rose to call attention to the actions needed to ensure that, in staging the Olympic Games, London and the United Kingdom secure a lasting legacy of economic and social benefit; and to move for Papers.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, like most noble Lords, I was delighted, if somewhat amazed, when on 6 July 2005 London won the vote to host the Olympics in 2012. I am proud that the organisation of which I am chief executive, London First, contributed to that victory by helping to rally business support for the bid. I am still delighted. London’s staging of the world’s biggest sporting festival in 2012 is the best opportunity in a generation to transform the fortunes of a part of our city.
Since the heady euphoria of that day some 20 months ago, there has been much heat expended but little light shed on the costs of 2012. You will be relieved to hear that I do not intend to add to that heat. It is safe to say that some clarity on the costs would enable us all to focus more on the benefits—and we should focus on the benefits. Why did so many people support London’s bid for the Games? Was it to get one over on the French, to contribute more tax in order to pay for the Games, or to wave our plastic union jacks at the opening ceremony? No, we supported it for the benefits that the legacy could bring. There is an urgent need for clarity now on what those long-term benefits are, and whose job it is to deliver them.
What does our Olympic and Paralympic legacy include? It includes first, of course, the sporting legacy, both the tangible of the new facilities, and the intangible of the participation in sport; secondly, the opportunity to show off London and the UK to the rest of the world; thirdly, the transformation of east London; and lastly, the opportunity to train people in new skills. My primary concern rests with the last two of these points—the opportunity to regenerate one of the most interesting but disadvantaged areas of the country, and to equip its people with the skills for success. The first two points are important too, however.
I shall first deal with the tangible sporting legacy, which relates to pristine new facilities. The Athens and Sydney Olympic facilities have been branded white elephants by some, but they were disproportionate to the needs of those cities. After all, Athens and Sydney have populations of some 3 million to 4 million, in countries of 10 million and 20 million respectively, whereas London and the south-east alone account for 20 million people. Thus the planned facilities are entirely appropriate.
David Higgins, as chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, is doing an impressive job of planning for these facilities, but his task would be made that much easier by resolving the chairmanship of that organisation. It needs a strong, independent-minded chair with solid business experience who can weigh up the complex web of stakeholder interests, while supporting David and his team in delivering those facilities on budget and on time. I am delighted that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has recently advertised this position. I encourage anyone who fits this description, and wants to play a part in this historic event, to apply. I also encourage all your Lordships to work with the DCMS to hunt down this shy paragon.
The intangible elements of the sporting legacy are linked to inspiration from and participation in sport. Although it may be hard to believe now, I was once an Oxford athletics blue. Sport gives people an outlet; sporting role models are an inspiration. A successful London Games, Olympic and Paralympic, can expose more of our young people to these sporting role models, thus inspiring a new generation.
If I may summarise in an indelicate way, sport helps to get us off our backsides. It helps address the current epidemic of youth obesity. This of course plays into employability, too. For young, disadvantaged adults in some of our cities, sport can provide the motivation to get up, get out and engage with a world beyond the streets, crime and anti-social behaviour into which they may otherwise drift. We want fewer couch potatoes and more runner beans.
In 2012, the eyes of the world will be on London and the UK. We must prove that we can deliver a big and complex project on time, and we must put on a world-beating show. I have every confidence that Paul Deighton, as chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, will achieve just that, but the rest of the country needs to show itself off in the best possible light at that time, so that we can attract future visitors and investors to our country.
I come now to the primary area of my concern: the opportunity to regenerate one of the most interesting but disadvantaged areas of the UK, through both physical regeneration and local employment opportunities. The Games can provide a catalyst in transforming this area from a place where people have no choice but to live, to a place where people choose to live. I shall turn first to physical regeneration.
East London lies in the path of the huge growth of London to the east. The population is expected to expand by 700,000 in the next decade. That is like bolting on a city the size of Leeds to the capital. Many will settle in the Thames Gateway and will help to supply the growing workforce demands of the City and Docklands. Government need to fire the starting pistol for investment, thus releasing private sector investment, by funding and building infrastructure. At the moment, the Olympics are the responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. If noble Lords think that regeneration sounds like a strange focus for this department, then I agree. It demands action from the Department of Health to build health facilities, from the education department to build schools, from the Department for Transport to build bridges, and so on. Top athletes achieve their goals through ruthless focus. You win at team sports by having an inspirational captain. What we need is a Cabinet-level Minister totally focused on achieving the legacy as well as the Games and who has the skills to lead a talented group of individuals from across all the agencies involved.
Finally, we must aim for a lasting impact on skills and employability. London has unemployment of 8.2 per cent at the moment. That is the highest of any English region and is shocking for a city which is currently booming to the point where it is threatening New York. Unemployment in the Olympic boroughs is far higher; indeed, in some wards less than 50 per cent of the working-age population is economically active. The Olympics will have succeeded only if those without work in east London and elsewhere win some of the jobs connected to the Games, from hard-hat plasterer to chef’s-hat caterer, from receptionist to translator. That success will be embedded if, having serviced the Games, they can take those skills and experience into permanent full-time employment. I would like to see between now and 2012 every employer in east London and beyond, in construction or catering, ask themselves, “What steps can I take, however small, to bring more of the unemployed on my doorstep over the threshold of my business?”.
The public agencies in turn need to put behind them their historic turf battles and work together to make these people just that bit more employable. Private and pubic sectors need to work together too, to find pragmatic solutions that suit both employer and employee. After all, working together is a guiding principle of both business and sport.
I began by looking back to 2005. If I may, I would like to take noble Lords back still further. We can and should learn from past experience, such as the rebuilding of London after the war. Coincidentally, the 1948 Olympics were a triumph for London—they also heralded the forerunner of our current Paralympics—as were the Docklands developments of the 1980s. I do not have some noble Lords’ memories of post-war London but I can just about remember the Docklands developments. So what are the learning points for our current Olympic project?
The London Docklands Development Corporation had independence, resources and influence. It was able to pursue its vision with the minimum of interference. I know that sometimes it seemed to ride roughshod over local sensibilities, and I am not necessarily advocating such a headstrong approach, but the LDDC was effective.
So where is the equivalent body with responsibility for regeneration centred around the Olympics? The relatively recently created London Thames Gateway Development Corporation oversees regeneration in the neighbourhood of the Olympic Park, but it has much less power, much less resource and much less influence over the long-term future of the Olympic site. To create a realistic catalyst for action, national, London and local government need to put their support behind a strengthened Thames Gateway development corporation, with an extended life to 2020. Answering the question about who is in charge of regeneration of this area between 2012 and 2020 is fundamental to locking in the legacy for east London.
What can we learn from the Millennium Dome? It is a beautiful building, built on budget and on time. Clearly, these measures alone are not sufficient for success. From the moment of the Dome’s conception, its future beyond 2000 was nobody’s responsibility. We must not repeat that mistake. Now the 02 is committed to employing local people in the repurposing of the Dome site, but far more benefits could have been achieved at much lower cost if the future of the Dome had been thought about and planned while it was being built.
These two examples lend themselves to a final point; that of the role of transport infrastructure in maximising regenerative impact. The original Docklands developments were unlocked by the Docklands Light Railway. Without the DLR, Canary Wharf would have been an unattractive investment location, separated from customers, workforce and community. Indeed, without the DLR, Canary Wharf simply would not have happened. Similarly, the Dome created a deadline for completion of the Jubilee Line extension, unlocking additional regeneration potential in both the Greenwich peninsula and the Isle of Dogs.
At the risk of gaining a reputation for railing crossly about Crossrail, I return to it again. Without proper transport infrastructure in the gateway there is little opportunity for sustained investment in sustainable communities. Crossrail is far and away the most effective investment. It enables higher density housing to be built, accessible to the thousands of jobs in central London, and provides land value uplift, which enables imaginative and affordable master-planning of areas in the gateway.
To conclude, London and the UK fought hard to win the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They did so with good reason. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not just to host the greatest sporting festival in the world’s calendar, but to bring lasting change to the physical fabric of east London and to the fortunes of some of Britain’s most disfranchised citizens.
If the Games are a success and their legacy endures, London and the nation will have much more than memories once the spectators, the journalists, the sportsmen and women, the medals and the torch have gone home. I beg to move for Papers.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for securing this very important debate. She is a powerful voice for business in London and when she tells us that the conditions and arrangements for proper business engagement with the 2012 Games are not right, we should pay attention to her.
Like the noble Baroness and very many other people in the UK, I am delighted that the 2012 Games will be held in London. I congratulate all those organisations, principally LOCOG, the Mayor and the Government, which secured the Games for the capital.
I am also delighted that the Government placed such strong emphasis on the regeneration aspects of the Games. The Lower Lea is in tremendous need of such regeneration and the Olympic Park itself will be located within some of the UK’s most disadvantaged boroughs. The Prime Minister underlined this when he said in welcoming the Games:
“But as well as being a wonderful sporting and cultural festival, the Games would also deliver benefits for the capital and the country. They would drive the environmentally-friendly regeneration and rejuvenation of East London, give a huge boost for tourism across the UK and provide thousands of new opportunities for work and volunteering”.
I think that we all share that sentiment. My contribution to this debate will focus on the physical regeneration and legacy aspects of the Games. I am not an expert in the economics of staging Olympic Games but I lay claim to some knowledge and expertise in delivering large-scale, complex regeneration projects. I declare an interest as chairman of English Partnerships for the past five years, the national regeneration agency, although we have no locus on the Olympic project as such. But over the past five years I have worked very closely with colleagues to deliver a diverse range of regeneration and development projects: from the regeneration of the entire English coalfield over the past 10 years, to the reclamation of the Greenwich peninsula, the redevelopment of King’s Dock in Liverpool, and so on. We are currently working on a portfolio of more than 50 such projects across England, many of which bear striking similarities to the legacy and regeneration aspects of the Olympics project.
So it is from a basis of experience that I consider the way in which investment in regeneration is being planned and offer my noble friend the Minister some thoughts on how best to secure the regeneration that we all desperately want to see. Evaluation of other Games, whether Olympic or Commonwealth, concludes that, like the curate’s egg, they tended to be good in parts. I suspect that other noble Lords who will speak today will be more familiar than me with the outcome of the Manchester Commonwealth Games. But certainly the events in Sydney and Barcelona—both billed as regeneration Games—did deliver most of the economic and some of the social benefits that were promised.
It is probably worth noting that just over 9 per cent of the Barcelona investment went on sports infrastructure and facilities and the remainder on classic regeneration and public realm projects. That city has moved from being the 18th to the third most visited in Europe after London and Paris. So in many ways it “did what it said on the tin” for Barcelona.
Sydney is probably the most impressive legacy. Independent evaluation suggests that the Games delivered some $3 billion Australian in business outcomes, $2 billion in post-Games sports infrastructure and service contracts, an injection of more than $6 billion in infrastructure developments across New South Wales, more than $6 billion in inbound tourism spending during 2001 and a greatly enhanced business profile for Sydney and New South Wales through the equivalent of up to $6 billion Australian of international exposure.
At the heart of the direct preparations for the Sydney Games were additions to its sporting and entertainment infrastructure through the construction of Olympic venues. Perhaps the most visible legacy of the Games is the new suburb of Newington, home for the Olympic athletes during the Games, and the Sydney Olympic Park. However, there are some outstanding legacy issues. The stadium, initially heralded as one of the best Olympic venues ever created, has presented the City with a white elephant as there were no long-term users identified for the stadium and it continues, sadly, to be used for one-off sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup.
Nevertheless, Sydney is a very good model and we should be pleased that David Higgins is chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority. He was a close colleague of mine for three years at English Partnerships. David was a key player in the construction element of the Sydney Games and learnt a huge amount there. We should also be pleased that his board at the ODA and senior team have extensive experience in complex regeneration projects.
However, we should challenge the client side of the 2012 Games—the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, has explained the tapestry of players there—to create the conditions to enable the ODA to succeed, for the resources being committed are immense, and I do not use that word lightly. Like other noble Lords, I suspect, I rarely pay much attention to local press reports on so-called Olympic costs. I am sure that when they are ready and it is appropriate, the Government will set the correct budget. However, if reported figures of £1.8 billion for regeneration costs alone are anywhere near the mark, I urge the Minister to be very demanding in what is delivered for that level of investment.
There are very well developed methodologies in linking investment to outcomes: methodologies, for example, adopted by Her Majesty’s Treasury, endorsed by the National Audit Office and widely used across England by English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation, the regional development agencies and the 23 urban regeneration companies. For £1.8 billion, the Government should expect a very heavy basket of outputs that includes, in terms of current methodologies, buying more than 45,000 homes, even building in the London affordability cost, and more than 2 million square feet of employment floor space. They should expect leverage from the private sector of up to £10 billion and land receipts of £1.5 billion for that level of investment. I stress that I am sure these are reported costs, and the Minister may tell me that they are not exact costs. If they are near the mark, that is the kind of basket of outputs that the Government would routinely demand of regeneration investment elsewhere in England.
Even if we temper those with an Olympics premium, which is valid, and if we temper those with all the construction built at the new sustainable buildings code at level 3, and if we temper it with ambitious family and affordable housing policies, we should still demand an excellent regeneration outcome. For 25 years, we have learnt how to deliver complex regeneration; economic, social, environmental—real sustainable regeneration. I dearly hope that the 2012 Olympics will build on that experience, and the Government should demand that this is so.
My Lords, this is a welcome opportunity to start the process of debate on the Olympics, which I am sure will continue on many occasions over the coming years. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, for her opening remarks to set the scene, but I will try to correct her on one point. Yes, the building of the Dome was completed nearly on budget, at an over-run of only 2.5 per cent. It would actually have been a very substantial improvement on budget had it not been for some of the more unfortunate government controls on how the process was run. There would have been a saving of some tens of millions without the interference of the Government. The over-run on the Dome all occurred in the management costs and the running of the Dome and of its ancillary services. It was something like 45 per cent over budget on that section, resulting eventually in what amounts to an £811 million learning curve for the Government, which I sincerely hope they will be marking and using extensively in the lessons for the Olympics.
When we heard that the Olympics were beginning to be a very real possibility, the group of senior management who worked with me over the last four months to keep the Dome operating and then through the following year to bring about its final solvent liquidation decided to have an away day together to think about what we might like to suggest to the Government would be the lessons that they should most take from the Dome. We wrote that up into a paper, which we sent to the then-Permanent Secretary at the DCMS, Dame Sue Street, and to Sir John Bourn at the National Audit Office. We were very gratified when shortly afterwards both those parties decided that we should have a day together to debate the paper. We presented our paper to Dame Sue and Sir John and eventually in the fullness of time a report was published on 2 February, which in the main encapsulates almost all the recommendations that we made. We were very gratified.
However, there were four sections in which the report watered down our advice or eliminated it altogether. I will highlight those points today, because they are potentially the subject of an enormous waste of money in the process of the Olympics as time goes forward. First, the most persistent problem that the Dome had was to sustain solvent trading at all stages, and solvency, if you have not got it, is extremely expensive in commercial consequences. Secondly, there is the use of consultants. I know that there is a big budget for consultants at present but, like the leaves that regularly stop railway trains in bad weather, they are the wrong consultants in the main. I will go into that in a bit more detail.
Thirdly, there is the obstacle race that the Government impose on the sensible contracting-out of essential services. The Government believe that they can do anything better and cheaper than everybody else, and the Government are emphatically wrong. Finally, there is sponsorship, which is a frightening area. A big budget is assumed for sponsorship, as there was at the Dome. If the same shortfall on sponsorship achieved occurs in the Olympics as happened at the Dome, you will immediately need to add half a billion pounds on to the budget now because that will be the shortfall cost.
The problems with the shortfall of the realisation of sponsorship are the first lesson that should be learnt because you have to get your sponsorship very early. The Government should be doing it now. The problem with the sponsorship was that the Government never had a single, standard set of rules for every sponsor, so any sponsor could come along and negotiate what he wanted. For example, McDonald’s was certainly coming in with a big budget. But no one realised until July the following year that McDonald’s was going to send the Dome a £5 million bill for building its restaurant on the Dome site. That made rather a big hole in the sponsorship it had received.
Similarly, British Airways and BT both insisted on providing their own staff and then deducted the entire payroll of the staff they gave to man the zones at the Dome from the value of the sponsorship they were giving. As a result of it there was absolutely no cash value left over for the Government. These are the sorts of the things that have to be standardised and kept clear for the future.
Then there is the question of sub-contracting. You need a lot of sub-contractors to run 14 major sporting events simultaneously. The sub-contracting in the Dome covered everything from maintenance right the way through. In fact, sub-contracting produced the only successfully accomplished fraud—well it was successful until they went to prison—that was mounted against the Dome. This arose from the lunatic—forgive the word—refusal of the Government to allow a very small expenditure of only a few thousand pounds to have the vetting process for sub-contractors done by a professional body rather than doing it by an ad hoc group created within. As a result, they took on a maintenance operator for the lighting function who did not exist and they did not notice it. They succeeded in giving this operator the right to generate its own invoices and then sanction them for payment, with the result that £3 million went through the door.
Another major problem was they did not, until we had been open for three months, decide that they needed to sell tickets at the gates and they had not got any turnstiles. Turnstiles for the Olympics are not mentioned anywhere in the report. But turnstile operation must not be attempted by government again. We became suspicious of the failure of our own turnstile operations only when one of our turnstile operators was wheeling a Tesco trolley across the forecourt one night and he was hit by a gust of wind which overturned him, bursting the sack on top of his trolley, causing more than £2,000 worth of £20 notes to blow across the concourse. We had 22 turnstiles and it was reckoned that three of them were operating on that basis more or less every day. We do not know how much we lost down that avenue.
There needs to be a willingness to bend the rules which currently prohibit government bodies from contracting out. At the meeting we had, the National Audit Office said, “That’s no problem with us and there won’t be a problem with the Public Accounts Committee if it’s explained to them too, but it needs Government to sanction the rules by which the consultants can be applied”. Another crazy consulting rule that the Government have is that if you have already used one consultant successfully, then you must not use him again, which is a bit self-defeating. Because if you use him again you are showing favouritism, so you must share it around to the next one in line. This means that you have got to pay the next one extra fees to go through the learning curve of understanding what needs to be done. This is folly unrestricted.
All of this leads us back to what is for me still the biggest and most important issue and the one which cost us so much money at the Dome. That is the refusal of Government to allow the contracting out of certain key financial control functions. The first and worst of those was that they dictated that for every unit to be delivered each would have to have the maintenance of its own bought ledger. The Dome was obviously one unit to be delivered, but something like 14 separate corporate entities will be created to deliver each of the stadia for the Olympics.
The bought ledger at the Dome was a complete and utter catastrophe. One day, when I had been at the Dome about a month, I had a phone call from an individual who said, “I really just wanted to thank you, as the new chairman, for the £100,000 I received yesterday and ask you to assure me that it is safe for me to spend it”. I said, “What is it for?”; he said, “It is the £100,000 you send me every month”. I said, “That is very interesting. What do you get it for?”; he said, “Well, we could not balance our invoices with you at the back-end of last year and we were not going to continue to finish the building, so Jenny Page agreed we could have £100,000 every month just to keep us going and that we would sort out the invoices later”. I asked, “And have we sorted them out yet?”; “Oh, no”, he said, “But you keep sending me £100,000 every month, which I do appreciate”.
All the suppliers had been divided into £100,000 suppliers and £50,000 suppliers and each month, according to which side of that lucky dip they came, the suppliers were being sent a cheque. At the time, we had outstanding an assumed liability of £35 million in unresolved invoices. We did not have a clue what they stood for or whether the work had actually been performed, as another problem was that the structure had not allowed for quantity surveyors to be contracted, so there was no means whatever of establishing the validity of the work that was subject to the invoices that were coming in. That was bad enough for the Dome, but if we are to have 14 such projects going at the same time, can we please have committed, contracted quantity surveyors running through the organisation?
Those are the main points. If we do not do that, we shall have insolvency in every one of the 14 operations and we shall have a complete and utter disaster. It does not have to be so, but the Government need to make some changes.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, on securing this debate. I also congratulate her on all the work that she is doing in promoting the Olympics and in promoting London.
As a Mancunian, I witnessed the very successful Commonwealth Games and I am very conscious of the legacy that they left for Manchester. I summarise the legacy as the three “p”s—perception, physical and pride. By perception I mean the way in which Manchester is seen as a vibrant city, with hotel developments, and the fact that the major parties now hold their conferences there; by physical I mean the stadium, which is now used by Manchester City, and the swimming pool development; and by pride I mean the huge morale booster for Mancunians that those successful Commonwealth Games left to the city. Many now believe that Manchester's successful hosting of the Games played a key part in London getting the 2012 Olympics. I am sure that the London Olympics can, and will be, as great a success as the Commonwealth Games were for Manchester and will give a huge boost to our nation.
London starts from the great advantage of it being our capital city and arguably now the world's number one city. In many ways, one would like the London 2012 Olympics to be called “the legacy Olympics”, because it would focus our minds on the long-term benefits.
I am sure that in subsequent contributions a number of my colleagues will focus on issues ranging from regeneration of east London, transport and sporting legacy to employment and skills. As a former Tourism Minister, and chairman of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions—the million-visitor-a-year club and essentially the jewels in our national tourism crown—I would like to focus on the tourism dimension of the Games, tourism being our fifth-largest industry.
London 2012 provides a unique opportunity to project globally our national image and our great cultural heritage, not just for the short duration of the Games themselves—the number of tourists during the Games may well fall as compared with other years—but also for the enormous tourism opportunity pre- and post-2012. I am very conscious that there is a lot of scepticism in the regions about the coming Olympics; they do not really feel part of them. The more tourists we bring to this country, the greater the benefits for the regions as tourists stay here longer and visit many other parts of the UK.
I do not wish to dwell on negatives today; we want this to be an optimistic, positive debate. I certainly do not wish to overdwell on party politics. We cannot afford for much longer the festering dispute over funding which, by way of example, dominated yesterday’s Evening Standard. It is up to Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, to grip the funding issue. He cannot hide behind the skirts of the DCMS for much longer; we need closure on this issue. The disputes and negotiations between the Treasury, the DCMS and London must be brought to a close shortly, or we will all suffer. The suggested cost of £9 billion is obviously a large sum. Put in comparable terms, it equates to the likely cost of 10 new Wembley stadiums or the profits announced today by the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, it is all well within our national capability, particularly given that national pride is at stake.
I want to make two points about funding. First, because we are running overbudget, we must not lose our nerve or skimp on the design and quality of the Olympic structures. We must take the long view. Secondly, as the majority of spending will be of a capital nature, we must adequately support that capital expenditure with a view to bringing in more tourists by means of some realistic revenue spending. It is surely madness for the Government, at present, to consider cutting in real terms the budget of VisitBritain. The marketing budget of VisitBritain is currently ranked 26th in the United States, our most important tourism market. Ireland spends four times as much.
It is also absurd for the Government to reduce the British Waterways budget at this time because of problems with Defra. Nevertheless, I was delighted yesterday to read about the development of our canal network in east London, to the long-term benefit of sport, tourism and carrying materials to the Olympic site. We also need to consider increasing spending on our great museums, opening new galleries, developing exciting new exhibitions and providing the funds for new purchases for our great museums and galleries. I say to Ministers that we need rather more joined-up government to support London 2012.
Monday 12 March will be the start of British tourism week, under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. This is designed to raise the profile of our great tourism and hospitality industry, and to demonstrate what we have to offer to visitors. With only limited resources, VisitBritain operates in only 36 markets from 23 overseas offices, but approximately 200 countries will compete in the 2012 Olympics. There is a major challenge in projecting our image. Ideally, we need some form of presence in all those countries. In particular, I suggest using and promoting the British Council, which has a presence in 109 of those countries, and perhaps creating Olympic ambassadors in the remainder.
In about 18 months, the Olympic banner will be passed to the United Kingdom from Beijing. Parallel to that, Liverpool will be the city of culture. The world’s media will then be focused on the United Kingdom and the 2012 Olympics. It is essential that those correspondents who come here enjoy their United Kingdom experience and report back favourably. They want to see real progress on construction and transport infrastructure; they want value for money as visitors. Above all they want, and must receive, a warm welcome. Each of us has a duty to be an ambassador for our country and the London 2012 Olympics from now on. There is every opportunity for the 2012 Olympics to be a great success and for the United Kingdom to benefit from our raised profile in tourism. I hope we will all be able to take pride in the 2012 Olympics and the positive legacy that will undoubtedly follow.
My Lords, on the evening of 6 July 2005 I was licensing one of our priests to a parish in East Ham. He came from Burma, and in front of me was a multicultural congregation. There was a palpable sense of celebration and joy at the thought of the Olympics coming into their community. A very large portion of the Olympic site lies in my diocese. I and my colleagues, the right reverend Prelates the Bishop of Southwark, who is here today, and the Bishop of London, in collaboration with our ecumenical partners, seek to put a structure in place in the churches and the faith communities to ensure that we, too, think about how the legacy works out and how we can play our part in this great event.
It is worth remembering, without taking anything away from all those who promoted the bid, that the children of east London played a significant part in the final stages of winning the bid for London. It is important that they and their generation are the people who benefit from the Games arriving in our capital city. I hope that your Lordships will forgive me for talking for a moment or two about the wider cultural, social and spiritual issues at stake, in terms of regeneration.
Will this event seriously take account of the context in which it is to be set? The London Borough of Newham is probably one of the most multicultural boroughs in Europe; it is certainly one of the youngest communities in Europe. As an east London borough, it contains quite a high proportion of children and young people who fall below the poverty line. Are those young people and children going to be engaged in the Games?
Last year we had the incidents of people being arrested in Stratford on terrorist charges, and all the issues of the image of young people from different cultural communities. Will this be an opportunity for us to build a more open and successful society, including the many faces of life that form our community today? As the planes bring the athletes into London, will we still have aeroplanes taking asylum seekers and refugees out of London? I had my attention drawn to a person who had been working in Newham for 10 years but who, last week, was sent home. These issues have to be joined up and connected.
Will the Games have a ring of steel around them, in which case the community in which they are set will not be engaged, or will there be real opportunities, by us all working together through volunteering and employment, to draw a whole generation into the excitement of this experience?
If you go into east London today, you cannot avoid the reality that religious faith is important for people. It is important that the legacy of the Games also takes account of those issues in their lives for the future. Will we have a serious conversation, not just with the churches but with the other faith communities, about the needs of those communities for the future? I was told, recognising the size of the south-east of England, that nearly two-thirds of young people who are active members of churches in England are inside the ring of the M25 and that a very high proportion of them go to predominantly black-led churches. How are their needs, as they see them, to be met in the structuring of the legacy? Are we thinking about those sorts of facilities?
I want to talk about housing. I understand that people are already buying up properties in east London and that the affordability of housing is becoming an issue. I am told that people in Asia and across the world are buying properties with a view to the Games. What are the proportions of the affordable housing that will be part of the legacy? I heard what the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, said about the London Docklands Development Corporation. I am sure that we all endorse the need for a clear structure, but one outcome that we do not want in east London is the gentrification of Tower Hamlets and Newham whereby the poor of those communities disappear into Barking, Dagenham and Thurrock. With the mobility of people, there are now 11 BNP councillors in Barking and Dagenham. We must watch that in the end we do not say how wonderful things are in the immediate communities when all that we have done is shift the problems elsewhere; we gentrify the riverbank and a few hundred yards back, moving the poor elsewhere. That will not do. We must think about the social issues and make sure that the benefits of the legacy go to the people who host the Games. These are complex social, spiritual and cultural issues, but they are terribly important because if we get the legacy right we shall have done something for the well-being of the whole of our country.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, on raising our sights beyond the topic of the moment and encouraging us to look at the value of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. When I started to make notes for this debate, I found that it was impossible not to mention the chimera of a budget. It is beginning to be quite difficult. I do not want to skimp—to use my noble friend’s phrase—and I know that the bid document states:
“We are only building new venues where clear legacy needs have been identified and supporting business plans developed for post-Games use”.
However, it is beginning to be quite difficult not to think about taking a hard look at the number and scale of the venues and the existing facilities that London and the UK have to offer. My other reason for being unable to resist the temptation of mentioning the budget is that, like the Mayor of London, I do not believe that any contractor could look at a 60 per cent contingency and not be tempted to regard that as part of his base budget.
My main point about the budget is that what is happening does nothing but feed opposition to the Games. Some of that opposition comes in the guise of conditional support, which is really opposition waiting to break out in public. A huge benefit of the Games should be to draw people together in their enthusiasm for them. The more that confidence in the enterprise as a whole ebbs away, the more damage is done. I do not know whether the figure in the bid book should have been £3 billion, £4.5 billion or £5 billion instead of £2.375 billion; if it had been one of those, a higher figure might well have been broadly accepted, but the rumours and the time that is elapsing mean that support is leeching away. When we get to the budget, we must have enough detail to be able to analyse it, the variations from the original figure and the subsequent changes after it is published, because I do not think that it will remain a static figure. We must not hide behind commercial confidentiality and keep from the public what these Games are really costing because, as the noble Baroness reminded us at the start, there is immense value, not all of which one can put a cash figure on.
The budget itself is a legacy issue, given that the money will have to come from somewhere: indeed, £340 million has already been diverted from community sport, and the Secretary of State says that more is to be taken. How do we contribute to the sporting legacy? No wonder that the charitable and voluntary sectors are so concerned about the position of the lottery. Those sectors will, in different ways, be contributing to achieving many of the potential legacy aims.
Like my noble friend, I am a Mancunian, and I am proud of what Manchester did with the Commonwealth Games, even if my team does not seem to be as inspired as it should be by its new stadium. I am now—I am not sure whether this is an “and” or an “or”—a Londoner. One of the legacies that I very much do not want is the feeling that affluent London is getting it all. As we have just been reminded so powerfully, “affluent” does not apply to the area of London where many of the events will take place. The legacy should not have a geographical limit; it should not be confined to, or within, London. I am surprised that we have so far not heard speeches about the need to show legacy benefit right across the UK. Indeed, I thought that we might have a Welsh speaker today. As the noble Baroness has said, we need to acknowledge the regeneration in its broadest sense, particularly the transport developments, which would never have been achieved without the bid for the Games being won.
I particularly want to mention the Paralympics, the legacy of which is to,
“motivate greater numbers of young people—and in particular those with disabilities—to become involved with sport, and to aspire to elite performance”.
The LOCOG budget has £90 million for the Paralympic Games and I understand that half of this comes from the public sector funding package. There are no established pathways for disabled people to get into sport and no pathways for training non-elite athletes and coaches. Not very long ago, the London Assembly, of which I am a member, looked at sport for disabled people in the context of the bid having been won. We heard from those working in the area that, although there has been some discussion of legacy funding, there are no financial or timescale commitments and no indication of what will go towards disabled sports. There has been no increase in funding for community sports since we won the bid; indeed, as I said, some money is being redirected. I ask this not to carp but because I hope that there is a positive answer: how can the Paralympic sport legacy, any more than the whole Olympic sport legacy, happen without more funding for community sport?
Just talking about the value of the Paralympic Games will not magically create a change in attitude or participation. Someone needs to drive this forward. As part of the investigation by the London Assembly, I visited a sports club in Camberwell. The visit was at once inspiring and disheartening. It was inspiring because we visited a class of very disabled children, run by an absolutely terrific coach, where there was one-to-one assistance from trainers; one could see from the attitude of the children who attended and from talking to their parents who were with them what value this gave to their lives. However, between the time of our visit and the time we launched the report, which was only two or three months later, the club had to cut its classes to one a week. There had been only two, but this was cut to one. Fifty-thousand pounds a year—peanuts for this budget—would make an enormous difference to that club, and there must be many like it.
Access to sport for children with special needs is horribly neglected. They are often sidelined from sports provision in mainstream schools. Lack of transport is a barrier; teachers are not properly equipped and they barely get any training. The London Games provide the impetus for change and we should honour the promises that we made in London’s bid. We should also stick to our promises to another group. The noble Baroness has talked about skills and training. The group that I am talking about so badly lacks jobs skills. It is only too easy not to make the effort to reach the very hardest to reach: those deprived personally and those in deprived communities.
To end more positively, I shall quote the leaders of two of the so-called Olympic boroughs at a meeting of the London Assembly. One said,
“we are using the whole carnival, celebration and excitement … as a catalyst to re-ignite passion within our communities and serious engagement with our communities”.
“we want to use the Games to enhance community cohesion”.
Her borough, Tower Hamlets,
“is rolling out, through the local strategic partnership, the coming together of communities to bring forward their ideas and how they want to see the Olympics affecting our borough”.
She reminded us that 42 per cent of children are in poverty in the borough, in which the average salary, because of Canary Wharf, is £100,000 a year.
The great thing about winning the bid was the can-do approach that it encapsulated. It is now essential to maintain people’s confidence and show that we can do it, and do it well.
My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness on this timely and important debate and on starting it off in such a thought-provoking and powerful way. As has been said, there is some controversy and public concern about the cost of the Olympics and the Paralympics, and rightly so: it obviously needs to be gripped and dealt with, lessons need to be learnt, as has been said, and public confidence needs to be maintained in this whole enterprise. I guess that we could probably all predict some of the other storms that we will see and hear about over the next five years, although I shall not tempt fate by doing so. Some of them will need real attention, but none of them should blow the Olympics off course or lead to short-term and short-sighted reactions.
That is why the noble Baroness’s debate about the long term and the legacy is so important. All her arguments about how the legacy needs to be planned for and managed are powerful. It will not simply happen; someone needs to be responsible for it and for each part of it. We need to be clear about what sort of legacy we want and, as important, about what the measures of success will be. These measures need to be about outcomes and not only about processes. They need to be things that we can point to and identify as lasting, beneficial results—the legacy, if you like.
All that implies a significant role for leadership and management, but this is not only about robust planning and management or governance and government. If the Olympics and Paralympics are about anything, they are about inspiration, effort, achievement and ambition. They are about individuals and teams. They play to our aspirations. I suspect that one of the most lasting legacies will be in what thousands of people actually do and actually feel. It is not only about authority planners and government; it could be about us all. It certainly sets challenges for very many people such as architects, designers, teachers, health workers, sports people, and public and private organisations.
In this context, I was very impressed by the energy of the bid and by the images and portrayal of London and its citizens. There was a real sense of momentum, of unity of purpose and of community built from diversity. It was very inclusive; I was struck by the words of the right reverend Prelate on this. This was impressive and it bodes well for the future if it can be maintained.
When, on 1 March 2013 in this Chamber, the noble Baroness asks whether we are satisfied with the emerging legacy, I hope that we will have a great deal to say and that, although not all of it is likely to be positive, much of it will be. Most important, I hope that we do not conclude that it all went pretty well but that it was a great missed opportunity.
Let me turn to that legacy. I declare an interest as the former NHS Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary for Health, so your Lordships will not be surprised to know that my comments will concentrate on health. There is, I know, an awful lot of planning under way from the NHS and the department with its partners. Excellent work is being done with Sport England, with its great campaign for sport and exercise, making sure that we all understand the link between exercise and health and that exercise is as widespread as possible. Good work has already been started on sports medicine, as was raised in a recent Question in this House. I also want to mention the Paralympics in this context. What boost will we see for sport and activity for disabled people as a result of the Paralympics? I very much identified with the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, on this. But what, for the Paralympics, will be the wider impacts and who is responsible for securing them?
Let me draw out one aspect that can often be overlooked in this context; namely, the link between mental health and physical activity. Evidence shows that physical activity is the second most important thing for people’s mental well-being—the first, incidentally, is having somebody whom you can confide in and trust. I guess that that is not surprising—we all know it—but it is another important point about the legacy of these Olympics and Paralympics. We need to make sure that it reaches everyone. That can be very difficult; it can be pretty difficult for us all to get to the gym or whatever is our intended method of getting some exercise, but persuading people who are not feeling very good about themselves to do it may be even harder.
Let me talk about east London. As has been said, the Games are taking place in the poorest part of London with the worst health facilities and the worst health—although east London has some wonderful beacons of excellence. It is said, and I believe it to be accurate, that as you go east, for every tube stop life expectancy drops a year. Presumably that stops being the case at some point. However, it is a real point about the area in which this enterprise is taking place. I note from Sport England’s recent study that the people of Newham are the least physically active in the city; it is perhaps not surprising that sports activity is often associated with affluence.
Sheila Adam, the director of public health for London, reminded me that one reason why many health people signed up to the bid was that the Games would take place in east London, not west London, and that we saw the opportunity for enormous health benefits from that. What is likely to be left behind in health terms in east London? I know that some health facilities are being planned for the Olympics. It is important that these are secured for the longer term and that we understand that these are community and primary care facilities and not hospitals. The thing that is greatly lacking is services that are available immediately to people in the community. We need to be reassured that these facilities, which will be created for the great influx of people over this period, will then be turned over to local people for their use.
Mental and physical health is determined by things other than the NHS, such as community facilities. However, there is no use in sport if there is no access and I hear rumblings that some facilities may not be available in the longer term. We need to be reassured about that. But this is also about transport and infrastructure and, as the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, said, regeneration. Poverty and ill health go hand in hand, as do ill health and worklessness. The economy and health go hand in hand; good health can benefit the economy and a healthy economy boosts health. When I asked other health planners what was most important in this legacy, high on their list was employment, which of course helps to pull people out of poverty. They went on to mention employment in the construction period, not just for outsiders but for local people and local organisations, and the need for longer-term investment, as the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, and others have said. It will be interesting to know what local people with all their diversity of culture and background will say about the legacy. Will they feel part of it? Will they feel more connected to affluent Britain? Without the gentrification, will this be a place where people choose to live?
I have talked about the things on which the Government need to take the lead in securing, although they will depend on the enormous creativity and energy of all those involved locally. But on the aspirational, what new standards will be set? What records will be broken off the track or sports field or out of the pool? What is the opportunity for people to be challenged and inspired in every field? Let me conclude with three quick examples, two of them not from health.
The first one relates to sustainability and sustainable building. I was talking to some architects recently about the challenging sustainability targets that are already in place in London. They were saying, “Why not raise the bar even higher with the Olympics? Why are we not showing a generation what can be done and what the aspiration for the future should be?” The second is another topic that we have not talked about—security, that growing industry that intrudes on us all. How will that be achieved in a safe and friendly but non-constraining way? How will it be managed in the midst of a lively community? There are standards to be set there.
Finally, I turn to research. The biggest problem in health today is keeping people healthy. As I have said in the House before, that is about early health, not late disease. We know a lot about late disease—we know the biomedicine and the research—but there is not yet very good research on maintaining health. This is an opportunity to have a laboratory in the UK, perhaps in the East End, to understand the issues and learn some of the lessons.
I hope that the illustrations that I have used are useful. My contribution can be summed up simply: plan systematically for the legacy, play to the aspirations and imagination of us all and challenge people to set new standards in every field.
My Lords, it is a pleasure to be debating this aspect of the Olympics rather than the minutiae of the budget, although I agree with my noble friend Lady Hamwee about the need to get some certainty on it to avoid a corrosion of public support for the Olympics. I also agree with my noble friend Lord Lee’s thoughts about the budget, not least in respect of museums and galleries. Having queued like an eager schoolboy yesterday at the tremendous exhibition organised by the northern museums and galleries to hold the football which was used in the 1966 World Cup final and have my photo taken—I am sorry if noble Lords missed that chance because I think it has gone back to Preston—I know how important even that kind of legacy can be in terms of driving both aspiration and economic development.
However, in my view the cost of putting on the Games can only be justified if they produce a legacy which goes well beyond the immediate impact of the Games themselves. I think it is pretty clear that there will be a substantial positive legacy in the Lower Lea Valley and surrounding areas. There is clearly going to be significant physical regeneration, which is extremely welcome. However, I do not believe that the cost of putting on the Games could be justified if the only beneficiaries were going to be the communities in east London contiguous to the Olympic park. For me, the real success of the Games will be measured by the extent to which it has been possible to use them as a catalyst to longer-term changes in economic and social behaviour. This is a lot to ask but I do not believe it is impossible because of the power of the Games’ brand and the extraordinary power of sport to motivate people to behave in ways which society believes to be positive.
What would then constitute a successful legacy? In the time I have today, I would like to concentrate on the social component because I believe we should be looking to the Games to enable us to effect a stepped improvement in health, fitness and educational levels across the whole of the UK and not just London. If we are to achieve this, we will need to be more successful than any Olympics or any other international sporting event to date. I believe it is possible, first, because we are debating this a long time before the Olympics happen so there is time to get things right, and, secondly, because there are examples elsewhere in the world and in the UK where good practice has developed around big sporting events. I would like to mention three of them and in doing so I declare an interest because I have acted as an adviser to all three.
First, as a result of the failed bid to host the 2006 football World Cup in England, an initiative was launched between the Prince’s Trust and the FA Premier League, the PFA and the Football Foundation to link the work of the trust’s programmes for unemployed and disadvantaged young people with professional football clubs. This year, 10 years on, 12,000 unemployed young people will have participated in this programme and more than 80 per cent of them will have gone on to get a job or have gone into further education and training. None of that would have happened without a bid, which in the end was unsuccessful. How much better could we do on the back of a successful bid?
Secondly, I am involved in a programme which has just begun at the North-West University’s Mafikeng campus in South Africa. It gives poor students a university education which they would otherwise have been unable to afford—because they have an ability in football. That is possible because the 2010 World Cup is going to South Africa and funding partners are willing to get involved in sport and community development, which, frankly, would not have been forthcoming without the impetus of that great sporting event.
Thirdly, to take a programme which should benefit a whole nation—albeit a small one—the cricket World Cup in Barbados is being used by the Government and people of Barbados to put in place a seven-strand legacy programme for economic, environmental, sport and social development. I am involved in the strand which aims to put in place a programme for young people to combine sport, mainstream education and lifestyle training, covering among other things nutrition and sexual health. All these things are already being addressed in Barbados to a greater or lesser extent, but the cricket World Cup has given it the chance to take provision to a higher level and to tap into new sources of funds to do so. There is no reason why we should not seek to follow that precedent.
Having been involved in these programmes, what conclusions do I draw about what we need to do to maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK? First, we need to set clear targets, which should include increasing participation in sport and physical activity. There should be particular efforts at school level, but equally we need to get much better at encouraging young people when they leave school to keep active and to remain so throughout their lives. To do that, we need to look well beyond the Olympic disciplines. Speaking for myself, I have to accept that I will never be a triathlete, a pole-vaulter or a sprinter. Fortunately, there are less demanding forms of activity which I can and, I hope, will pursue to keep myself fit. We need to do more to provide facilities and encouragement for people like me.
We should use the Olympics to improve the nation’s diet. It is blindingly obvious that no athlete could compete successfully if he or she ate unhealthily, drank like a fish or smoked like a chimney. There is great scope to encourage children to eat more healthily if they understand that Olympians follow a healthy diet, but we need more to make that link. Incidentally, we are not just talking about obesity. I gather that about 1 million people suffer from other eating disorders, principally anorexia and bulimia, of which 80 per cent are teenage girls. We ought to think about how we can use Olympic models, rather than catwalk models, to be role models to that group.
We should use the Olympics to improve basic education by learning from the experience of professional football and cricket clubs which have sports-related curriculum material delivered at the grounds and more widely through the Playing for Success programme. The Olympics offer endless opportunities for coursework in maths, English, languages, geography and history, which we should develop. Finally, we should use the Olympics to teach the Olympic virtues of sportsmanship, tolerance, fair play and international goodwill. At a recent conference in London, I was intrigued to hear a leading Chinese Olympic official describe how Olympic values were being taught in all Chinese schools in the run-up to the 2008 Games. It seems to me that to include and induce these values into a generation of young Chinese would be doing the world a very great favour, and we should do likewise.
Having set such targets, how are we to achieve them? First, we need simple, clear structures to deliver them. The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, talked about structures in the East End for physical regeneration in the longer term, but we need equivalents to deal with these social issues. I am not suggesting a huge parallel bureaucracy of what already exists, but at a national level at least there needs to be a clear co-ordination of effort, which can be filtered through, in many cases, existing local structures.
Secondly, there needs to be more resources, as always. The only country which has taken sporting and physical activity rates up to the level set by our Government for Sport England is Finland, where they spend more than twice as much per head than us. I do not believe that we should look for new money: a lot of money is spent—not necessarily always very well—on improving healthy lifestyles and education, which could be diverted into these areas.
Thirdly, we need leadership. The rhetoric from Ministers and others so far has been excellent, but we need an ongoing political will to continue getting across the potential of the Games, as well as getting the delivery right. The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, suggested that we need a Cabinet Minister. I am not sure about that, but I certainly support the idea of a Minister for the Olympics. The CCPR in its briefing for today points out that there is a tendency for major events to have a long sunrise and a short sunset. We need to get cracking now to exploit the sunrise and to allow us to prolong the sunset.
My Lords, I very much welcome this debate and I thank my noble friend Lady Valentine for initiating it. I declare an interest as someone who works extensively across the arts and heritage sector, and I must say that I am somewhat surprised that so far there has not been very great mention of the role that culture can and will play in the Olympics and the Paralympics. I also declare an interest as a member of the Olympic Culture and Education Committee, which was involved in putting together the cultural aspects of the bid. The focus of this debate is the socio-economic benefits of the Olympics. I have observed that the contribution that the cultural programme could make in this respect has not been discussed to a great extent anywhere, so I want to foreground that.
In the context of ever-rising costs of the building project, as noble Lords have said, it is important to reassure the public that this expenditure is an investment in the region and the country as a whole. Besides the tangible infrastructure—already mentioned—such as the stadium, improved transport, the media centre, accommodation and the boost to local economies through tourism, et cetera, there will also be the impact on our sense of ourselves as a nation in terms of our ability to deliver one of the most complex and prestigious global projects and to share with 200 other nations our cultural riches.
In our bid document, we expressed three key objectives for the arts, culture and education programme for 2012; namely, to provide a dazzling and spectacular ceremonial programme which is creatively and impeccably staged; to unlock Britain’s creative wealth and London’s reputation as a world cultural capital to celebrate youth and internationalism; and to instil the Olympic spirit through inspiring education. We recognised the importance of addressing the desire of the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin—the creation of a partnership between sport, culture and education. If we go back to de Coubertin's vision, we see that he intended the creation of an environment where the highest achievements of the human body and the human intellectual and creative force could meet in the spirit of mutual inspiration. We very much want to build on this vision. This is a huge challenge, especially as we now have a commitment to staging a cultural programme that lasts for the four years between Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Now an integral part of the Olympic programme, other host cities have recognised the social and regeneration benefits of staging a sustained, strategic cultural programme. The principal reasons for doing so might be summarised as, first, acknowledgement of the cultural and creative capacity of the host city; secondly, improvement of the quality and reach of cultural services; thirdly, providing a showcase for the country’s cultural and creative diversity for internal consumption; fourthly, projection of the city and the country globally; and, fifthly, changing its image.
London, of course, has a good head start in many of these areas, but we should acknowledge that, although in many respects we have an enviable reputation for supporting arts and culture through public subsidy, we cannot afford to be complacent. I was particularly struck by that in relation to our discussion in Question Time about the precarious nature of some of our local provision.
There are some bright spots; first, the unprecedented co-operation between the five London Olympic boroughs is an excellent sign of the benefits of collaboration across boundaries to secure a much-enhanced cultural provision for all. The cultural sector has already made a substantial contribution to improving the quality of life, sense of local pride and self-esteem across the country. The sector has worked hard to develop and resource diverse communities, including people with disabilities. We should remember that, as one of your Lordships has pointed out, Britain initiated the Paralympics—a tradition on which I hope we will build in both the cultural and sporting festivals.
When allied strategically with regeneration programmes, the achievements have been notable in both urban and rural areas. Cumbria, Newcastle and Walsall particularly spring to mind; in the Olympics and Paralympics context, as others of your Lordships have already mentioned, Manchester is a good example of how culture and sport work so well together. The investment in Barcelona’s cultural infrastructure was also important in its rising popularity as a European destination. I would like to know: are there any cultural facilities that we hope will emerge in east London as a result of the Olympics and the Paralympics?
Culture is obviously a huge draw for people coming to London, and this attraction can be used to encourage visitors to travel beyond the capital. I know that Yorkshire, for example, is keen to maximise the benefits of cultural tourism in its regional development plans for the Olympics. One hopes that there are co-ordinated strategic plans for delivery on that objective across the country. China’s parting message at the end of the 2008 Olympics will be “Sail Onwards in Hope”. We hope that that will be taken up by our FriendShip project, a centrepiece of the cultural proposals for 2012. Through working on themes of exchange, voyage and exploration, the challenges of national and global citizenship can be examined, with the aim of helping young and older people to develop an understanding of what it means to be a modern Briton in our contemporary world.
The provision for young people is clearly important and the keystone of the cultural programme. We have been shamed by the recent report on the psychological and physical environment in which we bring up our children. Within many parts of the cultural sector, there has long been a recognition that young people have not been well served in our society. Although we alone cannot solve these problems, we certainly can, will and have been initiating and participating in cultural projects by working across a number of sectors and professions, including health, mental health and the environment. We can continue to work on such projects, which can at least in some way contribute toward improving the lives of our young people.
The Olympic cultural festival can also contribute to the legacy of the Games through opening and sustaining dialogues with the many nations that will be represented through the sporting events. Cultural diplomacy has significant potential as a positive force, and it stands the best chance of being effective if a wide, diverse range of actors across services, professions and sectors—and the cultural sector—are involved in negotiating the process, shape and delivery of the programme and a vital cultural legacy.
With constant reports of budget over-runs, I would like the Minister to reassure the House that the already slim resources allocated to the cultural programme are not to be clawed back. The sum involved is so tiny in comparison to the overall budget that any such act would merely be a gesture, but I know that the cultural sector is nervous about that.
I am passionate about sports and spectacle, and I very much look forward to the successful delivery and long-term legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics.
My Lords, like other noble Lords I want to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, for initiating this debate and for opening it so positively that it set the tone for us today. I declare an interest as a board member of the Olympic Delivery Authority.
Strong partnerships and the sort of working relationships to which the noble Baroness referred are key to delivering both a successful Games and, perhaps more importantly, the legacy that London and the whole of the UK want. Those are between LOCOG and the ODA, between Government and the GLA, between boroughs, business and the London Development Agency, and so many others. The expectations are high, as we have indeed heard today, but not as big as the challenge. I confess to feeling very shell-shocked the first time that I went around the site itself, on a bus tour organised for new board members. The sheer enormity of the task in the site itself is huge, before we even talk about the wider legacies in the communities and country beyond. We should never underestimate the size of the task ahead.
Like others, I do not intend to dwell on the budget or to continue building a sense of what is, in my view, a false crisis about it. Personally, I agree with the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, on the contingency funds and I hope that a realistic level is agreed there.
The Games are an absolutely massive challenge. To put it in context, the project is twice the size of T5 but has to be built in half the time. It is a fantastic opportunity. This is not just about creating the stage for what will be the greatest sporting spectacle that the country has ever seen—if we get it right—and making the most that we can of the opportunity. It is about regenerating one of the poorest parts of London and bringing a range of benefits across the country as a whole.
I have a few indices about the local community; many of your Lordships have already referred to these today. We know that of the 354 local authority areas in the UK, three of the five host boroughs are the fourth, fifth and 11th most deprived. The remaining two are in the top 50. Life expectancy in Newham is the lowest of all London boroughs—six years lower for men and five years lower for women than Westminster, which has the highest. We heard earlier about tube stations; it is actually from Bank to Stratford via the Central line that each tube stop represents a one-year decrease in life expectancy. A majority of children live in poverty in 23 out of the 24 wards, and unemployment runs at 35 per cent on several estates.
Stratford is in the London Borough of Newham and is situated in the north of the Lower Lea Valley. Socially, this area is one of the most diverse in Britain; with 300 languages spoken in London, many of them are spoken in this area. Newham also boasts the youngest population in London and the highest BME population in the country. That is both a challenge and a huge opportunity for us, if we get the legacy right.
There are two crucial elements in the DNA of everybody involved in this project. First, Games and legacy planning are truly integrated for the first time in Olympic history. Secondly, the planning for the Games through LOCOG and via the Olympic Delivery Authority is fully integrated, and they are working strongly together. As many Members of the House will be aware, that partnership is crucial to the delivery of the Games and their legacy—and has been criticised in previous Games in other cities.
A culture of “no white elephants” is running through the ODA. There will only be permanent facilities if there is a long-term legacy-use post the Games. There is no point staging brilliant Games and then suffering a sort of national hangover, with the venues gathering dust two years afterwards. As we want this project to be the catalyst for lasting social change, it is absolutely essential to get that right. We are talking about staging the greatest sporting event on Earth, but also about delivering the largest regeneration project in Europe.
How is this task being done? Planning is absolutely key, as many noble Lords have said today. If we plan for Games and legacy together, we have a chance truly to achieve the objectives that we have set. Equally, if we plan and then make decisions, we must stick to them. Projects run into trouble when the scope is changed half way through. I thought it might be useful to give some examples of how, by working together, we are planning to help deliver the legacy that everyone wants. The partnerships are multi-faceted and wider than that of LOCOG and the London Development Agency.
I shall give some tangible examples. The 70,000 volunteers that LOCOG requires link the pre-volunteer programme that the LDA is running to address worklessness in London into planning for the Games themselves. Similarly, combined work by the GLA and the London Development Agency on skills links into the employment opportunities that the ODA and LOCOG provide. Within the Olympic Park, the ODA is delivering the international broadcast centre and media press centre for the Games; that will then become part of Hackney’s legacy ambition, by converting these facilities into industrial space afterwards. Likewise, the ODA’s current procurement needs—and, later, those of LOCOG—link to the ambitions and work of the LDA, which is creating the London business network to help London businesses get the most from the Games, as well as skilling-up to exploit wider business opportunities.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, said most acutely, it is crucial to put aside both old vested interests and silos. This will work only if people work together in a way which we know at times has not happened. Most crucially, we have to ensure that local people, especially the Bangladeshi communities, benefit from the opportunities that will come forward in the next few years.
One of the most difficult parts of the delivery of the Games and the legacy is meeting the very high expectations there are—whether with regard to skills, sustainability, diversity, sports participation or arts and culture. Of course, there is also the overall economic and physical regeneration. Somehow we have to value and harness that enthusiasm but, above all, we must have a very tough, focused delivery programme, or none of this will be met. I hate to sound boring, practical and pragmatic, but that is where the work has to start.
In broad terms, the delivery programme involves two years of acquiring the land, securing the necessary planning permissions and doing the venue and infrastructure design. That is well on the way. There are then four years of cleaning up the land platform, constructing the venues and the infrastructure and one year for test events. It is clear that the Games experience is significantly enhanced if the venues have been tested and volunteer programmes properly prepared.
So far the ODA has finalised the master plan. It is over six years out, has given clarity and certainty, has saved jobs, and has ensured that there will be more sustainable venues post-Games. The programme timetable has been finalised and the planning applications have been submitted—which did not really fit into the overall sustainability and environmental aims of the Games, because it meant truckloads of paper were submitted. But they were submitted on time and that is going through. The process of undergrounding the pylons has been started and we have started to see the transport improvements come on stream. The delivery partner has also been appointed and a very far-reaching sustainability report is being published, too. It is early days, but a strong start has been made. The major milestones have been hit and the challenge will be doing that week in and week out for the next 2,000 days.
The level of enthusiasm remains very high. Of course, there are difficulties and there will be more, but local communities are very clear about the benefits. Earlier on I was looking at a letter received from the mayor’s office in Hackney, which says:
“For the last seven years Hackney has consistently recognised the opportunities that a bid to host the London Games and hosting the Games themselves, can bring to a community and how it can act as a catalyst at each stage of the process, to accelerate the delivery of a range of long held Borough aspirations as well as using the momentum of an Olympic project to bring forward new ideas and new relationships”.
The mayor then goes through a range of opportunities that he sees being delivered in Hackney. These include dealing with,
“worklessness, training and employment opportunities”,
physical regeneration, transport opportunities, and volunteering. The letter says that Hackney sees,
“the Olympic Park as the catalyst in bringing a revitalised environmental and sporting focus to”,
that part of east London. It is also an opportunity to raise the level of participation in sports and arts to a level that has never been met. So there is a high level of enthusiasm in Hackney and all the other boroughs, which at the moment is still building on the bid process. It would be very unfortunate if a level of cynicism crept in at a national level that then fed down into those local boroughs—because at the moment that cynicism is not there.
Expectations and enthusiasm remain high; the plans are sound, but very challenging. The task of this great project is for me not only the Games, huge though that is, but how the local community is transformed after 2012. Clearly as a House we should return to this subject many times. I am confident that if we work together across the bodies to which we have referred today and the political divides, we can meet these tasks, pass these tests and leave a great legacy for the whole country.
My Lords, I too congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, on her prescience in securing the debate today as the IOC is meeting in London and following the leaks of alleged escalation of costs at the weekend. That is not the subject before your Lordships' House today, but I shall make one comment in passing. Whatever the eventual cost outturn, the Government and this nation must demand excellence in quality and demonstrable value, and ensure that it is delivered.
The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, and other noble Lords, have great experience and knowledge of the activities in Greater London, and she expressed concern that we should ensure an economic and social legacy for future generations. I was personally much moved by the contribution of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford and his remarks on the social consequences. It is something that we need to take into consideration in our House.
I should like to spend a few minutes on parts of the legacy envisaged for the devolved Administrations, the nine English regions in general and Wales in particular, on this glorious St David’s Day—although it will disappoint the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, that someone is here to talk about it. I remind your Lordships that outside the core athletic activities there is also a cultural Olympiad, which commences at the closing ceremony in August 2008 in Beijing. It is interesting to note that in the history of the modern Olympiad up till 1948, which was the last time when the Games were staged in London, Olympic medals were awarded for sculpture, music, literature and art. This cultural Olympiad will extend for four years.
For successful delivery of the vision of London's bid, it is vital that the core aims of celebration, welcoming the world to our shores and the involvement and inspiration of young people are centre stage. It is understood that no specific funding will be available for the cultural Olympiad and that a large part of the programme will probably be delivered by existing organisations and networks. Some funds may be made available through the Legacy Trust UK, which will be established next year, and could be funded to the tune of £40 million, including £34 million from the National Lottery and £6 million from the Exchequer. That is to be spent over the years up to and including 2012. However, I trust that the Government will heed the words of deep concern expressed by Sir Clive Booth in connection with the apparent plundering of the Big Lottery Fund referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee.
It is essential that nationwide activities are complementary and co-ordinated through the mechanism of the Nations and Regions Group. In Wales the culture group is discussing numerous options, which include securing a short but high-level Welsh presence in the UK’s presentation at the Beijing closing ceremony; seeking to establish an Olympic link to the Artes Mundi festival in 2012; the creating of an opening ceremony for the Olympic football tournament group which is to be staged in Cardiff at the Millennium stadium; featuring the Olympic theme in the Urdd, National and Llangollen International Eisteddfodau; establishing an international arts festival by 2009 to provide an opportunity of leverage for that part of the 2009 Ashes series taking part in south Wales and the all-important Ryder Cup in 2010; and offering, through LOCOG, the opportunity to host an Olympic youth camp in Wales.
As noble Lords can see, the menu is extensive, and I am sure that similar thinking and activity is gathering momentum through other English regions and devolved Administrations. However, there lurks a cynicism about LOCOG's ability to ensure that the cultural Olympiad is not simply a London programme and whether there will eventually be an ability to maintain a commitment to the programme when resources are inevitably drained as pressures escalate. As the cultural programme in Great Britain will rely on a prosperous arts landscape, any cuts in this sector’s funding over the next four years must significantly reduce the ability of that sector to deliver a unique and outstanding cultural Olympiad.
In respect of the core sporting activities and related programmes, it is encouraging to know that the majority of structures being created in the London area will have sustainable use. As important for the legacy, if not more so, are the softer priorities such as tourism, skills and education, volunteering and sports development for young people. Businesses will need to respond and to develop proactively—to develop, adapt and innovate—to meet the opportunity that the event will present. It is important, specifically, that procurement skills be addressed as a matter of priority. Nationally, SMEs must be encouraged and actively supported through existing mechanisms to up their game and be proactive in getting involved in the tendering process. There are, and will be, significant opportunities for tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers.
Volunteering was recognised as one of the most successful aspects of the 2000 Sydney Games; volunteers gave a warm welcome, displaying good cheer and impressive language skills. In the immediate term, development of a pre-volunteer programme—a concept successfully used in the Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002—could be pursued. It consisted of basic-level skills training, targeted at people in communities with high levels of unemployment or economic inactivity. It is also important to take advantage of the interest that has already been stated by the people in this country to ensure the broadest participation.
It is predicted that tourism will be boosted by some £2 billion, some 40 per cent of which could well go outside London. This is supported by experiences in Barcelona and Sydney. Again, that will happen only if the regions of the devolved Administrations grasp the opportunity now.
My consistent view is that nothing will come to the regions or to the devolved Administrations unless there is substantial proactivity. An official of the 1992 Barcelona Games organising committee recently said:
“I recommend that the lesson for Wales is that you should be proactive, autonomous and as quick to take advantage of opportunities as possible and not simply ask others for resources and for help. It is necessary to establish a realistic and early commitment”.
Another person said that Barcelona was neglected for most of the 20th century and had the chance to invest in six years what would otherwise have taken 50 years to achieve.
Finally, I quote, with permission, from the former premier of New South Wales, the honourable Bob Carr, whom I recently consulted. He is a good friend of Britain and of old Wales. A few weeks after the Games in September 2000 had ended, he wrote:
“It was a new age for Australia, a new way of looking at ourselves and celebrating our unique, diverse, enriching, common purpose. We were, I felt, the happiest people in the world’s most favoured nation at the best time in our history”.
Let us see if we can do the same.
My Lords, in trying to sum up a debate such as this, various things keep recurring. Although everybody thinks that the Olympics are a wonderful opportunity—the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, must be congratulated on giving us the chance to say it—there are pitfalls of expectation surrounding the event. Only my noble friends have actually said this, so let us get it out of the way. Unless there is a degree of coherence about the budget, which requires the involvement of everybody in government, in both Westminster and Whitehall, we could be hanging an albatross around the neck of the Games. We have to be coherent, because if everything is going well, the press have nothing to write about. We have to tell the truth and push it out properly; we must let people know exactly what is going on.
My noble friend Lady Hamwee, not for the first time, encapsulated the argument within government. With a 60 per cent contingency, any contractor worth his salt will say, “I’ll have some of that, if not all of it”. We would all do it if we knew that that budget was available—at least we would try. So we must get some clarity.
When the announcement was made, it was a moment of pure joy that will stay with me for a long time. Even at my advancing age, I jumped in the air, punched the ceiling and cried “Yes!”. True, I wish it had been a few years earlier so that when I landed, my knees did not creak, but the feeling of enthusiasm that only sport can bring was there. Only in sport is that idea of being all together and the exultation in someone else’s effort and triumph.
We really must support this. That is why it is worth having these arguments and making sure we establish a degree of coherence. If we do not, we will not get there. We must encourage people to get involved. The social benefit that will result and of people being enthusiastic about sport is a huge, positive thing. It gives us a sense of identity and brings us together. That happens in all sports. Not only are we taking part in this, we are creating it. That is a benefit.
Let me give some free advice which can be cheaply ignored. If the Prime Minister wants a legacy, let him look to the Olympics. A successful Olympics will be a positive legacy that nobody will begrudge him. The first thing the Government must do, with help from all the political parties, is establish a degree of coherence about what we must achieve and the framework for it. The one thing that could spoil the Games for the enthusiastic sportsman is the idea that we might squeeze out those benefits by taking all the funding for the event and not leaving enough for the legacy. We will not get the regeneration that is required to turn this enthusiasm into participation in local sports clubs. We will not get people deciding, “I’ll try that sport”. Increasing sports participation will probably happen through the minority rather than the mainstream sports. People will say, “I’ve seen that and I’ll try it”, and, “That looks like a sport I’d like; I’ll find out how it’s done”. This is one of the great educational aspects of any Games. People see something done really well and think, “I’d like to try that”. Olympic success can do that as well as the educational aspect.
Can the Government confirm that there is a certain point beyond which they will not go in drawing in the budget to the Olympic centre? The sporting legacy for the country could very easily be damaged. Indeed, there is already a fear that that will happen, reflected in the briefing we have received. Can the Government take this opportunity to say that we will not allow all the football pitches in south-east England, for example, to be neglected for two years to make sure that the Olympic budget gets everything, and will they repeat it often? They must state that there is a limit and that we will make sure that there is something to pass on. The Government have to ensure that their finances, as well as the finances of the Olympic bid, are well organised. I know there is a line beyond which the Government do not have direct authority, but they are the people who can do it if anybody can; they need to make sure that this is protected. If they do not, a lot of what has been debated here will not transpire, and we will not get the benefits.
With regard to the health benefits that will flow from the Olympics—I thank the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, for referring to a point I raised earlier about sports medicine—the direct aesthetic and health-related benefits of being fit will be a bonus. Taking account of the stories in the press at the moment about zero-size models and super-heavyweight 10 year-olds, this is a point at which we can say that there is a way of giving a positive example of what you can do. In their whole thinking on this topic, the Government must address how the cultural themes, and everything else that has gone behind this, can be worked in. The fact remains that the sporting idea at its centre must be protected and preserved.
I come to one of the more difficult points that I will raise in the debate about the Olympics and sport generally. It is a criticism, I am afraid, of the Paralympic movement. Many of us on these Benches would see this as an odd thing to start with—especially for somebody who holds the brief for both sports and disability, as I do. I am not against the Paralympics in any way, but there is a major problem at the moment. Those who have a learning disability are no longer included. This is the result of probably one of the most heinous bits of cheating, and of breaking the Olympic spirit, that has ever occurred. The competition in the Paralympics is to be the best inside your own field, where you have the idea of competition and a level playing field. In 2000, a group of Spanish athletes infiltrated the Spanish learning disability basketball team, cheated, and got the gold medal. They damaged the spirit of the Olympics. In my opinion, this is as bad as any drug cheating that has taken place. Indeed, it is possibly worse. By not getting these groups back in, however, you punish the athletes who were not cheating, the people who have only that opportunity to compete at this level. You also remove a whole stream of funding and competition opportunities on the way up.
I do not know whether the Minister had warning that I intended to raise this subject. Does the noble Lord have any idea about what the Government are going to do? How will this be taken forward to the relevant bodies? This decision also takes in those with Down’s syndrome. You can check those with Down’s syndrome very easily. I have a long-standing association with the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability. If you meet many of the athletes involved, you do not realise that they have a problem until you have spoken to them for a certain period of time. It is usually physically apparent for those who have Down’s syndrome—you can chromosomally test for this, I believe.
Why are we not encouraging this group back in? I hate to have to leave on this one point, but the Olympics are for everyone. Can the Government please give us an assurance that they will address this matter?
My Lords, I join in congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, on securing this debate. As commented, it is timely following the recent flurry of press activity: yesterday’s Evening Standard, and papers last weekend. I am sure the comparison made with the ill fated Millennium Dome, in the Sunday Telegraph, has made many of your Lordships shudder, though not, perhaps, as much as the comments on the Dome made by my noble friend Lord James of Blackheath.
Before continuing, I declare an interest as chairman of the National Playing Fields Association. As your Lordships have highlighted today, the legacy planning for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was more central to our bid than it has been to any previous host city. The Olympic Delivery Agency has gone as far as to suggest that this was,
“the first time that Games and legacy planning has worked hand in hand”.
The Olympics were won with a bipartisan approach and the Bill discussed last Session had cross-party support. I am sure all in this House would like the 2012 Games to secure a lasting legacy of economic and social benefit, not just for east London, but for the UK as a whole. The question is: will they?
Today’s debate has picked up on four key issues, which are considered the backbone of the 2012 Games legacy: the regeneration of east London; the provision of permanent venues for future use; an increased participation in sport, particularly at school and community level; and a boost to the economy, predominantly via tourism, as mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Lee of Trafford.
There are positive legacy aspects. The cost-benefit study by Arup shows that, as a direct result of hosting an Olympic Games, there are examples of quantifiable benefits in terms of additional tourism. The job creation aspect of the development, production and regeneration is also very clear.
However, there are worrying aspects. Skills Active has warned that we should not presume that holding the Games will naturally inspire inactive people to change their ways. Indeed, the Central Council of Physical Recreation does not believe that there is any evidence that previous Olympic Games have instilled a long-term legacy of participation; it is a view backed up by other research. The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport has expressed concern about the struggle permanent venues may have to maintain commercial success after the Games. The details of the plan to deliver the commercial and residential future development envisaged for the Olympic Park, post-Games, are yet to be finalised.
I understand that the Government’s response to the report of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport is due on 26 March. In advance of that, do Her Majesty’s Government intend to publish a plan, as recommended by the Select Committee, on how they hope to achieve a significant increase in sport and sporting activities in Great Britain at community and grassroots level? The benefits of such an increase in sporting activities have been eloquently expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, and the noble Lords, Lord Newby and Lord Addington.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made statements in the press about increasing the number of hours of sport that will be available for schoolchildren. It is not clear how this will be achieved. Are Her Majesty’s Government going to comment on this, and indeed on any of the other recommendations?
Funding of the Olympic project has significant ramifications, to put it mildly, for all areas of the potential legacy. Some of your Lordships have spoken on this. In the words of my honourable friend in another place, Hugo Swire, it is a “gross incompetence” on the Government’s part that they failed to include in the initial estimates potential inflation in building costs, VAT, or a realistic contingency fund—let alone the as yet unconfirmed security costs. Are there any other surprises, such as decontamination costs, still to come?
The original budget—which Ministers assured this House and the other place on numerous occasions was robust—was generally supported. But only 19 months on, the estimated cost of staging the 2012 Games has had hefty increases. What will the cost be in three years' time—or at this rate, what will the cost be next month? When will the Minister be able to tell us the true cost of the project and provide the details asked for by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee?
We all know stories of the building work over-running on both budget and deadlines. What chance is there of being able to avoid this type of problem when there is such a lack of clarity in the first place? I am sure that the Minister will have been grateful and will have welcomed the fine advice of the noble Lord, Lord James—given at no charge. The ever burgeoning bill, coupled with the Secretary of State's failure to make a convincing case that the management exists to ensure that money is put to good use and the silence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is jeopardising the project. The London 2012 chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and chief executive, Paul Deighton, have both highlighted that this increasing uncertainty is making it difficult for them to raise sponsorship from companies to pay for that part of the Games which is to be funded by the private sector.
Today there have been calls for caution regarding the possible serious consequences for the charitable and voluntary sector by any further diversion of funds from the lottery's good causes to the Olympic infrastructure. Even before any further increases—which, after reading the recent press, we are so nervously anticipating—there is a brake on the development of any new programmes for the immediate future. There will also be significant shortfalls for current published programmes. It is ironic that one of these, lottery funding to sport, was reduced from £397 million to £264 million last year. Can the Minister please assure the House that he will look elsewhere for extra funds and that there will be no more demands on the lottery? If there were, it would have a serious effect on the charities and organisations that the lottery was set up to assist.
We on these Benches believe that if this project is to be a success and encourage the legacy which we all support, there must be proper management of the project so that budgets, cost projections and timetables are met. The Secretary of State agreed the original budget and must now deliver the goods. That is what needs to be done if there is to be a lasting legacy of economic and social benefit.
My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate and especially for the constructive tone that has been developed in most cases. I particularly appreciate the success of the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, in tabling the debate and thank her for her opening contribution, which I think set the tone for the debate.
Of course there are anxieties about the Olympics and all sorts of questions which the Government cannot resolve at this early stage in the development of the project. However, we are making substantial progress. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Howard, for indicating that the bid and subsequent developments on the Bill enjoyed bipartisan support—in fact, support from all sections of the House. I am a little dismayed that his contribution was the only one in the debate that focused entirely on negativism about the Games.
Perhaps I may make the obvious point on costs. Of course costs are an important dimension of the Olympics; but the Sydney Olympics, which received considerable praise for how the Games were conducted and for their legacy, did not produce a budget for the Games until two years before they took place. We are under some onslaught from the opposition Benches because we do not have a full budget five years before the Games, despite the fact that the International Olympic Committee has recognised the considerable progress that we have already made. The extent of the progress made will be recognised—I am very grateful to my noble friend Lady Morgan of Huyton, who can comment authoritatively on these matters in view of her participation with the authority—although the site that has been chosen and is being developed and cleared is a monumentally difficult one to address. But that is the strength of the legacy. Into one of the most difficult areas of east London are going the substantial resources necessary to create a significant legacy indeed.
So although I hear what the noble Lord, Lord Howard, says, I say to him that a range of wholly speculative figures have been cited by the media in the past few months and claimed to be the cost of the Games. In fact, one expects one or two newspapers to lob another several hundred thousand pounds almost every week on to the cost they have identified. We are not in a position at this stage to confirm the cost of the Games. A range of speculative figures are being bandied about.
We recognise the importance of getting a budget as soon as we can. Discussions are continuing within government on the cost issues, including wider security, tax and contingency provision. We will make an announcement in due course once these discussions have been concluded. I think that noble Lords opposite ought to restrain their current onslaught against a background where our position on the Games is relatively well advanced in comparison with other hugely successful Games.
I assure the noble Lord, Lord James, that lessons have been learnt from the Dome and developments of that time. He reinforced those lessons today and his speech will be noted with the greatest care. He will recognise that some of the mistakes made on the Dome were previously appreciated and acknowledged. That is leading to a very different approach by government to the Olympic Games.
I want, however, to follow the main tenor of the debate and talk about the enormous legacy that can be created by the Games—an economic and sporting legacy, and a hard legacy in the construction of buildings of dramatic architecture, several of which will continue to provide enormously significant facilities after the Games are over, on brownfield land which is derelict, contaminated and heavily scarred by Victorian industry. The Games will transform an area that has been neglected for so very long.
Another aspect of the hard legacy on which my noble friend Lady Ford enjoined us is that we should ensure that the local community also benefits directly. After the Games are over, there will be 9,000 new homes in and around the Olympic Park and nearly 40,000 new homes in the immediate area. These will be built in a hugely disadvantaged part of London. I was grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, for identifying the nature of the problems of the East End and the surrounding boroughs. It seems to me that all too often many decision-takers, and certainly those who comment on the Government’s decisions, know the West End of London, the route of their journey to Parliament, Whitehall and the main railway stations well—except that they tend not to know Liverpool Street so well—but the land beyond Liverpool Street and the City is relatively less well known to them. As the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, emphasised, these boroughs have the highest unemployment rate in the country and deprivation on a level unmatched elsewhere, although we recognise that other parts of the country also need careful attention in that regard.
The benefits of the Games must be measured in hard opportunities for the people. They will mean improvements in skills and opportunities. The Olympic Games will create construction and development opportunities. I also bear in mind the point that the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, emphasised about the health of people in deprived areas. There is no doubt at all that the five boroughs reflect their poverty in those terms. I understand his very important point that it is time that we shift even greater emphasis to aspects of mental health, and that poor physical health often derives from the poor state of mind of people who, for all sorts of reasons, feel unable to cope. I think he will recognise that some of these points are being registered very forcefully in other aspects of government activity within the Department of Health, and that there is a growing emphasis on the need for additional resources to be allocated to mental health. We want the Games to give an uplift to the East End and to lift morale, which will itself help to provide extra resources and an optimistic commitment to the Olympics among the people there, and to the circumstances in which they live.
The five boroughs are co-operating extraordinarily well on the Games. There is no doubt at all that they see the opportunities that they offer, and that is why they are positive. Everyone recognises that we must get a balance between benefits and costs, but it is also important to recognise that we have an obligation to provide the highest quality Olympics that have ever been held. We face challenges ahead in that regard. One such challenge is behind us: the Sydney Olympics were spectacularly successful. We have every expectation that those in Beijing will hit new heights. We face a significant challenge if we are to produce the best Games ever and the Government are all too well aware of that.
The usual constructive suggestion was made that these problems will best be solved by having a Cabinet Minister devoted to them as his or her sole occupation. I appreciate the attractions in changing the organisation of government. However, when I replied to a question on that matter two days ago, two former Cabinet Ministers said they did not think that changes of specification and responsibilities at Cabinet level added a great deal. I do not think that the Olympics will be helped by a change in government organisation. The Olympics will be well delivered only if all government departments with responsibility in this area collaborate effectively. That is what we need to ensure. The very fact that we have set as the objectives the range of benefits which were identified in this debate helps greatly in this regard. I am confident that if we need to change government structure, that change will be effected. I think that it will be recognised—the Olympic committee recognises this—that, having won the bid, the government response to the challenge of preparing for the Games is far more advanced than any previous arrangements for such Games.
As was to be expected, the noble Lord, Lord Lee of Trafford, emphasised the enormous tourist advantages of the Games and the importance that we should attach to the wider tourist benefits to be gained across the whole of the United Kingdom. I link that with the other theme which came across strongly throughout the debate—that the Olympic Games will constitute a showcase for Britain. I hope that one of the aspects of that will be medals won by Britain. However, we can bet even more safely on the fact that we can provide for tourists to Britain an absolutely unparalleled experience in our artistic and cultural legacy, as several noble Lords mentioned. The noble Baroness, Lady Young, emphasised the cultural dimension of the Games, as did the noble Lord, Lord Rowe-Beddoe. We need to recognise across the nation that the Olympic Games will put the United Kingdom as a whole very much in the spotlight, in the same way that we are already seeing an enormous shift in the world’s perspective on China. Its economic development is the most significant factor in that regard but we should not underestimate the showcase that the Olympic Games will provide for China too. The Games constitute a very great opportunity for the United Kingdom given its enormously rich cultural assets. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, for emphasising the contribution that Wales can make in that regard, but it applies to all parts of the United Kingdom.
We want to link cultural and artistic aspects to the cultural Olympiad which will run alongside the Games. Cultural aspects of the Games do not comprise just the opening and closing ceremonies although those provide the most dramatic showcase and appear on worldwide television. The Games are an opportunity to celebrate the values of the Olympics and the cultural dimension attached to those. We are planning to develop that across the nation.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford brought a different dimension to the debate. He referred to the multicultural setting in east London in which the Olympics will take place and to the need to provide a lasting legacy of sound values for young people and communities. I very much appreciated his contribution. The noble Lord, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, said that he was also moved by the speech. The Olympics will take place in a part of east London that needs to be given a sense of hope and to be the subject of good news rather than the bad news with which it is often associated in the media. The Games should lift young people’s idealism. The churches have a great deal to offer in that regard and all faith organisations in the multi-faith community of east London can play their part. We should appeal to them to do so because their influence in east London is so very strong. That strength needs to be built on.
Given her responsibilities and roles outside the House, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, made a very measured, constructive speech in which she emphasised the necessity of maintaining high morale and support for the Games. She pressed upon us the damage to morale if we were unable in due course to produce a proper budget. I assure her that we recognise that factor. These are not easy issues. There is no doubt that certain aspects relating to the development of the Games, not least the nature of the site, are proving challenging with regard to costs. But I assure her that we take her representation seriously. We recognise the advantages that we can derive from being able to make progress in the near future on the budget. I hope that she will recognise that every energy is being devoted towards that objective.
I was grateful for the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Newby. We recognise that the Olympic Games present an enormous opportunity within schools and educational programmes to promote commitment to sport and Olympic ideals. I agree that we need to make progress in that area. We are devoting some £40 million towards a trust to promote sport and the cultural dimensions of the Games. He will recognise that this is a pump-priming activity. However, there is no doubt that one department of government which sees the enormous opportunities of the Olympic Games is the Department for Education and Skills. Several noble Lords emphasised that we need to change the culture of young people. The noble Baroness commented that we must move from being couch potatoes. There are opportunities. In the past year, we have been supporting the Schools Games. They made an enormous impact. We recognise that we have to provide opportunities for competition for young people. We have to move sport up the educational agenda. It will be recognised that in the past things were not read in these terms. We know the costs of the selling-off of playing fields in previous decades. A stop has now been placed on that. But what is more important is that within schools we recognise—it is why we emphasise it within the school curriculum—the great importance of the commitment to physical activity and exercise. Those factors all relate to the stimulus which the Olympics can provide.
It has been an interesting and in many ways an enormously constructive debate. Every noble Lord who participated has recognised the challenge which the Olympics present. Five years from the delivery of the Games, we see the challenges rather than achievements. Of course, the Government are vulnerable to the charges presented by the noble Lord, Lord Howard, in a series of detailed questions to which there are not immediate or easy answers. I make this appeal to him. First, we will meet the issue with regard to costs very shortly. Secondly, of course the role of the Opposition is to challenge the Government, but let us recognise this fact: we shall deliver on behalf of our nation the best Olympic Games ever only if everyone in this country is committed and devoted towards that objective. We need the help of all parties. We need to sustain all bipartisan support. Today we have had a debate which should encourage him in that bipartisan activity rather than in being too critical.
The Government are pleased that the Motion has been timed for today. It was important that the Olympic Games were brought to the fore at this stage. I congratulate the noble Baroness on having done so.
My Lords, I found the debate stimulating and interesting. I thank all noble Lords who offered insights. I found particularly valuable the comparisons with the Millennium Dome, the Manchester Commonwealth Games and Barcelona, and even failed sporting bids. I referred to turning couch potatoes into runner beans. When the noble Lord, Lord Lee, spoke about the three “p”s, the debate risked taking a distinctly vegetarian turn. I particularly thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies, for his response on behalf of the Government. I congratulate the Government on the progress to date in preparing for the Games.
In summary, I remind the House of my key points. We need to focus on the benefits which the Olympics will bring. We need to work hard now to achieve them. The legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics needs to be more than medals and venues. There is the opportunity to bring lasting change, both physical and social, to east London. But that requires clarity on which body is in the lead between 2012 and 2020, and that body needs the powers and resources to deliver. It also requires public and private sectors jointly to commit to bringing more of the workless into employment, not through worthy but unsustainable job-creation schemes but by identifying the needs of employers and helping people without jobs to meet those needs through appropriate training and support. We must also learn lessons from our recent past. We know that regeneration will be painfully slow unless the infrastructure to establish true communities and link them to existing workplaces is created too.
Lastly, to deliver a successful legacy as well as the Games needs a clear commitment from government. There are two key roles. The chairmanship of the ODA needs to be resolved and I continue to believe that we need a Cabinet-level Minister whose job is to bang heads together across departments and to champion the legacy. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers.
Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.