Relevant documents: 19th Report Delegated Powers Committee.
Clause 1 : Removal of infringing articles
1: Clause 1, page 1, line 9, leave out subsections (3) and (4)
My Lords, the purpose of Amendments 1 and 2 is to seek to explore the role of the Olympic Delivery Authority enforcement officers, and to explore a little bit further the provision in the Bill for any articles seized to be dealt with by the Olympic Delivery Authority enforcement officers rather than the police. No doubt this move has been prompted in part by the reduction in police numbers, which has led to police forces being severely stretched, as well as by the explanation that the Government have given for this move.
What exactly is it envisaged that the enforcement officers, many or most of whom will apparently be local authority trading standards officers, will be required to do inside and outside an Olympic venue if, for example, they are faced with ambush advertising of, say, a body of people displaying on their T-shirts a logo or an advertisement for a rival to one of the major sponsors? Is it the role of the enforcement officers to deal with those people either inside or outside the venue by seizing the offending T-shirts, or will the enforcement officers direct stewards to carry out this function, or will there in reality have to be some police involvement? What training, and how much, will be given to the enforcement officers, since surely activity on this scale in a high-profile situation, which could easily get out of hand, with seizure in the circumstances being involved, will not be something that the officers would encounter in the normal course of their duties?
How many enforcement officers is it envisaged that there will need to be to cover the Olympic and Paralympic Games, first, in London and, secondly, in the centres outside London? For what period of time will they be needed? Will they be needed just during the Games themselves, or will they be needed for a period prior to the Games as well?
If the intention is to draft in trading standards officers to the Olympic venues and their immediate vicinity from local authorities inside and outside London, what will happen to trading standards work in those local authorities during the period when their staff have been seconded to Olympic Games and Paralympic Games activity? Will that work still be undertaken, or will it be a good time for the makers and sellers of dodgy and dangerous goods and services, and others involved in illegal trading, to operate in those localities? If the work will still be undertaken, who will pay for it at a time when local authority budgets are constrained? Who will do the work? Will they be appropriately qualified staff and, if so, where will they come from?
Will the Minister also say something about the anticipated costs of the ODA enforcement officer force, including any additional costs of providing cover for trading standards seconded from the local authorities both within London and outside London? Who will pay those costs?
I return to the issue of exactly what role the enforcement officers will play in the seizure of goods. Clearly, the Government and the Olympic Delivery Authority attach considerable importance to protecting the interests of the sponsors of the Games and to protecting the use of the Olympic logo and brand. Indeed, doing this was presumably a condition of the acceptance of our bid for the Games.
If this is to be done effectively, it requires decisive and immediate action by enforcement officers since the Games will take place only for a relatively short period of time and happen in the gaze of the world’s media, where any incidents that lead to difficulties are likely to receive considerable publicity. There will probably not be the same amount of time for the pretty thorough and extensive investigations that trading standards officers normally make before taking action. Therefore, I want to ask again for a fairly full response to my question as to what exactly the ODA enforcement officers will be expected to do, including in connection with dealing with seized goods in the light of the change in the arrangements affecting the police that the Government are making.
On that latter point and on the role of the enforcement officers, what exactly is it that they will now be doing which originally it had been thought would require a police officer to undertake? Is it purely paperwork and administration, or does this change increase the risk or likelihood of enforcement officers being involved in confrontations with people carrying out illegal activities that have to be stopped, and stopped quickly?
In evidence to the Committee considering this Bill in the other place, the representative of the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers said that:
“Enforcement will be difficult logistically and numbers are an issue, as is funding”.—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 17/5/11; col. 23.]
The chair of the London Trading Standards Association was asked if he had any concern about not having a police presence when it needed to take action. He replied, “Yes”, and went on to say that those concerns already existed in its day-to-day role. I suggest that if they currently exist in that role, they are even more likely to arise for enforcement officers at the Olympics where, for the reasons I have mentioned, there will certainly be pressure for speedy and quick action. I hope that the Minister will be able to provide some answers to the points that I have raised.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for tabling this amendment and allowing us to debate further the issues in these provisions. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 provides for Ministers to make regulations about advertising and trading in the vicinity of the 2012 Games. Under the Act, those regulations are enforceable by the police and by ODA-designated enforcement officers. Both are empowered to seize articles for specified purposes connected with a contravention of the regulations, such as to stop goods being sold in a regulated area or to enable goods to be used as evidence in a criminal case. Nothing in the Bill changes that.
Under the Act, any article seized by the ODA must be delivered to a constable, with the effect that all seized articles are dealt with by the police. This imposes an unnecessary administrative burden on the police when they will have many other calls on their time. Indeed, it was at the request of the police that Clause 1 was included in the Bill. In its current form, Clause 1 would change this for England and Wales. It would provide for articles seized in England and Wales to be held by the ODA, rather than the police. In dealing with seized articles, the ODA would be required to comply with detailed rules inserted into the 2006 Act by the Bill. This change would mean that during the 2012 Games police time is not spent filing and dealing with seized property. Other police powers of enforcement are not affected.
However, at the request of the Scottish Government the position there will be slightly different because of the different legal systems and because the pressure on police time will not be as great as in England, where most Games events will occur. In Scotland, the police and ODA will agree among themselves who will deal with seized articles but where it is agreed that the ODA will deal with articles, it will be required to comply with similar handling rules as apply in England and Wales.
The effect of Amendments 1 and 2 would be to maintain the position under the Act whereby police are required to deal with all seized articles. As I have said, this would impose an administrative burden on them at a time when there will be many competing—and, arguably, higher priority—demands on their resources. In particular, in England and Wales, where most Games events will take place, police will be busy ensuring the safety and security of competitors and the hundreds of thousands of spectators. Given that context, I hope noble Lords will agree that it is preferable that the ODA, rather than the police, is tasked with undertaking a second-order administrative role.
However, the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, has expressed concerns about the extent of that role and it is not to say that police support would not be provided to ODA officers. The police will retain their general enforcement powers under the Act and police assistance will be provided to ODA officers, as is currently the case with trading standards officers, if there is an actual or threatened breach of the peace or where there is a risk to the safety of officers or the public. The ODA has met with the police regularly and is currently consulting the police about ODA’s enforcement capability.
I am happy, too, to provide assurances that the ODA will take care of seized articles properly. It is a public authority and is subject to the direction of the Secretary of State. Moreover, the ODA is under a statutory obligation to submit its implementation strategy to the Secretary of State for approval. In addition, as I have said, it will have to comply with detailed rules inserted into the 2006 Act by the Bill. Those rules are based on existing legislation applying to local authority trading standards officers when they seize goods. Because it is intended that the ODA will designate local authority officers to act for it at Games time, the effect is that experienced officers will manage infringing items in a similar manner as they do at present. Those officers whose job it is to enforce existing street trading legislation are used to dealing with illegal traders and, where necessary, seizing counterfeit and other goods. If they apprehend that their or the public’s safety is threatened, they will be able to call on the police to assist.
The noble Lord asked about specific training of ODA officers. That has already begun and will continue up until Games time. Officers have, for example, taken part in mock enforcement trials at London 2012 test events. He also asked how many enforcement officers it is anticipated will be needed and for how many weeks. The ODA is currently negotiating with local authorities on securing officers, so estimated numbers are still subject to those discussions. However, they are looking to have up to 250 officers covering 28 venues and events for a maximum of five weeks—not consecutive weeks. That will take account of shift patterns.
I should make it clear that, for the Games regulations, the ODA will reimburse local authorities for any personnel they provide or services they perform. As such, local authorities will, where necessary, be able to back-fill posts by extending overtime and managing annual leave patterns. The ODA’s costs for dealing with seized goods are estimated to be in the region of £22,000, with a concomitant saving to police budgets on account of them no longer having to deal with articles. The transfer of responsibilities for handling of seized articles from the police to ODA amounts to an estimate of £55,000 saving to the public purse. The overall enforcement budget is £760,000, which includes a package of enforcement provisions including storage, which the local authority would provide as part of the funding agreement. The £55,000 would have been to pay for police assistance to handle seized goods, plus an additional saving that was not estimated for the police to charge for storing. Consequently, this clause will produce a direct and substantial saving.
In essence, the detailed handling rules set out in the Bill require the ODA to return seized articles when retention is no longer justified. Fundamentally, the rules seek to protect owners’ rights while ensuring that the regulations can be enforced in a reasonable and proportionate manner.
I note that Amendments 1 and 2 would have another, possibly unintended, effect. They would remove from the Bill clarifying provisions that make it clear that animals may be seized as infringing articles. These provisions are important because, as we have seen in previous events, animals have been used to display advertisements. For example, at the Ryder Cup in 2010 a betting company trained birds of prey to swoop past golfers carrying messages of support on banners featuring their logo. In removing these provisions, the amendments could potentially create a loophole that could undermine the advertising and trading provisions in the Act.
The main purpose of Clause 1 is to ease the pressure on police resources at what will be a very busy time. The police will, of course, remain responsible for ensuring that breaches of the peace do not occur and that safety and security is maintained. What Clause 1 does is remove from them an administrative task that can properly be undertaken by the ODA. In the light of the explanation and assurances that I have given today, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
I thank the Minister for that response, and for responding to the questions that I raised. I am not quite sure what I was meant to glean from the response in relation to the position of local authorities whose trading standards officers are seconded for Olympic activity. I think that the reply was that the cost of the officers would be reimbursed, so I take it from that that if a local authority deems it necessary to get other staff in to carry out work—if it is able to do so, because it may not be possible—the cost of doing that will be paid for out of other funds than its own. I rather took it that that was the response I was being given.
Amendment 1 withdrawn.
Amendment 2 not moved.
Clause 1 agreed.
Clause 2 : Regulations: Parliamentary procedure and public notice
3: Clause 2, page 7, line 22, leave out from “regulations),” to end of line 29 and insert “after subsection (2) insert—
“(2A) But if, in relation to regulations under section 19 other than the first regulations, the Secretary of State considers that by reason of urgency it is necessary that they be made without being approved in draft—
(a) subsection (2)(b) does not apply to the regulations, and(b) the regulations are instead subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.””
My Lords, in moving Amendment 3, I will also speak to Amendments 4 and 5 in this group. The amendments address a concern raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The 2006 Act provides for the making of advertising and trading regulations. Under the Act, all such regulations, including amending regulations, are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
The Bill amends the 2006 Act to provide that advertising and trading regulations other than the first set may instead be made via the negative resolution procedure. This is intended to enable the making of amending regulations if unforeseen events crop up late in the day, such as if it is necessary to move a Games event from one venue to another shortly before the event is due to take place. If the need to amend the regulations arose at this point, such as if a water main serving a venue burst a few days before that venue was scheduled to be used, it would be impracticable to amend the regulations via the lengthy affirmative resolution procedure.
Because the regulations are very detailed and specify precisely the places where, and periods during which, they will apply, it may be necessary to amend them if a venue or the Games schedule has to change. It is not possible, in the abstract, to describe all the incidents that might necessitate such a change, but I emphasise that we are not planning any such amendments. A lot of work has gone into identifying and preparing venues and the event schedule for the Games, and we intend the venues, the schedule, and the regulations that have already been published to remain as they are. A change will be necessary only if unforeseen circumstances such as the burst water main I mentioned occur.
The Delegated Powers Committee accepts the need to amend the 2006 Act to facilitate the amendment of the regulations in such circumstances. However, it is concerned that the extent of the procedural relaxation in the Bill goes further than is necessary. Accordingly, it has recommended that the Bill is amended to provide that the affirmative resolution procedure must be used unless the Minister considers that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary instead to use the negative procedure. As it was always the intention that the negative resolution procedure would be used only where there was an urgent need to do so, the Government are happy to accept the committee’s recommendation and to provide the additional clarification.
The effect of these amendments is that advertising and trading regulations will be made via the negative procedure only if the Minister considers that that is necessary by reason of urgency. In such a case, the regulations will confirm, on their face, that this is the Minister’s view.
In essence, what we mean by “urgency” is that, for reasons of time, it would be impracticable to use the affirmative procedure and it is necessary instead to use the negative procedure. That is likely to be because the amending regulations have to take effect quickly, before the earliest date that affirmative regulations could practicably be made. This would be the case, for example, where the incident necessitating the amendment occurs only a short time before the relevant Games event. Likewise, it would be the case if amending regulations had to be made when Parliament is not sitting. As noble Lords will know, affirmative regulations cannot be made when Parliament is in recess, whereas negative instruments can.
I hope that these amendments and the further explanation that I have set out today provide noble Lords with welcome assurance that the power to amend the regulations via the negative procedure will be used only when that is genuinely necessary. I beg to move.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing these amendments. There is obviously sense in having flexibility within the legislation to deal with unforeseen events, and we fully understand why the Government have decided to take these powers. However, as was pointed out in the report of the Delegated Powers Committee, these powers are wide-ranging, and it is important that they be subject to appropriate scrutiny.
The recent Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee report called for assurances that the provision to make these regulations via the negative resolution procedure would be exercised only when there was an urgent need to do so. The Minister reaffirmed that the intention is always to work within the set of advertising and trading regulations laid in Parliament on 10 October, which will be subject to the affirmative procedure. However, the problem with the approach being taken by the Government is that these present regulations are going to be made only in the deepest recess period, July to September 2012, so there is a Catch-22 situation. You can make negative regulations of the type described by the Minister when you cannot make regulations under the affirmative procedure, but because the Houses will be in Recess, neither House would be in a position to exercise its power under the negative resolution procedure in those circumstances. The net effect is to provide the Secretary of State with wide-ranging Henry VIII powers exercisable on his or her assertion that it is an emergency. When the Minister responds, will she enlighten us about why it was decided that the negative/affirmative procedure was appropriate?
It might have been easier to fess up and simply say that, on reflection, the Government take the view that it is necessary for the Secretary of State to have these powers and that some procedure, such as a full report, will occur once the Houses have resumed after the Games have finished. Clearly, we are where we are, so the question really is: what are the urgent situations that could give rise to the need to use this provision? I may be straining at a gnat here, but I have noticed in the documentation that we have been provided with that there are three different variations on what is defined as an urgent situation. The wording of the amendment is that the regulations would be used only if,
“the Secretary of State considers that by reason of urgency it is necessary that they be made”.
The Delegated Powers Committee slightly inflects that and changes the terms. It states that the powers would be needed only when there was an urgent need. The Minister suggested in correspondence, which was copied to several noble Lords, that the amending regulations would be brought forward only to provide flexibility in cases where exceptional circumstances, such as a burst water main, require a change of competition venue. I am not sure that a need for flexibility is by definition an urgency, but I think we understand the sense behind the points made in the correspondence. I do not think at this stage we wish further to oppose this amendment, but it would be helpful if the Minister would write to us with a few examples of where she thinks such a situation might occur so that we have them on record.
Amendment 3 agreed.
Amendments 4 and 5
4: Clause 2, page 7, leave out lines 35 to 41 and insert “after subsection (2) insert—
“(2A) But if, in relation to regulations under section 25 other than the first regulations, the Secretary of State considers that by reason of urgency it is necessary that they be made without being approved in draft—
(a) subsection (2)(b) does not apply to the regulations, and(b) the regulations are instead subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.””
5: Clause 2, page 8, line 7, leave out from “case” to end of line 13 and insert “, for subsections (2) and (2A) there were substituted—
“(2) Regulations under that section are subject to the affirmative procedure.
(2A) But if, in relation to regulations under that section other than the first regulations, the Scottish Ministers consider that by reason of urgency it is necessary that they be made without being approved in draft—
(a) subsection (2) does not apply to the regulations, and(b) the regulations are instead subject to the negative procedure.””
Amendments 4 and 5 agreed.
Clause 2, as amended, agreed.
Clause 3 : Increase of maximum fine
6: Clause 3, page 8, line 20, at end insert—
“( ) After section 31(6) of that Act insert—
“(6A) Where subsection (1) applies in the case of organised criminal activity, a custodial sentence may be pursued.””
My Lords, this amendment provides for the option of a custodial sentence where organised criminal activity is involved in ticket touting. The Bill already provides for the maximum penalty to be increased from £5,000 to £20,000. I am aware that when an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police service gave evidence last May to the Committee considering this Bill in the other place he said:
“The reason why I think I am here today is to support the proposed increase in the fine for ticket touting from £5,000 to £20,000”.
Despite the curious terminology, I assume that he agreed with the increase rather than being told that he was required to support it. On being asked whether the figure should be raised further to £50,000 he said:
“I think it is inappropriate and disproportionate … On the briefing that I have had, moving it to £50,000 brings with it other challenges, because it potentially moves the matter out of the magistrates court and up to the Crown court. There might be challenges around that, and I am satisfied that for the purposes for which I think it is required, the £20,000 fine is sufficient to act as a deterrent”.—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 17/5/11; cols. 44-53.]
That answer raises the issue of what are the purposes to which the assistant commissioner referred, for which the maximum £20,000 fine is required and whether those purposes cover all relevant purposes that might arise in connection with ticket touting during and around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Interestingly, the Minister in the other place said, during the Committee stage debate on the £20,000 fine, that the assistant commissioner to whom he had spoken after the evidence session,
“was keen that we should stick to £20,000, given that a higher fine would lead to extra complications”.
The Minister went on to say:
“I do not have a doctrinaire position one way or another; this was driven by the operational requirements of the Metropolitan police. That is why we have gone for £20,000”.
So we have an assistant commissioner who “thinks” that he is appearing before the Committee in the other place to support the proposed increase, and does not want it increased to £50,000 because it potentially moves the matter up to the Crown Court, while the Minister says that the Government have gone for £20,000 because it was,
“driven by the operational requirements of the Metropolitan police”.—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 19/5/11; col. 67.]
I hope that the Minister will be able to clarify for us why the proposed increase in the fine is to a figure of £20,000, because at the moment there appear to have been different reasons given, depending on who is speaking.
The main point of the amendment is to find out whether we are talking about a maximum penalty that is a financial one or whether some of those involved in ticket touting could well face other charges which could result in a custodial sentence. On the face of it, that might appear appropriate, based on statements made by the police and by the Government. In his evidence to the committee in the other place, the assistant commissioner said that,
“There is a significant link between ticket touting, serious organised crime, ticket fraud and counterfeit tickets”.
I am not sure for how many offences involving, to use the assistant commissioner’s words, “serious organised crime” the maximum penalty that can be imposed is a fine. He went on to say that, as there would be a massive demand for tickets,
“there is a lot of money to be made by those who want to do so. Serious and organised crime are already talking about it”.
The assistant commissioner also drew a distinction between the,
“opportunists looking to make a quick buck who will manage to get two or three tickets for themselves”,
“Our bigger worry and what we will certainly see with the Olympics is the organised criminal networks working this”.
Yet when it comes to punishment, the only distinction between the two appears to be the size of the fine. That is despite the fact that the assistant commissioner told the Committee in the other place:
“Certainly, the people who are making large amounts of money off the back of events up and down the country … are involved in serious and organised criminality. Some organised criminal networks dabble in a number of things. It is not just touting; they are also involved in counterfeiting wherever they can”.
He went on to say:
“There is lots of money to be made by these organised criminal networks. They recognise the demand for tickets … As a result, ticket touts will look to make many, many thousands of pounds on each ticket if they possibly can. There will be a network behind them”.
Finally, there are these words from the assistant commissioner:
“I see the major threat from serious and organised criminality, because such people see that they are easily into seven figures and it is money that they will then use for other illegal acts”.
It may be that the assistant commissioner thought he was appearing before the Committee in the other place to support the increase in the maximum fine from £5,000 to £20,000, but some might feel that he was rather more effective in supporting an increase in the level of punishment to something rather more substantial than a fine. Note some of the words that the assistant commissioner said of those involved:
“There will be a network behind them … such people see that they are easily into seven figures and it is money that they will then use for other illegal acts”.
There may be a very simple explanation for this, but I am not sure that it has emerged so far. It may be that the fines up to a maximum of £20,000 are largely intended to be used on the opportunists and small-time criminals who are engaged in trying to sell a small number of tickets, acting on their own and not as part of an organised racket. Of course, they can still potentially make a lot of money, as I understand the face value of top tickets for the opening ceremony is just over £2,000. If that is the case, perhaps the Minister could indicate that and say what kind of maximum penalties would apply to the powerful organisers behind the scenes of criminal networks involved in ticket touting.
My Lords, it might be better if the noble Lord was able to move the amendment before questions arose.
There are also the people who do not appear on the streets or in the pubs selling tickets themselves but who organise and control things, and constitute what the assistant commissioner described as the “network behind” the touts and the people who,
“see that they are easily into seven figures and it is money that they will then use for other illegal acts”.—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 19/5/11; cols. 44-49.]
If these kinds of people are apprehended—the ticket-touting equivalent of the drugs barons—is it the intention that they would face a maximum fine of only £20,000 or will they be charged with something more serious, where a custodial sentence is an option? People like that, who see that they are easily into seven figures, will not be deterred by a £20,000 fine. The need with them, if they are apprehended in connection with ticket touting before and during the Games, is to make sure that they are no longer in a position to carry on with their activities as well as seeking to use the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act against them.
I hope that the Minister will be able to clarify that point and assure us that other charges carrying a heavier penalty than a fine will be used against those who are the powerful and controlling forces behind the serious organised criminal networks that the assistant commissioner told the Committee in the other place would be involved in ticket touting in the run-up and during the Olympic Games. I beg to move.
My Lords, I sought to intervene in the noble Lord’s speech because I thought that it might be convenient at that point to clarify a particular issue. I am not clear whether he envisages, as a result of imposing a custodial sentence, that it would be dealt with in the Crown Court rather than the magistrates’ court and whether that runs into all the objections to going to Crown Court to which he referred earlier. Having said that, I am not unsympathetic to what he proposes. Given the issue of organised criminal gangs, it may well be that £20,000 is not an appropriate sum and that we would go to a higher level. But if we are not going to do that, particularly in the case of an organised gang, a custodial sentence would not seem inappropriate.
However, when I look at the original Act, I am somewhat concerned about that because this penalty relates to offences under Section 31(1), which reads:
“A person commits an offence if he sells an Olympic ticket … in a public place or in the course of a business, and … otherwise than in accordance with a written authorisation issued by the London Organising Committee”.
It is not clear to me what the position would be with someone not in a criminal gang who finds at the last moment that they cannot use their tickets, which they have purchased, and stands outside the stadium offering them for sale. I am not clear whether they would be subject to all the rigours of a fine not exceeding level 5 —although one would hope that the courts would deal appropriately with such a case—or whether they might, under the amendment, be subject to a custodial sentence. We need to be clear on exactly what the position is under Section 31(1) before we decide to increase the penalties which would be imposed.
My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords for tabling this amendment, which gives your Lordships the opportunity to consider what the maximum penalty for ticket touting should be. Ultimately, as in all matters of sentencing, this is a matter of judgment. Parliament has to take a view on the severity of the conduct in question and set a level of penalty, which both reflects this and acts as a deterrent to those who might otherwise be tempted to engage in such activity.
I think that there is a general acceptance that the penalty for the touting of Olympic and Paralympic Games tickets, which the 2006 Act created, was insufficient. All the recent evidence is that the truly unique nature of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the quite staggering demands among the public for tickets, means that a maximum fine of £5,000 would not be high enough to deter those minded to engage in touting, particularly those connected to organised crime, as the noble Lord has set out. That is why we are seeking in this Bill to increase the maximum penalty to £20,000. That represents a very significant fine and deterrent. For a gang of five people, that could amount to a total fine of £100,000, which is quite a figure that they would need to set in mind against potential profits.
The Government's view is that this increased fine level is sufficient. I do not in any way wish to downplay the menace of ticket touting, still less when organised crime is involved, but your Lordships should bear in mind that it does not of itself involve violence and that, ultimately, those who buy tickets from touts do so out of choice rather than through compulsion. There is also something to be said for consistency in penalties. Currently, the only other ticket touting that is illegal is touting of football tickets under Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The maximum penalty for that offence is a fine of £5,000. We are prepared to see a higher penalty for Olympic and Paralympic ticket touting, given the unique nature of the Games, but would not like to see the two penalties so very far out of step.
Compellingly, there is the view of the police, as the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, has quoted, and the views of Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, when he gave the oral evidence that the noble Lord relayed to us. I think we are covering up some of the grounds of the arguments that were put forward on this. Perhaps I could also say that the assistant commissioner said that if there is,
“evidence that enables us to seize money under”,
the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 then, if it is necessary,
“we will make applications to court to do that as well”.—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 17/5/11; col. 47.]
The arguments that have come from the police are persuasive. At this point, I pay tribute to the work of the police service in preparing for next year. None of us should underestimate the challenge of keeping the Olympics and Paralympics safe, but we know that police planning is going well and that the service will rise to the challenge. I particularly commend Operation Podium, which is the team in the Metropolitan Police service that seeks to tackle ticket crime. Assistant Commissioner Allison made it very clear that the team will be looking to target ticket touts, and I know that at least one arrest has already been made. Of course, we recognise the argument that we are potentially dealing with serious organised criminals and, in that context, a fine may seem insufficient. The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, set that out very clearly. But, of course, a court can only sentence an individual for the particular crime for which he or she is charged, and the punishment must fit that crime. If there is evidence that people are involved in other serious criminality, they can be charged with relevant offences relating to their crimes. So if the police manage to apprehend Mr or Mrs Big, who may be behind large-scale Olympic and Paralympic ticket touting and various other serious crimes, there is plenty of other legislation on the statute book already to deal with whatever other serious crimes the person may be responsible for. Those would not need to feature in the Bill in front of us.
In the light of the clear evidence from the police that the higher penalty created by this Bill is sufficient to deal with the conduct in question, and the fact that they will be able to use other existing legislation to go after the proceeds of Olympic and Paralympic ticket touting, I am not persuaded that we need to legislate for the possibility of custodial sentences. I thank my noble friend Lord Higgins for his contribution and other noble Lords for raising this issue, but I invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.
My Lords, my concern is not so much on the issue of organised criminal gangs. I think that we all recognise that serious penalties need to be imposed in that regard. But I am not clear exactly what the situation is in this clause as it stands. Is it the case that, if people who have a ticket that they cannot use simply stand outside the stadium and sell the ticket, they will be committing an offence? As I understand it, the crucial issue is whether the ticket is sold above its face value. Perhaps if Section 31(1)(b) of the Act, concerning selling a ticket,
“otherwise than in accordance with a written authorisation issued by the London Organising Committee”,
was amended on Report so as to read instead, “and above face value”, that would overcome the problem facing people in the circumstances that I have just described. People who have a ticket that they cannot use would not find themselves suddenly open to a fine of £20,000.
My Lords, if it may be helpful for the purpose of the Committee, on the point that my noble friend Lord Higgins made, in the early part of next year we will identify a ticket exchange system that will allow somebody who may be in that position not to feel the need to stand outside a venue, if for any reason they cannot use that ticket. I will be very happy to brief your Lordships on that system at the time. There will be an organising committee structure through which they can resell that ticket or hand it on in exchange at face value.
I am most grateful to my noble friend. If at the last minute people find that they cannot use the tickets—if someone is ill or whatever—will there be a facility at the stadium itself so that they can go and say, “I would like to resell this ticket”? I suppose that might be somewhat similar to the arrangements for Wimbledon.
I cannot go that far, but I can say that the ticket resale portal will be available, and we will make sure that it functions as close to the event as possible. Of course, there will probably be tickets available on the day in and around the venues through a box-office system.
Again, I am grateful to my noble friend. Would it be all that difficult to have a system in which the box office can take tickets that are surplus? The danger, otherwise, is that we get empty seats, which we do not want to see. I do not ask my noble friend to respond now, but what I have proposed would seem to overcome this problem. Otherwise, we will potentially be imposing pretty substantial penalties on people who are engaging in a perfectly normal exercise of trying to ensure that tickets of which they cannot take advantage are used—and we want them to be used.
My Lords, I will of course withdraw my amendment, but I am a little disappointed with the Minister’s response. I was hoping that her response would be along the lines of saying that those who were clearly the brains behind the networks would almost certainly be charged with some other offence that would enable a custodial sentence to be imposed, if they were—to quote the assistant commissioner—people who,
“see that they are easily into seven figures and it is money that they will then use for other illegal acts”—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 17/5/11; col. 49.].
I certainly do not advocate a custodial sentence for the individual in the pub or on the street who sells a very small number of tickets and is not part of an organised network. However, when an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police turns up at the Committee in the other place and talks in terms of “organised criminal networks”, “easily into seven figures” and money that will be used “for other illegal acts”, I stand by my view and seriously question whether a £20,000 fine is sufficient.
If the noble Lord will allow me, those activities would certainly come under other forms of crime, which could attract a larger penalty than the fine. The sorts of cases that he has mentioned would not be subject purely to the £20,000 fine.
In that case, I somewhat misunderstood the Minister’s reply, from which it appeared to me that there was some doubt as to whether someone involved in those networks would end up with a higher penalty. I think that she said that you can charge people only with the offence that they have committed. That rather suggested that she felt that it might not be possible to charge them with any offence other than the one in the Bill, under which a £20,000 fine is the limit.
However, if the Minister is saying that where someone is apprehended who has been involved in running a network—and is the kind of individual who is seeing the ability to get “easily into seven figures” with money that could then be used “for other illegal acts”—she would normally expect that such individuals would probably be charged with some other offence carrying a custodial sentence, that would certainly meet the point that I am making and the concern that I am expressing. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 6 withdrawn.
7: Clause 3, page 8, line 20, at end insert—
“( ) In section 31(1) of that Act, omit paragraph (b).”
My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 7, and to support Amendment 8 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, and Amendment 10 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Addington.
We recognise the huge logistical issues involved in running a successful Games. Thanks to the helpful letter that I received recently from the chair of LOCOG, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, we are all much better informed about the thinking, research and planning that has clearly gone into the ticketing and access arrangements for both sets of Games, across all the venues. It may well be argued later that the issues raised in this group of amendments are not a matter for the Government, but for LOCOG. That may well be the legal position, but I am sure that the Committee will recognise that, while the Government will undoubtedly get no credit whatever from a successful Games, they will certainly get all the opprobrium going for any failure, or perception of failure, in any aspect of the Games. Such is life.
At Second Reading, seven noble Lords raised concerns about the ticketing arrangements in so far as the details were available at that time. There seem to be several issues in play, and it might be helpful if I summarise them. I have also added some answers from reading between the lines of the correspondence that we have received, and the comments made during the debate. Will it say on the face of a ticket who the main purchaser is? I think that the answer is yes. Does the lead ticket-holder—the person who ordered the tickets—have to attend and use one of their allocation of tickets? No, but the lead ticket-holder must be available to be contacted. Does the lead ticket-holder have to bring identification with her or him when attending the events for which she or he has tickets? Yes. If so, what is the level of ID required—is it a passport, driving licence or what? We seem to have been told that it must be a photo ID card, which would include those.
What happens if there is a problem, and the lead ticket-holder is ill or otherwise uncontactable? I am afraid that that is not clear. What contact phone number will be held by LOCOG? Will it be the home, business or mobile number? Will every ticket-holder's number be checked before the Games start to be sure they the ticket-holder can in fact be contacted if needed? All of that seems rather ill considered. When will LOCOG actually collect this information? In its most recent letter, LOCOG says that it will be in contact with ticket purchasers. There is a long time to go until the Games and I can foresee many problems on this front. Can the person who bought the tickets sell some or all of them to friends and family at face value without falling foul of the ticket-touting regulations? We have received good responses to that question, and we look forward to hearing further details of the scheme nearer the time.
Does the resale or selling-on process have to be notified to LOCOG, and the tickets released in the name of the new holders? I think not, but, on the other hand, if the exchange scheme is up and running and the portal works, that question takes care of itself. However, it is an issue that may need to be pursued. It would be helpful if the Minister could confirm that I am right so far in the answers to my questions. She is avoiding my gaze. Now I am getting a gentle smile of encouragement, so I think that I am on the right track. So far, so good.
The watchwords of the early planning for these Games were the need to build in flexibility and proportionality, bearing in mind the risks involved. But I wonder whether the genuine concern, which noble Lords expressed at Second Reading, reflects a worry that the need to prevent ticket touting has upset the right balance on this issue. I think that concern is growing, and it leads to further questions.
In his letter to which I have already referred, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, says that LOCOG has worked with the “ticketing leads” from many national and international sporting events, including those responsible for previous Games, the FA and Wimbledon. He says that the terms and conditions are in line with “standard practice”, and,
“NOT out of line with what the public would expect”.
Well, I wonder how he knows that. I admit that this is anecdotal, but there is a view held widely around your Lordships’ House that the public are not on the same page as LOCOG. Many events that I have attended recently did not follow this procedure. At any rate, perhaps we can encourage the noble Lord to join our debates and give us some information on all of these points later in the proceedings. For the moment, these are the questions that are left in my mind.
Will the training of the largely volunteer staff, at both turnstile and box office, be sufficient? Can the Minister explain precisely what will be involved in cases where tickets are thought to be fraudulent in some way or other? Will there be sufficient staff on duty to ensure an uninterrupted flow for other audience members? Would it be sensible to try out some real-time testing of these procedures, perhaps in the trial events in the run-up to the Games, so that teething and other problems are identified?
Can the Minister say something about the urgent need to ensure that the successful ticket-holders know and understand what they need to do to ensure that they can get into the venues with the minimum fuss and controversy concomitant with good security and proper evaluation of risk? Finally, the amendments in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Higgins and Lord Addington, make good sense and I look forward to hearing from the Minister whether they offer a way out of the potential PR and operational problems that we seem to be facing. I beg to move.
My Lords, it may be convenient if I speak first to the amendment that has just been proposed by the noble Lord, which seeks to remove Section 31(1)(b) from the original Act. His amendment would leave the clause simply reading that the person commits an offence if he sells an Olympic ticket,
“in a public place or in the course of business”.
That would create a dangerous situation, for the reasons that I mentioned in the previous debate, namely that unless we are successful—as my noble friend Lord Coe said a little while ago—in setting up a situation on site that enables people to dispose of tickets that they cannot use, it may be that perfectly reasonable people seeking to sell their ticket in any public place, not necessarily outside the stadium, would commit an offence. As I suggested earlier, instead of sub-paragraph (b), which the noble Lord has suggested we omit, we should say “or above face value”.
Turning to my main point, I do not presume to say that my amendment is in any way perfect, but I put it down originally because no one else had put down an amendment that would enable us to debate the issue that a number of noble Lords said at Second Reading gave them cause for concern. I will come to the specifics in a moment, but I regret to say that I agree with the noble Lord who has just spoken. The statement in the extremely helpful letter written by the noble Lord, Lord Coe, in his Olympics role, states that the,
“Terms and Conditions are standard practice at major events. They are NOT out of line with what the public would expect”.
Certainly, a quick—even a slow—survey of your Lordships’ House asking, “Do you expect the purchaser of the ticket will either have to be present or be available on the telephone to allow someone to use the ticket, which that individual has purchased on behalf of, let us say, his children?” would show that this is not the general view. I do not believe this is what the public expect, because a large number of the public do not go to football matches and so are not familiar with what the practice might be there.
One has to face the fact that the public do not expect this to be the situation, but it may be that they can be informed of it in appropriate ways having purchased the ticket. As I understand it, if that information is not actually going to appear on the ticket, it is proposed that a fairly lengthy document would be sent to the ticket-holder explaining these things. Certainly, it would need to say very clearly, in big letters in red type, that the ticket can be used by someone whom you bought it for only if you yourself are present. I leave to one side the question of what happens if the person who bought the ticket is dead—that will raise a difficult issue—but none the less it may be extremely difficult for the individual to be present or even to be on the telephone.
I have put down an amendment whose effect would be to make the situation more flexible. The amendment states:
“To prevent ticket touting, tickets should record the name of the person purchasing the ticket—
I understand that it is proposed that that will be done—
“and indicate that ticket holders may be admitted even though they are not accompanied by the person purchasing the ticket”.
The organisers may well feel that that drives a cart and horses through the whole thing, but they are not proposing to apply these provisions in a draconian way. On the contrary, they are proposing to adopt a flexible attitude. People need to be clear whether the person who bought the ticket has to be present when they wish to use the ticket on a particular occasion. We need to clarify whether we are going to stick to the thing rigorously or whether we are not going to stick to it rigorously but make it clear that ticket-holders ought to be able to establish that they are related to the person who purchased the ticket.
As I said, my amendment is certainly not perfect and comes up with a solution that may be thought to be too favourable to ticket touts, but we need to clarify. We all recognise that there has been an enormous and extremely difficult exercise on ticketing. At the same time, we do not want to create a situation where, because of the provision stating that a ticket-holder must be accompanied by the purchaser, we have large queues of people trying to telephone the person who bought the ticket to say, “Please will you confirm to the ticket office that I am related to you?”, or whatever it may be. That is a genuine problem, and I do not say that I have the answer yet. We need to give more thought to this.
There are three amendments in this group, and my amendment is the last of them—and may well be the least of them—but we have all identified this problem and have all come up with different solutions. I would describe the amendments as two great hearty swings and one slight jab, which is mine. I framed my amendment after receiving a very helpful letter, and I hope it is in the spirit of that letter. We have already had some of the answers from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, in the previous debate, and I hope that he and my noble friend Lady Garden will clarify this. What I have tried to do is to say that there will be a limitation on the transfer, but there must be some freedom to transfer. I do not pretend that this will be perfect, but I hope that it was in the spirit so that we can get some idea about what we can and cannot do.
If a ticket has been purchased, it is quite normal to transfer it at most other sporting events. If you have bought a ticket at face value, you are not transferring it outside but are making sure the seat is filled. I think we all agree that we want the seats filled. I came at this by saying that there may be greater tension and a danger of encouraging touting, but there should still be a way out of it. There is also the point at which LOCOG will be quite right to say, “You can’t come in at the last minute because of the pressures on this occasion”. I tried to get that mix and suggest that. As these amendments are to probe and, I hope, clarify, I hope that this amendment will be taken in that light. I look forward to the answer.
My Lords, I very much welcome the fact that LOCOG listened carefully to the concerns expressed by noble Lords at Second Reading and has reacted to them. I believe that the letter from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, which was sent to noble Lords, is a very good attempt to pick up on the concerns that were expressed, including the ones that I was keen to pursue. However, we need to go a bit further than that. The concern I have at the moment is that LOCOG’s terms and conditions are now at variance with what was proposed in the letter from the noble Lord and with what noble Lords referred to earlier in the debate. I wonder whether the Minister could please deal with whether LOCOG’s terms and conditions are going to be changed in order, for example, to allow for the purchaser not to have to be present but just to have to be available by telephone.
The other key issue raised at Second Reading was that, if there are a group of people—say, a group of six—but the purchaser is not able to attend, that should not debar the other five people in that group from attending. I think that the answer is that that is fine, but at the moment the terms and conditions do not state this, and I believe that they need to be changed. I point out that paragraph 2.4 of LOCOG’s terms and conditions states:
“LOCOG reserves the absolute right to change these Terms and Conditions from time to time”,
so it is entirely possible that the terms and conditions can be changed to reflect the new arrangements.
Finally, it is very important, as other noble Lords have said, that this is very clearly communicated to the public because there is quite a lot of misinformation out there and clarity is absolutely essential.
My Lords, I regret that my contribution today is going to be somewhat briefer than I would normally have hoped. However, the purpose of all of our amendments today is that they are probing amendments, which we hope will be proven to be helpful. We also wish to say that we are still absolutely delighted at the fact that we acquired the Games. It is still a thrill to us to know that, and the purpose of these amendments is to ensure that we are going to put on the greatest show on earth, with no glitches and no problems. Yet one thing that we would want to say within the purpose of the amendments before us is that we must carry the general public with us at all times.
It is no good us getting behind the general public and having them, through the media or the press, suddenly finding themselves in a position of attacking us, maybe unnecessarily. I was delighted to hear the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, about how the procedure is going to be published. My plea to the Minister is: can she ensure that publication will be sooner rather than later? The longer we leave these questions hanging in the air, the more difficult it is to turn the thing around. People love to find reasons to criticise; we all know that—we all do it in the pubs and at our tennis clubs and everywhere else.
I have to congratulate the three wise men who have put down these amendments. They are all positive and helpful, and I hope that LOCOG and the Minister will be able to take much of what has been said on board. I reiterate that the whole purpose of our amendments today is to ensure that everything which positively can be done on our side is being done. I am sorry about my own contribution. My tumour was the size of a golf ball—thank God it was not the size of a tennis ball—but I am here today to assure your Lordships that we are absolutely behind you in ensuring that these Games are going to be the most wonderful things, which we are all going to go and enjoy.
My Lords, I declare an interest in that I sit on several sub-committees of the organising committee for London 2012.
At the moment, I am not convinced that it is appropriate for the Government to be amending the terms and conditions of ticket sales, although it is important that those questions are asked. From my personal Games experience, it is vital that LOCOG remains in control and that it has the ability to refuse entry. The reality is that the vast majority of people will pass through security into the park with no problem whatsoever. I think we would all welcome further communication when the tickets are formally released to the public. When they get their tickets in hand, there is greater understanding of what they are able to do.
If your Lordships look at the option for resale, however, it is incredibly positive. The only Games that have done it before are the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It has not been done by a summer Games and certainly not by a Paralympics, so the opportunity to offer resale and make sure that we have the seats filled to give the best possible experience to the athletes is really welcome. I also expect that LOCOG would be sensible in the implementation of this, to ensure that all the tickets get to the right people.
Prompted by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, I should have declared an interest in my previous observations as the chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
If the Committee is comfortable, perhaps I may cluster my observations around the three amendments. I shall deal with the immediate questions of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson. Will the name be on the ticket? Yes. Is ID required? It is, but it can be a driving licence or a credit card with which you made the original application for the ticket. If you are ill, are you able to hand that ticket on? Yes, you will be able to hand it on to friends and family. That is fine. Picking up on the question of the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, I can confirm that it is perfectly acceptable for the purchaser of the tickets not to be present when those to whom he has given the tickets enter the Games.
Perhaps I may put some practicality into this. I accept the observations on both sides of the Committee Room today about the need always to take the public with us, and for them to understand properly the guidance notes. I make the point that in the initial ticket application very detailed guidance was given, but I absolutely accept that we need to take the ticket-purchasing public through that process. As I mentioned a few moments ago, shortly there will be a ticket resale portal in place—probably post Christmas—which will be a good opportunity. Then we have what we describe, for all our client groups, as the journey to the Games, in about June. However, I recognise that we need good communications in place from this point on so that the public understand that the purchaser does not need to be there when, for example, their four children go into the Games.
The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, was right about the need for proportionality, as we want the ability to investigate suspicious activity. That will be the tip of the £11 million ticket iceberg that we are trying to move through the venues during the Games. Testing is really important and, yes, our volunteers and security teams will be completely practised in getting people in and out of the venues as quickly as possible, in understanding the implications of suspicious behaviour and in being able to prosecute any such behaviour in a sensible way.
On the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Addington, I make three points about transfer. There is massive scope for confusion if we are not careful. First, there is the issue of a handling charge for the reissuing of a ticket. There is also the issue of administrative confusion, because we would obviously need to ensure the safe and secure delivery of tickets. Clearly, a destroyed ticket would need to be reissued, and reissued in the name of the purchaser.
The broader point here is very important. This is not a one-off football match. I do not need to rehearse that argument. We have 26 simultaneous world championships taking place over 16 days. Our ability to control the system and to squeeze out the potential for ticket touting is important. We want this to be the greatest show on earth, not the greatest scam on earth. It is important for us to be proportionate. We are very clear that the purchaser does not need to be present and that those tickets can be handed on within a family without fear of prosecution. It is very important that we do not lose control of the system because the reputational damage of this descending into a tout’s charter is serious and goes way beyond this country's ability to deliver the Games.
My Lords, if I might intervene just for a moment, I think that we are all looking for a solution to these problems. Would it be feasible to say that the people coming with the tickets have to produce the credit card used to purchase them? That would at any rate give a pretty good assurance that it has not been sold from a ticket tout. I leave that idea with my noble friend.
In answer to the problems posed on the other side of this Room, perhaps I may say that I went to the test event for archery at Lord’s cricket ground, not because I could get in free with my own membership card there but just to see the whole set-up. I have the official ticket that we used on the day; I would have to have better eyesight to be able to read it out, but the terms and conditions on the back are absolutely clear as to what may or may not be done with regard to future movement of the ticket. I am sure that noble Lords will take this all into consideration with the production of ticketing throughout the whole of these 26 world championships that we are going to have over 16 days.
My Lords, I am most grateful to all noble Lords who have tabled amendments in this group and who have spoken to them, because it has provided your Lordships with the opportunity to discuss a very important issue. I am particularly grateful to my noble friend Lord Coe, who is in a much better position than I am to answer a great many of the questions that have been raised today, because they fall naturally to the responsibility of LOCOG and not the Government, as the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and others have pointed out.
I do not believe that there is any difference of opinion between any of those tabling amendments on this matter—the Government, LOCOG or any of your Lordships—in what we want to see in respect of Olympic and Paralympic tickets. We all want everything possible done to discourage and penalise ticket touting and as few obstacles as possible placed in the way of genuine sports fans who want to enjoy next summer’s festival of sport. The Government are doing their bit to achieve these outcomes by providing for the offence of touting of Olympic and Paralympic tickets, which we were discussing under the earlier amendment.
The other side of the coin, of course, is to ensure that all those with a genuine interest in attending the Games are facilitated in doing so and do not inadvertently fall foul of the law or regulations. I must again emphasise that Olympic and Paralympic ticket terms and conditions are a matter for LOCOG, not the Government. We are grateful to my noble friend Lord Coe not only for being here today but also for having sent a very helpful letter out after the previous meeting, when many of these issues were raised. Obviously, it was not so helpful that it has not stopped other questions from being raised at the same time, on which I hope we have now shed more light.
I appreciated the comment from my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint about the need for clarity. She was able to wave a ticket at us, which offered clarity in that respect. The need for clarity is one issue that has come out loud and clear from the debate that we have had this afternoon.
For all noble Lords I think there is comfort in response to the amendments from the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, and from my noble friends Lord Higgins and Lord Addington. They have raised issues and indeed offered certain forms of solutions, too, to try to make sure that the Games are the great success that we wall want them to be. In that respect, we all echo the enthusiastic support for the Games from the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, and the wish that whatever we do through or outside this legislation will ensure that the Games are an enormous success.
My noble friend Lady Doocey was one of those who asked about LOCOG’s terms and conditions being changed. Once again, that is a matter for LOCOG. It is not for the Government to intervene, but today’s debate has certainly added useful factors into the arguments that have been put forward.
I reiterate that within their sphere of influence the Government are taking the necessary actions to try to ensure that the Games are a great success. I know that my noble friend Lord Coe and others working within the Olympic organisations are also doing a tremendous job to try to make sure that law-abiding ticket-holders are not inconvenienced and that all those who have tickets are able to enjoy the Games fully and to use the tickets for their proper purposes.
I thank all noble Lords who have spoken on this today. Many reassurances have been put forward by my noble friend Lord Coe, and we will listen to the different arguments that have been put forward by noble Lords around the table today. I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and hope that, with those assurances, the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
I thank all noble Lords who took part in this useful and helpful debate. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for being present and for sharing his thoughts on this. We are all in a much better place as a result of the discussion. We know more about what the issues are. We support what has been done. There is no question of any destructive view on that. Like my noble friend Lady Billingham, we want to continue to say that, in order to build on what has been achieved and to make sure that these are the greatest Games ever.
There are three points that I would like to leave with the Committee. First, would it be possible at some point for LOCOG to get across—obviously it does not need to be said too widely—what I thought the noble Lord, Lord Coe, said, which was that, given the vast majority of people in the iceberg, as he put it, who come into our Games are going to be able to do so without any let or hindrance, there is not going to be an issue about that? These regulations are at heart back-stop regulations to be used only if there is suspicion. Somehow that has not come across. There has been a sense that somehow we are all under surveillance and are all somehow possibly complicit in some frightful game involving tickets. When you buy a ticket or get a ticket, it may well be covered in beautiful colours and have all sorts of ideograms and other things on it, but you do not really know whether it is the right one or not until you turn up, put it in and it goes through. There is that sense that you are always going to be caught. Can we somehow agree among ourselves, even if we cannot say it publicly, that that is not the main purpose here? The main purpose is to get the touts who are out to disrupt the Games for their own horrible and nefarious purposes. That would be helpful.
Secondly, as the Minister said, we need clarity on a number of things. I do not want to reopen the debate but, for example, on identity, her answer was very firm and clear: people who have tickets and are bringing themselves or a party will need to bring identity with them. The letter states that that identity must be in the form of a photo card, but the Minister said that it could be a credit card, possibly the credit card with which you bought the tickets. You are already giving us two versions. We must be clear about this: either it is a photo card or it is credit card, or we are very clear that it is both. To pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, a credit card might well be the right answer because it ties you to the original purchase. If phone calls are going to be the way you begin checking whether those who are under suspicion are right, it would be helpful if some more explanation is given about that. I can imagine a scenario where my children set off on their own to the Games to watch the synchronised swimming, which are the only tickets we have, they arrive to find that somebody has already got in on false tickets, they are dragged off, and I am rung—
My Lords, my point—had I been able to make it—is this: what happens when the noble Lord, Lord Coe, rings me and says, “We have your three children here, and they have fake tickets”, but I do not have my mobile phone—I have dropped it in the bath or something like that—so all that I get is a message, and when I ring back I get through to some call centre which, in the nature of trying to internationalise the Games, might be situated in Bangalore? You get the point.
Let us just be clear about this, get the narrative right and communicate clearly so that we carry the public with us, which is a vitally important point, and bring everyone along with us. This is going to be fantastic, and we will definitely be there to make it so. However, following the testing, once we have been to the archery and we have the tickets—and the T-shirt, too—then we need to communicate again that the systems work, and that the testing is happening along with everything else. Then we will all be happy, and I will withdraw the amendment in order to facilitate that.
Amendment 7 withdrawn.
Clause 3 agreed.
Amendment 8 not moved.
9: After Clause 3, insert the following new Clause—
(1) Section 6 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (2) insert—
“(3) Any consultation under subsection (2) shall include a request from the Authority that the Commissioner or relevant chief constable provides an estimate of the number of police officers required to be deployed in order that the Olympic Delivery Authority may effectively exercise its duties under subsection (1).””
My Lords, the purpose of Amendment 9 is to raise some questions about the police numbers required at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The amendment would provide for the Commissioner or relevant chief constable to give an estimate of the number of police officers required to be deployed.
In evidence to the Committee in the other place, the assistant commissioner from the Metropolitan Police said that,
“we are talking about a policing operation of about 9,000 police officers on peak days. If we put that into context, at Notting Hill carnival—which is the biggest policing operation we normally do—on the Sunday we deploy 5,000 police officers, and on the Monday we deploy 6,000 officers … there is a recognition that the Met cannot deliver that alone. So during 2012, we will be calling on something called mutual aid, with colleagues from across the country”—[Official Report, Commons, London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill Committee, 17/5/11; col. 47.].
The security operation for the Games will be the largest peacetime security operation held in the UK, with more than, as I understand it, 20 per cent of the police shifts that are likely to take place during the course of the Games being carried out by officers from outside London. On top of that, officers will be moved from their London boroughs to assist with the policing of the Games.
All of that will be happening at a time when the number of police officers is being cut. By March 2012, the Metropolitan Police will have nearly 1,000 fewer officers than it had two years previously. Across the country as a whole, up to two-thirds of budget reductions will have taken place in the run-up to the Games, with possibly as many as 10,000 fewer police officers available. On top of that, there is already evidence that violent crime is on the increase and there is a possibility that this trend will continue into and beyond the Games.
The Police Federation has raised concerns that forces outside London will struggle to find the finances and manpower to send officers to the capital and to other Olympic venues, which could lead to further pressure on an already stretched Metropolitan Police. It rather appears, from evidence given to the Committee in the other place, that additional resources will in part be provided by cancelling annual leave, training and rest days. If that is going to happen on an extended basis over a period of time, there is a danger that we will end up with a police force that is stretched not only because of numbers but through fatigue.
On top of that, the Government are proposing, in the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill, to make changes to the present control order regime to deal with threats of terrorism and take out the present provisions that the current Home Secretary has already used to ensure that people deemed to constitute a serious threat are relocated outside the capital. If the Government’s proposals go through, people who have been moved away from London because they represent a serious terrorist threat may be able to come back to London. That would also mean that, in the future, those deemed to constitute a serious terrorist threat who are already in London could remain in the capital. Frankly, with the Olympics just around the corner, that does not seem a very helpful idea.
To rectify that situation, additional resources for more intensive surveillance will be required at a time when the police and security forces will be stretched to the limit with the Olympics. I simply want—
My Lords, I am sorry to bite the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, off in his prime, but there is a Division in the Chamber. The Committee stands adjourned for 10 minutes.
Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.
My Lords, I had nearly concluded what I wanted to say in moving this amendment. I want to end with some questions for the Minister. Will police forces both outside London and in the separate London boroughs, albeit part of the Metropolitan Police, have to send whatever number of officers is required for the different Olympic venues irrespective of the impact on crime in their own areas? Is it the intention to use the territorial Reserve Forces at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for any duties that would otherwise be undertaken by police officers? Can the Minister provide assurances that sufficient police officers will be available to police the Games and that it will not be to the detriment of required policing levels in the forces from which the police offers have come?
My Lords, I declare an interest. I am a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority. I chair its finance and resources committee. I also chair the Met’s Olympics sub-committee. I want to shed some more light on police numbers because I think there is a slight confusion. I will explain the background. At the moment, police numbers are calculated by the number of officers who are fully trained. The system for calculating police officers was changed about two years ago. Previously, police officers were considered to be warranted officers on the day they started their training, but the system was changed so that they are not now considered warranted officers until the day they finish their training. In order to compare like with like for police numbers two years ago and now, it is necessary to take the number of warranted officers plus the number of officers in training who will be trained by the end of this financial year. If you add those two figures together, the number of officers will not be down by 1,000 but will be up by 45. I thought it necessary to clarify that. The other issue that I would like to shed light on, wearing my hat as chair of the Olympic sub-committee, is that borough commanders have all signed up individually to the fact that their officers willl be doing additional shifts or that there will be additional rest days. I hope that is helpful to noble Lords.
This is another example of things that looked fine on the night, but have subsequently gone seriously wrong, so we have to respond to them as far as the general public is concerned. We all saw awful things on our televisions a few weeks ago: riots in the street. It is not impossible that at the very time when you are looking to have police brought in from other police forces, something similar could be happening outside London, or in London itself.
I am raising this point so that we can make sure that we can reassure the general public that everything that can be done is being done. None the less, we must be realistic and ask ourselves whether any chief constable is going to release members of his force if he has some form of riot on his own doorstep? It is pretty unlikely. We have to look at this realistically. This is something that the general public are beginning to think about because, of course, safety is the absolute priority of these Games. We cannot possibly allow ourselves to miss out on making sure that we have enough force. The Minister said that there will be enough, but with a 20 per cent cut in police numbers already, the police are not particularly happy at the circumstances they find themselves in outside the Olympics. Are we going to face a situation where we find hostility towards the request to bring more police into London in order to facilitate policing the Games? These are questions that the general public would like the Minister to answer.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for tabling this amendment. As the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, has just made so very clear, the safety and security of Games venues, supporting infrastructure and the wider public environment next summer is a paramount priority for the Government and for all concerned.
The noble Lord will be aware that the proposed amendment was considered, before being withdrawn, during the Bill’s passage in the other place. On that occasion, it was moved by the right honourable Member for Dulwich and West Norwood, Tessa Jowell, to whom, of course, we all owe a significant debt of gratitude for her tireless and unstinting commitment to delivering the bid and vision for London 2012. I am sure that all Members of your Lordships’ House will echo my sentiments on this point.
This amendment would require, in the context of such consultations as the Olympic Delivery Authority considers appropriate with relevant police authorities, the same police authorities to provide an estimate of required police deployments in order to enable the ODA to fulfil its responsibilities under Section 6(1) of the 2006 Act. Your Lordships will be aware that, as under the previous Administration, the Government have pursued a policy of maximum transparency in communicating what London 2012 safety and security will look and feel like. This includes public statements from the police on the expected requirement for policing the Games—at current estimates, up to 9,000 officers in London and 12,000 officers nationally on peak days. I am most grateful to my noble friend Lady Doocey for clarifying the position on police availability and numbers. Naturally, those numbers will be flexed up or down as necessary in response to changes in intelligence and the threat environment.
The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked whether sufficient police officers will be available. Yes, indeed they will. Planning for policing the Games has been going on for several years, determining the scale and nature of the deployment required to meet this unprecedented challenge. The police are applying their professional judgment for the size and nature of deployment required, including the call on mutual aid. Planning is taking place nationwide to ensure sufficient numbers will be available. The noble Lord also asked whether the military or territorial forces would be used to undertake police duties. There are no plans to use the military to undertake duties that are properly the responsibility of the police service, but the Government, LOCOG and G4S are working together to finalise the requirements for Olympic venue security and discussing with the MoD the likely role in Olympic security for military assets. So it is quite possible that the Armed Forces will provide some specialist support, as they already do in times of need, but the exact nature of this requirement is still to be agreed and a number of options are being explored. In addition, all mutual aid deployment will be by agreement between the lending force and the Metropolitan Police.
Noble Lords may have had an opportunity to read the evidence of Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, during the Bill’s passage in the other place. He was very clear that the police have the resources that they need to do their job and that the system of mutual aid that will be used to supplement Olympic policing in London and Dorset with officers from other force areas is robust and fit for purpose. In giving his evidence, he was, of course, fully aware of the budgetary constraints that police authorities, like all parts of the public sector, face and will continue to face next year. The police service conducts periodic reviews of the resources available nationally, particularly in relation to specialisms, and this consistently shows that there will be sufficient numbers of officers available next summer to ensure the safety and security of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is also worth emphasising that forces which lend officers to London and Dorset, or indeed, any other venue, will be reimbursed in line with normal mutual aid arrangements. They will therefore be able to backfill, through the use of overtime, so policing in those areas will not be denuded as a result of the Olympics. I should make it clear that the additional costs of the safety and security operation are coming from the Government and not from local policing budgets. As the Committee may be aware, the Government are making available £475 million for the additional costs of policing and wider security, and that is part of the overall £9.3 billion public sector funding package.
While I welcome the focus of the amendment, its substance would be an unnecessary addition to the 2006 Act because there is nothing in that Act to prevent discussions on police resources between relevant authorities. In practice, there have been and continue to be extensive discussions between all concerned parties—the police, the Home Office, the ODA, DCMS, LOCOG and others—on planned police deployments at London 2012 venues.
The Olympic Delivery Authority has done a truly fantastic job delivering a series of world-class venues on time and on budget. However, the proposed purpose of the amendment is out of step with the increasing transfer of a wide range of responsibilities at Games venues, including security, from the ODA to LOCOG. At the Olympic park itself, this handover will be completed in January. None of us underestimates the overriding imperative of delivering effective safety and security at and around Games venues. However, in the light of police assurances that they will have the resources that they require next year to do the job, I suggest that the amendment is not necessary and I invite the noble Lord to withdraw it.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response and the answers that she has given to the questions that I raised. I understand from what the Minister said that the issue of police coming from other forces will be determined by agreement with those other forces and that it will be on the basis of full reimbursement of costs. That is what I understood was the thrust of the answer I was given.
I also noticed that the Minister said that the basis of the reimbursement of costs would enable back-filling. I am not sure whether that will be done by reductions in annual leave, cancelling rest days or cancelling training, as appears to be the case as far as the Metropolitan Police is concerned. Certainly, one hopes that if that those are the ways in which the additional capacity will be made available, they do not happen to an excessive extent. As I mentioned in my contribution, we do not want police forces that are already stretched with regard to numbers also stretched through fatigue. However, in the light of the response that the Minister has given me, which I will wish to read again carefully in Hansard, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 9 withdrawn.
Amendment 10 not moved.
11: Before Clause 4, insert the following new Clause—
“Operation of Olympic Route Network
(1) Section 11 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (4)(a) leave out from “unless” to the end of the paragraph and insert “the following have been consulted—
(i) the highway authority, traffic authority or street authority with responsibility for each road designated in the order, and(ii) members of the public living in the Greater London Authority area and in the local authority areas through which roads designated in the order run,”.(3) After subsection (4)(a) insert—
“(aa) may not be made unless the consultation under paragraph (a) considered—(i) proposals for the minimisation of disruption to the general public due to the operation of the Olympic Route Network,(ii) proposals for informing members of the public in relation to the proposed Olympic Route Network and its likely impact on local and regional traffic,(iii) proposals for maintaining road safety and preventing accidents which might result from operation of the Olympic Route Network,(iv) proposals for allowing taxis licensed under section 37 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, section 6 of the Metropolitan Police Carriage Act 1869 or under any similar enactment to use the Olympic Route Network in appropriate circumstances, and (v) proposals for ensuring that the Olympic Route Network and related restrictions should be in operation for the shortest time possible in order to achieve the purposes set out in subsection (1) and (2).””
My Lords, the traffic management provisions in the original Act cover the Olympic route network and the areas around Games venues. As we heard at Second Reading from the distinguished Olympian the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, who was there, the power was introduced because of the traffic chaos at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Clearly, we do not want competitors missing their events and officials failing to turn up at the right time because London is gridlocked. However, these provisions in the Bill caused the most discussion in the other place. The amendment gives us the opportunity to scrutinise carefully what is proposed to ensure that the balance is right.
My attention has been drawn to a recent article in the Evening Standard that alleges that Olympic ticket-holders using public transport will spend up to five times longer getting to events than those travelling on the ORN. It suggests that it will take two and a half hours to get to the Olympic park from central London. On the other hand, the same distance will be covered in 30 minutes by athletes, media, officials, sponsors and VIPs who are allowed to use what has been branded by the media the “Olympic Zil lanes”.
In another article in the same paper, the broadcaster James May attacked the elitist use of the ORN. He said:
“If it's the athletes OK, because they have to be at a peak state of readiness … But if it's the chairman of Coca Cola or Barclays then they should either bloody well run there or go on a bicycle”.
Those are strong words and possibly unparliamentary—I apologise if they are—but there is a potential PR disaster here. There is a great deal to be said for minimising the number of people who will use the Olympic lanes, and to make a reality of the rhetoric that these are truly public transport games. Yet there is a sense of two classes of travellers to the Olympic park—those whose journeys are hell and those who glide down the Olympic lanes—and we have to anticipate that that will quickly become a source of tension because London is that sort of city.
Would the Minister answer some questions? We know the Games are going to cause serious disruption, and we are all agreed the key to this is issuing accurate, timeous and comprehensive information about the ORN plans. Will the Minister spell out when, and with what frequency, that will start to happen? Clearly the fewer days that the ORN has to be in place the better. What consideration has been given to reducing the time for which the ORN is in place to a minimum, hence minimising the disruption for ordinary Londoners?
We have seen various reports about the proposed changes to traffic signals. There is a need to assuage the fear that this programme, however modest, will significantly increase congestion throughout the whole of London. Will the Minister advise us when the final list of road closures will be issued? Is there any opportunity for people to be consulted? Is there a right of appeal if people have good grounds to be concerned? Regarding who exactly will be able to glide down the Olympic lanes, have any efforts been made to restrict the number of such persons, and with what success? Has any progress been made with plans to use the River Thames transport system for the Games?
There is concern about pedestrian road safety and how it would be affected by crossing closures. Will the Minister advise us when the final list of those closures will be issued? Is there an opportunity for people to consult it? Is there a right of appeal if people have good grounds to be concerned, for example, about safety?
Finally, what progress has been made to allow taxis to use the Olympic road network in specified areas or at specified times? At Second Reading we understood that negotiations were continuing, but we now hear that no taxis will be allowed to use the ORN at any time, including the very small hours of the morning. Is that true and is there any chance of a more flexible approach? I beg to move.
My Lords, I declare an interest. I am a board member of Transport for London. Also, as an ex-athlete, I feel slightly guilty that I have glided down Paralympic lanes in the past. The amendment would prevent the ORN and PRN coming into force unless there has been consultation with local authorities, residents and businesses that may be affected by it. I still think there is a huge amount that needs to be done to educate the public around the use of the ORN and the PRN, and I raised this at Second Reading.
I have seen personally that it is quite difficult to engage the media in issues around the ORN and the PRN, perhaps because it is not the most glamorous side of the Games in terms of spreading understanding. The aim of the ORN and the PRN is to move athletes and Games families around in a sensible manner, and we accept that London will be busy. However, I would like to raise a few points around the consultation and what the ORN and PRN are going to look like. It is important to remember that they will come into force only just before the Games begin. They will be discontinued when they are not needed, and there has been a serious attempt to minimise the number of roads used. It is 109 miles, which is, in effect, 1 per cent of London’s roads. It is also important to differentiate between the ORN and the Games lanes, which are only going to be 30 miles of London’s roads.
There has been extensive consultation with the boroughs, engaging with officials and politicians over design, implementation and the operation. Informal engagement about the detail has just come to an end and the commissioner has met with borough leaders to discuss the ORN and other Games timing issues. In terms of consultation with Londoners, half a million letters have gone out as part of an informal engagement. There have been 70 drop-in sessions run by Transport for London, and changes can be made in response. Also, all the information on the ORN and PRN is on the Transport for London website. In terms of minimising disruption, the ORN will only be operational a few days before the Games and not used between the Games, as has already been said.
There is also a lack of understanding about taxis’ use of the ORN. They are able to use the ORN but they are not able to use the Games lanes, which are vital for moving the athletes around. TFL has consulted with the London Cab Drivers Club, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and Unite the Union, and are including the possibility of giving them access to the same permissions as buses to turn onto the ORN and PRN. Those meetings are going to continue on a monthly basis. Finally, considering road safety has been central to the design of the ORN and PRN, there is an awareness that pedestrian crossings are of concern. Where the crossings have to close, there will be barriers with signage to the nearest safe crossing. I believe it is important that tactile paving will be covered to ensure that visually impaired people are not misguided. A great deal of work is ongoing with the London Visual Impairment Forum and local mobility groups to ensure that that consultation continues.
My Lords, I have reservations about the Olympic road network, but not the necessity to have one. I do not think that anyone in this country would not agree that it is absolutely imperative that athletes and necessary Games officials can get to the various events on time. I also understand that we must make it possible for sponsors, who have paid vast amounts of money for sponsorship deals, which also include tickets to the Games, to get to the Games on time. That is perfectly okay. I am speaking from memory, but I am concerned about the 82,000 people who will be allowed to use the Games lanes, of whom 25,000 are sponsors and about 18,000 are necessary officials and athletes. I totally accept that we have had to sign up to a deal with the IOC, but I honestly believe that more should be done to persuade the Olympic family members, who are not necessary for the smooth running of the Games, to use public transport.
Here, I come to my second point. I have a real concern about the figures that have been quoted for what will happen on the public transport system. When the bid book was published, we saw that figures produced by Transport for London suggested that in August every year there is a reduction in traffic of 20 per cent. We were told, in the same document, that the Olympic traffic would add only 5 per cent, so in theory we had headroom of 15 per cent. We are now told that, in addition to the normal reduction of 20 per cent in August, we need to reduce traffic at certain stages by a further 30 per cent. On my maths, that is a turnaround of about 44 per cent. My concern is that if the figures were so wrong then, how can we possibly believe that the figures quoted now are correct? I have reservations about them.
On the one hand, I would like to persuade as many people as possible to go off the Olympic network and on to public transport but, on the other hand, if public transport is to be affected so badly and the figures have been so miscalculated, it would seem that the more persuasive we are and the more we can get people off the Olympic network, the more problems we will have with public transport. I believe that many questions need to be answered but, more than anything, we need clarity on the Transport for London figures.
My final point is about black cabs. It is essential that there are some special arrangements for black taxis, not just to pick up and drop off from the Olympic lanes, otherwise I can see vast numbers of taxi owners’ livelihoods being put on hold for the six weeks of the Games. That is not what anyone would wish to happen.
My Lords, I agree very much with what the noble Baroness has just said. Certainly the presentation by my noble friend Lord Stevenson laid out the case for why we should look at this very clearly. If we get this wrong, it has the potential of being a PR disaster. Nothing will turn people away and make them more cross about not being able to get to their place of work or not being able to do the things that they want to do in their normal day than seeing sponsors and people from other organisations—dare I say fat cats—using this gilded route. Nothing will turn the general public away more clearly than that. No one in their wildest dreams would suggest that the athletes and their coaches should not be given priority, and the media. That is essential to the smooth running of the Games.
There has surely to be some flexibility. We have to do more than persuade people to go on public transport; we may have to instruct people that they have to do that. It may be that those boats have already been burnt and that we have undertakings with our sponsors and the people whom I gather will come to stay in the Dorchester and the Grosvenor Hotel and everywhere else—people coming from other organisations to which we will give this priority transport. I am not sure about any of that. This is something that we have to look at clearly, and it may have to be addressed as a problem that needs further scrutiny.
My Lords, this is the first time that I have spoken on this Bill. I did not speak on Second Reading and I have not spoken so far this afternoon. Through carelessness, I was out of the Room when the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, was moving this amendment. I do not know how much he has said about the views in the Newspaper Society on these matters. I know that he was consulted and so I imagine that he has and I shall read them thereafter.
I have a couple of questions to ask my noble friend the Minister arising out of the exchanges that have just occurred. I totally understand that these traffic forecasts are extremely difficult to make, and that has been illustrated in the speeches that have already been made. My question relates to how far there is detailed traffic planning in the context of each individual venue in London where aspects of the Olympics are taking place. My noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint referred to Lord’s; we of course know about Greenwich, and my noble friend Lord Crickhowell was telling me at lunch about some pretty disagreeable experiences that they are having already in the vicinity of Wimbledon. Are the forecasts that we are talking about all related to east London, or are they in fact in separate places as well? In saying that, I have temporarily forgotten the second thing that I was going to ask, so I may intervene on my noble friend the Minister or indeed on the noble Lord, Lord Coe, while they respond to the debate.
My Lords, I appreciate that behind this amendment is a concern about minimising the impact of the Olympic route network—the ORN—on people living and working in the areas concerned. I am pleased to be able to assure noble Lords that that is one of our key objectives in implementing the ORN for the 2012 Games and that extensive local consultation and communication are already under way and will continue through to the Games. I am most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, for her very helpful clarifications on a range of points that were raised by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, in his opening remarks.
The provision of an ORN to facilitate transport of the athletes, officials, accredited media and marketing partners who together form the Games family is part of the host city contract with the International Olympic Committee. The ORN is a tried and tested concept used at previous Games to ensure that all those working at the Games get to where they need to be safely and on time every time, while keeping London moving. In response to the question from my noble friend Lord Brooke, that of course includes all the different venues in and around London.
The vast majority of the ORN roads will be open to all road users. The Games family will be transported as efficiently as possible with most, including marketing partners, travelling by bus or coach; at peak times, on some sections of the ORN, the traffic flow will include a Games family vehicle passing every four seconds.
In response to my noble friend Lady Doocey, where feasible the Games family will be encouraged to use public transport, and Transport for London is working with the London Organising Committee on the supply of Oyster cards for them. Of course, we take into account the problem she highlighted of the stress that there will be on normal travellers on London transport. That will need to be monitored very carefully to make sure that they are not severely disadvantaged by this.
The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, mentioned river services. There will be enhanced river services on the Thames. These may be an attractive option for spectators travelling to the Greenwich venues, but they are unlikely to attract many Games family members due to their relatively low speed and frequency. They do, however, mean that all options for delivering effective Games-time transport are being utilised. The river, of course, provides a particularly appealing way of travelling through London.
The roads forming the ORN have already been designated, and the impact assessments for the designation orders made it clear that there are two stages to implementation of the ORN, the first being the designation and the second being the development of the detailed designs for measures on the roads, which includes the formal consultation on traffic regulation orders required for the measures. I stress that there have been consultations at every stage of this development.
The sorts of considerations listed in the amendment are most appropriate for this second stage. Transport for London is working closely with the boroughs in London, and the ODA and local authorities outside are working through the consultations, which are well under way. There is a wide-ranging programme of information and advice to business about the potential impact of the Games, including the ORN, on the transport system. That started last November, enabling businesses to plan ahead and minimise the impact on their operations. Information and publicity campaigns to the general public about Games transport and the ORN will begin next year.
The consultation process on the ORN measures is enabling Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority to take account of responses from those living on and around the ORN, and those who may be affected by it in the development of the detailed plans. In particular, the ORN traffic regulation orders are going through the standard statutory procedures which include informal and then formal consultation. Detailed plans are being adjusted, where possible, in the light of the comments and representations received, further to reduce the impacts. As an example, as a result of intensive work with the boroughs and other key stakeholders prior to the launch of public consultation, Transport for London has reduced the number of planned pedestrian crossing closures on the ORN from 115 to 48, and received very few requests in the subsequent engagement process for crossings to be reopened. I also assure noble Lords that all the traffic measures are subject to road safety audits.
The ORN will be implemented with the minimum impact on London. Noble Lords asked about the timescale; it is expected to be brought into operation just a couple of days before the Olympic Games and discontinued swiftly when it is no longer needed. The ORN will operate only when and where it needs to as determined by the training and competition schedule. When a competition venue runs for only a few days, the ORN will need to operate only during these periods. The same strategy will be employed for the smaller scale Paralympic route network during the Paralympic Games.
Temporary Games lanes for use by Games family vehicles will be used on the busiest sections of the ORN only at certain times. Where lanes are required, these will tend to be those closest to the middle of the road, helping to minimise disruption to buses, cyclists and taxis. Lanes will not take up the whole road width in any direction. The noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, was very concerned that the wrong people might be seen to be using the lanes. In the case of the sponsors, of course, they are entitled in certain circumstances to use of the Games lanes, because they have contributed very greatly to ensuring that funding is in place for the success of the Games. As a sideline, in that I often have to speak about tourism in this House, if they are staying at the Dorchester and spending money at our hotels it will be an extremely welcome boost to the London tourist industry. So all is not lost if some people who come to the Games are living at central London locations and taking advantage of the facilities available in central London hotels.
At Second Reading and again this evening, noble Lords raised the potential impact of the ORN on taxis. I assure noble Lords that taxis will, like any other vehicle, be able to use the vast majority of the ORN, but they will not be able to use the Games lanes when they are in operation. During their operating hours, Games lanes will be well used by Games family traffic, and if taxis were added to this mix it would be impossible to guarantee journey times for the Games family. But the vast majority of the lanes, as the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, made clear, will be fully usable by taxis.
In line with the overarching aim of seeking to minimise, as much as possible, any adverse impact at Games time, I assure the Committee that we are working closely with the industry on the detailed plans for individual sections of the ORN to plan pick-up and drop-off points and to mitigate, where practicable, the impact of other planned access and turn restrictions. Transport for London is currently reviewing all such suspended turns on the network and examining the impact on traffic flows and journey times before making recommendations for each turn. Transport for London has already agreed to lift a number of such restrictions for taxis and will continue to meet regularly, every month, with representatives of the taxi trade in the run-up to the Games, because we recognise the very important part that taxis will play when we have so many visitors here in London. More widely, information packs are being put together for all taxi and private hire drivers, which will cover the ORN, venues and other details about the Games, ensuring that drivers can operate effectively and make the most of the opportunities that the Games offer.
In response to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, I can confirm that LOCOG is undertaking detailed planning of the transport arrangements at each venue, which I think I referred to earlier. I think that I have also covered the point on the pedestrian closures, to which the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, referred, and the planned road closures and other traffic measures. The process is expected to be completed by spring next year, when the details should be very readily and widely available.
There were questions on the increase of transport, and my noble friend Lady Doocey mentioned the concern about the numbers that have been mentioned. Under normal conditions, there are 23.8 million trips per day in London, on the figures that I have here, and up to 3 million additional trips in London on the busiest day of the Games, with more than 600,000 people travelling to the Olympic Games on the busiest day. So we will need to reduce non-Olympic demand by approximately 30 per cent to ensure that London can keep moving, although there will need to be large reductions at specific stations and on specific lines, and that scale of reduction has been achieved at previous Games.
One other aspect of that, which was raised just recently, is the anticipation that the standard tourist traffic is likely to reduce during Games time. Concern has been expressed by people in the hospitality sector that, although the traffic coming to the Games will increase, they will lose on the other side people who come for normal tourist activities at that time of year. So there may be some balancing out of the numbers in the city, but we all recognise what an incredibly busy city London is and that there will undoubtedly be pressures on all the methods of transport during the time of the Games.
I hope that I have been able to assure noble Lords that their very reasonable concerns and the issues that have been raised in the course of this debate are under active consideration and the plans of the ORN’s operation are being developed and communicated. Once again, the need for clear communication has been raised by a number of noble Lords. On that basis, I hope that the noble Lord will feel free to withdraw the amendment.
My Lords, I did not interrupt my noble friend the Minister during her speech because I did not want to break her continuity. I have now remembered the question that I wanted to ask; it enables me also to express pleasure in the presence of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, that the name Mandeville was selected as one of the celebrities associated with the Games. On the strength of Mandeville having been included, I paid my first pilgrimage to Much Wenlock earlier this year in order to learn about the Olympian Games in the 19th century.
I have a question for the Minister, who I do not think made any reference to this issue in her response and, therefore, it is possible that it was not a question that the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, asked. The Newspaper Society, in addition to all the other what I would call games-related issues, is concerned about what will happen to newspaper deliveries in terms of haulage transport during the Games. The question about which there was concern is, if there are going to be last-minute road closures, it is vital that postcode data relating to road closures are communicated on a website as soon as they are known. It is really a case of whether they will all be done on the same website, which would make matters much simpler from the point of view of anyone relying on that data.
My Lords, I am not sure that I can entirely answer the noble Lord and I will have to come back to him on that specific point. Obviously, it will be part of the whole parcel of communication which will go to all the different people involved in ensuring that London keeps moving and that the Games operate as successfully and smoothly as we want.
My Lords, I thank everyone who participated in this debate, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, for her ability to spin across into Transport for London issues, which was very helpful, and the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, whose contribution brought the practicalities of London very much to the forefront.
I am left with three or four points that it might be worth sharing with the Committee. We are dealing with a road transport system in London that is already pretty fragile and anything that one does to it is bound to have a major impact. It used to be said that if you wanted to bring London to a standstill you simply had to put one man and a digger somewhere in Soho: it had such an effect in terms of road traffic that it could close the whole of the city, which may still be true. I know that attempts are going to be made to make sure that there are no road repairs during the period about which we are talking. But, even so, it is a fragile arrangement.
Given that it is fragile, the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, are quite worrying. I know that the Minister tried to give us some gloss on those figures. If the bid book was wrong and the figures were underestimated, what are the correct figures? Would it be possible—not in this debate—for her to write to the noble Baroness and me to give us a linkage back to the bid book, to what the figures should have been if they were wrong and to what the figures will be on the best possible estimates? I am intrigued by the idea that somehow there has to be a reduction of 30 per cent in current use. How will that be achieved? Are we saying that more measures than have currently been discussed will have to be brought out? Are we going to say to people that they will have to take rolling holidays? I can see some advantage in that. Again, I do not need a response today, but it would be useful to have some sense of how that will happen.
My worry is that we may have the best Games possible and that they will be incredibly successful, but that the price we will pay will be a significant dip in GDP, which we perhaps had not anticipated, because people are not able to get to work or they decide to take the line of least resistance and not go into work on the days when the Games are happening. I am being frivolous, but at the heart of this there are problems.
The points on which I am still a little concerned are that the river will be used only for events happening at Greenwich—it seems to me that the river could be utilised much better in terms of providing ancillary transport from a river stopping point, perhaps near Canary Wharf, to the Games, which would save all the central London movement—and the issue about black cabs. Again, I could not quite make out what was being said.
The ORN is a physical mark on a map and can be measured. It is said to be 109 miles in length. Clearly when it is not being used for Olympic purposes, it can be used for ordinary transport, but the feeling has come across, whether it is right or not, that black cabs will not be allowed to go on to the network at all, and that is what is causing the problem. If it is clear that they can, we are back to our old friend communication.
These are going to be brilliant Games, but we must get people on side. We must get them to support them. We need to start communicating better about the transport issues because they are definitely going to continue. The Minister gave us a lot of detail about the consultations going ahead, which was generally very comforting, but there is a difference between consultations about particular closures in particular places and general broad communication about what is happening. I still think that there is room for much more on the latter point, even though the former point will take much of the load. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 11 withdrawn.
Clauses 4 to 8 agreed.
Debate on whether Clause 9 should stand part of the Bill.
This is a formal procedure in order to get into a discussion about the relaxation of licensing conditions that will make it easier for haulage operators to adjust to the difficulties that they may experience as a result of the Games. In response to the query from the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, I intend to mention newspaper deliveries because that seems to fit more closely with the general concerns that the Newspaper Society was expressing.
For those whose business is delivering and transporting goods and services, it is a major concern that there is going to be sustained problems during the Olympic Games, but they accept that. The difficulty is that they have not experienced the impact of the sustained duration of the Games compared with what they have to do for big, one-off events such as royal weddings, and that creates the different proposition that they are struggling with. The keys to this are more flexibility, proportionality and information. When the Minister responds, can she advise us of the final list of operating constraints and when it will be issued so that the information flow can begin? Can she give us some information about the consultations that took place on that?
Time-critical deliveries for perishable goods or newspaper deliveries, as I have mentioned, often operate with a limited time slot, so they are particularly vulnerable not only to the traffic measures that we talked about on a previous amendment, but to the need to make changes to arrangements that may impact adversely on the working conditions of the drivers and haulage operators directly affected by the changes. Can the Minister tell us what assessment of the impact of these changes, particularly in the working practices of the drivers and ancillary workers, has been carried out? Can that assessment be published?
Finally, can the Minister say what information it is proposed to issue to businesses in this area of activity, when it might be issued, how regularly it will be done and whether there will be a central point where this information is held and can be consulted? Will there be a dedicated website? Will this be a proactive process or a reactive one? In other words, will information be pushed out to businesses or will they have to find it for themselves and make what they can of what they can find? The former would certainly be more appropriate and, given the particular difficulties of the long period of disruption, it would be a gesture that would be very well received.
Deleting Clause 9 would remove a provision added in the other place to permit last-minute changes to goods vehicles operator’s licences. It allows traffic commissioners temporarily to suspend or amend licence conditions regulating the hours of operation of goods vehicle operating centres without the need to carry out a consultation. The provision applies in the period leading up to, during and immediately after the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. It ensures that businesses in London can continue to receive goods deliveries in Games time and permits freight operators to rearrange deliveries to comply with Games restrictions without breaching their licence conditions.
If I thought that it was difficult to raise the media profile of the ORN, it is even more of a challenge to do so for freight deliveries. The temporary provision is necessary to ensure that freight deliveries continue to take place in central London. It might not be immediately obvious, but they are crucial to the success of the Games. Many goods vehicles licences held by freight operators include an environmental restriction that constrains hours of operation and additional night-time deliveries may be necessary. While it is important to encourage businesses to think about Games times, it has been a real challenge to encourage companies to think nine or 10 months ahead. Some companies are not in a position to do that, especially single traders or the man with a white van. That is one of the realities that we face with this.
We need to ensure that those people are not penalised. It is also important that traffic commissioners are able to deal with late requests effectively and to protect the needs of those residents who will otherwise be affected by operators breaking their licence conditions. I do not believe that it should be a permanent change, but it is necessary for Games time.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for raising these issues and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, for her helpful response in relation to this clause. As we have heard, the context for this clause is the impact on Londoners’ day-to-day lives that the Games and the Games operations will have, and the challenges, as well as opportunities, that businesses, employees and the general public need to plan ahead for.
Transport for London is leading an extensive travel demand management programme to help people plan ahead and to influence the pattern of transport demand. In particular, through its travel advice to the business programme, which started last November, it is helping businesses to start considering now how they will operate during the Olympic and Paralympic Games period to minimise the impact of travel disruption on their operations.
Transport for London is talking to businesses of all sizes to help them plan for the Games and is advising businesses that they may need to consider reducing travel or changing to another mode, re-timing or re-routing journeys to ensure that they can not only keep on running efficiently but benefit from the opportunities that the Games will bring.
To support this wider programme of encouraging businesses to plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, TfL argued in evidence to the Public Bill Committee in another place, that in order to ensure that businesses in London can continue to receive goods deliveries and that operators can arrange delivery times that are compliant with Games-time restrictions, amendments to goods vehicles legislation are required. This clause therefore addresses TfL's concerns by bringing forward a small number of essentially technical amendments.
To set some context, operator licences are granted by traffic commissioners, who are independent office holders statutorily appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport. One matter that a traffic commissioner is required to consider when granting a licence is the suitability of the operating centre where vehicles will be usually kept. Under the current process, on applying for an operator's licence, or on seeking a variation to their licence, an operator must advertise their application in a local newspaper. In addition, traffic commissioners publish all applications received in a document called Applications and Decisions.
There is an existing process by which operators may apply to vary the conditions of their licence, and traffic commissioners are planning to communicate early with all operators with environmental conditions that restrict their hours of operation to ask whether they wish to seek, under the current application procedures, a change in their route, hours or days of operation, if it is likely that they will be affected by the Olympics. In most cases, the Government would expect operators to plan for this eventuality and seek a variation via the normal procedures. Traffic commissioners plan to write to those operators who have environmental licence conditions reminding them of the need to consider this, so a number of different forms of communication will be used to ensure that people are aware of what they need to do and how they can continue to operate.
However, despite such preparatory steps, the Government believe that there will be some operators who, due to unforeseen circumstances such as the award of a short-term haulage contract, or a short-notice change to an existing contract, will need to seek a relaxation of their environmental licence conditions very shortly before the start of the Olympics period. Government intervention is therefore necessary to ensure that, in such exceptional circumstances, operators can apply at short notice for a relaxation of their hours of operation, so that they can continue to make deliveries in areas affected by traffic restrictions during the Olympics period.
As a result, Clause 9 provides for an expedited process which would: remove the statutory requirement that an Olympics-related application be advertised by the operator who submitted the application; remove the requirement for traffic commissioners to publish the application; retain the statutory power for a traffic commissioner to hold public inquiries to seek further information to inform their decision as to whether to grant an application; and remove the statutory requirement that the notice period for a public inquiry can be abridged only if the consent of all persons entitled to attend a public inquiry is given.
Certain consequences will flow from this. First, local residents and statutory objectors will not receive advance notice of specific applications, although a decision made by the traffic commissioner must still be published. Secondly, the statutory appeal route for statutory objectors will not be available. Of course, this does not remove other legal remedies such as the right of judicial review, which is currently the only route available for local residents anyway.
We have considered very carefully whether it is proportionate and justified to remove some safeguards. We consider that it is. Without short-circuiting existing procedures, there will be no way that an urgent application, arising from unforeseen circumstances, can be dealt with quickly enough. However, importantly, traffic commissioners' powers to determine individual applications would be retained including their powers to impose additional conditions to counter any additional environmental nuisance that may result. Retaining the discretion of traffic commissioners and their knowledge of operators and localities when considering individual applications will help to avoid any abuse of this temporary flexibility.
An alternative approach that we considered was to allow for a blanket relaxation of hours of operation for all haulage operators with such restrictions. However, we concluded that this would be too broad-brush and thus open to abuse by operators potentially leading to many complaints from local residents. Retaining the discretion of traffic commissioners under the shortened procedure is a sensible “middle-ground” approach. Taken together, these measures should help to ensure that, during Games time, goods can still be delivered and services provided, so that businesses can continue to operate and serve their customers and the public. With those reassurances, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to agree that the clause should stand part of the Bill.
Clause 9 agreed.
12: After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause—
“Delivery of an Olympic and Paralympic legacy
After section 36 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, insert—“36A Legacy
The Secretary of State is required to report to Parliament twice annually on the progress of the delivery of a London Olympic games and Paralympic games legacy, with specific focus on the following aims—(a) to deliver a lasting sporting legacy which—(i) increases national participation in sports;(ii) improves sports provision in schools; and(iii) delivers wider uptake of new sports;(b) to deliver a programme of cultural activity which—(i) showcases UK creativity, culture and innovation;(ii) promotes grassroots cultural engagement in communities; and(iii) delivers a UK Cultural Olympiad;(c) to deliver an Olympic Park legacy which—(i) achieves economic regeneration and sustainable development of the local economy;(ii) supports continued local and national use of the Olympic Park and its buildings; and(iii) provides an international blueprint for sustainable living”.”
My Lords, London's successful bid to host the Games was premised on a shared view across all the parties and both Houses that they should be about much more than 60 days of Olympic and Paralympic sport.
At Second Reading, we talked about bringing desperately needed jobs and inward investment to London and the local area and the hope that a successful Games would generate a sense of national renewal whereby after the Games, communities up and down the country would be more optimistic and ambitious about their futures and would have a greater belief in the possibilities of their own achievements. The interest in tickets for the Games and the burgeoning media interest in the organising of the Games and the progress of our athletes bodes well. It would be a great pity if we did not in the event manage to use the Games to transform our economy, our culture and our environment in permanent and beneficial ways.
The previous Government published their legacy plans via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Legacy Promises document in 2007. The five promises were: to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation, to transform the heart of east London, to inspire a generation of young people to take part in local volunteering, cultural and physical activity, to make the Olympic park a blueprint for sustainable living and to demonstrate the UK as a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business. It would be hard to give concrete figures or targets for any of those promises but can the Minister update us on the progress that her Government are making towards achieving those targets?
On making the UK a world-leading sporting nation, the previous Government pledged to use the power of the Games to inspire a million more people to play sport three or more times a week.
A second pledge, to be delivered through the Department of Health, promised to get 1 million more people doing more general physical activity. We gather that both those targets have been dropped. Is that the case? If so, what are the targets now? The latest Sport England figures that I can find, from April 2011, seem very disappointing. They show that 17 sports have recorded a decline in the number of people playing once a week since 2007-08 and only four, mountaineering, athletics, netball and table tennis, have recorded a significant increase.
Could the Minister also update us on the progress of the Cultural Olympiad? We gather that the programme is about to be announced, so perhaps she could give us a glimpse of the performances and activities that will put flesh on the aspiration to demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business.
On the Olympic park, part of the East End of London has been transformed from a contaminated wasteland into what has been described as the largest urban park to be created in Europe for 150 years. You cannot but be impressed by what has been achieved and by the plans for the sustainable community that are now coming to fruition. It is clear that the housing and retail developments there are radically improving the economic profile of the five boroughs. However, can the Minister explain in more detail the implications for the Government of the decision to pull out of negotiations to sell the stadium to West Ham football club? Where have the capital funds come from for this, given that, as we learnt from the February 2011 NAO report, the ODA’s contingency fund is almost fully committed, and also given the NAO’s concern in the same report that there should be a clear plan for mitigating the costs of maintaining any assets for which the ODA remains responsible after the Games, in the event that the legacy company is unsuccessful in its procurement of long-run operators? Who will meet the long-run costs of this part of the site, going forward? I beg to move.
My Lords, I tried to get my name down to this amendment, because this is a very important debate. I am afraid that I managed to mess that process up, as I did when I tried to draft an amendment for a similar type of discussion.
The idea that this Olympics went beyond purely the Games themselves is a very good aspiration. However, it has proved fairly difficult to deliver. To be perfectly honest, it seems that the more the Government are involved in those aims, the worse we have done. I use the word “Government” to mean the Treasury Bench and whoever is in charge. When the Olympic movement itself was in charge, it brought more concrete and sustainable things and seemed to do rather better. That is the impression that I have at the moment.
We had targets under the previous Government and we had arguments about double accounting and what it meant. One thing that we may discover from this is the limitations of government involvement to achieve certain things. Looking at this we can get some idea of what we can and cannot achieve, with reasonable levels of effort, and we will be able to take something very valuable away with us for the next time we have a huge event. The Olympics is the ultimate pan-national event. We have learnt from the delivery of various things what went wrong in Athens and right in Sydney, et cetera. The fact that we can pass this information on to the next cities to host the Games will be a good thing. If government piggybacks on the Olympics to achieve something, we should know what has and has not been achieved.
I suggest that we could go on with this matter for some considerable time. The questions raised in the amendment are quite profound as regards what has happened in the Olympics and where we go, and the relative successes and failures that there will be in the process. When I was trying to draw up an amendment, without getting too complicated or esoteric, I might have excluded paragraph (c) from the discussion, for the simple reason that it will be easy to judge that matter, and most of the activity there seems to have been reasonably successful.
Once again, I think this is a question about what government can achieve and cannot achieve. I would hope that, for instance, the first beneficiary of this information would probably be Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games, and all future Games. It is very easy to forget that there has to be a continuum, a legacy; it is not just a one-off event. I hope that the Minister will be able to give us some idea about the government thinking as regards their involvement, learning lessons and backing up successes and not repeating failures.
If the Minister will permit me, it may be more appropriate if I try to update the Committee on the current position with the Olympic stadium, on a factual basis, because it is something of a moving feast. I do not expect the Minister's office to be as up-to-date as I am because I seem to receive e-mails on my Blackberry every five minutes, which I endeavour to pass on.
The announcement that was made a fortnight ago to complete this competition was done entirely deliberately. I believe it was a good decision that the Government and the mayor made with us. Sadly, it was done in the teeth of continuing legal action and with references to the European Commission about the decision that was made last February to have West Ham United, Newham and UK Athletics as the preferred tenants of the Olympic park. As noble Lords will know, that was subject to extensive judicial review over the summer, in which the process was entirely vindicated by Mr Justice Davis.
The one outstanding issue was Newham’s financial participation in this deal, which was challenged on the basis that it somehow constituted state aid. The very clear advice that we had the whole way through was that it was not state aid. We expected that position to be completely vindicated at the hearing that was scheduled for 17 October. However, a week before that hearing, an anonymous complaint and reference was formally made to the Commission, which could have taken many months, and potentially years, to resolve. It is rather pathetic to have an anonymous complaint to the Commission. If someone feels aggrieved, they should have the backbone to say who they are and what their grievance is. Nevertheless, it was evident to us that that would have blighted the planning for the transformation of the Olympic stadium potentially for many years. None of us wanted to see the Olympic stadium in darkness in 2015-16. That would have been an absolute travesty.
Therefore, we decided to withdraw from the initial competition and to complete the transformation of the stadium using public money, which is not new money. It is money that was always in the ODA transformation budget for stadium works and it was always in the capital settlement that was granted to the OPLC in the comprehensive spending review for necessary stadium works in the event that the stadium was not sold to the private sector. So there is nothing new about this. The money is there, and the budget is there.
We will now move forward, potentially with Newham council, to undertake those works ourselves. That lets us put in a planning application in good time to ensure that the construction works start, so that we can reopen the stadium for the 2014-15 Diamond League season and potentially for the football and rugby season, should a tenant now come forward in the new competition, which is a lease that will go to the market. We will invite football and, possibly, rugby clubs and a range of people to come in as what my friends in UK Athletics call the winter tenant for the stadium. We are saying that the stadium will be completed, and we will get the planning application in place next year. In the next month or so, a lease will go to the market and we shall invite interested parties to come forward to take that lease. We fully expect this interesting saga to be resolved by the spring of next year.
It was quite clear that we could not be held ransom to anonymous complaints to Europe which would have taken a long time to resolve and which would have blighted the future of the stadium. I think the action that was taken was disappointing. I would love to have been able to sign the original deal, but we have to restructure the deal in a very sensible way. There is no additional call on public money, if that was the point being made by my noble friend Lord Stevenson. The budget has always been there to do that. I hope that helps.
My Lords, I believe that it is really important to keep track of the positive impact of the Games. Looking at these amendments, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Addington, about subsection (c) and the Olympic park legacy which maybe fits into another area. I am really delighted that finally the world of sport is starting to recognise that legacy is a responsibility of everyone in sport—except LOCOG—and from my experience the talk of legacy is something quite new. One of the challenges we have is that it means something different to everyone. Following on from the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, I strongly support the decision for the athletics stadium. I declare an interest as a board member of UK Athletics. This is a very personal view: I believe that it is a very good decision for the sport of athletics.
On Amendment 12, as regards Paralympic sport and development for disabled people, one of the amazing things that has happened with the London 2012 Games is not just the increased interest in Paralympic sports from an athlete’s point of view but also the interest in terms of sponsors and media coverage of the Games. While there has been a lot of strong investment in sport on the elite side, there has also been increased investment on the development side. Sport England recently announced a £10 million fund to develop programmes for disabled people. We need to keep track of those changes and make sure that we get the improvements that we want. Once the fabulous Games are over, we need to make sure that we have harnessed all those different opportunities.
What is really difficult in disability sport is that it is much harder to get involved in sport and physical activity, and even harder to stay there. On graduating from university, my first job was as a sports development officer running a programme to encourage disabled people to do athletics. Short of driving around the country and picking up people in buses, which I was tempted to do at some points, it was really difficult. It is important that we maximise the couple of weeks of the Games with really strong programmes afterwards and that we are also able to measure those programmes. There are quite a lot of strong reporting mechanisms, whether they are under Sport England, UK Sport or DCMS, and it would be useful to determine the best way to find those levels of reporting.
As regards paragraph (c) and the Olympic park legacy, I tabled an amendment in Committee on the Localism Bill around the make-up of the board. Once the Games are over, that will transfer to the Mayoral Development Corporation. Perhaps reporting to Parliament is not the best way for the legacy to be measured but that reporting should be through the mayor.
My Lords, I should like to take the opportunity to draw your Lordships’ attention to the good work done by Kate Hoey on sporting legacy and the mayor’s sporting legacy programme. For example, to date, £10.2 million has been invested, with £21 million of match funding, secured, which, in these economic times, is a superb achievement. All credit to the work that she and her team have been doing on this.
Included in this programme are the facilities investment programme under which 38 projects have been funded to provide either new facilities or refurbishment or upgrade of existing facilities; 6,000 training places have been funded for coaches and officials, in particular for disability sports; and 33 projects have been funded under the participation programme—from BMX to dance to rugby. Freesport gives out around 300 grants of up to £1,500 each year to small sports clubs or community groups, where the money is used to provide free sports coaching sessions to Londoners. Every year more than 17,000 Londoners receive at least six hours of free coaching through this programme.
The work that has been done is particularly relevant to those communities which find it difficult to get funding. Kate Hoey and her team have drawn together everyone in sport. They have got them around a table so that disparate decisions are not being made about funding something here and something there. There is a clear, logical plan as to what is needed where so that we do not end up with a borough that, for example, has got very good boxing facilities suddenly finding that some company has come in to set up another boxing ring. Those facilities will be channelled into boroughs that need them, which is a very helpful start. Of course, much more work needs to be done, but if she can raise £21 million for a £10 million investment, it bodes very well for the legacy of sport and the Olympics.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for tabling this amendment on the important issue of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy and for the contributions from my noble friends Lord Addington and Lady Doocey and the noble Baronesses, Lady Ford and Lady Grey-Thompson. I will come back to some of the points they raised in a moment.
Legacy was critical to the UK’s bid for the Games. It has been fully integrated into planning for the Games under the previous Administration and since May 2010. In December 2010, the Government published a comprehensive legacy plan in which we set out full details of our legacy objectives.
Before I say a few words about the specific legacy issues to which the amendment refers, I should like to deal with the requirement to report to Parliament. I suggest that the amendment is not necessary. Since May 2010, following the practice of the previous Administration, the Secretary of State has reported regularly to Parliament on progress with the 2012 Games legacy in the following ways: in the Government Olympic Executive’s quarterly economic reports and annual reports, which I am quite sure are bedtime reading for all noble Lords; in reports against the Government’s legacy plans; and in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s corporate plan. Following the Games, we expect government departments delivering particular aspects of the legacy to report to Parliament in the usual way, including through Select Committees. The National Audit Office will also continue to issue reports giving its assessment on progress with the Games.
It will also be important to make sure that we fully capture the wider impact of the Games and the legacy programmes supporting them after the event. That is why we have commissioned an independent metaevaluation of the Games legacy which will provide an assessment of impacts, benefits and value for money. This will take account of more detailed work on individual programmes, including the Cultural Olympiad and the international inspiration programme. An interim metaevaluation will be published in autumn 2012 with the final evaluation due by summer 2013. In addition, Members of both Houses have sought and can continue to seek debates on matters relating to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, including delivering the legacy.
I now turn to the specific legacy issues referred to in the amendment. The first is the sporting legacy of the Games. We are determined to get more people playing sport. Some sports are consistently performing, and this should be recognised. Sport England recently awarded additional funding of £3.5 million to reward successful work from netball, cycling, running, canoeing and lacrosse so that those sports can continue to drive up participation. We have emphasised to sports governing bodies that we expect concrete results in return for government investment. Sport England has recently reduced funding for certain sports—basketball, rugby football union, rugby football league and England Golf Partnership—in the light of disappointing participation figures.
I pick up the point made by my noble friend Lord Addington about government not being responsible for everything. We need these initiatives to come from other bodies. We have already introduced a schools Games, Sport England has a £136 million lottery-funded legacy programme in place and we are reviewing with Sport England how to increase the number of young people playing sport. I hope that responds in some way to the question asked by noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, about what is happening with that. I commend the programme that my noble friend Lady Doocey spoke about and the inspirational work done by Kate Hoey and her team. I also pick up the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, about disability sport being an area where we hope there will be a significant legacy from these Games.
In our legacy plan last December we set out details of two major new sports legacy programmes: a new schools Games programme to increase competitive sports opportunities for young people through a voluntary scheme aimed to encourage schools to invest in extending opportunities to all children and not just the most sporty. Eight thousand schools have already signed up. We also have the places people play programme, a £135 million lottery investment to strengthen grassroots sport with more than 1,000 improved local sports clubs and facilities, the nation’s playing fields protected and 40,000 new community sports leaders—
I do not really want to delay the Committee or your Lordships for long but I felt this was possibly the right moment, particularly in the discussion about sports participation, to make an obvious point which I have made before in the Chamber. It is that the organising committee—LOCOG—is ostensibly a privately funded organisation. While we do not have direct responsibility for legacy in all its manifestations it is worth remembering that in our ability to deliver the Games, we have ostensibly to raise all our money from the private sector. We have done so with the support and largesse of world-class British businesses; some 44 of them have come to the table, making a contribution of £700 million towards that effort. That is not the main point I wanted to make. The main point is that while they bring that spend to the table, which allows us to deliver the Games, they also activate their sponsorships around any number of these ambitions. In sport, they have of course been very active in driving participation.
It is not just about the response from the public sector, the Government, the Minister or the mayor, important as those are to the delivery of a sporting legacy. It is also worth remembering, for instance, that Lloyds Banking Group has already created local heroes, which is a fund for supporting networks of competitors and their support teams. National School Sport Week was a Lloyds-funded programme while by the time we get to 2012, Adidas will have completed 51 inner-city play zones. Across that piece, those companies have probably accounted for an increase of about 750,000 young people who are involved in sport through their sponsorships and activation programmes, while across the broader health-related fitness piece those partners have probably accounted for nearly 6 million people being involved in health and related fitness. I felt it was important to put on record the value that our private sponsorship has brought, not only to the funding of the Games but to our broader legacy ambitions.
I am most grateful to my noble friend for those positive stories of what is going on across the country in that field. We are obviously grateful to the sponsors from the private sector that are enabling such great developments to take place. Perhaps I might move on to the Cultural Olympiad, which was also raised. As the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the London 2012 festival will be a 12-week UK-wide cultural celebration running from Midsummer’s Day, 21 June 2012, until the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September. The festival will provide an outstanding summer of arts and creativity in the UK. LOCOG has, of course, already raised around £97 million for the Cultural Olympiad as well. Across the UK, 431 cultural projects have received the Inspire mark, raised around £52 million in self-funding themselves and attracted to culture around 6 million people across the UK, so the outreach of both the cultural and sporting legacy is quite significant.
The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, set out in far more detail than I could what is happening with the Olympic stadium. We are aware that the stadium will now be developed in line with giving the commitments that the IAAF wishes, in support of the bid to host the World Athletics Championship in 2017. The importance of retaining the athletics track has been demonstrated in support for that bid alone. On the wider Olympic park legacy, the Government have provided the building blocks by constructing five world-class sporting venues and 2,800 new homes in the athletes’ village and by investing in major utilities, transport and environmental improvements. All this activity is inspiring a raft of new private developments and accelerating the delivery of existing schemes in the surrounding areas. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is responsible for the transformation of the park site after the Games and is currently on track to secure legacy uses for all the permanent venues before the Games. I pay tribute to the work of the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, in carrying forward the legacy for the Games site.
I hope I have been able to assure noble Lords that the Government regard the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as being of the utmost importance, and that we will continue to keep Parliament informed on a regular basis about the delivery of the legacy. I hope that, with that, the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
My Lords, I would like to thank those noble Lords who spoke in the debate. We got almost a full round with just a couple who did not seem to want to join in. I am sorry about that: they should have supported the party. But we had contributions from many noble Lords and it was a fitting near end to our discussions. I am particularly sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, was not able to add his name to our amendment. We talked about it on the phone and I hoped that he would do so, but he spoke up almost completely in support of what I was saying and therefore I think that it comes to the same thing.
I would like to mention three things. The first is that we all share the view that the legacy is important and we want to see that supported. We probably do not all agree on what would be a successful outcome, but we are close enough to be able to anticipate the results that would be good for us. We have the least concern about the physical side of the legacy, the Olympic park. It was extremely good of my noble friend Lady Ford to come to the debate in the middle of ongoing discussions about this issue and update us so that we are fully up to speed. We were all grateful to hear the principal concerns, which are that there should be an effective stadium working in that part of London that is available for sport in the long run. That might be the best solution to the problems that we had.
We are less happy about the Cultural Olympiad, only in the sense that we do not yet know what it is. We can hear the plans, but until it has been delivered, we are not able to judge them. I certainly know from other discussions that it is reaching out well and maybe we can be optimistic. I am afraid that discussions about the sports side were less convincing: the eye has been taken off the ball there. Despite the interesting and good-sounding results from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and the impact that his work has been having through sponsorship, the general dimensions of the idea that more people would be doing more sport and would become healthier as a result of being inspired by sport, are not yet in place, although they may come in due course.
My third and final point is that the purpose of my amendment was to make sure that Parliament in the round received a holistic view about what the legacy was and how it should go through—not just for its own sake, but for the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Addington, about the benefits if we were able to pass on our learning to other potential host cities and cities within the United Kingdom that might be doing similar things, including Glasgow. It would also be a value-for-money consideration and it would reflect the need for us as a society to pass on our enjoyment of sport and the impact that it can have.
If that is done in the usual way, it will be too scattered and not effective enough. Simply going through departmental reports, getting the occasional NAO blast and having other standardised forms of reporting is not what the amendment is trying to do. Therefore, while I will withdraw it on this occasion, we might consider bringing it back at Report for further discussion because it is so important. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 12 withdrawn.
13: After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause—
“Disabled spectator access
After section 36 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006—“36A Disabled spectator access
The London Organising Committee must undertake to provide for a significant attendance of disabled spectators at Olympic and Paralympic events.””
My Lords, when it comes to the last amendment of this short Committee stage, I assure you that I will not delay you very long. This amendment is primarily the result of a conversation with some people from wheelchair basketball, who are concerned that they would not be able to go and see their own sport. This problem was raised with me, and because we can table probing amendments to ask for clarification, I thought that a bit of reassurance might help.
One of the great successes—and I could have said this in the previous amendment—is that disability sport has risen to a higher pitch in the build-up to these Olympics than ever before and has reached a level of consciousness greater than ever before. Wheelchair basketball has an iconic place within the Paralympic Games, probably akin to ice hockey in the Winter Olympics. It is that great team event within the Paralympics. No sport captures that fully in the able-bodied Olympics. The people I met were worried that they might not be able to see it live because there might not be enough seats for them. I hope that they are worrying about nothing. I beg to move.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Addington, for his observations and couple that with my thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for her work in this area.
On a broader point, one of the legacies that we seek from the Paralympic Games is our ability to challenge public attitudes in this country to disability. From broader conversations within the Paralympic movement and with the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, I think that we are fast approaching that point in disability sport where we may have to start redefining it. When you go into a school with Paralympians and have them explain to the so-called able-bodied children that somebody with one leg is scaling the door frame in their classroom and then explaining that probably 99.9 per cent of the population is not able to get within a country mile of that feat, we have a broader issue to discuss. Transforming public attitudes to disability through the Paralympic Games was clearly one of our key legacies.
I want to address specifically some of the practical issues that have been raised. Of course, we all want those people living with disability to have an extraordinary Games experience. We already have 9,000 wheelchair spaces available. They have been sold and those include 9,000 flip-down companion seats. We have an initiative that is partly funded through the private sector, because we place a levy on prestige tickets that allows us to create tickets for key groups such as school children. One of those groups comes under the broader title of Ticket Care, which allows us to provide a free ticket for somebody who is in need of intensive support during that Games experience.
So far, we have 300 Ticket Care tickets funded through the organising committee. As I said, they are aimed at people with high dependencies, so there are 300 carers going to the Games. Some 23,000 tickets have been sold with additional access requirements—seats with the fewest steps and those placed at the end of gangways and rows for fuller accessibility.
To put that into perspective, you can compare that with premiership football grounds. I have two examples. Arsenal’s ground has a capacity of 60,000 seats and there are 275 wheelchair spaces. Manchester United has a stadium that holds 70,000 with 200 wheelchair spaces. Both those clubs have detailed policies and are very aware of accessibility and related issues, so if you look at accessibility for a sell-out session in track and field or any of the venues that you have talked about, I think we are doing pretty well.
We of course have all the other related support systems such as blue badging, extra accessible toilets for disabled spectators and changing places at all our 36 venues, including hoists so that those with special needs can change with dignity.
One of the issues that has been raised with me when I have been wearing any number of hats as a competitor and somebody who is now vice-president of an international federation is that all too often people with visual impairments rely on the rather one-dimensional commentary on the PA. We are working on technology to allow a more informative commentary and a more descriptive process.
Of course, those with hearing impairment seats will be directly in the line of play and nearer the field of play. So there are a number of things that we are doing, and we take this very seriously. It is absolutely enshrined in our commitment to deliver a Paralympic Games.
I make this point time and again: I am chair of both organising committees. We see no distinction. My chief executive is chief executive of the Olympic Games and of the Paralympic Games. It is absolutely vital that we deliver this in a seamless, integrated way. They are different—they have a different spirit—but in terms of service levels and commitment to delivery, we are absolutely at one on this. We are the first Games to have appointed a director of Paralympic integration, Chris Holmes, who is blind and, with the exception of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, probably our most bemedalled Paralympian in the history of Paralympic sport in this country. So I assure the noble Lord, Lord Addington, that this is something that we take extraordinarily seriously, and thank the noble Lord and the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for keeping us always on our toes on this issue.
My Lords, I would like to support the words of the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Addington. I apologise to him, as I took his amendment to mean non-competing athletes as opposed to athletes who will have access to their own venues at Games time. I thank him because it is really important to remember disabled people when we talk about events such as this. At previous Games I do not think that there has been an awful lot of understanding about the needs of disabled spectators. For example, when I went to the Barcelona Olympics to watch my fellow Welsh compatriot Colin Jackson compete in the 110 metres final, I had a superb seat, right on the finish line—the ticket was free and I thought that all my dreams had come together. But what they did not take into account was that as soon as the gun went off everybody stood up and I saw absolutely nothing, not even the replay on the screens. It was about three weeks later, when I got home from the Paralympics, that I got to watch it on VHS.
I was involved in the bid and I have declared my work on a number of sub-committees of LOCOG. I really thought at the start that my job would be to sit there and constantly say, “What about the Paralympics?”. I am very pleased that I have never had to do that. One committee that I sit on is the diversity and inclusion committee. It is perhaps unfortunate that some of the work that it does is unseen by the wider public in terms of the number of disabled people now employed at LOCOG and who are Games makers and will be volunteers at Games time. It is important that we see disabled people in the park act as volunteers, and that everyone else can come in and see.
The noble Lord, Lord Coe, has covered most of what I wanted to say, but I wanted to say that the Changing Places toilets are incredibly important to a number of disabled people who have higher or complex needs. They have beds and hoists. There is a superb example in Lower Waiting, if any the noble Lord would like to go and have a look at it. I will not talk any more about toilets at this point, but it is something that is changing the face of how disabled people are treated in venues—and I hope that that will carry on to other sporting events, Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Finally, again as a spectator, the fact that at the Games the seating is scattered around venues in different price points is fantastic, because there is nothing worse for wheelchair users all to be stuck in one box in a really bad space where you cannot see anything—but that is where “you lot” go. I am really pleased to say that that definitely has not happened with London 2012.
My Lords, I am most grateful to my noble friend Lord Addington for tabling this amendment, because I warmly welcome the opportunity that we have had to debate this important matter. It is particularly heartening to hear the contribution from the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, who is an inspiring role model for disability sport and has done so much to raise the profile of the Paralympic Games.
When we bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we promised to make them everyone's Games. Accessibility and inclusion has been an integral part of the planning for the Games from the very outset, and it continues to be at the heart of everything that LOCOG and the rest of the London 2012 family does, as we have heard so eloquently from my noble friend Lord Coe.
London 2012 is the first Games that has brought the organisation of the Olympics and Paralympics fully together. We are aiming to go further than any previous host city to hold the most accessible Olympic Games and Paralympic Games ever. Most of what I was going to say has already been outlined by my noble friend Lord Coe and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. It is significant that LOCOG appointed an accessibility manager specifically to ensure that the needs of disabled people are addressed, and it has spoken to a broad range of disability groups. LOCOG has not adopted a one-size-fits-all model, but is tailoring services and products, including tickets, to the differing needs of different disabled spectators. Right from the beginning, LOCOG has integrated accessibility into the ticketing website, which has allowed visually impaired people to buy tickets using a screen reader or other assistive technology without having to call a separate phone number.
The noble Lord, Lord Coe, and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, have described the facilities available for wheelchair users and the fact that the accessible seating is scattered around the new venues. There are facilities available for those with hearing impairment. I understand that there is even an assistance dog and guide dog facility, a “spending area”.
In addition, there will be spectator information in a range of accessible formats, including audio and visual announcements and tactile warning surfaces. Also LOCOG will set up and provide a Games mobility service, which will include the loan of a wheelchair or powered scooter and a guiding service with volunteers assisting spectator movement through public areas and within venues.
Throughout, LOCOG have interpreted disability as being much broader than the traditional mobility and deaf or blind categories. The ODA has also taken steps to ensure that the Olympic park and venues are accessible to disabled people. Its inclusive design strategy was published in 2008, and includes wider pathways with smooth surfaces and seating and resting places at regular intervals; a new UK benchmark for wheelchair spaces and amenity seating; gentle gradients giving all users greater freedom of movement; clear and easily understood signage; and a range of accessible toilet facilities. Inclusive and accessible design principles have been embedded into the ODA’s procurement, design and construction processes.
On transport, the Government and Games organisers are committed to an inclusive approach in helping everyone with their travel to the Games, making the best use of existing accessible elements of public transport and complementary modes such as blue badge parking and taxis, and the provision of a spectator journey planner and so on. By 2012, we hope that more than 60 London Underground stations will provide step-free access between the street and the platform, including Southfields for the Wimbledon tennis venue, and Green Park, which is a vital accessibility hub for the West End and connections to Olympic venues.
All these measures set a new benchmark for major sporting events and I am sure that noble Lords will agree that a phenomenal amount of thought and planning has gone into making the Olympic and Paralympic Games a truly inclusive experience. It is the Government’s view, which is shared by many, that LOCOG and the ODA have been exemplary in this regard in the facilities and the opportunities they have made available for people with any form of disability. I suggest to my noble friend that the amendment does not achieve anything which has not already been thought of or implemented. I am most grateful to him and to other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate for the opportunity to set out our vision for disability sport and for the Paralympics part of the Olympics and Paralympics Games. I hope that my noble friend will withdraw his amendment.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her reply and other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I felt the amendment had to be tabled once the concern was raised. When considering the initial Bill, I remember the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, standing where my noble friend is now and at the end of the third or fourth day in Committee, he said, in an exasperated way, “This is a Bill about the Olympics, not just about disability”, or something along those lines, and sat down. I think we did a good job then. Some people might feel that they are entitled to be at the Games and they might want more than they have had before.
The Olympics, and everything else we have done before, were supposed to be an exemplar of what can be done to include everybody, and to make the lives of people using the facilities easier. Also, let us remember that every time disability access is put in, access is improved for dozens of other people. The classic example is the mother with the baby buggy, and anybody that is moving stuff. It has been proven time and time again that the people that most benefit from it are probably non-disabled people—it has made their lives a lot easier. I thank all those noble Lords who have spoken on this amendment. I shall take away all the good things they have said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 13 withdrawn.
Clause 10 agreed.
Bill reported with amendments.
Committee adjourned at 6.51 pm.