We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 4 - General functions

London Olympics Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 13th October 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 2:30 pm, 13th October 2005

I beg to move amendment No. 54, in clause 4, page 2, line 43, at end insert

'or

(d) ensuring the safety of individuals participating in or attending London Olympic events and the security of property.'.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 13, in clause 5, page 4, line 28, at end insert

'(ba) to the desirability of minimising security threats to the London Olympics,'.

Government new clause 2.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

Funnily enough, the two amendments and the Government new clause head in the same direction. I said at the outset that although we supported the spirit of many of the Liberal Democrat amendments, we were not keen to do anything that would add to Londoners' council tax burden.

There is, of course, one exception to that. It is often said in politics, and it is true, that the most important task of a Government is to ensure the security of the people whom they govern. I am afraid that there is no doubt, given the climate in which we live, that London 2012 will be a very enticing target for some of the lunatics who exist in our own communities and elsewhere across the world. The Olympics, sadly, have some form in that regard; previous Olympic games have been touched by terrorism.

Our own bid, as those of us who were in Singapore will remember for the rest of our lives, was touched by precisely such an act. What has changed is the type of terrorist that we face, as was somewhat in evidence in Athens. I suspect that the Chinese will deal with that in their own way. When we get round to London 2012, it will have changed dramatically.

Having spent a lot of my earlier career 10 years ago chasing terrorists of one form or another around the world, I can say that the real achievement of al-Qaeda and its type is that it has made the IRA look positively passé. The IRA look like very old terrorists, to use that awful phrase. That gives us some idea of the threat. We simply have to face the fact that we are threatened by a group of people who would not think twice about blowing up a stadium full of people. London 2012 will be an extraordinarily enticing target.

We have tabled the amendment to ensure that security concerns are as far up as possible in the Bill and will be apparent at each and every stage of the planning. Having said that, I do not think that there will be a single person in this Committee or involved in running the games who would not agree with that assessment—it is one of those things that goes across parties.

We tabled the amendment to have the discussion. I realise that it would be inappropriate to discuss many operational matters in Committee. I shall not push the amendment to a Division. I merely ask the Minister to give us the necessary assurances that security is the most important thing, that it will be considered at each   and every stage and that it will be built into all the planning for London 2012. I am sure that he will; I have no doubt about it.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2:45 pm, 13th October 2005

I share entirely the hon. Gentleman's sentiments. On Second Reading, on 21 July, I made the point that I was absolutely convinced that the security plans that were understood to be in place were robust. The IOC concluded that they were robust and I have absolute confidence that that is the case. Nevertheless, I argued that not only must they be robust, they must be seen to be so. Therefore, it was surprising that there was no specific detailed reference to security in the Bill, which is why I tabled the amendment similar to, but different from, the one tabled by the hon. Gentleman.

As has been said, security is critical. One of the issues that has been bandied around in the press recently is the concerns about the alleged amount of money that is being made available by the various bodies in respect of security. I would merely say to anyone who has an interest in that debate that comparing the London and the Athens games is unfair.

It is worth reflecting that our security forces and police played a major role in assisting what happened in Athens, and we should be grateful to them for what they did. A great deal of the expense incurred in Athens went on introducing some of the communications systems and so on that were not already in place. Such systems are already in place in London and across the United Kingdom. Those sorts of comparisons do nothing but undermine the confidence that we can have in the robust security systems that I know will be in place for the 2012 games.

The Minister clearly will not accept our amendment or the one tabled by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent. However, I am delighted that he has tabled a more detailed, more comprehensive new clause of his own. I assure him that I would be more than happy to support it.

Photo of Derek Wyatt Derek Wyatt Labour, Sittingbourne and Sheppey

I have two worries. First, I accept the point made by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent: any type of security embedded in any system now would be out of date within 18 months. Therefore, since 7 July, the complexity of security concerns me most. SecondlyI take no pride in saying thiswe have not got a brilliant IT record in Government in delivering large computer-based, wireless or software systems. I do not want to dwell on that too long. Those two matters make me apprehensive. Security is key and I have some empathy with the debate thus far.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

First, I agree with the sentiments of the hon. Members for Faversham and Mid-Kent and for Bath, and my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt), although I am less sure about the IT point. We do not do too badly and we run ourselves down a little too much at times.  

We all want to ensure that we do everything in our power to deliver a safe, secure games in 2012. The ODA has a role to play in that. That was brought out in the debate on Second Reading and is why we revisited the matter in new clause 2, which I will come to in a moment. We tried to take all the concerns on board.

There is a background to this issue. We played a significant role in advising and working with the Australians on the security of the Sydney games. As a result of our expertise in that area, we moved on to be a major part of the security committee in Athens. That was acknowledged by many after those games, as was the role that our security forces and police played in a secure Athens games.

I cannot agree to amendment No. 54 and I ask for it to be withdrawn. The ultimate responsibility for Olympic security will lie with the Cabinet-level security committee, which will be chaired by the Home Secretary and not by the ODA. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for one of the ODA's general functions to be ensuring safety and security. Instead, we need to examine the contribution that it can make in delivering a safe, secure games in 2012. It should be required to have regard to these issues when exercising its functions.

I hope that the hon. Member for Bath will not press amendment No. 13 to a Division during our proceedings. As he will have seen, I have tabled a new clause that goes much wider in requiring the ODA to have regard for safety and security. I want to put that on the record. To ensure that it plays its part in ensuring that we deliver a safe, secure games in 2012 we propose to require it, in consultation with the police, to have regard to safety and security when exercising its functions. For example, when considering design of facilities, or, indeed, arranging for the construction work, the ODA should have regard to the importance of ensuring the safety of spectators and participants and the security of the property. The amendment would also require the ODA to have regard to safety and security when exercising its planning functions. On that basis, I ask the hon. Members not to press their amendments and to support new clause 2.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

As the Minister said, the matter was raised on Second Reading, and I am delighted that he has tabled a new clause in view of that. We have had a good discussion and it would be inappropriate to take the matter further. The Minister will have advice from the relevant security authorities that is rightly not available to the Committee. I thank him for tabling the new clause, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I beg to move amendment No. 57, in page 3, line 29, at end insert

'(2A) The Authority may not take any action under subsection (2) (m) or (2)(n) unless the Secretary of State has authorised that action by order made by statutory instrument.

(2B) An order under subsection (2A) may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.'.  

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

On a point of order, Mr. Amess. Is this the point at which the question on new clause 2 should be put?

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

I am advised that we shall make a decision on new clause 2 towards the end of our deliberations, when there will be an opportunity for a debate and a vote.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I assure the Minister that when we reach new clause 2 he will have our support.

With amendment No. 57 we are moving, in our consideration, into the guts of the functions of the ODA. I want to explore some of the implications of subsection (2). The reason our amendment would require a statutory instrument before the ODA could act under the paragraphs in question is that the powers are very wide. We are concerned about paragraphs (m) and (n), which concern the formation, or the acquiring of interests in, bodies corporate.

To my mind, bodies corporate means companies in the private sector. We are most interested in whether, if the ODA were to set up private sector companies, those would be limited by guarantee or whether they would be plcs; would they be quoted on the alternative investment market or the FTSE? What sort of companies are envisaged? If the Minister will tell me what he means—or what the Bill means—by bodies corporate, I shall be grateful.

Other paragraphs of subsection (2) specify entering into

''transactions relating to land, premises or facilities'', and making arrangements for

''carrying out works in connection with the provision of highways'' and

''carrying out works in connection with the provision of water, electricity, gas, sewerage or other services''.

If the ODA is to be able to acquire an interest in a body corporate, will it be able to acquire an interest, therefore, in the private sector companies providing water, electricity, gas, sewerage or other services? If so, will that be done at the going market rate? Will it be done through acquisitions in the FTSE or by talking down the value of companies, as happened with Railtrack? How will it happen?

If we read across to Government amendment No. 33 on clause 34, enabling the regional development agencies or the ODA to make transfers to the Secretary of State, or make other provisions, that could mean that the Mayor of London or a Government Department could retain the control after the Olympics. Perhaps I am being too conspiracy-minded, but we need to explore the conjunction of those provisions and its implications. We could find that the ODA, and hence the Mayor—the Minister will be aware of the Conservative party's view of the Mayor's ambitions—would have under their control a series of private companies that would in essence be nationalised.

Given our fears in that direction, we wish to insert the caveat that action along those lines should be dealt with by statutory instrument. Parliament would then be able to voice a view on whether the ODA should be   able to interfere in the market in a way that could be harmful and that could extend the reach of the state. If the Minister can give us sufficient reassurances, I will happily withdraw the amendment. We will consider closely what he says, with a view to returning to the subject on Report.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

By any stretch of the imagination, that interpretation of the provision has been drawn to its maximum. Clause 4 sets out the general functions of the ODA, which are given in more detail in the explanatory notes. Those functions are to be anything that is

''for the purpose of . . . preparing for the London Olympics . . . making arrangements in preparation for or in connection with'' and so on; and

''ensuring that adequate arrangements are made for the provision, management and control of facilities for transport in connection with the London Olympics.''

That gives clear parameters within which the ODA should work. Then there is the safety valve; the ODA is effectively a fully-owned subsidiary of the Olympic board. Going for wholesale nationalisation by the means alluded to by the hon. Lady would clearly not be permissible. There are enough safety valves.

The explanatory memorandum on clause 4 explains the provision, and the ODA would have to act within that remit. If it was deemed to be acting outside those provisions, a programme committee would report back to the Olympic board, as outlined in the explanatory notes. There are enough safeguards to ensure that the games will not be a vehicle for the wholesale nationalisation of the electricity industry, or anything else. Such things stretch the imagination. Anything that the ODA does must relate to its general functions—that is the intention of clause 4—so the amendment is not necessary. If there is a clear problem with something being done by the ODA, the Secretary of State can issue a direction to stop it. The safeguards are in place if the ODA was deemed to be working outside the powers laid down in the Bill.

I come now to my brief. I understand and accept the point behind the amendment. We want the ODA to be able to form companies and acquire interests in companies, since much of its work will be conducted in partnership with the private sector. However, we also want to make sure there is some control over the companies with which the ODA becomes involved. I therefore assure the hon. Lady that we will include a control mechanism in the ODA's management statement and financial memorandum. That will ensure that any steps taken to form a company or to take an interest in one will be subject to the Secretary of State's approval. As I have said, she already has the power to intervene. The procedure that would be introduced by the amendment is therefore unnecessary; to insist that an order be approved by affirmative resolution would be excessively time-consuming.

We believe that streamlining the decision making with powers to intervene if there is any deviation from the central objective of delivering the games, and the   management structure, with safeguards in place, will give us the best model for delivering on time and on price.

I repeat the point that I made earlier that all this is after wide consultation with those who have delivered the games in the past. We have learnt from some of their mistakes, and have refined some of their procedures. That has been at the back of our minds when trying to ensure that the system operates with the full powers and dynamics of the private sector, which we have been able to use.

Having to pass a statutory instrument in this place every time we wanted to fix a section would slow the whole procedure down and would totally work against what we are trying to achieve, which is a smooth operation to deliver the games. I hope, therefore, that I have reassured the hon. Lady that the safeguards are there if the worst excesses that she described come about.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities 3:00 pm, 13th October 2005

I am interested in what the Minister says. I accept that the explanatory memorandum explains the objectives. I also accept that using the statutory instrument procedure is a delay. However, what is in the Bill is what is in the Bill. As I said, I want to go away and examine the Minister's reassurances to ensure that my worst fears are not realised.

I must just say, however, that I understand partnership working to be not taking a share in a company, so I still have my concerns about the organisation, whichever it will be, taking shares in a company, which the provision appears to allow. It also allows private sector companies to be set up.

Will the Minister explain what sort of body corporate the advice refers to? Is it a company limited by guarantee? Is it a private company? What bodies corporate are envisaged in the provision? I will withdraw my amendment if he can give me some idea, with the proviso that we may return to it on Report.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

First, we are trying through the Bill to give the ODA flexibility. As I said, this is to be a dynamic body that will deliver one of the biggest construction projects in Europe, if not the world. We will bring in the best people in the world to run this company effectively so that we can drive this project forward. Broadly speaking, these individuals will be from the private sector and will have had experience, as hon. Members will have seen from the criteria that we have laid down for the

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

For the job. I was just trying to read the paper that has just been handed to me.

We want to ensure that we give these people the necessary tools to get on with compulsory planning orders, with transport and so on. If I said to them every time, ''Okay guys, we need a statutory instrument. Just hang on a bit, I've just got to go down to the House, speak to the Whips and see whether we can get it dealt with in the next couple of weeks. Then I'll come back and tell you guys and you'd better get on with the work,'' that would be crazy. It would defeat the object of the exercise.  

I agree, however, that we must ensure that the House has controls, and it does—through the Secretary of State, who is accountable to the House under its various scrutiny procedures. The Mayor of London is accountable to the Greater London Authority, and I suppose that the British Olympic Association is accountable to its constituent parts.

Given that and other assurances that I have given, as well as my explanation of clause 4, I hope that hon. Members are reassured that the clause has been drafted to enable us to give the ODA flexibility within the constraints that have been laid down. There is a question of balance and how we use the dynamics of the private sector to deliver this type of project effectively. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Bath has started to pass notes like a civil servant now.

If we look at the dynamics of terminal 5, which is the biggest project in Europe, if not the world, we see that it is on time and on price. We can be proud of that and of the British companies involved. We are trying to get the same dynamics; we do not want these constraints. As I said to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait), if we find some merit in the amendments, I will be the first to come back and say that we will add constraints via the Secretary of State. The Bill gives the facilities to a company, the ODA, to get on and develop this fantastic project over the next seven years.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I thank the Minister for saying that he would go away and consider the matter, because paragraphs (m) and (n) are wide-ranging. I happily admit that a statutory instrument procedure is not necessarily the best; we wanted to open up the debate and the amendment was the best way to do it. If the Minister will consider the issue and give us some assurances, he may even get away with us not exploring the issue again on Report. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I beg to move amendment No. 58, in clause 4, page 3, line 29, at end insert

'(2C) The Secretary of State shall not give consent under subsection (2)(k) to any financial assistance which might result in local authorities or council tax payers in London bearing the burden of cost overruns.'.

This is probably the amendment of most interest to most Londoners. I hope to explore the potential of our council tax payers in London having to foot a bill; we hope that that will not happen after 2012, but many of us are concerned that it will.

We know and appreciate, and I am delighted about, the Minister's commitment to find top-quality people to be the ODA chairman and chief executive. I hope that they will have an equally high-quality project director. We hope that the project runs to time and on cost. That hope is universal and I do not think that anyone wishes to see what sadly happened in Greece and in previous Olympics. I do not have to repeat what has happened with cost overruns in previous Olympics—people may think that I am dodging the issue, but Members of the Committee will be bored by   their knowledge of it. We are all conscious that past Olympic games have overrun their budget.

We all know how the finances of the London Olympics will be structured. The one element of the finances that is open-ended is the council tax payers' commitment. The Minister says that London council tax payers in band D will pay £20 a year, which, I assume, is without a revaluation of council taxes. We hope that it will be just £20 a year, although many of my constituents already find the burden of an extra £20 a year, on top of the high council tax that they have to pay because of the transfer of funds further north, difficult to bear .

The Mayor himself, I understand, said this week to London borough leaders that council tax had reached its maximum in London; that is before he puts 20 quid on everybody's annual bill. However, we do not have what the council tax payers of London desperately need, which is reassurance that should the costs of the games overrun, by some great misfortune, they will not be left to pick up the bill ad infinitum. If the Minister can seriously reassure us, that will allay our concern. We will then work closely with our constituents in London to reassure them that the Mayor will not continue well into the future to use the precept under another guise. We want a physical cap on the council tax that he can levy in case there is an overrun or the Bill give him the opportunity to continue to demand money from council tax payers—allegedly for the Olympics, but in fact using Olympics mechanisms to continue to raise money for his own adventures.

I do not want to hold the Committee up too long. I simply want to reiterate that the key point is to ensure that London council tax payers are wholeheartedly on board for the Olympics. I would be most grateful if the Minister could reassure us on the two points that I have raised and explain how London council tax payers will not be committed until the bitter end of their lives if there is an overrun.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Whip

We have a lot of sympathy with some of the concerns outlined by the hon. Lady. Obviously, we all hope that the point will ultimately be irrelevant because the games will be delivered on time and to budget. Indeed, given that the robust financial planning that formed part of the initial bid was one of the things that so impressed the judges, we have great hopes that that will be the case. However, it is always worth planning for every eventuality, and the amendment lays down the good principle that the Government should bear the brunt of any cost overrun.

We have already had assurances on that from the Prime Minister, who insisted that the Government must stand behind the bid. In a parliamentary answer, the Secretary of State said that

''the Government will act as the ultimate guarantor of Olympic funding should there be a shortfall between the LOCOG's (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) costs and revenues''.—[Official Report, 20 July 2005; Vol.436, c. 1764 W.]

Lord Coe said that the operating costs were being met through IOC-generated sponsorship. He also said:

''Not a penny of this budget will be drawn from the public purse.''

We have had those assurances, but I understand that there are still concerns, so it is important that the Government live up to what they said. They must make it clear that, in acting as the guarantor, they will ensure that any cost overrun does not fall just on council tax payers in London.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

Let me add a few words in support of my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham, who laid out the case for the amendment very clearly.

In introducing my remarks this morning, I said that one of my party's key concerns was that the games were delivered on time and to budget and that the London council tax payer would not have to pick up a large bill afterwards. At the moment, the balance is about right. It is perfectly reasonable that those who live in London, which is the host city, should pay a little extra council tax. The amount to be raised is £625 million—if my memory serves me right, it is £550 million plus an extra £75 million—and that is perfectly fair.

As my hon. Friend said, however, the Sydney games overran their budget by two times the original amount, and the Athens games, for security reasons, overran by five times. Given the momentum that built up behind the bid and which is now building up behind the games, we would like some recognition of the fact that they are a national event and the burden will not be borne only by Londoners. They will be the biggest event in this country for a couple of decades, and I want to ensure that, although London council tax payers should pay a reasonable amount, they do not have an open-ended commitment beyond that.

I support my hon. Friend in moving the amendment and I hope that the Minister will give us the necessary assurances.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

As the Mayor of London has recognised, and as the Committee must recognise, hosting the 2012 games will bring huge benefits to London, so Londoners should, as has been said, bear a fair proportion of the costs. Indeed, that is what we have done before. When my own city of Sheffield hosted the world student games in the early 1990s and Manchester hosted the Commonwealth games, the same formula was applied because some of the benefits would accrue to those places.

As hon. Members will be aware, the Government and the Mayor agreed a memorandum of understanding on Olympic funding, which provided details of the public sector funding package of £2.375 billion. The Mayor has agreed to provide £625 million for the funding package from council tax. A further £1.5 billion will come from the national lottery, and the remaining £250 million will come from the London Development Agency. The memorandum also sets out the arrangements to be followed for further public subsidy should that be necessary, which would be through a sharing arrangement, agreed as appropriate with the Mayor, seeking additional national lottery funding.  

Throughout the preparation of the bid, the Government and the Greater London Authority have successfully worked closely in partnership, and we will continue to do so to deliver a truly memorable games. Hon. Members may get bored with hearing this, but we learned a lot from cities that had recently hosted the Olympic games. One piece of advice we received was to ensure that we had robust financing. The Sydney organisers said that if they had their time again, they would put much more robust financial structures in place, because when organisers have to ask for more funding—we saw this with the Commonwealth games in Manchester—it is seen as a failure. When the staff get into that position, people look more at how to save money and deal with budgets than at how best to deliver the games, which is an inefficient and ineffective way of dealing with the project. We were mindful of that potential problem, which is why we took a considerable amount of advice on how to stick to the budget. Of the chapters that were closed on the candidate file, this one probably got the greatest drilling from the IOC evaluation panel. The financial structure has been put under tremendous scrutiny, especially because of the criticism about cancelling Picketts Lock, which we had to dispel, and which stuck with some IOC members for a long time. We have paid great attention to this area, and believe that, with all the reasonable bounds that we have factored in, we have a sound financial base.

Obviously, both the Government and the Mayor intend to continue with the partnership and the prudent approach to financial management that we have adopted throughout, which was recognised by the IOC as being meticulous. In doing so, we have a shared interest in ensuring that costs are kept in check. Limiting the liability of one party in the way that the amendment suggests could jeopardise the shared interest in ensuring continued prudence. In the event of any cost overrun, the stakeholders will need to consider all the options available for meeting additional costs, and we do not want to close off any options. That is the right way to proceed. We know that we have support and it would not be wise to close off options at this stage. We want to ensure that within the structure, the programme committee in particular will bear down heavily on any overruns on cost, which we will be able to address quickly, and time.

We must consider previous mistakes, such as those in Athens. Security was an issue, but there was a problem with planning and compulsory purchase orders and not getting in place the facilities and legislation. In Japan, about eight of the stadiums used for the World cup were knocked down afterwards. That shows that we must be clear about legacy and our exit strategy, and that they must be factored in to the proposals. That is why it is so crucial to get the ODA structure and the structure that I presented on the management of the games right from the beginning. If we do that and get the Bill through Parliament, cost overruns are much less likely. The nearer we get to 2012, the more it will cost; we are in a buyer's market, but if we get into a seller's market, we will be in difficulties. That is clear. Getting the Bill on to the statute book and getting the ODA up and running are the main things that we can do to reassure Londoners   that we are serious and competent. As long as we get the right people on the ODA, we will keep on top of any cost overruns.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 3:15 pm, 13th October 2005

I thank the Government for making available in the Library a copy of the host city contract. I have not had an opportunity to read the section that I now wish I had read, but I am sure that the Minister knows it backwards. Therefore, I ask him what are the obligations of the Mayor of London within the host city contract in respect of the funding of any overruns? The Minister rightly said that the deal at the moment is that the Mayor, with the Government, will work out what to do, but what are the actual obligations of the Mayor in respect of funding overruns, if there are any obligations?

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

There are no obligations; there are no obligations on Government or on the lottery. We have said that we have put a financial structure in place, but this issue is not just about the financial structure; it is about how we approach the whole thing. One of the main reasons why cost overruns are created is because as the end date gets nearer, the contractor gets into the driving seatthere have been plenty of examples of that in recent years. We must start delivering on the construction project, and we must make sure that the work is done as soon as possible. We must bring discipline to bear on this matter.

We believe that we have got the right approach: we have a robust budget, and a delivery mechanism for the construction side of things, which is where cost overruns occur. If for any reason there are difficulties, we will sit down and resolve things in the spirit of the type of partnership that delivered us the games, and is now delivering this contract, and which will deliver the project itself. There is no formula or endgame in this regard.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I wanted the Minister to place on the record that the Mayor of London is placed under no obligation in the host city contract, and he has now made that clear. In relation to how these issues will ultimately be sorted out, we all accept what the Minister says about getting on with things now and getting them right, and that all the work that is being done should help to ensure that we will not have cost overruns; I am as confident as he is in that regard.

However, as my hon. Friend the Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) said, one has also to prepare for contingencies, however unlikely they might be. If we now have an understanding that there is no obligation on the Mayor within the host city contract, can we be given an absolute assurance that the Secretary of State will stand by the answer she gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) in a parliamentary answer in July 2005? She said that

''the Government will act as the ultimate guarantor of Olympic funding should there be a shortfall between the LOCOG's (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) costs and revenues''.—[Official Report, 20 July 2005; Vol.436, c. 1764 W.]

She is making the commitment there that the Government will act as the ultimate guarantor.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

We are. It is not possible for a city to be chosen from the Olympic candidate file unless the   Government are the lender of last resort. We have to stand behind the project, but it would be a mistake to try to translate that into us giving an answer on what we would do if we had a budget overrun. We would not have got the Olympic games if the Government had not stood behind the bid. Therefore, we are the lender of last resort; that is acknowledged. How we would resolve any budget overruns is a totally different issue.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I am grateful to the Minister for setting out so clearly that the Government are not the final body to pick up the tab on any budget overruns, because that is the concern of the London council tax payer. It is important to be clear about the Mayor being jointly responsible with the Government for any budget overrunsand I entirely accept what the Minister says about the work that went into costing the bid, the planning of it, and the determination to get the project going.

However, as this is going to be an international operation, I would just point out that New Orleans is currently picking up all the construction work going and Pakistan will be doing exactly the same, and that China is probably employing almost every other person involved in construction. It is not difficult to see from the very beginning where the budget overruns might start, because costs will go up as there is a high demand for serious, big, technical and technological infrastructure projects.

Regardless of how robust the budgeting and the project analysis has been, I fear that natural disasters will potentially have an impact on the budgeting. I come back again to the issue of the Mayor sharing in any budgetary overrun, quite apart from the fact of the lottery not raising the £625 million. That is no slur on the lottery's ability to raise money; it is a superb organisation, and I have not joined in on the criticism of it in the past. It has always done very well and I have the utmost faith that it will continue to do so.

But—there is always that big ''but''. London council tax payers have a big ''but'' in their minds. They look forward to the lottery and the infrastructure improvements because they know that, come 2013, they will benefit from them. I know that Crystal Palace in my constituency, although not part of the Olympic bid, may be well improved by 2012.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

That is debateable, but perhaps we should not go down that route right now.

London council tax payers have an issue at the back of their minds: if the Mayor has a responsibility for the overrun, the only resource that he—or it may be a she by that time, whatever the Mayor says about going on and on—will have to go back to will be the London council tax payer. If the Minister tells me that the Mayor will go to the Government, rather than the council tax payer, as a last resource, I shall be very happy, as will all Londoners.

Where would the Mayor find the money? Will we get a clear answer—one that says that the London council tax payer will not be funding the Olympics until 2050? If Londoners knew that by 2016 they   would stop paying for the Olympics, the Minister would turn into a hero in London; at present, I fear that he is looked on with scepticism, to say the least.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Such scepticism is healthy. If any success relating to these Olympics can be measured to date, it is that of the lottery. It has already banked the first 2 million quid; it sold out of tickets well before Camelot believed it would. There was a relaunch a couple of weeks ago that has been hugely successful. There is a real appetite on the part of the lottery for supporting the Olympics nationwide. My personal view is that during these first few months, everything is looking extremely rosy on that side of things.

We should not remove the disciplines. There are disciplines on the Mayor's office, which is working in partnership to deliver. We are not going to take that responsibility away from it; nor would it take away from the Government our responsibility to ensure that we deliver. Within that discipline, we shall deliver on time and on budget. If things are not on budget, we shall sit down and find a resolution, as we have on every bit of this project to date.

The Mayor may or may not go for extra resources to the council tax payer, the LDA or other areas that might be in his budget at that time. I do not know, but we are closing no options off, and believe that the discipline is there for everybody to deliver on time and on budget. In the hon. Lady's mind there may be some uncertainties for council tax payers; that, unfortunately, is something that we will have to live with. However, I hope that she will acknowledge that what we have put in place is as transparent and robust a structure for management and budgeting as at any Olympic games today.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

The Minister is very convincing, and clearly a happy chap. However, from time to time I have a little niggle at the back of my mind. Although I am prepared to withdraw the amendment, we may well return to this issue in future because I am not convinced that council tax payers in my constituencyor most London council tax payerswill be as happy with life as the Minister clearly is. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 3:30 pm, 13th October 2005

I beg to move amendment No. 36, in page 3, line 36, at end insert

'(5) The Authority shall pay compensation to any person whose land is injuriously affected by the execution of works by the Authority; and—

(a) any dispute as to whether compensation is payable, or as to the amount of compensation, may be referred to the Lands Tribunal,

(b) subsection (2) of section 10 of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 (c. 56) (limitation on compensation) shall apply to this subsection as it applies to that section, and

(c) any rule or principle applied to the construction of section 10 of that Act shall be applied to the construction of this section (subject to any necessary modifications).'.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 41.  

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

We want to make sure that anyone whose life is disrupted by the construction of Olympic venues is properly compensated. We think that the ODA, as the body responsible for construction, should be liable for compensation, rather than the LDA as the biggest land owner. We therefore propose amendment No. 36, to ensure that the ODA pays compensation. The amounts payable will be settled by the Lands Tribunal, in accordance with the case law stemming from the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 and applying to England and Wales. That is the same arrangement that was made for the channel tunnel rail link project.

Amendment No. 41 applies the provision to Scotland, where subsections (b) and (c) are not required.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

When I first looked at the amendment I saw the words ''Compulsory Purchase Act'' and I thought that this was where I could start to bring in the issue of compulsory purchase. When I read it again I saw the words ''any person . . . injuriously affected''. In company law, person and company are synonymous. However, the Minister has disappointed me and I fear that I will have to raise the matter again during the clause stand part debate.

If I may, I will gently tease the Minister about his need to include a Scottish amendment. Having been the Opposition spokesman on Scotland, I am well aware that the Government regularly forget completely the fact that they have devolved these issues to Scotland. It is good to see that they remembered in good time.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I do not know that it is a compliment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 41, in page 3, line 36, at end insert—

'(6) In the application of subsection (5) in respect of land in Scotland—

(a) the reference in paragraph (a) to the Lands Tribunal is to be read as if it were a reference to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, and

(b) paragraphs (b) and (c) are omitted.'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

I am most grateful to you, Mr. Amess, for allowing me to make a contribution to the clause 4 stand part debate. We have discussed council tax at great length. One of the major issues that should be covered by the clause but currently is not is the need to purchase land and buildings from businesses that exist in the area designated for the Olympics and from those on the margins of it.

I am sure everybody is familiar with the arguments. There might well be developments of which I am not aware, in which case I would be pleased to hear the Minister give us reassurances about what is happening. As I understand it, businesses that exist in the areas I mentioned and need to move are being offered only land and fitting, not the cost of rebuilding. They are being purchased at 2002 valuations but are having to spend at 2005 levels; if they wish to stay in the locality, Olympic inflation would be added to that. That part of   the east end of London—and wider—is already experiencing higher prices merely because of the Olympics. That can be healthy, but not for businesses that are trying to relocate.

At this stage I should declare a small interest: a constituent of mine has one of the businesses affected. I have no interest in the business other than that it belongs to my constituent. I am reflecting the concerns of those businesses who are unhappy with the arrangements under the LDA, as the organisation with the power compulsorily to purchase. Under current legislation, it is not allowed to deal with businesses that need to be relocated in a manner that minimises disturbance not only to the businesses, but their finances. I should be grateful if the Minister could reassure me about that issue. If he cannot, my hon. Friends and I shall return to the matter because it is of serious concern. If the businesses will have to go through the current statutory process, some of the tight budgeting to which the right hon. Gentleman referred so eloquently in the previous debate will go straight out of the window because of the delays caused by going through the Lands Tribunal system and so on.

Photo of Derek Wyatt Derek Wyatt Labour, Sittingbourne and Sheppey

I should inform the Committee that I am a trustee of TimeBank. Before Singapore, it was charged with the volunteers' programme and, since Singapore, we have been overwhelmed with volunteers. That is encouraging, but I am not so certain what we will do with them for the next seven years. Will my hon. Friend the Minister clarify how the legacy of the games will be dealt with? Across the House, we feel strongly that the games will be 21st century games and that we will leave a different legacy from the spirit of the games that we helped to create in 189495.

The hon. Member for Bath referred to facilities for disabled people. Could the legacy cover such facilities? Could design be considered? In other words, can we consider what is currently missing in the IOC agenda and lead the next two games with that? The legacy used to cover only buildings. Although Sydney held spectacular games, the owners of the Olympic stadium went broke. Let us bear in mind the appalling situation in Athens, which in the end cost 10 per cent. of GDP. It is embarrassing to admit the amount of money that has been spent. So many stadiums have had to be taken down because there was no legacy.

I am not talking about the legacy of physical structures, because that is well taken care of in the bid document, but the legacy that we leave the Olympic movement. That is the most exciting aspect. The Institute for Policy Research and Demos have produced an excellent pamphlet about legacy entitled ''After the Gold Rush'', which I encourage hon. Members to read.

As the Minister knows—because he chaired a meeting of it in my constituency—the South East England Development Agency will be charged with an audit of the Olympics. It will examine the structure and try to help counties and local authorities. Will it report to the ODA or to him?  

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Labour, West Ham

The residents of my borough in which the stadium and the park will sit are tremendously excited by the games, not only because of the event itself with the enthusiasm and the energy that it will bring to the area, but because of the way in which the games will change their lives and, hopefully, the lives of their children for the better. Will the Minister consider whether the Bill properly imposes a duty that ensures a legacy of renewal and regeneration for one of the poorest parts of the country? Clause 4(3) refers to having regard

''to the desirability of maximising the benefits''.

Can that provision be made a little tougher and set out more clearly what will be done?

Will the Minister consider making implicit under the clause the role of local government within the area that will be principally affected by the operation of the ODA? The core business of those local authorities is to ensure the social and economic benefit of those games in renewal and regeneration for the people who live there. The specific inclusion of those authorities in the Bill would strengthen the renewal and regeneration activity of those boroughs' principally affected areas, fulfilling the ambition of the bid, regenerating the east end of London and building a sustainable community.

Photo of Andy Reed Andy Reed Labour, Loughborough

I was pleased when the Minister gave us the diagram of the Olympic staging structures this morning. It was strange to have it passed around; it looks simple, and I am delighted about that, because a danger of the clause and the way in which it is structured is that we could end up with a mishmash of things, all over the place.

As to how the ODA and LOCOG will work, my question to the Minister is about the structure below, which my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey has already mentioned. I declare an interest, as I chair my county sports partnership. We had a presentation from Sport England a week ago on the potential structure that will allow people from the east midlands and other regions that are represented here to contribute.

The day after 6 July every local authority or councillor or other individual with a relevant contact somewhere in the world was trying to get preparation camps based in their location. The hon. Member for Bath and I are fortunate because our constituencies have a suitable existing infrastructure.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

I should have been surprised if my hon. Friend had not mentioned that.

Photo of Andy Reed Andy Reed Labour, Loughborough

I have managed to mention Bath in the same breath as Loughborough again, but I forgot that I must always mention Sheffield too, if I want a decent reply from the Minister.

It is important that co-operative working is improving relations, and work is already being done. There is the potential for a great scramble among other places that have a contact or a twin city. A structured approach is needed. I know that that structure is being established, but the one that I saw was so complicated that it is difficult to understand how people will feed into it, and how it will be co-  ordinated so that those concerned do not spend the next seven years going to meetings to make sure that they are in the partnership that is discussing something.

The diagram we have been shown is simple and understandable, and despite some of this morning's exchanges we are pretty well covered as to consultation and representation. My plea is that the Minister will assure us that the next tier down will be kept to a minimum, to allow the Olympics to be staged in 2012. The way things look now, we will be holding them in 2212, not 2012.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman is sayingnot just about the brilliance of Loughborough, Bath and Sheffield, but about the importance of a simple lower structure so that people know who can be expected to present them with a structure in which they can get involved. Does he agree that perhaps to date the role of the nations and regions support group has not been given quite the profile that some of us might like? I know that a huge amount of work is being done under the chairmanship of Charles Allen, but more publicity could perhaps be given to that work, so that people know whom to contact for official advice on how to get involved, whether that will be the local authority, sports partnerships or regional development agencies.

Photo of Andy Reed Andy Reed Labour, Loughborough

That is a perfect point. That is the one thing that I wanted to emerge from the meeting that we hadsomething to be circulated in the county so that the local authorities would know about the excellent work that is being done. They did not know about that. For a while what happened was ''rapid, then stop''getting excited about things but not doing anything further. Perhaps today's proceedings are an opportunity to raise the profile of what is happening. We need to unify and send out the clear message that people can get excited about the Olympics now, but should wait until the relevant structure is in place when there will be one port of call for inquiries.

This is an exciting time, and we are not trying to diminish people's excitement. I know that the work to establish the relevant structure is being done as quickly as possible; when that happens, good publicity can tell people where to get all the answers.

Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Labour, Hackney South and Shoreditch 3:45 pm, 13th October 2005

Welcome to the Chair, Mr. Amess. I represent a constituency with probably the most sporting activity on a Sunday morning anywhere in London, with Sunday league football on Hackney marshes. I want to raise some land-use issues, one of which concerns the car park. Even as far off as Loughborough people know about the car park on East Marsh, and it is a genuine concern. I believe, as do many people locally, that it is a short-term loss for a long-term benefit, butwith full acknowledgement of all the biodiversity issuesI am on record as saying that East Marsh should be returned to football use, so that people in Hackney actually gain from the loss of   it, rather than lose long-term. I repeat that today, and urge the Minister to consider whether it is appropriate to address the matter in the Bill; if not, perhaps he can reassure me in other ways.

There is also an issue with Waterden road, where there is a Travellers' site. I continue to work with local agencies, including the local authority, on that. It is interesting that Travellers do not seem to fit into any of the categories in the Bill about land use. I wanted to alert the Minister to that issue, because it is people's homes that we are talking about. On the Hackney side, those are certainly the residents most affected in the area.

To pick up on subsection (3), there is a legacy for local facilities, but we want to make sure that they really are local and can be maintained locally by the local authority without extra cost to Hackney residents. However, there is also a human legacy that we need to bear in mind. It has not been talked about and is not really reflected in the Bill as it stands.

In Hackney, the lay of the land is that there will be a big divide between the place where the Olympic park will be and the rest of Hackney. A lot of people are genuinely concerned—as am I, the local Member of Parliament—that people will not have the skills necessary to take on the jobs that arise as a result of the Olympics. It would be a great shame if at the end of the Olympics Hackney is still one of London's poorest boroughs; I think that I vie with my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) for position at the top of that unfortunate league table. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister can reassure me that, through his discussions with the Olympic delivery authority, the London Development Agency and the other various agencies, and through the Secretary of State's role on the board, we can make sure that the human legacy is maintained, and that local people benefit from jobs and skills as a result of the Olympics.

Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow North West

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr. Amess; this is the first time that I have contributed, so I felt that I should say that.

It is important that someone from the Celtic regions makes a contribution. There are plenty of us on the Committee, although only two of us have constituencies north of the border. A sad aspect of our proceedings is that the only people here today are those from the three main parties; it might have been of more benefit to us all if there had been others from some of the smaller parties, but then again some of us are used to the Scottish nationalists not turning up—once again they have not let me down.

I, too, want to talk about the legacy, because although we are talking about the London Olympics, it is the nation that will be taking part. We in Scotland, which is probably the part of the UK furthest from where the Olympics will take place, have a great affection for what is happening down here, because we would love to have the games ourselves. However, we appreciate that a nation of about 5 million people is unlikely to be able to hold games of the size of the Olympics. Nevertheless, we have our hopes, and I trust   that Glasgow's bid to hold the 2014 Commonwealth games will be supported by my right hon. Friend the Minister. I know that he is fully behind the British bid for those games. I hope that there will be a legacy not just to support what will happen in London in 2012 but to echo what happened in Manchester, which held excellent Commonwealth games. I hope—no, I am sure—that we will do better in future.

It is important that the legacy that we put in place now, not just during the Olympics, has a knock-on effect across the whole United Kingdom. The training of our sportsmen and women, and the facilities and coaching that go with that training need to be put in place and funded. We want to ensure that the British athletes, swimmers and gymnasts, and everyone who takes part, are the best, so that Britain is on the map once again. I have no doubt that London will do an excellent job of welcoming the world, but we want the United Kingdom to do its bit by welcoming the tourists.

I also make a plea for Glasgow, and for the rest of Scotland. We are a part of the United Kingdom; those from other parts of the world will want to become acclimatised to the British weather. I can guarantee that people will acclimatise to every bit of the weather—probably in one day. They will see plenty of rain and sunshine, they may see snow and hail, and they will wonder why they came in the middle of summer.

It is important that we do our bit to ensure that the London games are a success. However, I represent a Glasgow seat and I would like the Minister to guarantee that the home of Scottish football will not be forgotten wherever football is being played in the United Kingdom. We in Scotland have paid our taxes to ensure that we are part of the London 2012 Olympic games; but, for us, it is important not only to do our bit in supporting it financially but to be make room for the people who come to this country.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

I start by answering the hon. Member for Beckenham on land acquisition. The provisions enable the ODA, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to pay the same for the land as it would have paid in compensation if it had acquired the land under CPO powers. It is intended to help those whose land is being bought; it will enable it to pay more, not less, than it could have obtained on the open market. As well as paying the open market value for the land, the ODA will be able to make supplementary loss payments, based on approximately 7.5 per cent. of the valuation of the property, as well as covering costs incurred by the vendor in relocation. If the ODA purchases without using CPO powerson a non-statutory basiswe cannot stipulate what it should offer. That is a matter for negotiation between the parties.

Photo of Jacqui Lait Jacqui Lait Shadow Minister (London), Local Government Affairs & Communities

Does the first option of compulsory purchase cover the cost of rebuilding or only the land and the fittings?

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

I am not going to take a stab at that; I have a view, but I do not want to put it on record. Even my officials looked a little dumbfounded when   they heard the question, so I shall reply to the Committee in writing.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey spoke of the legacy of the games. First, the games is not simply a great sports festival lasting for four or five weeks; it is a major sporting project that will deliver a number of agendas. On the human agenda, through the good efforts of my hon. Friend and others, there will be something like 70,000 volunteers. I look back to Manchester, and some of the fantastic stories of the volunteers from those games. Indeed, it was the volunteers who made Manchester so special. Those who watched the Commonwealth games—it was watched internationally—saw them selling their city and their region with pride and passion.

I heard some great human stories about Manchester. Young unemployed people joined the volunteer programme, and others joined for all sort of reasons. That discipline, work and experience allowed them to find employment, and they are still employed. A whole series of things could result. I remember walking into the volunteers' room at Manchester and meeting three middle-aged couples. They were all retired professional people who had been working voluntarily seven days a week. It was near the end of the games, and they told me that, for the previous 18 months, they had put a tremendous amount into the games and did not know what they would do with their lives afterwards. There are many human stories like that. The games enriched not only those people's lives, but their city and their region. We have to capture and manage that feeling and make sure that it expresses itself in our communities in the form of volunteering. However, we have not been very good at doing so. When I went into the volunteers' room, I saw that it was not about money for them; all they wanted was a thank you. We occasionally forget that saying ''Thank you very much for your contribution'' would go a long way. The volunteering programme offers great opportunities.

There are other great opportunities. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham spoke about what was in this for the locality; if the games do not lift the skills base in the east end of London, we will have failed. That is one of the benchmarks that we have to use. We shall insist that the ODA looks at the skills base because it is very important. We have already started trying to involve the skills sector, but as the learning and skills councils know very well, it is not easy to train people up. The games might seem a long way away now, with six or seven years to go, but it is difficult to upskill a lot of people in that time. None the less, there is a great opportunity to bring people in, including those from the Bangladeshi community, which is one of the least skilled. It is a matter of how we manage that. The ODA will have a major responsibility, and one measurement of its success or failure will be whether it upskills that part of the east end of London.

Let me deal now with the nations and regions. Credit is due to everyone involved, including those in Scotland. When we went to make the final bid, we wanted 1 million people to have signed up to it, but   something like 3 million had done so. We went round doing the opinion polls and the focus groups, and some of the strongest support for the bid was in Scotland. It was well above 80 per cent., which was quite remarkable. Right across the nation, the percentage of people supporting the bid was into the eighties. That came about in part because of the nations and regions support group, under the able chairmanship of Charles Allen. It allowed that support to manifest itself in a way that had an effect in our winning the bid on 6 July—we should make no mistake about that.

We want to transform that work now, and I am working with Charles Allen on responsibility for the nations and regions. I shall not go into that now, but we will be having a co-ordinator for each region. The issues involved include tourism, the supply chain, holding camps and the cultural festival, all of which will ensure that this is truly a British project, not a London one. There will clearly be a concentration of benefits in London, and that is right, if that is where events are held, but there are great opportunities to make sure that we spread the benefits, and the ODA will have responsibility for that.

Another legacy will come out of this. We have all been talking about stadiums and sports facilities in this country and worldwide. However, if we look at major sporting events such as the World cup, the Commonwealth games—I think we were successful in that case—and the Olympics, we see that there has not been a good legacy of using buildings and facilities afterwards. Indeed, the record is not good in sport per se. The great challenge that we face is how to use stadiums and sports facilities in a multipurpose way. How do we make them transportable and adaptable?

We transformed the athletics stadium in Manchester into a football stadium. That had to be planned at the design stage, because we could not have done it as an afterthought. Immediately after the Commonwealth games in Manchester were on Five Live, we were digging up the track on which Paula Radcliffe won her fantastic victory and sticking a football team called Manchester City on it. I know that there are one or two Manchester City fans here, and the club now has a ground. That project has played a major role in the regeneration of the east end of Manchester.

Just think about the national stadium that we are going to build now. It is going to be an 80,000-seater to start with. The design brief that is going out is to bring it down to a 20,000-seater so that it can be a great athletics stadium. It will then move back to being a 40,000-seater so that it can host a Commonwealth games or an event staged by the International Association of Athletics Federations. That is possible. What with the design skill, architects and materials now available, I think that by 2012 we can make great advances.

Let us think about 50 m pools; we believe that some of those can be transported around the country. Let us   think about the arenas; we believe that they can be designed to be not only multipurpose, but transportable. These are the challenges that we will give to the civil engineers, architects, designers and materials providers. That is why it is so important that we deal with this Bill as quickly as possible, and get the best people in the world on to the ODA, driving the project team. In the medium term, what we are doing could make the Olympics affordable for developing countries. At the moment there is a real fear, which Jacques Rogge and I share, that they are only for the rich countries. If the Olympics ever become that, we will be failing the Olympic ideal. That is why I genuinely and passionately believe that we have a contribution to make to sport in the widest context, and that we must drive sport to deliver on a whole series of agendas connected with the Olympic bid.

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Labour, Wolverhampton South East 4:00 pm, 13th October 2005

Will the Minister elaborate on something? He talked about the design of facilities and he mentioned 50 m pools that may be distributed around the country. I am sure that a lot of Members would be interested in access to such facilities. Will he tell us how those 50 m pools will be distributed around the country? How would any nations or regions interested in such facilities make their views known?

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Deliverability is the concept. We will now work on that through the ODA. That is the challenge. Where the prize goes is up to those in nations and regions as matters unfold.

To digress a little, I can tell the Committee that we now have the Active Places database, delivered by Sport England. For the first time, we can now say with certainty where sports facilities are in this country. When I came into this job over four years ago, I asked the simple question, ''Where are all the sports facilities in this nation? Can someone put that down for me?'' but no one could say, either for the public or private sector. We now can, through Active Places. It is quite extensive and is online now. I am pleased and proud of what we have done. Through that database, we will look at where there is any overheating and inequality. That could well guide us as to where we should put facilities in future. I do not know whether my hon. Friend's area will be on that list as a place where there is under-utilisation, but we will see what happens in future.

I come back to the ODA and what its outlook must be. Many aspects of it are very important. It could really drive the agenda for change, and it could be good for UK Ltd., too. We must put in this window the many and varied things we have to offer the world. That will link into the regions, too. The structure that we put in place to win the chance to hold the games should now be dedicated to delivering them. Supply chains are also important, and the regions have a role to play in that. If we miss this opportunity, it will be our own fault.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham asked about the role of local government and local authorities. They are locked into the system—there is no doubt about that—both here in London and, I hope, out there through the nations and regions committee. That committee will feed into the   decision-making mechanism and the whole Olympic development plan; it has done so to date. Again, the authorities in London have been absolutely superb. We have not had to use any of the powers that we may have to take under this Bill. They have the planning outline and have acted in the most responsible way. One member of the evaluation team that came here saw the unity of purpose among the local authorities in delivering what was required of them. I think that that played a significant role in showing that everybody, local government in particular, was behind the bid.

My hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed) says, as usual, and rightly so, that we should keep things simple and focused, and that we should make sure that information is being passed on to the nations and regions. I assure the Committee that we will consider refining that the arrangements, as we have done in the diagram before hon. Members. We will make sure that the decision-making chain is kept as short as possible.

I will write to my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) about the specific matters she raises as I do not have the answers at my fingertips. However, I can tell her that we want to ensure that one of the legacies of this project is that her constituents have better sports facilities. I am confident that that will happen.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Let me ask a question: what would happen if we had some surplus to pay on this budget? Let us assume that worst-case scenario. People would say, ''Well, the Government will take care of that, because they'll take the credit for everything.'' [Interruption.] Seb Coe is not coming over to my party is he? I am sorry, but I thought that the Opposition spokesman was announcing something along those lines.

We wish my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, North-West (John Robertson) luck, and we will continue to work with him and his colleagues on the 2014 Commonwealth games. They are very important, and I know that they take them very seriously. I met the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport of the Scottish Parliament earlier this week, and we discussed the 2014 games.

That will also be on the agenda in a few weeks at the next sports cabinet of the devolved Administrations, chaired by the Secretary of State. We will play football for a short while at Hampden Park, so if anyone wants to see a little quality football, they can go there then. [Interruption.] Yes, I agree—that will make a change. By the way, I should point out that England were the only home team to qualify for the World cup; we finished top of our league—and it was raining in Manchester last night.

We take the legacy of the Olympic games very seriously indeed. That will be made clear in the instructions going out to the ODA, and I think that, with a fair wind, it will deliver on that agenda.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.