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Budget

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

The £9.325 billion public sector funding package that I announced in March 2007 remains unchanged. The rigorous scrutiny includes significant savings—£390 million alone in 2008-09. I shall sacrifice the rest of my answer in the interests of pith.

The land values have certainly been reviewed. As the hon. Gentleman may be aware, negotiations are currently taking place between the Government, the Mayor and the board of the legacy company to determine on what terms and at what level debt should be reassigned.

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that there will be no further raids on lottery funds to sustain and keep up the budget for the Olympics?

Until 2012, the Olympics are a sixth good cause, as was the millennium in 2000. There will be no further take from the lottery, but the lottery is contributing in a very handsome way towards the creation of the Olympics, which will be one of the greatest events that people in the whole UK have ever known.

Around 250,000 Olympics devotees are desperate to volunteer in 2012, yet only 70,000 of them will be able to act as official volunteers. What steps will the right hon. Lady take to ensure that the existing budget provides meaningful and satisfying volunteering opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of sports fans who are not going to be part of the official volunteering team?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that thousands more people want to volunteer for the Olympics than there are specific opportunities in the Olympic park. We are looking across the UK to create what I hope will become the biggest participation and engagement programme ever. I also hope that one of the criteria that will attach to the selection of volunteers in the Olympic park will be experience of having volunteered in the community.

During a recent briefing, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games reported that one of its greatest operational challenges was Government Departments outside the Government Olympic Executive rowing back on their commitments in the current public expenditure round. Those Departments promised to deliver on those commitments at the time of the bid. Is the right hon. Lady in a position to tell us what action she has taken to prevent that, and can she place in the Library of the House a copy of all those commitments, across Government, with the budgets attached?

I am surprised by the hon. Gentleman’s remarks; those concerns have not been raised with me in those terms by LOCOG. Nineteen Government Departments are engaged in delivering the games and to my knowledge, through the Cabinet Committee and other forms of co-ordination, Government Departments are making every bit of their contributions. For instance, the Home Office is overseeing perhaps the most difficult job of all—security. The Olympics will be the biggest peacetime logistical exercise, and they could not happen without the wholehearted support of the Government; London 2012 has that.