My Lords, I am delighted to have secured the opportunity to debate the progress being made towards the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am grateful that so many Members of your Lordships’ House are contributing—a sign of the importance that this House places on the Games and sport. I look forward to benefiting from noble Lords’ rich and diverse experience. First, I declare an interest as chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games or LOCOG, as we are known.
January of this year saw us pass the halfway point from winning the bid to the Olympic opening ceremony. Next month, on 27 July, the nation will mark three years to go. Now, more than ever, we are under the microscope. Since being awarded the right to host the Games, we have made solid progress. I place on record my thanks to the efforts of the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Development Agency. The Games are the biggest and most complex sporting event in the world to stage, and we are precisely where we need to be at this point.
In May, when the International Olympic Committee’s Co-ordination Commission visited us, it acknowledged that every one of our milestones has been met. So let me take noble Lords on a short romp across that landscape. We are a Games with sport and athletes at their heart. We are on track to deliver a compact Games with swift and safe transport and we are building new permanent structures only where there is a long-term and sustainable legacy. All our venues in the Olympic park are on, or even ahead of, schedule and being delivered within the public sector budget set by the Government three years ago.
The task of cleaning and clearing the Olympic park site will be complete by July. The construction of the Olympic stadium began three months ahead of schedule last May and it is already a defining feature on the east London skyline as the first sections of its roof are put in place. The roof of the aquatics centre is taking shape and the foundations of the velodrome are near completion.
Last week, I was honoured to join Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at the official opening of our completed sailing venue at Weymouth and Portland. In the organising committee we have confirmed almost all our venues and have already recruited all our sport competition managers, who are working closely with the international federations to ensure that the sports facilities and planning remain on track.
The other major project within the Olympic park is the athletes’ village where, again, work is on schedule, thanks to the judicious use of the contingency provided by the Prime Minister, then Chancellor, in 2006. LOCOG’s £2 billion operating budget for staging the Games remains unchanged and is privately funded, as I never grow tired of reminding your Lordships’ House. Nearly a third of this figure comes from domestic business sponsorship. To date, we have raised around half a billion pounds, a figure unsurpassed by any previous organising committee. We announced our 20th business partner earlier this week and our commercial teams are still engaged in a lively and vibrant marketplace.
Our decision to sign up our domestic partners early was important, as this provides our independence as well as the clarity and certainty of purpose as we move from a planning organisation to one that focuses on delivery. It also helps that these partners make the most of their sponsorship. Good examples of this are Lloyds TSB’s Local Heroes, Adidas adiZone outside gyms, and EDF’s Team Green Britain, which noble Lords may have heard about this week.
As I have said, we are moving swiftly from life as a planning organisation to one that focuses on the delivery of an enormous range of services needed to stage the Games. Let me give noble Lords an insight into the scale of these operations. They include: athlete services, accommodation, catering and transport for 10,500 Olympians, 4,000 Paralympians and 15,000 officials and coaches; venue operations such as security and waste removal at 40 venues; spectator services and ticketing for 9 million people who will come to watch the Games; press and broadcast operations, ranging from results services to internet platforms for the 20,000 accredited journalists; workforce services to recruit, train and clothe thousands of staff and up to 70,000 volunteers; a Cultural Olympiad and education programme enabling thousands of community organisations, schools and local authority colleges to be inspired by and engaged in the Games; and our creative teams are working hard to choreograph ceremonies that reflect the best of the United Kingdom.
Of course, no organising committee alone can deliver a Games. Partnership is crucial. I thank Tessa Jowell, the Minister for the Olympics and my colleague on the Olympic board, for her unstinting work and her efforts across government. I am grateful too to the Mayor of London, as well as the London boroughs, which are working with us to provide the services and support systems required to keep the city running for residents and visitors during the Games. This level of practical partnership is extraordinary and has been achieved in large part through the continuing cross-party political support for the Games. In another place we are indebted to Hugh Robertson and Don Foster, and in your Lordships’ House to the noble Lords, Lord Davies of Oldham, Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Addington, and my noble friends Lord Glentoran and Lord Luke. Indeed, many noble Lords are working at the coal face of London 2012, bringing their expertise to shape and deliver the Games. This House can, in particular, take credit for raising the profile of sport on the political agenda.
The extraordinary surge of support for our efforts, following the herculean efforts of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Beijing, demonstrates that the success of the Games will be judged as much on Team GB and Paralympics Team GB’s performance as our ability to stage the Games. My noble friend Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association, and the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, chair of UK Sport, are spearheading the preparation and delivery of those teams. With little more than three years to go, we all need to focus now on what we can do to deliver medal success for them in 2012. Alongside them, the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, is concentrating on ensuring the sporting and regeneration legacy of the Olympic park. While there are too many in your Lordships’ House to thank by name today, the speakers list bears eloquent witness to their support. There has been a step change in public attitude since the Beijing Games last year. The organising committee is focused on staging the best Games that it can, so that people will be engaged, involved and inspired by them. Its primary job is to ensure that the Games produce remarkable sporting achievements and experiences on the field of play to inspire young people and demonstrate that sport matters and is for them.
We are also using the power of the Games to create other ways for the country to be involved and inspired. The first two major projects for the Cultural Olympiad are well under way, with artists taking the lead in a project to commission 12 new pieces of art by 2012. “Stories of the World” will bring together 59 leading musicians and galleries. Nearly 5,000 schools and colleges are involved in the London 2012 education programme, Get Set, and 56,000 young people are competing in the London 2012 Make Your Mark Challenge enterprise competition. We are working with graduates to support Teach First. Hundreds of projects have already signed up to take part in the London 2012 open weekend, celebrating three years to go on 27 July.
Every month I visit projects in one of the nations or English regions, and I am astounded by the extraordinary creativity and enthusiasm that communities up and down the country are now witnessing—a direct result of having succeeded in Singapore. On each of these visits, what I am asked most is, “How can I get involved? What can we do?”. This is why we are the first organising committee to have developed, with the IOC’s support, a way for non-commercial organisations to be part of the London 2012 experience. We have created the Inspire brand, a special mark for sports clubs, schools, local authorities and community groups to use. The Inspire programme will allow millions of people to become part of the London 2012 experience, and help to deliver a sporting and cultural legacy, such as Street Games—whose Inspire programme, Legacy Leaders, is designed to improve access to sport for young people in disadvantaged areas—and Animation Decathlon, a project that works with young people to create outdoor and interactive multimedia as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Today I am delighted to announce that 175 projects, over 100 of which are part of the Cultural Olympiad, have been recognised through the Inspire programme and carry the sought-after Inspire mark.
In conclusion, I say once again that the responsibility rests with all of us to maximise the benefits from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is a time for us all to reaffirm our support for this project and believe in it: believe in the progress that we are making; believe that we will achieve our goal of a memorable Games that will touch everyone in the UK and inspire young people; and believe that the Games will leave lasting and sustainable legacies. I know from first-hand experience across the country that the enthusiasm, creativity and excitement are there in abundance.
My Lords, is it not extraordinary that in the noble Lord’s remarks about the 2012 Olympics he has said not a word about the security problems? Is it not a fact that the vicious people around the world who plan terrorist attacks must regard the London Olympics as one of the prime future potential targets? Why has he not said anything about those preparations?
My Lords, I am grateful for the noble Lord’s intervention. Of course, the security of the Olympic Games underpins all our thinking. It is a critical issue. It is discussed regularly by the Olympic board and we now have an Olympic Security Directorate under the direction of the Home Secretary. I assure the noble Lord that the question of security is always very close to all our deliberations and, in fact, is on the agenda for the Olympic board meeting which I shall attend this afternoon when I leave this place.
We all share the responsibility of encouraging young people and organisations to make the most of this opportunity so that, when we look back in 2013, we will be able to say, “We made our country proud”. I look forward to today’s debate and thank the House once again for its continuing support and for the benefit of its reservoir of experience. I beg to move for Papers.
My Lords, as, unfortunately, I shall not be able to be present at the end of the debate, perhaps I may take this opportunity to ask the noble Lord to accept my very deep appreciation at his agreement to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the tragic murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972. The Jewish Committee for the London Games is delighted that Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to mark this tragedy at the 2012 Games, and the committee is very grateful that the noble Lord has agreed to this being done.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for staging this debate. He may recall that, when we won the bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, I dropped him a note saying something along the lines of, “It’s great to know that you can still come in first”. I congratulate him on the progress that is being made by the organising committee on time—ahead in some cases—and, one hopes, on budget.
That said, I want to concentrate on arguments that are going on among the national bodies concerning two sports: shooting and the equestrian events. There is serious concern among those bodies about the venues chosen for those events. Shooting at Woolwich and the equestrian events at Greenwich may provide fantastic televisual locations but both have serious safety issues and little or no perceivable construction or sporting legacies—something stressed in our bid.
Shooting around its national home at Bisley and equestrian events at, for example, Badminton, would have left far better legacies and provided better facilities for competitors and spectators, arguably at lesser cost. LOCOG rejected British Shooting’s independent assessment of the cost of developing a stand-alone site next to Bisley, which would have been around £30 million, some £12 million cheaper than the option at Greenwich. Accommodation was not an issue. Near to Bisley, Surrey University and planned development by Royal Holloway College to Olympic standards would have taken care of that. The proposed centre would have left a magnificent legacy, as well as having room for more spectators, for training in military marksmanship, for GB, England and Paralympic training, and normal commercial use. Information in this folder from the National Rifle Association was provided to both LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority. If the noble Lord, Lord Coe, does not have a copy, I shall be happy to provide him with one.
What lies at the heart of this debate is as simple as it is worrying. The allegation is that the decision by the Olympic Board on venues for shooting and equestrian events was based on reports commissioned by LOCOG from KPMG and the construction consortium, CLM, which contained partial, selective, misleading and inaccurate information about alternative venues such as Bisley, and ignored totally possible scenic sites such as Windsor Great Park. The only way to clear the air is for LOCOG to make full disclosure to this House and to the public of the unedited KPMG and CLM reports and associated papers used to decide these unsafe and unsuitable venues, together with details of associated construction and all other costs. The Audit Commission may be able to help on this. This will better ensure the success that we all want for shooting and equestrian events and all the other events in 2012.
My noble friend Lord Berkeley, who unfortunately cannot be here, has asked me to raise a point about the use of rail freight to take the construction materials to the site. There is good experience in the building of Heathrow Terminal 5. The extra use of rail freight there cut down on the number of lorry journeys made to and from that site. There is a state-of-the-art logistics terminal on the site, but for the Olympics to gain all the credit they need, some better attention ought to be given to the sustainability aspect. The Rail Freight Group, which my noble friend chairs and of which I am a member, estimates that, through the use of rail, road deliveries to the Stratford site could be reduced by 50 per cent from an estimated 600 to 300 trucks a day at peak, and by 800,000 road deliveries over the whole construction period. Rail produces five times fewer emissions compared with road, and such savings would help the green image the Olympics are hoping to achieve.
My Lords, everything to do with the London Olympics is a story. One of the most fascinating was the recent Sunday Times story about Type 45 destroyers stationed in the Thames during the Olympics to protect the Games. Under those circumstances, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on keeping his cool throughout and on initiating today’s timely debate. Progress on building the venues and preparing for the Games has been remarkable and I congratulate him and his colleagues at LOCOG and the ODA.
As has been clear from the start, one of the key reasons London won the 2012 Olympics was the way in which it promised legacy. The Olympics would be the catalyst for the regeneration and development of the lower Lea Valley, the site of the Olympic park. I want briefly to highlight the opportunities and threats surrounding the regeneration and tourism legacy of the 2012 Olympics.
Securing the legacy of the Olympics is a massive task and has myriad aspects. Many organisations are involved—not just LOCOG, the ODA, the Mayor, the GLA and the DCMS, but also the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, VisitBritain, the BOA, Sport England, the Legacy Trust and the LDA. Now a new kid on the block is being established to ensure the legacy for the Olympic park and Stratford City—the Olympic Park Legacy Company, chaired by the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, who is eminently qualified for the job, with a chief executive, Andrew Altman, likewise well qualified, having been deputy mayor of Philadelphia.
However, although the Olympic Park Legacy Company will cost £1 million per annum to run, it seems that this body will have no capital budget and will be there entirely to sell the virtues of the park to prospective occupiers. The mayor described its purpose as a vehicle to enthuse private enterprise to finance the legacy. I sincerely congratulate him on having the foresight to set up a legacy vehicle for the park, but is it really going to raise the money? The company will have particular responsibility in respect of the Olympic venues. This legacy company will have a wonderful new park the size of Hyde Park with no finance for its upkeep. It will have a beautiful stadium dedicated to athletics, which will be reduced from a seating capacity of 80,000 to 25,000, but no legacy tenants or finance for its upkeep, other than the £10 million lump sum promised by the mayor. Possibly there will be a national skills academy for sports and leisure industries and/or the English Institute of Sport on the site. There will be an aquatics centre, which will be a beautiful building but hugely expensive to maintain, costing £1 million per annum, but with no existing revenue funding. There will be a media centre, which may become the site of a new university.
On the upside, there is a phenomenal transport legacy for the Stratford area, a well designed athletes village—with a deal, we hope, shortly to be finalised with a consortium of registered social landlords—a splendid velopark, the upkeep of which will be funded by the Lea Valley regional park for the next 21 years and, it seems, there will be a new academy located in the village.
It is not difficult to see that unless there is strong leadership, the legacy is unlikely to materialise in the form promised. All that would be a challenge to any company, but more especially one that lacks its own sources of finance and has to negotiate with such myriad bodies. I have no doubt that the ODA and LOCOG will deliver to time—indeed, perhaps ahead of time—and within budget, but we on these Benches have real concerns about some aspects of the legacy. Should not the ODA be more explicitly involved in the delivery of the physical legacy ultimately in terms of adaptation of the venues, and so on? Should not its brief and lifespan be explicitly extended? There are question marks about the power of the legacy company. It is clearly taking over some functions from the LDA, but which ones precisely? Will it own and be able to dispose of land? How much autonomy will it in fact have? Then there is the question of what will be its relationship to the strategic regeneration framework for the area and the five surrounding boroughs.
We had an extremely useful symposium earlier this week organised by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and the noble Baroness, Lady D'Souza, about the Olympic legacy. The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, was there, too, extremely helpfully. The Barcelona Games were described as the gold standard in terms of legacy. Mark Bostock of Arup made a very interesting contribution in asking what will happen when the curtain comes down on the Olympics. He emphasised that we must look beyond the park and its immediate environs and see the park fitting into the lower Lea Valley and beyond.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and the five boroughs have articulated such a vision: Water City, which would encompass a much broader area including Poplar, the lower Lea Valley and Canary Wharf. Will the Olympic Park fit into this? Will the new six neighbourhoods, which will expand into the surrounding areas, fit into that vision? How will the legacy company, with its limited territorial spread, achieve that? The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, has also made a powerful case—I am sure that he will again today—for a social entrepreneur to be on the board of the legacy company. The composition of the board will be extremely important.
The British tourism framework review document published earlier this year, as well as arguing for a full agency to promote English tourism, makes a powerful case for more government support to take full opportunity of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Government anticipate that the London Olympics will provide a major boost to the sector. The framework review makes the case that we cannot successfully promote the UK as a tourist destination in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics without additions to VisitBritain's promotional budget.
My noble friend Lord Lee and I have been on the warpath for at least two years, but the Government seem to be completely deaf to pleas for more funding to promote Britain as a destination in the run-up to the Olympics. The Sydney Games were exploited by Australia as an overall marketing event, as well as a hugely successful global sporting event, but they had government money to help them. It is hardly surprising that the industry does not understand the logic of cutting funding for tourism marketing in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics. If further funding is not received, Britain will almost certainly miss the opportunity to maximise the economic and social benefits that the tourism industry has on offer. I very much hope that the Government will change their mind.
My Lords, it is a great privilege and pleasure to make my maiden speech on a topic of such importance and one about which I feel so passionate. I should like to begin by congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on the immense progress he has made in delivering the Games to London. I am sure that his outstanding leadership from those early days in Singapore will continue to deliver a very successful Games in London in three years’ time.
Since winning the right to stage the Games, much of the talk has been around regeneration and facilities, both of which are very important. However, I should like to focus for a few moments on the impact of the Games on people’s lives and young people in particular. In Singapore in July 2005, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, when winning the bid, said that if London was successful we would,
“use the power of the Games to inspire young people to choose sport”.
Having spent my life working in sport, I can testify to the immense power it has to change lives. Nelson Mandela said that sport spoke to young people in a language they understood, that it was an instrument for peace, building bridges and breaking down barriers between young people across the world.
So how do we deliver on that promise up to 2012 and, perhaps just as importantly, beyond? Internationally, UK Sport, working with the British Council, UNICEF, LOCOG, the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympics Association and the Youth Sport Trust, is delivering international inspiration. This programme, targeted at 20 developing countries across the world, is aimed at changing the lives of 12 million young people. We are working in India to give young women the self-confidence and self-esteem to play their full part in society through their engagement in sport; we use sport to attract young people so that we can assist in delivering very challenging messages around HIV and AIDS in Zambia; we have introduced for the first time disability sport in Azerbaijan, a concept which is now built into their national physical education and sport strategy. It is critical that the UK uses the momentum of the Games to reach out to the youth of the world. We hope, beyond 2012, that the case for sport as an international tool for development will be both understood and continue to be invested in over the years ahead.
Here in the UK we have seen an unheralded revolution in school sport and a reintroduction of physical education and school sport into both our secondary and primary schools. I hope we can use the power of the Games to consolidate sport at the heart of school life. Through the work of the Youth Sport Trust, we know that quality physical education and sport can help schools achieve better academic standards. It can certainly improve ethos and behaviour, even in the most challenging schools in the most difficult areas of this country. It can definitely have an impact on improved health and well-being, including emotional and mental health. It can indeed tackle issues of social inclusion and community cohesion. Surely one of the greatest legacies we could see from London 2012 is school sport embedded in the heart of every school. I would argue that school sport is more than a game. Physical education and sport are not an optional extra but a way of building a new youth culture that is so needed in this country.
Finally, I turn to those young people who will compete in 2012. When we achieved our finest results for 100 years in Beijing—fourth in the Olympics and second in the Paralympics Games—it was heralded as a great success. The Olympics and Paralympics arena is a theatre of dreams. It is a place where ordinary people battle against all sorts of odds and, through hard work and perseverance, achieve their dreams. It is their journey, not the medal, which inspires us all. UK Sport is building a world-class system that will give us great pride as we see our athletes achieve in 2012. I hope that beyond 2012 we begin to appreciate that our elite sportsmen and women are not just about national pride but about setting an example for every young person in this country to achieve their personal best, whatever their circumstances and however difficult their journey.
London 2012 is a unique, galvanising force, a catalyst for unprecedented focus and activity. The legacy could be that we lay the foundations for generational change. Let London 2012 not be an end but a beginning for sport in the UK and for the unity of the youth of the world.
My Lords, I, too, thank and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on introducing this important debate. In my view, there is no better person to do it. He may be tired of hearing this from me, but I will say it again anyway; I was the only MP to defy the boycott and go to the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and I saw him win his gold and silver medals for the 1,500 metres and 800 metres. I contend that I did not go to Moscow; I went to Olympia. At the same Olympics, the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, also won a silver medal as a cox in the men’s rowing eight, and also deserves our greatest acclamation. It is very nice to see them sitting cosily in the Chamber today.
It is a particular pleasure for me to speak after the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, has made her maiden speech. I have known her for many years and I believe her to be one of the most inspirational women in sport. She is a former international netball player and lecturer at the University of Loughborough. I could go on and on about her many achievements, but time is against me. Suffice it to say that we now have in this House someone who will raise the bar on sport, and I welcome her with open arms. Long may she take part in debates on sport, and instead of being guest speaker at the All-Party Group on Sports may she now become a full member and make her contributions felt there, too.
As noble Lords have mentioned, the Olympics are a great opportunity to increase participation in sport throughout the United Kingdom. One of the recent interesting developments has been the decision to enter a Great Britain football team for the first time in more than 40 years. This decision, thankfully, has the support of the other football associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their support is historic in itself.
In the short time available to me, I should like to pose one or two questions. When winning the bid in Singapore, a commitment was given that this would encompass the whole of the United Kingdom—I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, is listening to every word of this—including all its youths. Yet I am hearing some disturbing reports that the volunteers are being recruited almost exclusively from the south. I understand they are being told that they must pay their own travel and accommodation costs, but this is difficult for youths in the Midlands and the north to sustain in comparison with their London and other southern counterparts. I would be very happy to hear the noble Lord, Lord Coe, in his winding-up speech, or the Minister when he replies, give an assurance that this is not the case.
In addition, I understand that the organisers of the London Marathon will organise the Olympic marathon, but there seems to be no tendering process to allow other potential organisers—for example, those who organised the Great North Run—to participate in that decision.
I am also concerned about the Olympic Delivery Authority not being as transparent as one would hope in the tendering of contracts. One Commonwealth country that provided the trees for the Beijing Olympics was allegedly prevented from giving the same services to the London Olympics, although they were offered at a discounted price. I understand that a representative of the company is raising the matter in another forum, so I shall leave it there.
Finally, I attended the Munich, Moscow, Atlanta and Athens Olympic Games, so, as noble Lords may imagine, I give my wholehearted support to the noble Lord and his team, as I am sure they will galvanise our great sporting nation to deliver a highly successful Games in the true Olympic spirit.
My Lords, I share with others around this Chamber a huge appreciation of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for giving us this opportunity today and for the leadership and inspiration that he has given to this whole enterprise. You may ask why a Bishop is taking an interest in all of this. Let me tell you that the vast majority of the Stratford site lies in my diocese. We are now calling ourselves “The Olympic diocese of Chelmsford”.
I remember that on the evening we successfully won the Games, I was in East Ham, licensing a new priest in a packed church. The sense of excitement across that community over the Games coming to east London was palpable. It was a great evening of celebration. Sadly, the following day the bombs went off in central London and we had a rather more sober evening in Southend that night.
I asked myself on that evening, “What can we do?” As a result of that, we, together with all the dioceses in London, and working hand in hand with our ecumenical and inter-faith partners, appointed an officer, Canon Duncan Green, with the full support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to co-ordinate with the Games. Moreover, the House may be interested to know that the hard hat chaplaincy to the site is provided also by one of my priests. I gather his ministry among the workers on the site is much appreciated.
The House will know that the London borough of Newham is one of the youngest and most diverse urban communities in Europe. One of the things that the churches and faith communities will be concerned with is to encourage young people to engage with the Games, especially in those communities. I was particularly appreciative of an excellent and inspirational maiden speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, on the same sort of theme. I very much hope that, in the vexed question of security that surrounds these Games, we will not end up with the local young people looking in on an event that they do not have access to. I am very encouraged by the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, about the need for volunteers and their training. There are huge opportunities for an international and young community to participate. Anything that we can do in the churches and faith communities to help with that, we will gladly do.
The second aspect of our involvement in the Games is the business of hospitality. The world is coming to east London and the United Kingdom. The London Borough of Newham already has 120 languages spoken in it. The world is already there. It is a wonderful place to have a great international event. If there are ways in which we can enable that community to spread its hospitality, to make its welcome felt around the Games, that, too, is important.
Thirdly, I want to say something about the legacy. One of the things, dare I say, that churches and faith communities know something about is community building. The legacy will be vital. It is not just a physical legacy, important though that is—and it is lovely to see the site developing in the way that it is. It is also in the sense of ownership of the community of what is going on. Clearly, we need leadership, but that has to be balanced so that we do not get the sort of leadership where local people feel that there is a great juggernaut being imposed upon them about the shape of their future. I was very heartened by the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, about the partnership process. It is crucial that the partnership takes with it not only the local authorities but the networks that make these communities effective. Ultimately, the test of the Games for these communities will be in the legacy, and we know from past experience that that can sometimes be difficult. We want them to have memories for their lifetime, particularly for the younger generation to carry forward, but we also want them to feel that a new chapter is opening up for their community as a consequence of this investment.
Finally, I think that the Games are coming at just the right moment for our national life. Here we are in the middle of a recession and people are anxious about their future. Might not 2012 be a great moment for a celebration of our national life and to give our country a boost? Whatever we can do to make these Games succeed, we must all bend our energies towards it.
My Lords, I declare my interest as chairman of the British Olympic Association and in so doing I thank my noble friend Lord Coe, on whose LOCOG board I also serve, for securing the debate. My noble friend exemplifies the truism that the success of London 2012 will be based on seamless co-operation between the main stakeholders, whose job it is to provide the athletes with lifetime memories of a great Games. In that context, I warmly welcome this debate, in which the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, has made her maiden speech. The contribution that she and UK Sport, which she chairs, have made to the success of British athletes is exceptional.
Since Beijing, the British Olympic Association has built strong working relations with UK Sport, culminating in a joint presentation at our annual meeting yesterday. I can assure the House that, despite press leaks to the contrary, the BOA’s finances are robust. The investments that we made last year in a wide-ranging restructure of the organisation allow us to move from a magnificent result for Team GB in Beijing to a platform for success in London 2012 and beyond. This will not be a 100-metre sprint; it is a marathon. I do not deny that at times during 2008 I felt as if I was rewiring a plane in flight, but with the success of Team GB in Beijing we reached the next destination on our strategic path. The seamless co-operation that we have achieved with the support of LOCOG and UK Sport is a major step forward along this road.
Now we are working together to ensure that Team GB is fully funded. In his 2006 Budget, Gordon Brown committed to fund a six-year programme to support British athletes to the value of £600 million, a figure that the British Olympic Association, UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport saw as necessary to deliver the full potential of our Olympians and Paralympians in London 2012. Sadly, last year that commitment was underfunded by some £50 million, while the lifetime budget of government spend on civil servants working in the ever growing Government Olympic Executive increased by a sum approaching the shortfall. In line with our obligations to the International Olympic Committee charter, the BOA will continue to seek ways to provide all Olympic sports, including the winter sports, with the best financial platform possible for the athletes to compete at their best level at the Games. This is essential not only for their success but, as the noble Baroness said, for the inspiration that sporting success delivers as a catalyst for wider participation among young people across the country. We must work together to ensure that priority spend is on athletes.
Where urban regeneration is concerned, the Government should be congratulated on their support for the vision first laid out by the British Olympic Association under the leadership of my predecessor, Sir Craig Reedie, and the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to use the Games as a catalyst for the regeneration of one of the poorest parts of London. As a result, the Games will bring an unprecedented level of investment to regenerate and reinvigorate the East End against a timetable that, uniquely, no political party can abandon or delay, for the world’s finest athletes will be ready to compete after the opening ceremony.
To match the success of the work on urban regeneration, we now need to turn our attention to a fully funded sports legacy. With the same spirit of the all-party support and co-operation that was a feature of the historic debate in your Lordships’ House—those who participated in it provided the Cabinet with evidence of the unanimous commitment of your Lordships to bring the Games to London—we now need to address a sports legacy that goes beyond what has been described as a patchwork quilt made up of a multitude of well intentioned and sometimes excellent individual programmes to a focused set of policies to ensure that the Games leave a sporting legacy throughout the country for the able-bodied, the disabled and, in particular, young people. It is their talent that needs to be identified and developed to the full, so that their children one day can look back and say that, had the Games not come to London, their generation would never have seen the necessary upgrading and construction of new sports facilities across London and the rest of the United Kingdom, a nationwide rollout of new play areas and playing fields and the full engagement of clubs, schools and local authorities in this effort to enhance and capture the enthusiasm of young people through competitive sport.
To that end, today I am delighted to accept the invitation from Kate Hoey, the Mayor of London’s Commissioner for Sport, to work with her on the London Community Sports Board to deliver this vision for Londoners. Building on the work with which I have had the privilege to be involved as Minister for Sport and MP for Lewisham East, we must get inner-city kids out of gangs and into teams. Sport can play a key role in taking kids off the escalator to crime. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has taken a lead on sports legacy in London. I hope that all political parties can come together in a common cause to make sure that we achieve a step change in the provision of both Olympic-level performance and active participation in sport and recreation, not only in London but throughout the country.
My Lords, I join in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for giving us this unique opportunity to debate both the challenges and the opportunities of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The noble Lord has become synonymous with the event, both through his outstanding leadership of the bid and now through his central role in the organisation of the Games.
There is no doubt that the challenge of organising the Games in an efficient and cost-effective manner has been made significantly harder by the economic downturn. It is a simple reality that a number of public/private partnerships have not materialised and that more funding will be sought from the taxpayer. It is encouraging that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, mentioned that all the ticks were in the box, but there still will need to be substantially more funding. It goes without saying that no money should be wasted.
However, it is equally important that, even amidst these pressures, LOCOG and the Olympic Development Authority should not lose sight of the reason why London decided to bid for this event in the first place. As every speaker has mentioned, this is all about the regeneration of a specific area of east London—the transformation of that community for its young from the twilight of social and economic deprivation into a modern, thriving, prosperous hub. Even under intense financial pressure, each key decision must be informed by the paramount need to leave a legacy in this part of London.
Barcelona offers a classic example. Until 1992, the Catalan capital was known as the city that turned its back on the sea. The programme of urban regeneration in preparation for the Olympic Games there effectively rebranded the city as one of Europe’s most glamorous destinations and the extensive economic benefits are still being reaped almost two decades later.
London 2012 will certainly provide 16 days of outstanding sport, yet the Olympics will be judged in London as an unqualified success only if the event leaves a clear and measurable legacy for this great city. Part of the legacy will clearly be the physical infrastructure, but an important element of it should be created in the hearts and minds of Londoners who are exposed to the benefits of sport and healthy living. Can the Minister comment on whether Olympics-based programmes are being promulgated throughout London’s schools and sports academies, using the spirit of Olympism to excite and inspire young people?
I shall touch briefly on the post-Games use of the main Olympic stadium. I welcome the construction plan to remove the upper tier and reduce the capacity to 27,000 after the Olympics. There is still a danger, however, that instead of a large white elephant with a capacity in excess of 70,000, the city may be left with a smaller, but still substantial, white elephant. Will the Minister provide us with an update on the latest discussions with prospective tenants?
I understand that various football and rugby clubs have looked at the stadium but have been disappointed by the reality of a permanent athletics track around the playing area. Obviously this would have an impact on spectators getting closer to the players, as is customary in rugby and football matches. I fear that this will result in it being difficult to find a permanent tenant for the Olympic stadium. Plans to create a permanent sports academy under the east stand are to be welcomed, but perhaps the Minister could let us know of alternative plans to use the structure after the Games.
There are a number of major challenges facing the organising committee of such a major sporting event, but perhaps none is greater than the need to meet the demand for transport, accommodation and, of course, security for both athletes and spectators. Does the Olympic transport plan include plans to make better use of the Thames?
This is a unique opportunity for London. I share the vision and the call of my noble friend Lady Campbell of Loughborough, in her outstanding maiden speech, that this is a unique galvanising force that, we hope, will have a lasting impact on our young people’s lives.
My Lords, I declare my interest as recorded, particularly my membership of the advisory board of the British Olympic Association. I strongly support everything that my noble friends Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan have just said. I have two sets of necessarily hard-edged points and questions for the Government to answer, on the growth of government bureaucracy in relation to the Olympic programme in the run-up to 2012 and on security at the Olympics.
First, there is too much Olympic bureaucracy—I am referring to government bureaucracy here. It is growing too fast, it is too costly and the money that is being spent on it should be spent on athletes, not on office workers, or should not be spent at all but saved, in our present economic circumstances. Among all the LOCOGs, ODAs and BOAs—the bodies that necessarily and excellently populate this stage of Olympic preparations—there is another, much less well known body: the GOE. What is this? I stumbled upon this hitherto secretive body, which the Government never announced publicly in any blaze of publicity. It is the Government Olympic Executive. Anxious to learn about this, I asked a series of Parliamentary Questions on its role and staffing that were answered, in his characteristically assiduous way, by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham. He kindly told me in a Written Answer on 20 May that the Government Olympic Executive had precisely 91.9 full-time equivalents working for it, reporting to the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It was broken down into various teams, he told me, in charge of build and finance, staging, legacy, operations and communications—all this at a cost in 2008-09 of £7 million. I suspect that, since then, that has grown substantially.
In another Answer on 19 May, the same Minister kindly stated that,
“the GOE requires oversight of the entire 2012 programme”.—[Official Report, 19/5/09; col. WA 304.]
I am a bit concerned about the use of the word “requires” there and the civil servants who drafted it; I wish that we had the noble Lord, Lord Quirk, that great grammarian, in the Chamber to look at that use of the word. That, however, is the word that was used.
The GOE has oversight, so the Government say. It is therefore responsible if anything goes wrong. So I sat back and thought, “Well, those are the answers. I now know what the situation is”. Subsequently, though, I found out that at exactly the same time that those answers were being considered and composed by the civil servants, a substantial Olympic presentation was given by officials from the self-same Government Olympic Executive to the interested Olympic parties in London on 13 May 2009, where they were told that the number of staff involved was not the 91.9 of the Government Executive but, rather, that there were—wait for it, my Lords—782 “focused staff”, to use the language of the presentation, in government departments and non-departmental public bodies concerned with the Olympics. Of those, a staggering 81 are working in communications. What on earth can the cost of all this be?
On the matter of cost—this is a restricted debate so I do not have time to go into this in greater detail—I have learnt that, for example, five civil servants from the Government Olympic Executive are going to be sent to Vancouver for the Winter Games. It is reasonable to ask why. How much should this cost? Is the Minister aware that our skiers face major financial constraints in preparations for going, and that Winter Games are about athletes, not visiting civil servants? After all, I do not think we are going to see much snow in London in 2012. If I were the Permanent Secretary at the DCMS, I would be a bit nervous of the heavy boots of the Public Accounts Committee in the other place approaching my door, wanting to look at expenditure on this sort of thing. A future Conservative Government, if elected, will need to get to grips with this staggering bureaucracy and misapplication of resources.
I turn to security. I hear continuing murmurs from those concerned that there is still a lack of proper security co-ordination, which must be sorted out soon. Who, under the Home Secretary of the day—or perhaps these days I should say “the Home Secretary of the week”—is the named official or police officer with ultimate overall responsibility for the co-ordination of Olympic security? Is there such a person? If not, why not? The Minister owes us an answer to that question.
Do the Government yet have what is known in the trade as a CONOPS—or, to deconstruct that ugly abbreviation, an integrated concept of operations—that is fully worked up with regard to Olympic security? It has been suggested that one does not yet exist. When will a statement be made, which has long been promised, about the introduction of such an integrated plan—setting aside, of course, those things that must necessarily be kept secret? We need urgent reassurance from the Government on stopping the growth of bureaucracy and expenditure, and on promoting a proper security plan.
My Lords, like other noble Lords today, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his colleagues on the wonderful achievements with regard to our progress on the Olympics. The timing is particularly good because it follows hot on the heels of an event earlier this week, organised by my noble friends Lord Mawson and Lady D’Souza, on the Olympic legacy. I declare an interest in that I was an original member of the Culture and Education Committee for the Olympic project.
Given that we are about to stage the world’s greatest sporting event, it is appropriate that the emphasis is on ensuring that the spectacle is the best it can be and that our athletes compete to win and do us proud. It is also hugely important that community-based sporting initiatives are put in place, as has already been mentioned, that will have a lasting impact on the health of the nation. We should not underestimate the potential of the cultural Olympiad to transform and contribute to the mental and physical well-being of the UK as well; the cultural programme also offers us the opportunity to derive economic, social and cultural benefit from the Games. Many of the comments made by my, perhaps I may say, new noble friend Lady Campbell about the transformative potential of sport apply equally to arts and culture.
As we heard in the excellent debate initiated last week by the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, the arts, cultural and creative sector in London employs more than half a million people, second only in size to the financial sector. There are still a huge variety of jobs and opportunities for inventive, creative entrepreneurs. Part of the legacy of the Cultural Olympiad should be that more young people are made aware of the range of opportunities in the sector and the potential for employment, for self-employment, for learning and for developing transferable skills.
There is ample, documented evidence of the medium to long-term benefits of facilitating the growth of the cultural economy—creativity and culture have been the drivers of a number of large-scale regeneration projects, as we have already heard. For example, I should mention Barcelona and those here in this country in Newcastle and Gateshead, Glasgow, Walsall and of course in London King’s Cross and Bromley-by-Bow.
Arguably, London does not need to boost its international reputation as a city of culture, steeped as it is in history and also confident in its engagement with global modernity and contemporary culture. In the East End of London, artists and creatives have habitually played a vital role in regeneration and renewal. Artists have been and still are central to east London’s renewed vigour and attraction, with a greater concentration of visual artists located there than anywhere else in Europe. It is home to a vibrant, inventive and increasingly ethical fashion and design industry, and in addition there are filmmakers, theatre and dance practitioners and so on. I would urge those involved with the Legacy Trust to ensure that artists and practitioners are also invited to contribute their insights and energies to that project.
I note the progress made so far with the cultural programme, which in spite of some initial disappointments, looks set to be much more inclusive than appeared to be the case at the outset. The responses to funding programmes, as already mentioned, have been substantial. However, I do not feel there is any room for complacency on this issue. There are still many people both in the East End and outside London who do not see these opportunities and do not see a role for themselves in the Cultural Olympiad.
The Arts Council of England is endeavouring to support a wide range of projects and work by levering funds from a range of sources and collaborating with other organisations—for example the BBC—on delivering major projects. The Arts Council is also working on the Unlimited programme which will, I think, be a very good juxtaposition to the Paralympics in particular. More widely, the Unlimited programme will be the UK’s largest ever celebration of arts and disability, culture and sport. Another flagship project already mentioned is Artists taking the Lead, which again hopes to reach across the country to involve many people outside London.
I hope that the cultural programme will help to ensure that the Olympics really do reach out across the UK, but there are still some big questions to be addressed, especially in terms of the strategic vision for the cultural element of the Olympics, and what happens afterwards with the cultural legacy. On the matter of legacy, who has oversight and who is in a position to assess the strength of cultural legacy plans across the country? Where does the ultimate responsibility for the Cultural Olympiad and its aftermath lie? How are cultural legacy plans envisaged? If there are 50 projects, does that mean 50 different visions of what constitutes a sustainable legacy for the sector? How are the plans for cultural legacy integrated into the overall vision for the legacy of the Games as a whole?
On my list of desirable aims for the cultural programme are: laying the foundations for a much more diverse cultural workforce, particularly in leadership roles; a solid core of arts organisations beyond “the usual suspects” with the resilience and flexibility to see them through troubled times; new effective and equitable partnerships and models of partnerships that cross art forms and disciplinary boundaries, linking, for example, science and sport; an overall strengthening of the sector through the recognition of what culture and creativity can contribute to the UK socially, economically and culturally; and to set a new benchmark for the quality of and commitment to the Cultural Olympiad in future Games.
Lots of excellent art projects will be great and will give a feel-good factor, but what about the expectation raised, and how can we go a bit further to ensure that there is a real, sustainable, integrated cultural, social and economic strategy?
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for initiating this debate as it gives me the opportunity to raise two new issues which are separate in context but aligned.
First, I want to refer to the medical and healthcare provision for all the client groups associated with the Games; and, secondly, to deal with the problem of women being trafficked into this country for the purpose of prostitution during the course of the Games.
I have been fortunate to have heard a number of presentations by LOCOG on the planning process for the healthcare requirements for the Olympic Games, and it is difficult to imagine until it is spelt out the magnitude of the work that is entailed. We have heard about the need to work with a whole range of partners such as the ambulance services, designated Olympic hospitals, NHS trusts, PCTs, government bodies and other agencies, as well as the development of a number of medical teams covering every specialism and ensuring co-ordination for response and delivery.
I was truly impressed by the preparation to date in providing healthcare provision across all 102 Olympic sites, for 250,000 accredited people, 9 million visitors, and not forgetting 400 horses. I therefore offer my congratulations to all those who are working in that field. But as chair of the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV, my concern is that there is adequate sexual health provision. Evidence from the Sydney Games shows us to expect a big increase in demand for sexual health services with a corresponding increase in sexually related diseases, mainly among casual workers, making it important that prevention and health promotion services are in place now.
There is clearly a need for a co-ordinated sexual health plan to detail the priorities for London health services. An ad hoc committee was established of which I was a part, but after discussions with the medical director for the Games, I am very pleased that it is now officially a subgroup of the London Sexual Health Commissioning Board. Its aim is to provide a positive legacy to other big sporting events on how to plan appropriate sexual health services and prevent the spread of infections.
I now turn to the trafficking of women for the purpose of prostitution. Last December, in my role as chair of the Women’s National Commission, I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Coe, to express our concern and the concern of the women’s sector regarding the potential for increased violence against women associated with the Olympics. There is clear evidence from other Games of a correlation between major sporting events and an increase in human trafficking. In reply, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, indicated that a member of his office would be in touch to discuss this further, but I regret to say to him that we never heard another word since, and we look forward to that meeting.
Britain is a Mecca for the low-risk, high-profit industry of human trafficking which centres upon London. The Olympics is expected to have a major impact on the sex industry across London and the south-east, if not further afield. Since London was named, there has already been an influx of contractors into the area. As the site develops, an increasing number of agency workers—predominantly male—are being accommodated in the locality. Already, according to the Metropolitan Police, host and neighbouring boroughs are reporting anecdotal evidence of an increase in applications for licences for massage parlours and saunas. Such premises are understood to operate as quasi-legal brothels.
It is not only the people employed in preparing for the Olympics in London who are expected to inflate demand for prostitution, but also the tourists and indeed the athletic community. We need to learn from international colleagues what they have learnt about combating human trafficking, for there is no question that established trafficking networks are composed of astute, discrete and sophisticated organised criminal operators who will seek to maximise their profits during the period available.
The women’s sector is proposing that the organising committee takes the following action for the 2012 Olympics: conduct an immediate risk assessment that is informed by consultation with local and regional experts, and through this develop a comprehensive preventive strategy to address women’s safety and especially trafficking for sexual exploitation; undertake a women’s safety audit; undertake public awareness campaigns about trafficking targeted at contractors, athletes and spectators; issue strong statements on the intent of the organising committee to make the Games safe for women; and, as part of the legacy of the Games, to extend the capacity of those projects which support women who have been trafficked and have been sexually assaulted.
The Women's National Commission was commissioned by the Home Office to assist with the development of the national strategy on violence against women. Using our considerable expertise, we would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues and work with and make further representations to the organising committee. The Olympic and Paralympic values of friendship, equality, respect, courage, determination, excellence and inspiration will be severely compromised and sullied if trafficking and sexual assaults are associated with the event. It would also be shameful for this country. I hope we can have a guarantee that it will not be allowed to happen.
My Lords, I join other noble Lords in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on securing this debate. I also congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, on a splendid and typically passionate maiden speech. She has done more than any other person in this country to bring sport back into schools. I am sure that she will make a significant contribution to debates in your Lordships’ House, not just on sport, we hope, but on wider issues as well. I also commend both LOCOG and the Government for the progress that has been made not just on the physical work for the Olympics but on the legacy: sporting, educational and physical. There is no doubt that London will have a more significant legacy programme than any previous Olympic Games, and all those involved are to be congratulated on their commitment to it.
There are two strands to the legacy: domestic and international. The noble Baroness spoke about international inspiration. I declare an interest as chair of IDS, UK Sport’s international development charity, which has some involvement with International Inspiration. International Inspiration does what it says on the tin. It is already inspiring hundreds of thousands of children and young people throughout the world not just to play sport but to play a more positive part in the society in which they live. The work that it is doing in India with girls from marginalised communities, in getting them back into school and getting them to realise their potential to be more than housewives stuck at home, is truly inspirational. The work that it is doing in Brazil with street children whose main outlook and opportunities tend to revolve around gangs is also truly inspirational. Everyone involved in that programme should be congratulated on it.
Domestically, as the noble Lord, Lord Coe, set out, there is also considerable progress on legacy. However, I do not think that everything is quite as rosy as he implied. My passion about sport is to use it as a tool for personal development and education and to get children who are not succeeding in life to succeed via the medium of sport. In that capacity, I am chair of sport at the Prince’s Trust, as I have been over the past 12 years. During that period we have worked with tens of thousands of young people, unemployed young people and children who are failing at school. By working principally with the professional sports clubs, we have helped to turn round the lives of many of those children and young people.
When we learnt that the Olympics were coming to London, the trust, like many other NGOs in this area, was very excited about it. It was even more excited when, in April 2007, it was approached by the DCMS to discuss a potential major funding partnership with government. A figure of £30 million was mentioned, to be split between the trust and the Duke of Edinburgh awards. The trust therefore developed the concept of the Active Generation fund and the Active Generation programme, which, through the trust’s work, would be used to support at least 10,000 more young people who are not in education, employment or training to become economically, socially and physically active and to play a positive part in their communities.
Unfortunately, since that point, the funding promised has completely failed to materialise. It is the trust’s view that LOCOG and the DCMS have not managed to create a coherent campaign behind which the third sector could unite to deliver legacy ambitions. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, spoke about the Inspire programme. The Inspire programme has many strengths but it also has some weaknesses. The Inspire mark is a splendid thing, but there are problems associated with it. First, it does not bring any funding, so having it brings the kudos of the mark but not any practical support. If you want to start a programme from scratch, the Inspire mark does not get you there. The trust will now seek to do the logical thing—to go out and get funding from the corporate sector, in association with the Inspire mark, so that it can develop the programme that it cannot now develop through government funding.
However, there are some problems. First, the trust is told that it cannot approach Olympic sponsors, so they are ruled out. Secondly, it is told that it cannot approach non-Olympic sponsors, because they are not Olympic sponsors. So, as things stand and as the trust understands it, there is no prospect of getting corporate support. It is a Catch-22 situation. Having the mark gives you kudos and makes it easier to raise funds for a programme, because it is linked to the Olympics, which are sexy, but, equally, having the mark means that you cannot go to the people from whom you can get the funds. It is a real issue. I am not saying that it is an insuperable issue and I am not raising it simply to whinge, because I am sure that there will be a way through it. However, if we are to maximise the benefit that the Olympics can bring and inspire a whole new generation not just internationally but at home, we have to get this kind of model sorted out. I believe that we can and I believe that the Olympics in London can deliver the best Olympic legacy ever.
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for leading this important debate. It is a very helpful time to have this discussion, because a great deal has happened during the past year and new opportunities are now presenting themselves, which allow us all to move on and to deal with the concerns that some of us have been expressing for some time. I would therefore like to concentrate my thoughts on the opportunities presented by the Olympic legacy, particularly as it relates to the East End of London.
Two days ago, your Lordships’ House held its second symposium on the Olympic legacy. So what progress has actually been made since the first symposium, 12 months ago, as a result of our activities? First, the Government have listened to our concerns. A Minister who understood the legacy issues has now worked with east London leaders. The then Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, understood that the local is a key component of the Olympic legacy in east London; she understood that the Olympic project is not something that happens behind an 11-mile blue fence about which people are simply consulted but that strands of gold need now to be wound into the Olympic project from the surrounding communities. East Londoners need to feel real ownership of the Olympic site when the biggest show on earth leaves town.
We have built a number of small parks in east London, across the road from the Olympic site. I know what happens to the investment in such places if people do not feel that they have a real stake in their future. The Minister showed that she understood this point and that legacy is not just for local authorities but for local people who have been encouraged to feel involved with the project. The Minister realised that this important component of legacy had been missing.
The Secretary of State, following our conversations earlier this year, began to use the tools available to her in government to bring resources and freedoms from government structures to begin to make this real. For example, she led negotiations with the five host boroughs for a multi-area agreement, based on the idea of convergence—that is, that the quality of life and economic health of east Londoners should be brought up to the level enjoyed by the rest of London, that east London should no longer be a drain on the capital’s economy and that the Olympic project should be a spur to this ambition.
So now east London is on the point of an agreement between central and local government. This will have a major positive impact on the skills and employment prospects of east Londoners, on the housing policy changes needed to make east London a place where people can choose to stay and raise their families and on investment in the public realm. It can be a place where residents are proud to live and proud to show visitors from across the world.
The Minister also began to understand that the Olympic project was not the only show in town in the Lower Lea Valley and that the many other public sector structures that litter the valley—more than 40—must now come together around a common vision and clear leadership. Hazel Blears has now moved on, as Ministers have a habit of doing, and east London leaders hope that John Denham will maintain the momentum and ensure that this important agreement is concluded quickly.
The second important thing that has been achieved in the past year by central government, together with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is the appointment of the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, to chair the Olympic Park Legacy Company. The noble Baroness brings great experience and enormous new vigour to the legacy task and we welcome her to east London. She also clearly understands the need to harness the energies of central government, London government, local government, social entrepreneurs and the communities in which they work. She clearly sees that the development of the Olympic park is key to the physical, social and economic transformation of east London. This presents us all with exciting times ahead.
We now need a clear, wider vision for the Lower Lea Valley and east London, within which the Olympic project sits; we need a vision that is deeply rooted in the history and geography of the place, for what we are together creating is a new metropolitan district of London. Many of us call it Water City, because water has driven the economy of east London for 2,000 years. Take a boat trip up the five and a half miles of waterways that span the Lower Lea Valley, as I did recently with the then Secretary of State, and you will understand, as she did, the significance of what some of us have been saying on the matter. What we need now from the public sector is less politics and more continuity and practical action on the ground.
All of the above are important steps forward since the debate that I led in January 2008 in your Lordships’ House and the Olympic legacy symposium that I organised in June last year. A year ago, leadership was seen as the key to success. What has made the difference this past year has been clear, strong leadership from one or two individuals in government and local government and from those to whom they have given authority to act. We are in a period of political turmoil. We must not lose the gains that we have made. We need to apply clear vision and leadership to keep up the momentum.
At the close of the second Olympic legacy symposium two days ago, I announced the creation of an all-party parliamentary group on urban regeneration, sport and culture. The purpose of the new APPG is to discuss how we can use major events to transform the lives of those who live in the surrounding areas. In particular, the APPG will bring together the four major cities that have already hosted or will be hosting such events: Liverpool, which was the European cultural capital in 2008; Glasgow, which will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games; Manchester, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002; and London, which will host the 2012 Olympic Games. I hope that the APPG will provide your Lordships’ House with an opportunity to examine in greater detail the practical work of social entrepreneurs. There is an important discussion to be had here about how you do legacy in practice.
My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Coe on obtaining this debate. I congratulate him a great deal more on all that he has achieved for the Olympics in the past three years. It has been a truly stupendous achievement. I apologise, therefore, that I am going to devote my six minutes to the bits that I am not happy with. When I declare my interests as captain of the House of Lords rifle shooting team and a member of the NRA, my noble friend will know what is coming.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan said that it was crucial that the Games leave a sporting legacy throughout the United Kingdom. I am told that my noble friend Lord Coe said that we should not waste money on temporary venues, that there ought to be legacy and that venues should be cost-effective. If he did not say it, he should have done. Many other noble Lords today have mentioned legacy. Legacy is one of the foundation stones of the Olympic movement. Why, then, does LOCOG persist in putting the shooting at Woolwich and the horse riding at Greenwich? These two venues will cost in excess of £100 million. Both will be utterly destroyed immediately after the Games, leaving no legacy of any description. Alternative venues outside London would cost tens of millions of pounds less and would leave permanent legacies for both sports.
What my noble friend Lord Coe said on the subject in his opening remarks concerned the concept of a compact Games. That is an important and powerful concept, and I entirely agree that it is a noble and proper ambition. Indeed, the Greenwich site is so compact that it will not be able to fit many spectators. However, even the great virtues associated with a compact Games must at some stage bend before the disadvantages that they bring to the two sports concerned here.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan, when he contributed to the debate on a Question that I asked in the House last week, mentioned the benefits of being part of the Olympic experience. My noble friend was involved, as I was, in rowing, which is a high-energy, convivial sport, fuelled largely—and ahead of its time—by bioethanol. Shooting is not. It is a contemplative, careful sport. Self-control, self-discipline and concentration lie at the heart of it. People involved in shooting competitions will not participate in an Olympic experience before their competition has ended. Afterwards, they would love to join the party; but it is very much a facing-inwards sport, and there is not much to be said for siting them in an Olympic village until their competition is over.
Various objections have been raised to the proposed siting of the Olympic shooting at Bisley. We are told that these are based on reports prepared by KPMG and others that have not been released. All that has been released is a series of half-truths and innuendos that have made it extremely difficult for those involved in shooting to raise reasonable arguments against the proposals. The sort of things that are fed out are those that the noble Lord, Lord Davies, repeated when he answered my Question. He said that there were problems with providing accommodation. LOCOG knows perfectly well that there are no problems with accommodation. There is surplus available, to Olympic standards, at two local universities—there is no requirement for any additional build. The perpetuation of these inaccuracies, if I may kindly call them that, is due entirely to the failure of LOCOG to publish the reports and indulge in a proper, open debate on the conclusions that it has reached. I wish it would: it is a stain on the otherwise brilliant escutcheon of LOCOG that it chooses to act in this way.
Objections remain to the siting of the Olympic shooting at Woolwich. As far as I know, the safety objections have not been met. The shotgun shooting will spray lead shot over a wide area, much of it currently occupied by housing. I do not know whether it is proposed that people should be moved out of that housing for the duration, or that we should have enormous safety fences. I do not think that safety fences would work: you would probably have to build a 60-metre sand barrier or something of the sort to protect people from the shot. It is not clear how that will be dealt with. Nor is it clear how all the lead shot will be cleared up afterwards, or what the costs will be, notably in transport and landfill tax. It is not clear that it is acceptable to block all entrances but one to the local hospital at a time when there may be considerable need of it. There are real issues that must be dealt with concerning the siting of the Games shooting at Woolwich, and even more so with the decision not to site it at Bisley.
Shooting is as popular a sport in this country as golf, but it has many fewer facilities. It is a wonderful training for young men in particular, because it trains them in safety, concentration and self-discipline. Of all the Olympic sports, shooting is in most need of legacy.
We have now reached the three-year point, when reality must intervene over ambition. It is a time to be open, face the truth and change tack, if that is necessary, as I believe it is. As I said, my noble friend has achieved great things. He does not deserve this blemish on his record.
My Lords, I add my thanks and congratulations to LOCOG and the ODA for the first-class job they are doing in preparing for the Games. I remind noble Lords that I am chief executive of London First, a non-profit-making business membership organisation that actively supported the London Olympic bid. Many of us supported our country’s bid largely for the legacy. I will briefly mention two legacy points before focusing on the core benefits to east London.
First, CompeteFor is the web portal developed to promote contracts arising from the 2012 Games: 75,000 UK businesses, mainly SMEs, are registered. Some 3,000 opportunities have so far been placed on the system, but surprisingly only 80 by LOCOG itself. Will the noble Lord reaffirm LOCOG's commitment to making Olympic opportunities available in this way?
Secondly, I support and encourage the mayor and Westminster Council's efforts to improve the urban realm in the West End ahead of 2012, part-funded by the New West End Company. Refreshing central London's fabric will enhance our offer to visitors in 2012 and thereafter. In east London, I join my noble friend Lord Mawson in stressing the need for the Games to catalyse the wider regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley, which includes some of the country's most deprived wards. The area boasts industrial heritage and strong, diverse communities but also has deprivation, low employment and physical degradation. Transformation means improved transport, better connectivity, revitalised landscapes, cleaned up waterways and provides a countercyclical stimulus to the economy, supporting local employment.
From December to April, unemployment in Tower Hamlets and Newham rose by around 20 per cent. That is a cause for despair normally; but the equivalent figures for both London and the UK are more than 30 per cent. The Olympics may already be cushioning the recession's impact.
Despite the downturn, London will grow by a million people in the next 20 years, many housed in east London. We must invest for existing and new communities to create a new city quarter. But so far legacy has been on lips rather than at the boardroom table. We need leadership, vision, infrastructure and a one-stop shop for investors. First, as regards leadership, the ODA is building Games facilities and LOCOG will stage-manage the event, but a third leg is needed for this stool. Who is arguing for an electricity meter in each of the athletes’ apartments rather than in each block, making them more legacy-ready? Amid the furore about the supposedly burgeoning Olympic budget, who advocates modest extra investment now to provide better value and better 30-year outcomes?
But here comes the cavalry. I am pleased to welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, into her new role as chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. Knowing the noble Baroness as I do, I am certain that she will seize the challenge off-park as well as on, whatever her formal remit says. Without doubt she will be a formidable champion. Her leadership can help to forge a common vision for what the Olympics can do for the East End. What might the Lea Valley be in 30 years? A tourist destination? Green homes and business, interspersed with allotments? An international business quarter, built on fine transport links to the continent? This vision should balance clarity of planning purpose with freedom to deliver and to change our policies if they do not work. The future should not depend on ongoing public subsidy but should be anchored around major private sector investment, like nearby Stratford City, where the Westfield development is anchored by high profile Waitrose and John Lewis stores.
My third point concerns infrastructure such as bridges, sewers, electricity, fast broadband and schools. Without infrastructure, why should developers invest? Why will businesses or families choose to locate here? Surely the Department for Communities and Local Government, the mayor and the five boroughs can align and prioritise funding around the Olympic Park to maximise this one-off investment? As part of this alignment, the London Homes and Communities Agency needs freedom to achieve its goals more effectively by commissioning infrastructure.
Finally, who will sell the sizzle of the Lower Lea Valley? Who guides investors through the alphabet soup of agencies, rules, boundaries and landowners? Thirty years ago, the LDDC fulfilled this role in Docklands. Now multiple organisations are falling over each other to offer parts of that role for the Lower Lea Valley. They all need to agree to work under one roof, or accept referrals from a shared one-stop shop. I remain optimistic. At three years to go, London's legacy planning is ahead of that of any recent Olympics, but we can do even better.
My Lords, it is a joy and a pleasure to be given this opportunity to listen to the noble Lord, Lord Coe, give a work-in-progress description of the bid, about which we were all so delighted to hear some years ago. This is also an opportunity to hear noble Lords’ concerns. I do not have similar concerns. I am a joint president of London Councils with the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. Together, we speak on behalf of the councils with great temerity from time to time.
I wish to quote from a briefing that I asked for to help me. The first paragraph states:
“Londoners are firmly behind the Olympic Games—but there are still major areas to be addressed if the Games are to deliver the legacy that the capital’s residents want. London Councils’ research demonstrates a high level of public optimism about the 2012 Olympics, whilst highlighting some key issues that the Government, LOCOG and other stakeholders need to address”.
That is a reasonable statement and I see that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, nods his head. I approach this matter with a benign, not malevolent, attitude. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, will remember that the first two years of his undertaking his present role were fraught with difficulty, argument and some ridiculous statements. However, we have now reached the stage where I believe that most people in this country, if not all of them, want the Games to be a success. What we need to do to make them a success is, of course, open to argument.
My wife Margaret always told me that she never forgot attending the 1948 Olympics, where she saw Maureen Gardner and Fanny Blankers-Koen and other great runners. I remember living in Newcastle at the time and seeing Arthur Wint and McDonald Bailey. There is a latent interest in and desire for sport in this country. Some speakers have talked about inspiration. That is what we have, especially after last year’s Olympic Games. I do not think that I spoke to anyone during those Olympics who was not imbued with enthusiasm. People were disappointed if some of our champions lost but they were given a taste of what the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his noble friend Lord Moynihan must have enjoyed for many years.
I happen to be a founder member of the Lea Valley Regional Park. I have scribbled down the name “Ron Pickering”. I see the noble Lord, Lord Coe, smile because Ron Pickering was a great inspiration. You get the idea that you are participating ever so slightly by watching an event or attending it. It is a marvellous to say after an event, “I was there. I was part of it”. I think that everybody in the country wants to be able to say in 2012, almost regardless of the results, “I was there”. What they will bring to the table is enthusiasm, and I am delighted to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, speak so cogently about the involvement, desire and support of business in this part of the world.
London Councils has, of course, asked me to raise a number of matters. I simply want the noble Lord, Lord Coe, to know that none of them will be fresh. They will all be known to and have been argued with him. I have scribbled down these problems: whether transport will be adequately dealt with, congestion, inconvenience and security. That last concern was quite properly mentioned; I cannot believe that any point I raise is not already on the agenda of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his committee. There is also a great point about additional resources. That is because London Councils is already contributing £625 million to the bid, and it is concerned about the extra costs that it might have to pay.
It ought not to be taken for granted that London Councils will simply absorb the costs that emerge. There needs to be some mechanism. It also wants the legacy to be more clearly defined than it has been up to now. We know what legacy means, but the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and the Minister would do well to pay attention as quickly as possible and say in detail, “This is what the Games will bring”. We also need a better sense of communicating what is going on to the general public, not just in London but in the country. I imagine that there is a job to be done, perhaps in the second part of the six-year battle that has been going on, to make the people of London and of the country better aware.
I am told by London Councils, from its research, that 44 per cent of Londoners want tickets for events. In my mind, that is almost a sell-out whether they get them or not; I am also told that there are 9 million tickets available for various events, so this is a massive showpiece. Above all else, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his colleagues are capable of inspiring millions of people to feel better not only about the Olympics but about being in Britain, and I wish them well.
My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the issue of modern foreign language skills, and their role in underpinning the quality, reputation and smooth running of the 2012 Games. I declare an interest as chair of the All-Party Group on Modern Languages, which aims to promote the benefit of languages in education, skills, employment, competition and culture. The Olympic Games have all those, rolled into one great big opportunity not just for improving delivery of the event itself but as part of the continuing economic and social legacy.
As many noble Lords will know, the stereotyped image of British people being bad at languages and reluctant to learn is, sadly, reflected in the dramatically reduced numbers of young people opting for languages at GCSE despite London and, indeed, elsewhere in the UK being richly multilingual communities. At the same time, research indicates that the UK economy could be losing between £9 billion and £21 billion a year through lost contracts because of a lack of language skills in the workforce, while survey after survey shows employers saying that they want to recruit people who can speak more than one language. Various languages programmes and projects are being rolled out in the run-up to the Olympics, but I would like to see them much more closely aligned with what goes on at key stages 3 and 4 in schools, in order to encourage and incentivise more pupils to stick with languages.
I would also like more of a sense of urgency in LOCOG over planning for language services, particularly in identifying where to find the 300 professional interpreters who will be needed. The assumption seems to be that they will be people who have worked at previous Games or for the IOC. Although that is partly true, the age profile of English mother-tongue interpreters is a serious concern, and there is a real possibility that the needs of the 2012 Games might not be met. The GLA also needs to be less complacent about where it will find the 1,000 language specialist volunteers who are expected to help.
The official Olympic languages are English and French; additional working languages in 2012 will be Arabic, German, Russian and Spanish. Teams from 205 countries will be here, so the number of actual languages in use will run to dozens. The all-party group is supported by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, which is working hard to help LOCOG deliver a multilingual Games. For example, it is running a competition for 13 to 21 year-olds to make a film clip about languages and the Olympics, which I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, has agreed to judge. Another idea might be to tell 13 year-olds in London schools now that if they commit to including a foreign language in their GCSE option choices, they will be guaranteed a place in the 70,000-strong volunteer force or, perhaps, could meet up with an international athlete of their choice who speaks that language.
From a business perspective, planning now is vital. Regional Language Network London is doing sterling work to help prepare businesses through its Welcoming the World programme. Help is available for businesses that need to translate signage or brochures, or to train staff to deliver outstanding customer service to international visitors. Transport, health and the emergency services will all need language skills too. I ask LOCOG, the GLA, the Government and the Olympic Legacy Company to all look at whether they are doing enough now to get information about these resources to businesses, particularly SMEs.
We do those in the next generation a great disservice if we allow language skills to diminish, because they will most certainly lose out to their multilingual peers from other EU countries who will be at a competitive advantage in the job market, whether they want to be doctors, hotel receptionists, retailers, tour guides or sports coaches. What is more, learning and speaking other languages is fun; it gives pleasure and a great feeling of achievement. What better match could there be than sport and the Olympic Games for showcasing what we can do?
My Lords, I shall focus my contribution to the debate on the north-east of England. I declare interests as being a resident and in having businesses up there, and in having a great interest in and passion for that great region of this country. I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Coe for his inspirational leadership of this whole project.
It is one of the less endearing qualities of the British temperament always to complain about the rain without giving thanks for the sunshine. When I had the opportunity to visit LOCOG’s offices down at Canary Wharf, I was shown the great work going on at the Olympic site, which is absolutely spectacular. We tend to hear of things only when they go wrong and forget to celebrate things when they go well. It is wonderful to be party to this debate and to pay tribute to all of those involved in ensuring that it is going extremely well. I also pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, on her maiden speech. As someone who only recently gave a maiden speech in your Lordships’ House, while mine was instantly forgettable her contribution will endure in the memory much longer—and rightly so, because it was inspiring.
My focus on the north-east of England is in its having some heritage behind it in its sporting traditions. Not only has it produced some outstanding Olympians and athletes—Jonathan Edwards, Steve Cram and Brendan Foster—but it is the home of the athletics stadium in Gateshead and of the Great North Run, the most popular half-marathon in the world, which regularly attracts more than 50,000 participants. That cultural part and that sporting heritage are extremely important.
For understandable reasons, the Games are awarded to a city rather than a country. That can sometimes mean that people in peripheral regions can think it is nothing to do with them and that this is a London show. I had been a bit guilty of thinking that until I had the opportunity to visit the offices of LOCOG and receive an excellent presentation on what is happening in the north-east and, I am sure, in many regions around the UK.
In the north-east, 220 schools and colleges are registered in Get Set, LOCOG’s education programme, to take the Olympic and Paralympic values into the classroom. Twenty sporting facilities in the north-east have been included as potential pre-Games training camps in LOCOG’s official guide, which has been circulated to all foreign teams, 200 national Olympic committees and 165 national Paralympic committees. These include the Tees Barrage, which the noble Lord, Lord Coe, had the opportunity of visiting last year. It is a spectacular facility. They also include Hartlepool Marina, the Glenn McCrory International School of Boxing, and one should not forget the great Gateshead International Stadium. One live site is already in place in the region in Middlesbrough. A live site is, I have discovered, a place where large screens will be erected, so that people can view the Olympics.
Seven Inspire projects have been given the go-ahead in the north-east. These are local or regional projects inspired by 2012 which have been given LOCOG’s Inspire mark—a version of the 2012 brand. The most exciting project in the north-east is one which links 2012 with getting people active and healthy to avoid type-2 diabetes, of which there is a high incidence in the north-east of England.
At the handover from Beijing, 22 special 2012 flags produced by LOCOG were raised in town halls across the region and 38 cultural events were held as part of the open weekend in September. We are now working on the London 2012 Open Weekend. In all these matters, some outstanding work is going on—not least by Jonathan Edwards who is a leading figure in the north-east and carries great credibility in drawing attention to the region and making sure that it is not left out of London 2012. Knowing that he is a major part of the Olympics gives us a great deal of confidence. I should also point out that a great deal of work is being undertaken by the Nations and Regions Group. There is a co-ordinator for 2012 under One North East.
The Olympic motto is, “Faster, higher, stronger”, and perhaps I may conclude with some suggestions as to how we could do more. First, there is the economy. Some £6 billion of contracts are to be awarded. There is a real concern, particularly given the economic downturn, that regional businesses, including construction businesses, are not necessarily aware of the opportunities that are there. More could be done.
My second point relates to volunteers. This has already been referred to in the debate. There will be 70,000 volunteers taking part. It would be great to see many volunteers coming from all the English regions, particularly from the north-east.
My final point relates to the cultural aspect of the Olympiad. There is a great opportunity to promote the culture of the north-east of England and to have great cultural events. As someone who has for a long time been associated with a campaign to return the Lindisfarne Gospels to their home in Durham Cathedral, there to be reunited with the bones of St Cuthbert, I believe that 2012 should have a landmark cultural event. It is time for the Government to undo the injustice by which the gospels were removed from the north-east during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and return them to the region. That would set a great example by bringing together tourism and highlighting the fact that the Games are not just about London—this is actually about the whole country. It would also grasp the attention and imagination of the people of the north-east. I commend that idea to the House.
My Lords, as the last Back-Bencher to speak, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on securing this important debate. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bates, on his ingenuity in working the Lindisfarne Gospels into a debate on the Olympics and Paralympics. He is continuing a strong tradition in this House in that regard. I, too, very much welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, whose accomplishments are legion and whose maiden speech today could not have been more welcome or on a more appropriate topic. If her speech is a sign of things to come, she will be an enormous addition to your Lordships’ House. I hope that she and I will become close allies.
Just over half way through our preparations, it is fantastic to see the amazing work taking place in the Olympic park. I had the pleasure of visiting the park again last week and marvelled at the breathtakingly efficient way that the ODA, under the able leadership of John Armitt and David Higgins, is completing an incredibly complex task. The big build is most certainly in great shape. I also know that LOCOG will stage a great Games and the noble Lords, Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan, have given us a very clear sense of that today.
However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, said, there are three legs to this stool, and I want to focus on the Olympic legacy. I declare my interest as the newly appointed chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. I should like to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, that the issues of running-cost budgets and an adequate capital budget for the company are very much alive and under discussion with the Government. I have been given absolutely every encouragement to believe that we have been given the tools to do that job, which will be completed quite quickly. Many issues have been raised by noble Lords about the legacy. Rather than taking up more time, I should like to offer all noble Lords who are interested an opportunity for an early meeting to update them on the progress of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and to take on board a number of their concerns.
In Singapore four years ago, when London’s bid was presented to the IOC, the focus on young people and legacy was inspirational. I defy anyone who saw the film that accompanied the bid to say that they failed to be moved by it. The IOC found it totally compelling. A major part of the job is to make sure that the legacy we promised gets delivered.
The 2012 Games must create a transformational legacy for east London, creating a new neighbourhood for the city, reconnecting communities, creating sustainable jobs, encouraging enterprise, particularly social enterprise—the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, drew attention to this—and providing new homes, all in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the United Kingdom.
Clearly, the Games will leave a powerful legacy for sport, with five new world-class venues in east London, many more venues across the UK and a fabulous boost for the participation of people of all ages. The park itself and our magnificent stadium—a living stadium—should provide a major attraction for local people and visitors eager to continue to celebrate the Games and to continue their interest in sport long after the 2012 Games are over. It will have athletics at its core, so that London can continue to attract the best talent from around the world to come and compete here. I say to the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that the stadium will be taken down in the way that has been suggested. We are simply working through options. There are smarter things to do with the stadium. I should like to consult widely with the sporting community to get to that point.
The legacy company, together with the five host boroughs and the very active voluntary sector in east London, will play a crucial role in turning these commitments into reality. Although my writ runs only to the boundaries of the park, in reality we cannot simply redevelop the park without clear links to the surrounding neighbourhoods and without clear reference to the wider plans for the Lower Lea Valley. The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, has been a steadfast advocate for this type of approach and we are working carefully to ensure that the legacy master plan that is currently in preparation achieves this. The master plan is crucial because it will guide local people, public authorities and private investors for many years to come about how the park and its wider surroundings will be redeveloped, about the level of our ambition, and about, if I may steal a phrase from UK Sport, a “no compromise” approach to quality and sustainability. Between now and Christmas we will sharpen our thinking about this important master plan. I particularly want to build on and connect with some of the fantastic work done by local groups in that area of east London, about which the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, has told us on many occasions, so that the final plan makes perfect sense to the sporting community but primarily to those people, particularly young people, whose lives are likely to be most affected by it.
I would like to have spoken for longer today about the legacy lessons that we can learn from the Great Exhibition of 1851 and what happened in South Kensington and Exhibition Road. After the Great Exhibition, of course, the Crystal Palace was relocated from Hyde Park to its current location. We have many lessons to learn from the Great Exhibition about the magnificent educational and cultural legacy that it left for London. It took the formidable Prince Albert 40 years to get that right. It will take us probably about the same length of time, but we must not have any less ambition for our project than Prince Albert had for the Great Exhibition in 1851.
A task for the legacy company will be to use all the park’s assets to create a unique living park of sporting and recreational excellence that is a magnet for visitors, a boon for the economy, a showcase for sustainability and a focus for performance. It must be a precious and loved asset for local people and a new piece of our city that is fully integrated into the surrounding neighbourhoods. The task will be a long one—as I said, it took Prince Albert’s royal commission 40 years—and it will require commitment and investment from partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors. But the legacy that we must leave for sport, for east London and for the wider community will be enjoyed for generations to come. That legacy must live up to and surpass the promises made to the IOC, because those promises were made to the people of east London themselves.
My Lords, this is one of those debates where the cliché that everything has been said but not everybody has said it comes ringingly to mind. I feel that it has been as good a broad-brush approach to everybody involved in the Olympics as you will get virtually anywhere. Almost every aspect of the Games and their unique legacy has been represented in your Lordships’ House. When I first saw the plans and model for London 2012, I realised that, if the Games went ahead, there would be virtually no downside for the physical space that they went into. Having lived in a flat fairly close to it, I always felt that the area had some potential, but mainly as a set for the more unpleasant type of second-rate gangster movie or a film about an apocalyptic future. Some people will tell me that I missed something very nice, but I did not see it. It was somewhere that needed investment; it had to come.
I have tried to generate a degree of passion in speaking about the idea of the Olympic Games as something that brings everything together. The noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, whom I welcome to the House, has topped anything that I could say today with the idea of sport as something that can give focus and meaning to lives and as something to aspire to, look back on and support. The whole way through, the idea of a sporting legacy focuses particularly on the elite but, if it is really to succeed, it must be far broader. That is something that the Games have already achieved. They have already made people in government, other than those already in touch, consider sport properly.
As one who had this portfolio for many years, before the Olympics were taken on board, I distinctly got the impression that people thought, “Sport’s an awfully good thing, but it’s nothing to do with me”. It was pushed aside. However, when the Department of Health has publications that mention the Olympics in its physical activity agenda, suddenly the Olympics have already achieved something important. I think that the Minister for Sport should be in the Department of Health, if not heading up his own ministry, with his own seat in the Cabinet. Regardless of how well the committees and odd connections within government work at the moment, I would like there to be a stronger sports—or, indeed, Olympic—presence, with a department backing it up directly. It should be attached to the Cabinet Office, with civil servants from the DCMS and the Department of Health, and it should have education connections. Things may be working now, but any chain is only as strong as its weakest link and it would be very easy to break that chain with a little political pressure here and there.
Much of what we are talking about in the Olympics’ ability to achieve a legacy will be to do with how far they go beyond their immediate groups. As I said, any original thought here was immediately trumped by everybody who spoke before me, but I have come to the conclusion that this should be mentioned. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, got there before me. He said that the Olympic Games are being held here only as a result of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, which proved that Britain, after several quite spectacular failures and mismanagements, could deliver a major project on time and make it a success. Other major projects have occurred and others will, but how do we tie them in? This is probably one of the few questions that I can fairly deliver to the noble Lord, Lord Davies. What are the Government doing to make sure that we have something that is ongoing, beyond 2012, and that new Commonwealth Games and new sporting events are tied into the same sort of structure, making sure that there is an ongoing legacy for all of them? The idea is bigger than the Olympic park and it is that idea that must carry on. The fact that we can get government engagement with sporting activity is much more important even than this event. We must take it on from there.
I think that it was Ken Livingstone who expected X number of years of argument and screaming, with a wonderful party for the Olympics at the end. I forget the exact phrase. We have got rid of most of the arguments, but I now address the one running sore about the Olympics: Bisley. I do not know exactly what was said in the document that rejected Bisley as a permanent site, but I have tabled a Question to find out. I ask the two noble Lords who will be at the Olympic Board meeting today to ask the board please to publish this information and come back with it so that we can find out. I fully accept that there may be good reasons for rejecting Bisley, but the noble Lords who have spoken today deserve to know what they are, even though they may not agree with them. I have always felt that as many events as possible should be held within the main park and that they should be held outside only if this cannot be done. Everybody deserves to know the reasons. I encourage those noble Lords who are yet to speak to ask about this. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, of course has a huge advantage. If we get a good answer, I will remove the Question that I have tabled for a week today. We can carry on and deal with this problem, but it is one of the few outstanding matters to do with the construction.
The ODA deserves much credit for having made the building of the Olympic park quite boring. We are on time and within budget. We are ahead of budget. It is working. I wonder how many journalists sat there with their practised themes of “Waste of money” and “We can’t organise anything” in a huge run-up to decrying our achievement. They cannot do it. If they could, politicians might have had a slightly easier time over the last few weeks because it would have absorbed their energy, but they have not. The ODA has delivered more or less everything so far on time and within budget.
I also encourage the Olympic movement as a whole not to be frightened of admitting it when one or two things go wrong, as they will. We should remember that 75 per cent in any exam is still a damned good pass. I ask those involved to engage more with us in the political scene, as we have had to dig out too much information. I have had that discussion—or occasional row—with the Olympic movement and I say again: let us know more about what is going on.
Can the noble Lord, Lord Davies, tell us how much encouragement is being given to sporting bodies to increase their legacy participation rates? Are models being prepared and, if so, which are the best ones to take forward? Have they gone in-house or outside? I have spoken about this subject on numerous occasions. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, and I can probably banter about what is going on here but there are some extremely good models. Once again, I mention the Go Play Rugby programme. Get Into Football is another good scheme; it is less focused but more general. What are the best models for these sports to take outside? Which ones have worked best in the past and which do the Government think have the best development potential outside the Olympics? If we know that, we can encourage Ministers and hold them to task. We need to ensure that there is continuation of effort and that those who are encouraging people to back up the legacy in terms of involvement have a model to work to. Can the noble Lord reassure us on that point?
Finally, the Olympics seem to be shaping up to be a tremendous success. Let us enjoy that success, having got involved with the entire process leading up to it, and then make sure that the ideas are lasting and are taken forward to the next project, or aim and objective. If they are not, we will be throwing away at least some of the legacy.
My Lords, first, I must mention my father, who, with the late Lord Exeter, as members of the International Olympic Committee, struggled for many years to try to bring the Olympics back to Britain. How proud he would have been of the efforts and success of my noble friend, whom I thank for introducing this important debate. I congratulate him on his leadership and his impressive and continuing enthusiasm for the cause. I also congratulate from these Benches the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, on her excellent maiden speech. I look forward to hearing her in the future.
I applaud all those delivering the Games for their successes in the development of the Olympic village and other Olympic sites—in particular, the outstanding and ongoing transformation of the Lower Lea Valley. In addition, I state the obvious: policy on the Olympics is not Tory, Labour or Liberal but British. We on the opposition Benches have a responsibility to hold the Government to account for the decisions that they make. We should support and encourage those concerned when we believe that they are doing the right thing, but we should also probe and challenge when we believe that there is room for improvement.
As we all know, parts of the journey towards 2012 have not been straightforward. The Government’s budget miscalculations are common knowledge: the budget has soared from approximately £2.3 billion to £9.3 billion, leading to unprecedented raids on good-causes money from the National Lottery; over half the contingency fund has already been spent delivering only a third of the Olympic programme; there have been funding cuts to sports such as shooting and water polo due to the £50 million shortfall brought about by the Government’s failure to raise a single penny from the private sector; and, most significantly, there is a continuing absence of a fully costed, and probably extremely expensive, security plan. My noble friend Lord Patten had some extremely effective questions on security, which I hope the Minister will be able to answer.
In February this year, the Home Office produced the safety and security strategy for the 2012 Games. Now that the strategy has been in place for four months, can the Minister say whether all key security appointments relating to the Olympics have been made? If not, why not? This is an important point because the Government regard the delivery of the safety and security strategy for the Olympics as very much the delegated responsibility of the ODA and LOCOG. I have been hearing concerns that the specifications for the security projects of these organisations, which were set following a threat assessment by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, are not being adhered to. Is that true or is it perhaps a “not yet” situation?
I should also like the Minister to say whether the delay in producing the safety and security strategy means that there is less time for embedding security and resilience technologies at Olympic sites. There will of course have to be a reliance on a large number of police officers coming in from around the country. We already know that the Metropolitan Police will be under significant stress, with each borough having to accept a 2.5 per cent reduction in policing 12 months prior to and six months after the Games. The Metropolitan Police Authority has to recruit 10,000 extra specials to compensate for this extraction. Can the Minister say what progress it has made? My concern, if many officers have to be brought in from outside London, is that there will be little capability to meet any—although of course one hopes that there will not be any—attacks outside the Olympic areas. Also, what about the security of the sailing events at Weymouth and, indeed, the rowing at Eton?
A related issue is the Government’s security budget for the Games. Senior police officers have expressed concern that security costs will escalate beyond the £600 million allocated, pushing the entire Olympic budget over the £10 billion mark. Can the Minister say what the £600 million set aside by the Government actually includes? Does it, for example, include the cost of deploying not only the police but all other emergency responders? What is the true cost likely to be?
Despite that, I have no doubt that we will deliver an excellent Olympic park. The build will be completed on time and construction of the venues by the Olympic Delivery Authority is on track. In addition, as my noble friend Lord Coe said, organisation of the Games by LOCOG is on track to raise the £2 billion needed to stage the Games; it has, this week, signed up its 20th commercial sponsor. Surely the Olympics will attract a great number of tourists and it is hoped that our Olympic teams will be successful as well.
One major thing for which the Government are responsible is the legacy, but so far they do not seem to be achieving very much. The Olympics were won on a commitment to use the Games to inspire a whole generation to take up sport. Nearly four years on, the Government have yet to deliver any coherent plans to deliver this mass-participation sports legacy.
Does the Minister share the opinion of my noble friend Lord Moynihan that participation in sport is tremendously important to society, especially to the young and especially in the light of recent statistics that show that children now spend just two hours per week playing sport, compared with the 45 hours per week that they spend in front of a television or computer screen? The Government’s own statistics predict that, by 2050, 90 per cent of schoolchildren will be overweight. Participation in sport has the ability to change social patterns, improve health and transform lives. The likes of double Olympic gold medal sailor Sarah Ayton OBE and double Olympic gold medal swimmer Rebecca Adlington OBE pay testament to this fact. It would be criminal to deny such brilliant opportunities to the rest of British youth, especially when, through the Olympics, we have such potential for positive exposure and state-of-the-art facilities at our disposal around the country. My noble friend Lord Bates emphasised all the multifarious activities in the north-east of England.
Apart from the mass-participation legacy, there is also the issue of delivering a physical legacy for each Olympic sport. It has become clear that this will not be delivered in every case—for example, in shooting and equestrianism. Every person in the UK is contributing to the £9.3 billion public sector budget for the regeneration of east London, which is why the Olympics must benefit people throughout the country as well. A sporting legacy is not just an aspiration. It is a matter of basic fairness, both to Londoners living near the Olympic park and to people who do not happen to live near the new facilities that are being built.
Can the Minister confirm that, in the equestrian events in Greenwich Park, there will be no moving or cutting down of trees? There is a rumour going round that they are all going to be moved or removed altogether. I hope that that will not be the case. What plans are in place to make sure that, once the athletes’ village has been sold off, money is ring-fenced so that taxpayers can see the maximum return on their investment? What extra efforts are being made to seek buyers in the first instance? For example, I understand that there is still no anchor tenant for the Olympic stadium.
Overall, I am afraid, this paints a sad picture of the importance that the Government place on their legacy responsibilities, evidenced by their lack of concrete progress. Can the Minister tell the House what advances have been made to drive a genuine grass-roots legacy for sport off the back of the 2012 Games? The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games give the whole nation enormous opportunities for progress in so many areas. Let us hope that they can be exploited to the full.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Luke, used the word “sad” in his summing-up—a singularly inappropriate stance when we look at the progress that has been made since London won the right to host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, led the team whose inspired presentation won the bid against what we all regarded at the time to be the odds in Singapore. It is difficult to believe that four years have passed since then and we are only three years away from the Games coming back to London.
Progress has been made. Although I listened carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord Luke, said, and one or two other critics of certain aspects of the progress and development of the Games, I take sustenance and joy from the fact that the vast majority of contributors to this debate have followed the noble Lord, Lord Coe, in his opening presentation, exemplifying optimism with regard to the future and genuine and proper pride in what has been achieved already. That is the prevailing tone of this debate.
Of course, there are issues still to be resolved and we have to address ourselves to the points of criticism. I will attempt to meet the most forceful and important of those as I develop my speech, but I want this debate to be recognised for what it is—one which displays hope and genuine confidence with regard to the future, based on some extraordinary achievements since the bid was won a few years ago. That is why I appreciated the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Bates, that it all too easy to suffuse ourselves with criticism. I recognise that the Opposition has a duty to put the Government under scrutiny, but it ill behoves us to undersell achievement when in fact achievement is what we need to present to the nation.
We have made very significant progress, as reflected in this debate. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, covered most of the ground that I would otherwise have felt obliged to cover in terms of achievements. All five major venues—the stadium, the aquatic centre, the Olympic village, the velopark, the international broadcasting centre—are under construction, either on or ahead of schedule. I know that at present the site has a rather daunting blue fence around it, keeping out all comers except those authorised for entry. It is a construction site, so of course it presents that face. But once construction has moved ahead, we will be on the brink of developing an Olympic park which will be the glory of that part of London and will match the glories of our great parks in London, which were bequeathed to us in centuries past in different circumstances and socioeconomic conditions. Let us recognise the size of this potential achievement and appreciate the work that has been done.
Let us particularly appreciate the contribution of the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, in her maiden speech. She comes to us, as we all know, with very substantial achievements with regard to sport. I have not the slightest doubt that she will make a contribution which we will all value in the future. Today she emphasised the importance of the development of sport in schools. Of course it is right that our biggest legacy to the next generation will be enthusiasm and opportunity for sport. That means in schools now we must use the Olympic Games as the inspiration and, for the future, we must commit to ensuring that sufficient resources are made available for schoolchildren to get a requisite amount of sport.
The Government are proud of their record in these terms, and we are pleased to be associated with the considerable work that the noble Baroness has done in promoting this necessity, which was reflected in her speech. Not only do I agree with everything she said, I also want to bring to the House’s attention that school sport will be celebrated across the country at the end of this month. Over 10,000 schools are taking part in National School Sport Week. This is only the second time that we have done this and it is a reflection of the fact that we are catching the imagination of schoolchildren and also providing the opportunities for them to play their full part.
I want to mention in this context how important it is that we awaken the enthusiasm of children and adults in the locality. I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford for emphasising the fact that the boroughs immediately adjacent to the Olympic site have a great deal to contribute in terms of their welcome. I bear in mind the point he made about the number of languages which are spoken and that the welcome could be given in those terms. I accept entirely what the noble Baroness, Lady Coussins, says about how important it is that we put emphasis on language training and skills. We must have those available when the world comes to London in 2012, and that was an important and insightful contribution.
I recognise that there are several pinch points, the sharpest of which was introduced by my noble friend Lord Corbett and referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, on the question of Bisley. I answered a Question from the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, about why Woolwich has been chosen against Bisley. It is on the basis of a carefully researched report. I do not want to reiterate all the various points again, particularly as the noble Lord made it fairly clear that he was not convinced by my argument.
Have the Government got anything to hide with regard to the KPMG report, which was the basis for the decision in favour of Woolwich? No. That has been made quite clear in the other place by my right honourable friend Tessa Jowell in her role as the Olympics Minister. When we can publish that report without compromising sensitive, ongoing commercial negotiations, we intend to do so. We have not the slightest hesitation about making sure that that report is published in due course, but in everything, there is an evaluation about competing commercial opportunities. That is why we cannot release the report at present.
My Lords, I will look at that particular section. I was talking about the KPMG report in general. If the noble Lord is saying that there is value in one particular section being published, that may or may not be possible. The point is that the judgment was arrived at knowing full well the obvious claims of Bisley. That is true of other sports. The same issues obtain with regard to Greenwich and the horse-riding events. Of course, we all know Badminton and Burghley. We know that we have existing facilities considerable distances away from London.
What has to be balanced is the fact that these are the London Games, won by London as a city against other competing cities. There is obviously, therefore, an intention to concentrate as much of the Games as possible within the confines of London, as close to the Olympic village as possible. That is for the benefit of spectators and athletes and reflects the fact that it is a London bid won by London. There are bound to be compromises and difficult decisions. The decision on which I have been challenged most vigorously today is one that we reached on the basis of very careful research and on judgments that will stand the test of time.
A number of other points were raised. First my noble friend Lord Pendry and then the noble Lord, Lord Bates, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford raised the question of voluntary support for the Games. We need 70,000 volunteers. It is absolutely clear that we hope to attract a substantial number from the local boroughs, making their contribution to the celebration of an event happening in their area, but we will need volunteers from all across the country. We will certainly need volunteers who display the language skills mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Coussins. That work must go ahead. I emphasise that we are fully charged of the necessity of involving the country in those opportunities.
The Games are the London Games, but there are opportunities for the country in voluntary support and—the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones—tourism. Of course we want large numbers of tourists coming to London, but we want to capitalise on that by ensuring that people who have come from all over the world appreciate the other joys of the United Kingdom and its tourist opportunities beyond London. That means that we have to make strenuous efforts to upgrade our tourist facilities as much as we can. We have to increase our marketing. We must see that 2012 is a unique opportunity for the tourist industry and of course the Government will play our full part in helping the industry to realise those benefits.
The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, while modestly recognising the successes of those who have contributed directly towards the development of the structure of the Olympic Games, was a little carping about finance. He knows very well that the financial failure is not a matter of government finance, it is not the plans that we have had for contribution from the lottery; it is private industry which has not been able to produce the resources that we had hoped. That is not entirely surprising when the United Kingdom, as is the rest of the world, is suffering grievously in recession at present.
I was grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, for saying that in that part of London, the impact of the recession has been cushioned by development for the Games. I emphasise that there is a very substantial amount of activity associated with the development for the Games in east London. I also emphasise that the Olympic Games budget looks relatively healthy. I know that noble Lords will identify those marginal elements where there are weaknesses, but the £9.325 billion, which has been the subject of constant scrutiny ever since it was established as the budget, remains on target. The Games remain on target to come within that figure.
No, my Lords. I am emphasising that there is no cause for concern about the budgetary support for the Games and the ability of the Games to fall within the budget provision. Nor is there any cause for pessimism about the position of the Games in this recessionary period in relation to the local economy. The contracts are being handed out. Considerable progress is being made. To take the most obvious thing locally, there is a significant, multi-million pound investment in the area, which will guarantee one dimension of the legacy that will not be directly attributable to the Games but would never have occurred if that uplift in the east London economy were not occurring because of the Games. The Games are creating thousands of jobs, along with apprenticeships and training places, just at that time that we need them most. Significant numbers are coming from the locality, but that also reflects a significant investment injection into London. Westfield is investing £1.5 billion in the Stratford City retail-led development adjacent to the Olympic park.
This is therefore a developing picture of considerable success in what the Games can represent for the local economy, as well as their greater significance for the wider economy. Of course, I have listened carefully to the issues raised about legacy, which are very important for the Games. I am grateful that the position that my noble friend Lady Ford holds gave her the opportunity to assure the House on those matters. There is not the slightest doubt that we are better placed to fulfil a legacy from the Games than any Games of recent years.
The example of Barcelona has been quoted, quite rightly, because that is the best example of the past two or three decades, if not longer. London can easily surpass that legacy on the basis of the very careful preparations we are making, both in terms of the physical position and in terms of the legacy with regard to sport and the participation of our people.
With regard to the physical legacy, I heard what the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, said. It is the case that we have not as yet identified who will take on the Olympic stadium. As he knows, the stadium will be reduced in size from its Games position of over 80,000 down to a capacity of 25,000. That rules out certain kinds of legacy. You will not get Premier League clubs interested in a stadium of that size. There are a whole range of possible legatees, however, who will be willing to sign a contract. We do not have great anxieties with regard to the facilities in those terms. We are of course taking care to make sure that the Olympic park and its surroundings provide one of the great legacies for the nation and for London in particular.
I take on board all the criticisms that have been voiced today. We will look at those with the greatest degree of care. I would, however, like to make an obvious point that perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Coe, was too modest to make in his opening speech. When the International Olympic Committee’s co-ordinating commission visited London two months ago, it came to assess the progress that we have made. The commission’s chair, Denis Oswald, said that,
“the transformation that has taken place in the Lower Lea Valley is nothing short of astounding and this area will be a great legacy for the people of London and the UK”.
That is a judgment three years before we mount the greatest sporting spectacle that the world anticipates every four years. We shall have every confidence that that is exactly what we are going to do.
My Lords, when the founding father of the Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, mapped that seamless path between sport, culture and education 120 years ago, he was right then and he is right today. He would have been heartened by the quality of the debate that has dignified this place over the past few hours.
It was a wonderful debate. It contained passion and insight and, if I may so, the questions, and the forensic nature of those questions, were of the highest order. It is normally the province of the Minister, but with leave of the House I will, if it is thought to be reasonable, write separately to noble Lords about the specific issues that were raised, particularly around the organising and staging of the Games.
It would be remiss of me not to join noble Lords in the compliments that were paid to the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Loughborough, for a very fine maiden speech—the first of many, I hope. I am delighted also to be joined in this place by my former university tutor.
It would be remiss of me to alight upon any speeches in particular, but I think the noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, summed it up when he said that the bulk of people in this country want this project to be a success. He also said “I want to be there”. I can do no better than echo those words. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.