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Commonwealth Games

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

2. What recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of Scotland on the award to Glasgow of the Commonwealth games in 2014. (167457)

My hon. Friend the Minister of State wrote to the First Minister on 21 September offering our full support for the bid, and I was delighted to hear that Glasgow had won the 2014 Commonwealth games. Officials in the Scotland Office are continuing to work closely with the Scottish Executive on a number of issues relating to the games.

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in congratulating the people of Glasgow and the bid team. The bid received support from all political sides, and now that the games have been secured for Glasgow they will provide a fabulous opportunity to inspire young athletes, such as 16-year-old Matthew Graham in my constituency, the Scottish 1,500 m steeplechase champion. As lottery funding has halved since 1997, and there is uncertainty about grass-roots sports funding because of the lottery and the Olympics, what has the Secretary of State done to ensure that Scotland receives increased funding both for elite and grass-roots sport in the run-up to 2014, so that we can spot the talents of athletes such as Matthew?

Given the hon. Lady’s obvious interest in the issue and her specific constituency interest—I congratulate the young person in her constituency who has that talent, which I am sure will be nurtured to allow the best to be made of it—she will know that in the time that we have been responsible for this area of policy, the amount invested in the development of athletics and elite athletes has more than doubled. She asked what I would do. I will ensure that we in Government continue to invest at world-record levels in nurturing and supporting our athletes.

Will my right hon. Friend congratulate the leader of Glasgow city council, Steven Purcell, and the city councillors on all the work that they did? Will he also thank and pass on our good wishes to Jack McConnell, who did a great deal of work to make sure that Glasgow won the 2014 bid and did not, like some people, jump on the bandwagon at the end of the day?

This success, which is a success for Glasgow, for Scotland and for the United Kingdom, ought to be distinguished by our ability across all political parties not to turn it into some sort of partisan Olympic competition, as it were. Because of that, and because the city of Glasgow was the bidder, I contacted the leader of Glasgow city council immediately after the award and expressed my congratulations to him and my support for all those who had been involved in securing the award—those who were present when the bidding process and the voting took place, and those who had been involved in the past. Everybody who has been involved is entitled to credit—[Interruption]—including the present Scottish Executive, and the previous Scottish Executive under the leadership of Jack McConnell.