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Contracts (Scottish Companies)

Volume 493: debated on Monday 8 June 2009

Just over 2,000 businesses registered in Scotland have registered on the CompeteFor network. To date, 13 businesses registered in Scotland have been awarded contracts by the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is 1.4 per cent. of the total number awarded. However, those figures do not include subcontractors, of which Scottish Enterprise, which is doing an extremely good and vigorous job in selling the potential of Olympic contracts, recognises another 15, with more to come. Of those, two contracts were awarded to suppliers registered on the CompeteFor network. In order to continue to press the business opportunities not only at the construction phase but beyond, the ODA has hosted events in Glasgow, Dunfermline and Edinburgh to ensure that all local businesses in those areas, and across Scotland, are aware of the commercial benefits that they can gain from the Olympics.

I welcome what my right hon. Friend says. Indeed, I know that businesses in my own constituency have won contracts from the ODA. However, may I invite her to speak to the Scottish Government to urge them to play a more active role in encouraging businesses in Scotland to take opportunities provided by the Olympics in London? I am afraid that their record has not been very good as regards co-operation with the UK Government, and I urge her to speak to them to ensure that they redouble their efforts to try to get businesses in Scotland to take full advantage of the opportunities arising from the Olympics in 2012.

Yes, I am happy to do that. Indeed, I hope that the message goes right round the country that the contracts that will be let are commercial and business opportunities, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, not just in Scotland but across the United Kingdom.

The Minister has given some rather disappointing figures. I would not wish in any way to take anything away from London—and neither, I am sure, would she, as a fellow London Member. However, it is important to recognise that these are national games, and we would not wish any part of the United Kingdom to miss out. In the run-up phase beyond the construction phase, which she rightly mentions, can she ensure that we do more to promote the national element of the games? Particularly given the cost and the controversy that has surrounded the London Olympics, nothing would be worse than to give the impression that they are just for the capital city, because they are something of which everyone in the UK should be proud.

The hon. Gentleman should accept that every Member in this House can have a responsibility in that respect. Every day I make the point that these are the UK’s games in London. That is why we have been so successful in ensuring that about half the contracts for the construction of the Olympic park go to businesses outside London. The advocacy of Government is one part of delivering this sense of shared opportunity, but the initiative can also be taken by Members of Parliament, local chambers of commerce, small business support services and so forth. All around the country the opportunities are there to be seized. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we must be able to show at every turn that these are the UK’s games in London.