Glasgow 2014 Legacy Plan

– in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 23rd April 2009.

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Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour 2:15 pm, 23rd April 2009

The next item of business is a debate on motion S3M-3948, in the name of Shona Robison, on the Glasgow 2014 legacy plan.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party 2:56 pm, 23rd April 2009

I am pleased to be able to call the debate. I am happy to accept Frank McAveety's amendment, which reflects our ambitions for increasing sports participation and physical activity to be a hallmark of our legacy aspirations.

The motion sends out a strong message that our legacy programmes are for all of Scotland. To that end, we have been working in tandem with a wide range of partners including the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and Glasgow City Council, the latter of which will rightly have its own legacy plan. That co-operation with our partners has been key to our progress to date. Of course, we will continue to work closely with them as we go forward in implementing our legacy ambitions for Scotland. A unique set of opportunities will come to Scotland through 2014, the children's games in 2011 and our work with London 2012. All of them will make a positive difference to our people and communities.

I turn to our engagement with United Kingdom colleagues. I was pleased to be able to attend the sports legacy board meeting in London last month. I look forward to further discussions in that regard. We will continue our engagement, but that should not detract from our case that £150 million of lottery money should return to Scotland. In September last year, with all members coming together in Margo MacDonald's debate on lottery funding, we saw this Parliament at its best. The Parliament unanimously agreed to her motion, which called for the return of the £150 million that has been diverted to help fund the London Olympics.

Recently, in a meeting with Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, I pressed our case—again—for the return of lottery funding. I am pleased to say that he has agreed to a further meeting in Glasgow, at which he will also meet the leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Purcell, and the Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, to discuss the matter. Proposed dates have been pencilled in. We are pursuing the issue as a matter of urgency. On 29 May, my officials will meet to explore all the possible options in our attempts to retrieve Scotland's money.

In December 2008, we published the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games interim plan, in which we set out our thinking to date and commitment to publish a fuller plan this summer. Much has been achieved since the last debate in September. Sportscotland now sits proudly in its new home at the epicentre of the games project. That is one of the first signposts of the legacy, but by no means the last. It builds on our support to deliver top-quality facilities that will benefit Scotland. Thus far, there is the £5 million towards a 50m pool in Aberdeen and a further £5 million towards redeveloping the Edinburgh diving pool. That funding reflects our commitment to spread the legacy across Scotland. Only yesterday, during a visit to the Gorbals leisure centre, I announced a record investment of £1.2 million in swimming. I am aware that that good centre is in Frank McAveety's constituency, and it is a facility that he should certainly be proud of.

The investment is evidence that we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that Scotland is investing in a strong and lasting legacy. However, we need to work together as a Parliament and to build on cross-party support to capitalise on the hard work that has been done to date to fulfil our ambition of hosting the best-ever Commonwealth games and to leave a lasting legacy of which Scotland can rightly be proud. We owe it to the people of Scotland, who have backed the games overwhelmingly, to ensure that the benefits of hosting such a high-profile event are felt in communities throughout Scotland.

I will touch on some key legacy areas. Last September's debate touched on the fact that the opportunities that come from 2014 do not cover just sport, important though that is. Those wider ambitions cover health, business, tourism, learning, volunteering and the environment, among other things.

First and foremost, the games are a sporting event. We want our athletes to build on their recent successes and to do well. Sportscotland and the governing bodies of sport have set bold performance targets for winning medals and for how they will work to develop the sporting infrastructure. We believe that building an excellent sporting infrastructure will deliver not only success at the games in 2014, but sustained success and opportunities for others to progress in sport throughout Scotland.

We are clear about the fact that hosting the games gives us a great chance to motivate people of all ages and abilities—perhaps even members of the Parliament—to become more active in the run-up to the event and beyond. Our ambitions are high, and we believe that the people of Scotland will be inspired to set themselves a personal challenge to improve their health and to feel better about themselves by getting involved in physical activity. That will enable us to begin to tackle the obesity problem that affects so many Scots of all ages and to which the amendment refers. To help to make our ambitions a reality, work is under way to plan a series of events that will capture and use the excitement of the games to encourage people to get involved and to be more active.

We will develop an ambitious common health legacy programme to provide us with a real opportunity to use the games to encourage people who do not normally take part in sport and physical activities to get more involved. One size does not fit all—that is why we need to offer something for everyone and to allow people to set their own goals, which they can achieve at their own pace. By encouraging people to change their behaviour, we can achieve a legacy of which we can all be proud.

At the debate in September, we heard tales of the frustration that is involved in accessing facilities and resources. We want to improve the situation and to make better use of existing facilities, including outdoor spaces, through activities such as community sports hubs. Hubs are about more than improving access to facilities—they will provide a central focus for schools, local sports clubs, youth groups and others to come together under the umbrella of a single community sports organisation that is linked to opportunities for casual participation in the local community. We will continue our work with COSLA to identify and learn from best practice in developing the hub model.

With an estimated 15,000 volunteers required for the games, we have a real chance to engage with those who would not normally be involved and to show them the benefits that are to be gained from working in their communities. Volunteering has a great deal of potential to strengthen communities by bringing them together through activities and by building mutual understanding through intergenerational work.

Of course, there are monetary benefits from hosting the games. It is estimated that they could lead to 1,200 new jobs in Scotland, including 1,000 in Glasgow. That is welcome news indeed in the current hard economic times. The recently launched business club will help to prepare our businesses for the networking opportunities that will come as part of the games. The successful hosting and delivery of the games can only enhance Scotland's reputation. The games give us a great opportunity to showcase our unique heritage to the world by having people visit and share in the event.

Although we are clear about the fact that our legacy aspirations stretch Scotland-wide, Glasgow—especially the east end of Glasgow— will feel at first hand the benefits that are being delivered. Let me be clear—without the opportunity that is afforded by the games, the regeneration of the east end of Glasgow would not happen on the same scale. The infrastructure that will be put in place to deliver the games will play a vital part in the creation of a sustainable, vibrant new neighbourhood at the heart of Glasgow's east end. That regeneration activity is being led by Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company. With the momentum provided by the games, the company will deliver around £2 billion of new investment, 21,000 jobs, 400,000m2 of business space, 10,000 homes and 20,000 new residents by 2028. That very much reflects our view that legacy is a long-term process.

Clyde Gateway URC is just one of a number of partners with which we have been working closely. A range of organisations from among local government, health, the third sector, sporting bodies, businesses and many other areas has been involved, united in a common purpose of developing a legacy that Scotland can truly be proud of. We will need to continue to work with all those organisations and others if we are to be successful and if we are serious in our ambition for the legacy of the games to reach the whole of Scotland and Scottish society. A key challenge is to ensure, along with our partners, that we transform the warm words into meaningful actions; that we engage with communities; and that those communities feel the benefits of having the games. That could be achieved through the most disadvantaged or excluded people improving their skills by using one of the volunteering programmes; through businesses competing for and winning games-related contracts; or through our towns feeling the benefits of increased numbers of tourists and young people, with a better understanding of the Commonwealth being developed through the international programmes. The opportunities are endless.

The legacy that we are developing with our partners will provide opportunities for communities throughout Scotland to enjoy and participate in the cultural programmes that will be delivered and for people to become more physically active, with improved access to local facilities. Any one of those things would enrich and improve the lives of our communities, develop skills and promote our people and country to the outside world.

I am delighted to reflect today, around five years from the start of the games, that a lot of hard work has already been done, as is evidenced in the interim legacy plan. However, there is still a lot more to do. We are ambitious, but we are also realistic. Hosting the games and working to secure a lasting and positive legacy from them will not be a cure for all the ills of society; nor can achieving a lasting legacy be done by Government alone—it is about the whole of Scotland coming together in a common purpose. To be successful, all of Scotland will need to work together, not least in the Parliament, and I encourage you all to consider how the games can help you, our communities and Scotland as a whole to realise our, your and their ambitions.

I am pleased to move, That the Parliament welcomes the forthcoming meeting to take place in Glasgow between the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy and Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell to discuss the release of a substantial sum of National Lottery funding towards supporting a legacy for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow; supports the work of the Scottish Government and its partners, including the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Glasgow City Council, local authorities across Scotland, NHS boards, public bodies and the third sector, in planning for a legacy for the people of Scotland from these Games; agrees that the Interim Games Legacy Plan, published on 18 December 2008, set the right context for that planning with its emphasis on health, physical activity and sport and its coverage of volunteering, education and learning, culture, sustainability, business, skills, tourism and Scotland's international profile; commends the real opportunity that the hosting of the Games offers for regenerating the east end of Glasgow, and further agrees that, following the launch of the full Games Legacy Plan in the summer, the Scottish Parliament can play a part by encouraging individuals, groups, communities and businesses to get involved so that Scotland's legacy from the 2014 Games can be lasting and positive.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 3:07 pm, 23rd April 2009

Thank you, Presiding Officer, for the chance to respond to the minister. I welcome the commitment that she has made today to try to work in partnership and hopefully to maintain the new spirit of co-operation and partnership between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. The opportunity from the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth games, and from many of the activities that will surround them, is critical in ensuring that we have a much brighter sporting future, not just in elite development but in participation.

I welcome the minister's visit to my constituency yesterday, and I appreciate the apology for not notifying members of the visit. If she wishes to come along on Sunday night, she will see me engaging in much more active participation, as I dictate the play on the seven-a-side football pitch in the Gorbals leisure centre—although I will be doing that from a much more static position compared with previous occasions. I will take advice from my colleague Bill Aitken on how to maximise skill levels in terms of distribution of the ball.

The word "legacy" is really important. It has two definitions that are of interest to the Scottish Parliament. First, it is an ambassadorial word, relating to the idea of preaching or spreading to the world our achievements or intentions. The Commonwealth games is a clear example of a legacy that we wish to use, through the Commonwealth, to profile Scotland's success in putting on big events. More critically, the challenge is about how we can use the games as a tool for broader social improvement.

I also like "legacy" because it is a 15th century Scottish word, meaning some property that is left by will to future generations. I will touch on the remarks that the minister rightly made about the whole legacy for the east end of Glasgow, but I also have a national responsibility with my portfolio role. I am obviously passionate about this issue, as it impacts most dramatically on my constituents.

I draw attention to one important point in relation to our wider, perhaps more argumentative, debate about the allocation of resources from the UK to the Scottish Government, through the block grant. Budgets were also tight when decisions were being made by Glasgow City Council in the mid-1990s, but political decisions were made at that time to prioritise expenditure in order to maximise opportunities in the long run.

There has never been a golden age of public resources; there is always much greater demand than can be met by the resources that are available. The Gorbals leisure centre is part of the legacy in Glasgow because there was a vision to try to use sport as a tool for social improvement. The evidence can be seen in the facilities that were developed, but much more needs to be done, not just in Glasgow but throughout the country. I know from debates that we have had in the Parliament that members share my ambition to ensure that action is much more effective in future.

The 2014 commitment and the 2012 Olympics present a chance to develop elite athletes. I welcome the support of the previous Executive and the current Government for elite athlete development, particularly through the Scottish Institute of Sport and sports organisations. I welcome yesterday's announcement of resources for the development of swimming in Scotland. At that event, Doug Gillon talked about the aids to sport that are needed. First, we need an audit of current facilities. We know that the range and location of facilities—particularly swimming facilities—are inadequate. Secondly, we need to integrate the work of national governing bodies, local authorities, the voluntary sector and other partners. Thirdly, we need to consider delivery. Should there be a programme of investment in schools? It does not matter whether a school was procured through public-private partnership or conventional procurement. A secondary school in my constituency, which was procured through PPP investment, is dramatically important in sports hub development in the east end of Glasgow. I do not want to hear people's ideological positions on procurement; what matters is how we draw up the specifications.

I have talked about the need for an audit of current facilities, an integrated approach and more effective delivery. The minister can play a role, by showing leadership. That is the key challenge for anyone who has been in her position; it is an issue that I and the people who followed me had to address. The minister has an important opportunity to make a difference.

A major survey of more than 1,500 Glaswegians was conducted recently, to consider legacy and local people's views. People would like better-quality facilities and they would like sports developments in the east end of Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland to generate confidence and a positive image. I can testify to the views of people at the Dalmarnock centre, which is 150yd from the site of the new games village. They think that there is to be a more structured approach to regenerating their area than has been the case in a generation. That is not to invalidate previous, noble attempts to tackle economic and social disadvantage; I simply acknowledge that we have a new opportunity to do so. The opportunity is fortuitous. In the economic situation that the country is facing—this is where I get a bit selfish—if a project must be delivered, it should be the 2014 games, given the Government's commitments to the Commonwealth Games Federation.

I am sure that members agree that we need to do more to deliver high-quality physical education. I do not envy the minister her task and I will have a few pops at her and other ministers if the objective is not achieved. The issue needs to be driven from the top, so that we can overcome the bureaucracy that is hindering the delivery of the Government's reasonable commitment to PE in schools.

Eastbank academy in my constituency received investment through the PPP programme and, with the help of lottery funding, has created a partnership to develop community clubs. Last night, I learned that a primary school that feeds into the academy is involved in more exotic sports, in which we might not expect people in Glasgow to be participating. Last night's discussion was about an organisation that provides Irish sports—camogie, Gaelic football and hurling—to kids across the denominational and non-denominational divide, bringing together the kids and integrating them into the community clubs. Those are good things not only because they get kids active, but because they tangentially help some of the social attitudes that bedevil Glasgow and other parts of Scotland.

We need to have good coaches, and we will not have those unless we have a much better-integrated system for clubs and the quality of the facilities that youngsters can use is high. We can get nostalgic about the informal street play that many of us may have had as young children, but I am not nostalgic for the charcoal, black ash or red blaes where some of those wonderful skills that Bill Aitken and I have displayed in recent years were honed to perfection. The reality is that they no longer provide our younger generation with an acceptable quality of play.

We need a major campaign in Scotland to ensure that schools are open much longer—particularly at weekends—and are much easier to access so that we can maximise the use of their facilities. The Government and the minister in particular can drive that, and I hope that they will take that from the debate. We face a major task: we want to have good games and we want regeneration but, more important, we want many young people and adults to be more inclined to participate in whatever form. We have received suggestions on that from organisations, and I might address those in my closing speech.

I hope that we will be able to address those issues over the forthcoming months and years to make the games something of which we can genuinely all be proud and of which we can speak as making a real difference for future generations.

I move amendment S3M-3948.1, to insert after "Games in Glasgow":

"welcomes this new spirit of cooperation and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government to maximise the benefit of sporting events in Scotland and the wider United Kingdom, especially the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2012 Olympic Games, in terms of encouraging sporting participation and harnessing the talents of Scots; notes Glasgow City Council's own 2014 legacy plan and calls on the Scottish Government to work with other local authorities to produce their own legacy plans to meet shared aspirations on tackling obesity and low levels of participation".

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative 3:16 pm, 23rd April 2009

The Scottish Conservatives welcome the opportunity to take part in today's important debate. We were 100 per cent behind the successful campaign to secure the 2014 games for Glasgow and Scotland and are now ready and willing to play a constructive part in ensuring that Scotland can reap benefits from their staging, which is truly a mega-event for our country.

We would all agree that, if we consider historical examples—which is a logical and appropriate approach—we see that other cities and countries have gained varying degrees of legacy from hosting major sporting events. Barcelona, which hosted the 1992 Olympics, famously built an estimated 50 years-worth of infrastructure in only eight years. At the opposite end of the scale, the funding legacy of the 1976 Montreal Olympics gave the circular Olympic stadium the moniker of the Big Owe, after the debt owing from the financing of the games took 30 years to pay off.

On a cautionary note, it may be worth remembering the near disaster of the run-up to the previous Commonwealth games in Scotland, when the funding got into such disarray that Robert Maxwell—Captain Bob, the sometime employer of Helen Liddell, our ex-Secretary of State for Scotland—had to come to the rescue although, in retrospect, perhaps it would have been better if he had rescued the people in the Mirror group pension fund. Especially in the circumstances of the savage and disturbing cuts that were announced yesterday, it is vital that the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council have all the finances watertight in the lead-up to the games.

Some academics would even say that no mega-event sporting competition has ever achieved the legacy that was hoped for. The much-respected Professor Fred Coalter of the University of Stirling's department of sports studies, who—as other members will no doubt mention—gave evidence to the Health and Sport Committee, has spoken of the substantial scepticism about the claims that are made for the direct and indirect economic impact of such events. Therefore, we should all be ambitious for what Scotland can gain while also being realistic. We need to be able to determine between and measure the tangible and intangible benefits. Examples of those are, on the one hand, the new physical sports infrastructure—I am sure that my friend Bill Aitken will talk about that—and, on the other, the boost in national confidence and spirit, particularly among Scottish youth. Both are important.

It would be fair to hope that Scotland could build on and exceed the successes that were achieved in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth games. The evaluation report on the seven-year legacy of those games concluded that 220 people gained employment, 3,092 obtained a recognised qualification, 8,473 businesses benefited, 913 voluntary organisations were supported and 2,637 people became involved in voluntary work.

I welcome and support the strong recognition of the hugely important role of the voluntary sector that emerged from the consultation on our legacy plan, and I look forward to that being developed. Several national agencies and voluntary organisations suggested helpful ways in which they could support the implementation of a volunteering programme. I look forward to the ministers responding to that point.

Regarding business, I am keen to hear from ministers what steps the Scottish Government can take to ensure that our small and medium-sized companies, which are the backbone of our economy, get a fair crack of the whip on contracts. I am positive about all the communities of Scotland—rather than just those in the direct vicinity of the Glasgow games—working on their own legacy plans, so I welcome the suggestion in Labour's amendment that the Government should work with local authority stakeholders to set local aims and aspirations. I know that Frank McAveety, for example, wants free swimming, which is a fine aspiration, especially since his party seems to be well and truly up the creek without a paddle.

Seriously, though, free swimming would be a fine legacy for children, especially in light of the wonderful toll of medals that our Scottish swimmers achieved during the Melbourne games. Of course, credit for that must go to the former Scottish Institute of Sport in Stirling, which the Administration has seen fit to merge, perhaps unwisely, with sportscotland.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

With reference to the member's recall of the number of swimming medals won in Australia, the team was so shallow in its quality and quantity that it could not put a real A team in the pool. We should not be too complacent.

Photo of Jamie McGrigor Jamie McGrigor Conservative

Complacency is something that I am never big on, as the member knows.

Ramblers Scotland sent me a useful briefing for today's debate. I agree with it that, as well as sport, walking and rambling should play a key role in delivering a lasting legacy throughout Scotland from 2014. In that respect, I declare an interest as honorary president of the Highland Disabled Ramblers Association. The excitement around the games must ultimately be a catalyst to get more people active and enjoy the health benefits that exercise brings. Encouraging walking is one of the most cost-effective ways of getting people of all ages involved in physical activity. The open and accessible, well-grazed hills of the Scottish countryside are a perfect stage for that activity, which can be undertaken by all age groups.

Before I conclude, I will touch on the aspect of lottery funding for the 2014 legacy. In the plenary debate on funding community sport last September, I said:

"Although the Conservatives are happy to be 100 per cent behind the London 2012 games and want everything to be done that will make them a British success story, it is legitimate to argue that some additional lottery funding should, as a consequence, be allocated to grass-roots sports development in Scotland, especially as no lottery money is directly involved in funding the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, which should also be a British success story."—[Official Report, 25 September 2008; c 11167.]

That remains our position and we would urge ministers to approach the forthcoming meeting in Glasgow in a positive way. We do not want the issue to become a sterile disagreement between London and Holyrood, with the fundamental point that we need to invest in community sport development and facilities possibly being lost. That is why we will support Labour's amendment tonight, even though Labour itself is a culprit when it comes to purloining billions of pounds of lottery money that should have gone to the original five good causes, including grass-roots sport, rather than to the Labour Government's pet projects. I remind members that it was the Conservative Government that started the lottery, which has helped many throughout our land.

The Scottish Conservatives recognise the once-in-a-generation opportunity that the Commonwealth games provide us with. We acknowledge the work that has been done in developing an achievable and ambitious legacy plan and pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to create it. We look forward to the final plan, which will be published in the summer. In the interests of our economy and, crucially, the improved health and wellbeing of citizens of all ages across the country, we stand ready to do our bit in encouraging all sectors and all individuals to become involved in the people, the place and the passion of Glasgow 2014.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 3:24 pm, 23rd April 2009

I know that all members taking part in the debate are looking forward to coming back after the summer recess to debate the final plan after it has been published during the summer. I know that we are all anxious to receive it.

I do not always agree with Jamie McGrigor, but I wholly agreed with the opening passage of his speech, because as Liberal Democrats we believe that it is absolutely right that Scotland should have the highest possible ambition for the legacy that can be achieved from the Glasgow Commonwealth games. However, as the minister rightly acknowledged and as Jamie McGrigor pointed out, we must also be cautious about how we achieve that. Examples were cited of previous games in Barcelona and Canada. However, I still think that the Manchester games provide, for the most part, a cautionary rather than encouraging tale. Indeed, in the oral evidence to which Jamie McGrigor referred, Professor Coalter quantified his concerns with these words:

"If the event achieves one tenth of what is set out in the consultation document, it will be extraordinarily successful."—[Official Report, Health and Sport Committee, 26 March 2008; c 731.]

Obviously, I think that we can do better than that, but I recognise that we ought to be cautious, given the real difficulties and the historical perspective, which Jamie McGrigor rightly said is challenging.

It is impossible not to agree with the underlying principles in the interim games legacy plan—as the minister enunciated, those include enhancing partnerships, enabling diversity, encouraging community engagement and embedding sustainability—but, as members have pointed out, ensuring that community engagement is encouraged not just in greater Glasgow but across Scotland probably presents the greatest challenge. For that reason, the Liberal Democrats will support the Labour amendment, which is clear about the need to engage with other councils. The question is how we do that. I will leave it to my colleague Nicol Stephen—who has a particular interest in the wider development issue—to develop the point further, but it is an issue. Given human nature, the fact that the games are described as the Glasgow games means that people's focus instinctively tends to narrow. That is not necessarily the right response, but we need to acknowledge that, to some extent, that happens. Ensuring that councils around Scotland are stimulated and enthused about the wider dimension is a major challenge. I do not suggest that councils cannot rise to that challenge, but I am glad that the debate is taking place now, so that we can begin on that work.

On the key elements in which we want to embed sustainability, I want to dwell not on elite athletes—not that they are unimportant, because they are critical for success on the day—but on the wider legacy, which is clearly about the impact on health and increased physical activity. The Health and Sport Committee has not yet published its report on pathways into sport, which we await, but anyone who has followed the evidence to the committee cannot have been other than struck by the daunting task that we all face in increasing levels of physical activity among our young people. If we do not achieve that, we will have an ever smaller cohort of people who participate in sport and, consequently, an even smaller cohort of those who might become the medal winners of the future. That is a critical element on which we must begin work now and which must be part and parcel of the legacy.

In addition to attracting people who might have the capacity to go into sport, we must consider whether, if the games succeed in stimulating interest not just in Glasgow but in Scotland as a whole, our nation has the capacity to take on board increased levels of interest. That brings the focus on to how we can increase the number and capacity of sports clubs and ensure that facilities are available where they do not naturally occur. Local facilities are critical.

The games will provide an enormous opportunity to promote Scottish culture and to extend our cultural ties by learning about the cultures of those from other nations who will participate in the games. Given that 85 nations are currently scheduled to participate in the 2010 Commonwealth games in New Delhi, the Glasgow games will provide an opportunity for young people throughout Scotland to engage actively with, take an interest in and gain a better understanding of the cultures of the guests from the around 85 nations—it will certainly not be fewer—who are expected to appear in Glasgow. Obviously, volunteering throughout Scotland should also receive a stimulus, given the need for 15,000 volunteers, as the minister described.

The business opportunities are potentially considerable, but as my colleagues at Westminster highlighted just yesterday, Scottish companies are experiencing difficulties with the tendering and contract process for the London Olympics. That is completely unacceptable, but it would be equally unacceptable if small businesses in Scotland in general and non-central belt companies in particular were to experience similar difficulties with the contract-awarding process for the Glasgow games.

As the minister said, the infrastructure possibilities relate largely to the sustainable redevelopment of Glasgow's east end, which is much to be welcomed. Broader issues such as how we develop infrastructure—transport links in particular—were discussed at length during this morning's debate on the transport infrastructure of the west of Scotland.

We must ensure not only that the people of Scotland can access and witness the games, but that our visitors are accommodated, too. As my colleague Robert Brown pointed out when he wound up this morning's debate for us—

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

I am sorry—sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference. Robert Brown majored on the redevelopment of Dalmarnock station as an international hub. We were grateful that the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change appeared, in principle, to accept that possibility.

There are opportunities across the piece. In addition to the cultural, infrastructure and business opportunities, we have an enormous opportunity to encourage healthier lifestyles and to provide greater access to sport. The Liberal Democrats will continue to have ambitions that are as high as those of any other party in the Parliament, but none of us should proceed without recognising that the historical perspective makes it clear that almost no one has succeeded in capturing a legacy from such sporting events in the past. That makes our ambitions even harder to achieve. I think that we can succeed, but we will not do so unless, as the minister said, we do a lot of work to translate warm words into meaningful actions.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party 3:32 pm, 23rd April 2009

I am pleased that the minister said that she was determined to continue to push the case for the proposed cut in lottery funding in Scotland to be reversed. It is easy to underestimate the value of lottery grants of £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000 to community organisations. Such funds will dry up if the cut in lottery funding proceeds, which will have an extremely damaging effect on local communities and could affect our ability to obtain legacy benefits from the 2014 Commonwealth games.

I am interested in the fact that Jamie McGrigor is anxious about the impact that the cut in lottery funding could have on organisations that are based in Scotland. I would be interested to hear from the Conservatives whether they have made representations to their colleagues in London with a view to ensuring that if a Conservative Government is elected at Westminster, it will take action to halt the cuts that are likely to take place. The Conservatives should demonstrate not only that they are prepared to say in the Scottish Parliament that they would like the cuts not to take place, but that they will do something about them if they are in a position to do so in the coming year.

A lot has been said about the legacy. I agree with Jamie McGrigor and, in particular, Ross Finnie about the evidence on providing a lasting legacy from countries that have hosted major sporting events such as the Commonwealth games and the Olympic games. For example, the fantastic bird's nest stadium that was used at the most recent Olympic games is no longer a sporting theatre; it is just another tourist attraction at which folk are dropped off. That demonstrates how difficult it can be to build on the interest that is generated during such major events. However, Glasgow is somewhat different, because many of the important facilities are already in place, and the new facilities will be sustainable, given the city's population.

Everyone is united on the need to maximise the legacy benefits from the games. The challenge for us, though, is to learn from those who have hosted previous events such as the Commonwealth games but been unable to achieve a lasting legacy, and to take the right course of action to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

A lot has been said about one of the key aspects of the legacy, which is that the games will inspire many more young people, and possibly older people, to become active in sport. I have never subscribed to the idea that we would end up finding our gyms full and our sports centres crammed to the rafters with people because of the Commonwealth games. The games will stimulate much greater interest, but translating that interest into activity will probably be one of the greatest challenges that we face. If we are to capitalise on the interest that is generated by the games, it is extremely important that we put in place the right sporting infrastructure in order to harness it at the time. Frank McAveety raised a number of important points about sporting infrastructure in Scotland.

By getting the infrastructure right, we can have a big impact on the physical activities that are provided in our schools. It is clear from evidence that the Health and Sport Committee received in our pathways into sport inquiry that there is a need to ensure that physical activity and physical education are seen not as an add-on in the school education system but as an important core aspect at both primary and secondary level.

We should also consider what more we can do to increase the physical literacy of our children at pre-school level. Some local authorities are more proactive on that issue than others, but improving the provision of physical education and physical activity at pre-school, primary and secondary levels would be a significant legacy inspired by the Commonwealth games. I hope that the Government will do more to ensure that we achieve that.

One of the real strengths of the Glasgow 2014 bid was that it was seen as a Scottish bid—it was seen as the games coming to Scotland. It is important that we are not complacent, that we remain vigilant and that we do not allow the games to become a Glasgow festival or Glasgow-centric. I recognise that Glasgow will receive many great benefits as a result of hosting the games, but it is important that communities throughout Scotland feel as though they are part of the legacy and part of the games. We should work harder to ensure that we keep alive the spirit that was so evident at the time of the bid. I hope that the Government will continue to press for greater engagement throughout the country in programmes that are linked to the 2014 games.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour 3:38 pm, 23rd April 2009

As I am sure that all members recognise, this debate is welcome and is, as has been said, important for the whole of Scotland. The constructive approach that we have taken this afternoon—we do not always take such an approach—is vital if we are to fulfil our ambitions. I recognise the points that many members have made about the challenges along the way. The celebration of the decision that Glasgow would host the Commonwealth games in 2014 was real throughout Glasgow. It was decidedly real in the east end of the city.

I take Ross Finnie's point that we cannot allow the games to be only a central belt phenomenon, and Michael Matheson's request that the games should not be Glasgow-centric. I hope that the Government takes the point, too, and will ensure that the celebration is for all of Scotland. However, my remarks will unashamedly be about the interests of Glasgow, and particularly the east end of Glasgow.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

I never like to disappoint.

We might not achieve all that we want, but it is critical that we ensure that we achieve the benefits for the people of the east end of Glasgow. We must keep focused on their interests.

The promise of having the very best facilities in the east end is a significant achievement. On that, I pay tribute to the sustained efforts of Jack McConnell and Patricia Ferguson, with whom I sat around the Cabinet table, along with Nicol Stephen and Ross Finnie. We made determined efforts to ensure that the bid was won for Scotland. I also pay tribute to Frank McAveety, although please nobody tell him so. In his capacity as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, he worked hard on the issue and showed what could be achieved with imagination and political will. That is a reflection of Frank McAveety's dogged belief in the east end of Glasgow and its potential.

Flagging up the interests of the east end so significantly does not undermine the wider points about the interests of Scotland. I hope that our championing of the interests of Glasgow and the east end is not thought to run counter to Scotland's broader interests.

Frank McAveety and I believe firmly that, with the right investment and support, we can demonstrate to the world Glasgow's strengths and capacities. However, as members have said, we face no mean task. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and we must ensure that we extract as much of the potential as possible in the lead-up to the games, during the events themselves and from the legacy. In meeting the challenge of maximising the benefits, there will be difficulties along the way. However, several key steps can be taken to ensure that we make a real difference.

There is the promise of spectacular events showcasing some of the world's greatest assets. However, we must ensure that the Commonwealth games are not simply an event that happens in the east end of Glasgow—they should benefit and be for the people there. We must ensure that the games are as accessible as possible. I do not think for one second that people's lives will be transformed by going to events during the Commonwealth games, but nor do I underestimate the possibility of stimulating interest and inspiring people. One way of ensuring that people get the benefit from the events would be to provide free entry for young people—particularly those from the east end, although I would accept a broader scheme—to at least one event. The games would then be seen not as happening beyond their communities but as being for them and benefiting them directly.

Furthermore, we must ensure that when the athletes and television cameras have moved on, the benefits and the legacy remain for the people of the east end of Glasgow. I argue strongly that young people should have preferential—either free or cheap—access to the facilities that are left behind. That would be a boost for the local communities, which traditionally do not have access to such facilities and see them as beyond their reach. It would also tackle the notion that big and spectacular events in the east end of Glasgow tend to benefit people from outwith the local communities, and it would defeat some of the cynicism that sometimes exists about such matters. As the minister said, that can link to messages about health, sport and physical activity.

A significant and brilliant project in my constituency is the Gladiator Programme in the Easterhouse end of the east end. The programme has already produced several Olympic and Commonwealth weightlifting champions. The leaders of that project have key messages about how that was achieved. The first is that Olympic and Commonwealth champions are not produced overnight. Instead, a sustained and integrated programme of activities and facilities provision is required throughout communities to assist people to reach the highest levels of their sport. The programme has been extremely successful and has a proven track record. The gladiators argue that there must now be a programme that links sports activities with facilities in communities.

Recently, Glasgow City Council announced an investment of £950,000 in one of its secondary schools to upgrade sports facilities. That offers a huge opportunity to link those facilities with the Commonwealth games. The time is now right for Scotland to prioritise sports facilities to ensure that young people in particular benefit from the opportunities that the Commonwealth games can offer. Ensuring that the games are not just a spectacular public relations event but an event that lasts for a generation will be the true and honest legacy of the games.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 3:45 pm, 23rd April 2009

Some might argue that it is early days, with five years to go until the games, and that is probably the case, but there has to be a plan. The consultation document provides the sound outline of a plan, and like everyone else I look forward to seeing the final report some time in the summer. There is genuine and general enthusiasm for the project, and we must exploit to the maximum the opportunities that are likely to arise.

The legacy priorities that have been highlighted are largely self-evident. Glasgow has changed tremendously over the past 20 years. We had to recognise that the old metal-bashing industries, which employed so many people, were dying on their feet. We had to recognise that tourism and attracting people to Glasgow as a good place to do business was the way forward. Considerable success has been achieved in that respect. Perhaps the greatest advantage from hosting the games will be our ability to exploit the increased international profile, which can only be to everyone's benefit.

It is clear that sport is an invaluable social tool, to paraphrase Frank McAveety. The benefits of involvement in sport are self-evident and can improve people's lives, although the minister was perhaps a tad optimistic in expecting many members to become involved. We shall see what comes of that. There will be opportunities, particularly for young people.

I do not quite take Michael Matheson's somewhat downbeat approach. He conceded that interest generated by the games might not be translated into activity. I think that there will be some activity, and we must make every effort to encourage it.

There will be genuine short and medium-term employment opportunities for companies not only in Glasgow but throughout Scotland. Members have been right to point out that the Commonwealth games are a Scottish event, and we would like the planning for them to be as coherent as possible. Ideally, I would like as much as possible of what is used in the games to be produced locally by businesses in west central Scotland. It is up to the organisers and businesses to ensure that they maximise the opportunities.

The games' sporting legacy will provide a tremendous opportunity for Glasgow youngsters. In that fitba-daft city, too many people are watching football rather than playing it. Unfortunately, football has sometimes not provided the most positive image or atmosphere. The games' legacy must ensure that as many of Glasgow's youngsters as possible, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have the opportunity to increase their involvement in a wide variety of sports, with all the consequential health and social benefits that that will bring. We need to get away from the present situation in which football is largely a spectator sport. Let us get more people playing the game and, perhaps more important, let us diversify the city's sporting interests to embrace many other physical and athletic pursuits.

Frank McAveety made a valid point about facilities. The facilities that existed 40, 30 or 20 years ago would not satisfy present-day youth. Although scrubbing red blaes and soda ash from one's knees might be character forming, the quite understandable reaction of today's youngsters to having to do so might not be entirely positive.

The health benefits from taking up sport are considerable. The value of exercise to people of all ages is self-evident. I am convinced that, with all of the media activity that will surround the events, there will be an increase in activity.

Although the games last for a fairly brief time, there will be an opportunity for people actively to involve themselves not only in the physical aspects of the events but in volunteering, which will enable them to meet people from different cultures and countries. An internationalism will exist. The people of Glasgow are very international in outlook, as has been proved when the city has hosted major international events in the past. Twelve years ago, Glasgow hosted a worldwide Rotary International conference and around 120,000 people came to the city for it. The impact was tremendous, and created a great deal of interest in the home countries of all who visited.

We shall see how things develop over the summer. Once we get the final report, we will be in a position to move forward.

The encouraging aspect of this debate is the fact that everyone in this chamber and outside is fully committed to ensuring that the project is a success. The planning and financing should be in place, and everyone should be totally committed to ensuring that the games provide a lasting legacy not only for Glasgow but for the whole of Scotland.

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat 3:52 pm, 23rd April 2009

On Friday 9 November 2007, I was in the Old Fruitmarket in the merchant city in Glasgow, along with Nicola Sturgeon, Bill Aitken—he tells me—Wendy Alexander, Annabel Goldie and perhaps others in the chamber. More important than us MSPs were the hundreds of young people and athletes who were there, along with the sports officials and members of the nation's media, to witness the big announcement of the day.

Those who were there will always remember the explosion of excitement when, despite some serious technical problems with the satellite link, the live announcement of Glasgow's success came through from Sri Lanka. I said at the time that the news would capture the imagination of children and young people across Scotland and spur them on to go for gold in 2014, and nothing has shifted me from that view. All the parties in this chamber gave strong support to the bid and give strong support to the games.

I remember visiting young athletes and members of the bid team in the company of the then-UK leader of the Liberal Democrats—and former Olympic sprinter—Menzies Campbell. We should remember that there is an important UK dimension to the games and an important link to the London Olympics in 2012.

To deliver the success that we want the games to enjoy in 2014, there will need to be more than excitement and dreams; there will also need to be funding and investment, world-class facilities and a great deal of blood, sweat, tears and commitment from young people and their coaches across our country.

If we are to achieve the legacy that we all want to see from the games, we cannot wait until after the games are over before we act. We must start now. That legacy must reach out to all parts of Scotland, not only Glasgow. Our athletes and swimmers deserve not only to compete in world-class facilities during the games but to train in world-class facilities before them.

I well remember meeting our Olympic swimmer, Hannah Miley, outside the pool in Inverurie where she trains. That pool is neither modern nor impressive. She told me that she would be embarrassed to show her international competitors the facilities that she trains in with enormous dedication day in, day out in the north-east of Scotland.

For Hannah, it is already too late for the proposed 50m pool in Aberdeen to play a significant part in her preparations for the gold medal that I firmly believe that she can achieve in the 2012 Olympic games in London, but it is not too late for the Commonwealth games, provided that it is started now. Two years after the new Scottish Government came into office with all its promises, however, and 18 months after the announcement of Glasgow's success, we still have no commitment to the 50m pool in Aberdeen. There have been warm words but no delivery. That is why, today, I lodged parliamentary questions asking the Scottish Government to confirm the planned opening date of the new pool in Aberdeen. We need to make it happen now.

So far, the council has promised £10 million in funding, the University of Aberdeen has promised £5 million and the Scottish Government has promised £5 million. We are also told the costs are likely to have fallen because of the economic recession from approximately £23 million to £20 million. Why is the 50m pool in Aberdeen still not happening? The project has been stuck on the starting block for too long, and it is now time to deliver. This is genuinely an urgent issue.

The Tollcross 50m pool in Glasgow will close for major upgrading to host the Commonwealth games, and it will not be available for a significant period of time. The 50m Royal Commonwealth pool in Edinburgh will close for major refurbishment, and it will not be available for a significant period of time. As an aside, it is sad that, despite the fact that tens of millions of pounds are being invested in the Royal Commonwealth pool, it will not be able to hold international events as it will continue to have eight lanes rather than the 10 lanes that are required for international meets.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

There are different grades of international meets, and the Commie pool will be able to take some of them.

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The qualification there speaks volumes. I would like the Royal Commonwealth pool to be able to take the very best of international meets, and sadly that will not be possible. However, I agree with Margo MacDonald that something is better than nothing.

I want to there to be a 50m pool not only in Aberdeen but in Inverness, which is a major centre for many of the outstanding athletes and swimmers in the Highlands and the north. I want excellent facilities for all sports by 2014.

My simple message to the Scottish Government is this: if it wants the legacy to be strong, it should support the athletes and the swimmers now and invest in the facilities and training they need to be the very best they can be. To make their dreams come true, the Government must help to make it happen. The legacy is not just about future generations; it is about those in this generation here and now. They will be the standard bearers for Scotland's sporting future, and with the right leadership that future will be bright.

Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party 3:58 pm, 23rd April 2009

I welcome the commitment from the Minister for Public Health and Sport to work with the UK Government representatives and Glasgow City Council to ensure that national lottery funding is made available to make the games hugely successful, in terms of both the games themselves and the legacy they provide for Glasgow and Scotland as a whole. I look forward to learning the outcome of the meeting, as it is crucial that we get the money as early as possible to put in place the facilities. We cannot wait until it is too late and find the facilities are not there.

With regard to the legacy that the games will provide, much has been said regarding material benefits to Glasgow's east end—Margaret Curran, Frank McAveety and others also mentioned that—and the economic benefits that will come as a result of these games.

I am encouraged by the unifying theme of the interim games legacy plan, namely that of the promotion of health. The five underpinning principles of the plan—enhancing partnerships, enabling diversity, ensuring equality, encouraging community engagement and embedding sustainability—are equally encouraging and very worthy, but we will need to establish clearly how they will be achieved. I hope that the final legacy plan, which will be launched this summer, will address those issues in full detail.

When it plans the delivery of those aims, the legacy plan delivery group should perhaps consider how we will

"establish joint working, from grassroots upwards", as stated under the principle of enhancing partnerships. That will be fundamental in delivering a legacy that is not only long lasting but for the people. We must also be highly vigilant in ensuring that the people who are meant to benefit from the games are not bypassed in the development and delivery of the legacy and that their voices are heard.

The minister mentioned the intergenerational approach, which is set out under the principle of enabling diversity. Every member who has spoken has rightly mentioned the benefits of the games to young people, but, as the convener of the cross-party group on older people, age and ageing, I am particularly interested in ensuring that the games deliver for people of all ages. I am happy to discuss with the minister the various views and ideas that have been raised at group meetings on how that can best be achieved. I should point out that when I talk about older people I am talking about 50 to 55-year-olds and over. Given the heart attack and stroke figures for not only the east end but the whole of Glasgow, it is important that everyone has a share in the health aspects of the legacy.

I believe that the principle of encouraging community engagement is entwined with that of enhancing partnerships and will be equally important in creating a successful legacy. In the interim paper, the aim is for community engagement to rekindle a sense of pride, to revitalise local communities and to

"promote community ownership of the activities".

I agree with Margaret Curran's point that younger people should be able to get in to watch the games either free or at a reduced price, although I think that that should apply to kids not just from the east end but from all over Glasgow.

If we are to deliver on the unifying theme of health, we must ask local communities what they need to improve their health and listen to what they say. Although I welcome the idea of sports hubs, which the minister elaborated on, and the proposal to encourage people to get involved in the competitive sports that will be featured in the games, I believe that we must not lose sight of this great chance to improve the general health of the people of Glasgow and, indeed, the whole of Scotland.

As the minister is aware, a number of respondents to the consultation wanted the legacy plan to refer specifically to support for the development of active play, adventure playgrounds and adventure activities. Moreover, in the young people's consultation, the number 1 thing that was wanted was for the games to encourage

"young people to become fitter and healthier".

I could not agree more.

I regularly receive correspondence about the lack of facilities for young people, and I urge the minister and the group to ensure that, in finalising the legacy plan, they use the opportunity presented by the games to address such concerns. As Mr Finnie made clear, there is no point in leaving these things as a legacy if people in the east end and the rest of Glasgow cannot enjoy them.

Finally, the principle of embedding sustainability and the commitment to making the 2014 games the green games give Scotland a great chance to showcase to the world our belief that Scotland can be at the forefront of a green and sustainable future. There will also be an opportunity to redesign the built environment to improve the quality of life of communities, which might act as a blueprint for other communities across Scotland.

The potential is enormous. The task is not easy, but the results will be invaluable. Let us ensure that we get this right not just for the people of Glasgow but for the people of Scotland.

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour 4:03 pm, 23rd April 2009

I am delighted to take part in this debate. I certainly believe that the Commonwealth games present a tremendous opportunity for sportsmen and sportswomen throughout Scotland, will allow us to showcase the country, and will ensure that we develop a legacy not just for Glasgow but for the whole of Scotland.

As a sporting fan and member of the cross-party group on sport, I look forward to the games first and foremost as a spectator. I am sure that they will be a tremendously enjoyable experience. As a result, I hope that prices will be targeted at a level that allows more people from the various communities to become involved, to experience the occasion and to be encouraged to participate in sport after 2014.

The games are an inspiration to youngsters throughout Scotland who are looking to participate in 2014. Scotland has a proud sporting heritage going back to Lachie Stewart and Liz McColgan, and currently we have Chris Hoy. Looking to the past, there are those who will inspire our young athletes, and, looking to the future, the opportunity for our young people to compete for their country in a games hosted in their country is a tremendous benefit that will motivate them to train up.

I know that the Rutherglen and Cambuslang sports council, which is holding its annual dinner tonight, which I am attending, is greatly excited about the games because they will give it the opportunity to expand its sporting horizons.

I am starting to see some of the benefits in my constituency already, with the opening of the new sports development centre at Toryglen at a cost of £15.7 million. It has been selected as a training venue for football teams at the London Olympics and was praised recently by George Burley. Let us hope that the national team can use the facility and that it can give the team a platform to qualify for the world cup.

We all enjoy watching sport and cheering our country on, but it is important to tie the games into the political agenda in the Parliament, too. On the health front, the obesity plan has been published, and there has been a lot of discussion about how we tackle alcohol misuse. The games and the opportunity to increase participation in sports will help to tackle some such issues.

As Michael Matheson and others have said, there is a big task ahead. I run regularly throughout the streets of my constituency, and I have noticed that a lot more people go running now than did 20 years ago. I will certainly be doing my bit to support participation by taking part in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang community health initiative 5k run on 17 May. I see Mr McAveety smiling; I am sure that he could race round the course in record time.

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

He could be the pacemaker in the lead car.

We discussed transport this morning. There are opportunities to improve the transport network, which will help to get spectators around the various games venues. It will also help on another policy front: if we have an improved transport network in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, it will help reduce carbon emissions by getting more people out of their cars and on to trains and buses.

There are issues with social deprivation throughout Glasgow and the west of Scotland. If we can build a strong legacy by getting across the health message and creating employment opportunities in the transport network, we will improve the quality of life of everyone throughout the west of Scotland, which will feed through to Scotland as a whole.

There are important challenges for the Scottish National Party in delivering free swimming lessons for all and achieving the target to provide two hours of PE a week.

I agree with Frank McAveety's point about sporting facilities in schools. I know that a number of schools in South Lanarkshire whose facilities have been rebuilt as part of the modernisation programme have taken the opportunity to create community centres and sports pitches, which help draw people into the sporting arena. I regret that the slow progress on the Scottish Futures Trust has resulted in a bit of a hiatus in the schools development programme. There are issues to address in that regard.

It is clear that the games present an opportunity. Our role is to be not just cheerleaders for Scotland's athletes but strong political leaders in our communities to ensure that good infrastructure is in place to deliver a legacy post 2014. In that way, the games can be a platform not only for sporting success but for a better quality of life for all.

Photo of Ian McKee Ian McKee Scottish National Party 4:10 pm, 23rd April 2009

I confess that deep foreboding comes over me when I hear the word "legacy" mentioned in connection with the 2014 Commonwealth games. A legacy usually comes after an event—Frank McAveety generously defined it as a present to future generations—but it is not earned in the conventional sense. Indeed, it is often unexpected. As the motion recognises, relying on such a legacy is a strategy that is doomed to failure. We have heard that no recent sporting event has produced significant sporting rewards on such terms and, in fact, evidence is growing that the Olympic games in Sydney produced a negative sporting legacy.

The situation is not new. With his deep knowledge of Latin, my colleague on the Health and Sport Committee Ross Finnie will know the tag "Postquam ludos, omnes majores tristes sunt". Loosely translated, that means that after the games, everyone is unhappy. After particularly unsuccessful games, the Emperor Caligula was assassinated by those close to him on 21 January 41AD. [Laughter.] In no way do I imply that our great and much-loved leader can be compared to the tyrant Caligula—far from it—but it is nice to hear the laughter, chortling and good humour from Opposition members, which means that they perfectly accept that Alex Salmond will still be the leader of the Scottish Government in 2014.

I make the point that hosting a mammoth sporting event is not enough in itself to produce a legacy of which we can be proud. Of course, the games will have a built legacy of stadia and extra housing in the east end of Glasgow, but even that risks turning into wind-blown dereliction unless careful plans are laid well in advance. "Advance" is the applicable word. What we do now and in the intervening years will determine the benefit that the Glasgow games bring to Glasgow and Scotland, so we should put aside talk of a legacy and consider how we can use the 2014 games as a focus or—as Glasgow 2014's chief executive John Scott has said—as a hook on which other relevant programmes and projects can be attached.

What are the necessary ingredients to obtain the maximum value from this prestigious event? The first is leadership to motivate and enthuse all Scotland and to ensure that sporting, leisure, housing and cultural bodies work together so that the strength of the sum is greater than that of the individual parts. The Government has made great progress on that latter aim by encouraging partnership planning, but the time has come to consider appointing a champion who commands the respect of sporting bodies, Government agencies, local authorities and the public.

In London, Boris Johnson has taken full responsibility for the Olympic games legacy, separately from the organising committee, and has appointed Kate Hoey—a former minister and international athlete—to be his commissioner for sport. I am not certain whether Jim Murphy or Councillor Steven Purcell has the public respect and affection to fulfil such a role, but I have no doubt that a suitable candidate—perhaps Frank McAveety, the dynamic Bill Aitken or even Margo MacDonald, given her interest in sport, her skill in media relations and the public's deep affection for her—can be found.

Next is vision. What do we want and what is achievable? To an extent, vision is tied in with my next ingredient—resources. My opinion, which might be contentious, is that the elite pathway to sporting success in Scotland is not the main patient for a financial transfusion. Yes, we could always do with more facilities, which have experienced immense underinvestment in the past 20 years or so, but I come from a health and wellbeing background and give more priority to improving the general population's fitness and health than to achieving one or two more medals, although that is heresy.

Measures to encourage more young people to become physically active will increase the size of the pool from which our elite athletes will be drawn in 15 or 20 years' time. We should therefore take advantage of the coming games to increase the importance of physical education in schools and smooth the transition from school to sporting clubs, dance, rambling and other forms of physical exercise. Given that wellbeing involves the mind, too, we must not neglect music and other cultural activities.

Some of that work will involve money, so I welcome the Government's efforts to recover the £150 million of lottery money that is owed to Scotland and which the Treasury is currently retaining. However, much can be done with minimal financial resources. Although we all would like to see Astroturf pitches and the like, there is plenty of scope for rehabilitating redundant facilities and parks. For example, there is scope regularly to remove glass and dog excrement from sports fields and then encourage folk to get out there and use those spaces. Again, imagination, drive and leadership are the key ingredients.

Another focus is the contribution that people can make to the games. Participation as a steward in the London games is being made conditional on some form of community voluntary work between now and 2012. Should we follow that route or should we—as the minister suggested—actively seek to select those who lack self-esteem or who have otherwise been buffeted by life? Surely they would benefit from selection for this desirable job. If the community is to truly benefit from the games, it is vital that we involve not only the usual sporting types but the entire community.

Let us learn from the experience of others. Where did Sydney go wrong? Is the London approach beginning to work, or is it merely draining valuable resources from Scotland and giving little back in return? How is Vancouver planning to capitalise on the 2010 winter games? There is no need to reinvent the wheel, and I volunteer to go to Vancouver on the minister's behalf to find out how things are being done over there.

I congratulate the Government on the start that it has made. I will watch future progress with great interest.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent 4:16 pm, 23rd April 2009

I associate myself with most of what Ian McKee said. Among sports people and those who are interested in sport, it is not heresy to say that the important thing is not for more people to win gold medals but for more people to play sport. Over the years, I have made that point in this chamber and said that, if we do not have a big pool to draw from, we will not get the elite athletes.

I agree with Frank McAveety's conclusion, which was—and I paraphrase—that the legacy of the Glasgow games should be about people living better. Whether that is defined in the cerebral sense or in people living more healthily or in better houses, the legacy should be about an improvement for everyone who is associated with the games.

We must not do what I think Bill Aitken suggested and place too many expectations on the games. They will never deliver everything for Scotland that we want them to deliver. For example, our football clubs are already tackling the challenge of getting young people into sport and a healthier lifestyle. A recent meeting of the cross-party group on sport heard from the Rangers Football Club's community development team. Some wonderful work is being done by the Hibernian Football Club by way of its youth programme. Last Sunday, I had the delight of watching some of the youngsters who had come through the programme, but that is another story. That work is being done, and we should not downplay it.

We should not expect the games to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If it was possible to do that, the current interest that many kids in Scotland have in the progress of English football teams in the European cup would mean that many more people got out there and played football. That is not happening and, instead, the phenomenon is ensuring that more people stay in to watch football games on television.

As Frank McAveety rightly said, for the legacy that we hope to inherit from the games, we have to turn to physical education and activity. It will come from people who understand the relevance and importance of sport. Physical education starts in schools or pre-schools, and I am glad that Frank McAveety now says that it has to at the centre of the school timetable. In the past, among other Scottish classroom teachers, he was guilty at times of an intellectual snobbery towards PE. He thought that it was a frill; it is not a frill. I will not quote any Latin tags, but I remind the chamber of the "healthy mind, healthy body" philosophy. That has always been true—indeed, it has never been truer than it is today.

Reference has been made to the joining together of sportscotland and the former Scottish Institute of Sport. The cross-party group on sport recently visited the Stirling centre of excellence, and I was very impressed by its focus. I reassure the minister that, although I disagreed with—and still do not really agree with—the fusion of the two bodies, it seems to be working well. Sportscotland seems to have worked how to keep both the elite and the community strand of its activities going.

When we were in Stirling, we were assured that a good range of programmes were in place to prepare elite athletes for the Commonwealth games. We will certainly do well, although performance will be patchy across different sports. That will be down not to the Commonwealth games organisation but to whether sports and sports governing bodies are organised well enough to promote their best athletes through the ranks. I wish that the Gladiator Programme to which Margaret Curran referred was available in all sports and all parts of Scotland, but it is not. We should seek to develop that template throughout sport in Scotland.

No automatic benefit for our national health and wellbeing will come from the Commonwealth games. I was glad to hear the minister say that everyone must examine what part they will play in the process of improving health standards, participation and activity in Scotland. As Frank McAveety and others have said, PE is the key. If the minister has anything to do with the education department, she had better see it about getting PE teachers into schools. They are being trained and are waiting to be employed; if we mean what we say about the legacy from the games, they should be employed.

On funding, I appreciate that there is some argument between those members who are interested in whether we are owed money from London. Let us forget that for the moment and accept that there will be cuts in public expenditure. The games are not directly funded by Government, but local authorities, which are essential for doing the things that I have described, such as employing the teachers who are needed to engender much greater sporting activity, will suffer more cuts. No one should bother denying that; instead, we should try to work out how we will offset such cuts. If the Glasgow games are to have wider economic benefits, they must look good, classy, professional and big; if we do not have the money to spend on them, they will not. We had better admit now that the local authorities, voluntary organisations and clubs that will feed into the process will experience difficulties.

Jamie McGrigor referred to the lottery funding that has been taken from Glasgow, and we should certainly pursue that issue. The member's nose was tweaked a bit by Michael Matheson when he spoke about funding, but I know that, across the chamber, members who are interested in sport have a common approach—this debate has shown that. The minister must take what has been said not as criticism but as constructive comment and ideas. I wish her all the best.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party 4:23 pm, 23rd April 2009

Glasgow 2014 is a tremendous opportunity both for the city that I represent and for the whole of Scotland. I have heard it said that the games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Given that they will happen only once, that is true by definition. They are certainly a wonderful opportunity. However, the aspirations that we have for Scotland's largest city—Glasgow—and for our nation go far beyond winning and successfully running the 2014 Glasgow games.

Today we are here to talk about the legacy. One clear legacy not just for Glasgow but for Scotland will be that we will have put on a wonderful sporting event, on budget and with lasting social and economic benefits. I say "Yes" to all those things. However, by achieving them we will open the door to another lasting legacy for Scotland: when our nation shows itself to be capable of achieving such success, we will raise our profile and enhance our reputation on the international stage, which could lead to other major international events being hosted in Scotland.

I have in the past spoken at length about the need for a strong social legacy for Glasgow. As I have said, although a clutch of—I hope—gold medals, fond memories on the part of visitors to our city and a host of new and upgraded facilities will be welcome, those alone would be a poor show, given the opportunities that lie before us, so I am delighted that the Scottish Government's draft legacy plan goes far beyond that.

The idea of introducing, in conjunction with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and councils, a range of community sports hubs across Scotland is positive. I support that, but I stress that providing people who already exercise and who are already active in sport with better facilities is not the best way forward. I hope that community sports hubs will be sited where participation in activities is lowest. The aim will be to bring together people from different ethnicities, income groups, ages and—this of particular importance in Glasgow—different territorial areas.

Positive health outcomes and the promotion of social inclusion must go hand in hand. It is fundamental that we inspire the youngsters who are most likely to find themselves alienated by society. That inspiration might be to be more physically active, to volunteer, to learn more about other cultures or to enhance their skills by gaining from the apprenticeships in Glasgow that will flow from the games. Whatever people are inspired to do, the key thing must be that they are inspired. That will not just happen, however—we all have a responsibility to plan and work for it. In that regard, our education establishments and the voluntary sector are key players.

I will give members a flavour of some of the projects in Glasgow that I believe could be key partners in inspiring Glaswegians and in building on the legacy. There is in Maryhill an organisation called realise community care project, which provides a supportive community education setting to help former addicts to build pre-employability skills and to support them in other ways. Phoenix Futures has in the north of the city a residential drug rehabilitation unit, which strives daily to turn lives around. Operation reclaim is a partnership between communities, Strathclyde Police and Sidekix. It uses Scottish Government money, via cashback for communities, and helps to break down territorial barriers by getting vulnerable youngsters involved in sport. We must find a way for the Commonwealth games legacy to help the people who benefit from such services to thrive. That is essential. I want those projects to develop and expand, and to be directly linked with Glasgow 2014. If the 2014 games pass people by, we will have let all Scotland down.

I am positive, however, and I commend the efforts that have been made to ensure that Scotland gets its fair share of lottery funding to finance legacy initiatives. I praise the Big Lottery Fund, whose communities 2014 fund is already awarding small community grants of up to £1,000 to promote not just sport but, importantly, a variety of other physical activities for groups of people who are less likely to be involved in physical activity. That is entirely the right approach. It cannot be achieved without funding, but the Big Lottery Fund's approach is to maximise the benefit from whatever funding is available. I commend it for the attitude that it has shown.

I am delighted by much of what is contained in the draft legacy document. In particular, I note that it discusses "Enhancing Partnerships" and "Encouraging Community Engagement".

I draw to Parliament's attention the fine work that Partick Thistle Football Club does—Margo MacDonald mentioned other football clubs. I joined Frank McAveety at Partick Thistle to promote the club letting under 16s into the ground for free, but the work that Partick Thistle does goes far beyond that. The club works with a variety of community groups, including the Glasgow Old People's Welfare Association and the mental health charity, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, to name just two. Partick Thistle does a lot of work with vulnerable groups of people who are not necessarily physically active, and does it on a shoestring budget. I ask the minister to join me and to come along to Partick Thistle FC to see the good work that it does. I believe that that sort of work could be replicated at football grounds across Scotland, and could be branded as being part of the Commonwealth games 2014 legacy. I urge the minister to consider that.

There is much to be welcomed in the draft document, and there are many opportunities. In the time that I have left, I will mention just one. The games present a Scotland-wide opportunity, as Michael Matheson said, but they are also Glasgow's games. I have in the past suggested that a festival of Glasgow should take place before the games. Edinburgh has its festival, but Glasgow is also a festival city. We should have a festival in 2013, to celebrate everything that is good about the Commonwealth and Glasgow. Perhaps a legacy of the games could be a four-yearly festival for Scotland, based in Glasgow.

I endorse the interim legacy plan paper and very much hope to support the final document when it is published.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 4:30 pm, 23rd April 2009

We have had a good debate and members have made excellent speeches. I confess that I am feeling uneasy among all the sports luminaries in the chamber—Bill Aitken and Frank McAveety on football, Ross Finnie on rugby, James Kelly on jogging, and Margo MacDonald. The best that I can do is to say that I was second substitute for my university basketball team, and to admit that basketball was a displacement activity because I was no use at football. However, I prepared myself for the debate by watching "Chariots of Fire" again, to get a bit of inspiration by watching Scottish and British athletes win in the 1924 Olympics.

Frank McAveety talked about the outward and inward-looking aspects of legacy and he made a good point when he said that

"there has never been a golden age of ... resources."

Margo MacDonald talked about the difficulties that will be presented by the economic crisis. We need to do the best we can do with the resources that are available.

Ross Finnie talked about the need to engage with councils throughout Scotland and to overcome difficulties that might arise from a perception that the games are Glasgow games and not Scottish games. He also mentioned the need to increase the capacity of existing clubs in various ways and he warned of potential difficulties in tendering for business contracts, given Scottish businesses' experience in relation to the London Olympics.

Michael Matheson made a solid point about the challenge of translating interest into activity, although I do not quite share his view. Experience demonstrates that interest will translate well into activity, provided that the resources and support exist to enable that to happen.

Margaret Curran was unapologetic about the need to focus on the east end of Glasgow. She is quite right; we can picture concentric circles that represent the east end, Glasgow, Scotland and British aspects of the games.

Nicol Stephen made an excellent speech, in which he talked about the need for world-class training facilities and the challenge for Government and us all to ensure that investment is made in time.

Ian McKee made a good point about medals not being the only issue, which echoed Margo MacDonald's interesting point about a legacy that means that people live better. I liked what she said about that.

The key issue is the building and development of greater capacity in our sports clubs and other bodies. No one can deny the importance of facilities, environmental considerations and employment opportunities, which are all mentioned in the interim legacy plan paper. However, the glue that holds everything together and which creates dynamism and sustainability is human capital. The interim legacy plan has not quite hit the nail on the head on the importance of growing capacity in local sports clubs.

The proposals in the plan for community sports hubs might have potential, but the hub sounds a little like a mini community planning partnership, which is not quite what we want. We need to build up existing clubs to their maximum, widen their scope, develop their youth policies and make fullest use of their facilities. There are three requirements in that regard. First, local organisations need know-how, expertise and mentoring. Last week, I met the Cranston Trust—an organisation that I had not known about—which provides exactly that, by offering free management consultancy to organisations whose primary interest is in tackling poverty, disability and social disadvantage. Organisations that are like the Cranston Trust might operate in sports, but I am not aware of any such activity. Such activity is important, because lateral thinking on the input of expertise is often needed.

The second requirement is staff support. Most amateur sports clubs are run by voluntary office bearers who give enormous amounts of time and energy. However, their capacity is not unlimited: it is very much limited by the fact that they are not, and cannot be, full time or, indeed, trained professionals. One possibility is the use of interns such as are provided by Project Scotland. Another is to develop work-experience projects for sports and physical education trainees. However it is done, it will be difficult to realise the full potential without some staff support.

The third requirement is a local base. Many clubs have clubhouses that are underused or are limited to one sport, and there exists huge potential to widen their use. For example, a golf club might be able to provide a tennis facility and a bowling club might have an unused green. Links with professional football teams have also been talked about.

All those are important but, at the end of the day, it is all about people—particularly young people—living better, as Margo MacDonald said. I have said before that the experience of young people seeing and meeting in familiar locations the inspirational young athletes and sportsmen in the Commonwealth games is the biggest motivator in that regard. The opportunities to do that as volunteers or as spectators are extremely important. If we do not take advantage of those opportunities to build the potential and legacy of the Commonwealth games, we will have a lot to answer for to future generations.

Much good work has been done. I wish good luck to all the people who are engaged in the organisation of the games. They have the Parliament's good wishes for making the biggest ever success of the Commonwealth games in 2014.

Photo of Jackson Carlaw Jackson Carlaw Conservative 4:36 pm, 23rd April 2009

The debate has been constructive. We have heard from around the chamber speeches that have all added to the sum total of our understanding of what we hope and intend the legacy of 2014 to be, and we associate the Conservatives with the opening speeches from the minister and Frank McAveety.

Wishing is one thing but achieving is another. No doubt the people of Athens enjoyed high expectations for the Olympic facilities that were built in their name and which they could ill afford, but today those facilities stand disfigured, unused and even border on dilapidation, as a tribute to civic incompetence. I therefore echo the cautionary notes that Ian McKee and Jamie McGrigor sounded in respect of examining past experience.

Ian McKee conjured up for us the memory of the emperor Caligula, who he reminded us was assassinated after an unsuccessful games. He will recall, of course, that Caligula was succeeded by a much older man in Claudius, so he should not despair. From that example, there is clearly hope for his own leadership ambitions. Who knows—he may yet preside over the games.

It is no doubt true that benefits were secured in Manchester after the 2002 Commonwealth games, although we should note Ross Finnie's caution. However, I agree with Margo MacDonald that there is now an elephant in the room: the state of our economy as it is caught up in recession. The background to the 2002 games was an expanding economy, but the period between now and 2014 will be harder going. It will be tougher to encourage business to commit, and we should not be naive about that. Some of the future investment potential may be queried by companies that are concerned that legacy facilities and developments will exceed the post-recession demand at the point of availability. The challenge to the Governments here and at Westminster is all the greater as a result, so we should watch carefully the example of the Olympic games in London for any early signs that the expectations of private sector engagement fall short.

As many other members do, I know that Glaswegians are capable of making a success of anything, whatever the circumstances—it is in their grain and character—but however much any of us loves Glasgow, no one can ignore the fact that, at the heart, it accounts for the substance of Scotland's inequalities in health, education and opportunity.

Having had a business in the Commonwealth games end of the city, I know how much of the progress that Glasgow may be able to make in the next 25 years depends on successful planning of not only the games but of their legacy. Shona Robison set out the bold range of headline legacy objectives. Not least of those is the potential benefit for health, which is of common concern to the minister, Ross Finnie and me. A particular aspect of that is the huge variety of sport and personal fitness options that the games will offer—which Margo MacDonald touched on—and the unique experience and opportunity that that will give not only to the emerging generation of young people, but to the rest of us, although with due caution and concern for our advancing years.

I think that I was grateful for Sandra White reassuring me that, although I turned 50 during the recess, I am not that old. Someone told me that 50 is the new 40. Less reassuringly, my wife told me that, in my case, 50 is the new 70. I support Frank McAveety's call that there be the widest possible availability of school facilities to young people and communities in the lead-up to the games.

When all the papers and pamphlets have been written and all the consultants have reported, it is vital that the people of Glasgow, particularly in the east end, are at the centre of the project's delivery and are not just spectators on the side. That was the lesson of Canary Wharf where, quite unnecessarily, local people felt excluded and were eventually driven out.

I agree with Margaret Curran that championing the opportunities for the east end of Glasgow is not in any way in competition with the success that the games represent for the rest of Scotland. The legacy of 2014 must not be another playground for developers and end with displacement of the existing population and Glasgow's problems into another deprived and excluded community. It would be a great tragedy if, by 2020, we had successfully rejuvenated the east end at the expense of, rather than to the benefit of, the people who currently live there.

It is doubtful whether Glasgow will have such a comprehensive opportunity again in my lifetime, so we welcome the spirit of co-operation between the Scottish Government, the Westminster Government and Glasgow City Council. The ambition to secure lottery funding is perfectly reasonable, but we should not begrudge the substantial lottery funding for the 2012 London Olympic games. Its success will aid Glasgow's determination to make our games two years later all the greater a success.

Nicol Stephen recalled vividly the palpable sense of excitement that was felt two years ago—and which still remains—when Glasgow secured the games. We can be impressed by all the organisations and politicians talking and working together then and since. However, the games will be, as will their legacy. While welcoming the progress in planning, we must be certain as we progress that, beneath the surface, the involvement of the business community and the engagement of the community more generally is tangible. There is no point in developing a culture whereby we spend millions saying what a wonderful legacy there will be, if there is none in practice.

Ensuring that the reality meets the expectation is a huge challenge and responsibility not only for others, but for us in Parliament. For Glasgow's and Scotland's sakes, failure to maximise the legacy benefits cannot be an option. We look forward to the final report in the summer and we happily support the Government motion and the Labour amendment.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 4:42 pm, 23rd April 2009

I echo other members' view that the debate is about maximising a genuine vision for 2014 so that it can provide the opportunity that we want for all the people in Scotland. I recognise that people place particular emphasis on the east end of Glasgow, on Glasgow as a whole or on other parts of the country with regard to the need for much better facilities.

I am worried about being praised in the same afternoon by both Margo MacDonald and my colleague Margaret Curran. I do not know whether I am behaving more acceptably now and whether that is why I have received such commendations. However, I welcome their contributions. I thank Margaret Current in particular for putting across the words praising me for my past contribution, which I had kindly written for her earlier.

I need to mention a number of issues. The one that I try to emphasise is self-confidence, not just for the east end of Glasgow but for the whole of Scotland. I am reminded of the true story of a local councillor and me speaking at a community event in the east end. The councillor was waxing lyrical about the physical infrastructure developments there, saying "This is gonnae happen and we're gonnae have the national indoor arena here, and the new Tollcross leisure centre just up the road." An auld wumman at the back of the room said, "Look—Ah've heard it aw before, son." That was his mother. We can see the scepticism that can exist about debates on whether something will regenerate an area.

I want, however, to mention two things that I believe make this debate different. One is that we have the Clyde gateway project, to which the previous Government committed and with which the present Government has continued. I believe that that represents a vote of confidence in the area. Secondly, that ties in to the wider regeneration to which Jackson Carlaw referred in the context of acknowledging that statistics show that the worst inequalities in Scotland are concentrated in some districts of Glasgow. I echo what Margo MacDonald, Michael Matheson, Ian McKee and others said about participation in that regard. I have heard Ian McKee speak on the issue on a number of occasions. He is that other great athlete in Scottish society—the professional pessimist. I mean that he is at least honest about the issues and wants us to understand the complications behind some of the rhetoric that we all sometimes use in the chamber.

Participation is a key issue, and it must include both the young and—I am hurtling towards the age level that Sandra White identified—the old. I remember that, when I was in Glasgow City Council and we proposed to offer free swimming for youngsters and older people in Glasgow, we did so because we recognised that everyone should participate. Indeed, it is such a good idea that it was included in the SNP's 2007 manifesto, so I hope that members on the Government benches will pursue the issue. As a matter of principle, encouraging wider participation is a good policy that would meet many of the social objectives to which members have referred.

A second critical and important issue concerns the facilities. Again, a strategic response has been put in place to identify facilities to ensure that they are not left redundant, as has happened elsewhere after major games and events. I recognise the worries and concerns that members have expressed about that. There is a commitment to work not just with Glasgow City Council on developing its facilities, but with other local authorities that develop projects for sporting activities. For example, a commitment has already been given that Lanarkshire will host the children's games. We need to ensure that all those things are tied in.

We already have great resources in our communities in the form of the early years, primary and secondary schools estate that exists. With a little imagination—and not necessarily many resources—we can use those to make a real difference. I know that the Health and Sport Committee has interrogated people on that issue with great intensity in recent months, so I hope that the report that it makes to Parliament will make a difference.

Another part of the legacy whose importance I want to emphasise is the games village in the east end of Glasgow. That will provide a good model for how other developments in Scotland can involve the private sector and public sector in working together to create public spaces. A number of such suggestions have been submitted by organisations including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Fields in Trust, which has suggested a very good idea—about improving 214 playing fields by 2014. That would make a genuine difference. When we receive the full legacy plan in the summer, I hope that we will see some proposals that will make a real difference.

To re-emphasise the key concluding point in my opening speech, I say that the Government's responsibility is to try to find the right priorities among those that are listed. As I have mentioned on previous occasions, we cannot solve all the problems. It will not be easy to deal with the couch potato—that phenomenon of Scottish social life—by the 2014 Commonwealth games, but we can create the space, both formal and informal, to make a real difference for the future. Those are the challenges that exist.

We are not far from achieving consensus in Parliament, either in terms of the manifesto commitments of the political parties or in terms of—if they are to be meaningful at all—the single outcome agreements and the concordat with local government. In future spending rounds, despite the tight spending levels that will exist for local government and central Government in Scotland—as elsewhere—choices can still be made. All I ask is that wisdom is exercised in those choices to make a genuine difference for the future.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

I call Shona Robison to wind up the debate. The minister may speak until 5 o'clock if she wishes.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party 4:48 pm, 23rd April 2009

I have enjoyed listening to the many speakers today and I am thankful for their thoughtful and valuable input. I am also delighted at the co-operation that is evident in the Parliament's desire to work together to create a legacy that we can all enjoy and play a part in. I am sure that that approach will continue as we look ahead to the challenges of 2014 as we move from the interim legacy plan, which sets out the direction of travel, to the programmes that will be part of the fuller legacy plan.

I reiterate what I said about the games being about the long term. We hope that the benefits from the games will be around for the next generation to enjoy and take pride in. The games will be as important for the people of Orkney and Dumfries as for the people of the east end of Glasgow. As many members have said, the games must provide a legacy for the whole of Scotland. Although much of the games infrastructure will be located in Glasgow, there is no doubt in my mind that all communities can benefit.

The Commonwealth games will be the biggest multisport event that Scotland has ever hosted. It will bring more than 6,500 athletes and officials from 71 countries to Glasgow to compete in 17 different sports over 11 days and will provide a unique set of opportunities for our country to raise its game. We have made it clear from the outset that the games are about more than two weeks of sport. Public investment will account for some £298 million out of an overall budget for delivery of the games of £373 million. I reassure members that that investment is absolutely secure. Legacy resourcing is a bigger challenge. That is why it is so important that we pursue the £150 million of lottery money that we want to return to Scotland.

I will attempt to respond to some of the points that have been made in the debate; I apologise if I do not get round to everyone. Frank McAveety was absolutely right when he said that auditing, integration, delivery and leadership are key issues. They are the focus of our discussions; indeed, I discussed them with sportscotland when I attended its board meeting just this week.

It is extremely important that we make the most not just of the school estate, but of the community estate. As I am sure Frank McAveety is aware, we are in the process of developing a new school estate strategy. Schools must support the establishment of a legacy, and we will progress that over the next few months.

Ross Finnie mentioned the Health and Sport Committee's pathways into sport inquiry. I look forward to reading the committee's report, which will make a helpful contribution to our legacy considerations.

Ross Finnie and Jamie McGrigor mentioned the business opportunities that the games will create. I remind members that, in February, the First Minister launched the business club Scotland, which encourages collaboration between Scotland's business organisations and is supported and funded by the Scottish Government to ensure that firms across the country make the best of the opportunities that arise from major events in Scotland and internationally. Members will be aware of CompeteFor and the Scottish Government's public contracts Scotland portal, which will be extremely important for the 2014 games. Opportunities on Glasgow City Council's contracts site and the 2014 organising committee site will be advertised through those portals. It is important that we join all that up so that businesses large and small have the opportunity to benefit from the games.

Michael Matheson made a number of important points. He mentioned physical literacy, which I know will be a focus of the Health and Sport Committee's inquiry report. It was certainly an issue at the meeting at which I gave evidence. As I said, I look forward to reading the committee's report. It is important that communities across Scotland feel part of the legacy. We will do what we can to ensure that there is greater engagement.

I am sure that Nicol Stephen was in no way implying that any infrastructure gaps have arisen only in the past two years. The £5 million that has been put towards the 50m pool in Aberdeen is £5 million more than was on the table previously. The making available of money for that project was always dependent on the development of a robust and deliverable business case. As I understand it, we have only recently received that. I am sure that Nicol Stephen would be able to get an update from Aberdeen City Council, which is taking the project forward, should he wish to do so.

Nicol Stephen also mentioned the provision of 50m pools in a number of other places. I subscribe more to the approach of Robert Brown, which is that we must do the best we can with the resources we have. We should not raise unrealistic expectations, but we should try to make a step change by addressing some of the issues that Frank McAveety raised. With a bit of imagination, we can pull together the community clubs and the school estate in the community sports hubs, thereby building capacity and providing the necessary pathways. I believe that we can make a difference and ensure that we get the best return for every pound we spend.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

Given that we have had such a consensual discussion this afternoon and the comments from Michael Matheson and other members about the commitment to PE in schools and to infrastructure, will the minister, as part of the leadership that I know she wants to take on the issue, be willing to pull together a summit for all local authorities in Scotland to discuss how they can deliver on the legacy? I am sure that the spokespersons of all parties who have spoken this afternoon would give their support; perhaps they could participate in the summit as well.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I am willing to consider that. It is important to recognise, though, that, as we speak, sportscotland is involved in a dialogue with each of the local authorities on what their priorities would be. Discussions are taking place. In fact, I will meet the COSLA spokesperson on sport, Harry McGuigan, in the near future to talk about some of those issues. A lot of good work is already going on. However, I will consider the member's suggestion.

I thank Ian McKee for the Caligula comparison—it is a first and, I hope, the last. He wondered whether we should have a sports champion. I am not dismissing that idea, but what we deliver is more important. We need to ensure that we have sports champions in all our communities, who lead by example.

Not for the first time, Margo MacDonald made a number of important points. She talked about the sports governing bodies. I agree with what she said. There is a lot that our sports governing bodies can do. One of the issues that was discussed yesterday with sportscotland was getting clearer outcomes in response to the funding governing bodies receive. We need to know what they will deliver for the funding we give them.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

Very often, the issue is a lack of experience on the part of officials at local level, not a lack of willingness. They need training—which can be provided from within the resources that we already have. [ Interruption. ]

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

Order. Sitting in the back row is not a licence for conversation.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I agree with Margo MacDonald. The sports governing bodies operate at various levels, and some of them have more capacity than others. Sportscotland identifies that the governing bodies have a role in helping it to build capacity; in turn, the governing bodies will support the local community clubs that will be so important in ensuring that we have a real change in the level of participation in our communities.

I am happy to take up Bob Doris's offer of a visit to Partick Thistle to see the work that it does. I will add it to the invitations that are coming in thick and fast.

Robert Brown asked whether we are being ambitious enough to help build capacity in clubs and other areas to ensure that people participate in sport. That is the point that I was making to Margo MacDonald. When I met sportscotland yesterday, I heard that more than 13,000 volunteers are already working with the active schools programme. We intend to build on that excellent volunteering effort to support and encourage our children to take part in sport and physical activity. If we can harness the capacity of those volunteers and more, it will be a great asset in taking forward the legacy.

My main message to members is that we want all our communities to get involved in the legacy programme. We have the children's games in Lanarkshire in 2011, the Olympic games in 2012, the Ryder cup in 2014 and, of course, the Commonwealth games in 2014. Having all those major sporting events in a relatively short period is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We must be ready to make the most of that opportunity.

I commend to Parliament the hard work that has been done to date, as is evidenced in the interim legacy plan, which was published in December, in developing the ambitions for a lasting and positive legacy. I ask all members to work with the Government to turn our ambitions into reality.

Meeting suspended.

On resuming—