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 Lord Coe Lord Coe Conservative 4:00 pm, 9th July 2019

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.