Amendment 1

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Opposition Whip (Lords) 3:45 pm, 9th July 2019

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.