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Festivals

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

The most prominent 2012 cultural festivals and events will come under the cultural Olympiad umbrella. Since my appointment, I have taken every opportunity to work with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in arranging a cultural Olympiad of which we can be proud.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Will he share with the House how much of the cultural Olympiad budget has so far been spent in Scotland? Will he assure the people of Scotland that when the follow-up programme is announced later this month, Scotland will get its fair share?

I am certain that Scotland will get its fair share. In fact, I have recently had a meeting with the Scottish culture Minister and we are going to have a cultural policy meeting of all Ministers. Ministers from around the world will go to Edinburgh after the Olympics. The Edinburgh international festival will play a prominent part in the cultural Olympiad. There were 70 events in Scotland at the last open weekend in 2011. Scotland is fully on board the cultural Olympiad, and quite rightly so.

Next year also provides an opportunity for a grand national festival and celebration because of the Queen’s diamond jubilee. May I tell my hon. Friend that in Banbury and Bicester we are already planning for that event, and in Banbury we intend to hold the largest street party in the country?

I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s very optimistic comment and depressed by the sedentary cynical comment by the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant).

The Minister spoke of an Olympic year in which we can be proud. How does he propose to deal with the current dispute between the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and those campaigning on behalf of the 25,000 victims of the Bhopal disaster, and Union Carbide/the Dow Chemical Company having been given the wrap for the stadium? That does not fit with the sustainability and corporate social responsibility criteria of LOCOG.

I am aware of the dispute, which is obviously on the desk of my colleague the Minister for Sport and the Olympics. I would say that the Dow Chemical Company is a top sponsor of the International Olympic Committee and my understanding is that it has been for many years.