Amendment 1

Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 9th July 2019.

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Lord Rooker:

Moved by Lord Rooker

1: Clause 1, page 1, line 6, after “Games” insert “and their legacy”

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour

My Lords, Amendment 1 is the lead amendment to Amendment 5. Let me make it clear at the outset that the amendments I shall be moving today are the ideas and gifts of my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who, because of his duties on the General Medical Council, is unable to be here today. Furthermore, I took last week off on holiday and therefore I was not party to any of the discussions that took place on these amendments. However, I agree with them and that is why I am moving them.

It is important that there is a proper legacy from this massively exciting enterprise. I shall not go through the proposed new clause which Amendment 5 seeks to introduce in detail, but there are three essential parts to it. It seeks to place a duty on the Secretary of State, on the Government, that there should be a legacy plan, which is important. It contains a list of non-prescriptive issues which may be in such a legacy plan. However, it also contains a requirement that, if there is a legacy plan, it must include a budget and a funding plan. This is absolutely crucial, as I shall explain in more detail. Under subsection (6) of the proposed new clause, there is a firm commitment in the legacy plan in relation to housing.

Without a budget and a funding plan, the legacy plan would not be worth the paper it was written. Therefore, if the Secretary of State directs the Organising Committee to prepare such a legacy plan, it must include a budget and a funding plan. It is crucial for two reasons. First, it is accepted that the amount of time Birmingham and the Government have had for organising these Games is much shorter than normal, simply because we are taking over the Games that were planned for Durban. We must take account of that. Secondly, there is the question of Birmingham City Council’s finances. I am unfamiliar with the detail—I do not pay council tax in Birmingham and have not done so since 2002—but I am aware that there have been issues relating to the budget in recent years, which led to an improvement panel being imposed on the city by the Secretary of State for Communities.

The point that I am about to make is the only one that can be considered partisan. When the current administration in Birmingham took over the city council, it followed eight years of a Tory/Liberal coalition, which had built a fantastic library—a brilliant facility—with mega millions of capital expenditure. However, what did it leave in the revenue budget for running that library? Zero. It had a catastrophic effect on the finances of the city. I am not saying all the effects are down to the library, but it is an example of where a capital project had an effect on Birmingham’s finances. It was instituted and organised by the noble Lord, Lord Whitby, who is not in his place—I have not given him any warning about this because I have only just thought of raising it. As a result of the short time available before the Games and the fragility, if I can put that way, of Birmingham’s finances, it is important that there is a budget and a funding plan. These two reasons make it vital.

I have had no discussions with anybody in Birmingham about this because I have not had time. As I said at Second Reading, I went to the meeting at Alexander Stadium to discuss the plans for the stadium. That was about three weeks ago. I have no role in the city. I have been on a few things since I have been in your Lordships’ House—the governing body of Aston University, Castle Vale Neighbourhood Partnership Board and James Brindley hospital school—but none of them is current. However, I love the city and I visit it regularly as I have family there.

There is an issue linked to the paragraph about housing. I touched on this briefly at Second Reading. The games village will be homes for more than 6,000 athletes and officials. It is an exciting prospect for the location. I understand it will yield 1,400 new homes and kick off a wider regeneration plan to deliver up to 5,000 homes in that location. It is a very good location. Some things are going to change in the road network, but the location is sitting on top of a suburban railway station—and there are not that many in Birmingham—and it is very close to the M6/M5 junction at Great Barr, so it is an excellent location. It is a prime site.

The planning for that housing must create a community, not a commuter village. If there are no restrictions or plans, the temptation is that it will be a commuter village for the city or for access outside it simply because of its location. I will not go into detail about where it is, but anybody who looks at the plans can see that there will be 1,400 to 5,000 dwellings in this location. We have got to create a community; otherwise, the temptation, if it is left to the private sector, is that it will be a commuter village. A community needs well-designed, sustainable homes of mixed sizes and mixed tenure and the infrastructure that goes with up to 5,000 dwellings, which includes at least one or two primary schools. We must be realistic about this. This needs a plan and, therefore, the housing aspect is important for the legacy plan.

The legacy is for the West Midlands. There are major capital projects, and success afterwards will be in the working of the five pillars of the Games’ mission: to bring people together; to improve health and well-being; to help regional growth to succeed—my view and that of others from the region is that it has always punched below its weight; to be a catalyst for change—this is a golden opportunity because it is a massive budget; and to put the West Midlands on the map. It is quite clear from the evidence that previous Commonwealth Games have delivered significant benefits. Not all of them did, but the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 made a significant contribution of almost £1 billion to the Scottish economy, and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 gave an almost £1.5 billion boost to Queensland. However, that does not happen unless it is managed, and you cannot manage it unless you have a plan. This is why the Government ought to be seriously thinking about embracing the fact that the Games need a legacy plan in the way set out in the amendment. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

My Lords, I have a small amendment in this group which is an amendment to the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, and others. When we started this process and everybody looked at the Bill, they all said the same thing: that there is stuff here we do not know and there is information that we would expect to have but have not got. We then discovered that this is not the normal process. We came in quickly at the end to make sure that the Games continue, which is a good thing. Basically, we are trying to find out information in order to assist the city of Birmingham and the Government to do a good thing—that is, to keep the Commonwealth Games going. If we are to build a legacy, we need more information, and most of the amendments in this group are about trying to get that information into the public arena as soon as possible.

This is a slightly strange process. I have learned that the village is making use of another project, which is a smart move. If I got the right message from the meeting that the Minister was kind enough to hold, I understand that it can be improved with planning. Can we have more details, or at least can the Minister give us an idea of where to find them? If we have those, many of our concerns will be removed. We need to know what the Government are aiming at and when. There is much good will here. The amendments, which I hope will be supported by everybody, suggest that this is a very good thing. If we can find out the details, the Government will be talking to people who are friendly towards the project.

The intention behind the amendments, which I take it are all probing at this stage, is to extract what will happen and what progress there will be. For instance, my Amendment 6 in this group deals with disability access, and that is expanded upon by others. If you do not specify which Games you are talking about—the Commonwealth Games, the Olympics or any other Games—you discover that you are out of order and cannot table the amendments. The reality is that this is a continuation of good work. However, it is vital to have a plan showing how the whole thing comes together. Later in our debate, we will talk more specifically about how to deal with this planning process or ones for future events.

Multi-sport events are difficult—they have their own platform. We have not yet had the European Games here, although we might in the future. However, without a plan and a distinctive drive, we will lose the ability to look back and say, “Yes, that worked and that worked, but that didn’t”. Therefore, can a distinctive plan be brought forward at the first available opportunity?

I appreciate that the Government are having to act fast and are under the pressure of time, and we do not want to overburden the organising committee with work, but if you keep stalling and saying, “Don’t worry. We’re doing it ourselves. It’s all in hand”, you create suspicion. If the committee needs help, support and encouragement if something goes wrong, then provided it is not catastrophic, we will want to be able to provide that support. However, it will be very difficult to do that if we do not know what has happened and what the original aim was. A little openness now will remove potential problems if we can get an assistance package in place.

My Amendment 6, along with Amendment 7, would add to the list of good things in Amendment 5. Lists can grow and grow for ever—we have all been through that game—but the amendments are just a way of asking for more information about the provisions for disability and whatever else, and how they would work in a multi-sport platform when events happen at the same time. In that respect, these Games are different from the Olympics. A little advice on that, with the ability to take the good news forward, would be very helpful. I hope that the Minister can be very positive when he responds.

Photo of Lord Grocott Lord Grocott Labour 3:30 pm, 9th July 2019

My Lords, I strongly support Amendment 5, proposed by my noble friend Lord Rooker. We can look back at what happened at previous Commonwealth Games, both during the Games and thereafter when all the athletes had gone home, and we can draw various conclusions, but, however you describe it, inevitably with a Games of this sort an element of faith and optimism, and indeed speculation, is at the heart of a commitment of a city and a surrounding region to host the Games. I certainly welcome that, and it is welcomed across the political spectrum and, indeed, across the region.

I should say, “Well done”, to the local authority. There are sundry events being prepared, one of which is the Commonwealth Social in the heart of the city on 27 July, details of which I have with me should anyone wish to take a look. It is obviously part of a plan to make sure that people are increasingly aware of the Games and the benefits they bring—even though timings have been foreshortened, as my noble friend has already pointed out—so that everyone can be part of them.

At the heart of it all is not only the statement of faith, as I said, but the balance between central and local government. That is what I like about this amendment: the responsibility is shared. The Bill itself makes it pretty plain—although not as plain as we might have wished—that it is a shared responsibility: the costs will fall roughly 75% to central government and 25% to local government. It sounds like a bargain, but the money still has to be found, even if it is 25%. The figures I have seen—these are probably a bit inaccurate now—show that the total is £778 million, of which £594 million falls to central government and £184 million to Birmingham City Council and its “key partners”.

That is the balance of responsibility. The money has to be found and the legacy assured; otherwise, the whole balance of advantage in holding the Games is much diminished. Amendment 5 spells this out pretty clearly: the key responsibility is that of the Secretary of State, but in collaboration with the organising committee, and, as it says in Clause14(3)(b), the relevant local authority—or authorities; there are a number involved—for,

“an area that includes any place where the regulations would have effect”.

It seems a common-sense amendment. I hope the Government will support it, although I doubt they will like every detail of the wording. It seems consistent with the spirit of everyone involved in the Games and their preparation: this is a partnership and requires a prescribed legacy.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

My Lords, Amendments 7, 8 and 17 are in my name. I can deal with Amendment 7 rapidly since the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, has eloquently covered the key elements of the legacy plan, obviously having focused on it during his brief holiday. The only aspect that I hope can be covered in somewhat greater detail is the sporting legacy plan, not least for the people of Birmingham and its vicinity.

In that context, it might be worth focusing on the work done by the four UK Chief Medical Officers, including the guidelines they published recently, which could be used as a case study by the Commonwealth Games organising committee for people living in the Birmingham area. This is the first time we have had physical activity guidelines produced and represents the first guidelines for the early years—the under-fives—as well as around sedentary behaviour, which evidence now shows to be an independent risk factor for ill-health.

I hope that physical activity can be encouraged across the whole of the population. This could be a very useful case study. Under-fives are recommended to engage in 180 minutes of activity—three hours—each day once a child is able to walk; children and young people—five to 18 year-olds—should have at least 60 minutes or up to several hours per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity; and adults and older people should have 150 minutes—two and a half hours—each week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. It is simply not happening in the country at large. This is an opportunity to use the Commonwealth Games as a catalyst for running out the case study in Birmingham. It is important to add that sports legacy element to the clause. The urban regeneration legacy was such a success in London; the sports legacy plan was not such a success, certainly not nationwide. I hope that we have learned from that and will apply the lessons learned to Birmingham.

In Amendment 8 I propose that the Games legacy plan and any revision should be laid before both Houses of Parliament. This is just to avoid fungibility—the good words disappearing into the ether and no action. Being accountable is critical to see action, and that is why I have tabled this amendment to the request from the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, for a legacy plan.

I will speak for a little longer about Amendment 17. Noble Lords will be pleased to learn that many of my other amendments are much shorter. I hope I have the understanding of the House if I focus on something that I think is critical: a charter for the Games that addresses human rights protections, anti-corruption protections and sustainable development standards. The genesis of this is the work that the International Olympic Committee has already done and published in its guidelines. The guidelines have been worked on closely by the city of Paris, which is hosting the 2024 Olympic Games. It is a move by the International Olympic Committee to incorporate human rights principles in its host city contract, which could help prevent major abuses by future Olympic hosts. The revised host city contract, which has been developed with recommendations from a coalition of leading rights-transparency and athletes’ organisations, was finalised in 2017 and will be applied to the 2024 Summer Olympics. For the first time the International Olympic Committee has included an explicit reference to the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights, which outline the human rights responsibilities of all the businesses associated with the Games, as well as references to anti-corruption standards and the importance of protecting and respecting human rights and ensuring that any violation of human rights is remedied.

The fact that those Games are happening in Paris should not preclude the organising committee here in the UK from taking a lead. I praise the organising committee, as I do the Commonwealth Games Federation, for working hard already at virtually all the key elements that are required to make Birmingham a leader in this sector—one that could embody a charter, working closely with government, which is why it is in this legislation. It is vital that the Government have a role, along with the trade unions, employer federations, employees and athletes. If the Government are increasingly investing significant sums in mega sporting events, which effectively they have been doing since the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and are now doing on this occasion, which I warmly welcome, there is a responsibility that goes with that investment. I believe that having a charter in the legislation, supported by the Government in active dialogue with the organising committee, can be beneficial.

In an ideal world, this should really go back to the very start of the bidding process. A charter should cover the life cycle phases of the vision, the concept and the legacy of the Games because human rights are integral from the outset and all relevant stakeholders should contribute to that vision. International human rights standards should apply and the responsibilities of everyone involved need to be clear. The rights of children and the rights of athletes should be specifically recognised and protected. I also believe that in the charter the rights of vulnerable people should be recognised and protected. We will come later to the importance of looking after the interests of everyone involved with the Games, not least by ensuring by law access for disabled folk to be able to go to each and every one of the venues and, indeed, any associated venue.

In the second part of the life cycle of the Games, there is the bidding, planning and then the design of the Games, and human rights guarantees should be included as part of the bid. Ongoing stakeholder engagement should continue throughout the life cycle of the Games. Supporting infrastructure must be subject to the same standards as event infrastructure, which is not always the case. Expectations should be communicated across government and contractors. Access to land and resources should be based on due process. On income generation, it is vital to raise significant funding. Hosting the event should support local economies and suppliers, and that should be stated in the charter. Sponsors should be subject to human rights due diligence, as should broadcasters. In my view, sponsors and broadcasters should identify human rights risks. I work closely with all parties on this through the all-party group, which is really focusing on this and has done a huge amount of work to take this charter forward. I hope that human rights can be embedded in supply contracts. The issues in supply chains should be monitored and resolved and all supply chain sources should be disclosed, including the international supply chain sources associated with the Games. A grievance mechanism should be put in place for supply chain grievances.

One then gets on to the construction of the sites of the Games in Birmingham. Specific risks associated with the workforce must be addressed. Unions should participate in joint site inspections. Independent investigations of workplace accidents and injuries should be ensured and a grievance mechanism put in place. Similar approaches should be undertaken for the delivery and operation of the Games and, when we get to the competition itself, the human rights of athletes should be upheld and protected. Anti-doping and integrity measures should respect the rights of all participants. The risks to child athletes should also be specifically considered.

In the important area of legacy, event infrastructure must have a long-term future. That is vital for the sports legacy of any Games and should be at the heart of what happens in Birmingham. Events should be used as a platform for advancing the human rights relevant to host communities. Paris will do this for the Olympics. I have not stated a single item not being actively considered by the organising committee in Birmingham. If it can put that into a charter and work with government to make sure that that charter is in place, it can lead the world as it should.

For any mega sporting event life cycle along the lines I have outlined, but also for these Games in particular, transparency is key. One thing my noble friend Lord Coe did as chairman of LOCOG was ensure transparency and open engagement. Whenever a problem occurred, he would be the first on the phone to talk to the relevant parties. Transparency needs to be built into the charter to ensure that it is a public document which has been worked through with government and is available for everybody to consider. There should be an independent risk assessment. In my view, an independent risk assessment of a Games is an important step forward. If we had that, it would allow engagement with human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Both organisations, particularly Amnesty International, came to see me when I was chairman of the British Olympic Association throughout the whole build-up to the Games in Beijing. At our last meeting, they said they just wished the Olympic Games were always held in Beijing, because it allowed them to focus so much on what was happening there. I am not sure my noble friend Lord Coe and I were particularly supportive of that objective at the time, but we were very pleased to welcome engagement with them when the Games came to London four years later.

Requiring stakeholder engagement is important. Unfortunately, there are many examples around the world of journalists being jailed and there are risks and problems associated with mega sporting events. I do not believe that will be the case in Birmingham. Because of that, and because I believe Birmingham absolutely has these values at its heart, if we can bring it all together into a charter, supported by government and actively open as a public document, we would make an important move in leaving that as part of the legacy for future Commonwealth Games host cities.

In conclusion, I shall mention one thing we worked on in London. David Stubbs, head of sustainability for LOCOG, was quoted at the time as saying:

London 2012 is proud to have been the catalyst for ISO 20121”,

a piece of legacy that could transform how the world addresses sustainability and sustainable events. It was based on a British standard and it was decided that an international version of the standard should be created to coincide with the 2012 Olympics. It is good to see UNICEF beginning to work on this, and to see Birmingham working on it. At present, there is no guidance or information for event professionals on how to integrate child and human rights considerations in the current ISO 20121 standard. I very much hope that can be done, and that we can make progress on it in time for the Birmingham Games. I know that UNICEF is more than happy to continue working with Birmingham to achieve that.

We need outstanding governance, professional management and public accountability where lottery and Treasury support are directly or indirectly involved. We need to eradicate conflicts of interest, we need transparency in the organisations that run the Games, and we need good governance in sport and for the Commonwealth Games, along the lines required for FTSE companies. That is essential if we are to protect the interests of athletes in the future.

In closing, I thank my colleagues in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights.

Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence) 3:45 pm, 9th July 2019

I am grateful to the noble Lord. I have been listening to him with great interest; he has a very specialist knowledge of these matters. The one thing that concerns me is the obligation contained in the elements he has quite properly outlined. These Games are taking place in rather a concertinaed fashion, because of the history, which we need not dwell on. What he suggests, ideal though it may be, will be a considerable burden on an organisation that might be quite stretched. I do not know what he has in mind regarding who should be directly responsible or, indeed, the resources necessary to ensure that these obligations are implemented, but perhaps, before he sits down, he might illuminate the matter.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

I will, with great pleasure. The noble Lord—a greater expert on sport than I will ever be, both on and off the track—makes an important point. I tabled this amendment because the organising committee in Birmingham is already doing this. The work is significantly advanced and would need to be co-ordinated into a charter, but no more than that because every step I have outlined is actively being considered or has already been implemented by the organising committee.

In answer to his first question, it would be for the Secretary of State to require the organising committee to bring all of these points together in the form of a charter. That is the process that I have advocated. I do not think it would be onerous, or that additional people would need to be employed. I have been more than impressed by the very significant work that Birmingham has already committed to this, and it would well reflect the work that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights has done in co-ordination with the organising committee and, indeed, all other relevant parties.

Photo of Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Opposition Whip (Lords)

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 11 in my name. It is intended to ensure that the Games are held in a way consistent with our obligations under the UN sustainable development goals, first, by ensuring that both the Secretary of State and the organising committee have due regard to the goals, and secondly, by legislating for the Secretary of State to prepare a report outlining how Her Majesty’s Government believe the Games can promote the goals.

For those unfamiliar with the SDGs, 17 global goals cover ambitious aims such as ending hunger, poverty and inequality. Each goal is broken down into a set of targets, with 169 indicators. The SDGs were agreed to in 2015 by each member state of the UN, with a target of each being achieved by 2030. Unlike previous UN goals, the SDGs are universal, meaning that all countries, including the UK, must meet the targets domestically.

I am sure some noble Lords will ask how the goals are connected to the Games. However, if we examine the specific targets, I am sure the Committee will agree that they are inextricably linked. For example, as part of the ninth goal, the UK must ensure that the new infrastructure is both reliable and resilient. On this goal, the amendment would allow the Secretary of State to report on how exactly the base in Perry Barr will be of a high enough quality to be reused for housing after the Games. This was touched on earlier by my noble friend Lord Rooker.

Meanwhile, as part of the 12th goal, the UK must reduce food waste. On this goal, the amendment would allow the Secretary of State to report on how the outlets at Alexander Stadium will cut down on refuse and waste.

In keeping with the spirit of the Commonwealth and the vision of the Games, Amendment 11 will ensure that the Birmingham Games are remembered not only for athletic feats but for their lasting legacy. I would be grateful if the Minister took the opportunity to explain to the House how he intends the Games to achieve this.

In conclusion, the points eloquently made by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and my noble friends Lord Grocott and Lord Rooker, went into a lot of detail and depth, and I fully support their comments. In a previous life I was involved in the GMB trade union and we worked on the site of the 2012 Olympics. Construction-wise, it was one of the safest large events for decades, either in the UK or worldwide, and the unions worked with construction companies, LOCOG and others to create the framework that allowed that to happen. I fully support the comments made earlier.

Photo of The Bishop of Birmingham The Bishop of Birmingham Convenor of the Lords Spiritual

My Lords, perhaps I may comment on one or two of these amendments in one go. I was delighted to hear the enthusiasm for Birmingham. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, did not say where he had been on holiday, but I hope he will choose Birmingham on a future occasion.

The things I would like to comment on in slightly more detail arise in particular in Amendment 5. Perhaps I may take the chance to commend the Minister and the Government, and the co-operation that there has been with local authorities and the local committee in getting the Games up and running in very short order. Time, energy, skill and money have been committed to make them a success.

The details, of course, are important, and on the housing issue—proposed new subsection (6)—there is an attitude of co-operation between different authorities. It is understood that the organising committee itself is not responsible directly for the future of housing: that is Birmingham City Council. There are already targets for social and affordable housing in the council’s development plan, with a figure a wee bit less than the 50% mentioned on the list: it is actually 35%. But it is true that the number of 1,400 dwellings out of the village will include affordable and social housing of some 24% in future plans. This is a sign of the importance of getting these targets and ideas firmly in an agreed legacy plan.

I go on to proposed new subsection (2)(e). Noble Lords are adding more and more items. In terms of legacy, it is important to realise that this city region—no doubt this has been mentioned in debate—is one of the youngest and most diverse in Europe. In fact, the successful advertising video that won the Games was called “Go the Distance” and had huge numbers of diverse people from all sorts of backgrounds and with all sorts of skills, demonstrating what a lively and vibrant city it is.

One legacy that is very important to the chairman of the committee, John Crabtree, and the chief exec, Ian Reid, is the skills lab. During the process of delivering building projects, ambassadorial projects and all sorts of things associated with Games of this size, young people will be able not just to join in for the Games but to have an opportunity to develop their own skills. Your Lordships may like to know that a plan is well advanced for co-operation with the Learning and Skills Council, worth £1.5 million. There is also the opportunity for the 12,500 young people who may be needed in roles at that stage to combine those from more disadvantaged areas with those who may already be highly able, and perhaps in higher education. This would be a kind of visionary buddy scheme, so that those less advantaged and not yet skilled will participate in a new college course at FE level. They will come out of the Games experience with a skill and accreditation that will perhaps enable them to go out and get a job in the wider world.

I want to back up these visionary and, as the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, said, quite demanding expectations for the worldwide standards that we need to embed in our local communities. I am quite sure that a charter of the kind mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, would express the values that we already try to live up to in Birmingham, Solihull and the region. Similarly, to have the sustainable development goals threading through this will be hugely popular with people of faith—and of no faith—who care about a structure in the world and values that are of universal interest but applied locally. Without them being an extra burden, as the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, hinted, on the very short timetable for achieving a lasting legacy and a really exciting and fun Games, I hope we will take up the challenge locally to promote and live the values in both that charter and the SDGs.

Photo of Baroness Young of Hornsey Baroness Young of Hornsey Crossbench 4:00 pm, 9th July 2019

My Lords, I will speak briefly in support of the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. I am pleased to say that I support them all but particularly Amendment 17, to which I will refer shortly. First, I declare an interest as co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights. I am very pleased that the noble Lord is the vice-chair of that group; I have found it a real pleasure to work with and learn so much from him, because of his range of perspectives on these issues. I am just a humble watcher of sports, which I hugely enjoy.

Yesterday afternoon, we had a session of that group with a number of sports bodies, including individuals from different Premier League clubs and so on. It seems that there is a kind of momentum for recognising much more the place of sport in these frameworks that we are addressing, around particularly issues of social value but also the human rights framework. This very interesting movement seems to be happening within various sports bodies and organisations. In the evening, we were fortunate that the Minister for Sport, Mims Davies, could come along. She talked a little about social value, in particular in relation to the Birmingham Games. I think we would all see that these issues regarding accessibility, the environment and so on are clearly of paramount importance if everybody is to feel included and a part of this forthcoming mega sporting event.

We want to be able to delight in that event. What we do not want is to be sat watching and wondering what bad practices have gone on in its supply chains, how many athletes have been exploited or how many local people have been displaced and so forth. We want to enjoy them for what they are—a magnificent spectacle—so we want to know that all goods and services, and all people connected to the Games, have not been scarred by modern slavery or consequential environmental degradation.

The notion of the challenge and burden associated with a charter such as this is interesting, because the same kind of comments were made when Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act was introduced. There was a feeling that it would somehow be too much of a burden on business to report all the time on what their supply chains were, yet so many businesses have said that it has been a real game-changer for them and has produced all kinds of very interesting and important debates, theories and practices in relation to modern slavery and transparency in supply chains.

From what I have seen and heard, the charter consolidates a range of practices, regulations and legislation that we are all working towards anyway. It puts them in one place and makes it very explicit. This makes it a good opportunity for public bodies in relation to the Modern Slavery Act, in which I have a particular interest. As some noble Lords will be aware, public bodies are not included in Section 54 of that Act so are not compelled to write a statement about transparency in their supply chains. This is a good opportunity to produce robust, rigorous modern slavery statements from all the public bodies concerned; to make sure that they are refreshing and addressing the issues that come about through supply chain abuses.

Amendment 17 represents an excellent opportunity for the UK and the Commonwealth sporting family to lead the way in ensuring that countries and cities which bid for these mega sporting events understand and commit to their obligations to celebrate and support the human rights of all concerned, as well as to provide extraordinary sporting spectacles. If people say that this is too much of a burden to put on to organisations, we have to think of the opposite: that we do not care and will let people’s human rights be abused. I do not think any noble Lord would want to be in that camp. I hope that the Government, through the Minister, will be able to support the amendment: it is the way forward.

Photo of Lord Coe Lord Coe Conservative

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, for tabling Amendment 5, which elevates the crucial importance of legacy. I am sure that no noble Lord, on either side of the House, would argue with that concept. We share the sentiment that no Games should ever leave a city or community without leaving an indelible footprint on its infrastructure, society, education or economy. I will make one observation to counsel caution, which buttresses the remarks I made at Second Reading. The primary responsibility of the organising committee is to deliver a fabulous Games. The prerequisite for a legacy platform has to be the successful delivery—operationally and otherwise —of those Games. On that occasion I also remarked that if the Games themselves were a damp squib there would be little or no appetite to further the legacy ambitions.

The noble Lord has a proper menu of legacy issues which needs to be addressed. I speak on behalf of the trade union of current and former organising committee chairs who tend to become a slightly persecuted minority over this process. I want to make sure that we are not placing too onerous or burdensome a set of responsibilities on the organising committee itself. The noble Lord pointed out, quite rightly, that there needs to be a proper balance of those legacy responsibilities between local authorities, and their agencies, and the Commonwealth Games Federation. To further the prospect of other bids, it is not in the interest of any federation to walk out of a city without having been quite demanding about what is left behind. I approve of the framework, but the organising committee has the herculean responsibility of getting the operational integration across the line to create an inordinately complex sporting construct in the space of 10 or 12 days. I therefore caution against asking it to focus too heavily on the legacy burden. That has to be shared properly with the local authorities and housing agencies that have that responsibility. Yes, an organising committee can and should, in the way it constructs a Games, always be concerned to maximise legacy and to do things in a way that allows that post-Games legacy consideration to be delivered optimally. Within my general support for the amendment, I want to make sure that we are entirely clear about the very specific responsibility of the organising committee.

Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence)

My Lords, I may be hypersensitive, but I inferred from something that the noble Baroness said that she might have understood me to suggest that I was in some way opposed to the principles that the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, set out. I am of course not opposed to those: there is no more enthusiastic supporter of the obligation of human rights in the Chamber than myself, I venture to suggest. All I was at pains to do was to point out, as I think has already been agreed, that these are rather demanding obligations and I am anxious to ensure that there are the necessary resources to ensure that they will be met.

Photo of Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Wales)

My Lords, this has been a most instructive debate right at the outset of our consideration of the Bill. It might well be worth while for all of us to read in Hansard the many detailed, specific and informed remarks that have been made from varying angles. I thank all who have taken part thus far and I invoke the name of my noble friend Lord Hunt, simply because his absence today really was unavoidable and he will certainly want to take part in the future evolution of this debate. I thought if I mentioned that right now, noble Lords could take that into account. Much of the thinking, as my noble friend Lord Rooker said, was initiated by him.

These amendments, in their totality, ask us to look at a number of things. It is true, as has been said, that the wish list on the legacy amendment is long and, as the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said, could be longer. I will concentrate on two things my noble friend highlighted: the question of housing and the alchemy—if that is what it is—that turns houses into communities. A proper legacy would not only build a certain number of houses and have a certain percentage of them for this, that or the other category of use, but would leave us with schools that children could go to and places where they could play. Some of the very desirable things mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan—activity, sport and so on—could be done within the community thus created. It seems to make a lot of sense. Various percentages are mentioned in the amendments: 50% for social housing, for example. The right reverend Prelate suggested that from the Birmingham end it is 35%; well, there is room for debate there. The facts have been laid before us, the options are there and I am sure we will have some keen and passionate debates in due course.

The noble Lord, Lord Addington, talked about the importance of the flow of information, and he was echoed by others. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, or perhaps it was the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan—I tend to get them mixed up; since I first met them both on television, I cannot tell them apart in the flesh—emphasised information flow and the prime need for transparency. It does us well as we debate this issue to remember that we are not the only stakeholders, or prime actors in this drama. In terms of local government, it is not just the City of Birmingham but other local authorities which differentiate this initiative from Glasgow and London and make it a bit more complex and needful of a good deal more thought. There is local government; DCMS and our own Government; our own organising committee, which has been amply referred to, with the owners’ responsibilities weighing upon it; the Commonwealth Games Federation itself, of course; and all those beholden to all of them. Very complex organisation of bureaucracy is involved here, and the need for a flow of information is paramount.

Such awareness as I have of the work being done in other places in this process leaves me really rather heartened. In Birmingham, the strands of community cohesion, civic pride, culture, tourism, trade, investment, jobs and skills, education, infrastructure, sustainability, accessibility, physical activity and well-being are being looked at already. Areas of collaboration between the private and public sectors, and local and national government, are already being identified, and schemes and projects are already being worked on. In a sense, we are behind the curve compared with what is happening elsewhere. We must take heart from that. The flow of information seems very important.

As for the need for the Games to produce extra commitment to and practice of physical, energetic, outgoing activity, whether of a team nature or cross-country running—my bane, which I could never see the point of or say anything praiseworthy about—of course we must leave a legacy of people being more active. For example, I heard only this morning—perhaps the right reverend Prelate can confirm with a nod of the head whether it is true—that by 2022 every child in Birmingham will be provided with a bicycle. He nods; Homer nodded too, but for a different reason. That is a foretaste of the energy flow that we want to see captured and set forth as a result of these Games.

I turn to the charter—now, there’s a thought. On this side of the House we were purring to hear all these details. We loved it: “More”, we kept saying to ourselves. I thank the APPG, which I believe is doing some of this work, and the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for bringing it to our attention. It would be terrific if this could be the backcloth against which everything practical that we are proposing takes place and flows forward. The noble Baroness, Lady Young, and my noble friend Lord McNicol have come in on that as well. Such a charter, honouring human rights, dignity, the value of work, personal pride, community development and so on, is very important indeed. We could lead the world on this, as the noble Lord has said—and why not?

There are two things to say before I leave this point. First, if it is that important, that importance can only really be felt and understood if it appears in the Bill. If it is implicit, hidden or understood, it loses much of its point. I hope that we hear pressure from the Benches opposite, because the Minister, who is a nice friend of Labour, takes quite a lot of notice of what his friends on those Benches say. Then, we can perhaps see whether we can persuade the Government to put this on the face of the Bill. Secondly, we must honestly avoid referring to infractions, corruptions and abuses of rights as if we were the example of all that is right, with a charter that judges people from other countries who happen to come together for this competition. We are, shall we say, as open to question on these matters as anybody else.

There is a sense in which nobody can possibly be against any of the lovely things that have been said. The challenge will now be to make sense of them, such that they transparently flow into a code of practice and a practical Bill that will help the other stakeholders—the local and regional governments, the Commonwealth Games Federation and the organising committee—so that we all feel that we are pulling together to give Birmingham the time of its life.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 4:15 pm, 9th July 2019

My Lords, I am grateful for all those helpful suggestions. I genuinely appreciate the offers of help; it is clear that there is a desire to make these a tremendous Games, not only for Birmingham but for the country, as well as for the Commonwealth.

I will start by addressing some of the points directly, then come to my traditional role in Committee of asking noble Lords to withdraw or not press all their amendments. The noble Lord, Lord Addington, talked about information; I absolutely have got that point, which was mentioned at Second Reading, and I tried to be clear that we genuinely want the organising committee and other partners to be transparent. I absolutely take the point of my noble friend Lord Moynihan that transparency is key. We want to build on the good examples of London and Glasgow in that respect.

I will outline for the noble Lord some of the places where he can get information. There is the specific APPG for the Commonwealth Games, which the organising committee has committed to attend. The committee is setting up a specific parliamentary liaison role at the moment. The management plan includes a very detailed reporting schedule; that is public information, signed by the organising committee, the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Secretary of State. I recommend looking at the organising committee website. As an ALB, unlike the London organisation, it will have to produce an annual plan, and is subject to all the Managing Public Money regimes that go with being an ALB. The organising committee has also agreed to report to the Public Accounts Committee and the DCMS Committee, and the chair of the organising committee has already talked to some noble Lords and has volunteered to do so again if that would help.

If all that is too much information, there is of course me and the DCMS civil servants; obviously I am open to questions from noble Lords. While we are on this first group, I point out that I am certainly open to meetings between now and Report if there are any aspects that noble Lords would like to talk about.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

My Lords, is this an undertaking by the department to make sure that Ministers will be available? As wonderful as the noble Lord is, apparently there will be a change of leadership in his party, and Ministers tend to get moved around. Perhaps we could have that commitment that the Government will make Ministers available. Although nobody can replace the noble Lord, to have somebody there we can get to would put another cherry on the cake.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Obviously, I cannot commit to what future Governments will do. I can say only that, as far as we are concerned, we will be available. It is standard practice for Ministers to be available to Peers, both formally at Questions and debates in the House but also informally; it is normal for any Minister to address questions from noble Lords. Certainly, I do not foresee any change in my department’s attitude, and we have a good reputation for dealing with all noble Lords, particularly on Bills.

On the management agreement, the Secretary of State’s priorities in that agreement, which everyone signed up to, are to deliver a Games which inspire and support the delivery of positive, long-term, sustainable legacies, locally, regionally and nationally. That is the basis on which the organising committee is approaching its task.

Of course, noble Lords are absolutely right that in delivering this major sporting event, we are looking to maximise the benefits for the city, as well as the region, the country and the wider Commonwealth. I absolutely agree with the implication behind many noble Lords’ speeches that sport can and should be a power for lasting good. However, I also noted the caution from my noble friend Lord Coe that that presupposes a good actual Games. That is very important, and we bear it in mind.

The amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, supported by the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, would provide for the Secretary of State to direct the organising committee and precisely how that powerful good should be harnessed by requiring it to publish a legacy plan in relation to specific areas. I am grateful for the opportunity to provide more information to noble Lords about the legacy planning under way.

We all agree that the Games are about more than just 11 days of sport. They will leave a transformative physical legacy for the West Midlands. I will not go into that in great detail, but there will be not least the Games village, with 1,400 new homes in Perry Barr. I took on board what the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, said about that. It is more than a series of living units; it must be a community as well. With that in mind, Birmingham City Council has already established a group for local residents in Perry Barr, which is meeting both the organising committee and the council regularly. As mentioned, throughout July, Birmingham 2022 is inviting residents from across the region to share their hopes and ambitions for the Games in a community project called Common Ground. This will culminate, as the right reverend Prelate said, in “three years to go” celebrations in Centenary Square on Saturday 27 July.

Turning to the amendment on the proportion of affordable housing, this is a matter for Birmingham City Council, which is responsible for the delivery. It has confirmed that about 24% of the total number of homes will be affordable housing. This proportion has been derived as part of financial planning for the project, which has been agreed and finalised by the council as part of a bigger long-term project of 5,000 homes. To an extent, this is outside the Games budget itself, although it receives government funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. As I set out in my letter to the noble Baroness, Lady Burt, a copy of which I put in the Library, representatives of Birmingham City Council would be happy to brief noble Lords on this matter.

The Games will also bring a new aquatics centre to Sandwell and the Alexander Stadium will be significantly refurbished, with increased capacity, providing an excellent administrative base for UK and England athletics. The Games are also accelerating transport infrastructure improvements, all linked with new housing and the Games village, including new Sprint rapid bus routes and upgrading two stations, all of which will leave a significant physical legacy.

Noble Lords have referred to other areas in their amendments. To these, I add as things to consider, potential benefits to trade, business, tourism, volunteering, culture and education and new jobs and skills. Let me provide updates on some of those areas. For example, by Games time, more than 45,000 jobs—staff, contractors and volunteers—will be created. The organising committee has already held eight events to discuss business opportunities with local companies. Birmingham Solihull is benefiting already from £10 million of Sport England investment, separate from the Games budget, aimed at tackling inactivity levels in underrepresented groups. Of course, I hope that the Games will be a catalyst for more physical activity.

The organising committee is also developing a Games-wide sustainability plan. However, maximising the long-term benefits of the Games is not a matter for the organising committee alone: it is a shared responsibility across the Games partnership. I reassure noble Lords that Games partners are already working collaboratively and therefore suggest that placing a requirement for a published legacy plan solely on the organising committee fails to recognise the shared nature of legacy realisation. In fact, to ensure a cohesive and integrated approach to legacy, a cross-partner legacy committee has been established within the Games governance structures.

I agree wholeheartedly with noble Lords’ recognition of the importance of local consultation, which is undoubtedly critical. The Games partners are talking to a vast range of local, regional and national stakeholders. The organising committee has just launched a series of community events across the West Midlands, giving a voice to their hopes and ambitions for the Games, so that this can inform its work. We will continue to consult this House as the plans develop. I know that John Crabtree, chair of the organising committee, is very willing to continue to meet noble Lords to discuss progress.

Amendment 11 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, would require the organising committee and the Secretary of State to have “due regard” to the UN sustainable development goals. The amendment highlights that many of them align with the powerful vision of the Commonwealth Games Federation: to build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities globally. Therefore, through the role that the CGF plays in the collaborative legacy development, due regard is already being given to its vision and, in turn, to the sustainable development goals. It is not just the organising committee or the Secretary of State that must pay regard to the goals. The hosting requirements set by the federation require all Games partners to deliver the event in a manner that embraces sustainable development, and the federation holds them to account for this in regular co-ordination commissions. I do not disagree with the noble Lord on the contribution that sport can make to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Nor do I disagree that human rights and anti-corruption protections should be a key consideration in Games delivery, as indicated in my noble friend Lord Moynihan’s amendment directing the organising committee to prepare a social charter for the Games. However, as custodian of the Games, again, it is for the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure that due regard is given to human rights and anti-corruption protections by feeding this into delivery plans from Games to Games. I should say that it has been at the forefront of a new push for a rights-based approach to sport. On Commonwealth Day 2016, the CGF began a process to strengthen the human rights due diligence capacity of the host cities of the next four Games. It launched a human rights policy in October 2017 and a guide to human rights and sports governance in March 2018, developed with UNICEF, the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights and the Institute for Human Rights and Business.

The Commonwealth Games Federation, the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport and the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions are working to develop an approach on human rights in sport, which is expected to be considered at the next meeting of sports Ministers in 2020. However, the CGF’s process for selecting a host city for the 2022 Games included a requirement that the host city uphold standards on sustainability, human rights and labour laws. The UK has committed to observing relevant national and international laws on these issues. I hope that provides some assurance. I assure noble Lords that the organising committee is working with the Commonwealth Games Federation to create a human rights policy for Birmingham 2022.

The noble Lord, Lord Campbell, and my noble friend Lord Coe made the point that the Bill’s purpose is to introduce a small number of operational measures necessary to deliver the Games. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the areas raised by noble Lords’ amendments, but I must be clear: I do not consider these matters for primary legislation. The Games will be delivered in a much shorter timescale of four and a half years—we now have three to go—rather than the typical seven. We must be balanced about requirements to publish plans and charters, given the need to ensure that the organising committee and Games partners can deliver at pace to meet the immovable hosting deadline.

I mentioned the management agreement and the number of reporting requirements already placed on the organising committee, providing an opportunity to scrutinise its activity; that includes the ALB’s annual report. However, that is not to say that I will not reflect on the debate and the House’s clear desire to be kept informed and consulted on legacy planning. I hope that noble Lords are reassured that such legacy planning will continue to benefit from the input of stakeholders, including the Commonwealth Games Federation and other international organisations; that it is being developed in a co-ordinated way across the Games partnership; and that we are willing to discuss progress at any stage. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment at this time.

Finally, I shall address the technicalities of the provision in Clause 1. I do not agree that an explicit reference to legacy should be added to the financial assistance provision in Clause 1. In my opinion it is unnecessary, because Clause 1 already provides that the Government can fund the organising committee in relation to legacy activities under the spending power. The language of the provision—“arising from”—is intended to capture just this: the activity that continues after the last medal has been won. The Bill is not explicit about every activity or work stream the organising committee will undertake, but it does not follow that those activities will not be taken forward, so I beg to move that noble Lords withdraw their amendments to Clause 1.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour 4:30 pm, 9th July 2019

My Lords, I am incredibly grateful to the Minister for his comprehensive reply; I agree with most of it. Indeed, the only point I make before I withdraw is the point that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, made: the central, key issue is the Games. Nothing must interfere with the planning and organising. I have no doubt that, when he is among us again, we will take further particulars from my noble friend Lord Hunt. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.