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Legacy (North-West England)

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

I regularly meet the nations and regions group to ensure that the UK-wide legacy of such an important promise as the 2012 Olympics is delivered in practice. The groundwork for the legacy in the north-west is already in place. The hon. Lady will no doubt be aware of the success of firms in the north-west in procuring contracts for a number of training camps for Olympians and Paralympians. I am also delighted in respect of the broader legacy of greater participation in sport and about the significant number of local authorities in the north-west which have taken up the Secretary of State’s proposal to offer free swimming in order to get the north-west fit for 2012.

I am grateful for that answer and I can confirm that the Alsager campus of the Manchester Metropolitan university has been selected as a training camp, mainly because it is recognised as the foremost college of sports science and medicine and because it has outstanding facilities. What will be the specific benefits of the Olympic legacy to the north-west, particularly for young people? Will there be more coaches, more volunteers and more opportunities for physical activity? Will the Minister be more specific about the benefits?

I have set out the what the benefits are now—what is happening and what is already in place. The hon. Lady may be interested in attending a briefing on 13 October, at which the Organising Committee and others will set out the legacy in more detail. Having been through the briefing papers on the legacy for the north-west, I will be happy to place a detailed report in the Library. Here on the Floor of the House, I believe Members are on edge to hear more about the financial markets rather than the Olympic legacy for the north-west, but I am happy to provide that information, as I said.

Does the Minister agree that the legacy in the north-west would be greatly enhanced if the Government moved with the same speed as our wheelchair athletes, swimmers and cyclists towards a system of gross profits tax, as suggested on the Liberal Democrat Benches three years ago, as that would enhance the resources available to good causes, not only in the north-west but everywhere else in the country?

The hon. Gentleman should be aware that, although that matter is not entirely straightforward, the Government have reached an agreement to look at it again. It is in everybody’s interest that every pound of lottery money is spent to produce maximum public interest, particularly given the commitment to the Olympics.