Motion to Take Note
My Lords, I am sure that even at this late hour the whole House welcomes this opportunity to note the excellent progress being made by all of the parties involved in delivering the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I look forward with great anticipation to the contributions that will be made by noble Lords in all parts of the House who not only have so much detailed knowledge of sport and the Olympics but are also making such huge individual contributions in planning for London 2012 and in securing the legacy afterwards.
I am pleased to be able to tell the House that London 2012 continues to be on time and on budget. With well over 40 per cent of the construction programme now complete, the Olympic Delivery Authority has made outstanding progress in creating the Olympic park and venues for 2012, and already it is possible to see how dramatically the landscape of east London is being transformed. The external structure of the Olympic stadium is now complete, with work progressing on schedule. The impressive aquatics centre roof is also in place, along with the huge land bridge that forms part of the roof of the venue and which will provide the main pedestrian entrance to the Games.
The construction of the distinctive velodrome is proceeding well, while the 4,500 tonne steel outer structure of the international broadcast centre was completed towards the end of last year, along with the first of the 11 residential plots in the Olympic village. I had the good fortune to be taken around the site by John Armitt and his colleagues on 22 September 2009. The progress that had been made up to then was very impressive, and a great deal more has been achieved since.
It is not only what the ODA is achieving but how it is doing it that is particularly inspiring. The London 2012 big build is breaking new ground for sustainability. It will be the first major event of any sort to undertake a full analysis of its carbon footprint, with the aim of minimising emissions. The measures that have been put into place will reduce by 400,000 tonnes the amount of CO2 that is produced and will make the Games a model for future mega-events worldwide.
The Games will provide a unique opportunity to promote healthy living. As an example, tobacco and cigarettes will not be sold at any of the Olympic venues. Smoking will be prohibited in all the enclosed Olympic and Paralympic venues, and LOCOG is currently looking at how it can best provide a healthy and enjoyable environment for all visitors to the Games.
The construction of the Olympic park and venues are not only helping to provide the basis for the regeneration of east London, but have helped to create opportunities for businesses across the UK in a time of economic adversity. Contracts worth £6 billion will be directly procured by the ODA and by LOCOG, generating tens of thousands of supply-chain opportunities for UK businesses. Of the 1,000 companies that have already won more than £5 billion of work to supply the ODA, more than 98 per cent are UK-based, 46 per cent are outside London, and around two-thirds are small or medium-sized businesses.
At the end of last year, the Olympic Delivery Authority produced a nationwide snapshot of some of the British businesses that have won 2012 contracts to date. It shows that building the venues and infrastructure for the Games is truly a nationwide endeavour, whether it is a basketball arena from Glasgow or structural decking from Poole, wetland planting from Norfolk or steel reinforcements from Neath. So far, thousands of companies across the UK have taken advantage of the London 2012 CompeteFor service, which not only provides businesses with the information they need to bid for 2012-related contracts but offers them dedicated business support that can help them to win.
The Games are not just benefiting businesses; they are also making a direct investment in people. First, London 2012 is creating jobs. Since the start of 2009, the number of workers on the Olympic park and village sites has more than doubled to nearly 7,500. More than half the current Olympic park workforce are from London, and one in five are from the Olympic host boroughs. Secondly, the Games are helping to change the face of the construction workforce. Programmes such as Personal Best are drawing in the hard to reach or previously unemployed, while the Women into Construction project has helped to bring the numbers of women working on site to more than double the national average. Thirdly, London 2012 is helping people to acquire the skills and expertise that they need to stay in work. A total of 2,250 traineeships, apprenticeships and work placements will be available on the site over the course of the build, while three dedicated east London training centres will offer as many as 20,000 places over the next five years. With courses designed to furnish the workforce with the skills that will be in demand in the years ahead, it is an opportunity to ensure that our training systems anticipate the needs of future employers. London 2012 therefore represents an investment in skills that will help the construction industry to deliver other major infrastructure projects of national significance such as the £16 billion Crossrail scheme, which is the largest civil construction project in Europe and one that is set to enhance London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent when it opens in 2017.
The development of the Olympic park is not only providing opportunities now but will provide the basis for a sustainable and prosperous community after the Games have come and gone. Indeed, 75p of every £1 that the Olympic Development Authority spends on the Olympic park goes towards the regeneration of an area that includes four of the 10 most deprived boroughs in the UK. London 2012 is aiming to achieve 30 years of development in less than five years.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is chaired by my noble friend Lady Ford—I am sorry that she cannot take part in our debate this evening—will make our vision for east London a reality by developing and implementing plans for the long-term future of the park after the 2012 Games. The park will deliver five world-class sporting facilities, over 15,000 new homes, more than 150,000 square metres of high- quality employment space and 10,000 new jobs, all surrounding over 100 hectares of new parkland.
And the benefits will not be confined to London. There is a clear cross-government commitment to delivering a legacy for the whole of the UK, not least by boosting sports participation and getting more people active and healthy. We are using the opportunity of London 2012 to help transform the levels of young people participating in sport, with the goal of making five hours of school sport available each week to the under-16s. Already, the opportunity for five to 16 year-olds to participate in up to five hours of sport per week is in place in over 90 per cent of school sports partnerships, with over 90 per cent of children meeting the initial two-hour target. Overall, London 2012 has the goal of making 2 million adults more active, and that will have a lasting impact long after the Games are held. There have been successes already through initiatives such as the free swimming programme, which resulted in over 10 million more swimming sessions in its first six months–6.9 million by the under-16s.
At the same time, the Cultural Olympiad is also playing a major role in helping to use London 2012 to, in its own words, “inspire a generation”. Launched in September 2008 with an Open Weekend celebration involving around 650 events across the UK, the Cultural Olympiad is a four-year, UK-wide cultural festival aimed at inspiring young people, welcoming the world, and leaving a lasting cultural legacy. And this commitment to “inspire a generation” is not limited to the UK. The International Inspiration programme has now been launched in nine countries worldwide, offering millions of children the opportunity to take part in high-quality sport and other activities. The goal is to extend the programme to up to 20 countries by 2012.
We can therefore see that London 2012 is already creating a legacy, both here and abroad, of better businesses and better jobs, more active citizens and more attractive neighbourhoods. But of course the first challenge is to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 that inspires the world. The London organising committee—LOCOG, chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Coe, whose speech I look forward to particularly—is leading on the delivery of the Games and is making first-rate progress. In an exceptionally tough economic environment, LOCOG has to date secured 25 domestic sponsors and generated nearly £600 million-worth of sponsorship revenue, about two-thirds of its target of £700 million. In this sense, LOCOG is ahead of any previous organising committee in securing sponsorship for the Games.
Beyond its strong revenue-raising efforts, LOCOG’s practical preparations for the Games are also progressing extremely well. It has secured the services of Sir Ian Johnston, the former chief constable of the British Transport Police, to lead on security planning. Sir Ian’s appointment is an important step in ensuring that we create a safe and secure environment for the Games to be staged. His expertise and vast policing experience, with which I am very familiar and to which I have often paid tribute in debates in your Lordships’ House on the role of the British Transport Police, will be invaluable to LOCOG in preparing the stage for the Games in 2012 and will ensure that the organising committee works seamlessly with the Metropolitan Police Service, the BTP and other police forces across the UK.
The International Olympic Committee remains impressed with LOCOG’s preparations after its recent co-ordination commission visit. Add to that the fact that the build programme continues to be on or ahead of schedule and that our legacy plans are more advanced than those of any other Olympic hosts at this stage, and it is clear that the UK is all set to stage a highly successful Games in 2012.
My Lords, I am grateful to the Government for allowing me an additional few minutes in return for agreeing to delay this debate, originally tabled in my name before Christmas. Nevertheless, I shall be as swift as possible. I declare an interest as chairman of the British Olympic Association, a director of LOCOG and a member of the Olympic board.
A few years ago when Kate Hoey, a Member of Parliament and the mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, and I co-chaired the independent sports review, we prefaced our 2005 report with the following observation:
“The success in Singapore has raised the bar. The United Kingdom now has less than seven years to develop a world-class sports policy which will form the basis of London 2012’s ultimate legacy—a fitter, healthier, more active nation”.
Today’s debate provides an opportunity to monitor progress and I intend to concentrate my few remarks on the key building blocks of an Olympic sports legacy.
A new policy framework is required—a policy framework to deliver a comprehensive, nationwide network of sporting opportunity. Through this network every man, woman and child must be able to play their chosen sport at their chosen level, and every child should have their sporting talent identified and the opportunity to develop it to its full potential. That requires a nationwide system with clearly accountable delivery mechanisms.
Reacting to increased concern from the sporting community, the Government set up a sporting legacy board, on which I sit. Sadly, since Singapore 2005, it has had only two brief meetings. The Government have also established a further three boards and steering groups to look at aspects of sporting legacy, which brings to 11 the number of government boards designed to develop different aspects of the 2012 legacy. Inevitably, this level of bureaucracy leads to ineffectiveness. In this context, the Government announced in the Pre-Budget Report that they would rationalise up to a third of the DCMS’s arm’s-length bodies. That is commendable, but can the Minister inform the House which sports bodies are to be streamlined under this policy, particularly those relevant to the London 2012 Games?
Given the vital importance of the Minister for Sport working closely with Ministers from health, the Home Office and education, the proposal to create a new Cabinet Office cross-departmental division to co-ordinate initiatives provides a focal point for sport and recreation in government and is commendable. When Kate Hoey and I considered the sporting landscape during the months soon after the historic decision to award the games to London, we concluded that today’s patchwork-quilt policy based on luck and isolated islands of good practice needs to be replaced with a comprehensive system constructed on universal opportunity. Sporting success, as I am sure we will all agree, is systematic and should not, as at present, be left to chance.
In 2005, Tessa Jowell, as the then Secretary of State at the DCMS, rightly described the public sector structure over which she and Richard Caborn presided as “a nightmare”. While a great deal has been achieved by UK Sport to streamline the high-performance delivery mechanisms to our governing bodies, I still believe there is merit in housing the two separate quangos—one covering Olympic sporting excellence in UK Sport; the other mass participation in Sport England—together into one in order to share overheads, further streamline delivery to our governing bodies and, above all, deliver a pathway from participation to excellence. We must ensure that central to the Olympic sports legacy is having a world-class performance system in place that is robust, inspirational, resourced and sustainable; a system which covers the pathway from children, through juniors, through seniors to podium success; a system based on the requirements of volunteers, clubs, governing bodies, coaches and, above all, the athletes.
My second point is that a further key pillar of an Olympic sports legacy is sports infrastructure spend across the United Kingdom. The report of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, was the most important on sport commissioned by the Government. We have an ageing stock of sports facilities. Many were built during the 1970s’ boom in capital investment and are now reaching the end of their economic lives. A Sport England report estimated that it would cost £550 million to bring sports centres owned by local authorities in England alone up to a safe and acceptable standard. The capital cost of maintaining the stock thereafter was estimated at between £144 million and £151 million per annum.
While that analysis concentrated on local authority leisure facilities, the Football Association has calculated that it will cost some £2 billion to bring the stock of local authority playing fields, changing rooms, hot water and showers and pitch drainage up to a reasonable standard. The most important part of an Olympic sports legacy must be a new national sports infrastructure fund to renew the stock of local facilities across the United Kingdom.
What is also a key aspect of this contribution to an Olympic sports legacy is the requirement for government to introduce a much-needed statutory requirement to ensure that there is adequate provision of sports facilities for sport and recreation in England and Wales. In Scotland, where such legislation exists, per capita funding for sport during the last decade was £46; in England, where local authorities are under no such obligation and are struggling to meet there statutory requirements, it is no surprise that the per capita spend was £19. Sports infrastructure spend is critical to an Olympic sports legacy. That is the catalyst to provide a sea change in opportunity for young people, inspired by the Games. This is even more important as we enter a new decade with nearly 1 million children who do not receive the basic two hours of sport and PE each week. The prospect of an afternoon of sport every week—say, a Wednesday afternoon—linked to governing bodies, clubs and local authority programmes, should be introduced throughout the United Kingdom and act as the catalyst for inter-school competitions and club membership throughout the country. This would be a substantial building block in the delivery of an Olympic sports legacy.
For my part, I shall pursue the proposals outlined in a government report written by my noble friend Lord Coe and myself some 23 years ago, in which we said that we looked for greater uniformity of purpose and approach internationally in the fight against drug abuse. As a result, I shall introduce a Bill into your Lordships' House shortly. I should add, as a response to the comments made to the British Athletes Commission spokesman yesterday, that absolutely no proposal exists to allow the police to undertake random searches in the Olympic village or elsewhere. Under the legislation that I am drafting, the police would have to have reasonable grounds for believing that an offence had been committed under the proposed Act and obtain a warrant issued by a court before any search could be undertaken. In this context, random police searches would be wholly unacceptable to me.
Finally, with just over 1,000 days to go and reinforcing the non-political approach that should always characterise sport, I led the British Olympic Association in strong support of Gordon Brown’s sports manifesto when the then Chancellor announced at Marlborough House in London on 25 October 2006 the following measures: to offer children four hours of school sport a week by 2010; to lead the world in 2012 as one of the fittest and most sporting of nations; to offer afterschool sports and links to a wide range of local sports clubs; to have every school in the country playing competitively in local leagues; to increase sports volunteering in schools and communities by 1 million; to provide every potential young sports star with extra support to help them to train and develop; and to ensure that every school should have access to playing fields and better sports facilities.
Sadly, I cannot report to your Lordships' House that any of these measures have been delivered. We could start with a national volunteering strategy, which is absolutely central to an Olympic sports legacy. The hard work will start now—otherwise, the Olympic sports legacy from the Games will be housed solely, necessarily and exclusively inside the Olympic park and its satellite venues, which are being so admirably delivered by my noble friend Lord Coe, John Armitt, the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, and the first-rate private-sector-led teams. Now is the time to build on a coherent, well designed, fully financed and implemented nationwide Olympic sports legacy programme, with all 2012 stakeholders working together to support and contribute to its success.
My Lords, first, I thank the Government for the opportunity for this debate and I thank my noble friend Lord Moynihan for his apposite remarks this evening and for so publicly carbon-dating me. I declare an interest as the chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games—or LOCOG, as we have become known—and as a member of the Olympic board.
2010 will see the pace and intensity of our preparations increase as people across the UK become involved in the Games, their delivery, inspiration and participation. In just 133 weeks we will stage 26 simultaneous world championships during those Games, before working day and night for a fortnight to reconfigure venues and transform London into a Paralympic city, and then to do pretty much the same with 20 Paralympic world championships. The scale and complexity of this project is unique, and I am pleased to report that our progress and momentum are strong.
As I have noted before, LOCOG raises its staging budget almost entirely from the private sector, save for a small contribution to assist Paralympic transition. Despite the economic climate, we have raised, as the Minister remarked, nearly £600 million of our £700 million target for domestic sponsorship. We now enjoy partnerships with 25 world-class companies, with more to come. This has enabled the recruitment of a world-class team, as the organisation’s workforce looks to grow from 70 in 2005, when I first reported to your Lordships’ House, to over 2,000 at Games time. We have also spent time carefully developing our operational plans in over 50 venues across London and the UK. Next month we look forward to adding knowledge and understanding at the Winter Games in Vancouver. I take this opportunity to wish my noble friend Lord Moynihan the successful stewardship of a successful Team GB and a successful Paralympic campaign a few weeks later.
The story of London 2012 will be the story of people touched, inspired and delivering the Games. Already we have made an impact. Over 35 Olympic and Paralympic teams have agreed to hold pre-Games training camps in Britain, including Usain Bolt’s Jamaica in Birmingham and the Australian Paralympic team in Cardiff and Newport. Over 800 activities, sporting and cultural, formed our open weekend in July. Our Inspire mark, the first from a host city for non-commercial activities, has been awarded to over 260 projects, 60 of them in sport, and 14,000 schools in the UK, nearly half the total, now use London’s 2012 Get Set education programmes.
I have little doubt that these programmes explain why over 80 per cent of the British public now say that we will stage a successful Games in 2012—but we cannot take our foot off the pedal. We know that the economic climate remains tough. Despite that, LOCOG’s commercial team has punched through the downturn, allowing us to move with clarity, certainty and, crucially, independence through the exacting phases of this project.
Bringing our sponsors to the table early—earlier than previous host cities—has also helped us to harness the creativity and market penetration of these companies in activating their sponsorships, which in turn helps us to meet the legacy commitments that we made in Singapore: the Lloyds Banking Group with the national school sport week, Local Heroes, the construction of adiZones for partnerships in the inner city, EDF with its sustainability campaigns, BP with its work within the Cultural Olympiad, British Telecom for its commitment to the Paralympics, and British Airways with its Great Britons campaign. I could go on.
Security, of course, remains central. We continue planning for our in-venue responsibilities while working in partnership with the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police and other agencies that lead on London and the UK’s wider security at the Games, as the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, commented. Sir Ian Johnston has recently been appointed as director of security at LOCOG. He brings a wealth of experience to that post, and is known to many in your Lordships’ House.
Over the coming year we will be busy as we lock down our venue plans, submit 117 planning applications and finalise sports competition schedules, test events and our ticketing strategy. We will go to the market with £700 million-worth of business. We will drive the Cultural Olympiad and the International Inspiration programmes. We will start recruiting up to 70,000 volunteers and introduce a new face to the Games—the mascot.
I recognise that, at best, this can be only a quick romp across the landscape, but I hope that I have demonstrated both delivery and commitment. While recognising the leading role of legacy played by London and national Governments and the Olympic Park Legacy Company chaired by the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, let me restate LOCOG’s endeavours as a legacy enabler with key support from our commercial partners.
I thank your Lordships' House once again for the benefit of its advice, its wise counsel, its scrutiny and, at all times, its support for all our teams over the past four and a half years. I look forward to its continuance through to 2012.
My Lords, I, too, welcome the debate tonight. The new year feels a particularly appropriate time to look ahead with optimism towards the Olympic Games and the Olympic legacy. I declare an interest as a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority board.
My first reason for optimism is the broadly strong working relationships that exist around 2012. In previous Games, one would rarely have seen such strong working relationships between the development authorities, Games organisers and legacy authorities. Linked to that is strong, cross-party commitment, strong partnerships with business and local government and high and sustained public support.
My second reason for optimism is that engineering, design, manufacturing and construction in Britain have been and are stepping up to the mark and have a great opportunity to showcase to the world, and we are delivering on time and on budget. I am not normally in the habit of quoting from the Daily Mail, which has not necessarily been my favourite publication over the past decade or so, but I was struck by something Max Hastings said at the turn of the year. He said:
“We must use the opportunity to showcase Britain, to justify the vast expenditure of public money by demonstrating that this country can do something really big really well”.
Today, notwithstanding the huge challenges that lie ahead, I want to draw attention to the fact that we are indeed doing very well. I know that others will speak about the Games and the sporting legacy, the regeneration legacy and the importance of the Games to London, so I will focus on the construction project.
The ODA inherited a complex site criss-crossed with rail, water and electricity pylons—one that had suffered from generational neglect. We are responsible for delivering a construction programme twice the size of Terminal 5 in half the time; arguably the biggest construction project programme in Europe. It is fair to say that there was widespread cynicism about our ability within the UK to deliver that. So far, I am pleased to say, that has proved unfounded. Indeed, the challenges of the project—its size and timescale—have galvanised UK industry into seeking innovative and ambitious solutions.
Some of the less publicised areas of the work are worthy of attention. I want to talk briefly about three. The first major project was power lines—not the most exciting but absolutely essential. The site had 52 huge overhead pylons and 130 kilometres of overhead wire. In order to unlock the landscape, we had to construct two six-kilometre tunnels underneath the entire site enabling all the power for the Games and the legacy developments to be carried underneath. In all, 1,300 tonnes of steel were removed and recycled and an electricity substation is now completed and operational. The handling of material created by demolition was a huge challenge too, but 97 per cent has been reclaimed and reused. A huge operation has taken place to clean and reuse thousands of tonnes of soil, which otherwise would have had to be transported offsite. The so-called soil hospital is well worth a visit. It is somewhat surreal. Huge washing machines shake and clean the soil free of contamination including the tar, petrol and oil of many years and produce clean material that is being used in the creation of correct land levels, foundations and parklands.
The second area that I find very interesting is logistics. Usually, understandably, attention focuses on the big venues, but underpinning all the work that happens every day on the site is a colossal logistical operation—a warlike operation. Tonnes of material have to be delivered every single day and 9,000 workers have to get in and out of the site, so the logistics centre co-ordinates the arrival of four delivery vehicles a minute at the construction site, which is now reaching its busiest phase, which will reach a vehicle every 12 seconds at its peak. The ODA’s road logistics centres on the M11 and in Barking manage deliveries to the Olympic Park. They take vehicles from the north and west through one centre and through the south and south-east to the other centre. Deliveries go to the centre to be screened for security purposes and are then recorded on to the tracking module. They are taken on to the site at regular intervals so that no time is wasted.
Access to the site is difficult, as many of your Lordships know, as it is blocked by waterways, dual carriageways and railways. However, those barriers of rail and water have now been turned to advantage, allowing the more efficient delivery of materials and helping to achieve sustainability targets. The target of using water—in other words, barges—and rail to shift half of all materials has been exceeded. Over the construction period, 4 million tonnes of goods will be moved by rail, saving 120,000 tonnes of carbon and reducing congestion on the roads around London.
My final example is the aquatic centre—perhaps the iconic symbol of the Games. This is the site on which a lot of media and public attention will focus. Everyone knows about the design and the architect, but I think that people are less aware of the detail of the massive construction and the challenges that have had to be faced in order to deliver that design. The 3,000-tonne steel roof was fabricated offsite and assembled on to temporary supports. Then the so-called big lift began. It is fair to say that you could feel, even measure, the tension in the air as the structure was moved literally inch by inch on to its three permanent supports. The steel trusses were fabricated in Newport and the plate was produced in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe—it has been a great UK-wide project.
As an ODA board member, I am rather proud of the innovation that has been achieved so far in design, in health and safety, in planning and in the pioneering work in sustainable construction. I am also proud of the effect on employment, about which my noble friend the Minister has spoken. I hope that there will be a wider and longer-term effect in raising the levels of interest among those still at school not just in sport but in the great opportunities that will be open to them in engineering, construction, planning and the development of Britain in the coming decades.
No doubt others will be more negative and I do not belittle for a minute the huge challenges that lie ahead of us, but I hope that we can pause today to celebrate what has been achieved by some extremely talented unsung heroes around the country and the teams of workers involved in the planning and construction of the site on a day-to-day basis.
My Lords, as chair of the All-Party Group on Modern Languages, I have been in close touch with various organisations concerned with language skills and their importance to the success of the 2012 Games. There is a genuine wish that London should be willing and able to demonstrate our ability to welcome and interact with the teams and visitors from more than 200 countries through the confident use of many languages, not just English. We have much of the raw material at our fingertips in a richly multilingual capital city, as more than 300 languages are used by Londoners. Sadly, however, some of the people with exactly the language skills that we need to harness do not necessarily yet feel that their skills are being recognised or used.
In addition, as I flagged up in the previous debate on this subject in June last year, I believe that there is still a great deal that could be done to link the language needs of the Games to what is happening with the teaching of languages in schools. The pay-off would be not just a greater engagement with the Games in 2012 but a hugely important aspect of the long-term legacy of the Games in helping to equip more young people with a critical skill to enhance their future employability.
My understanding is that around 150 professional interpreters are to be recruited. I should be interested to know more about the competitive tender specifications list and the timetable. In particular, I hope that LOCOG will ensure that the language talent already in London will be used. I suggest that it consults the Institute of Linguists in order to access the network of people who hold the diploma in public service interpreting. This diploma is for those who work in hospitals, with the police or in the courts. With about 1,000 people a year taking the diploma, demand has never been higher. Around 50 different languages, combined with English, were on offer in 2009. There will also be 1,500 language volunteers and I am keen to know more about how they will be identified and managed.
The Capital L group has been working with Sports Leaders UK to get schools and FE colleges to understand the importance of languages and the opportunities that the Olympics will offer. Capital L has also been working with the organisation Podium Skills on workshops for students, but I understand that the funding for this ends in March this year and I wonder whether there any plans to fill the gap that this will leave.
I mention especially the work of the Welcoming the World programme, run by Regional Language Network London. This is the programme designed to help prepare businesses for the Games. This could range from help with translating signage and brochures to training staff in basic language skills and intercultural awareness. We know that companies, both large and small, that can do business in more than one language are more successful than those that remain stubbornly monoglot. It is not just a question of commercial success, but of delivering outstanding customer service to international visitors and the benefits to reputation that that will bring in the longer term. Again, making sure that we can deliver on language competence puts a big tick in the legacy box.
So far, more than 60 companies have sent staff to Welcoming the World training sessions. These include international hotel chains, tourist attractions, museums and galleries, food and clothes stores, restaurants and transport companies. Until now, the initiative has been supported financially by the London Development Agency, but this funding will cease in April this year, at which point the Welcoming the World resources will be available only on a commercial, paid-for basis. To ensure continued take-up and the resulting benefits for London’s businesses and the London Games, companies will need to be loudly and enthusiastically encouraged by LOCOG and others to realise that the language and cultural skills on offer are an essential part of what they need to succeed.
To me—and, I am sure, to many other noble Lords—this might seem an obvious message but, unfortunately, the people running Welcoming the World are finding it frustratingly difficult to convince others in a position to support their work to do so, or to benefit from their services. For example, their offer to adapt the programme for training volunteers has been declined and funding applications to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council have not been successful, apparently because there is not a close enough fit with their criteria and priorities.
It is a depressing uphill struggle to get these language issues on the map and recognised as a core part of the overall preparations for 2012. There needs to be a pretty quick step change in official recognition by the Games’ organisers. I hope that, by highlighting this work in your Lordships’ House today, I can do something to trigger a turnaround in attitude. Language skills should not just be an afterthought or something that will be taken care of by volunteers on the day. There is professional specialist preparation to be done.
For the Barcelona Games in 1992, the organising committee set up a language service department four and a half years before the start of the event. The official report for the 1992 Games highlighted that this foresight was shown to be more than justified. In Sydney in 2000, there was more financial support for language services, training and volunteers than in any previous Games. London 2010 presents the UK with an unprecedented opportunity to shed its monolingual image and project the vibrant multiculturalism that contributed to our success in winning the Games in the first place. I appeal to all noble Lords with an influence in the preparations for 2012, whether in government, LOCOG, the Olympic Park Legacy Company or elsewhere, to speak up about languages and make sure that this opportunity is not wasted.
My Lords, I will compress my comments into a series of questions only. We greatly appreciate the update that we have received this evening. We have heard two wonderful phrases which are like manna from heaven: “on schedule” and “within budget”. Good, and good again. There are, however, a number of issues that have been discussed in your Lordships’ House, none of which has been addressed in the detailed responses that we have heard. I will ask a series of seven or eight questions, which will provide the means of updating the House on the points of concern that have been expressed.
I start with Hackney Marshes. When we first heard of the development plans for the 2012 Olympics, we were told about the media centre which was going to be placed on Hackney Marshes. It was going to cost £14 million and was to be sold as a going concern afterwards to recover the cash. We very swiftly found that it was going to cost £42 million, not £14 million, three times the original cost. We have had no update since then about whether it is to be sold as a going concern. Can we please be informed whether it is there as a permanent entity? Will the nation own it, or will it be sold as a commercial venture? Is the money coming back for it? Can we have an update on what happened there, please?
Relating to the same site, we believe that the media centre was going to be built on what was known as the arena centre for the 120 football pitches, and the leagues which play there, on Hackney Marshes. We were told that arrangements would be made for the relocation of the arena centre, which is a very aspirational target for the young people of Hackney who do not have much else. Has that relocation of the arena centre been achieved? On what footing will it be provided and when will it be available for the young people of Hackney, please?
Moving from Hackney to the Olympic Village itself, we have two or three important questions, all of which we have discussed. The first concerns the question that was raised by the padre appointed by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford, in whose diocese this is located, who heard great disquiet expressed by the workforce undertaking the excavations on the village site due to the large deposits of radioactive material that were lodged there, having emanated from various London hospitals over many years. The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, made a Statement to the House in which he said that it was all down to the phosphorous on the control panel of a crashed Spitfire which had embedded itself in the marsh at that point. No, it was not. This has been a site of intensive radioactive deposit for 80 years since X-rays became a major factor in London hospitals. How successful was the removal of this material before the workforce had to engage directly with it, and what steps were taken to protect them?
The other issue concerning the Olympic Village, which was much discussed on numerous occasions, is whether the delivery unit has succeeded in getting satisfactory clearance from the Islamic religious authorities in this country as regards the compatibility of the dwellings being provided for private worship. Some seven different requirements had to be met. Having built an Islamic village for a university campus in Libya 25 years back, I know to my cost that very sensitive issues are involved. I remember having to take Colonel Gaddafi on a guided tour of the finished product, at the end of which he said: “You’ve only got one bit right, why shouldn’t I hang you?” I said, “Because you should hang the architect instead, Colonel”. He said, “Can’t do that, did it last month”. If the Government face a similar situation, they will be confronted with adopting the same solution I had to do, which cost millions. You have a lot of work to do to put it right. Therefore, will the Government please tell us whether they have Islamic religious clearance on the dwellings?
Moving from the problems of the dwellings to the issues of religion itself, we had a very strange Statement—I think that it was again made by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham—on the arrangements that were being made for the building of temples, mosques and buildings for Christian worship, but I have no recollection of being told that there would also be a synagogue. Are we omitting the Jewish faith from any religious representation on the site? What arrangements will be made to include them? It is not tactful not to include them in the present circumstances. I should like an update on that, please. As regards the Dome, do the Government now have a satisfactory arrangement in place—the DCMS did this very successfully indeed; I do not say much that is nice about the DCMS, so that is a notable point—for sharing the Christian facility among the various Christian denominations on a shared timetable so that everybody can participate fairly?
The next area that we need to look at is that of Greenwich Park, not because of whether it is in or out—I am assuming that that is a done deal—but because there are points of detail on which an update would be hugely welcome. Is it correct that the survey work has discovered that the small fragment of Roman remains that were there is part of a much larger and more important Roman site? In that case, it would be the biggest Roman site that has been discovered anywhere in the greater London area for more than 100 years and will have huge historical value. What steps are being taken to preserve that site and protect it from construction traffic and the hoof beats to come so that it can be excavated properly after the Olympics have ended? It is of huge cultural benefit if it is true that it is as big as is said.
Has there been a resolution of the siting of the water jump for the three-day event? The last we heard, there could not be an assurance that the duck pond, which has the greatest single collection of wildfowl in this country, was not going to be destroyed to make way for the water jump. Since there could not be an answer to my noble friend Lady Trumpington’s question on this, will the Minister now give an assurance that the cricket field and the rugby field will not be concreted over to make car parking within the environs of the park?
We have heard nothing whatever about the merchandising plans. Here, I offer the awful warning of the Dome’s experience, where we had a £27 million profit projected on total sales of £48 million. We ended up with a £7 million loss on sales of £32 million. They started too late and they did not know what they were doing. The DCMS labours under the dreadful misapprehension that it is a brilliant retailer because it sells a lot of guidebooks. Do not trust it. Get a proper retailer to work for you; you are behind schedule if you have not done so already.
My Lords, it is always a challenge to follow the noble Lord, Lord James. I declare an interest, in that I am chief executive of London First, a non-profit-making business organisation which has consistently supported the Games coming to London, particularly for their legacy. I am delighted that the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, has taken on the challenge of delivering that legacy in east London. I will focus today on four issues: business opportunities; the use of the Olympic Park before the Games; delivering on our transport promises; and the opportunity for all of London to celebrate being the host city.
First, as the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, has said:
“With both Government and business working together, companies of all sizes across the UK can share in Olympic gold”.
As the Minister mentioned earlier, CompeteFor was established by the regional development agencies as a procurement portal to help businesses, particularly smaller ones, compete for a share of Olympic contracts. I should declare that, while receiving no financial benefit, my organisation, London First, has provided a home for CompeteFor's small team. I am glad that we did so, for it now has 100,000 registered UK businesses. Both the ODA and LOCOG are placing contracts on the system and encouraging their suppliers to do likewise.
Beyond Olympic contracts, CompeteFor has now been adopted as a procurement tool by other public bodies, including Transport for London and several boroughs; so CompeteFor is delivering a legacy benefit now. The Minister may be unaware that the Government seem intent on commissioning another procurement portal, which would duplicate both their own Supply2Gov and the successful CompeteFor portal. I welcome the Government's ambition to open up government contracting opportunities to the nation’s SMEs. But surely this could be done more economically by adapting what we already have.
Secondly, I add my congratulations to the Olympic Delivery Authority on the advanced state of its preparations. I recently visited the site again. It is an impressive hive of well managed, bustling activity, huge progress and is a remarkable transformation. The park may even be completed a year early. In a rather British way, we seem to be regarding this as a problem. Surely we should regard it as an opportunity. Why not offer the many companies that have contributed to building the park the opportunity to lease all or part of the park for a week at a time to show international clients around? This would animate the park, show off what British business can do and generate an income to cover some of the caretaking costs.
My third point is a gentle reminder. Increased capacity on the Northern Line by 2012 was promised to the IOC as part of London’s bid. The Minister’s colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, must bang heads together at London Underground and contractor Tube Lines to make sure that as well as learning lessons from the Jubilee Line upgrade, the timely delivery of the upgrades is assured. Olympic visitors and London's everyday Tube commuters would be grateful for some elbow room.
Finally, the organisation of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, LOCOG, has jumped through many hoops in order to remain on track to meet commercial sponsorship targets, in a very tough fundraising environment. Noble Lords will wish to note, however, that the supplement on Londoners’ council tax will raise some £600 million towards the Games, so London is contributing much more than any individual corporate sponsor.
For understandable reasons, the organisers are wary about protecting the brand. They are protective about the word “Olympic”, and about “Games”, and “gold”, “silver”, and “bronze”. Even mentioning London and 2012 in the same sentence can result in a shot across the bows from the brand police of the noble Lord, Lord Coe. We should be building the excitement. My worry is that the reputation earned by LOCOG’s stormtroopers threatens to undermine the potential for London and the UK fully to embrace the sporting celebration ahead. Such is the absence of branding in and around the city, Londoners and visitors might not be aware of the Games taking place.
London should be given the status of so-called tier 1 sponsorship, including branding opportunities. Surely we should see Mayor of London posters, badged as Olympic host city, on our transport systems. Those posters should be in the arrivals lounges at Heathrow and city airports, on some of our red buses, on Tube platforms and in carriages, on taxis, and even on the Mayor’s new hire bicycles. This will not damage the value to the commercial sponsors of the Games. By building awareness, anticipation and a shared sense of ownership, it could even enhance value.
I ask the Minister: when will London be able to wear its Olympic badge with pride, and when will Londoners and the rest of the country be able to fly Olympic flags from their upstairs windows?
My Lords, I congratulate the ODA and all the other organisations on the progress made in developing the Olympic project and sites. Clearly it is a lesson for many future developments and is much better than many in the past. We have heard many supportive speeches, which is great. I fear that in my remarks I might pour a little cold water—or, rather, hot polluted air—on the project.
It all started when, as chairman of the Rail Freight Group, I expressed strong concerns about the failure of the ODA to require suppliers to use rail or water, not just for the easy bulks but also for the other structures and materials, similar to the arrangements provided by the British Airports Authority for Terminal 5 at Heathrow. It is not often that I congratulate BAA, but on that occasion it did very well. Since then there have been some improvements, such as those outlined by my noble friend Lady Morgan, but nothing like the potential if the ODA had set up common-user consolidation centres in a few places around the country to deliver materials by rail. That, I calculated, would have saved about 800,000 lorry journeys around Stratford between last year and the time of the Olympics.
I am afraid that that is just one concern that I have about air quality issues. My noble friend Lord Faulkner of Worcester said in his opening remarks that the Olympics are breaking new grounds of sustainability in a healthy and enjoyable environment. I hope he is right. Sadly, however, there are serious problems of air quality in the Stratford area and in London generally which, unless they are tackled urgently by the Government and the mayor, could mean that the main Olympic site will be in breach of air quality limits during the Olympics. Do we want them to be called the high-pollution Olympics? I hope not.
I spoke briefly about this during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, but there have been further developments since. Two prime legal breaches of air quality in London affect the Stratford site. The first relates to the air quality laws for dangerous airborne particles which we call PM10s. Those laws have been breached in London every year since January 2005, when they entered into force. They were breached again in 2009. For example, on the Marylebone Road the allowable daily average of 50 micrograms per cubic metres was breached on 39 days, when only 35 were allowed. That was in a mild and wet year. I suggest that it could have been a lot worse in hot years such as 2003 and 2006. On 11 December 2009, the European Commission rejected the UK’s application for a delay until 11 June 2011 to comply with the PM10 air quality laws for London. These laws must therefore continue in force, but will they be breached again in 2010 or 2012? The Government may even be faced with a £300 million fine from the European Commission for failure to implement these laws.
The second breach is in the air quality laws for nitrogen dioxide, NO2, which entered into force on 1 January, only five days ago. These require annual mean levels of NO2 not to exceed 40 micrograms per cubic metre and for no more than 18 hours in a year to exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre. However, last year in Brompton Road, by Harrods, the annual mean was 88 micrograms per cubic metre, and the 200 micrograms per cubic metre standard was breached 341 times—in other words, nearly daily instead of nearly monthly. There are similar figures for Marylebone Road according to the London Air Quality Network. The hourly standard for NO2 is likely to be breached in London by a very wide margin.
Therefore, even if the UK Government win a delay from the Commission for NO2 from 2010 to 2015, which they are apparently seeking, they must still ensure that annual average concentrations of NO2 do not exceed 60 micrograms per cubic metre, which is a long way from the figure of 107, or 88 which I have just mentioned. We have detailed maps of all the most seriously polluted areas.
The problem is that it is the responsibility of the Mayor of London to take action on these issues. One has to ask why the mayor took nearly 18 months to produce a draft air quality strategy, which the European Commission said on 11 December 2009 did not even meet the minimum conditions for a time extension to comply with the air quality laws for PM10. This means that the Commission rejected the British Government’s application for an extension due to the poor quality of the mayor’s response. This was the mayor’s responsibility. I have to ask my noble friend why the Government are being so patient with the mayor. Why have they let the mayor remove or delay valuable transport measures that were planned to contribute to better air quality? For example, he has postponed phase 3 of the low emission zone and plans to remove the western extension of the congestion charging zone. Of course, he will lose revenue from the failure to extend the zone, and the cancellation of the £25 CO2 charge for gas guzzlers will make a black hole in TfL’s financing, which will not help either.
Therefore, I suggest to my noble friend that the Government give the mayor full legal responsibility for complying with these air quality laws, at least for PM10s, for which the necessary measures are within his grasp. NO2 compliance is more difficult and requires national solutions. It is very good that the Government announced this morning the launch of the boiler scrappage scheme, which will help dramatically to reduce some NO2 emissions. We have to remember that the UK is the largest emitter of NOX in the whole of the EU and is set to breach the emissions ceiling by 2010.
That may all seem a little scientific and detailed but it is worth reminding ourselves that the Campaign for Clean Air in London estimates that in 2005 up to 7,900 premature deaths were due to dangerous airborne particles in London. On average, those people, who account for about one in eight of the total deaths in London, may have died 10 years early.
Therefore, I suggest that the solution lies largely in the mayor’s hands. First, he should ban all pre-Euro IV diesel engines from London well before the Olympics, as it is diesel that produces the pollution. There are plenty of newer vehicles around and there should be a London-wide ban. Secondly, with such a huge public health problem, widespread breaches of the air quality laws since 2005 and a mayor who is going backwards and not forwards, I question how the Government can say that the preparations for the Olympics are going well and breaking new grounds of sustainability in a healthy and enjoyable environment. The site may be very sustainable—I congratulate those who designed it—but because of its location that part of London will certainly not be healthy unless the Government and the mayor take urgent action. My recollection is that in Beijing they solved the problem of pollution by banning cars for some time before the Games. I hope that between them the mayor and the Government can do something a little more sensible and more long-lasting. I wish the Games well.
My Lords, in declaring my interest as a member of the advisory board of the British Olympic Association under the austere eye of our chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, my remarks will be entirely concerned with the security aspects of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the practical and very costly problems which arise in meeting that most difficult of challenges of achieving a balance between security concerns and ensuring that spectators can enjoy the competitions in an open and friendly atmosphere.
No one raising security matters now can be accused of scaremongering since the noble Lord, Lord West of Spithead, in a speech in mid-November 2009 to the Royal United Services Institute said that our Olympics would be,
“possibly the greatest security challenge that the United Kingdom has faced since the Second World War”.
I recognise that there have been no fatalities in any Olympics since that pipe-bomb explosion in a crowded Atlanta park which, alas, killed two poor people in 1996, in a city which I visited at the tail end of October last year.
That our UK security task in 2012 is both formidable and likely to grow in cost formidably is self-evident from what has been done in the run up to the forthcoming winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver, now less than two months away. The preparation for the winter Games started off with a published planning assumption for security costs of 175 million Canadian dollars. The budget is now just under 1 billion Canadian dollars, about what the Greeks spent, in effect, for a whole summer Olympics in 2004, compared with the much smaller forthcoming winter Games events in Vancouver next month. It is very instructive to see where this nearly fivefold increase over the initial planning estimates of security costs will be spent. It will be spent on everything from enforcing airspace restrictions on over-flying to the costs of some 15,000 police, military and private security guards, all of whom are just now being vaccinated against certain viruses as part of their own protection. I trust that the Government will look very close indeed at what I hope will be peaceful Vancouver Games and at the security lessons that we can take and apply to London 2012.
I understand there is a notional sum of some £800 million in the £9.3 billion budget for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. That sum is certain to escalate very substantially. As it is a matter of public security—the security of athletes, their coaches and the spectators who come to view these great events—that security bill will have to be met, as we meet others from outside existing budgets. That said, I have two main points to make about our Games relating to physical attack against people and property and one further main point about threats to the ticketing, logistics and organisation of 2012 posed by co-ordinated cyber attacks on our systems in this country.
On violent terrorist attacks, since the 7/7 outrages in this country in 2005 and the almost daily litany of reports of explosions in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan, we are all too familiar with the current, most prevalent means of causing mayhem via demented suicide bombers or by improvised explosive devices, IEDs. To these, from information reaching me, I must now add improvised chemical devices—ICDs—those deadly twins of IEDs. Let us have no accusations of scaremongering just because so far those spectres have not attended any great Western sporting events. We must, rather, learn from the success of others in stopping just such potential chemical assaults. I think in particular of how Germany dealt with that specific threat in the run-up to and during the 2006 football World Cup—an object lesson for this Government and for us generally in chemical readiness. Pre-emption was paramount, as in all good anti-terrorist work, of course, but underlying it was a brilliant chemical surveillance plan allowing any suspect substance to be analysed quickly. Those devices were in continuous standby mode, but installed so that spectators were completely unaware of them, and thus unalarmed.
Without, of course, going into any sensitive detail, will the Minister in his wind-up speech answer this specific question: is a chemical attack/prevention and chemical surveillance plan in development for 2012 or not? If not, will there be one? If the Minister cannot, for understandable reasons, answer tonight because he is not briefed on the point, will he none the less undertake to write to me with the answer, copied to all other speakers, and to place a copy of that letter in the Library of your Lordships' House?
My second point about the prevention of attacks on the person is driven by the belief that terrorists do best, by their lights, by the simple tactic of working around or, best of all, before security measures are in place. Devices of a latent nature could still be left in the Olympic Park during the construction phase and elsewhere. I very much welcome the vigorous biometric checks that have been introduced for construction staff working in the Olympic Village, with a present workforce of about 4,500 doubling to 10,000 by the end of 2010. All those methods, from photographic smart cards in conjunction with hand scanners to iris-checking devices, must be used to help to prevent the courage of illicit and destructive materials on to the site.
However, fast forward not much more than a couple of years, and the same sort of checking will have to be in place for the many scores of thousands of volunteers who will willingly—I welcome this—give up their time for stewarding and other roles in the Olympics. That is a formidable security task. Terrorists, particularly suicide terrorists, use ever more concealed devices, as we have just seen, and there has been a Statement in your Lordships' House today about that. That is a hard question, with all the cost implications that it entails, but I suppose that we must consider whether whole-body scanners should be used for 2010’s construction workers and, perhaps, for 2012’s volunteers as well.
I end on this note. We face the threat of direct attacks on the person, but we also face formidable possible attacks from cyber methods to disrupt 2012 by a co-ordinated or partial assault on ticketing systems, on the related transport and hotel bookings systems, and certainly on our utility companies’ electricity networks. I am advised that there are what are termed in the cyber trade Trojans, which can be placed across diverse systems and networks, and then simultaneously triggered from a distance, as the people of Estonia found out with the devastating cyber attack on their country back in 2006. Just as in the matter of the pressing need for an Olympic chemical attack and surveillance plan, do the Government who, in the end, are responsible for our security, have a cyber attack plan? Who is in charge of it? By the same token, if the Minister cannot answer tonight because he is not briefed on it, will he again undertake to write to me, copied to all other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate, and to place the answer in the Library of the House?
My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Faulkner of Worcester on initiating this debate and the able way in which he has presented a clear picture of how preparations are taking place for hosting the 2012 Olympic Games in London. My noble friend has a long history not only of supporting major games, such as the Olympics, but of helping young sports men and women for years as deputy chairman of the Football Trust. It is very fitting that he should be leading for the Government in today's debate. I also praise the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. His contribution to sport is well known, and in his current capacity as chairman of the BOA he has alongside him another Olympian. I am sure that between them they know well how to prepare for 2012.
I say to those who believe that these Games benefit only London and the southern counties that they could not be more wrong. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have already had a positive impact across the UK. I see this in my region in the north-west. As a former Member of Parliament for a Greater Manchester constituency, I assure my noble friends that in that area we do not have to be persuaded that there are positive impacts of hosting multisports events. We learnt from the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games that hosting world-class sports men and women in the backyard, as it were, is a great inspiration and enthuses young people with the power of sport. We also learnt that what you get out of that endeavour you have to put into communities, towns and regions to get the best out of your efforts. We saw that in Manchester in the preparation for winning medals.
Some of the benefits in the north-west are not just medals but the impact on the community and manufacturers in that area. Dew Piling Limited in Oldham is supplying piling services for the swimming centre that will serve as the gateway to the Olympic park at the time of the Games and will provide the legacy for London swimmers that Manchester athletes have gained through their own pool. Boole’s Tools and Pipe Fittings Ltd in Stockport provided mechanical installations for sewage. There are many examples I could give, but time does not permit.
Pre-game training camps have already been agreed. The Australian Olympic swimming team has signed up to use the Manchester pool for training for five years. The Thailand National Olympic Committee has signed to use Manchester facilities. Fifty Pacific islands have also signed on a multisports basis across the north-west with the Northwest Regional Development Agency. There are also cultural benefits. Artists Taking the Lead’s major project in the north-west is the Projected Column, which is a monumental spinning column of cloud and light in Birkenhead’s disused Morpeth dock. There is also the live site big screens in Manchester and Liverpool, which will bring people together to share the experience of the 2012 Games. There are many initiatives in the north-west, but they are replicated throughout the UK, as I am sure many noble Lords agree.
I witnessed the power of the Olympic Games when I attended the Munich Games, the Moscow Games and the Atlanta Games and the winter Games in Lillehammer. Alongside Manchester 2002, they demonstrated that the success of the Games comes with personal stories that leave a legacy of pride and young people inspired with the power of sport. I am delighted that the London legacy has already started to leave a mark around the United Kingdom. On top of these commercial benefits, we also have the athletes to grace the Games. From the British performance in the swimming world championships and in the cycling world cup series we know that we have athletes who are in great shape, and there are many more besides. I am confident that the unprecedented levels of investment and support for our sports men and women will allow them to carry this form into the Games.
The signs are certainly encouraging, but the Olympic and Paralympic Games are about much more than impressive stadia, medals and a month of drama and entertainment. They are all about a spirit which says that our struggle together is more important than our triumph. Through harnessing the very best in sport, humanity as a whole is better off. The 2012 Olympics provides a unique opportunity to inspire 2 million young people into sport and we cannot allow it to pass.
However, I must be honest. Until recently I was concerned about the lack of focus of this legacy. Following the announcement of London’s success, almost all the spotlight was understandably on the delivery of the Games, and the hard legacy issues around facilities and regeneration. They are crucial to a successful Games, but they distorted the focus which led to an estimated £5.6 million being diverted from grass-roots sport into the Olympics project, which will not do. My fear is that the soft legacy has been assuaged somewhat by recent efforts prompted by pressure from politicians and sports organisations, such as the CCPR. These include the publication of the Government’s legacy action plan, with participation funding challenged through governing bodies. These plans have been instrumental in changing the face of those of us who had some doubts about the legacy background, which is good progress. I welcome those developments, but more can and should be done. Specific legacy funding can be made available at the local level for initiatives linked to the Olympics, providing coaching or facilities for the community.
Life could also be made much easier for community sports clubs if the lasting legacy is delivered and eventually reaches a point where we can look back and say that it started with a particular effort by the Government and the authorities. Local community clubs face mounting regulatory burdens in areas such as music, alcohol licensing, water drainage charges and VAT, which increases their costs and administrative requirements. Easing those burdens would go some way to relieving the financial pressure on those clubs and would allow volunteers to spend their time delivering better sport rather than filling in forms and applying for unnecessary licences.
Let us not forget that while participation legacy is important, active communities are stronger, safer and more cohesive, and the future health of our nation relies on increasing levels of activity among all our citizens, particularly young people. If my throat stands the test of time, I will talk more about this in the debate on Thursday. Noble Lords may have noticed that I have been struggling to get some words out. Clearly, the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a fantastic time for this country, but it is our duty as politicians to ensure that pressure for a lasting legacy is maintained. We should not take that duty lightly.
My Lords, it is a great pleasure to speak in this debate. I believe that it is the third time we have got to blocks, but the first time we have started. Much of the thrust on which I wanted to focus has just been spoken about by the noble Lord, Lord Pendry. First, I want to compliment the Olympic movement and, in particular, the ODA. I congratulate you on being so dull: you have been so good at doing what you have been doing that you have annoyed lots of journalists. This House and the whole of Parliament should salute, with considerable joy and relish, any organisation which has annoyed journalists. Well done!
There have not been any great dramas. You have delivered on time and on budget—so far, so good. Unless something goes severely wrong—I always felt this about the Olympics—we will have a wonderful Games. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, will not take it amiss if I say that if you manage to mess up something as intrinsically good as the Olympic Games, you deserve a place in history and infamy together, because the Games are so special.
I also believe that the entire Olympic movement benefited from the complete cock-ups that we had before it—I am thinking particularly of the Wembley fiasco—and the fact that people listened and learnt. They also learnt from the great success story of the Manchester Commonwealth Games, which gave British sport the confidence and the seriousness to apply for the Olympics.
This brings me to the central thrust of what I would say about the preparation for the Olympic Games. We will lose the major benefit from these Games if we concentrate only on the month in which the Olympics and the Paralympics take place. They must be seen as a point in a continual flow of activity. I always felt that the aim of getting 2 million more people actively involved in sport was basically absurd, but not the aim of getting 2 million more people to take up sport or to exercise regularly—in other words, to do themselves some good through exercise in a competitive or non-competitive environment. I do not know where the dividing line is. I have asked the Government several times, and it is quite clear that they do not know either.
What will be the drive behind that? The Olympics have given enough political energy and activity to this to allow it to happen. This is probably one of the great things that one can cash in on. I know that sport is usually a subject in which party politics do not get too involved, but, in this election year and for the next couple of years, when we will not face the most expenditure-friendly environment, we should remember the benefits for the health service, social cohesion and all the other projects of making sure that we allow greater activity and flow through. Such activity and flow through is helped by things such as the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games and the Rugby World Cup, which we are getting here as well, coming together and learning and benefiting from each other.
Without this idea of a continual pattern of activity, much of what we do in connection with the Olympics is in danger of being wasted. After that month of activity, there will be a huge temptation to shrug one’s shoulders, to say, “That is done”, and to let it go. It is a perfectly normal reaction, and we have all had it. We have had it in groups to which we have been attached. After a huge burst of activity, we have said, “Oh, let’s do something else. Let’s not hang on to the idea”. I appreciate that my party is under-represented here today—consideration of the Digital Economy Bill tomorrow will take a lot of energy out of my party’s DCMS team, but I have decided that I will treat them with the same contempt with which they treat me—but all political parties must ensure that we keep the drive going because without it we will not get very far.
I thank the Minister for allowing the Government and not someone from the Back Benches or the opposition Front Bench to take the lead in this debate. My questions to him are: what are the Government’s plans to find out what does and does not work, and when will they publish them? These Olympic Games are taking on new activity and a new thrust, and they are bound to make a series of mistakes. With the best intention in the world, they are trying to get things right but you will get things wrong when you try new things. What works and what does not?
I have asked the Government time and again which schemes are best for mass participation, which are not so good, which ones only get the kids running around for three weeks and then disappear, and which ones build up mass participation in grass-roots sports beyond the school-age drop-outs and the end-of-college drop outs. Which schemes are working? These are very important questions that I have asked many times.
Also, have the Government decided, provided that they are still in a position to influence it—the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, might be able to give us an idea of his party’s approach, should it be in a position to do so—which department will take ultimate responsibility for this judgment? Is the Department of Health in charge? It is, a bit. The DCMS is in charge a bit as well, but mainly this is done through other bodies, and here I pay tribute to the sensibilities behind the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, about the number of boards that get in the way. We could certainly lose half of them, although I am not sure I know which half. When I asked the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, about it, he said that the Treasury is in overall charge. The Treasury has no way of delivering or judging the issue even if it does provide the finance. Where will the judgment be made?
We have got to make this assessment at some point. Personally, if we going for mass participation and mass support, I favour putting the emphasis on the Department of Health. Apart from anything else, you need a big spending department to defend an issue, and if this is that department’s particular baby, it will be defended. Anyone who has observed these things for a length of time and has their hands on the levers of power will confirm that something has to be defended. What is going to happen? Can we be told who is going to carry on the project and make sure that this is not a one-stop shop? A physical structure will be left behind. People are looking forward to seeing a wonderful stadium, or better still—if you are a journalist—to seeing the stadium not being used. But what about having an idea of where we are going after 2012? Once we have sounded out what has worked and what has not, we must look at how we move on to the next series of sporting events. If we lose that, we will lose the real one-off opportunity of being able to benefit from how to bring the rest of the community together behind our major sporting events.
My Lords, I thank everyone for their contributions this evening. It has been a fascinating debate and I have listened to all the different angles that noble Lords come from and all the comments made. The only interest I have to declare is as a past Olympian and one who has been totally and absolutely committed to this project. We talked earlier about cross-party support for a national project. If ever there was an example of a national project in the national interest, with all the parties coming together to support the Government of the day, I would suggest that this is it. Many Members in the Chamber tonight are part and parcel of that effort.
I should like also to join others in congratulating John Armitt and his team in the ODA and my noble friend Lord Coe and his team in LOCOG on the great progress they are making in the preparations for hosting the 2012 Olympic Games. Many milestones have been accomplished in the development of our Olympic park, most of them ahead of schedule and within budget, which was set in 2007. As my noble friend Lord Coe said, in the past six months or so LOCOG has brought in nine new sponsors and raised almost £600 million. The Olympic stadium is being completed at a speedy rate and other Olympic venues outside London are steadily being developed. The Olympic village, which will accommodate over 23,000 athletes and officials during the Games, is on track. I understand that Triathlon Homes has purchased 1,379 of the new homes that will become available as affordable, high quality housing for local people after 2012.
This is a commendable start, not to mention the progress being made on the green transport links into the Olympic park. The objective is to get 100 per cent of the spectators into the Games by walking, cycling or public transport. The necessary improvements are due for completion by the end of 2010. During the six weeks of the Games, competitors, officials and the media will travel to the venue by road. I ask the Government this: what measures are being taken to limit the impact that that will have on congestion in the area, and taking up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, what measures are in place to ensure that the vehicles used are as green as possible?
The 2012 Games are beginning to transform the landscape of east London. However, despite these achievements, there remain issues within some aspects of the management and organisation of the Games which I wish to bring to the attention of the Minister, and I look forward to his response on these matters.
It is common knowledge that parts of the journey towards 2012 have not been straightforward, particularly in relation to the Government’s budget miscalculations. The budget has soared from approximately £2.3 billion to £9.3 billion—we know the history of that—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—I think that that is slightly out of kilter; it is probably nearer 50 per cent of the programme by now—and there have been funding cuts to sports such as shooting and water polo because of the £50 million shortfall against the Government’s promise of £100 million. This has been brought about by the Government’s failure to raise a single penny from the private sector against this commitment. As your Lordships will remember, there was a commitment from the Government to put £100 million into that pot, but they raised no money from the private sector for it, hence the £50 million shortfall.
How does the Minister propose to develop a grass-roots sporting legacy—about which we have heard a great deal today, especially from my noble friend Lord Moynihan—if the lottery funding intended for this purpose has been diverted to other areas of the Games? Is he confident that the current funding levels for all sports are sufficient to give the UK the best chance possible to beat its medal tally at the Beijing Games? While it is welcome that funding for smaller elite sports has been increased, what impact does the Minister feel the redistribution of funds away from other sports, such as rowing, will have on our medal prospects in these disciplines?
Certain sports, such as gymnastics and badminton, have had to be moved from their proposed venue—a temporary site near the O2 Arena in north Greenwich—to Wembley Arena because of concerns about funding. Can the Minister tell the House why these events have to be moved to temporary sites, thereby destroying any permanent legacy for these sports, if the preparations for the Games are running to budget? I have had many arguments with local people and Tessa Jowell about the movement and siting of some of these sports; however, I shall be interested to hear the Government’s position. How are the Government ensuring that a physical legacy remains for sports such as shooting and equestrian events, which are also being held in temporary arenas? What measures are being taken to ensure that businesses around Greenwich Park will not be unduly affected by the hosting of the equestrian and modern pentathlon events?
Is the Minister confident that the contingency funding allocated to the Olympic village can be recouped by May 2010? Can he update the House on whether progress has been made to find a permanent tenant for the Olympic stadium after the Games? The LDA has run up an overdraft in acquiring the land; it has also budgeted for land receipts set at 2007 levels. This has caused a twofold problem of spending more than it thought and potentially getting back less than it expected. Can the Minister explain further how the land value receipts will be balanced in the LOCOG or ODA budgets and what impact that will have on their sponsorship targets and ticket pricing?
Most significantly, my noble friend Lord Patten has spoken at length about the worries and concerns over security. When do the Government propose to publish the security cost plan, which is bound to be a significant item, as demonstrated by my noble friend? Can the Minister say with whom the responsibility for security will lie? Is it ODA? Is it LOCOG? Is it various departments within the Government, or some other agency such as MI5 or MI6, or the Met?
One of the most pressing issues is the policing requirements for the Games. We 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. What progress has been made so far on this? It is well known that for an event of such a scale, there is a shortfall of specialist policing capabilities, such as canines and armed officers. How are the Metropolitan Police addressing these shortfalls? Will they at least in part rely on the assistance of other police forces throughout the country for these capabilities and to meet normal policing requirements? My concern for many officers having to be brought in from outside London is that their ability to respond to any security-related incidents—although, of course, one hopes that there will not be any—outside the Olympic arenas will be lessened. What progress has been made in developing a national demand profile for the policing requirement? The risk of displacement is real; those seeking to attack the Games might go not for areas such the Olympic site but for other locations that will none the less affect the running of the Games and confidence in the event.
Who is going to pay for the security management and so on during the time period between the ODA finishing the venues at the arena and the Olympic park and LOCOG taking them over? As I understand it, it looks as though there could well be a gap or void of a year or almost 10 months between completion by the ODA and the taking over by LOCOG. They will need to be maintained, guarded and looked after.
Finally, the Olympics were won on a commitment to use the Games to inspire a whole generation to take up sport. Participation in sport is tremendously important to society, especially to the young. It has the ability to change social patterns, improve health and transform lives. Sport England will invest £880 million in sport over the next four years to create a world-leading community sport system. We look forward to hearing more details on the success of that investment. The Government’s flagship proposal for a community sports legacy was to offer free swimming to all those over 60. However, the inflexible administration system and limited funding is preventing local councils from delivering that pledge. When will the Government revise the scheme and honour their flagship commitment?
Finally, as I said in my introduction, this is an exciting time. The Games are nearly here. Again, I congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to deliver these results. I wish all the projects success in their further development and emphasise to Her Majesty's Government the importance of ensuring, at almost any sacrifice, that there is a real and lasting legacy for sport for all of the United Kingdom post-2012.
My Lords, I am looking at the clock and am conscious that at 10.55 I would not be terribly popular if I were to spend half an hour answering all the questions raised in this debate. There have been a huge number. I was just about on top of them until the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, got to his feet; I lost count at about 12 of his questions. I have the answers to almost all of them, but I hope that he will forgive me if I reply to him and other noble Lords in writing after the debate—otherwise we will be here until very late.
Yes, of course. I shall attempt to write a comprehensive note of a wind-up speech that I might have delivered if I had had half an hour in which to do it. If the House was gracious enough to accept that, it would make all our lives a lot easier.
I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this remarkable and interesting debate. One of the privileges of being a Member of this House is the opportunity to hear speeches from noble Lords who really know what they are talking about and are the foremost experts in their field, and this has been one of those occasions today.
As we debate the preparations for London 2012, it is important that we do not lose sight of the sheer scale of what we are working to achieve and the outstanding level of our ambition. As the noble Lord, Lord Coe, said, this will be one of the world’s biggest peacetime logistical operations, the equivalent of staging 26 world championships back to back, with the security demands of holding two Wembley cup finals, the Wimbledon tennis championship and a G20 summit all on the same day.
I was pleased to hear the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Patten, asking about the security challenges. Security planning is well advanced. The appointment of Sir Ian Johnston is an important element in that. I will write to the noble Lord, and will put the answer in the Library so that it is available to everyone else, on the detailed issues that he raised on cyber and chemical threats, both important matters that I know feature in our 2012 planning.
My noble friend Lady Morgan was right to refer to the enormity of the construction project. I am sure that we were pleased to hear her contribution from the standpoint of the ODA; both it and LOCOG have made first-rate progress so far, but 2010 will see the pace of delivery increase still further. One of the important elements of this year will be the stepping up of the volunteer recruitment programme. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, referred to the desirability of encouraging volunteers in this area. There will be up to 70,000 Games-time volunteers, and LOCOG will start to procure £700 million worth of goods and services for the Games and finalise the ticketing strategy and sporting schedule.
In terms of gold medals won, Beijing was our best Olympics in 100 years and our best Paralympics in two decades. Our target this time is to reach the top four in the Olympic medals league and be at least second in the Paralympics, winning more medals in more sports. In a way, that answers one of the questions that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, asked, about what works and whether we are doing this in the right way. A medals target is certainly an important element but there are many others, including the participation by young people on a long-term basis in sport. The success of 2012 will be judged by the legacy that it leaves behind and the benefits that it continues to deliver to people around the country long after the Olympic flame has been extinguished.
The noble Lord, Lord James, also quick-fired a number of questions to me, all of them interesting. Some of them are not matters for the Government; some are for the ODA and some for LOCOG. If he permits me, we will see that he gets a reply, which other noble Lords will be able to read, on the interesting questions that he raised about Hackney Marshes, the Olympic village, radioactive material, religious provision, Roman remains in Greenwich Park and the restoration of the park to its pristine state. On the latter point I can tell him that LOCOG has been working with interest groups in Greenwich and submitted town planning applications before Christmas, with the purpose that it will make good the impact that the event will have on the park. This will be the subject of a detailed letter that will address the other points as well.
The noble Lord also raised the issue of the media centre. Its first job is to house the 20,000 journalists that will descend on east London during the Games. Afterwards it will be transformed into a mixed-use office and business space, a facility designed to attract the creative media and digital industries, which we believe will be an essential part of the industry, a source of employment in Hackney and part of the stunning transformation of east London that will come about as a result of the Games.
The noble Baroness, Lady Valentine, spoke about upgrading the Northern Line and other transport links and urged me to persuade my noble friend the Secretary of State to bang heads together. He is quite good at doing that and I will certainly convey that message to him. She also asked about advertising restrictions. Certainly, striking the right balance in allowing businesses to benefit from the Games and protecting LOCOG’s sponsors’ rights is a fine judgment. Again, that is something that could be covered in a lengthier letter, but we are clear that protection must exist if we are to guarantee the private sector funding that is so crucial to fund the staging of the Games. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, would be happy to listen to and respond to the noble Baroness's concerns.
I thank my noble friend Lord Pendry for his kind words about me and I am happy to reciprocate by paying tribute to his work as president of the Football Foundation. He was right to draw attention to the benefit the Games will bring to other parts of England and Wales—for example, the football competition being staged in some of our most famous stadia such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Old Trafford in Manchester and St James' Park in Newcastle and the final at Wembley. The sailing events will be at Weymouth. That is the first 2012 venue already to be completed—again on time and on budget. There will be opportunities for people across the UK to see sporting events in their own communities by the time 2012 comes along.
A number of noble Lords referred to training centres and training camps for the visiting teams, which will be in such varied places at Loughborough University, Stoke Mandeville and other centres. Those visiting teams will, I am sure, receive a warm welcome from local communities in their training camps in the months leading up to the Games. The noble Baroness, Lady Coussins, made an important point about the need for language skills to be exercised so that the warmth of the welcome for visiting teams is conducted not only in the single language of English. She was right to draw attention to that issue and I am sure that the organising committee will look very carefully at it.
The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, raised three important and major points. He raised an issue about the rationalisation of sporting bodies. With respect to him, that is not directly related to the Games but I am happy to answer it in writing. The Government take the view that there is a difference between UK Sport, which is responsible for elite sport, Sport England, which is responsible for community sport and the Youth Sport Trust which is responsible for sport in schools. We believe that that has already delivered results and indeed some of those results were due to his legacy as Minister for Sport a little while ago. I am happy to pay tribute to that as someone who worked with him in a modest way at that time. However, I do not believe that it is sensible to reinvent the wheel and completely reorganise sports administration in this country, particularly in the run-up to the Olympic Games.
The noble Lord asked a sophisticated question about the sports infrastructure spend. I will write to him about that if I may because the answer is quite complicated. He also referred to his impending Private Member’s Bill on anti-doping. We are not terribly happy with the proposals that it contains, which I know will come as no surprise to him. Perhaps it would be better to wait for that debate when the Bill comes before the House.
My noble friend Lord Berkeley asked about air quality in particular. Again, it was a complicated question, to which I hope he will allow me to respond in writing. The commitment on air quality in terms of the Games as a whole is very firm. We recognise that good air quality makes the Games a platform for demonstrating long-term solutions to how you can improve air quality and the Olympic sites need to meet stringent requirements in the London Best Practice Guidance to reduce emissions from demolition in construction, ensure that buildings are energy-efficient, emissions are lessened and that public transport services are improved, reducing or, in the case of spectators, eliminating the need to travel to events by car.
The noble Lord, Lord Addington, wants a rather detailed answer on what works and what does not work. I should like to think about that and respond to him in a letter, although I make the point that there is a cross-government commitment involving the Department of Health and DCMS to get 2 million people more active by 2012. That is certainly part of the measure of success for the Games. Sport England has backed 46 sports governing bodies with substantial sums—£480 million—and is monitoring through its active people survey to find out the answer to the question that the noble Lord asked: what works and what does not.
My Lords, virtually every one of those sporting bodies has its own scheme. Which one has been successful in getting and keeping people involved? That is what we are about. I feel that people are not only duplicating effort but wasting effort in this area.
My Lords, I will ensure that a reply to that question is provided to the noble Lord.
The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, asked detailed questions that require complex replies. Those will be the subject of a paper that I will be happy to provide to him.
My final words are to say that the Government promised to deliver a lasting legacy from the Games in 2012. We are working with the ODA and LOCOG to ensure that this is the case and that the Olympic flame continues to burn brightly for the people of London and the country as a whole long after the Games are over.
House adjourned at 11.06 pm.