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London Olympics

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 22 March 2012

The new £130 million tourism campaign to showcase Great Britain in 2012 aims to deliver an additional 4.6 million visitors, £2.7 billion of extra spend and the creation of about 60,000 job opportunities. The UK is already benefiting from the games, with 98% of the £6 billion-worth of contracts for the “big build” and 90% of the £1 billion-worth of contracts for staging the games going to UK businesses. If we add to that the £1 billion boost to British business that is expected through trade and investment, it amounts to a strong economic legacy from the games right across the UK.

Some of us will have already had the good fortune to see the fantastic work that has been done at the Olympic park, and millions of visitors to this country and British residents will see the work done by British companies, workers and engineers to develop and produce that fantastic park. What more can we and the Government do to ensure that we get the message out that it is British engineering and British construction workers who have delivered such a fantastic venue?

The answer is the GREAT campaign, which targets our 10 major markets around the world. It goes out to them on the back of the success of the Olympic park and tells them to come this country, do business and drive our tourism industry.

After the Olympics and Paralympics, will the Department continue to play a role in the legacy arrangements, or will that pass to the Department for Communities and Local Government or the Mayor of London? What structure will there be for overseeing the continuing delivery of the Olympic project?

That is a very good question and quite a difficult one to answer, because much of the park will of course pass to the mayoral development authority, so much of the area around the hon. Gentleman’s constituency will come under the ambit of the Greater London authority. The DCMS will continue to have overall responsibility, but each Department will have particular responsibilities for the part of the legacy related to its work.

Does the Minister agree that one economic legacy will be the tourism legacy? Does he see that there would be real benefit in allowing tourist information centres to have access to the footage made by the BBC of the torch relay, which will travel the length and breadth of the country, so that they can use it for future advertising? Will he work with me to ensure that the International Olympic Committee allows the BBC to make that footage available?

Yes, of course we will. The Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose), who is responsible for tourism, tells me that both VisitBritain and VisitEngland have access to a large number of images already, which we clearly want to promote on the back of London 2012. We will do all we can.

Nearly 1,500 businesses from across the UK have built the Olympic park and will equip the Olympics. That is a great British achievement. Does the Minister therefore share my concern that those businesses, which have done so well, are too tightly constrained by the marketing rights protocol, which prevents them from publicising the part that they have played? Would not every Member, including my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman), whose constituency hosts one of those businesses and who has talked to me about the issue, want to promote, praise and thank those businesses for their efforts?

Does the Minister agree with me, with the “Building 2012” campaign and now with Sir John Armitt, the chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, that we should seek from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and from the IOC the necessary concessions to ensure a national celebration of our great British businesses that built the Olympic park on budget and on time?

The right hon. Lady makes an extremely good point. She knows, as I do, that those regulations date back to the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 and were put in place to give us the best possible chance of raising as much sponsorship as possible from the private sector. The result, of course, was that the organising committee was extraordinarily successful in raising £700 million of sponsorship, which brings with it intellectual property issues.

That said, I absolutely recognise the issue that the right hon. Lady has itemised. Because the process has been such a success, we want the country and individual businesses to go out and tell that story. The regulations, of course, apply only until just after the games, and we will do all we can to ensure that they work.