

"LONDON ORGANISING COMMITTEE

The Secretary of State shall make an order under section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36) (further power to designate public authorities) designating the London Organising Committee as a public authority for the purposes of that Act."

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, in Grand Committee, I moved an amendment that dealt with several aspects of the structure and constitution of LOCOG.

I was not altogether surprised at the rejection of such a wide-ranging amendment. The Minister put it very robustly when he said:

"We will be involved in a conflict of perception, unless I can persuade her that the Government have got it right".—[Official Report, 2/2/06; col. GC198.]

We may be involved in a conflict of principle on one aspect—freedom of information. The Minister argued then that LOCOG will be a private company funded privately, and therefore should not automatically come within FOI legislation. Indeed, he said:

"The Government have to take stock of the requirements under the Act over a range of their activities. As LOCOG is such a new organisation, and this pattern is still bedding down, we are reserving our position to review LOCOG in relation to the Freedom of Information Act".—[Official Report, 2/2/06; col. GC199.]

We on these Benches do not think that it is appropriate to reserve that position; this matter should be settled now. Yes, LOCOG will be a private company, but for a very public purpose. Yes, it will be funded by private money, but as part of a much bigger public whole. Its whole rationale and raison d'être is public. It could not operate if central and local government had not decided to go for the bid and to stage the games. I believe that it is close to disingenuous to characterise it as separate and not public. I believe that it is public in almost every sense. Public money and public support will enable it to operate.

LOCOG has a clear style and a simple vision which, according to its chairman the noble Lord, Lord Coe—one of the many Olympians on the Conservative Benches at the moment, which I always find a little fazing, because I know that they know so much more about all this than some of us do—is,

"to stage inspirational Olympic Games and Paralympic Games that capture the imagination of young people around the world and leave a lasting legacy".

Indeed, but I hope that that legacy will not contain an iota of secrecy. LOCOG has a long list of detailed responsibilities; I do not think that I have to read them out, because your Lordships are familiar with its remit. It is required to write a final report within two years after the games, but it would be very odd if public accountability and scrutiny were limited to this.

Our amendment requires an order to be made under the Freedom of Information Act, which seems designed for just that purpose. Under Section 5, the Secretary of State may designate as a public authority a person who does not otherwise come under the Act. I accept implicitly for this purpose the Minister's argument that LOCOG does not already come under the Act by virtue of Section 4, although there is quite an argument that it does.

I have heard that the issue is what the Government will do with LOCOG after the games. I assume that, under the Freedom of Information Act, LOCOG can be designated for a limited period or de-designated but, even if that were not so, I do not think that that would be good argument for keeping private what the man in the street—a street possibly lit and cleansed under the Bill—travelling on London's transport network, which has been improved to facilitate the games, to venues provided by the ODA, an authority created for the games under the Bill, would regard as a public event in any normal sense.

Historically, the games have not been wholly free from controversy, and I do not suggest for a moment that anyone involved in the 2012 games would dream of doing anything that they would prefer to be kept secret, but not everyone is quite as trusting as I am, and the best way of dispelling distrust to facilitate information is to apply what every other public organisation—I use the word "public" advisedly—and body is subject to, subject of course to the long list of exemptions in the Act on commercial confidentiality, security issues and so on. These are London's games and the UK's games, and I believe that Londoners and UK citizens should, subject to those exceptions, be able to find out how they are being run. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I am afraid that I must disagree for the first time with my friends on the Liberal Democrat Benches. This amendment is a step too far and, at worst, it could probably be damaging. The Olympic Delivery Authority is the public body charged with delivery. LOCOG is nothing like the same animal; it is quite different and separate, and is charged with organisation. It will deal largely with private-sector companies and private-sector management teams which are used to the business management culture of private companies—when I say private, I include PLCs; I do not mean personally owned companies, because I am sure that they will be multinational PLCs.

I have not spoken to my noble friend Lord Coe on this matter, in case it might be thought that I had. These are purely my own views. I simply believe that this would be damaging. I do not think that the Freedom of Information Act would be anything other than unhelpful in this context, and I hope that the noble Baroness will not press her amendment to a vote.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, I shall be brief. I strongly support my noble friend Lady Hamwee, who I thought put the case very clearly and succinctly in favour of bringing LOCOG within the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said that he had not previously disagreed with my noble friend and I, likewise, think that this is the first time that we have disagreed about the Bill.

LOCOG may, as a private company, have a different status from the ODA, but it is simply the other half of the delivery of the Olympic Games for London. The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, may be completely right that many of the contracts that LOCOG is dealing with are commercial, but there are very clear exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act, which states:

"Information is exempt information if it constitutes a trade secret . . . Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person including the public authority holding it".

LOCOG need have no fear of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, but it is only right and proper that it should be subject to the terms of the Act.

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, the Freedom of Information Act has one particular impact; it eats up time. It puts huge costs and expense on companies, and no one knows that better than Her Majesty's Government, who are having to spend I dare say millions now answering queries and doing research to meet demands under the Act.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, in any event, LOCOG will be very much under the public spotlight. It will be spending large amounts of money raised for a public purpose, and I believe that it should therefore devote the necessary resources to what is necessary under the Freedom of Information Act. So I very much hope that the Minister, who sadly did not write his customary letter on this issue, as he has done on almost every other issue on the Bill. No letter was received on this subject, and perhaps he can make up for that omission now.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 7:30 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for the way in which she introduced this amendment. She was kind enough not to challenge me on the contribution that I made in Committee where I may have given the impression that we had doubts on some aspects of the Freedom of Information Act: I indicated the difficulties with regard to the Act. The whole House knows that the Act has been in existence for only just over a year. There are teething problems and many challenges lie ahead. They do not just lie ahead: the Act has implicit in it a whole range of challenges over freedom of information.

In Committee, I sought to wrestle with the challenging issue of where the lines are to be drawn, given our experience of the Act as it has operated up to now, among very disparate bodies. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, for indicating why the claims that LOCOG should be under the Freedom of Information Act should be resisted. LOCOG is very different from the Olympic Delivery Authority. We do not have the slightest hesitation that the ODA falls, as a public body, within the framework of the Act. We intend that it fulfils its duties in that respect.

As the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, indicated, LOCOG is a different body. It is a private company, limited by guarantee. It will be almost entirely privately financed, with funding coming from private sector, commercial sponsorship. It also gets a sizeable sum from the International Olympic Committee. LOCOG has contractual obligations to the IOC under the host city contract, so it is very different from the Olympic Delivery Authority. It is not a public body in the same sense at all.

We are not saying that LOCOG at some stage might fall within the framework of the Freedom of Information Act, but we know that it is not for this Bill to specify that. That is a consideration to be taken under the policy of the implementation of the FOI Act. For very obvious reasons, LOCOG fits into a different category altogether from those public bodies which we can identify, provided for out of public resource, which are bound to be open to questions in respect of freedom of information.

I am not trying to hide behind some abstruse argument with regard to the Bill. We say only that freedom of information is not the business of this Bill. Freedom of information, the Act and how we implement it are proper concerns of this House and, of course, the other place. We all know that we have, and will have, a considerable amount of work on decisions on freedom of information issues. But it would not be appropriate for us, within the framework of this Bill when it becomes an Act, to define LOCOG, when we have to consider it in the round with a whole range of other institutions and where they fit into freedom of information.

If I appear negative about freedom of information, I hope that it is not because it has been suggested that as a government representative I am cool about the concept of freedom of information—very far from it. We are implementing the Act and making very great progress in the openness of information for our society. I am indicating that I am not prepared to consider freedom of information within the framework of this Bill. That is why I want the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Spokesperson in the Lords (Regional & Local Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

My Lords, a distinction has been made between the ODA and LOCOG. But, to paraphrase my noble friend, they are mutually dependent. Freedom of information eats up time. But that is not an exception or an exemption listed in the many clauses of the Freedom of Information Act. I do not believe that it is to the credit of a Government, who were applauded for introducing freedom of information, to except a body now because of problems with which, admittedly, we are all dealing as it beds down. I anticipated most of the arguments made by the Minister, so I will not trouble the House by repeating them. He said that it is not for this Bill to specify that LOCOG should be subject to freedom of information, although perhaps it will become so in the future, and that freedom of information is not the business of this Bill. I believe that it is the business of this Bill. I should like to test the opinion of the House.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 10) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 45; Not-Contents, 116.

Division number 2 Private Parking: Ports and Trading Estates — London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill

Aye: 43 Members of the House of Lords

No: 114 Members of the House of Lords

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Clause 10 [Olympic Transport Plan]:

[Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 not moved.]

Clause 20 [Regulations: supplemental]:

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 13 I shall speak to the other amendments grouped with it. The amendments relate to those the Secretary of State must consult when making regulations under Clause 19 to control advertising in the vicinity of Olympic venues, and under Clause 26 to control street trading. We had extensive and constructive debates on these issues in Grand Committee. They centred on whether we should place a requirement in the Bill for the Secretary of State to consult the advertising industry and anyone else likely to be directly affected by the regulations made under Clauses 19 and 26. My ministerial colleagues in the other place and I have given unequivocal assurances that such consultation will take place, but I am pleased to bring forward amendments today that put those commitments on a statutory basis.

The amendments address the comments made by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its report on the Bill dated 15 December. I hope that noble Lords will feel that the fears expressed during our debates in Committee have now been allayed. Amendment No. 15 ensures that the advertising industry and anyone else who may be affected by the regulations will be consulted as they are drawn up. Amendment No. 20 provides that those likely to be affected by the regulations to be made under Clause 26 on street trading are similarly consulted. The remaining amendments in the group make minor and consequential changes.

I hope noble Lords will recognise that the Government have listened to the debate in Committee and have brought forward these amendments in a spirit of understanding of the legitimate concerns expressed, and that they commend themselves to the House. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, I thank the Minister for those words and I am only sorry that the noble Lords, Lord Moynihan and Lord Coe, are not in their places to see the more constructive fruits that have emerged from the Grand Committee stage. These are significant amendments and will be warmly welcomed by the industry. It will be extremely useful to have them in the Bill.

I want to make a few points of clarification. The government amendments make no mention of the period to be set aside for consultation. It would be helpful to have some indication from the Minister of the likely length of the consultative exercise to be conducted by the DCMS. Indeed, no doubt the Minister will be aware that the Cabinet Office's own Code of Practice on Consultation, which applies to consultation undertaken by government departments, indicates that the period should be no less than 12 weeks.

As I mentioned in Grand Committee, the International Olympic Committee may request that changes are made to its technical manual on brand protection at any time between now and 2012. The manuals form an integral part of the host city contract, and the Bill is intended to give legislative effect to the contractual obligations entered into by the Government. Were the IOC to make further changes to its technical manual on brand protection after any initial set of regulations are made under Clause 19 on, say, the physical location of advertising at some point between 2010 and 2012, presumably that would require further amending regulations to be made. Government assurance is therefore sought that in addition to consulting on the initial set of regulations issued, any further amending regulations required by the IOC as a consequence of changes the committee may make to the manual would also be consulted on. From a reading of the Bill I assume that is the case, but I hope that the Minister will be able to confirm it. Generally, however, I certainly welcome the amendments.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, I am grateful for the noble Lord's comments. I can reassure him on his second point. On his first point, we envisage a consultation period of 12 weeks at the very least and possibly somewhat longer. Having made it clear that we incorporate consultation into the Bill, we will carry it out to the fullest extent possible consonant with getting the job done. We have had long experience of consultation with an industry as significant as advertising and we will set in train the necessary consultations.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

moved Amendments Nos. 14 to 17:

Page 15, line 13, leave out "shall consult"

Page 15, line 15, at end insert—

"(aa) one or more persons who appear to the Secretary of State to represent interests within the advertising industry which are likely to be affected by the regulations,

(ab) such other persons, who appear to the Secretary of State to represent interests likely to be affected by the regulations, as he thinks appropriate,"

Page 15, line 16, leave out "shall consult"

Page 15, line 17, leave out "shall consult"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 26 [Section 25: supplemental]:

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

moved Amendments Nos. 18 to 22:

Page 20, line 5, at end insert "shall consult"

Page 20, line 6, leave out "shall consult"

Page 20, line 8, at end insert—

"(aa) such persons, who appear to the Secretary of State to represent interests likely to be affected by the regulations, as he thinks appropriate,"

Page 20, line 9, leave out "shall consult"

Page 20, line 10, leave out "shall consult"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 4 [London Olympics Association Right]:

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

moved Amendment No. 23:

Page 47, leave out lines 30 to 35 and insert—

:TITLE3:"Infringement: specific expressions

3 (1) For the purpose of considering whether a person has infringed the London Olympics association right a court may, in particular, take account of his use of a combination of expressions of a kind specified in sub-paragraph (2)."

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 23, I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 24 and 25 as well. The amendment deals with a controversial issue which was debated extensively and intensively in Committee—the evidential burden relating to the new London Olympics association right that we have created. This burden relates to the list of words and phrases in paragraph 3(3) of Schedule 4. The schedule currently provides that the use of these words and phrases in combination will, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, be treated as constituting an association with the London Olympics. We think that the list of words and phrases contained in Schedule 4 are important in helping the public understand what sort of activity may create an association with the London games and what sort of activity would fall foul of the London Olympics association right.

Concern was expressed in Committee about the evidential burden in Schedule 4. Our intention was never to create an onerous or draconian provision. We were accused of doing so in Committee and I sought to rebut those challenges. We were seeking to create a practical and workable piece of legislation that would give greater clarity about what sorts of activity were likely to infringe the association right.

The debate in Committee highlighted some difficulties in this area. That is why I tabled Amendment No. 23; it removes the evidential presumption in Schedule 4 which was the burden of all the main contributions in Committee critical of the legislation. We suggested in its place a provision which makes it clear that when considering whether the association right has been breached, a court may in particular consider whether the defendant has used a combination of words listed in Schedule 4(3)(3).

The amendment therefore creates a position whereby due prominence is given to the words and phrases in Schedule 4 without creating the evidential burden that caused such concerns in Committee. In removing the evidential presumption in Schedule 4, we have also taken the opportunity to make related and appropriate changes to the scope of the London Olympics association right, which is what Amendments Nos. 24 and 25 do.

The case was made in Committee, by persuasive arguments, that the real issue was that someone could be brought before a court with the evidential burdens stacked against them. We are seeking to right that balance and I hope that noble Lords will think that we have produced a solution to what was recognised as a significant problem in Committee. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, I thank the Minister very much indeed. He faced a very heavy artillery barrage in Committee. The noble Lords, Lord Glentoran and Lord Borrie, among others, trained their fire on the Minister, and I am glad he recognised the force of the argument. Whether we call it the presumption of guilt, the presumption of liability or an evidential presumption, this presumption has been replaced by no presumption at all. The amendment is hugely welcome on all sides of the House. It colours a great deal of our approach to Schedule 4, and it has had a beneficial effect on our thinking about how the schedule will operate generally except in one or two circumstances. It is a far fairer and more proportionate way of dealing with the London Olympics association right.

In his letter, the Minister was generous enough to say that the amendment was similar to the one I tabled, which was signed by Members of other parties. Not only has the Minister bowed to the logic of the argument, but he is happy with the drafting. What more could we have hoped for?

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has said. I, too, felt very strongly that there was a serious error in the original drafting of the Bill. The amendment completely changes the environment in which Schedule 4 will be seen and in which people will have to operate. It reverses the entire situation. I am not a lawyer, like the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and it was very fortunate that we could use his skills and knowledge to do all the drafting for us. I am delighted, and I thank the Minister for tabling the amendment.

Photo of Lord Borrie Lord Borrie Labour

My Lords, I express my support for the amendment. My noble friend has been generous and helpful in giving his time to this matter, with informal meetings and discussions behind the scenes with his officials. He indicated that this amendment expresses what was in the Government's mind all along more clearly than what was there before. What was there before set alarm bells ringing in the advertising industry and elsewhere because any sort of reversal of the burden of proof that an infringement has been caused seemed to them to be a very serious change in the normal process one expects in legal proceedings. Therefore, this is a very welcome amendment and I fully support it.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 8:00 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful for all those comments. If I had been able to resist the robustness of the arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, I was in even more trouble when the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, applied his forensic and legal skill to the amendment. Of course, the whole House will recognise that, once the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, joined the ranks, change was in the air. I hope therefore that the amendment commends itself to the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

moved Amendments Nos. 24 and 25:

Page 48, line 13, leave out from "expressions," to end of line 16.

Page 48, line 25, leave out sub-paragraph (9).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

moved Amendment No. 26:

Page 48, line 27, at end insert—

"(10) Before laying a draft order in accordance with sub-paragraph (7)(b) the Secretary of State shall consult—

(a) one or more persons who appear to him to have relevant responsibility for regulating the advertising industry (including enforcing standards of professional conduct),

(b) one or more persons who appear to him to represent the interests of the advertising industry,

(c) the London Organising Committee, and

(d) such other persons as he thinks appropriate."

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, continuing the spirit of agreement throughout the House, I move Amendment No. 26, which makes clear that, before varying the list of words and phrases listed in paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to the Bill, the Secretary of State must consult the advertising industry, advertising regulators, LOCOG and anyone else who the Secretary of State thinks appropriate. Much like the earlier amendments that I tabled in relation to Clause 19, we have taken the opportunity to provide greater assurance on the face of the Bill to the advertising industry that it will be consulted on provisions that may affect its day-to-day business.

In reality, we think it is unlikely that the list of words and phrases in Schedule 4 will change very much, but if there is a form of particularly damaging ambush marketing taking place in the years between now and 2012, the Secretary of State must retain the right to alter the list of words and phrases in Schedule 4 to provide greater clarity to both the courts and the public on what sort of activity is likely to create an unauthorised association. It is also important to realise that the Secretary of State can remove words from the list. If legitimate business is stifled as a result of the provisions in Schedule 4 to the Bill we will certainly make haste to change the schedule.

The amendment provides that the Secretary of State must consult with those people whom any such change is most likely to effect; most notably the advertising industry, advertising regulators and LOCOG, as well as any others she thinks appropriate. The amendment responds to the points raised by noble Lords in many parts of the Committee during debate there, and has the effect of putting on a statutory footing the repeated commitments that have been made to both Houses during the Bill's parliamentary passage that we intend to consult fully and were mindful of the necessity of doing so. I am happy to bring forward these amendments. They will help to cement the very close working relationship that the Government, LOCOG and the advertising industry have already established over the practical application of this Bill which we all recognise is a joint endeavour to produce an Olympic Games of which the country and the wider world will be proud. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, this is another very satisfactory addition to the Bill as the Minister has indicated. Again, this will be welcomed in the advertising industry, where there was concern about the lack of consultation in the Bill over changes in wording. The amendment is extremely welcome. In his reply, I hope that the Minister will use similar words to those he used earlier in terms of the length of consultation which may apply because exactly the same arguments apply as in that case.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, I have no anxiety about that at all. We are concerned to make consultation effective, the principle having been established. We always knew that we were involved in consultation and what noble Lords emphasised in Grand Committee is how that needed to be specified in more direct terms in the Bill. We will certainly consult.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

moved Amendment No. 27:

Page 50, line 1, leave out "as a necessary incident" and insert "in the course"

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

In moving Amendment No. 27 and speaking to other amendments up to Amendment No. 30, I want to thank the Minister for his letter of 27 February. It is a recognition of the strength of the arguments that were made in Grand Committee. Regrettably, I still believe that the Minister has not yet grasped the exact concerns of the newspaper and broadcasting industry.

The Government's wording of paragraph 8 in Schedule 4 and their position generally on this issue seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the distinction between editorial and advertising or a needless concern that the boundaries between the two can be wilfully manipulated. In his letter, the Minister said that "most" journalistic activities are unlikely to suggest an association. On page 2 of the letter he says that,

"all journalistic practice is exempt from the association right created in Schedule 4".

There is no disagreement there, but on page 1 of the letter he also refers to,

"journalistic use that does not seek to advertise".

That is a contradiction in terms.

The Minister is clearly worrying about what he calls advertorials, but the key issue is what journalistic activities he is worried about. Journalistic or editorial usage does not advertise. If newspapers carry advertisements they want to be paid for them. The simple and central distinction is that, broadly, advertising is space paid for by a third party, the content of which is controlled by that third party. The practices that he described therefore either do not happen or are advertisements, not editorial.

Concerns in the industry have been exacerbated by the fact that the Minister referred to,

"ostensible news broadcasts which are really 'advertorials'", and not "genuine news broadcasts". Newspapers or broadcasters do not issue disguised advertisements in the guise of news bulletins. The Commercial Radio Companies Association and Sky television in particular have both emphasised to me that such things are already prevented by law from broadcasting on either commercial radio or television. For example, Ofcom requires a clear separation between editorial and advertising content.

On the other hand, is the Minister in some way implying that news items based on, say, a press release from a major public company or company's annual report will not be considered bona fide editorial usage? If so, the industry has a further cause for concern. Quite apart from LOCOG looking over editors' shoulders about their choice of words, it seems that it will also be judging news selection. This concern is heightened by the Minister's reference to anyone who has even inadvertently it seems created an association,

"for the purposes of a news story, to demonstrate the necessity of their actions".

If that is not interference in editorial freedom, I do not know what is.

Surely, the Government cannot be implying that non-news items are not journalistic. That would fly in the face of previous assurances given on Schedule 4. There are all manner of examples of standard non-news editorial items. Journalists may, for example, write reviews for restaurants, entertainment venues, books and so forth, but those are editorial not advertising. The difference between us seems to be that the Government take the view that something can be journalistic and yet still infringe, which is why they feel they need the necessary incident test. The view of the newspaper and broadcasting industry is that if something is editorial—not advertising—it should unequivocally fall within the provisions of paragraph 8 without the need for newspapers or broadcasters to justify either their selection of news and editorial material or the words used in them.

With regard to paragraph 8(c), the letter gives a fair and accurate summary of the Panini case, including the central question the court would ask itself: why was the infringing representation used? That brings us straight back to our concern that a court might take a hard line and say, "To sell newspapers or make money for a commercial broadcaster". That explains why we want the other parts of paragraph 8 amended, because the industry does not want to have to rely on paragraph 8(c) in the face of the Panini case.

In conclusion, the basic principle these amendments try to get across is the fact that editorial is editorial, and ipso facto legitimate. Any judgment by LOCOG of why particular news items were included, or the words used in them, would be utterly unacceptable. Advertisements, however, are advertisements, no matter what they look like or who they are written or spoken by. This amendment is not a recipe for loopholes. There are certain words set out in the Bill which, when used together, still raise the possibility of infringement of the London association right by journalists, or by editorial.

Amendment No. 29 is important too, since the exception itself in paragraph 8(b) needs widening. Inclusion of those words about the Olympic Games means that the exemption is too narrow. I spoke at length on that in Grand Committee. I welcome the fact that the Minister wrote, but it is clear that his letter urgently requires further clarification, and I hope that the Minister will give us that today. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Borrie Lord Borrie Labour

My Lords, I did not speak in Committee on the similar amendments then moved by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. I do not nowadays have an interest in the media to declare, but I was once a non-executive director of the Mirror Group, and I stress a strong bias in favour of freedom of speech and of the press, of wanting that freedom of the press to be restricted by legislation only in the most extreme of circumstances—restrictions imposed by the common law in relation to defamation, and so on. The press is of course also subject to the non-statutory rules of the Press Complaints Commission.

I want to underline the key distinction emphasised by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, between the advertising content and the editorial content of a newspaper or broadcast. The advertising content is paid for and controlled by a third party, and that includes advertorials, which I can roughly describe as advertisements dressed up to look like editorial but paid for by a third party. Advertising content is paid for and controlled by a third party. Editorial content, on the other hand, is controlled by journalists and editors.

When the Minister, in his letter to the noble Lord of 27 February, says reassuringly, as the noble Lord has already quoted, that:

"all journalistic practice is exempt from the Association right created in Schedule 4", he seems to accept the distinction that both the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and I have made between advertising content and editorial content. The question then arises: why the need for a "necessary incident" test? Under the Bill, unless it is amended, a journalist in the future might have to answer, with regard to a news broadcast about an Olympics event or an item in the press or on television detailing Olympic events to take place in the future, questions about whether he is suggesting a commercial association with the Olympic Games. Why should the news item have to be scrutinised by LOCOG to see whether any reference to the Olympics was a "necessary incident", and be regarded as legitimate only if it passes that test?

Surely if the reference to the games is in the editorial content of a newspaper or broadcast, and not advertising content controlled by a third party, there should be no question but that the content falls within the safe harbour of paragraph 8, without the writer having to justify either the selection of news and editorial material or the words used in that material. I suspect that while the Minister, in the words I quoted from his letter, seemed to be accepting the distinction between advertising content and editorial content, he has not quite brought himself to do so. He will do so only if, for example, he gets rid of the phrase "necessary incident" in paragraph 8.

Photo of Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville Conservative

My Lords, I did not put my name down to the amendments last week for the reasons I alluded to in the debate on Amendment No. 7, but I support them. Like the Minister, I am not a lawyer, but I read what he said in Committee on 15 February:

"We are confident that the Bill as drafted will allow all legitimate journalistic practices".—[Official Report, 15/2/06; col. GC403.]

That is a very firm statement. It remains the case that the media are not themselves so confident, and their anxiety has been exacerbated by the fact that the Minister and Mr Caborn in the other place have referred to,

"ostensible news broadcasts which are really 'advertorials'", as the intended victim of the exception, and not "genuine news broadcasts".

The media are genuinely baffled by the remark that I have quoted and do not know of any such programmes. As the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said, Ofcom, for instance, requires a clear separation between editorial and advertising content and has detailed rules relating to advertorials. If news reports are intended to be excluded from the scope of the infringement, the media's view is that this remark, and the legislative approach which supports it, need further clarification as a matter of urgency.

The media quoted by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, included Sky, which is concerned that its legitimate reporting activities on Sky News are called into question by the present state of the Bill. I think back to the greatest sporting occasion in this country a year ago—the Ashes. There is no question at all that the drama which the Ashes produced was hugely enhanced by the quality of the broadcasting by Channel 4, which at one stage reached audiences of 9 million people for test cricket, which five years ago people would have said was impossible. There is much at stake if Sky believes itself to be at risk in that regard.

I realise that at this late stage we may not get an amendment from the Government but it seems to me that at the very least considerable further ministerial clarification would be of assistance. If the Minister cannot convince us through such clarification, I hope very much that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, will return to this matter at Third Reading, which will be our last opportunity to remove the present uncertainty in the media and create an equilibrium, which good work in your Lordships' House has secured in other matters of concern on the Bill which reached us from the other place.

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I make one comment on the seriousness of the amendment and the schedule—if we get it wrong, we will live to regret it for ever. Let us not forget the number of occasions that we can all think of where the press have been turned off for one reason or another some considerable time before the relevant event happened. Once the media are turned off for whatever reason they choose to pick on to be turned off by, you will never get them back. We need them on side from now until 2015.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, this is certainly a serious issue and I will need to stick fairly closely to the brief to meet the requirements of the debate which has been presented with such precision by the four noble Lords who have contributed to it. I make it clear that we are not talking about television or radio regulated media. As we all recognise, broadcasts are regulated by a regulatory body. We are not in any way, shape or form anxious about broadcasts. We are worried about printed material but we are not worried about newspapers. As noble Lords have emphasised, it is clear who has paid for a certain section of a newspaper. The noble Lord, Lord Borrie, emphasised that.

We are concerned about flyers that look like news stories or newspapers but whose purpose is to link a product with the games and which purport to give news or information but are actually involved in a close association between the news which is supposedly being given and the product which is being advertised or sold. That is the area with which we are trying to deal. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, and others who expressed great concern about the general freedom of the press—certainly, as the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, suggested, the press is a major organ of communication in our society—that we do not have the slightest intention of inhibiting press freedom. We would not want to do it because this Government are as concerned about press freedom as anyone else in the country. As the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, emphasised, we are concerned to ensure that the Olympic Games get the best possible reception from journalists. However, we have to safeguard certain aspects, phrases and terms associated with the Olympic movement and the Olympic Games from those who seek commercial advantage from them. We discussed this issue at great length in Committee and it was discussed in the other place. I want to put on record my confidence that this Bill will do nothing whatever to prevent legitimate editorial or journalistic practices in relation to the London games. I shall set out for noble Lords how the London Olympics association right relates to editorial and journalistic practices and the specific editorial and journalistic exemption that we have created.

The London Olympics association right, created by Schedule 4, will only be infringed by someone who creates an association between a good or service and the London games—not any other form of comment; not any other form of discussion; not any other news story; but a deliberate attempt to associate a good or service with the games. An association, as defined in the Bill, is an unauthorised commercial, contractual, corporate or financial connection with the games. In considering whether any news report or magazine article would infringe the London Olympics association right, we therefore need to consider whether it would create such a commercial, contractual or other connection between a good or a service and the games. That is a pretty high threshold for any article to cross.

Everything else is, of course, part of the cherished freedoms of comment of the press. If the London Olympics association right is infringed in those terms, we need to deal with that. A current affairs programme reflecting on London's success in winning the right to host the games; an evening news bulletin about the preparations for the games; or a newspaper article reporting on the opening ceremony or 100 metres final in 2012 would not suggest any form of commercial, contractual or corporate connection with the games. We would not expect them to; and they do not.

However, so important is the right of the press to be able to report on all aspects of 2012 and the games, we have created a specific defence—a "backstop" if you will—further to protect all legitimate editorial and journalistic practices from infringing the London Olympics association right, which we need. We have had to be realistic and balanced about this issue. In setting out the exemption, we have had to ensure that we did not inadvertently create something that could be used by those who are intent on exploiting for commercial gain an unauthorised association with the games. Our advice is that the defence that we have created in the Bill strikes the right balance. It gives the rare journalist who in reporting on the games creates a commercial association between goods and services and the games, the opportunity to demonstrate why it was necessary for them to do that, but it will not allow others cynically to exploit the defence for a purpose for which it was not intended.

Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 remove the important qualifying phrase "necessary incident" from that defence. In this short debate, my noble friend Lord Borrie particularly emphasised the issue of "necessary incident". We discussed that concept extensively in Committee as well. Our firm legal advice is that we have got this position right. The reason that the term "necessary incident" is contained in the exemption is to avoid creating a situation whereby someone could commercially exploit the games and rely on hiding behind a journalistic defence. The term "necessary incident" is therefore a means by which to prevent, for example, published "advertorials", the real motive of which is not to communicate information but to commercially exploit the games by promoting a product or a service.

Noble Lords also expressed concerns in Committee about the effect that the Court of Appeal's decision in Panini would have on those defences. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, referred to that case, and I commented on it in my letter to him. I hope that noble Lords will accept that, to the extent that the case is relevant to the Bill—and here we must be careful to remember that the decision actually concerned provisions of the Copyright Act and therefore does not lay down a definitive or binding interpretation of this Bill—it gives some useful guidance on the way that a court might approach one of the defences set out in the Bill.

Amendment No. 28 ensures that the journalistic exemption extends to all publishing or broadcasting whether about the Olympics or not. In Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, was concerned about the situation in which an article about east London referred to the Olympics by way of context. I reassure noble Lords that this sort of activity will of course be allowed, and the Bill as drafted already allows for that. Adding the words,

"any editorial usage including without limitation", to paragraph 8 of schedule 4 is unnecessary, as it would duplicate what we have already provided for in the Bill.

The Bill currently provides an exemption for the incidental inclusion in a literary, dramatic or artistic work of a representation likely to create an association with the London games. Amendment No. 29 extends that exemption to an advertisement of that literary or artistic work. If something is an incidental inclusion in an artistic work, it should be an incidental inclusion only in any accompanying advertising. Were that the case, the current drafting of the Bill would exempt such an advert, as it would be covered by the "incidental inclusion" defence. It would be a strange situation indeed if an incidental reference to the games in a piece of art, for example, became much more prominent when that artistic work was being advertised for sale. Indeed, the amendment would create a rather strange loophole whereby someone could unduly exaggerate a reference to the games when advertising an artistic work that only referenced the games incidentally.

I understand the concerns that noble Lords have raised about the exemptions that should apply to the London Olympics association right. I recognise the sincerity and effectiveness with which those fears have been expressed. This is an important area, and I do not seek to minimise it in any way, shape or form. I listened carefully to what was said in Committee, which prompted my somewhat lengthy letter to the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. I have listened to powerful representations again today. I am clear, however, that the Bill does not have the undesirable effect that noble Lords are suggesting. I hope that I have given assurances that we have thought through this issue with the greatest of care. The issue of freedom of the press is of the greatest significance to this country, in all our work and to a free society.

In addition, the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said that those concerned with the Olympic Games might even have a narrower perspective of having the media very much on our side with regard to the games. Trying to present the games in the best possible light and hoping that others reflect that is a laudable objective, and I have not the slightest doubt that we will not succeed in every case. However, we must defend the London Olympics association right and have some element of restriction. We are doing that within the framework of advertisement. When dealing with editorial copy, I assure my noble friend Lord Borrie that we are talking not about comment in newspapers with the intent of effective communication of information but about printed material that purports to look like a newspaper and to convey news but is an advertisement or flyer that associates a good or service with the games. We must defend ourselves against that kind of content.

On that basis, we have carefully defined the legal grounds on which infringement would take place. I hope that noble Lords will recognise that far from being cavalier and not mindful of the real concerns about press freedom, the Government have been concerned to defend certain words and contents from unfair, improper and illegal advertisement, while having a prime commitment to freedom of comment, freedom of the press and freedom of broadcasting. I hope that the noble Lord will think that he can safely withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport 8:30 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I too listened very carefully to what the Minister had to say. There is no doubt that since Grand Committee—indeed, since his letter—he has refined his arguments. He tells us that he is not talking about radio or television broadcast and that he is worried about printed material but not newspapers. He is actually concerned about flyers that purport to be linked to the games. As the whole of this debate shows, the provision is a very heavy sledgehammer to crack a nut of a flyer. Is that what the Government are really worried about—a flyer? We have the whole of the broadcasting industry and the whole of the newspaper industry excited by the draconian terms of this Bill but the Government are concerned with prohibiting a flyer. It seems an extraordinary situation.

If that were the only area of concern I suppose I could stop there and say, "Why do the Government not rephrase the Bill so that they actually catch what they want to catch?". However, the Minister went on to say, "We have to safeguard certain terms owned by the Olympic movement from those seeking commercial advantage". He is confident that the Bill will do nothing to infringe press freedom but, "That means that we have to look at how the London association right relates to journalistic practices. It is trying to catch only an association between goods or services and the games". But then he went on to the really dangerous thing which sent shivers down my spine and said, "We have to consider whether a news item does this". That is an extraordinary statement. He is saying that if a journalistic item creates an association between goods or services and the games, then LOCOG is entitled to take action against that newspaper. That is an extraordinary statement. I think it means that all those who are concerned about these provisions are entirely justified. The Minister went on to say that these provisions "strike the right balance". However, merely what I have just said demonstrates the contrary and that this whole "necessary incident" phrase needs to be removed.

With the best will in the world I no longer really can argue that the Government misunderstand the situation. I have to argue that the Government are intent on doing what the Minister has said, which frightens me even more. I suppose one could say that one seeks clarification in Grand Committee and then receives further clarification as time goes on. Usually that creates a sense of security—assurances are given and one can assure those who are affected by a provision that these clarifications, read into the record, will help if action is taken. However, I can give no such reassurance to those who have briefed me for this debate and who have demonstrated concerns to quite a number of noble Lords. I cannot give that assurance. In fact, I am more frightened about this provision than when I started.

Obviously it is late and I cannot press an amendment now on Report. However, subject to consultation with colleagues on all Benches I may well bring this back on Third Reading. I very much hope that the Minister will consider the next steps and whether he can do other things to provide assurance within both the newspaper and the broadcasting industry.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I appreciate the fact that the noble Lord is not pressing the issue at this stage. I also appreciate the strength of feeling about this issue. We have a little time before Third Reading to reflect on this debate. I give him the assurance that, on such an important matter, we will reflect on the debate and look at matters before Third Reading.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his customary courtesy and particularly for that statement. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 28 to 30 not moved.]

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

moved Amendment No. 31:

Page 50, line 21, at end insert—

"The London Olympics association right shall have effect from 1st January 2007."

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland

My Lords, we had a long debate on this and another amendment in Committee. The alternative amendment proposed to insert:

"The London Olympics association right shall have effect from," not, as in this amendment, "1 January 2007", but "31 December 2007"—quite a significant change. I am pleased that the noble Lords, Lord Clement-Jones, Lord Borrie and Lord Pendry, have put their names to this amendment, which is where I started.

I made it clear, both in our meeting with the noble Lord, Lord Coe, in the Leader's office, and in Committee, that this amendment struck a balance of reasonableness between the needs and, maybe, the demands of LOCOG and the Government and the needs and concerns of the industry. I still feel that if the Minister is able to accept the amendment, that balance will be achieved. It gives the advertising industry more space than it was expecting and needs—it gives the industry nine months: the best part of a year. It also gives LOCOG, more than any other organiser of an Olympic Games, five whole years of comprehensive protection to sell to its would-be sponsors. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Spokesperson in the Lords, Culture, Media & Sport

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, for retabling this amendment. The Minister will see, as the noble Lord said, that others—and particularly those on these Benches—have, in the spirit of compromise, agreed to put our weight behind it. That represents a considerable movement. It represents a desire to recognise to whatever degree is possible the concerns of LOCOG that there may be some commercial detriment if the timetable was shifted as the original amendment suggested.

I am also grateful to the Minister for providing a copy of the letter that he sent to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, following the Committee, clarifying the Qantas/Ansett ambush marketing example. That was extremely useful, particularly when the Minister said that some of what he said about that case may have been based on inaccurate information. I felt that that was a rabbit drawn out of a hat, perhaps somewhat hastily. The letter goes on to talk a lot about the case, but still fails to make a good argument about why the issue was raised in the first place in relation to a case concerning duration. It is not unfair to say that the letter only demonstrates the irrelevant nature of the Qantas/Ansett example. Qantas campaign took place after Sydney had introduced its equivalent Olympic legislation.

On the other hand, the London Olympics association right under this Bill would catch any such mischief, if, for example, Virgin were to attempt a similar campaign in relation to British Airways, if the latter was an official sponsor of the London games and Virgin was not. Indeed, Ansett's complaint against Qantas was eventually settled out of court after the former brought a civil case against the latter under existing Australian legislation governing trade practices.

I do not believe that the Sydney association right was available to it. Even if that were not the case, it seems beyond belief that an ambush marketeer would invest time and money in a campaign that attempted to create some kind of association a full five and a half or six years before the opening ceremony of the London games in 2012, knowing that it would have to cease on 1 January 2007 or risk being pursued by LOCOG for breach of the London association right.

At the minimum, as the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said, the industry is concerned that Schedule 4 will come into place without the draft interpretive guidance. We had quite a debate about some of the contents of the guidance. Clearly it is in early draft stage and there is still considerable work to be done. A number of grey areas need to be clarified and, indeed, the Minister had the grace to accept that there was room for improvement in the content of the draft guidance notes. All anticipate that it will take months rather than weeks for LOCOG to finish off what London 2012 has started in terms of drafting the guidance notes.

As we have seen during Grand Committee and Report, the guidance notes are important. People will rely on them and it is important that they are done properly. It will be extremely unfair to commerce if the guidance notes are not available and yet the London association right bites. The amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, would provide the advertising industry and the relevant pre-vetting bodies with an extra eight months or so in which to prepare carefully for the onset of the association right. That is an important point that would assist in its regulation.

The amendment would still provide LOCOG with a total of six years over which it could seek to enforce the association right. That is considerably longer than the protections offered to official sponsors at any previous games or, indeed, at Turin, Beijing or Vancouver. As was mentioned in Grand Committee, it is notable that the organisers of the three sets of games that will precede the London games are having little difficulty in attracting sponsorship, despite having a shorter period of association right. I can see no reason why the organisers of London 2012, which has been impressively organised so far, should not be able to imitate or surpass the success of the organising committees for those games once they have evolved into LOCOG post-Royal Assent.

I believe that the Government should cede to the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran. It would be greatly welcomed; it would provide much greater certainty; and it would be much fairer to those who will be affected by the London association right.

Photo of Lord Borrie Lord Borrie Labour 8:45 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, my name is attached to this amendment and I support it. The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, stated the main purpose of postponing the operation of the association right to 1 January, and those arguments were elaborated upon by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones.

It seems to me that if, as the Bill stands, the association right—and the exclusivity that goes with it—comes into operation on Royal Assent, it will have a total of six and a half years in which to operate before the start of the London Olympic Games, and that is unprecedented. It was not so at Sydney and it was not so at any previous Olympic Games. It is an example of the exaggerated way in which the Government—certainly at the beginning of our discussions on this legislation and, more importantly, in the discussions that took place between the Minister and others—have felt that they have had to dot every "i" and cross every "t" and do not only what the IOC has asked of them but something in addition to prove that we are worthy of this splendid opportunity of the London games.

In the fullness of time and in view of the debates that we have had at Second Reading, in Grand Committee and again today, I ask the Minister to think about this carefully. He knows that there is no precision about what will infringe the association rights and what will not. He and his officials have been most helpful in showing some of us the drafts of guidance notes. I recall, when looking at them, that they were extremely extensive. Almost inevitably, they raised nearly as many questions as they answered because there is such a variety of ways in which the association rights could be breached.

At the very least, I ask the Minister to think about this, between now and eight months' time—1 January 2007—when we shall probably see those guidance notes in their final form and, more importantly, so will the advertising industry and they will then know what they can and cannot do. If the breach can, in theory, be operative from a date in June or July when the Bill receives Royal Assent, you are asking a large number of professional, advertising industry people to try to judge without that guidance whether they can do this or cannot do that. I do not think that is right. The Minister has recognised that there are some grey areas, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, put it a moment ago. It would be fairly simple and not a major concession for the Government to agree to this amendment.

Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

My Lords, I want to add my voice to those who have commended the Minister on his flexibility as regards the government amendments that he has moved. He has listened to the debates in Committee and acted on them. It is a pity that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, is not in his place—he was earlier—because I would have now asked the Minister to go the extra mile—I am glad some noble Lords appreciated that comment. However, I do not intend to detain the House by picking over what has already been said on the subject. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, has said today and at previous stages that this is the time for compromise. Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Benches support this compromise amendment in that spirit. It is now the turn of the Government to demonstrate their willingness on this issue and to make a compromise. I believe it is incumbent on them to do so.

A postponement of the commencement date for Schedule 4 solves, in my view, a number of problems, not least the fact that London's 2012 guidance notes for advertisers and others remain in first draft form only. In other words, the final version of the interpretive guidance will not be available to those whom the London Olympics association right will affect until sometime after that right has reached the statute book. Clearly, that is not ideal or fair from any viewpoint or perspective.

Amendment No. 31, if adopted, would provide LOCOG, once it has taken over the responsibility for this particular task from London 2012 on Royal Assent, with extra time to complete the necessary stages of drafting that clearly still need to be done before producing a final version of the guidance notes. As others have said, there will then be a job to communicate their existence and content and to explain the implications of the London Olympics association right to those on whom it may impact.

If it is the intention of my noble friend Lord Davies to reject this compromise amendment on behalf of the Government, I would challenge him to explain in categorical terms how he intends that LOCOG will get over this particular—dare I say?—hurdle. In eager anticipation of the Minister's response, I commend the amendment to the House.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

My Lords, my noble friend is not only suggesting that I compete with the noble Lord, Lord Coe, over a mile, but it now seems to be a mile over hurdles. That would guarantee that I had not taken the first bend when the noble Lord, Lord Coe, had finished the race.

I will seek to give my noble friend an answer, because I hear what he says about this being a compromise amendment. I am not quite able to regard it as such, for reasons I will identify in a moment. He has raised important issues, however, and I will respond particularly to his challenge to explain how we intend to go on if, as is our intention, we proceed with these restrictions after Royal Assent.

We debated this issue at some length in Committee, where three main areas of concern were expressed. They have been reiterated this evening with the emphasis, inevitably with this amendment, being placed on the third. First was the effect that the London Olympic association right might have on small business. Genuine concerns have been expressed throughout the passage of the Bill that many small businesses could unwittingly infringe the London Olympic association right, and would then feel the full force of a civil action from LOCOG as a result. The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, was particularly concerned about this in Committee.

Secondly, concern was expressed at the possibility that companies will have invested in advertising campaigns that may end up infringing the London Olympic association right before they were aware of the provisions in Schedule 4. As was emphasised in Committee, this is particularly true of broadcast campaigns that often have a long production time. Thirdly, noble Lords, in Committee and on this amendment today, have questioned why this new provision needs to be commenced so far out from 2012.

I have listened carefully to the debate this evening, as I did in Committee. The House will recognise that, through my officials, we have been in regular contact with the advertising industry, which also raised its concerns about the commencement of Schedule 4. To do justice to this debate, I will warn—not apologise—that this will be a lengthy reply to an amendment of cardinal importance.

I take it for granted that we are all agreed that the unauthorised commercial exploitation of the games is wrong. The London Olympic association right is designed to prevent a company associating itself with the games unless it has paid to do so. This principle must hold this year, just as it will in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremony. We cannot enforce it until the legislation is in place, but the principle obtains, enjoined on us by the International Olympic Committee in some crucial respects. We intend to observe that principle.

LOCOG has already said that it will take a reasonable and proportionate approach in exercising the rights given to it by virtue of Schedule 4, particularly in the few months after Royal Assent. I take on board the points made by several noble Lords in this debate—in very strong terms by my noble friend Lord Pendry, with his vast experience of these issues—but we do not want people to fall foul of these situations in circumstances into which they have inadvertently blundered, either through ignorance or because they already had campaigns running well before the guidance was available, or the Act had received Royal Assent.

LOCOG has already taken a number of important steps to ensure that the industry is fully informed about the London Olympic association right and knows how to interpret it. LOCOG has produced a set of guidelines, to which the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, referred, on how to interpret the provisions of Schedule 4. The guidance has been shared with the Advertising Association, the radio and broadcast clearing houses and others that represent advertising interests. The guidance has been drafted in close co-operation with the advertising industry to ensure it is as comprehensive and clear as possible.

LOCOG will be passing a further draft of these guidance notes to the advertising industry by the end of the week and will certainly have a final version posted on its website by Royal Assent. So advertisers will know the definitive guidance by Royal Assent.

Over the coming months LOCOG will also be undertaking a significant programme of education. It is producing no fewer than 11 sector-specific guides, outlining what the London Olympic association right means for the people it is likely to affect most. These sector guides will be tailored to specific interests, ranging from the advice that LOCOG will give its own sponsors and suppliers, right through to the advice that it will give to non-commercial organisations and national sporting governing bodies. It will of course include specific guides for the advertising industry and the media.

LOCOG will also be working through the 2012 Nations and Regions Group—a group that LOCOG established to ensure that the whole country is engaged with and informed about the games. My noble friend Lord Pendry expressed regret that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, was not in his place at the later stage in the evening, although I am sure that we are all grateful for the keen interest he took earlier in the evening on other areas of controversy in the Bill. But I have no doubt that, had he been here, he would have been able to attest to the virtues that I have sought to express in relation to how LOCOG is going about its very responsible job of ensuring that the advertising industry knows just where it stands.

The regional development agencies are key partners in the Nations and Regions Group and we will be looking to them to help to communicate with their regions' businesses about the implications of the Bill. I am also pleased to put on the record today that LOCOG has committed to hosting a seminar with representatives from small businesses, including the Small Business Service and other trade associations, to ensure that they are fully informed about what the London Olympic association right means for their members.

I understand the concerns expressed this evening. LOCOG has committed to taking a lenient approach in the first few months of this right being in place, and there is a clear and comprehensive process for engaging with small and medium-sized enterprises—a matter emphasised by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, in introducing the amendment. I hope that that will give noble Lords some considerable comfort on this particular issue.

I want to reiterate the value of ambush marketing, and why the IOC has asked us to take steps to prevent this sort of activity in relation to the 2012 games. Ambush marketing in relation to major international sporting events is becoming more and more prevalent. Sporting events do not come any bigger than the Olympics. The value of ambushing the games and the threat of commercial exploitation do not get any greater than for these games in 2012. That is why, with our experience, we need to prevent from the outset deliberate campaigns by big multinational companies that seek commercially to exploit the games.

I do not think it would be wise to create a situation where companies are free to exploit the games from now until the beginning of next year, which would be the burden of this amendment if it were passed. It is not the inadvertent breach by a local corner shop or a bed and breakfast where the proprietor would not be expected to be well informed on these issues that the immediate commencement of Schedule 4 is aiming at. We are aiming at a deliberate and persistent ambush marketing campaign that could damage LOCOG's ability to sign up their sponsors and raise the money that it needs to finance the games.

LOCOG will be signing up its first sponsors in the autumn of this year. It needs to do that with the legislation in place to provide certainty to its potential sponsors that their rights will be entirely protected. LOCOG also needs to go to its sponsors in a marketplace that has not already been affected by people who have sought to exploit the games; it must be able to offer its sponsors the opportunity to activate their sponsorship rights immediately.

It is worth remembering just how much LOCOG must raise. On an operating budget of £2 billion, LOCOG must raise a third from local sponsorship revenues. That is a far larger sum than any previous Olympic organising committee has had to raise and, effectively, means doubling the sports sponsorship market in the United Kingdom. That is a major task for and challenge to LOCOG. We are all rightly optimistic about it; indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his colleagues exude confidence about it. We all know what an enormous success the London games will be. But they need every support that they can get. They certainly need the legislative support that guarantees their position when they approach their sponsors.

Although LOCOG can offer sponsors one of the most recognised and valued brands in the world, sponsors of the Olympics get only a limited time at the games. What is more, there is no advertising in the arenas in which the games are played. When you are watching the competition on television, there will be no sponsors' advertisements inside the arena. Given that the BBC is the host broadcaster here in the United Kingdom, sponsors will have no opportunity to advertise their association with the games during commercial breaks in the BBC's television coverage.

That is why the concept of associating with the games is so important and why we must carefully protect the rights of those companies that will pay for that privilege. It is not just about protecting sponsors' rights, important though that is. If LOCOG does not raise the sponsorship revenues that it needs to stage the games, the shortfall will be met from the public purse. I have listened carefully to what noble Lords have said on that issue and throughout the debate on the various measures designed to protect the Olympic brand. I am grateful for the contributions that have been made today. However, we must think very carefully indeed when we are considering such substantial sums, which are attainable through sponsorship but which, should they not be attained through any failure on our part, would fall as a duty on the public purse.

I am grateful for all the work that has been done today to improve the Bill. As noble Lords will recognise, I have tabled amendments out of respect for the strength, cogency and accuracy of some arguments made in Committee. However, I do not regard the amendment as a compromise; I regard it as a compromising amendment. It compromises the ability of LOCOG to achieve its necessary financial results from sponsorship. That is why it is very important that the London Olympic association right comes into force on the day of Royal Assent. I understand that concerns have been expressed, particularly on behalf of small businesses which have limited resources to make themselves aware of all the issues involved, but I hope that I have succeeded in allaying some of the concerns about what might be perceived as some ignorance about the implications of the right.

LOCOG is bent on informing all those concerned, and we are in the closest consultation with the advertising industry. But we need to protect this right, which is central to the success of the games. We owe it to LOCOG, to the work that it is doing now, and to the challenge that lies before it. We dare not add extra burdens. This is not only about the interests of all of us, including the vast majority of the public who are committed to the games being a success; we have a responsibility to the public purse, and if we do not deliver down one channel, we will be obliged to deliver down another. I hope the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment on the basis of my arguments.

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland 9:00 pm, 6th March 2006

My Lords, I am disappointed, although I am not surprised. I should like to put firmly on record my appreciation of the seriousness and thoroughness with which the Minister has addressed my amendment and the whole issue. The first stage of that was his amendment earlier today, which reversed the assumption of guilt process. The second stage was his amendments, which have opened up the Bill to enforce more consultation on the issue with whichever groups and people are considered the right ones in the industry.

I am also much less concerned than I was, having heard about the regulations. I sincerely hope that the final copy of those regulations will be published and in the hands of the industry and those who need them before Royal Assent. I see the Minister nodding, for which I thank him. I am also encouraged by the amount of education, by the seminars and the guidance, and generally by the fact that LOCOG has clearly tackled this serious and large communication problem. I raised these subjects in Committee, as I was very concerned about the amount of communication that LOCOG needed throughout the sporting world and the advertising industry if there was not to be injustice at some stage as a result of this Bill.

I still feel that it would have been more satisfactory if there had been a little more time. I was expecting Royal Assent in April but, if that is not until June or July, we are talking of a matter of only two or three months. However, I do not want to take any particular chances, and I believe that the Minister, the Government and LOCOG really believe that this date is critical to their potential achievement, particularly in their fundraising. I accept what the Minister says about the value of ambush marketing to the ambushers and the temptations offered by those businesses, both large and small.

We can control only those within our own country. The real story about Qantas was that it targeted foreign Olympic associations and athletes. As far as I can see, that is an area that we cannot control, which is very relevant to the ambush-marketing problem. I thank noble Lords who have supported this amendment very much more eruditely than I have placed the arguments, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned at a quarter past nine o'clock.