Amendment 1

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 9th July 2019.

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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.