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Construction Programme

Volume 493: debated on Monday 8 June 2009

Any day.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Stephen Pound) for his question. All the major venues on the Olympic park are either on schedule or ahead of schedule. [Interruption]. I thought that he would like some good news today. The International Olympic Committee’s co-ordination committee, during its visit in April, described progress to date as “nothing short of astounding”. We will be very happy to facilitate a visit to the Olympic park for any Member.

Some 34.1 per cent. of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s programme is now complete. Construction has now commenced on all five major venues, and construction of the Olympic stadium is now one year in and remains ahead of schedule. Excellent progress is being made on the aquatics centre, and the roof that will form the gateway to the games is already taking shape in the skyline. Construction has also begun on the international broadcast centre, the main press centre and the velodrome.

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend. During the riotous celebrations that followed Labour’s victory over the Conservatives in Ealing last night, my thoughts naturally turned to the Olympic construction programme. Ealing is an olympian borough, if not an Olympic one, and we are acutely conscious of the legacy of the infrastructure that she is building. Will she please keep foremost in her mind the fact that future generations, including generations unborn, will look to the physical legacy of the Olympics to progress Britain’s sporting supremacy?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Additional money is being invested in the legacy purposes of all the Olympic venues, so that they will be the preferred training place for young people and local communities for many years to come.

The only venue yet to be constructed that continues to cause controversy is the shooting venue. I suspect that my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) would have raised that issue had there been time to call his question, which is next on the Order Paper. The key issue is clearly cost. The shooting authorities make the claim, which was repeated in the House of Lords at the end of last week, that it would be £10 million cheaper to build the venue at Bisley. The Olympic Board clearly rejected that at its meeting last month, saying that it would be considerably cheaper to build it at Greenwich. At the previous Olympics questions the Minister undertook to publish a full set of costings so that we could all make a judgment. Is she in a position today to say when that will be, so that we can all make a judgment one way or the other?

No, I am not in a position either to publish the figures today, or to say when we will. [Hon. Members: “Terrible!”] It is not terrible at all; the figures are subject to sensitive commercial negotiation. When we are in a position to publish them, I shall do so. There was wide consultation leading up to the Olympic Board’s decision last month. That decision has now been taken, and I hope that we will be able to proceed to develop the venue at Woolwich as decided.