Amendment 1

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

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat 3:20 pm, 9th July 2019

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.