Commonwealth Games 2014

– in the Scottish Parliament at 2:03 pm on 14th November 2007.

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Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour 2:03 pm, 14th November 2007

The next item of business is a statement by Alex Salmond on Scotland's successful bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The First Minister will take questions at the end of his statement, so there should be no interventions. First Minister, you have 15 minutes.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party 2:04 pm, 14th November 2007

It gives me enormous pleasure to make this statement. First, I take the opportunity to put on record our thanks to the Sri Lankan national Olympic committee for hosting us last week. It did a wonderful job. I also offer my commiserations to the Nigerian Government and the team from Abuja, which ensured that we had a terrific contest that was held in the best possible spirit—one that was worthy of the Commonwealth games. Ultimately, though, Scotland was victorious, therefore it gives me great pleasure formally to offer my congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on Glasgow's bid to host the Commonwealth games. [ Applause. ]

As chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, Louise Martin's role in securing the games cannot be overstated. Her detailed knowledge of the delegates from each of the other 70 Commonwealth games associations was quite breathtaking and allowed us to mount the most effective canvassing campaign that I have ever seen. Derek Casey, as bid director, also worked tirelessly over the past couple of years. Allied to Louise's knowledge of the delegates, Derek's encyclopaedic knowledge of every element of the bid—all 240 pages of it—was a decisive factor.

They were the figureheads of Glasgow's bid, but it should not be forgotten that there were many other unsung heroes, including officials from Government and from Glasgow City Council, as well as athletes past and present. All of those people deserve our thanks. Neither should it be forgotten that Glasgow's bid was supported across all political parties in the Scottish Parliament. Last week, the Deputy First Minister put on record her thanks to the former First Minister. I want to underline those sentiments and hold up the games as an example of what Scotland can achieve when united in a common goal. We should acknowledge Jack McConnell's contribution. [Applause.]

Make no mistake that Friday's announcement was a huge vote of confidence from the international community in Scotland and its people.

I have already paid tribute to the chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, Louise Martin, but I also want to pay tribute to the leader of Glasgow City Council, Steven Purcell, whose dedication to the task of securing the games has been an inspiring example of civic leadership and initiative. [Applause.]

Friday was a great day for Scotland. Seventy other countries from around the world have placed their faith in us. As a result, we have great responsibilities as well as great opportunities.

Over the next 100 days, we will start to redeem our promises without delay. Tomorrow, I shall meet Steven Purcell, Louise Martin and Derek Casey to start implementing a plan for the first 100 days following the announcement. Within that period, we aim to make the first major appointment—the chair of the organising company—and set in motion the recruitment of other key personnel who will take the lead on delivering the Glasgow games. Within the 100 days, we will also develop a business plan for the first three years of the operation of the organising company and consult on our plans to secure a lasting legacy from the games for all of Scotland.

Subject to the parliamentary timetable, we hope to have the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill on the statute book before the summer recess. As members will know, the bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament within minutes of the announcement in Colombo and was published yesterday. It will ensure that Scotland delivers the games that the members of the Commonwealth Games Federation voted for on Friday. The games will be protected from ambush marketing and ticket touting. They will be commercially attractive but not commercially cluttered games that everyone in Scotland—and our many visitors from across the world—can access and enjoy.

The bill will also ensure that a games transport plan is developed and implemented, so that athletes, officials and spectators can travel between venues efficiently and with minimum disruption to everyday life. Under the bill, the ownership of land that is needed for the games will be secured and projects will be delivered in time and on budget. The bill will also put in place funding mechanisms to allow the organising company to make the games a reality while protecting the public interest. Finally, as the bill is designed to deliver the Glasgow games specifically, it provides for its own repeal once the Glasgow 2014 games are complete.

The bill is one of two formal mechanisms that will enable us to deliver the Glasgow games. The other will be the organising company, which is crucial to the delivery of the games. The company, Glasgow 2014 Ltd—I am sorry that we could not think of a more ingenious title, but it sums up what is happening—has already been incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. It is owned by the Scottish ministers, Glasgow City Council and the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland. That tripartite approach has been crucial in securing the bid, and it will now be crucial in delivering the games.

The organising company is charged with turning the 240-page bid document into reality. That is not a simple task, so the company will be required to produce detailed business plans setting out precisely what will be done, when and at what cost. Those plans will be scrutinised in detail by the Glasgow 2014 strategic group, which I will chair. The Deputy First Minister will also be a member of the group, along with the leader of Glasgow City Council, the chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland and the chair of the organising company. The Scottish ministers will report to Parliament regularly on the preparations for the games. Parliamentary committees will have a key role in scrutinising the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill and the plans for the legacy effect, which are soon to be published.

I turn to budget details. The parliamentary scrutiny to which I have referred will have an important role to play in ensuring the integrity of the budgets that have been developed for the games. The net public cost of hosting the games is £298 million at 2007 prices, 80 per cent of which will be met by the Scottish Government and 20 per cent will be met by Glasgow City Council.

As part of the bidding process, the budget—like every other area of our submission—was subject to the most rigorous examination by the Commonwealth Games Federation's evaluation commission. As members will recall, its report expressed confidence in the overall budget figures. Unlike many other major games, we are fortunate that more than 70 per cent of the venues that will be used for Glasgow 2014—such as Hampden Park, Celtic Park, Ibrox, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Kelvinhall and others—already exist. Around another 20 per cent of venues were already committed to before the decision on Friday, meaning that the Glasgow 2014 games have a low element of high-risk capital construction costs. However, great discipline will still be required to ensure that we deliver the games in time and on budget.

We can be confident that we will not see the sort of escalating costs that other projects have seen. Glasgow's bid was built on a solid foundation—bricks and mortar, not pie in the sky. That is one reason why, unlike other games, we do not depend on lottery funds to pay for Glasgow 2014. However, the lottery should and must be used to help the development of grass-roots sports. We cannot allow lottery funding to decline just as the greatest opportunities in sport beckon.

I move on to the legacy. I make one thing clear: making the best use of venues that are already at our disposal does not and should not mean minimising the potential legacy from the games. I have said that Friday's result gives us great responsibilities and great opportunities. This Government is committed to ensuring not only that the games in 2014 are the best sporting event that this country has ever seen, but that they are a catalyst for regeneration, social change and economic development, and that they encourage a new generation to become Scotland's sporting heroes of the future.

The most obvious legacy benefit from the games will be the physical regeneration of a large part of the east end of Glasgow. The athletes village, the national indoor sports arena and the velodrome will all be constructed in Dalmarnock, at the heart of the Clyde gateway, creating an on-going infrastructure legacy for the area. After the games, the village will be made available for a mix of social and private housing. The games offer the potential to transform one of our most deprived areas and to provide superb new facilities and opportunities to local people.

The sense of pride does not stop in the east end of Glasgow. The reaction to the announcement on Friday throughout Scotland was quite incredible. It was the latest demonstration that, as a country, we are once again gaining a sense of self-confidence, and that optimism and energy are returning to this nation. Scotland has a long tradition of enterprise and innovation. The games should be held up as an example to our young people that they should not be afraid to try; they should have confidence in their ability to achieve their goals, in whatever field they choose. The days of Scotland so often being a plucky loser are drawing to a close. Winning the bid is an indication that, in a much wider sense, Scotland is heading towards a better sporting future.

The games will offer new opportunities for individuals. Around 15,000 volunteers will be needed to run the games. All the volunteers, no matter their background, will be able to develop new skills and gain new experiences and confidence.

Scotland will welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the games in 2014. It is vital that we encourage them to see as much of the country as they can while they are here, to experience the great Scottish hospitality and to come back again and again.

In addition, it is predicted that the games will lead to 1,200 new jobs in Scotland, around 1,000 of which will be in Glasgow.

The most important legacy, however, should be in the field of health and healthy living. We now have an unrivalled opportunity to use the power of sport to inspire people of all ages, but particularly the next generation, to lead active and healthy lives. It is not an exaggeration to say that the games have the potential to change materially the course of that generation.

More participation in physical activity and sport will also increase Scotland's ability to produce world-class athletes. We want Scottish athletes to compete with the best in the Commonwealth games of 2014 and to add to Scotland's impressive list of medal winners at previous games and, we hope, in Delhi in 2010.

Within 100 days, we will consult on our initial plan to secure those legacies from the Glasgow games. When we do so, I will once again ask the whole of Scotland to unite behind the Glasgow games.

On Friday, we got a glimpse of what can be achieved by working together—that should be only the start. The games are a ringing endorsement of this nation and its people from the entire Commonwealth. Scotland's athletes and, no less, Scotland's people must use this achievement as an inspiration, and be confident in our own potential and in the unlimited potential of this nation. [Applause.]

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

The First Minister will now take questions on the issues raised in his statement. I will allow 30 minutes for such questions, after which we will move on to the next item of business.

Photo of Wendy Alexander Wendy Alexander Labour

I thank the First Minister for his statement and his personal efforts to secure the 2014 Commonwealth games.

As he graciously acknowledged, last Friday's success was the culmination of years of hard work by many people—Louise Martin, the bid team, the First Minister's predecessor Jack McConnell, former ministers and Glasgow City Council, which had the vision to place sport at the heart of its regeneration agenda more than a decade ago.

The First Minister acknowledged how it was the strong unity of purpose on an all-party basis that delivered success for Scotland. Will he now consider having all-party representation on his new strategic group to maintain that unity of purpose throughout the next seven years? If he is reluctant to agree to that, will he at least consider an all-party liaison group with party spokespeople to maintain the cross-party consensus that has served the nation so well so far?

I am conscious that the First Minister's statement ignored entirely sportscotland's role. I am also conscious that the SNP manifesto promised its abolition, and that sportscotland's future is now under active review. Given sportscotland's proven expertise in promoting sport in Scotland, will the First Minister today end the continuing uncertainty about its future and allow it simply to get on with the job of promoting sport in Scotland in the run-up to the games?

Many people will welcome the games transport plan. Does the First Minister agree that the speedy completion of the northern extension of the M74 is a vital part of delivering that plan and meeting the commitments on athlete travel time that were made in the bid document?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I thank Wendy Alexander for acknowledging the people who have been responsible for securing the games for Scotland.

On the question of all-party representation, the strategic group is a continuation of the First Minister's 2014 group, and it contains the same partners that were on the strategic body that the former First Minister established. As those partners have ownership of the organising company for the games, I do not think that it would be appropriate to follow Wendy Alexander's suggestion of having all-party representation on the group. Indeed, there was no precedent for that when her Government was in power.

However, parliamentary co-operation on the games is absolutely fundamental. As members will have noticed, I committed in my statement to making regular reports to Parliament and to ensuring parliamentary committees' active role in scrutinising not just the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill but the Government's plans for securing the games' legacy effect. The committees are probably the appropriate mechanism in that respect, but I will consider Wendy Alexander's proposal for establishing another kind of liaison group, perhaps after the initial scrutiny details have been completed.

With regard to sportscotland, it is part of our wider review of the public sector, which includes not only it but the Scottish Institute of Sport and the regional institutes. We will have an answer that gives clear direction on the matter by the end of the year. However, whether sportscotland, another body or the Government itself is responsible, we will implement what is required to run a successful games in Glasgow in 2014.

As for transport connections—which, I should point out, include not just the M74 but a range of other transport projects—the Government is committed to them. However, I am sure that Wendy Alexander agrees that although such projects and infrastructure obviously must be in place in time for the games, they must conform to a budget and to competitive conditions. If we do not ensure that that happens, it will send substantially the wrong signal across a range of infrastructure projects, not least of which are the regeneration projects in the east end of Glasgow. That is the responsible way of dealing with her points.

Photo of Annabel Goldie Annabel Goldie Conservative

I, too, welcome the First Minister back from Sri Lanka and thank him for the role that he played there on behalf of Scotland. He said that Friday was a great day of celebration—it certainly was. I never thought that on the same day I would be required to embrace Nicola Sturgeon and Wendy Alexander. The First Minister was probably immensely relieved to be thousands of miles away.

I echo the First Minister's congratulations to the bid team and all the other individuals at local and national level who, whether in a political capacity or otherwise, contributed to this triumph. It is also a tribute to Glasgow's greatest asset—its people—and it is certainly a feather in Scotland's cap.

However, I think that the First Minister will agree that, amidst the jubilation, serious issues have to be addressed and challenges met. I listened with some concern to his response to Wendy Alexander on the M74 extension. If we are to have the games at all, the extension will have to be completed and open long before 2014, to ensure the movement of essential goods and services that will be necessary for the construction work. Can he confirm that the transport project will happen, and is there a timescale for it?

Does the First Minister also agree that, as well as the physical legacy for Glasgow that will arise out of the games, there will be an important sporting legacy in terms of the thousands of young Scots who, I am sure, will be inspired to take up sport? What will be done actively to channel, nurture and support that enthusiasm throughout Scotland?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

On the M74 extension, yes, it will happen in good time for the games. I am sure that Annabel Goldie agrees that we have to ensure that there are competitive conditions not only for the M74 extension but for the wider transport infrastructure that will be required for the games.

On Ms Goldie's first question, I should have acknowledged the role of lord provost Bob Winter, who was a tremendous asset not only to the efforts in Sri Lanka but in receiving delegations from all over the Commonwealth to the great city of Glasgow during the summer. I happened to be doing an interview with the lord provost when a vision came on our screens of the Deputy First Minister in what seemed like a close dance with Glasgow's deputy lord provost. We had a debate as to who was more damaged by that, but both the lord provost and I came to the conclusion that our deputies were doing a fine job in our absence. I have no knowledge of the other embraces that Annabel Goldie mentioned, but I am sure that they were equally close and equally effective.

In mentioning the inspiration effect throughout Scotland, Annabel Goldie touches on something of huge significance. I visited a primary school in East Lothian today, and I took the opportunity to ask the various classes, from primary 2 to primary 7, what they thought of last week's events. There was virtually 100 per cent knowledge among the children about what happened last week—tremendously detailed knowledge, right down to the number of voting countries and what the vote was, which was heartening. That is an indication of the inspirational effect that the games can have, particularly for the next generation, not just on sports but on attitude to life and attitude to Scotland and its place in the world. The legacy consultation document that we will publish in the next few weeks will centre on that effect, so that we can grasp that huge opportunity with open arms. I am certain that all parties in the chamber will greet it with great enthusiasm.

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

I welcome the First Minister's statement and extend my congratulations to everyone who was involved in the bid, particularly to Louise Martin, Derek Casey and Steven Purcell, who all showed tireless drive and leadership in winning the bid for Scotland. As the First Minister did, I acknowledge the work of the former First Minister, Jack McConnell, in developing the Scottish bid. I was particularly pleased that he was on the stage at the Old Fruitmarket when we heard that single word—"Glasgow"—announced over the satellite link and the whole place went wild.

Gaining the Commonwealth games is a fantastic success, not just for Glasgow but for the whole of Scotland, so I ask the First Minister to do all that he can to ensure that the benefits are delivered across all Scotland.

With both the Commonwealth games and the Olympic games now coming to the UK, does the First Minister agree that it is vital to have facilities right across our nation that meet the challenge? Will he confirm that his Government will now fund projects such as the 50m swimming pool in Aberdeen, and increase investment in sports facilities in all regions of Scotland? That would be the first step in ensuring that future Scottish medallists, wherever they live, have access to high quality international-standard facilities.

The next step is to build on community and grass-roots sport. I am encouraged by the First Minister's reassurance that lottery funds will contribute to building grass-roots sports, but there have been cuts, as he knows. I ask him to make the further commitment today that all unclaimed assets in dormant bank accounts that will now be made available to the Scottish Government—a likely £60 million—will be directed, through the lottery, to young people and in particular to young people's sport.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I shall consider Nicol Stephen's last suggestion carefully.

On lottery benefits, there is concern about the impact of the Olympics, as the leader of the Liberal Democrats will know. I know that he has been extremely concerned about the subject and has made a number of speeches on it. That is something that we will be discussing on a tripartite basis at the strategy committee tomorrow. As I said in my statement, we cannot allow a situation to develop in which funds are drained away from the grass roots as opportunities open up. We will have more to say about that in the near future.

Nicol Stephen asked about facilities around Scotland. As an MP for the North East of Scotland, I am obviously keen that there be a 50m pool in the area, but it must be designed for the task in hand and it must be cost effective. I am sure that discussions will continue with Aberdeen City Council to achieve that, in much the same way that discussions about the diving facilities—the last of the specific games venues for which agreement has yet to be reached—must continue with City of Edinburgh Council. The effect around Scotland should be seen in grass-roots facilities, in addition to our existing facilities. As Steven Purcell said, the games are not just Glasgow's games but Scotland's games, and our forthcoming document will touch on how their impact and legacy can be spread right across the country.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

I wish to call as many back benchers as I can, so I ask for brief questions.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

As others have done, I congratulate the bid team on securing the games and I welcome the First Minister's intention to ensure that the 2014 games is the best-ever sporting event in Scotland—although I suspect that the right result against the world champions on Saturday will be difficult to surpass.

Does the First Minister agree that it is not only about having the best-ever games in Scotland, and that we should aim to have the best Scottish team competing in the Commonwealth games when they come to Glasgow? Can the First Minister assure Parliament that his Government will work with the various national sporting bodies to ensure that we develop our athletes over the next six years and have the strongest possible Scottish team competing in 2014?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Yes, I can give that assurance. Much of that will be covered in the legacy document that we publish over the next few months.

My view is that the impact and the inspirational effect of Glasgow 2014 will not be confined to the 17 competing sports in the games, but will apply to other sports. Many of the messages that are broadcast will apply equally to non-Commonwealth games sports.

I will be at the game on Saturday—I am extremely hopeful that the feel-good factor that is sweeping the nation will continue.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I thank the First Minister for his statement and put on record our appreciation of the work that was done by all who were involved in the bid and its success.

Our ambition was to make a generational difference to the city of Glasgow, to showcase the best that our nation can offer in holding international events and, as the First Minister rightly said in his statement, to make a difference to sport throughout the country.

The document that was signed includes a key infrastructure component: that athletes should be within 20 minutes of their venues. Key elements of that will be a successful M74 extension and a successful east-end regeneration route. Can the First Minister give a commitment that, in order to ensure that the games are fit for purpose, there will be no delay in the construction of either of those major transport infrastructure projects?

Many members have referred to the appreciation of the success throughout the country. I shared with my constituents in the east end of Glasgow the funny experience of cheering a victory in which the First Minister was involved. That was the right thing for Scotland. We also believe, however, that the headquarters of our national sports agency would be best placed within the national arena in the east end of Glasgow. We were with the First Minister when he travelled the 5,000 miles to Sri Lanka. We are not even asking for 500 miles this week, of all weeks, given the international event that will take place on Saturday. We are asking him to go that extra 40 miles and to put the national sports agency headquarters in our national arena to ensure that, in his own words, we have the "best games ever", because of the role that sportscotland and its HQ could play for the people of Glasgow and Scotland.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The legacy effect of the games will be felt, first and foremost, in the city of Glasgow. As Frank McAveety will have noticed, my statement dealt with the economic impact analysis, which suggests a net increase of 1,200 jobs across Scotland, 1,000 of which will be in Glasgow.

The projects that Frank McAveety mentioned are extremely important. They are part of the Government's programme and will be built in good time for the games. They must be built competitively—if they are not, that will have implications for all the infrastructure projects in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland.

The decision on sportscotland will be made by the end of the year. I am sure that Frank McAveety and others will contribute to the on-going consultation.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

As many other members did, I knew that the bid had been successful when I saw my three formidable parliamentary sisters dancing together.

Does the First Minister agree that, apart from stimulating competitiveness at grass-roots level, the games provide a unique opportunity to increase the fitness of this generation of our children, at a time when obesity and the consequential increase in, for example, type 2 diabetes are of such concern?

I advise the First Minister that the Health and Sport Committee, subject to the agreement of its members, might want to be involved in the project, as appropriate, given that the project impacts on the committee's remit.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I will welcome scrutiny from the Health and Sport Committee and other parliamentary committees. On Scotland's health record, I am sure that there will be a benefit across a range of conditions, of which Scotland currently has too many.

I have no knowledge of the dancing that Christine Grahame mentioned, which unfortunately was not shown in the pictures that were beamed back to Sri Lanka, although I dearly wish that it had been shown, given what has been said. I am sure that I can get a DVD—that will be another legacy effect of the games.

Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

In passing, I wonder how the First Minister squares his comment that a decision on sportscotland will be made by December with the commitment that he made to me in Parliament that there will be a full consultation on sportscotland's future. As I understand it, that consultation has not yet begun.

Will the First Minister acknowledge that the potential talent of many youngsters in Scotland, including those who cheered most loudly on Friday in Glasgow, might not be realised, because of the challenges that they face as a result of disadvantage and deprivation in their everyday lives? I agree with the First Minister that there is a need to sustain grass-roots sports activity and I welcome the importance that he places on physical regeneration of the east end. Will he ensure that in his broader budget he continues and sustains financial support for crucial local community regeneration initiatives, which reach out to young people, some of whom live in the most isolated and unsupported families and who also perhaps face domestic abuse? Will he support such initiatives, so that those young people can reach a stage at which they can begin to think about being involved in a sporting adventure that many other youngsters are already welcoming and embracing?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The consultation on sportscotland is on-going. I know that Johann Lamont will agree that there should be no unnecessary delay in making a decision on the matter. To make the decision by the end of the year seems to be a reasonable timetable.

On the regeneration effect, community planning partnerships are very much part of our plans. A statement on the spending review will be made in Parliament this afternoon. I advise Johann Lamont to listen carefully to it—I suspect that she will find the answer to her question in it.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

I thank the First Minister and the ex-First Minister for their terrific efforts to secure the Commonwealth games, and I thank many other people, including the individuals who were seconded from sportscotland.

In considering preparations for the games, will the First Minister consider the creation of sports schools to develop our most talented young people, as the Scottish Institute of Sport suggested after a recent study? Does he agree that the specialist sporting experience of sportscotland would be invaluable in developing the legacy of which he speaks and in connecting Scotland's communities to the games in the context of sport and recreation?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

On Jamie McGrigor's first point, the matter is under consideration. The question is whether to put the emphasis on developing existing schools with existing specialisms or on setting up new specialist schools.

Connectivity throughout Scotland is very much part of the plans for the games.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

We all hope that Scottish youngsters will be able to cheer on their sporting heroes and role models and that those role models will inspire youngsters to take an active interest in sport. We also hope to showcase the best of Scotland and Scots and to welcome visitors from abroad during the Commonwealth games. Will the First Minister endeavour to ensure that ticket touting, which is the scourge of many people who support their clubs and country, is tackled? Will he try to stop that iniquitous trade and ensure that the Commonwealth games in Scotland offers an affordable and positive experience for spectators and participants?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill has been published, as I know Bob Doris appreciates. It creates a new criminal offence that prohibits unauthorised sale of Commonwealth games tickets

"for an amount exceeding the ticket's face value, or ... with a view to making a profit."

On summary conviction, an offender

"is liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale", which is currently £5,000.

Bob Doris made a good point in saying that games elsewhere have been deeply afflicted by the problem, but there have also been good examples. In devising the bill, we looked at best practice elsewhere—the most successful examples—so that we can try to limit, or eliminate, the scourge of ticket touting.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

I also thank the First Minister for his statement. As he knows—he has touched on it—hosting the Commonwealth games presents huge opportunities, but also huge challenges, for Glasgow. Does he agree that one of the biggest issues is to ensure that the inspiration and role model that the Commonwealth's superb athletes provide gives us a major opportunity—building on the London Olympics of 2012—to make a step change in the attitudes of young people, not only the elite, but those at the grass roots, to exercise and to take part in sport, competitive endeavour and life motivation?

Does the First Minister accept that a key driver will be building of capacity in the network of local sports clubs and youth organisations, particularly in Glasgow, but across Scotland? If so, does he also accept that that will require funding beyond existing lottery and other provision? What is his Government prepared to do, or to consider, to ensure that infrastructure investment—as Nicol Stephen mentioned—and expertise investment are made in local sport and youth organisations to meet those opportunities, and to meet them for the long term?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

That is a matter for all Scotland—the legacy effect of the games must be felt across the country. I advise Robert Brown to listen very closely to the spending review statement that is about to be made and in which he will hear how funds will be distributed across Scotland and what increases can be expected.

On lottery funding, as I said to Nicol Stephen, the significant problem about which there is a question is that an estimated £150 million that was expected for support of grass-roots facilities may be lost. As I also said, the strategy group—the tripartite arrangement—will discuss specifically that matter tomorrow. I hope to have something else to say to Parliament on how we can avoid grass-roots facilities being starved of lottery funding just when this enormous opportunity beckons for the Scottish people.

Photo of Lord George Foulkes Lord George Foulkes Labour

I also warmly congratulate the First Minister on his important part in Glasgow's successful bid, particularly his sacrifice in missing Hearts' great victory over Aberdeen on Sunday.

I will pick up on the point that Nicol Stephen, Johann Lamont and Robert Brown made—which was also made to me by the unite the clubs campaign in Lothian—on the importance of local sports facilities in which young Scots can train to compete with the best in the Commonwealth. Will the strategy group, at its meeting tomorrow, agree to bring together representatives of local authorities, clubs, sporting bodies, the Big Lottery Fund, and private interests such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, to consider a seven-year plan to build up young Scottish sporting talent? I hope that he considers that to be a constructive suggestion.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

That is a very constructive suggestion. It will very much be part of the legacy document that will be published in the coming weeks. On the first point, I celebrate any Heart of Midlothian victory. I am not sure, but I think that some of my constituents might find George Foulkes's endorsement of the north-east of Scotland to be guilt by association.

Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party

I also sincerely thank and congratulate the many people who have brought the Commonwealth games to my home city of Glasgow. The First Minister mentioned that we now have great responsibilities and opportunities. I could not agree more, particularly in terms of regeneration and the environment. What environmental impact will the games have? Can he assure Parliament that one legacy of the games will be environmental sustainability?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

That is a hugely important point and it was uppermost in our minds as we prepared for the bid. That is why the Scottish Government supported an environmental forum for the 2014 games, which included representatives of the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the RSPB Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow 2014 bid team, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, the Ramblers Association Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Soil Association, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. That forum was important in advising the bid partners on all matters relating to the environmental impacts and sustainability. It will continue to play an advisory role in delivering the 2014 games. Environmental aspects in Glasgow's bid were heavily complimented during the decision-making process: not only was it the right thing to do, it was effective in arguing the case for Glasgow and Scotland.

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

Other members have thanked the partners who delivered the successful bid, but I add my thanks and praise to them. I also place on record my thanks to the officials of the Government's sports division, who have worked hard over the past three years to help to secure the games for Scotland.

The First Minister will be aware that, in sport, good preparation often makes the difference between winning and losing. Given that our athletes will compete in the New Delhi Commonwealth games in 2010, will he ensure that the Commonwealth games endowment fund will be maintained—or, indeed, enhanced—so that our athletes have the best chance of improving on their record performance in Melbourne in 2006 in setting the scene for 2014?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I will look very closely at what Patricia Ferguson suggests. She should pay particular heed to certain aspects of the budget statement later this afternoon. I do not want to pre-empt that statement, so I will leave it to John Swinney to announce.

On Patricia Ferguson's general point, of course we must give maximum support to our athletes and competitors in order to continue the run of sporting success in Scotland.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

To save time, I will just say well done to everyone.

Will the First Minister assure me that the decision on whether to retain sportscotland or amalgamate it with the Scottish Institute of Sport will not hinge solely on the role that sportscotland will play in the Commonwealth games? Sportscotland's primary purpose is to build up community sport, while the Scottish Institute of Sport's purpose is to protect elite athletes. Both objectives should be safeguarded. We would safeguard them better where the expertise has been accumulated—in Edinburgh—but I will not argue about that if the First Minister assures me that the percentage split for the cost of providing the diving facility at the Royal Commonwealth pool will be fair and certainly not detrimental to the City of Edinburgh Council, which, as I am sure he knows, has a great deal of manoeuvring to do to cope with the change at Meadowbank.

I make a direct plea to the First Minister not to listen to all the siren voices that say that simply having the games will inspire young Scots to become physically active. If that were the case, obese young Scots and young Europeans of other nationalities would not be wearing Ronaldo and Ronaldinho strips. We need good coaching and good local facilities to get people into a healthy lifestyle.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I will not listen to siren voices. The last point that Margo MacDonald made is extremely good.

It has been suggested that the Government could pay 100 per cent of the cost of refurbishment of the diving pool at the Royal Commonwealth pool in Edinburgh. That would be unprecedented and would apply to none of the other facilities that are being developed for the games—or, indeed, to any sports facilities that are being developed across the country. Discussions will continue with the City of Edinburgh Council to provide a proper outcome and a fair distribution of funding. I should say that the diving facility is the last remaining facility in the games bid document on which agreement in principle needs to be reached. We are hopeful that that can be done and that discussions with the City of Edinburgh Council on an equitable sharing of funding will continue.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

That ends questions to the First Minister. I apologise to the three members whom I was unable to call.