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Lords Chamber

Volume 740: debated on Thursday 8 November 2012

House of Lords

Thursday, 8 November 2012.

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Norwich.



Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received any information regarding the origin of weapons of mass destruction currently claimed by the government of Syria to be held by that country.

My Lords, we are very concerned about Syria’s chemical and biological weapons, the existence of which the Syrian foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed on 23 July 2012. The spokesperson also threatened to use such weapons against external aggressors. There has been significant public speculation about the origins of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons, but I am unable to comment on the accuracy of this information.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response, but I wonder whether there is any case for pursuing this in greater detail. If it could be proven that these had originated in Iraq, would the original United Nations resolutions cross the border with the weapons of mass destruction? Secondly, now that we have the Syrian Government admitting widely to the use of drones that have been taken from Iraq, this would put every centre of government in Europe within a 4-metre radius of a payload of up to 10 kilograms of nerve gas.

The noble Lord is quite right to raise these concerns. Although there have been numerous newspaper articles and think tank reports, including those from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, referring to anecdotal reports about the origins of these weapons of mass destruction, we are not aware of any firm and credible evidence to support this suggestion. In any event, UN sanctions on Iraq would not apply to Syria; we do, however, share concerns that Syria has conventional weapons on which chemical weapons could be used.

My Lords, will the noble Baroness give the House an assurance that we are not providing any military assistance at all to the so-called rebels in Syria, which could only complicate the extremely difficult mission of Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi? Secondly, I ask her to assure the House—my Lords, I have forgotten what my question was.

That makes my answering it slightly easier. I can assure the noble Lord on three very clear points. First, any support that we are giving to the opposition in Syria is non-lethal; it is in the form of humanitarian assistance and communications support. Secondly, we are fulfilling all of our international obligations in relation to the support that we are giving. Thirdly, we are abiding by the EU arms embargo.

My Lords, there is much concern that these weapons of mass destruction may fall into the hands of terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah. Do the Government have any evidence that this is happening?

Thankfully, at this moment there is no evidence to suggest that the armed opposition are in any way trying to get their hands on chemical weapons.

My Lords, my noble friend may be aware that the Syrian Government have given assurances to Mr. Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, that they have no intention of using chemical or biological weapons. Have the Government been in contact with the United Nations Secretary-General to ask if the Security Council could also be given those wider assurances?

The noble Baroness raises an important matter. We have heard some suggestions that the Syrians have indicated that they would not be using these chemical weapons, certainly in relation to their own people. However, going back to the foreign ministry spokesman’s threats made, sadly, in July of this year, he said they would be prepared to use them against external aggressors, as they call them.

My Lords, I note the very firm answer given by the Minister to the noble Lord, Lord Wright, about the use of non-lethal weapons. I noted in the newspapers that the Prime Minister was very moved by his visit to the refugee camp, as one would be. Will a Statement be forthcoming on the Prime Minister’s visit, because I wonder how things will move on as a consequence of that visit?

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister visited a refugee camp on the border between Jordan and Syria yesterday. He made some important points—first, in relation to a potential exit for Assad, that this country would not offer him asylum but we would not stand in the way of any other country offering him asylum, which could bring the violence to an end. Secondly, we said that we would engage more with the opposition, including the armed opposition, with a view to taking forward some political agreement. Thirdly, we committed additional funds of £14 million to the humanitarian relief efforts, which brings the UK total to just over £53 million.

Will my noble friend the Minister listen very carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord Wright, has said? If there are pressures in the United Nations at present to say that there is some obligation on members to get involved and intervene in some military capacity, I hope very strongly that, while we share the Prime Minister’s deep concern about the humanitarian situation and the desire to help in that way, we will not become involved in any military intervention.

We have real concerns about the ongoing violence and killing within Syria, but we are clear that the United Nations Security Council is the best format in which to take these matters forward. We have had discussion with the Russians and Chinese to try to achieve some consensus, and I think that the views of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister are very clear. When he spoke at the United Nations General Assembly at the end of September, he was very forthcoming about his concerns about the bloodshed in Syria, but we will act with international agreement.

My Lords, can the Minister tell us whether Her Majesty’s Government are giving any additional aid to Jordan to help with the influx of displaced Syrians over its borders?

The humanitarian work and support that the Government are giving is divided in relation to work within Syria, including with Palestinian refugees within Syria, but also in relation to border countries, which include Jordan and Turkey.

My Lords, does the Minister agree that if, in fact, the weapons of mass destruction claimed to be owned by the Syrian Government are found to have originated in Iraq, that will be strong evidence that Saddam Hussein did after all have weapons of mass destruction?

The noble Lord is aware of the Chilcot inquiry on matters in Iraq, which has a distinguished panel including Members of this House. He is also aware that it will report to the Prime Minister at the end of 2013. it would be inappropriate for me to comment on those matters at this stage.

My Lords, we know for certain that Syria has chemical weapons and, indeed, what we do not know is how closely it was liaising with the Soviets—and now the Russians—on those weapons. It seems that those are probably the most dangerous things, if they got into the wrong hands. Could the Minister reassure us that our Government, in connection with other Governments around the world, have a method of knowing if that is about to happen and if it has happened?

At this moment in time, thankfully we do not have evidence to show that the armed opposition are in any way trying to get their hands on these weapons. However, we have made it very clear in very firm language that any use of these chemical weapons would result in a serious international response. We have also firmed up support in relation to border controls to stop anything passing between borders, and we also strengthened sanctions in June this year with the EU in relation to potential products that could top up any chemical and biological weapons stash that there might be in Syria.

House of Lords: Peers


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any further plans to reduce the number of peers in the House of Lords.

My Lords, the Government have no further plans for legislation to reform this House in this Parliament. As far as this Question is concerned, I encourage Peers to take voluntary retirement should they wish to cease taking part in the work of this House on a permanent basis.

Does the Leader of the House agree that this House is now far too large and that there is not a single Member of it who would be happy at further increases? What do the Government intend to do about the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Steel? I put to him one further suggestion that is a bit bolder. Why not suggest that, if anybody wishes to stay in this House, they drop their title but, if they leave the House, they can retain it?

My Lords, it is a suggestion to add to the very many that have been proposed in recent years. As for my noble friend Lord Steel’s Bill, as the House knows, it passed through this House very easily. It is now in the House of Commons and has not yet been picked up by a Back-Bench Member. We will see what happens to it in the weeks ahead.

Given that this is a self-regulating House, and given that Prime Ministers have not always been entirely au fait with its proceedings, would it not be a good idea for us to amend our Standing Orders to set a limit on the size of this House, which would be useful guidance for future Prime Ministers?

My Lords, that would not be in the least bit effective. It is entirely up to the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty on the creation of peerages. This has been well used in the past. In the 10 years between 1997 and 2007, the Labour Party created 162 new Peers—100 more than went to the Conservative Party.

My Lords, is the Leader aware that a number of noble Lords of mature years have indicated that they might consider the possibility of honourable voluntary retirement given an incentive—say, in the form of a retirement gratuity equivalent to the expenses that they had claimed in the previous year? Some have indicated that, in the absence of such an incentive, it is likely that they would continue to stay in the House indefinitely.

My Lords, try as they might to stay here indefinitely, they would find that extremely hard. I am no actuary but we have lost 39 of our number since the general election. It is likely that we will lose a similar number between now and the next general election. I have heard it whispered in the corridors that the House is increasingly keen to debate and discuss some form of retirement scheme, including an age limit. I very much welcome all those who wish to come forward with such thoughts.

My Lords, will my noble friend at least give one undertaking to the House: that the Government will not do anything to stand in the way of the Steel Bill should it be picked up by a Back-Bench MP in another place?

My Lords, may I encourage the Leader of the House to go ahead with those conversations that he suggested as there is a widespread feeling in the House that there is a possibility of a rational, staged and fair way of reducing the size of the House? He was very relaxed about the Bill in the other place. I suggest to him that the danger to the reputation of this House is not only in its size. At the moment it is also in the fact that those with serious criminal convictions are free to return to the membership of the House. The Steel Bill would put that right and I suggest that it would be wrong not to take that opportunity.

My Lords, like the noble Baroness, I think that the most important part of my noble friend’s Bill is that which deals with serious offenders.

My Lords, the Leader’s reforming zeal is a matter of great note in your Lordships’ House. However, he will recall that last Thursday we had a very good debate, opened by my noble friend Lord Filkin, on working practices and procedures where many of these matters were discussed. In that debate he was asked to reconvene his Leader’s Group to see whether the House could reach a consensus on these important matters, including retirement issues. I invite him to reconsider his answer and agree to set up such a group.

My Lords, I have already set up a Leader’s Group to look at retirement issues, chaired by my noble friend Lord Hunt. Its conclusions deserve rereading and I am more than happy to re-examine them to see whether any changes could be brought forward given the position that the Government are now in; namely, that there will be no further legislation for this House in this Parliament.

My Lords, does my noble friend accept that banishing those who do not attend would be pointless and equally that persuading non-attenders to come regularly would be counterproductive? Has my noble friend seen the excellent note from the Clerks on this issue which records the fact that in 1820 the House ordered that Peers be fined up to £100 for each day’s absence? At today’s money, would not that help deal with the deficit?

It certainly would, my Lords. I have not had the luxury of reading the Clerks’ paper but I very much look forward to doing so.

Crime: Violence Against Women and Girls


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered what role police and crime commissioners may have in combating violence against women and girls.

My Lords, police and crime commissioners will be democratically accountable for cutting crime and ensuring that the policing needs of their communities are met. Given the prevalence of violence against women and girls across the UK, we expect PCCs to have a key role in tackling these crimes by setting the strategic direction, determining local budgets and holding their respective chief constables to account for the totality of policing within their force areas.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for that Answer. Domestic abuse is still a hidden crime that occurs behind front doors on every street in every town, city and village. Is the Minister aware that every Labour police and crime commissioner who is elected will adopt an excellent five-point plan on women’s safety? While I hear what the noble Baroness says—that the Government expect police and crime commissioners to act on these issues—what will they do to ensure that all such commissioners, of no matter what party, make tackling violence against women and girls a priority?

My Lords, we all want to see violence against women and girls stamped out. For the first time ever, victims will have to be listened to before decisions are made about policing priorities in their areas. If noble Lords want to know how big a deal that is for victims of crime, I urge them to read the speech made last Thursday by my noble friend Lady Newlove in the debate about PCCs. Whatever PCCs decide to do locally will be on top of the commitments already made by this Government and in addition to the measures in the organised crime strategy. I point to what has happened in London, where the Mayor of London provides the nearest example of what PCCs will be able to achieve once they are in post. In his first term the mayor increased the number of rape centres from one to four, using some of his own funding, and set up a helpline and a website for victims. It is interesting to note the way in which the local violence against women group has engaged with him in putting together that strategy and holding him to account for delivering it.

My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister share my concern that 10% of boys think it is okay to slap their girlfriends and that one in three teenage girls have experienced violence from their boyfriends? Does she not agree that more needs to be done to educate young men and boys in schools? The police should have a role in trying to ensure that crimes against girls in the form I have just described are reported by schools and there should be proper programmes whereby boys learn about respectful relationships with girls.

I certainly agree with my noble friend that victims of violence extend to young girls in relationships, and that boys need to be educated. In fact, I will next week answer a Question about what is being done to help men who are inclined to this dreadful behaviour. It is worth making the point that one of the changes that this Government have made is to extend the definition of domestic violence to include violence against girls who are 16 and 17, and that is a welcome measure.

Does the noble Baroness agree, as a matter of principle, that the lower the poll the weaker the mandate? In those circumstances, if the poll in these elections turns out to be derisorily low, how does she think that police commissioners will be able to combat violence against women or, indeed, any other form of criminal activity?

Any mandate that the police and crime commissioners achieve will be stronger than the mandate that currently does not exist for the invisible police authorities.

Will the Minister assure the House that when these changes take place, every encouragement will be given to chief constables to ensure that when they come across homes in which there is domestic violence and that have young children in them, steps will also be taken to refer those matters to social services to make sure that those children are protected from this behaviour?

Yes, my Lords. One of the advantages of the new regime of PCCs and devolving decisions on policing priorities in this way is that it will, I hope, lead to greater co-ordination between local agencies. Particularly with regard to children, it is worth reminding noble Lords that the noble Lord, Lord Laming, was successful in introducing an amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill to ensure that police and crime commissioners hold the chief constable to account for safeguarding children and the promotion of children’s welfare.

Notwithstanding the work of police and crime commissioners, will my noble friend confirm that the Government will centrally continue the valuable work they are doing to combat violence against women and girls?

Yes, I absolutely can confirm that. It is worth making clear that under this Government we have set aside £40 million of secure funding until 2015, and it is guaranteed funding that will continue. Within that £40 million, £10.5 million has been allocated to rape support centres located throughout the UK.

My Lords, if a dispute arises between the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable, who would arbitrate? If the matter was not resolved, could that lead to a loss of confidence by the commissioner in the chief constable, which could lead to dismissal?

The noble Lord should be clear that operational decisions for policing remain very much the responsibility of the chief constable. The role of the police and crime commissioner is to be the voice of the local community and to make sure that, in setting the strategic priorities, the local community’s voice is heard.

Living Wage


Asked by

My Lords, the living wage is a voluntary minimum level of pay above the national minimum wage that companies and other bodies can choose to pay their employees. The Government back the idea of a living wage, and we encourage businesses, where possible, to take it up. However, we have no plans to require employers to pay the living wage.

My Lords, work should be the surest way out of poverty. Will the noble Lord join me in congratulating those employers who pay the living wage, as well as the Living Wage Foundation, Mr Ed Miliband and the Mayor of London, Mr Boris Johnson, on the work they are doing to support it? When will the Prime Minister catch up and do something about this issue?

My Lords, the Government have directed their focus entirely in terms of low pay on taking action to help through the tax system. Indeed, they raised the income tax allowance to take 2 million of the lowest-paid people out of tax altogether. From next April someone on the minimum wage working full time will see their income tax bill cut in half, and if they work 28 hours a week they will no longer pay income tax. That is a direct result of what this Government are doing to assist the low paid.

My Lords, how many jobs do the Government estimate would be lost if the living wage was substituted for the national minimum wage?

My Lords, I do not have that figure in front of me but my noble friend has raised something which I think has also been raised by the Federation of Small Businesses. It is clearly important that we make sure that in asking and encouraging business to pay more, it happens only where it is possible. What we cannot have is job creation and job retention put in jeopardy.

Does the Minister recall the dire warnings offered about what would happen to employment with the introduction of the statutory national minimum wage? Does he also recall that in the years since the introduction of that national minimum wage we have reached the highest ever levels of employment in the United Kingdom? Will he rebuff those who now argue, in the same way as they did before, that the introduction of a living wage—which is surely a basic requirement of a civilised society—would result in some form of higher unemployment?

My Lords, I acknowledge very much what has been done since the national minimum wage was put in place, but the point, again, is that we need to make sure that this is a voluntary proposal because we cannot have small businesses, in particular, put in jeopardy. The Government very much encourage businesses, including contractors supplying services to government departments, to take up the living wage. However, I emphasise that it should be a voluntary structure.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that self-employed people—and I am thinking particularly of the many carers who work with elderly or frail people—do not get any guaranteed minimum wage at all? Very often these semi-senile people say, “Oh no, I’m sorry—I’m not paying you any more”. I keep meeting people who are in a desperate position. I checked with the Inland Revenue and it says that it is correct that there is no guaranteed minimum wage, no holiday—no anything—for any of these people. Is it not time that we looked at doing something for them?

My Lords, in thanking my noble friend I think that the clearly important feature of all these things is to ensure that we have a growing economy. That is why the Government are so determined to pursue the growth strategy with many apprentices and all sorts of advantages that we hope to bring through that.

My Lords, given that low pay makes a major contribution to poverty in rural communities, what plans do the Government have to promote the living wage in rural economies?

Noble Lords may be surprised to hear that I, with a rural background, do not see it as a town and country matter. We have a national economy and we need to encourage businesses to come to the countryside as, indeed, to urban areas. That will be the route to ensure that the living wage and good employment creation are in all parts of our nation.

The Government are determined to ensure that there is a vibrant economy with employment prospects. Clearly, one reason we emphasise the voluntary side—encouraging people to take up the living wage—is precisely to ensure that there is business flexibility. It would clearly be unhelpful for job creation and retention if we were to move from that position.

My Lords, it is very good to hear of the support of the Mayor of London and the Government for the living wage. Can the Minister assure the House that the Greater London Authority and the Conservative Party are paying the living wage?

I am most grateful to the noble Baroness—I checked with Conservative Central Office this morning because I rather thought that this might come up. I can assure her and, indeed, the House that Conservative Central Office not only pays the living wage but above the living wage.

My Lords, does the Minister accept that, as far as the national economy of Wales is concerned, the income per head is only 74% of the average of the United Kingdom as a whole? Does he also accept that only the most massive and dedicated effort on the part of government can fundamentally change the situation?

The noble Lord raises the issue of Wales. Indeed, this was raised not only in the debate last night but a few weeks ago when I was in a position to say that the number of jobs created in Wales since the last election has increased very favourably. Clearly this is all part of a UK strategy to ensure that growth comes to all parts of the kingdom. I am particularly pleased, therefore, that the news in Wales is improving. We need to do more to ensure that it gets better.

My Lords, does my noble friend accept that in a progressive society we all want the weakest to be assisted and that the best way of doing that is through a taxation system where you increase the personal allowance to allow people to keep the maximum amount of their earned income themselves without the state intervening? How many millions of people have been taken out of taxation altogether since the Government were formed?

As I said in answer to an earlier question, the proposal is that from next April, 2 million of the lowest paid people will be taken out of tax altogether.

Business of the House

Motion on Standing Orders

Moved By

That Standing Order 30 (No Lord to speak more than once to a Motion) be dispensed with during the Report stage of the Financial Services Bill so far as is necessary to enable debates on amendments Nos 70 and 80 (concerned with LIBOR) to be conducted as if the House were in Committee.

Motion agreed.

Business of the House

Timing of Debates

Moved By

That the debate on the Motion in the name of Baroness Doocey set down for today shall be limited to three hours and that in the name of Baroness Walmsley to two hours.

Motion agreed.

Public Service and Demographic Change Committee

Membership Motion

Moved By

That Lord Hutton of Furness be appointed a member of the Select Committee in place of Lord Touhig, resigned.

Motion agreed.

Adoption Committee

Motion to Agree

Moved By

Further to the resolution of the House of 29 May 2012 appointing a Select Committee to consider the statute law about adoption, and to make recommendations, that the committee do also consider and report on the draft legislation on adoption laid before the House on 7 November 2012 (Cm 8473) and that the committee do report on the draft legislation by 21 December 2012.

Motion agreed.

Draft Care and Support Bill

Motion to Agree

Moved By

That it is expedient that a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons be appointed to consider and report on the draft Care and Support Bill presented to both Houses on 11 July 2012 (Cm 8386) and that the committee should report on the draft Bill by 7 March 2013.

Motion agreed, and a message was sent to the Commons.

Contracting Out (Local Authorities Social Services Functions) (England) (Amendment) Order 2012

Housing Act 1996 (Additional Preference for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012

Legal Services Act 2007 (The Law Society) (Modification of Functions) (Amendment) Order 2012

Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

District Electoral Areas Commissioner (Northern Ireland) Order 2012

Child Support Management of Payments and Arrears (Amendment) Regulations 2012

Motions to Refer to Grand Committee

Moved By

Motions agreed.

Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

Motion to Take Note

Moved by

That this House takes note of the long-term legacy for the UK from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

My Lords, I have great pleasure in moving this Motion standing in my name. In doing so, I declare an interest: in the lead up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I chaired both the London Assembly and Metropolitan Police committees responsible for monitoring the Games. I also served on the Home Office Olympic Security Board. My focus in this debate will be on the specific legacy promises made when London won the bid to host the Games and not on any other consequence of the Games.

Before the Games started, the doom and gloom merchants had a field day. They predicted that London would lose the bid, the infrastructure would not be completed on time, the transport system would be chaotic and security would be a nightmare. They were wrong on all counts. Yes, there were a few hitches, but they were inevitable in a project of this size. The Games were a huge success and we should pay tribute to everyone who contributed to that success, from the brilliant athletes and volunteers to the wonderful police and military personnel. They all did our country proud.

We should also recognise the enormous contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, who secured the Olympics for Britain, and who, together with the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, John Armitt and Sir David Higgins, proved that we are capable of putting on a show like no one else.

I would also like to pay tribute to the LOCOG and ODA staff, who worked so hard behind the scenes to make sure that everything ran very well. In particular, let me mention the Olympic security team at the Home Office. I can testify personally to the skill and dedication of this extraordinary band of people, who worked tirelessly to anticipate and deal with every conceivable security problem in order to keep us safe.

If the 2012 Games had consisted of nothing more than a sporting event lasting a few weeks, I could end on that very happy note. However, that is not the case. A major reason why London won the bid to host the Games was its promise of a lasting legacy. The Games cost around £9 billion, which would be unacceptably expensive if all we could show for it was six weeks of sport. So, if we wish to honour the promise of a legacy and secure the best possible value for our £9 billion, there remains some serious work to do.

London originally promised in the bid document that,

“the most enduring legacy of the Olympics will be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.

It is also promised that the Olympic Park will provide local people with significant improvements in health and well-being, education, skills and training, job opportunities, cultural entitlements, housing, social integration and the environment. Those were bold promises, but will they be met? There has been some very good progress to date, but much of the legacy still hangs in the balance and urgent and sustained action is necessary to ensure that London does not fail.

My first area of concern is the sporting legacy for disabled people. LOCOG deserves particular praise for delivering the first fully integrated Games, with the Paralympics as much a part of the games as the Olympics. The result was the most successful Paralympic Games ever, which inspired large numbers of people and did much to raise the profile of disabled people.

However, to provide a legacy for children with disabilities who are being educated in mainstream schools, as most are, we need PE teachers to be appropriately trained, to know what specialist equipment is available and where to get it. These teachers do not currently receive this training automatically but are instead expected to undertake training voluntarily in their own time, which is quite extraordinary. The Government must change this system. They should also make funds available to schools to bring in outside coaches to help.

My second concern is grass roots sport. The Olympics were to be used to encourage more people, especially young people, to participate in sport. The Games have undoubtedly inspired many young people, but the challenge we have is to leverage that enthusiasm, particularly in our schools. The Government abandoned the unrealistic target of using the Games to inspire 1 million people to play more sport but more down-to-earth programmes have succeeded brilliantly. For example, the London Youth Games has helped to get more than 2,000 disabled young people into sport and large numbers of young people to qualify as sports officials.

Unfortunately, most of the sports funding to schools is targeted at secondary schools, where it does the least good. Targeting resources on primary schools would be much more effective as it would encourage young children. If children can find fun and enjoyment in physical activity at a young age, they are much more likely to take an interest in sport when they get older. This funding should also be ring-fenced so that schools cannot spend it on other things, as some currently do.

The other legacy issues I wish to highlight concern the promised benefits to the local communities neighbouring the Olympic Park. This side of east London is one of the most disadvantaged parts of the country. The people who live there were promised better homes, jobs and other amenities, but there are serious doubts about whether these promises will be met. Take housing, for instance. The Olympic bid document promised that up to 50% of the new housing in the park will be affordable homes for rent and sale. When Boris Johnson became Mayor of London he downgraded this to a target of 35% affordable housing, with a minimum of just 20% across the site. In Chobham Manor, the first of five new developments to be built in the park, the plans promise only 28% affordable housing, of which only 21% will be family homes, with the rest comprising small flats. This will miss the promise in the original bid document by more than half and is barely above the mayor’s minimum target.

Given the current difficulties in the property market, there will be pressure to dilute these targets, because developers can make much more money building small flats than building affordable family homes. However, this must be resisted. We must ensure that we do not end up with another Canary Wharf—an island of affluence in a sea of deprivation. The Mayor of London has responded to criticism by claiming that there will be more affordable homes compared with most developments in London and the host boroughs. However, this is disingenuous. The benchmark is the Olympic legacy promise, not other commercial developments.

Another important legacy promise to local communities concerns employment and training opportunities. If these promises are to be fulfilled, it is essential that more stringent measures are taken to ensure contractors provide jobs and training for local people. LOCOG set targets for 7% to 12% of its employees to be previously unemployed and for 15% to 20% to live in the host boroughs. Although these very unambitious targets were met, and exceeded in some cases, it was impossible to tell how many of the beneficiaries were genuine local residents because there was no system in place to verify residency. It is difficult to see how the original target of getting 70,000 previously unemployed people into employment will ever be met. Future contracts for all park venues should enshrine the sort of high standards already set in the park by John Lewis, which employs 950 local people, 250 of whom were previously long-term unemployed.

Local communities were promised the use of all sports venues in the park after the Games, and the mayor originally set a target of 90% community usage. However, he has not put any systems in place to ensure that this becomes a reality. The London Legacy Development Corporation is keen to encourage community usage but is under huge pressure also to avoid any public subsidy. Unless this issue is addressed, there is a high risk that community usage could be sacrificed for commercial profit. In July 2011, the London Assembly’s Economy, Culture and Sport Committee heard from numerous expert witnesses, all of whom said it would be virtually impossible for sports venues to be financially viable without public subsidy. This is an issue that requires open and public debate. The mayor should make 90% community access a precondition for all sporting venue operators.

The £9 billion spent on the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was never intended to provide only a few weeks of sport. It was also to be a long-term investment and the financial bedrock of a lasting legacy. The fate of this legacy is at the mercy of the Mayor of London. He is free to take the easiest option, which would mean giving in to private developers without ensuring that local people benefit from homes and jobs. The result would be a very poor return on our £9 billion investment, and the Government have a duty not to let this happen.

The 2012 Games were a brilliant achievement, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We must constantly monitor progress and hold those responsible to account to ensure that the legacy matches the achievement. London promised a real and long-term legacy. When that has been delivered, we will have achieved a legacy as good as the Games. I beg to move.

My Lords, before we move into the general debate, I remind noble Lords that this is a time-limited debate and that Back-Bench speeches are limited to seven minutes. When the Clock hits seven minutes, noble Lords have had their time.

My Lords, it is an honour to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, who introduced this debate. We thank her for securing this time and pay tribute to the business managers for securing additional time for the debate. I am acutely conscious than many Members, including myself, have eagerly awaited the contributions of those who were directly involved in building the legacy which we now celebrate. I refer to the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, the noble Lord, Lord Hall, chairman of the Cultural Olympiad, the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and, of course, my noble friend Lord Deighton, who is to make his maiden speech. I know that my noble friend Lord Coe, to whom tribute has rightly been paid, would dearly have wanted to be here for this debate as well.

I will focus on one particular area and pose a question. We have all accepted that the Olympic and Paralympic Games were an unparalleled success. They are something of which this nation can rightly be proud. We need to cherish the legacy. My question concerns one part of that legacy, the Olympic Truce. It too ought to be nurtured, cherished and built upon in the future. In the past, the Olympic Truce has been a rather symbolic occasion. It is a United Nations resolution of the General Assembly, but from the outset, it was made clear that we wanted the UN resolution to be taken seriously at London 2012. The Prime Minister, my right honourable friend David Cameron, made that abundantly clear when he said in the House of Commons on 29 June 2011 that he regarded the Olympic Truce as a “historic opportunity” for this nation. When it was proposed at the United Nations General Assembly on 17 October 2011, it was an incredible achievement. Normally, it is difficult to get a great number of countries to sign up, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK mission to the United Nations in New York secured an incredible result, worthy of a gold medal and certainly a world record, in getting every single one of 193 member states of the United Nations not only to sign the resolution but to co-sponsor it.

What a platform, and it was something which the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon regarded as a historic moment. No wonder my noble friend Lord Coe, when he was proposing the resolution to the UN General Assembly on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, said:

“It has never been more important to support this General Assembly resolution by actions, not just through words”.

Those actions came. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office established a cross-departmental steering group for the Olympic Truce, which engaged our embassies, missions and consulates overseas and a wide range of NGOs and charities in the UK in promoting it. The UK Government led by example by establishing and promoting International Inspiration, a wonderful programme developed in partnership with UNICEF and the IOC, which has reached more than 12 million young people around the world in 20 different countries. LOCOG launched the Get Set Global education resource, which was sent out to tens of thousands of schools in this country and was made available on the internet abroad. Giving Is Winning, the partnership which LOCOG and the IOC organised with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, ensured that sports equipment and sports medical supplies from London were not wasted, but went to refugee camps around the world, to give people some of the benefit of the Games which we had enjoyed here.

Through the FCO, 50 events were hosted by diplomatic missions around the world on the theme of the Olympic Truce, including an event at Lancaster House, hosted by the Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham and attended by 130 diplomats from around the world. The peace wall, which was erected outside the athletes’ village at the Olympic park, was signed by every single athlete and official to declare their support for bringing the Olympic Truce into reality. So successful was that Olympic peace wall initiative that it ran out of space and I think other replacements had to be brought in. A Facebook group on the London 2012 Olympic Truce attracted 10,000 members in the first few days, showing the appetite to bring to reality that desire for the Olympic Truce.

During the Olympic Games, the Prime Minister hosted a hunger summit in Downing Street jointly with Vice-President Michel Tener of Brazil, declaring that millions of children in the world’s poorest countries must benefit from the legacy of the London Olympics. A specific pledge was made by the Prime Minister to reduce hunger and malnutrition for 20 million children before the Rio Games in 2016. This was endorsed in a joint declaration with the Russian Foreign Minister by our Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on 28 May, when they declared a joint commitment to work together to implement the Olympic Truce ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

On the opening day of the Games, 27 July, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations held a joint press conference at which they urged the world to adhere to what they had committed to in the Olympic Truce resolution of the United Nations. Who can forget that incredible opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, which was launched with a video message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations? He said:

“The United Nations and the Olympic Movement bring countries together. We believe in peace. That is why we proclaim an Olympic Truce. I call on warring parties everywhere to lay down their weapons during the Games. One day of peace can lead to a week of peace, a month of peace, and eventually an end to war”.

The Olympic Truce was not just part of the ancient Olympic Games, it was the entire point of the ancient Olympic Games. I believe that the Olympic Truce can again be a catalyst for peace around the world. I believe that the bar has been raised significantly in London 2012, and that is something of which we can be proud, but it behoves all of us who treasure that dream to work tirelessly to ensure that its legacy is not diminished, to ensure that we hand to future hosts a legacy measured not only in medals won and records broken but in lives saved and hope restored: a legacy which is truly more than gold.

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for introducing this important debate. I register my previous interest as chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Company. I also pay tribute to the noble Baroness’s work on the London Assembly, where she led the scrutiny of the project with great distinction from day one. I am also greatly looking forward to hearing the maiden speech from the noble Lord, Lord Deighton. I had the pleasure of working with him in his most recent capacity as chief executive of LOCOG, and I know that he brings many exceptional qualities to this House.

The London Games were the first Games to be won explicitly on legacy. Whether that legacy was about inspiring a generation or transforming east London, the ambition was simply huge. Never before has a host city promised so much but, as we know, London delivered, and delivered big time, over the course of the most remarkable summer of sport that most of us will ever experience. One important legacy that we must acknowledge is the strong feeling—this is strange for us, of course—that we are all a nation of achievers now. Building complicated infrastructure ahead of time and under budget? That is us. Was it us winning an unprecedented haul of medals in spectacular fashion? Was it us staging an immaculate Olympic and Paralympic Games in a way that united the nation in pride and admiration, and in a capital city where public transport became a byword for efficiency? Yes, us. We achieved all that and so much more. We must never lose that great pride, admiration and real national self-confidence that the Games sprinkled on all of us. Let us hold on to that; it is very important.

We must never forget that a very important aspect of that success is the legacy of political partnership which characterised the project. We achieved all that over the summer partly because this great project was, from the outset, a model of cross-party support. It is often claimed that sport transcends politics, and the Olympic project demonstrated that very clearly. One of the most valuable things to emerge from this experience would be a commitment from us all, but particularly from our most senior politicians, that some issues require putting politics aside and a cross-party approach.

National infrastructure is one such area, where, if the Olympics tell us anything, it is that we can be the envy of the world when it comes to construction excellence and complex project management. The ODA demonstrated that. The execution of large projects is made immeasurably easier when there is political agreement and support underpinning them. The same goes for planning. The Olympic park in both Games mode and legacy mode was subject to some of the most complex planning applications ever seen in London and arguably in the UK and these were not without contention, as the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, hinted. But the various national and local authorities and communities came together to deliver the quickest and most efficient decisions I have seen in 30 years of working in the planning system. A worthy legacy would surely be to understand how this was accomplished and to build on this experience when over the next few years we come to renew important infrastructure, such as our main airports and power stations.

The legacy of the Olympics was about much more than physical infrastructure. In this debate, I think many noble Lords will draw attention to the sporting legacy, the economic legacy, the arts and cultural legacy and so on but for the last four years my passion has been the legacy of the Olympic park itself and its surrounding area. It is this aspect of which I am most proud and which, if noble Lords will permit me, I will draw on for a moment or two.

When the Government and the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone promised in 2005 that the Games would transform the East End it was a massive ambition because, notwithstanding the advantages of location in terms of proximity to the City and to central London, the four boroughs immediately surrounding the park remained the most deprived in London—indeed, some of the most deprived in the United Kingdom. The big challenge was to develop a bespoke site capable of hosting the largest and most complex sporting event in the world in such a way that it could then be capable of immediate transformation into a new set of neighbourhoods, which would in turn integrate into the existing communities and assist in raising the level of prosperity and achievement across all of those communities.

That sounds straightforward when you say it quickly but in 30 years of working on large, complex brownfield sites I have never experienced anything so professionally challenging, although ultimately rewarding. As the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, has said, it is to the great credit of the ODA, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the OPLC that today, a mere two months after the Games have finished, 500 workers are active on the site and that transformation from Games time to legacy time is well under way. Not only did millions of visitors experience a beautiful park in Games time exceptionally fit for purpose, but the legacy planning application for the post-Games park was approved well before the Games started, allowing this immediate transformation to take place.

The commercial planning was well under way also. The athletes’ village was sold prior to the Games to provide both affordable and market housing and is currently being retrofitted into apartments and family homes. The first are due for completion in 2013. The noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, mentioned Chobham Manor but the whole aquatic centre, the velodrome with its cycle circuit, the splendid copper box, the hockey centre and tennis facilities are all currently being reconfigured for legacy uses and all with new owners or tenants in place. I understand that the massive broadcast centre, a million square feet of commercial space, is about to be let and the magnificent parklands are being transformed as I speak.

The Mayor of London decided to take over the project personally this year and he has still to finalise a range of uses for the mighty Olympic stadium, which we all came to adore during the Games. One thing we do know from the Games is that we have a new national athletics stadium, replete with the most amazing memories and a worthy successor to Crystal Palace as our national venue. That was always the plan. Its status has been cemented by the fact that the 2017 World Championships will be held there.

If other sporting and economic uses can sit alongside athletics in that stadium, so much the better. When I began this process in 2009, that was my sole objective. It is for the Mayor of London now to deliver this. The ultimate success of the Olympic Park, due to re-open on 27 July 2013 as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will not be known for certain for some years. The noble Baroness is quite right: we must continue to hold to the fire the toes of those responsible so that they keep their Olympic promises, but I am as confident as I can be that the foundations for that legacy have been solidly built.

My Lords, this is a welcome debate and I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for securing it. Like others, I look forward enormously to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Deighton. The Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer were a wonderful antidote to the cynicism which bedevils too much of our public life. Quite apart from the brilliant organisation and the extraordinary athletic achievements, we discovered in Britain that we rather liked each other. We enjoyed each other’s company and felt better for speaking with strangers. We discovered that smiles and laughter were contagious. It was an Olympics of the mind and spirit as well as of the body, and it would be tragic if we thought it was simply an interlude in our national life rather than entirely typical of our character.

One area in which the London Olympics and Paralympics were hugely innovative could be very easily overlooked and forgotten. I refer to the unprecedented and hugely successful provision of multifaith chaplaincy services and the legacy that has been created by them. Back in 2007, the Church of England appointed a full-time Olympic co-ordinator to prepare for the Games. Canon Duncan Green got the job, and it was an inspired appointment. Although some involved with planning the Games initially wondered what on earth a clergyman could do for them, Duncan was soon seconded to LOCOG, the organising committee, as its faith adviser. He worked full-time from its headquarters, heading the faith engagement of the organisation. He set up a reference group involving all nine world faiths within the Inter Faith Network for the UK. Duncan and that interfaith group advised from the beginning on the policies that were developed on food, uniform, security, ticketing and chaplaincy.

LOCOG soon discovered that faith provision was not simply to do with providing chapels and prayer spaces on the campus; it permeated the whole of life. What you eat, what you wear and how you feel safe are faith-sensitive. In 2010, Duncan was appointed head of multifaith chaplaincy services. All this was ground-breaking. In the past, the Olympic Games simply provided chaplaincy provision during the Games themselves for athletes and officials only. This time, someone was working with others from all the world faiths for five years in preparation. The care which athletes and officials experienced in London was not simply to do with the cheery welcome; they recognised the meticulous detail that went into the planning, and that is true hospitality.

During the Games, there were three chaplaincy teams: one for athletes and officials; another for press and media; and a further team for staff and volunteers, with 193 chaplains of different faith traditions being placed across all the Olympic venues. Within the Olympic athletic village, at its multifaith centre, different services were provided by the five major faiths every day, and almost 10,000 attendances were recorded. The chaplaincy provided a 24-hour critical incident response and dealt with a major road accident, deaths and numerous occasions when athletes, staff and volunteers were distressed. The chaplaincy teams were very busy indeed, and the centres had a constant stream of people through them.

The Olympic Games were held in Ramadan. That could have been a challenge but special provision was made. The chaplaincy team was extremely well received by the International Olympic Committee. There was appreciation for the way in which the Church of England had planned in advance and for the way in which it had sought to ensure that people of every faith tradition were catered for. The Church of England thinking ahead—the age of miracles is not over.

What have we learnt and what is the legacy? First, a host church or faith tradition open to others is needed. Too much of the discussion about the establishment of the Church of England concentrates on the existence of these Benches in Parliament, yet establishment has proved to be a rather elastic concept. It is not to do with exclusive privilege but kindles an expectation that we should enable people of faith to participate fully in our corporate national life, which is a vocation the Church of England recognises.

Secondly, this could be done only because good relationships between the different faiths already exist in the UK. Those relationships are probably more trusting than almost anywhere else in western Europe, and that trust has grown still further as a result of the Olympics. That is a legacy for this nation of great importance. Further, it has set a benchmark for multifaith chaplaincy services at other major national events. It will not be a one-off.

Thirdly, it has raised within the churches and faith communities the need for better ministry to sportspeople and those who surround them. The spiritual and emotional needs of those performing at such astonishingly demanding levels are very considerable. They have not always been met before. What was unmistakable to any spectator or observer of the Olympic Games was the prevalence of athletes publicly demonstrating or witnessing to the faith they held. Perhaps I had never been alive to it in previous Games, but I do not recall anything like so many athletes crossing themselves or falling to their knees to pray as there were during the London Olympics. It seemed to be the only thing which some of the commentators passed over without mentioning. However, there was one occasion when Usain Bolt, as your Lordships might recall, fell to his knees in prayer after a race, and we were told that he was having a moment to himself. I doubt that was entirely accurate.

What I appreciated was the freedom with which athletes could be themselves in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was a community of nations, diverse in faith and language, culture and tradition, yet it was a single human community. If the spirit evident in the Games and in the relationships between the world faiths expressed within our chaplaincy services could be replicated everywhere in the world, the legacy of peace and reconciliation from the London Olympics would be astonishing.

My Lords, I would like to thank all noble Lords and the staff of this House for their kind welcome. I am particularly grateful to those who helped with my introduction last week. It was a special occasion for me, my family and friends. I thank the Doorkeepers, the attendants and the police on the parliamentary estate, who have also made starting here so much easier. It is a privilege to become a Member of your Lordships’ House and to speak today on the topic of my work—or really my life—for the past seven years: the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

Since the formation of the bid company in 2003, through to the culmination of the wonderful Games this summer, Members of this House have played a crucial role. I refer to my noble friend Lord Coe—my chairman at the organising committee—and my noble friend Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association. The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, is the chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which was crucial in getting the World Athletics Championships here for 2017—a really tangible legacy. I mention also the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell, whose stewardship of UK Sport has delivered our greatest teams ever, both in the Paralympics and the Olympics, the noble Lord, Lord Hall, for overseeing our Cultural Olympiad; and, of course, the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, the deputy chair of our athletes’ committee, who is as effective in the boardroom as she was on the track.

London 2012 benefited enormously from the unwavering cross-party support of this House. This support did not, of course, preclude constructive scrutiny. It helped us to identify genuine public concerns and I would like to think that we adapted our plans accordingly, right through those seven years.

In this respect, I particularly note the contributions of my noble friends Lord Addington, Lady Doocey, Lord Glentoran, Lord Clement-Jones, Lord Bates, Lord Bell, the noble Lords, Lord Hall, Lord Mawson, Lord Rogers, Lord Wood and Lord Knight, and the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, alongside all those who worked very hard for the Olympic Games Act 2006 to be granted Royal Assent. That enabled us to get out of the blocks very fast and get on with our work, which, when you have only got seven years and an immovable deadline, is critical support.

I joined my noble friend Lord Coe as chief executive of the organising committee, just after the bid was won, after a career in the finance industry. I had worked for more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs, in both client-facing and management roles. I left in 2005 as the chief operating officer of the business in Europe.

My time at that firm taught me about leadership in the most demanding environments. I discovered the value of working with talented people and the benefits of teamwork; that there is nothing worse than an unhappy client; the importance of communicating clear goals; and the need to execute against these goals day in and day out to the highest standards. It is that experience which has guided my work at London 2012, where I have also enjoyed the unstinting support and wise guidance of my noble friend Lord Coe, with whom I shared a trust and friendship which enabled us to meet the project’s many and diverse challenges. It is wonderful news for the Olympic movement in this country that my noble friend Lord Coe has just assumed the chair of the British Olympic Association. He is one of the most highly respected global sports figures, and will enhance British representation in international sport.

It is only right, at this point, that I also pay tribute to my other partner, in this case of 27 years, my wife Alison, without whose support and energy I would be half the man I am today—indeed, “half” is probably flattering my innate contribution.

During the 2012 project, I have witnessed the very best of British expertise, creativity, ingenuity, planning and delivery. I have seen the passion and generosity of spirit of the British people, and have been fortunate to work alongside exceptionally talented people. We staged an event that delivered more than £8 billion of contracts to UK businesses, created thousands of jobs, engaged millions of people and saw 90% of the British population tune in, patriotically supporting both our athletes and our volunteers. This was an event which inspired a generation. “Inspire a generation” was our motto; it is our contribution to the legacy—not just in this country, but really right around the world. It has changed attitudes to London, it has changed attitudes to the UK and it has changed attitudes to disability. This was a global event, delivered by Britain, that the world is still talking about.

Now our attention turns, as it should, to ensuring that the inspirational power of the games is not lost, but is used to create lasting change. Our focus on regenerating the East End of London has left a transformed landscape. The foundations have already been laid to continue to support elite sport, to strengthen grassroots sport, to open up disability sport and to drive more sport through our schools and clubs. Millions of people across the UK were inspired to participate in the Games; my noble friend Lady Benjamin will talk about her work in diversity and inclusion. More than 2 million school children learnt about the Olympic and Paralympic values; more than 19 million attendances were recorded during the London 2012 Festival; around 10 million people were involved in the London 2012 Inspire programme; and more than a quarter of a million schoolchildren went to the Games for free. And who can forget our 70,000 Games makers; volunteers recruited from across the UK, from all ages, communities and faiths? Their energy, dedication and enthusiasm shine a light on the power of volunteering which we can build on.

The success of the London Games is a powerful advert for the capabilities of UK plc. The Games showcased British design, construction, event management and hospitality. I know that the Government have set strong new business targets on the back of the Games to secure an economic legacy worth around £13 billion over four years. We must sprinkle our Olympic stardust across the UK economy.

A key business legacy from London 2012 is the demonstrated strength and vitality of the partnership between our public and private sectors. We have great businesses in this country and we also have great government at all levels. At the organising committee, we successfully integrated these capabilities and we facilitated strong partnerships that flourished. This experience is going to be central to my approach in my new role as a Treasury Minister, building on the excellent work of my noble friend, Lord Sassoon, driving the delivery of infrastructure projects in order to assure our international competitiveness.

Once again, I thank noble Lords for their welcome and their support. I look forward to contributing to this debate in future, and to many more for years to come.

My Lords, it gives me great pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, and welcome him to your Lordships’ House. The Games were incredible and I, for one, am very proud and a little relieved that after 10 years of saying these would be the best Paralympic Games ever, the noble Lord led the team that made it happen, so this is a very personal thank you. And, of course, the Olympics were pretty good too.

It could be easy to forget that the noble Lord had an extremely successful business career before the Games. He did not always run an OCOG, although at times I am sure that it felt like it. The success of the Games was in no small part due to his vision, dedication and hard work. I am sure that I speak for all when I say that we look forward to the future contributions of the noble Lord, Lord Deighton.

I also thank the noble Lady, Baroness Doocey, for tabling this debate. I declare an interest in that I sat on several committees of LOCOG. I add my congratulations to all members of Team GB, the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, Paralympics GB, the Games makers, and our armed services.

I have been privileged to witness the evolution of the Paralympic movement, from a time when no one knew what it was, to that Jonnie Peacock moment when he silenced 82,000 people merely by holding his finger to his lips.

The Games on their own were never going to change the world and it is not fair to expect that. I believed that they could provide a moment that would open the public’s eyes to possibilities for disabled people and a moment where, at a basic level, the public would stop talking about the “real”, the “normal” or the “proper” Games when they meant the Olympics and “the other Olympics” when they really meant the Paralympics. Language is the dress of thought, and inclusion is more than putting a few Paralympic images on a poster or in a line-up

Equality is not a tick-box exercise. There has to be substance beneath it. LOCOG proved that time and time again. It celebrated the similarities between the Games and, where appropriate, the differences. Never once in all my time involved in these Games did I feel like a second-class citizen in sport. I cannot say that that has always been the case.

At a time when the figures for hate crimes against disabled people are high, we have to do something differently. Tim Hollingsworth, the chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, talks not about legacy but about building momentum. He said, “If before the Games we had a mountain to climb in terms of attitudes, we are now on the foothills. Much of that will be about non-disabled people engaging in the way that they did for 10 days in the summer”.

The English Federation of Disability Sport, of which I am president, has published a legacy survey, which found that the Paralympics had a significant impact on perceptions of disability. Eight out of 10 non-disabled people said that they were now interested in watching disabled people play sport and eight out of 10 disabled people considered taking part in more sport or exercise. Have the Paralympics changed the lives of disabled people? Someone I met after the Games said to me that the Paralympics made him realise that disabled people were humans too.

In looking towards the future, I warmly welcome the fact that Sport England will require national governing bodies to set targets for the number of disabled people taking part in physical activity. This is the first time that that will happen. I would like to ask the Minister what action will be taken against those bodies which do not meet the targets and do not follow on from the wonderful Paralympics. Will he reassure me that the national governing bodies will be encouraged to access appropriate expertise from other disability organisations to help them succeed?

Another key part is the PE curriculum in school, which must be inclusive and appropriate for disabled children. The development of physical literacy at an early age helps support other learning. What plans are there to ensure that disabled children are not excluded from PE and just sent to the library because it is easier, which was what happened when I was at school? While participation is important, disabled people can also be coaches, administrators and officials, and I should like to know what plans there are to ensure that there is wide access in these areas and that we do not concentrate only on participation.

The legacy is more than sport and physical activity. On a personal level, very recently, I had difficulty getting off a train. I had to sit on the floor, by the toilet, and push my chair off the steps before I shuffled to the door to transfer off. Do we really need to wait until 2020 to have accessible transport? If we can deliver an amazing Games, we can do other big projects too. Recently, I was invited to a dinner where I had to use the back entrance to get in. When I wanted to use the bathroom, it took several minutes to find a ramp and, while I was in the bathroom, it was taken away and I could not get back down the steps—not quite inclusion.

I have received lots of e-mails from people who are passionate about the Games. Recently, I received one from a father who has three children, one of whom has Down’s syndrome. The father was told that his son would never walk or talk but he does. The family were enthused by the Games and decided that they wanted their son to be active. One local club would not allow him to join, saying that he would hold the other children back. There was no discussion of how his impairment would affect the group or what extra help might be needed. It was just “no”. When he finally joined a group, after one session his family were told that, as he had not made enough progress, he would not be welcomed back. I come from a world of elite sport and I do not know any performance director who is that tough over one training session. The little boy who I am talking about is just five years old. We can do better than that.

The noble Lord, Lord Coe, said in the Paralympics commemorative programme:

“We want the athletes and everyone involved in these Games to inspire disabled and non-disabled young people from all backgrounds to have the same access and opportunities to fulfil their potential”.

We can do that but, as the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, has said, it will take a lot of hard work.

Finally, on a positive note, at the Games I saw a little girl aged about five who was a double above-knee amputee, wearing prosthetic legs. Her mum told me that for the first time she was wearing shorts because she was proud to be there. It is for her, and others like her, that we must not forget this summer of sport. In the same way that a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, respect for disabled people, celebrating what disabled people can do and inclusion, is not just for the Paralympics.

My Lords, I start by congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, on his first-class speech; he will be an enormous asset to this House and it was very smart of the Government to snap him up.

In thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for making today’s debate possible, and in responding to the challenge implicit in the title of the debate, I would like to compare and contrast the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games with the soon-to-be-reported-upon Leveson inquiry. For me, these two seemingly disparate and contradictory events perfectly symbolise the two Britains that seem available to us.

The Leveson inquiry laid bare a country and a society being lead down the road that—far from benefitting “the many and not the few”, as politicians from all parties are fond of claiming—was principally designed to line the pockets and enhance the clout of the already entitled, at the expense of a far more deserving majority: those to whom, on occasions such as this, we in this Chamber have the opportunity to add our support.

In the past year, what has emerged is that a whole mass of the electorate has been, for some considerable time, thoroughly misrepresented in a manner that has been as divisive as it has been damaging. On what do I base that assertion? Rather like the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich, I base it largely on the experience of watching and visiting our amazingly inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games. From the moment the Olympic flame touched down on these islands, with the extraordinary and—let us admit it—quite unexpected levels of enthusiasm that it generated, it became impossible to even brush up against those thousands of Olympic volunteers without being struck by the innate politeness, consideration, efficiency and effectiveness of swathes of our countrymen and countrywomen. Can this possibly be the same nation that has, for so long, been reflected or refracted, day in and day out, in many of our sensation-seeking, voyeuristic, celebrity-obsessed tabloid newspapers to a degree that, as the columnist Simon Jenkins recently put it, “The media has gone collectively tabloid”?

When I was young, there were the daily and the Sunday newspapers and then there were weekly entertainments, such as Reveille and Tit-Bits. Nobody ever confused the two and the editor of Reveille was very unlikely ever to be offered the editorship of a genuine newspaper. Sadly, in some cases, they have now become all but indistinguishable. In effect, we have Tit-Bits opining on Europe, and Reveille telling us to get the economy back on track. If you step back for one single moment, you begin to see how absolutely daft we have allowed ourselves to become.

This is a world in which words get distorted and mangled to a point at which they lose all meaning—words such as “fair”, “respect”, “kindness”, “sacrifice” and “value”. This is a world in which, once money is involved, shame appears to have ceased to be any kind of brake on bad behaviour. Against that, did the performance of a single Olympian or Paralympian in any way shame or embarrass anybody? I would be very surprised if that were the case. At a cost of around 80 pence for each taxpayer, the British Olympic team has to rank as a remarkably good investment. Add a further £320 each for the cost of our once-in-a-lifetime Olympics and the medals, the pleasure and the pride generated represent, in my judgment, an unparalleled investment in our own future.

For anyone of my age who had begun to believe that the best of the qualities to which I have previously referred had all but died out with our parents’ generation, our Olympic summer was nothing short of a revelation. Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Games, famously said that, for him, the Olympics was all about taking part and doing the best you possibly can in fair competition with other athletes from across the world. It has been my dream to take that notion one stage further and to make it even more real. I have long believed that there should be a fourth plinth at each victory ceremony reserved for the athlete who, in each discipline, has exceeded their personal best by the greatest margin. Life does not offer any of us the opportunity to do more than our best and I can think of no better way of driving that point home than by celebrating those who have achieved exactly that. I believe they are entitled to their own medal, which might, in turn, prove an intelligent way to begin to unhook ourselves from our present slightly juvenile conception of success.

To my way of thinking, the response to the Queen’s Jubilee—that public outpouring of affection that preceded the miracle of the London Olympics—makes it very clear that we have reached a watershed in deciding the type of nation that we want to be and the type of nation that we wish to be seen to be. As I mentioned in a speech in your Lordships’ House a couple of weeks ago, I found the sense of catharsis generated by the Prime Minister’s handling of the Bloody Sunday and, more recently, the Hillsborough apologies, to be absolutely profound. Surely, the response to those announcements should be sufficient to encourage politicians of all parties to believe that there are very real alternatives to the ugly and divisive world to which we have all become accustomed. Encouraged by the spirit of the London Olympics, and buttressed by Lord Justice Leveson’s forensic investigation, I would like to believe that we are beginning the process of recovering a sense of common purpose and, with it, an altogether more optimistic vision of our future.

Nothing is likely to change without politicians and sections of the press making it clear that they, every bit as much as us, want to be part of the optimistic and responsible Britain that we caught a brief glimpse of this summer. Achieving that places an inescapable burden on the Prime Minister to show a seriousness of leadership and intent when Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations are eventually published. Will the Prime Minister hold true to his promise that we must find, in his words, an entirely new system of holding the press to account? As he made clear in giving evidence before the Leveson inquiry, we must substitute independent regulation, underpinned by statute—without which its independence cannot possibly be guaranteed—for self-regulation. I hope that on this occasion he and the entire political class will not lose their nerve and that the spirit of Britain that we were briefly privileged to enjoy in August and September could become the day-to-day reality of all our lives. That for me would be a legacy absolutely beyond price.

My Lords, I join in congratulating my noble friend Lady Doocey. I also congratulate my noble friend Lord Deighton on a wonderful maiden speech and, of course, on a wonderful Olympics. I intend to concentrate today on the cultural legacy of our wonderful Olympics and Paralympics. Underpinning London’s bid for the 2012 Games, and one of the main reasons why it won, was a vision for a Cultural Olympiad, a festival celebrating the diversity and richness of culture in London, the UK and around the world, which will leave a lasting cultural legacy. What is more, the Cultural Olympiad could be held across the whole country, not just in the Olympic city, and encompass thousands of local and regional events as part of our nationwide celebration.

We Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly endorsed this idea, and I made speeches congratulating the Government of the time on their vision, but I am afraid that I also expressed doubts about funding levels and organisational structures. I am so glad today that I have to eat those words. The Cultural Olympiad was a triumph—and here I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who so brilliantly chaired the board, and Ruth Mackenzie, its director. But I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Coe, on not interfering with Danny Boyle. Who can forget that opening ceremony? It was a beautiful, brilliant spectacle which was complex and self-deprecating in its narrative—although not in its execution—as well as deeply humorous. Banished forever is Colonel Blimp and his stiff upper lip; now we have our monarch jumping from a helicopter and our pre-eminent conductor performing with Mr Bean.

As well as a celebration of the entity that is the United Kingdom, this was a showcase for our great creative industries. James Bond was, first, the product of writer Ian Fleming’s creativity, and then of film makers, actors, special effects creators, costume and set designers, and those who make the costumes and sets. Finally, in a dazzling tangle of fiction and fact and fiction, the fictional spy gets to meet the real Queen and her corgis. It celebrated children’s literature, music, television, art, and how art and design come together in such a wonderful creation as the cauldron. And centre stage, literally, was Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web.

The ceremony was shot through with recognition of our creative accomplishments, and was a huge one in its very self, and it managed to involve all of us, being performed by volunteers from across the nation and being watched on television by millions of the nation, and together. For the Olympiad was a unifying experience. At 12 minutes past eight on 27 July, almost 3 million people across the United Kingdom rang bells to celebrate the first day of the Games—hand bells, bicycle bells, doorbells, Big Ben, the bells of the UK Parliaments. Turner prize-winning artist, Martin Creed, got everyone involved, not just as an audience but as an integral part of a creative vision. The Olympiad was an inclusive experience. Who can forget at the opening ceremony the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children, singing and signing the national anthem?

We are here to talk about legacy. We must ensure that the innovative new partnerships that creators forged continue. We must ensure that the estimated 10 million people who have been inspired to take part in more cultural activities can and do. We must ensure that the young and ethnic minorities who particularly appreciated the Olympiad continue to enjoy culture. But the most important thing of all is to ensure that we continue to create the creators, and in this area we face a problem. The Next Gen. report published last year pointed out that the way in which ICT is being taught in schools was too narrow and not providing the appropriate skills or aspirations to feed into the creative industries. The good news is that the coalition Government listened and a draft programme of study for ICT, which will include a computer programming option, has been developed. Alongside this, there has been significant movement towards making computer science a GCSE subject. Does my noble friend the Minister not agree that the logical next step is the inclusion of computer science in the English baccalaureate as part of the science strand? But however central the understanding of technology has become to the creative industries, they are still underpinned by creativity itself, and Darren Henley’s review of cultural education is another crucial element in tackling the skills deficit. The Government’s response to the review, published last February, says:

“We set out below those issues that we will address immediately … A National Plan for Cultural Education”.

It is November, and “immediately” has still not happened. So when is the promised national plan to be published?

Another disappointment is the lack of a sixth strand to the EBacc to cover the creative subjects. It is argued that there is plenty of room in the curriculum for these to be pursued, but it is about perception. As Grayson Perry said last weekend:

“If arts subjects aren’t included in the Ebacc, schools won’t stop doing them overnight. But there will be a corrosive process, they will be gradually eroded … By default, resources won’t go into them. With the best will in the world, schools will end up treating arts subjects differently”.

When resources are scarce, the head teacher is going to employ a geography teacher, or another teacher from one of the EBacc subjects, over one for art and design. And you know who will get the art and design teacher? It will be those being privately educated.

For us to continue to excel in the creative industries, we must place creative subjects at the heart of our education system, but action must be taken by the creative world as well as politicians to ensure that creative subjects do not become second-class subjects. Dame Tessa Jowell, to whom I would also like to pay tribute, said back in May 2008 that there will be,

“more to the Cultural Olympiad than the ceremonies, important though they are. More than the live concerts across the country, fun though they will be. It will be the beginning of something much more ambitious”.

Let us ensure that this is the case.

My Lords, the public judgment on the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was foremost a story about the remarkable achievements of our athletes. The Olympic board, which had oversight over every aspect of the Games, Olympic and Paralympic alike, numbered just four original members: the Secretary of State, the mayor, my noble friend Lord Coe as chair of LOCOG and myself as chair of the British Olympic Association. At LOCOG we were very fortunate to have the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, deliver Games organisation to a gold medal standard, and we welcome him to your Lordships’ House after an outstanding maiden speech.

For my part, I was supported strongly by my chief executive Andy Hunt and an outstanding team at the British Olympic Association. To me, the Games was above all about the athletes; every decision—from the tough, consistent, no-compromise position that we took against doping in sport to the need to secure long-term funding for the sportsmen and women that the British Olympic Association represents—was about the athletes. I have every confidence that my noble friend Lord Coe will be a major asset in taking that work forward.

I never predicted medal targets—an activity which should be left to the bookies—but I sought to ensure with my colleagues at the British Olympic Association that every athlete could be supported to the ultimate degree Puttham in other words, to deliver, as the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, rightly said, their personal bests. If that was achieved, the medal targets would look after themselves. The reputation set by Team GB on and off the field of play was exemplary and has been reviewed as a benchmark for sport in this country. The performance of the British Olympic Association’s 750 support staff within the delegation was outstanding and an excellent example of how over 50 organisations can come together as one team aligned behind a common mission to deliver high-performance sport, medals and a suite of personal bests.

It was a remarkable summer. The atmosphere in the Olympic park was inspirational. This atmosphere extended not just across London but across the country. During the summer of 2012 the United Kingdom became the Olympic park. Team GB became the driving force behind the success of the Games. The athletes of the world raised the stakes. Across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 117 Olympic records were broken and 250 world records set. From our perspective we have never seen any British sporting success like this in our lifetime. As important as the success of our Olympians and Paralympians is, it is vital now—as the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, has reminded us through this debate—to turn inspiration into participation.

Girl power was a key feature of Team 2012. Our women athletes led the way. Their energy, expertise and enthusiasm must now be translated into the involvement of more women at all levels of sports administration. It escaped nobody’s attention that the success of the women at the Olympic Games—boosted by 11 British gold medals—has led to calls for changes to boost women’s sport and bring to an end sports clubs that still deny women equal membership rights. I am in favour of removing the exemption to the Equality Act which permits discrimination against women in this context. The Royal and Ancient, I regret, is a classic example, for golf is now—after the London Games—an Olympic sport. Equality of opportunity should be a no-brainer for any true devotee of sport. The absence of women from the top table of so many national and international federations of sport would, regrettably, suggest otherwise.

Education’s rightful place should be at the epicentre of the Olympic sports legacy. We need a revolution, on the back of a successful Games, in the delivery of. school sport. Every primary school needs dedicated physical education delivered to national curriculum standard; provided by well-trained, focused individuals; and supported by a vibrant, accessible and sustainable interschool sports programme which is, in turn, supported and linked into the national governing body competition calendars.

How should we do this? We need a review of initial training for specialist physical education teachers to establish quality physical education, which all our children and young people—both able bodied and disabled—need and deserve. Links should be established between all schools, both primary and secondary, and all sport and recreation clubs in their catchment areas. We should have a comprehensive audit of all our sports facilities and every one of them should be part of a concerted programme to ensure that they are used and do not lie idle for so much of the year. Our playing fields are needed and must be protected.

The delivery of quality training programmes for primary school physical education teachers is patchy at best. More than 60% of primary school teachers receive less than six hours’ preparation in total to teach physical education. As we all know, some providers do a great job. The Teaching Agency should ensure that there is a step change in the delivery of quality physical education for all teacher training programmes. I would hope that Ofsted could be required to expand its remit and inspect and report on curriculum-time physical education as well as out-of-hours sport in all schools. The success of the Games needs to be a catalyst not just for improved PE provision in schools; it should be a call for a wider healthy schools agenda, the provision for youths in general and the role of competitive sport in its proper context. What is needed is a greater concentration on the physical and emotional health and well-being of young people nationwide.

If there was ever fertile ground for David Cameron’s vision of the big society, it is through sport and recreation. Control, power, jobs and funding needs to be shifted from bureaucratic, micromanaged structures under the influence of Whitehall to families, clubs, volunteers, community groups and schools, who should be empowered with the task of translating the inspiration of the Games into participation.

While I have focused on the BOA today and the vital need to deliver on the Olympic sports legacy, there is no doubt that equal attention should be given to the British Paralympic Association and to sport for those with disabilities. For this summer gave us a moment to understand the abilities of the world’s Olympians, not their disabilities.

I hope that these objectives which I have shared with your Lordships can begin to deliver an Olympic sports legacy of which this country can be proud.

I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for securing this debate. Anyone who can get extra time in this place certainly gets my vote. I also congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, on her speech. She became the face of the Paralympics on our television. On behalf of the whole House, we must thank her for everything that she has done.

Last Thursday, along with the noble Lord, Lord Coe, I had the honour to support the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, in his introduction to your Lordships’ House. We have now had his excellent maiden speech. The House of Lords is always a place for vignettes and I must share one with your Lordships today. As we were lining up for our photographs, one of the attendants said to me: “Lord Mitchell, consider this. Lord Coe has two gold medals and achieved umpteen world records. But when the three of you walked into your Lordships’ Chamber, he was in the lead and you were at the back. And when you walked out, you were in the lead and he was at the back. There are not many people who can say that”.

The noble Lord, Lord Deighton, and Lady Deighton are family friends. I have known him during most of these seven years and I can say with absolute certainty that this man is cool under pressure. We had a Sunday lunch just before the Olympics—I think it was three weeks before—when the G4S saga was at its height. I know that he had had a meeting at No. 10 in the afternoon but there was very little mention of it. We talked about all sorts of other things and it was delightful. How he did it, I have absolutely no idea.

They say that success has many parents and that failure is an orphan. We have seen all the people who have been bathing in the success of the Olympic Games. However, we should think again about how we got these Olympic Games and who it was who went to Singapore to achieve it for us. It was not in fact the mayor Boris Johnson; it was the mayor Ken Livingstone. It was not Prime Minister David Cameron; it was Prime Minister Tony Blair. It was the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and, indeed, it was David Beckham. We owe all of them our thanks. Most particularly, I would like to give a tribute to my honourable friend Dame Tessa Jowell, the political champion who has pushed this whole thing through. She is a woman for whom a firm no means a qualified yes. She will not take no for an answer; anybody who has worked with her will say this.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, said, we should cast our minds back to everything that was being said about these Olympic Games—that it would cost “too much money”; that “stadiums won’t be finished”; that it “won’t be successful”; that “traffic would be awful”; that “terrorism would be a continuous threat”; that “it would just be about London and not the rest of the country”; and that “it would be taking money from other important causes”. As you know, the smart set from Notting Hill and Hampstead and areas like that all got out of London because they knew it was going to be a disaster.

I will do something today that I would not recommend to any noble Lord addressing the Chamber. I will read some statistics and, if you think that you will be bored to death, you will not. Eleven million people attended 1,000 sessions of world-class sport and spectacular ceremonies in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including 340,000 free tickets for school children, troops and other worthy causes. Fifteen million people lined the streets for the Olympic torch relay. Some 19.5 million people attended London 2012 festival events across the UK and 10 million people took part in Inspire projects—that is, community projects awarded the Inspire mark which is a version of the London 2012 brand. Some 8.1 million people visited one of 70 live sites in their communities and 51.1 million people—91% of the population—watched at least 15 minutes of the BBC’s Olympic coverage, with a peak of 28.7 million viewers for the opening ceremony; that is one in every two people in our country, including babies. Some 39.9 million people saw Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics—that is, 69% of the population. Two million children and young people in 85% of UK schools learnt about the Games and the values of the Olympics and Paralympics and 12 million children and young people in 20 countries took part in International Inspiration, bringing quality sport to developing nations. Some 2,000 businesses across the country won Games contracts worth £8 billion. As we all know, 70,000 Games makers were the face of London 2012, welcoming the world to the Games.

Research after the Games shows their impact: 70% of people say that children are more positive about sport; 65% think that the Games improved London and the UK’s global image; 80% agree that LOCOG did a good job; 65% agree that the Paralympics have brought about a breakthrough in the way disabled people are viewed in the UK; and more than 80% agree that the Paralympic Games demonstrated athletes’ abilities ahead of their disabilities. This was value for money.

What lessons have been learnt from the Olympic Games? I was impressed by the fact that many of the athletes, when interviewed, revealed that they had undergone severe hardships such as deaths in the family and injuries incurred at Beijing. Their grit and tenacity in overcoming adversity was incredibly impressive. They have inspired a generation. Young people who watched the Olympics will know that there is no substitute for hard work.

What gives results? You cannot just turn up and win. It is not just about talent; it is about training, coaching, resources and a positive mental attitude. We should think about encouraging the same approach in business and the public sector. Excellence does not happen by chance. As for the champions who drove it all through, without political championing nothing would have happened. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, Tessa Jowell and Tony Blair all drove the Games forward politically.

I want to finish on champions. This country needs big projects and bold initiatives. We need to address our airport problem now and not in three years’ time. We also need to address HS2, new roads, nuclear power and maybe even the Severn barrage. It is always easy to say no and kick these projects into the long grass, but that is not good enough. The job of the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, will involve infrastructure. It will not be an easy task but he is the man for the job. We wish him well.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lady Doocey for giving us this opportunity to discuss the legacy of the Olympics. We will not cover all aspects of the subject today as it is too multifaceted for us to do it justice in a single debate. We shall have to look at it again and again.

The Olympics were the biggest project Britain has had to bring together and co-ordinate in peacetime, certainly in my lifetime and probably for all time. They were very successful but the idea of taking forward the legacy is new not only for the Olympic movement but for the way we look at big projects. The big sporting projects and championships that are coming up are all trying to learn lessons from the Olympics. Next year the rugby league world championship will take place here. The Commonwealth Games are coming up in Glasgow and also an event for my own sport of rugby union. When I asked representatives of those sports what they considered was the biggest lesson to be learnt from the Olympics, they replied “You should plan ahead. Once your planning is in place, other things are possible”. We should remember the amount of work that was undertaken for the Olympics.

A whole Act of Parliament was devoted to the Olympics. I remember sitting through debates on it in the Moses Room attended by the then Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Davies. Many of the subsequent points of discussion were first opened up there. Work had already been done but we looked at it again. That was the first time Parliament got involved in that. Disability access was one of the largest areas under discussion. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, is not present but I remember saying to him, “Listen, it is not about disability; it is about the Olympics. We have the disability stuff in place”. Those discussions probably helped to make the Paralympic Games such a success. We undertook the relevant work at an early stage.

Have we undertaken the same preparation as regards all aspects of the Olympic legacy? That question will be answered over the next few years. I would disagree a little with my noble friend. I probably would have spent £9 billion on the six weeks of sport but I understand that that view may not be universally held. If we are to ensure that the Olympic legacy is taken forward, we will have to embrace everything that comes from that legacy. Will all the major projects involved, inside and outside the world of sport, take this legacy forward? Do they relate to everything else that goes on?

We must remember that a legacy of involvement and participation in sport needs to apply at all levels. We have the resources to plan and prepare for the needs of the elite, to allow things to happen and to create the space for the experts to get at their subject. However, when you go slightly further down the food chain, things get more difficult. This morning I spent an hour or so with people from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing who are trying to carry out a survey on the benefits of boxing. That sport has suffered from a bad reputation. However, engaging in boxing seems to discourage people from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour. There is very good anecdotal evidence on that. One of the first questions that was asked concerned how we attract funding and support for boxing. We came to the conclusion that neither the people who run boxing clubs nor the people who attend them like filling out forms. How do you attract investment in boxing? How do you encourage private philanthropists to invest in boxing and persuade them that they will get something out of it? How do you persuade government to invest in it and interact with a schools boxing programme? This is not revolutionary thinking. There is agreement on this matter. We disagree only about how it should be done. We need to involve people in boxing at the junior level and make mass participation easier. I am talking about those who do not participate in elite youth programmes.

The discussion continued on the easiest way to reach people, whether information technology was the answer and whether the Government should enable audits to be undertaken. We also discussed what people expected to get back and what it was realistic to expect in terms of a legacy. For example, you will not always get £5 back for every £1 you put in and you will not stop all anti-social behaviour straight away. Will you make it slightly better? Will you make something that grows? Will you enhance community involvement and the concept that people can do something positive? If that legacy applies to sport it will apply to just about everything else that requires participation—drama groups, arts groups and dance groups. Everybody can learn lessons here if we can only sit down and talk.

The entire Olympic experience was one where lots of different facets were brought together. Planning met sport, which met the Cultural Olympiad. We all had to talk together and be involved together. Unless we can start to take the lessons here and apply them across the board, and learn where we need to do more learning, we are going to miss some of the benefits. The Olympic experience has been a great success. Let us make sure that it continues to be so.

My Lords, I declare interests, not just as the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, but as chair of the Cultural Olympiad board and as a board member of LOCOG. In those roles, I have seen at first hand the outstanding work of the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, whose excellent maiden speech we heard this morning. I congratulate him on that and on his central role in a summer that none of us will ever forget.

I should like to comment on the London 2012 Festival, which was the biggest of its kind in this country and one that raised the bar for future cultural Olympiads. Some 25,000 artists from 204 nations were involved and attendances topped 19.8 million people—80% of those at free events. Young people were at the heart of what we achieved; more than a third of audiences were between the ages of 16 and 24. That demonstrates that the arts can reach out to that difficult-to-reach audience.

Most emblematic for me was the opening day of the festival, which took place, in the pouring rain, at Raploch, near Stirling in Scotland. Raploch is one of the most deprived estates in Scotland, or indeed in the whole of the UK, but it is the home of Sistema Scotland, which teaches young children and young people to play instruments and to be part of an orchestra. On that night, young people from Raploch played alongside the Simon Bolivar Orchestra—a product of the original Sistema project in Venezuela—conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. It was an amazingly moving occasion and I was really pleased and proud that it could be the start of the festival as it showed the importance of music, art and culture to young people. As I drove back from Raploch in the pouring rain, I thought about something that the person who ran the festival said to me: “Music reaches people here in a way that nothing else can. We know. We have seen it”. Being involved in the arts and culture can give you a sense of confidence and self-worth and that is why it is so important that the arts remain strong within the national curriculum, and why they should be included in the new English baccalaureate. That would be a good legacy of the Games.

Another thing that happened as part of the festival was that 40 young people, who had been unemployed for more than six months, were given work placements at organisations involved in the festival. I hope that this will once again demonstrate what working in arts and culture can do for young people. I know this is a precursor to a much bigger scheme that the Arts Council has announced, involving the arts in tackling long-term unemployment. This is a great legacy of the festival.

One of the most striking things about the build-up to the Games last summer was the sense of excitement among the public; for example, the huge crowds that came out to welcome the torch and the fact that people wanted to be involved. Involvement was key to the festival too. As has been mentioned, on the opening day of the Games, Martin Creed created an artwork when he asked everyone to ring a bell. I rang my bell with the Speaker of the other place, and managed to get a blister. What amazed me was that 2.9 million people joined in—I repeat, 2.9 million. This tells you something about people’s desire to be part of an event that is bigger than themselves. As there were so many opportunities to be involved, new audiences were attracted.

When the Globe Theatre ambitiously put on all 37 Shakespeare plays in 37 different languages, people came from all around the world and 80% of those who came had never been to the Globe before. It was an extraordinary outcome. We need to look at ways of continuing that. One idea is a biennale, which is one of the things that the board I chair is looking at for the Government. It would be good to know that the Government are building on what was achieved this summer in terms of new audiences.

Another thing that was striking about the festival was the willingness of people to say, “Yes”, to make extraordinary things happen. Hadrian’s Wall was lit up with weather balloons along most of its length. It was really beautiful and it did not rain. The person in charge of this remarkable sight said that 120 separate landowners had to agree for this remarkable artwork to take place. As it was 2012 and as it was the Olympics, there was a sense of, “Let’s do it”. It is really important to see whether that power of “yes” can be taken forward. With luck, we will have pushed boundaries and, next time, dramatic things will be easier to do.

The Cultural Olympiad also challenged perceptions. Unlimited was the biggest-ever programme of arts and culture by deaf and disabled people anywhere in the world; 29 works were commissioned. Nothing had ever been done on that scale before anywhere in the world. In the same way that the Paralympics changed people’s perceptions of disability, this programme has raised the profile and created new opportunities.

One cannot underestimate what the summer and the festival did for bringing people who run things and create together and for establishing new contacts. For the first time, as it was 2012, we had homeless people singing in the Royal Opera House. What voices they had. It was so moving. It was such an important event that we cannot let it drop. It was an important collaboration.

The Cultural Olympiad board, which I was asked to set up, has brought together the arts and the funders: the mayor’s office, DCMS and the BBC, a very powerful combination. So many people right across the country have come together to do amazing things. Those contacts could be the greatest legacy of 2012, and who knows where that might lead. The key is not to drop it.

We have shown the world this summer what we can do in difficult financial circumstances. The arts matter because they are part of the creative industries, which are a large and growing part of our economy. However, what was done this summer was on the back of sustained investment in arts and culture at national and local level over more than a decade. It was that which produced the world-class expertise and talent to create both the London 2012 Festival and the extraordinary ceremonies that accompanied both Games. The Government have asked the Cultural Olympiad board to carry on and look at how we can ensure a long-term legacy. Securing sustainable funding streams for the arts will be key to this. We have shown what we can do but we need to continue to make the case to ensure that this is not a one-off but the beginning of a new, enhanced role for culture in the life of the nation.

My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Baroness for moving this Motion. It has given us all an opportunity to relive some of those wonderful Olympic memories.

My particular interest is road cycling. The road race fortunately passed very close to my home, and so I benefit from a nice personal bit of legacy every weekend by cycling along smooth roads that were especially resurfaced for the Olympic event. However, that is far from the only infrastructure legacy; 75% of the funds spent went on buildings and infrastructure. The noble Lord, Lord Deighton, in his excellent maiden speech, told us how 30 years of regeneration in east London were squeezed into five years. I agree with my noble friend Lady Ford that it was a great achievement. As the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, explained, the conversion of the Olympic site will be the major physical legacy, with new homes, new parks, new schools, and the training facility in east London, and there is the bringing into public use of the stadia, sporting facilities and so on. This is at a time when the underlying economy is weak.

The plans are impressive, but all will depend on how well the London Legacy Development Corporation carries them out. I join the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, in her concern about how it will execute the social regeneration, the jobs for local people and the quality of life. Furthermore, there is still no agreement on who will take over the main stadium. Operators are being appointed for other facilities, but will those facilities be well used? Will the charges be reasonable if they have no public subsidy? Will all the ancillary services be provided? Will the open spaces be well maintained? We did well in meeting the deadline but will we do as well in delivering the legacy?

When the Olympic area was built, green issues were high on the agenda. The procurement process was used as a tool to introduce new products, new technologies and new designs, with wonderful results. Unfortunately, we were unable to persuade LOCOG to allow most of the suppliers, mainly British, fully to use the Olympics as a shop window, in spite of the efforts of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, so these firms were, in a way, deprived of some of their legacy.

However, I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, the noble Lord, Lord Hall, and others that a good legacy would be a change in attitude towards disabled people. As the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, explained, London’s bid was for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. By giving both equal prominence, London put disability into the limelight; the disabilities were not hidden away. The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, explained how this made us more at ease with disability. She is right. We talked about it; we marvelled at modern prosthetics; and the disabled athletes were wonderful role models. So the legacy I would like to see is the elimination of the 2,095 cases of hate crime against disabled people recorded by the police last year.

What can the Government do to help this legacy? First, they can review the contract with Atos to manage the personal independence payments which will replace the disability living allowance from next year. Atos has caused so much distress to so many disabled people that the disability charities cannot work with it. Amazingly, the Government have said that this was not a factor in awarding the contract. If the Government are serious about securing the Olympic legacy for disabled people, perhaps they will review this. Secondly, disabled people must not be put at a disadvantage by the complicated reporting system being introduced when the universal credit scheme comes into force next year.

Let us not forget the legacy from the cultural Olympics and from volunteering. The noble Lord, Lord Deighton, explained how, by providing a structure for volunteering, the Olympics were able to harness a passion for volunteering that was surely greater than most of us could have imagined. I agree with him. The Games makers were one of the most successful aspects of the Games. Learning better how to harness this passion for volunteering might be the legacy which involves more people than all the other legacies added together. For instance, Ministers this week are talking about 1 million voluntary dementia friends. Add to this the legacy from the cultural Olympics; and I do not just mean theatre such as “The Hollow Crown”, theatre which most of us want to see again.

The noble Lord, Lord Hall, spoke of young musicians. I congratulate him on the Aldeburgh World Orchestra, an orchestra composed of more than 100 young musicians put together by Aldeburgh Music from many Olympic nations. They really gave quality performances. Is the Minister aware that all the auditions to put this orchestra together were done over the internet? By showing that it can be done, that is an interesting bit of legacy. Incidentally, I include the television coverage by Channel 4 and the BBC as part of both the cultural legacy and the health legacy.

My noble friend Lord Mitchell told us how most of us lived the Olympics via television. The production and the commentary, by people such as the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, were so good that they must have encouraged increased physical activity. That must have something to do with the fact that virtually all sports clubs now have a waiting list. I see proof of this every weekend as, since the Olympics, when my wife and I enjoy the legacy of cycling on our nice, smooth road surfaces, we are joined by many more riders than before.

My Lords, I, too, congratulate my noble friend Lady Doocey on securing today’s debate and reflect on what a marvellous opportunity it has been to hear a cross-section of perspectives.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a reception at the Czech embassy at which the ambassador referred in his speech to the success of the London Games. Like many others, he made particular reference to the volunteers. He said:

“Never, in the field of human endeavour has so much been owed by so many to so few”.

He was right to use that phrase because those few, the volunteers, really kept the Games going and it is about the volunteers that I want to speak today. In doing so, I declare a non-pecuniary interest as the chair of the England Volunteering Development Council.

Much of what I want to say refers to specific volunteering programmes—the Games makers, London ambassadors and so on—but we should recognise that every athlete who participated in the London Games was at the apex of a vast pyramid of support, from the grass-roots clubs on to the highly specialised training, much of which, of course, is volunteer driven. It seems to me to be really important that we look at the success of the largest mobilisation of volunteers since World War II, look beyond the well deserved congratulations, and think about what lessons we can learn from it.

First, will my noble friend outline how the Games maker programme was evaluated, by whom, and when the results will be published? In particular, have the Government any specific plans to capitalise both on that body of volunteers and also those who have been inspired to volunteer in the future? On a specific point, has agreement been reached on what will happen to the LOCOG database of volunteers and those who applied, who were willing to help but for some reason were not used? At the moment, it all looks rather ad hoc.

About a month ago I attended a special event in my home county of Suffolk to recognise the Games makers. The organisers had no database of Games makers to work from, but just relied on personal contacts. It was a lovely event and a great way of saying thank you, but it was also a piece of legacy work. Literally, as it is turns out, because the Suffolk Records Office is creating a special Olympic archive, but it is more specifically a legacy because former Games makers are being contacted about other volunteering opportunities in the county, especially for large events such as festivals—Latitude, for example. Suffolk has had the foresight to create a bespoke 2012 legacy project for volunteering which aims to increase volunteering opportunities within sport and culture across the county. It makes absolute sense that, having invested in training the volunteers for the Olympics, those new skills can be put to further use if that is what the volunteers want. I know that the Westminster volunteer centre is doing similar work developing a group of volunteers to help with large events in London, but I am not aware of any more systematic way of doing this. We run the risk of not making the best of the summer’s success.

It seems to me that, on volunteering, there are a number of lessons that we can learn. First, there is the value of good, inspirational leadership, which we had in buckets, from my new noble friend Lord Deighton, from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, from the Mayor of London and from many others who are Members of this House. We saw the value of cross-party working and the value of working between public and private, but the really important thing was that volunteers were not added on at the end; they were an integral part of delivering the Olympics and Paralympics right from the beginning. That, I believe, is what really made the difference.

It is worth reflecting, however, on the amount of resource that went into this. In my view, one of the main things that made the volunteer programme successful was that enough investment was put in to make it work. It was not just cash. The private sector came in to offer HR support, recruitment, IT, training and even meals for volunteers. Local authorities stepped up and Transport for London ran a marvellous programme of volunteers at major stations. Many volunteers, of course, spent a lot of their own money on transport and accommodation and did so because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I do not believe that we have any idea of the true value of the investment that went into making the volunteer contribution work. I mention that, and I believe it matters, because I think there is a general feeling in Government and beyond that volunteering is a free good. Well, it is not—the Olympic volunteering worked because money was put in to make sure that it did.

The good news is that volunteer centres report more people coming forward to volunteer than ever before, but across the piece I hear that what holds back capacity is that organisations do not have enough paid staff to manage the volunteers. The noble Lord, Lord Haskell, made that point very well in relation to sports clubs. We need to invest in the capacity of the voluntary sector and particularly volunteer centres. They have an important role in brokering volunteering opportunities for people who want to come forward. But the figures from Volunteering England show that half of all volunteer centres have had funding cuts that have led to closures or a cutting back of their hours. Yet their brokerage role is absolutely key, especially if they are trying to work with hard-to-reach groups such as people with mental health problems or from certain minority ethnic backgrounds.

Volunteer centres tell me that there has been a huge increase in unemployed people looking for volunteering opportunities, which I suppose is to be expected. For many others, volunteering is an important way of maintaining self-esteem, getting out and about and meeting people. Investing in volunteering generally is just as important now as it was during the Olympic programmes, but in many ways is needed more because there is not a big one-off event that is capturing the imagination. If the Government want volunteering to flourish, to make community work an inherent part of the education system or a condition of benefits, they will have to grasp the nettle. Flashy websites and national publicity campaigns will not on their own do it unless the support is there at grassroots level.

There is something really special about volunteering that cannot readily be reduced to a financial transaction, but we must recognise that, it in the end, it does not come free. My noble friend Lady Doocey said that we needed to create a legacy worthy of the Games and I believe that this is just as important in volunteering as in every other part.

My Lords, it is a joy and a pleasure to have this opportunity to take part in this debate. I begin as every other speaker has by warmly congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, on her initiative and on the spirited way she made her speech. It was very well received. The maiden speech that we heard today was a joy and a pleasure to listen to.

When I reflected on the best way to make a contribution, I knew to begin by saying that in 1950 I married my lovely wife Margaret, who came from Dagenham and came to Newcastle where I lived. At dinner parties in 1950—some of them were at my house—two years after the 1948 Games, inevitably the conversation would stray to the Olympics. We would talk until someone said to Margaret, “You have been silent. Have you nothing to say?”, and she would smile and say, “I was there”. She was there. In other words, living in London and with an interest, she attended more than once. When we talked about Fanny Blankers-Koen, Maureen Gardner, Zatopek, Wint, and McDonald Bailey she could say, “I was there. I saw them”. When I spoke earlier on this subject, I simply said that I would love to find in 2012 that more and more people could say, “I was there”, not necessarily in the stadium but that they had had a touch and a feel.

The brief that so many of us received, which I appreciate very much, gives figures. I will remember all my life the enthusiasm of those who watched on the streets. Of course, more people went to the stadia and participated, but it was the enthusiasm and good-heartedness shown by the public who had the opportunity to watch. One of the strokes of genius by the organisers was to organise the torch parade throughout the land. It provided everyone with the chance to say, “I was there”, because in the future they will say, “I saw the torch”. I know from experience in other places that a number of people who were chosen by whatever means to carry the torch are minor celebrities now. They were proud. The public were applauding not only the carrier but the spirit of the torch.

When one looks at the participants performing and doing their jobs on the day, one thing that impressed me was the number of times that the participants said that they were inspired by the crowd. The crowd were absolutely non-partisan. Of course, most of them were British—schoolchildren and others—but they were not partisan in their cheering on of the participants.

One of the things that we can take away from this is that we did it, and we did it well. I am very sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Coe, is not here today, although I understand why. I would have liked to have shaken his hand in some way and said, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Thou shalt be well rewarded”. He was well rewarded. Not only he but, because of the part they played, others in this House such as the noble Baronesses, Lady Ford and Lady Grey-Thompson, and the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, were fortunate, as were Tessa Jowell and Tony Blair, to have the opportunity to do what they did. They did it successfully and enthusiastically.

When one talks about the legacy, it is plainly there. I hope that we have an opportunity to carry on the spirit of the Olympics. I can record that, in every conversation the day after an event, if I said to a colleague, “Did you see the Olympics last night?” they all said, “Yes I did. I was there”. It was the spirit of what took place that I will recall for so very long. It is a joy and a pleasure to have had such a big non-partisan success. Although there were niggles and disappointments or potential pitfalls, they were all overcome because the spirit of non-partisanship was there. We did it proud and if we ever have a chance to do it again, I know that we will do it just as proudly.

My Lords, I also start by thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for initiating this debate, which allows us to return to the important issue of the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. When I last joined in a debate of this sort, back in 2008, I focused my remarks on the physical legacy of the Games as someone who lived for many years in the Lower Lea Valley and who appreciated the enormous improvements to the physical environment that the creation of the Olympic Park would bring about—and it has. Today, however, I wish to focus on a different legacy aspect: what can be done to improve the general health and fitness of those who do not aspire to be elite athletes?

In this context, I would like to draw attention to the work of the Britain on Foot campaign, which aims to,

“inspire and inform the general public to get active and enjoy the Great British Outdoors in many different ways”.

It will be a call to action aimed at a very wide audience. Everyone can be involved, no matter their age, ability or financial status. It is aimed at promoting the benefits of getting active in the outdoors and enabling people to do so, whether that is a simple stroll in the park enjoying the fresh air or a weekend hiking trip.

This major campaign, which will have its official public launch next spring, had a preliminary parliamentary launch here at Westminster a couple of weeks ago at a reception co-hosted by David Rutley and John Mann, the joint chairmen of the All-Party Mountaineering Group, of which I am secretary. The event was a huge success and was supported by government Ministers from the Department of Health and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. A keynote address was given by Anna Soubry, the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, who placed great emphasis on the public health benefits of people becoming more active.

The campaign is being actively promoted by the Outdoor Industries Association, the trade body which brings together the major equipment suppliers in the industry—the manufacturers of jackets, fleeces, walking trousers, boots, and tents, woolly hats and so forth. The driving force behind it is the chief executive of the OIA, Andrew Denton, who spoke powerfully and inspiringly at the parliamentary reception, culminating with this challenge to the assembled parliamentarians:

“Ask not what Britain on Foot can do for you. Ask what you can do for Britain on Foot”.

It is a challenge to which all of us who are already convinced of the benefits of fresh air and exercise should be prepared to respond.

For the past 30 years I have organised a rambling group, the radical ramblers, and for the past six or seven years there has existed a sub-set of this group, comprised of those who have a little more leisure time, called the Wednesday wanderers. The name gives a good idea of when the group goes walking. There are several Members of your Lordships’ House from the Labour Benches who occasionally are able to come walking on a Wednesday, and there are one or two spouses of noble Baronesses among the others. We are going to respond to the challenge I mentioned by devising and developing a new, long-distance circular walk in and around London. To emphasise the link with the 2012 Olympics, this walk will start and end at the Olympic park in Stratford and, in particular, at the iconic viewing platform and mega-sculpture, the “Orbit”. That will also be the name of our convoluted circular walk: the orbit.

The work has already started. We are treading the local paths and beginning to write up a new guide. Starting from the Olympic park and going anti-clockwise we will cover the cardinal points of the compass: Cockfosters, at the end of the Piccadilly line, in the north; Windsor Castle in the west; the North Downs in the south; and Crayford Ness in the east. Only yesterday, our little group walked across the playing fields of Eton on a short leg from just outside the Greater London boundary to Windsor. Our circular walk is not a rival to the two firmly established and well signposted circular walks in London—the Capital Ring and the London Loop—but is intended to complement them. Indeed, we will incorporate sections of both of these strategic walking routes in our wander, as well as the Thames Path and a dozen or more local footpaths, of which there are an amazing number in London. We will link parks and open spaces by following river paths, canal towpaths, paths around and across golf courses and occasionally, but only where absolutely necessary, along pavements in residential areas.

The amount of green spaces in London that can be linked together to form an extensive walk—which feels, for the most part, like a walk in the countryside—is truly impressive. When our walk is completed it is likely to be about 300 kilometres long, with 34 or 35 stages. We are aiming at an average of nine or 10 kilometres in each stage. When we have completed this task we intend to publish our new route on the internet or by other electronic means—an app, perhaps. We hope to be able to do this for free. Our aim is to play a small role in getting more people walking for their personal benefit, for the nation’s benefit and for our own satisfaction post the Olympic Games. You could say it is our contribution to the big society. I hope that 2013, 2014 and 2015 will be the years in which activity for all comes to the fore, following the emphasis on elite sports in the Olympic year of 2012. This should be a lasting legacy.

My Lords, I, too, thank my noble friend for securing this important debate, which highlights Brand Britain at its best, and for the chance to discuss one of the greatest events ever to take place on these shores.

In 2004 I had the honour of running with the Olympic torch along the streets of Peckham in south London, where I saw young children from all cultural backgrounds cheering and waving their union jacks and cross of St George flags. They instinctively knew a momentous event was taking place in their midst and felt good about who they were. That was when I realised the importance of having the Olympic and Paralympic Games here in the UK, and I campaigned passionately for London to get the Games, to give children a lasting legacy, a sense of pride, a feeling of belonging to a great nation.

For all of us that dream became a reality during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They were the most diverse Games in history. I believe that diversity and inclusion were the key founding blocks of the Games because a number of firsts were established which can be used as the benchmark for all future Games and within all organisations.

I declare an interest: I sat on the LOCOG diversity and inclusion board under the brilliant chairmanship of my noble friend Lord Deighton. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome him to the House—he will be an enormous asset—and I congratulate him on his excellent maiden speech. I very much look forward to working with him once again.

During my time on the board I witnessed first hand the collective achievements accomplished since London won the bid in 2005—outstanding achievements such as the 200,000 brilliant, diverse, talented people recruited to LOCOG’s workforce as staff, volunteers and contractors. This included unprecedented diversity and inclusion across the paid, volunteer and contractor workforce, with many people working alongside others they would otherwise never have met, resulting in many having life-changing experiences. There was an unprecedented transparent supply chain, with all business supplies to LOCOG signing up to a diversity charter, driving change in businesses of all sizes.

The Games also had the most accessible venues, with unparalleled inclusive customer service across a range of client groups, from information in the official guides through to the Games’ mobility service. All this was most impressive to visitors from around the world who attended the Games.

I am sure that everyone will agree that one of the lasting memories of the Games was Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, which shone a creative spotlight on our great nation. It showed Britain at its most diverse. It showed our celebrated diversity to be talented, bold and energetic, a rich tapestry of creativity and excellence, with inclusion embedded throughout. It was by far the most diverse and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games ever and I feel so proud to say that.

I met some of the volunteers who took part in the opening ceremony in the “Windrush” display. Their enthusiasm and euphoria was infectious; they felt they had been given an unbelievable opportunity and an experience of a lifetime. One said, “It’s like a dream come true. To be part of this international occasion is awesome”. It was something they never thought they would ever be able to be part of and felt as though they belonged to the greatest historic event ever witnessed in their lifetime.

This opportunity was given to them by Danny Boyle, who took time to meet them individually. He took on the diversity and inclusion ethos with ease and fluidity. He made the extravaganza look natural—as it should be—and made people feel special. He set the tone at the start of the Games of what Britain can achieve if we give everyone opportunities to work together and collectively make a difference to our society for the good of our nation. That is an important legacy that we can and need to build on for the sake of our children, to give them pride in their great nation as they wave their country’s flag.

The cultural element of the Games was celebrated in the way it was originally intended when the Olympics were created centuries ago. A nation’s cultural well-being is food for the soul and gives a sense of togetherness and creativity and stimulates the imagination. The 2012 Cultural Olympiad offered millions of people from all different cultural backgrounds the opportunity to participate in events linked to the celebration of the Games, allowing people to connect with the arts, especially children and young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A lasting legacy has been left not just through participation but because of the permanent artworks that were created for the Games.

There is an education legacy left for children too, which includes the Get Set website. This also has to be commended as it will enable children to continue to be driven by Olympic and Paralympic values, and has diversity and inclusion at its very heart. Schools across the UK will benefit from the most exciting global venture this country has ever undertaken. What a wonderful gift all this is, which will echo across future decades. It is great to know that diversity and inclusion were embedded in every part of the Games and directly influenced and shaped the strategy developed for the Games. We must all take pride in the results of this lasting legacy, and make a commitment to let it influence everything we do and every policy we make, including those made in our media and creative industries and every strategy we develop across government and businesses as we continue to celebrate our great nation—Brand Britain.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, for introducing this debate. I, too, remember the Olympics with pride and remember the eloquence of the sportsmen and sportswomen when they talked about hard work and graft. I cannot remember how many times that word “graft” came up but what a good message for our young people the word is. I shall remember the technical efficiency, the expertise, enthusiasm and knowledge of the presenters, the splendid opening and closing ceremonies—apart from one that I prefer to forget—and the cheerfulness and the support of the volunteers. However, when it comes to concrete legacies, as the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, said, it was “us”—we did it, and I want to reflect on what we actually did.

Legacy, for me, is not just about initiatives—I think the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said something very eloquent about this—good though they might be. A true legacy for sport would be for every city and region of the country to have a strategy to help its population be active, and here I admire the initiative of my noble friend Lord Howarth. People’s needs change. Older people are not going to take part in competitive sport—some do, but not many, although they can be active. People with disabilities can be, and are, active. Legacy is a continuum of participation activity, linking industry, schools, clubs, gyms, communities and families, and is continuing and sustained. Such a strategy would include volunteers, and I want to know whether there has been, or will be, any follow-up about volunteers: what made them or inspired them to participate? What did they get out of it? What was useful? What have we learnt from it? How will we fund volunteering?

I want to consider girls and women in sport. It was hoped that the Games would encourage participation in sport—not just in competitive sport but in physical activity. I wish the Government, in their documents, would give greater emphasis to physical activity rather than to competitive sport. I am all for competitive sport—I love it—but sport does not have to be competitive to be enjoyable. I also wish the Government would make firm commitments to developing sport and the arts in schools and encouraging collaboration between both state and private schools. Can the Minister comment on that?

There are initiatives to encourage women and girls to participate in sport, but some of the facts are depressing. A Sport and Recreation Alliance survey in October notes the view of clubs that,

“the Government hasn’t done enough to help community sport create a legacy of participation”.

Many clubs are struggling to increase membership: about 42% of them do not expect additional funding and 78% have seen no increase in volunteering. Only 1% of clubs say that a new school link has resulted from the Games. All this will impact on girls and young people in sport.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport and Fitness. I congratulate my noble friend Lady Grey-Thompson on taking the initiative in this, as well as of course on her commitment to encouraging people with disabilities to take up sport and on her superb commentaries during the Games. The meeting that she organised was inspiring, with Kath Grainger talking movingly about her pride and dedication to her sport and Clare Balding and Harriet Harman calling for a 10-point charter for women’s sport. Legacies need vigilance and I suggest we need a great deal of vigilance about women and young people in sport.

We know from a Co-op survey, conducted as part of the partnership with StreetGames, that three out of four young people were inspired by the summer of sport but that costs—and some games do not come cheap—poor accessibility and, sometimes, waiting lists to join clubs are affecting enthusiasm. It found that 63% of young women and 50% of young men who have finished full-time education do no organised physical activity—none. This rises among the unemployed.

The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation conducted a survey with Ipsos MORI the week after the closing ceremony, which found that 41% of young women said the Games had inspired them to be more active. Will that last? Researchers found that women and girls are put off PE classes because of the “jolly hockey sticks” mentality and because they do not offer a range of activities. Parents thought that schools should provide better opportunities for women’s sport, and the vast majority of people agreed that an increase in media coverage of women’s sport was important to the long-term impact of the Olympic Games and that increased funding for women’s sport was important.

Women’s sport currently receives only 0.5% of the total sponsorship income, and less than 5% of the total sports media coverage in non-Olympic years. We need only to look at a daily newspaper to see how neglected women’s sport is despite having achieved enormous success, not only in the Olympics but in other competitions such as women’s cricket and football, where there are star teams. At last, we have great sports presenters who are women, and not just on women’s sport but on cricket, football, billiards, horse racing and so on.

I know Sport England is working to address barriers but there needs to be a government strategy, starting with primary schools and extending through to adult sport, which encourages women, girls and young people of all abilities. I have seen a school sport strategy that has a strong emphasis on competitive sport, but seemingly cuts out initiatives such as the school sport partnership. We cannot separate out school sport from communities. We need a holistic strategy for this and also need to recognise that sporting activity is not only valuable in its own right but that it increases confidence, empathy and academic achievement. I see vision from sporting bodies but little co-ordination or leadership from the Government. Will this change?

My Lords, I rise to speak in the gap to highlight the experience of Tower Hamlets this summer. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, for enabling me to do so and congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, on her excellent analysis, of which I am sure the House has taken note.

The London Games created significant opportunity for Tower Hamlets residents, and commendable efforts were made by the borough’s mayor to maximise the opportunities from the Games for drawing in funding and gaining long-lasting benefits for residents and businesses. This is reflected in smooth, bump-free roads, high street improvement programmes, the restoration of shop fronts and the refurbishment of Altab Ali Park. Brick Lane was designated as Curry Capital 2012 and promoted the borough’s curry industry to visitors and potential investors. The beautiful Victoria Park was used for screening the Games and to encourage local people to experience them as they happened. There were designated youth sites across the borough for young people to try out Olympic sports. In addition, Mile End Stadium received further investment to include a new running track, which may encourage the Seb Coes and Mo Farahs of the future.

Our borough contributed to the volunteers and gained 1,800 jobs. The creation of Fish Island will add 800 homes—perhaps more—a library and a primary care centre, creating a new neighbourhood. I spoke to some small businesses, men and women before this debate and they have some outstanding concerns about the future legacy. They echo the dismay of the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, that a prospective smart development like Canary Wharf may not touch the lives of those we cited in gaining the bid. The noble Baroness is absolutely correct in calling for the legacy team to honour the promise of sustained commitment to citizens living in the Olympic borough. I am confident that the mayor of Tower Hamlets will continue to exert his influence on the London Legacy Development Corporation, but his efforts will need to be matched by the continuous commitment of those who promised the transformation of people’s lives.

The total consensus was that of a glorious summer of games and wins. Does the Minister agree that the legacy will be truly judged by the success of the next generation of athletes, the employment opportunities across the board, including management positions, as well as sustained environmental changes for those who live in the shadow of the Olympic village? London’s bid was built on the vision of transforming the most deprived areas of London, creating thousands of jobs, homes and business opportunities for local people. As was said today, comparison with the legacy of the London Docklands Development Corporation for local citizens left much to be challenged. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, on his excellent maiden speech and I look forward to hearing much more from him. He rightly said that the Games have transformed the landscape. I congratulate him and his team on their success. I hope he agrees that transforming the landscape will be strengthened by a legacy that will empower those living in the Olympic boroughs. As ever, I am an optimist and hopeful. Leaving aside the euphoria, the jury remains out on the factual impact of those who remain on the margin of our communities.

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, on securing this debate. It has been of high quality and interesting to listen to. I, too, welcome the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, and congratulate him on his excellent maiden speech. Although we will, of course, be sorry to lose the noble Lord, Lord Sassoon, we hope to welcome the noble Lord very soon to the Front Bench and will enjoy debating with him. As the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, recognised in an important way, the Olympic and Paralympic Games were an all-party event. They were bid for and planned by one Government and delivered by another. As my noble friend Lady Ford said, we must not forget that the Games, the brilliant locations, the volunteers, the cultural Olympiad, the opening ceremony and the national journey of the Olympic flame were a huge success, part of that superb summer of sport in 2012.

It seems to be part of the British psyche—and certainly in our media—to attack and diminish our national successes. Thankfully, the Games in all the aspects that I just mentioned were such a success that the normal carping and sarcasm were trumped. The spirit of the Games triumphed and the Olympic stardust was widely spread, enhanced by the brilliant broadcasting by both the BBC and Channel 4. It is worth recalling that when in Singapore London won the right to host the Games, we made a promise to the International Olympic Committee and the people of this country that we would inspire a generation of young people through sport. This was the defining promise of the Games, not just because it was a good idea in and of itself—and it is—but because sport is the best medicine for so many of the problems that our society currently faces. Inactivity may well be the biggest public health problem of the 21st century.

The current recommendations are for adults to achieve a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on five or more days a week; and for children to do a minimum of an hour’s moderate exercise every day. Physical inactivity and poor diet have led to an epidemic of obesity. I believe the latest figures are that 26% of adults and 30% of children are now classified as obese. That is the fourth highest level in the world. We are sitting on a time bomb. Sport can be the best medicine for improving emotional resilience and motivating kids to do their best at school. Evidence also suggests that high-quality PE and sport programmes, managed by committed and trained teachers and coaches, can boost attendance among certain groups of children at school, challenge anti-social behaviour and boost academic performance. There are, of course, other associations with regular, physical activity, including reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

All the available evidence suggests that simply mounting a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games would not of itself bring about a sustained increase in sports participation. For example, a study by Canterbury Christ Church University found that there is no direct inherent link between elite events and community participation in physical activity. That is why in the years running up to the Olympics, the previous Government invested year on year in school and community sport. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of young people doing at least two or more hours of sport a week rose from 25% to 90%; and 55% were doing three or more hours a week. By 2010, the average secondary school offered 25 different sports, including Olympic sports such as judo, cycling and badminton, where we have seen so much progress in recent years. However, since 2010 we have seen some of this sporting progress begin to disappear. There has been a reduction overall all of 69% in funding to school sport.

As has been mentioned, Labour set a target to get 2 million more adults physically active as a result of the Games and a million more active through sport. To achieve this, £480 million was invested through Sport England into “whole sports plans” for national sporting bodies to drive up participation across 46 different areas of sport. This money has now been cut and by 2010-11, those active in sport aged 16 and over had gone down for the first time since we won the Olympic bid in 2005. Furthermore, the latest active people survey also shows that of the 30 sports the survey measured, only four have seen an increase in participation and there have been decreases in 19. Research by the programme “You and Yours” has indicated that the swingeing cuts to local authority budgets have resulted in 36% of local authorities cutting back or closing sports facilities in the last three years. Since the June 2010 cut in support for free swimming, there has been an 11% decline in the number of people who go swimming at least once a week. That is nearly 350,000 people.

Over the last seven years, all the mainstream political parties came together to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games a success. Is it now time that they did the same for the sporting legacy? Team GB’s success inspired the nation. I believe that the future of sport could be above party politics, so I urge the Government to hold talks on a cross-party basis, along with all those organisations that are responsible for making sport happen in our country, to produce a long-term plan for sport. Some of the actions that need to be taken are: first, to reverse the downward trend in public funding for sport and physical activity. In the long term, any investment that raises participation in sport, both among young people and adults, is likely to save the Government through reduced costs to the National Health Service as a result of inactivity-related disease. Sport can also be an important tool for other social goals, as I have said. In future, perhaps we should decide our level of sports funding on the basis of what the potential long-term savings might be.

Secondly, we need to look at the structures that are responsible for sport in this country and whether they provide the most effective means to improve participation. Primary schools have already been mentioned because they are the area that is in most acute need of this support. Habits for sport and exercise are set early in life and all the available evidence indicates that expert coaching at an early age is the best route to installing a lifelong sporting habit. It is clear that school sports partnerships had a huge impact in improving the sporting offer available in schools. When great sporting nations such as Australia, Brazil and Canada have all made use of this programme, we should examine how we can begin to redevelop a comprehensive support system in schools that can motivate young people to play more sport, more often.

Thirdly, we need to reinvigorate the structures that exist to drive community participation in grass-roots sport, which have sadly fallen down in recent years. Fourthly, we need to look again at this vexed question of selling off school playing fields. In particular, I want the Minister to explain why the Government changed the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 which, when they were passed, set up minimum requirements for,

“minimum area of team game playing fields for schools”.

The replacement, the School Premises (England) Regulations 2012, introduced just before the Olympics, simply states that “suitable” outdoor space must be provided.

Fifthly, given the extensive interest in the Games in your Lordships’ House, I wonder whether there is a case for setting up a Lords committee to keep an eye on the legacy issues that have been discussed in this excellent debate today. The committee could be charged to keep those toes that need to be burnt close to the fire, to use the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey.

Although I spent many hours trying, I did not manage to get tickets for the Games, although, through the kindness of friends, I and my family managed to get to three events and enjoyed them immensely. I was also privileged—and that is the right word—to be invited to participate in the medal ceremonies at the stadium at the last day of the athletics in the Paralympic Games. It was a truly wonderful occasion. I met some extraordinary athletes who happened to have a disability. Attending, watching or participating, you could not help but be inspired by the Olympic spirit, as mentioned by so many noble Lords this morning. You had your hopes raised that that new spirit will continue once the memory of the Games has faded.

There are some areas where effort is required. We have a choice. We either continue to hope that the various elements which are required to deliver a credible legacy and build on the Olympic spirit do what is needed, but do it by themselves; or we could try to build on the all-party consensus which delivered the Games and really get behind the legacy. That might, just might, do something special.

My Lords, first, I take this opportunity to thank my noble friend Lady Doocey for tabling this debate and drawing attention to this most important issue at such a timely moment. This is undeniably a critical phase for the legacy programme, as we seek to capitalise on the momentum of the Games.

We have just enjoyed one of the greatest summers in living memory, a summer in which Britain delivered what it set out to, as succinctly put by the noble Baroness, Lady Ford. This included the greenest Games ever, stunning venues, unquestionable sporting achievement and the UK’s largest ever cultural festival, ably led by the noble Lord, Lord Hall, with 1,000 events taking place across the UK, including in my home town of Stirling—I know the Raploch—where people could see or hear something for free.

The Olympic and Paralympic success was in no small part the result of the hard work of some of other Members of your Lordships’ House, including my noble friend Lord Coe, who, as has been mentioned, was yesterday elected the new chair of the British Olympic Association, succeeding my noble friend Lord Moynihan. I pay particular tribute to the work of my noble friend Lord Deighton, whose maiden speech today was not just most timely and constructive, but gave us a feel of the breadth and depth of the role he fulfilled so brilliantly. I take this opportunity to thank them on behalf of us all. I have certainly noted that many of your Lordships have waxed lyrical today about many individuals and organisations who have contributed. As the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, mentioned, tribute must also be paid to Dame Tessa Jowell. London 2012 was the first legacy Games, with plans for what happened after the Games considered from the outset. The International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, said that London provides a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts.

We now have to focus our attention on maintaining the momentum to deliver an enduring legacy. Otherwise the wonderful memories of the Games will be short-lived. My noble friend Lady Doocey emphasised that there is serious work still to do. The Government’s commitment to delivering an enduring legacy is demonstrated by the appointment of my noble friend Lord Coe as the Prime Minister’s legacy adviser. Unfortunately, as has been mentioned, my noble friend cannot be here today. Despite being a former world record holder on the track, even he is not able to get back from Hong Kong in world record time.

The key elements of the legacy programme include: the regeneration of east London; creating a sporting legacy; building our communities; changing the perceptions of disabled people; and securing economic growth.

First, I focus on the regeneration of east London. The benefits of the Games are being felt nowhere more than in east London. London 2012 has been the catalyst for one of the biggest and most ambitious transformation projects in Europe, and one of the most dramatic legacies is the physical footprint left behind in east London. The process of transforming the transport infrastructure in east London began when London won the bid to host the Games back in 2005, and it is now one of the best connected places in the country.

A number of Games-related employment programmes and activities delivered since 2008 have supported at least 35,000 unemployed Londoners into permanent or temporary jobs as a result of the London 2012 Games. Included within that figure are at least 2,000 local people who were previously unemployed and took up employment at the new Westfield Stratford shopping centre, which now, unbelievably, has 10,000 employees overall.

Work has begun to deliver a £296 million transformation of the park into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park—an exciting new destination where iconic venues and attractions will sit alongside new homes, schools and community facilities. Five new neighbourhoods will be developed over the next 20 years, including up to 8,000 new homes, three schools, nine nurseries, three health centres and 29 playgrounds.

Finding a long-term future for the stadium is the critical missing piece in the London jigsaw. The London Legacy Development Corporation is conducting a process to secure the future of the stadium. As your Lordships will know, the stadium will host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

At this stage, I pick up a number of issues raised by my noble friend Lady Doocey. She first highlighted whether the target of 90% community use of sports facilities can be met. To give an example, the Aquatic Centre and the Copper Box are open seven days a week for 18 hours a day. The 90% community use target was a key criteria for selecting operators for those venues. It remains the Mayor’s target. My noble friend Lady Doocey also mentioned the issue of affordable housing and the jobs target. The commitment to 35% affordable homes across the Olympic park remains within the target of up to 50% in the bid figure. There is a re-emphasis on the provision of three-bedroom family housing in the park. LOCOG has met or exceeded the jobs targets. More than 35,000 unemployed Londoners have already gained employment as a result of the Games, and we expect that to increase further.

Secondly, I turn to sport. From grassroots to elite level, across schools, sports centres and community venues throughout the country, London 2012 has laid the foundations that will inspire a generation and help transform people’s relationship with sport, whatever their age, background or ability.

We cannot underestimate the positive impacts that delivering a sporting legacy will have. I am pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, raised the subject of obesity. For example in 2010, 30% of boys and girls aged two to 15 were classified as either overweight or obese. Improving the relationship of children with sport through a robust schools sports strategy and embedding a healthy lifestyle within the ethos of every family will be key to reducing those shocking figures.

As a result of London 2012, we are already seeing improvements in access to sporting facilities and strengthened grassroots sport through the School Games programme. In particular, since 2009, the Mayor has invested £15.5 million in new facilities and participation programmes, as well as providing training for coaches, officials and volunteers. He has recently committed a further £7 million investment to continue that work over the coming years, and £135 million has been invested in the Places People Play programme, which has improved facilities at 1,000 local sports venues. The Change4Life sports clubs have been shown to be successful in engaging the least active children and improving attitudes toward sports. Disabled sport has been supported by making it a central part of the School Games programme and broadening access through £10 million lottery funding, to help more disabled people to play sport.

Over the next decade, we need to make sure that the investment and enthusiasm unlocked by the Games translate into more sport being played by more people of all ages and abilities for many years to come. That includes continuing to invest in community sports facilities and improving sport and PE in schools, about which my noble friend Lord Moynihan spoke: £1 billion is to be invested in youth sport over the next five years through the youth sports strategy and the Government have committed to announcing progress on school sport policy before the end of the year.

Furthermore, we must maintain and build on the inspiration that our elite athletes provided to young people. This means securing funding for our athletes and hosting world-class international events. Significant inroads have already been made in this area, including securing funding for our athletes to Rio 2016 and a decade of major sporting events. They include the Champions League Final and Rugby League World Cup in 2013, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, the Rugby Union World Cup in 2015, the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019.

Through community projects which took place across the country and the torch relay, which my noble friend Lady Benjamin mentioned and so inspired children, the Olympic spirit touched the lives of millions in the UK. The Olympic legacy must try to capture this spirit and translate it into positive change at a community level. As my noble friend Lady Scott of Needham Market highlighted, a new spirit of volunteering was created, with the 70,000 Games maker volunteers helping to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Forty per cent of applicants said that the Games had inspired them to volunteer for the first time.

Since then Team London ambassadors have volunteered their time, expertise and enthusiasm to welcome American football fans to London from the US and across Europe. But more still needs to be done to unlock opportunities to volunteer, to build on the success of the Games and join in events over the summer which saw more than 300,000 people volunteer in a wide range of sports across the UK.

My noble friend Lady Scott spoke of the Games makers and how their legacy could be seen to be enduring. The Government are working to secure continued access to the LOCOG database, with details of all of the Games makers and those who applied but were not selected. We must also continue to build on efforts to create a more open and inclusive society As the Prime Minister has said:

“Britain should be a country where success depends on effort and ability, where people are judged not by what they can’t do, but what they can”.

This is an ideal that ran through the Games. For example, London 2012 saw the most extensive Paralympic Games coverage ever in the UK and the highest number of Paralympic ticket sales. In addition, public transport was made significantly more accessible, with a further six Tube stations and all DLR stations becoming step-free. There were 8,500 accessible buses. By 2015 about £400 million will have been spent on the Access for All programme, installing lifts, ramps and bridges at more than 150 train stations. Transport for London is investing another £100 million to extend the programme from 2015 through to 2019.

I would like to acknowledge the important questions raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, on disability-related issues. First, 40 national governing bodies of sport have submitted plans to Sport England about how they will increase participation among disabled people. Any governing body in receipt of funding will be set clear delivery objectives. Failure to meet these delivery objectives can ultimately lead to funding being withdrawn. If a pupil happens to be sent to the library when there is no reason why they cannot take part in sport, the school is at fault and the pupil and parents have due cause to complain to the head teacher and the governing body. Disability sport features at every level of the School Games programme and the Department for Education is funding Sport England to ensure this.

London 2012 offers an opportunity to deliver a lasting economic legacy that will benefit the whole country. We need to send out the message loud and proud that this is a great place to do business, to invest in and to visit. We need to do everything possible to help British companies internationalise. The Government are committed to securing £11 billion worth of inward investment over four years as a result of the Games and have launched a targeted, business-focused campaign to attract overseas trade and inward investment and to ensure that the whole economy benefits from the increased global profile.

Tourism will also benefit hugely from the Games and we are supporting and promoting domestic tourism and investing to promote the UK globally as a tourist destination. The ambition is to generate an extra £2.3 billion of benefit from international visitors over four years. So the total is £13 billion.

A number of issues have been raised by your Lordships during this interesting debate. I acknowledge the point made by my noble friend Lady Doocey that it is important to improve the training of physical education teachers so that they are capable and trained to be able to manage and develop sport for the disabled. I also take my noble friend’s point that it is important to target resources into primary schools. A number of your Lordships made this point. My noble friend suggested that funding for this should be ring-fenced; I will need to come back to her on that.

I was interested in and fascinated by the speech of the right reverend prelate the Bishop of Norwich. He made the important point that was also raised by the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, that the Games produced for us a more cohesive nation. I believe that as a nation we can now hold our heads up higher than we have done in the past. I was particularly interested to note the amount of work that was put into producing interfaith advice and multi-faith events, including church services and giving advice to athletes and performers at the Olympics. We must build on this and learn from it.

The noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, focused largely on the report due out from Lord Justice Leveson. I think the noble Lord took part in the recent debate in this House. We all await the conclusions and recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson—I am not able to comment any further.

I pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Bates for the work he has done to promote the Olympic Truce. It is an important aspect of hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Games and sport, as we have heard today, has the power to bring people together from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, without prejudice or discrimination, whether at a global level through the Olympic and Paralympic Games, or at a local level through activities within schools and communities. We must use the spirit, actions and ethos of the Olympic Truce for future Games.

The very important issue of women in sport was raised initially by my noble friend Lord Moynihan, while the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, also focused on this in her speech. We must build on the wonderful performances by women in the Olympics and Paralympics and inspire more women and girls to take part in sport. I know that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has highlighted the importance of this, and I am certain that there will be greater emphasis in this area although I cannot at the moment say precisely what this will be.

My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter and the noble Lord, Lord Hall, brought up the inclusion of computer science in the Baccalaureate and the inclusion of the arts in the EBacc. At the moment EBacc has five core academic subjects to ensure that doors are not closed off to students in terms of future progression. There is 20% or 30% of curriculum time remaining to do other subjects that interest them or are useful for future education or employment. The Government said in January 2012 that if the new computer service qualification is of sufficiently high quality we will consider including it in the EBacc. I hope that that answers the question.

To conclude, we should not lose sight of the fact that the London 2012 Games were the first legacy Games, with the plans for what happens after the Games developed from the moment the bid was created. We should be proud of what has already been achieved. That said, the legacy story is far from over. We now have to focus our attention on maintaining momentum to deliver an enduring legacy that lasts beyond one great summer and reaches every citizen in this great country so that these Games are remembered not only as the Games in which Britain delivered and where people could say “I was there” but also the Games that shaped our future. This will not be easy but we have laid the foundations and I am confident that the right structures are in place to deliver an ambitious and sustainable legacy for the UK.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this fascinating and wide-ranging debate. I thank the Minister for his considered response to the issues that were raised. I congratulate my noble friend Lord Deighton on his brilliant maiden speech.

Noble Lords talked with great enthusiasm about what has been achieved so far and about their hopes for what will be achieved in legacy. Let us take that hope and turn it into delivery and ensure that we keep this issue under the spotlight so that the promised legacy of the Games is delivered and lives up to what has been delivered for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is a mind-blowing achievement.

Motion agreed.

Education: Early Years

Motion to Take Note

Moved by

My Lords, many years ago someone described this country as an island standing on coal and surrounded by fish. Nowadays the treasure of our country is our people and our future fortune is our children. That is why the way in which we nurture and teach them, especially in the early years, is so important to their and our economic future. But we must not just talk about economics. One of the greatest human pleasures is to hear a happy child giggle or to see healthy children running about and playing sociably together. How sad, and what human waste, when we see children arrive at school undernourished, dull-eyed and stressed and when we see children from less fortunate countries struggling to stay alive, with bellies swollen from malnutrition. So, while we talk about how to look after our own children, let us not forget those for whom to sit down with a glass of milk and an apple in a well equipped nursery would be unimagined luxury.

I am sure noble Lords are all familiar with the mountains of evidence that proved the long-term benefit in human and economic capital of high-quality early years provision based on a social pedagogy model which integrates educational and social development. It pays back six or sevenfold in cash terms and who knows how much more in human happiness and well-being.

So I would like to start at the very beginning: with parents. Parents are the first educators, and we need to do everything we can to ensure that they are well informed and helped to do the world’s most difficult and important job. None of us would dream of taking on a difficult task without some appropriate training, so there should never be any stigma attached to parenting classes. Earlier this year my honourable friend Sarah Teather, then the Minister of State for Children, announced a pilot in three areas offering free parenting classes for all who wanted them. I wonder whether my noble friend the Minister can tell us how well these classes have been taken up and received by the participants.

Of course, babies are learning every hour of every day, faster than they will ever do again in their lives, and their development proceeds at a most rapid pace until they are three. That is why I believe that what we sometimes call “childcare” is really “early education”, albeit informal education. But they prepare for learning initially through their experience with their principal carers. A child who does not have strong, safe attachment to the principal carer will not be so resilient and able to control his feelings as another child who has been well nurtured. Midwives and health visitors, whose ranks are swelling under this Government, have a key role to play in helping parents who struggle with attachment. Can the Minister say how we are getting on with our target of recruiting an additional 2,500 health visitors?

When young children first enter early years settings, they vary enormously: physically, emotionally and intellectually. Their development may have been impeded because of neglect, ignorance, parental substance abuse or downright cruelty, or it may simply be because of poverty. There is much evidence of the effects of poverty on child development. For example, it has been shown that children from privileged backgrounds hear 23 million more words than those from deprived backgrounds, and this has a profound effect on their communication skills and their ability to learn to read. That is why the Government’s efforts to get families out of poverty through universal credit is so important. An additional £300 million has been secured under universal credit to help with the cost of childcare, and the rules of working tax credit have been changed to remove the 16 hours a week minimum in order to qualify for support with childcare costs. These things will surely help.

However, good quality childcare costs money, so I was delighted recently to receive a letter from the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, in which he assured us that he is working hard within government to ensure that good quality childcare becomes more affordable for parents, but not at the expense of quality. There are many ways of doing this, and my honourable friend Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister, is working hard with Elizabeth Truss MP in the childcare commission to find the right way. I was very interested in the Resolution Foundation’s recent proposal that after the 15 hours free entitlement, the next 10 hours could be made available at a subsidised rate of £1 per hour. Twenty-five hours care would make it more worthwhile for mothers to work part-time, so I hope the commission is looking seriously at this. Currently the workforce is losing an unnecessary number of talented women because of the cost of childcare.

However, we must not undervalue those dedicated people who work with our children. They need to be highly qualified and properly paid, so more money needs to be found. The report by Cathy Nutbrown on the early years workforce and the current programme to improve the qualifications of that workforce is a very important factor in ensuring our children get the foundations for good life chances. Can my noble friend the Minister say anything about progress in improving the qualifications of the early years workforce?

We know that the best way of getting a family out of poverty is to remove the barriers preventing parents, who wish to, raising their family’s income by going to work, at least for part of the week, but there is much more to it than just providing affordable nursery places. The right to request flexible working is important, as are counselling to help troubled couples stay together so that they can share the load, employers who allow job-sharing, and adequate shared parental leave after the birth of a child. All have their part to play, and Governments have a role in encouraging all these things and legislating where necessary.

However, especially for struggling families, good quality early years care is essential if their children are not to suffer for the rest of their lives. Graham Allen MP outlined in his report Early Intervention: The Next Steps how a child’s development score at just 22 months can serve as an accurate predictor of his educational outcomes when he is 26 years old. Liberal Democrats have always been vocal on the need for high-quality early education, and that is why I was delighted when Sarah Teather, when she was Minister, announced 15 hours of free early years provision for deprived two year-olds. This will take children into a more stimulating social background where they can learn through play with a much wider variety of toys than they have at home. Initially aimed at the most deprived 20% and later to move to 40% of two year-olds, the programme started this September. This is one of the most significant achievements of the Liberal Democrats in the coalition Government, but we do not stop there. Our 2010 manifesto outlined a plan to move to 20 hours free childcare for all children over 18 months as soon as the nation’s finances will allow. This may be an aspiration, but it is a good one because quality early years provision benefits all children, but it benefits the poorest the most.

Of course, the Sure Start children’s centres are one of the key achievements of the previous Government, and I hope that my noble friend the Minister will be able to reassure the House that tales of the demise of these centres are premature. Sure Start centres are a valued resource and, although some local authorities have merged or moved centres, only 18 have been closed outright, despite the austerity under which most authorities work. The great virtue of these centres is their ability to wrap services around the child. I would contend that one of their most important functions is also to engage with parents, because children should be seen as part of families whenever possible. At the very least, early years settings should be ensuring that parents understand how they work with the children, how the child is progressing and how they can continue the work at home. Some of them also have toy libraries and other services such as English classes, help with benefit or housing queries and help to find a job. Some are the location for parenting classes and mother and baby groups. They understand that help for the family is help for the child. I would encourage my Government to continue to support these centres and help them to develop their reach, especially into the hard-to-reach groups. Perhaps my noble friend the Minister can say something about this.

Some of the centres are now concentrating their services on the poorest families and, although I would ideally like to see a universal service, in times of economic austerity this is right. The Government's social mobility strategy—a high priority of Nick Clegg—has data showing that high ability children from lower social backgrounds are overtaken by children of lower ability from higher economic backgrounds between the ages of five and seven unless there is some intervention to ensure that all children fulfil their potential. This is a waste of human capital that we can ill afford.

One of the Liberal Democrat policies to improve social mobility is the pupil premium. This is about to rise to £900 per qualifying pupil per year and, although the accountability of schools as to how they spend this money clearly needs to be fine-tuned, it is already showing results. But it starts at five. I have often found it odd that we have for years spent more on the education of teenagers than we do on young children where the cost-effectiveness of spending has so clearly been shown to be greater. This is a topsy-turvy way of doing things. That is why my party carried a motion at our party conference in September to extend the pupil premium into the early years as soon as resources allow. It is more expensive, because it requires greater professional expertise, to help children disadvantaged by poverty or disability than fully able children from comfortable homes. But if we are not prepared to pay for that expertise, it will not happen. Interestingly, Barnardo's has just published a report called Mind the Gap which shows that the amount of financial uplift available to help disadvantaged children varies substantially at different stages of their educational journey. The biggest gap is exactly where the Liberal Democrats have proposed to provide more funding; that is at ages three and four. How prescient we were—or was it well informed? As Barnardo’s points out, it would be a pity if all the good work done with disadvantaged two year-olds was allowed to slide when they get to three and four. To enable us to get the best out of the policy on two year-olds, we must be consistent and provide for the most disadvantaged three and four year-olds too.

That brings me nicely to the issue of the transition between early years settings and primary schools. One of the most important issues is summer-born children and “school readiness”, as yet an undefined concept. There has been much research about the birthdate effect; for example, Sykes, Bell and Rodeiro in 2009 and Sue Bingham and David Whitbread published this year by TACTYC. The evidence shown by the Government's recent phonics screening check illustrates the problem very simply. In a single year, the percentage of those born in September reaching the “required standard” is 68% and the percentage born the following August reaching that standard is 47%. It would be helpful to have a similar analysis of the early years foundation stage profile, which does compare boys and girls but does not take account of age differences. I put that to my noble friend the Minister as what would be a welcome development.

These children are not stupid. They are just young. Summer-born children are more likely to be identified as having special educational needs than older children in the same class. In many cases this is wrong but it follows them through their school career leading to a poverty of expectation. Sykes et al also showed that summer-born children are not progressing onto certain routes and into certain levels of education. Although those who get through to the highest levels of education do well, fewer of them ever actually get there. This is serious and it means that we need to take a close look at how we can adjust our early education system to mitigate this disadvantage. It may mean having several entry points into school through the year instead of one. It may mean a different approach to teaching and learning in the first few years of primary education, a social pedagogy model rather than a curricular straitjacket. It should certainly mean understanding how children learn through play and having early years qualified specialists in the classroom who know how to guide children at all stages of development. It may mean looking again at the age at which formal education starts. In those countries where children do not start formal schooling until they are six or even seven, the educational attainment results are better than ours. It is clearly worth looking at their model which places equal value on their care, upbringing and learning. What is sure is that formal education should not start too early, whatever the setting.

In ending, I can do no better than describe my aspiration for our children in the mission statement of the British Association for Early Childhood Education. It says:

“Members … actively promote the entitlement of every child to developmentally appropriate early years provision which underpins their emotional, social, physical and cognitive development in order to become learners for life”.

I think that is a splendid aspiration and one which I hope my Government will embrace.

My Lords, while preparing for this most welcome debate, so ably introduced by my noble friend Lady Walmsley, my mind was inevitably drawn back to my own children's early days, months and years for a wallow in nostalgia and to what seems—possibly with the benefit of hindsight and through rose-tinted spectacles—a productive and happy period, for them and for me. Any of us lucky enough to have children of our own will know that being a parent—even with the support that I had, with two wonderful grandmothers and a pretty good grandfather in the shape of my noble kinsman Lord Jenkin of Roding, and plenty of good advice from my sister and other friends who had already had children—is hard. Even for those of us who are well resourced and well supported it is difficult to know whether we are doing the right thing and bringing up our children in the right way. For those without resources and support, these challenges must feel insurmountable.

In order to put the topic of this debate in context I will concentrate the majority of my remarks on early years development—by expanding on a number of the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley—and on how without support a child's future can be negatively impacted. In these remarks I would like to pay tribute to the campaigning work and research undertaken by colleagues in another place—by Graham Allen, already mentioned, and by Andrea Leadsom and Frank Field—all of whom have been leading the debate by championing the cause of early intervention.

Increasingly research is showing that it is the earliest days, weeks, months and years of a child's life—and indeed even their time in the womb—that shapes their brain's development and has a lifelong impact on their emotional and mental health. While it does not, of course, excuse criminal or antisocial behaviour, evidence shows that it goes some way to explaining why some children are more liable to end up in a cycle of antisocial and criminal behaviour if they were not given the love, care and attention that children require in their early years.

There are three main benefits in recognising the importance of early years intervention. The first is that prevention is cheaper than cure. By ensuring children that are well cared for and educated when they are young we can reduce problems in later life. The second is that it benefits the country greatly through increased achievement and a fall in antisocial behaviour; and thirdly, by addressing the issue for current generations it breaks the cycle for their children, which will reduce future problems.

Babies are born with large parts of their brains underdeveloped. The social part of the brain only starts to develop at around six months and the height of development for this part of the brain is between six to 18 months old. It is during this very early period that children learn the capacity to be part of a caring relationship and develop mental and emotional stability. Needless to say, good quality brain development is the key prerequisite to good development. If enough importance is not given to this vital lesson, through love and care, these attachments are not formed by the baby and this hinders their emotional capability.

The effective provision of pre-school education project—EPPE, an Oxford University-based early years research project—has found that what parents do is more important than who they are when determining child outcomes. This means that their actions rather than their circumstances are more important when it comes to influencing child development outcomes. Crucial, too, in the jargon, is the home learning environment—activities that take place in the home that aim to stimulate good development. These include reading to children, singing songs and learning through play. Child IQ and key stage 1 attainment is significantly associated with the presence of books and toys in the household. It is the home learning environment which, as evidence shows, is the single most important factor influencing children’s outcomes at age three and five.

Research also suggests that in Britain up to 40% of children are not securely attached by the age of five. This affects their emotional and mental capacities and means that they will struggle to form strong attachments to their own babies.

I would like to share some shocking figures with you. Research shows that 80% of long-term prison inmates have attachment problems that stem from babyhood. There is now evidence to suggest that you can predict two-thirds of future chronic criminals by behaviour seen at the age of two. A New Zealand study showed that a child with substantial antisocial behaviour aged seven would have a 22-fold increased chance of criminality by the age of 26.

Keeping an adult in prison costs around £112 a day, and each looked-after child costs the taxpayer around £347 a day. If, through intervening during the early years—whether this be through increased NHS awareness of the importance of early years education, increasing the quality of childcare and education in nurseries, or teaching parents, especially very young ones, how best to educate, care for and love their children in early years—we can prevent criminal behaviour and save taxpayers’ money. Does my noble friend the Minister not agree that this is worth considering?

Let us look at how early years education and experiences impact on future behaviour. For example, a baby that is not cared for emotionally and educationally will experience raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Excessive amounts of this can damage the baby’s immune system, and there is also evidence to suggest that a baby left to scream throughout babyhood will have a higher tolerance to stress, meaning that in later life they will be more attracted to high risk-taking behaviour than a baby who has only a normal level of cortisol. There is evidence to suggest, for example, that violent criminals have a high tolerance to their own stress levels.

To sum up, a strong start for a child increases the probability of positive outcomes in later life and a weak start increases the likelihood of future difficulties. When compared to the cost of a child who has to be taken into care, or the cost to families and society of a child with behavioural problems caused by a lack of early years love and attention, early intervention is not only kinder but much more affordable. Instead of condemning young people who are emotionally unstable and engage in antisocial behaviour, we need to address and recognise the importance of early years education, and ensure that future generations are given the necessary love and care to allow them to grow up into stable adults capable of reaching their full potential.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, for securing this debate and introducing it with such passion and perception. I want to interpret her intentions for the debate slightly differently and discuss in more detail something that she touched upon—early education in developing countries. In doing so I declare an interest as a trustee of UNICEF UK and a patron of Women and Children First. I want to talk about education in developing countries because many of the issues outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, and touched on by the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin, apply to children all over the world. But for children and parents in developing countries, life is so much more complex, and education can have such an enormous impact. That education must begin early, and it must be funded.

Many children in these developing countries live daily with hunger, disease, conflict, rape and torture. Some have seen their families killed or imprisoned, or their families have simply disappeared. Education, especially for girls, brings hope and possibilities. However, 67 million children do not have the opportunity to go to school, even to primary school.

The ambitious target set for the millennium goals which the UN developed in 2000 is that they should be achieved by 2015. The targets include the eradication of poverty and hunger; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality and improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and, of course, universal primary education. I suggest that all these goals need to be underpinned by education—although I am not, of course, saying that education can do it all.

UNICEF’s annual report for 2011 emphasises the right of all children to survive and grow to realise their full potential. One branch of UNICEF’s work in deprived populations focuses on education by building schools, providing clean water and toilets, training teachers and supplying textbooks and stationery. In 2011, UNICEF UK gave £4.2 million to help children to go to school, many of them for the first time. The programme Girl Effect points out that when a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of primary school boosts a girl’s eventual wages by 10% to 20%. Yet one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. Of the world's 130 million out-of-school young people, 70% are girls. One girl in seven in developing countries marries before she is 15, and a quarter become mothers before they are 18. Girls aged 15 to 19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth, and 75% of 15 to 19 year-olds living with HIV in Africa are girls. Girls who marry early report a high incidence of domestic violence.

There is a proven relationship between better infant health and higher levels of schooling among mothers when girls and women have an income. They reinvest 90% of their income in their families as compared to 30% to 40% for a man. A report commissioned by DfID on girls’ education in Africa points out that girls’ education is a critical development issue not only for girls themselves but for the wider well-being of society. Without education, girls cannot realise their social, political and economic rights.

There have been many interventions on getting girls into school and retaining them in education and, of course, particular local circumstances define the type of intervention that might work best. Successful projects include improving the overall education system in a particular country, targeting interventions, political commitment at a national and local level and community-based interventions which encourage parents to support education for their daughters. For there can be cultural barriers in families which do not encourage the education of girls. Yet girls’ education is essential to the success of a country in achieving education and development for all. It sets up a spiral of hope rather than despair.

Development is not just about economics. Education from an early age, especially for girls, enables development. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 has had enormous influence in focusing the right to education for girls and for all. The platform for action at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing addressed the needs and rights of girls. Much has happened to improve educational opportunities for young people and for girls in developing countries. However, a UNICEF survey showed that, while a few children did not want to go to school, some had to stop school so that they could work. Lack of money is an issue and the need to help at home still affects many children.

DfID has supported education programmes in the developing world and long may that continue. This is not about what we get for a fiscal return. We all have a humanitarian duty to support the rights of children worldwide. While, of course, I appreciate the importance of early years education in the UK—there is still much to be done—I thought that it was important to draw your Lordships’ attention again to children who have fewer opportunities and less support. I do not expect the Minister to respond to these concerns. I am sure that he is concerned but it would be too much to expect him to take on yet another brief. I am content to have made the case for the importance of early years education in developing countries.

My Lords, I too thank my noble friend Lady Walmsley on securing this important debate. Her total commitment over the years to ensure that we provide high-quality education for all children has to be praised and admired. Like her, I, too, believe in the important role that early years education plays in determining the development of children’s health and well-being. That happens not just through what takes place in the classroom—building confidence, learning to communicate, or using their imaginations to be creative when they play—but through ensuring that their surroundings and facilities are of the highest standard. That is often overlooked and sometimes it is taken for granted that adequate provisions are in place. I speak specifically about the provision of proper toilet facilities for all children.

Our children spend most of their waking hours at nursery or school and good health habits, as well as bad, are formed in this setting, which in turn shapes behaviour into adulthood. That is very evident among children who suffer from paediatric continence problems, a group that totals around 900,000 young people in the UK. It is essential that we do what we can to address this situation and to help solve this problem, which often starts in the early years.

It is clear that more needs to be done to regulate the quality of toilet provision in early years settings and throughout childhood. I was shocked to discover the current state of school toilet facilities in the UK. A large randomised study found that 23% of schools did not have hot water, 31% had no soap, 35% had missing toilet seats and 25% had missing locks on cubicle doors. It is hardly surprising that UK studies find that between one-third and two-thirds of children avoid using school toilets because they are unhygienic, poorly maintained or lack privacy.

Poor facilities pose a serious infection risk and avoiding going to the toilet causes children to develop continence problems. These problems can lead to long-term health complications, acute hospitalisation and unnecessary costs for the NHS. They also come at a sensitive time of emotional and physical development, leading to low self-esteem, bullying and, sometimes, family problems where children can be punished for this perceived lack of control.

Furthermore, it is recognised that children who try to avoid using the toilet often restrict their drinking during the day. That leads to dehydration, which affects concentration and learning. This means that they are not achieving to their full potential. If children do not drink enough during the day, their bladders do not develop to become large enough to hold liquid when they sleep at night, which leads to bed-wetting and, in turn, causes a lack of confidence and misery.

We need to ask ourselves whether the standards for children’s school toilets are lower than those for adult employees. The answer is yes. Perhaps the Minister can tell us why the Government are currently removing the few regulations in place for children, which will widen this disparity and mean that there is no substantive protection for children. Surely, the Government must ensure that schools provide for all children’s needs, including adequate toilet facilities, and do not concentrate just on academic, sporting and cultural provision.

There is strong public support for improved standards for adequate toilet facilities. A survey from the children’s continence charity, ERIC, conducted with Netmums in 2011, showed that 80% of parents want stronger standards. Recently, support was also shown by 1,200 healthcare professionals, parents and teachers who signed an ERIC petition opposing the Government’s removal of standards.

While I welcome the minimal guidance provided at the early years foundation stage, which includes toileting goals and a recommendation on the number of toilet facilities that should be provided, there is no doubt that overall higher standards are required. The excuse that we need to reduce regulations should not stand in the way of our children’s health and well-being.

The Government have a moral duty to ensure that children have at their disposal high standards for school toilets throughout their early years and school life. These standards should be at least equivalent to those provided for adults in the workplace. This would be simple to deliver and would improve health outcomes for children and reduce unnecessary NHS expenditure in the long term.

Will the Government ensure that the health and well-being of children is safeguarded in this respect? Will they make sure that every school in the country caters for its pupils in a wholly holistic way, putting their essential basic needs first, in order to give children the dignity and the respect that they deserve, which will influence their behaviour for life?

My Lords, the noble Baronesses, Lady Benjamin and Lady Walmsley, have already referred to the recent neurological research, which has taught us that the later months of pregnancy and the first two to two and a half years of a child’s life are crucial to that child’s future. During this period, up to 80% of a child’s brain development may take place.

Both this Government and their predecessor have realised the importance of this finding. Both have supported a spate of early years projects, which are designed to help parents when things begin to go wrong. I strongly support this emphasis on early intervention and I especially support it where the projects have been well evaluated and have been shown to be effective.

I put my name down to speak today because I want to ask one important question. Is this intervention early enough? Should we not be starting proactively to prepare children for the challenges of adult life while they are still in secondary school?

In 2010, in his report on child poverty to the Government, Frank Field drew attention to the case for children in secondary schools to be prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood. I believe that he was right to suggest that we should build on the natural interest which young adolescents have as they seek to understand more about the adult world into which they inexorably are moving.

One possible reason why the Government apparently have not responded to Frank Field’s proposal—I apologise if I am wrong and they have—is that if young people in secondary schools were taught how to be better parents, it is extremely probable that some of them would tell their own parents about the rotten job that they have done.

My proposal is for a much more broadly based educational exploration of the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult life, led by the interests of the pupils but guided and moderated by teachers who are specially trained and qualified for the job. Such a programme would include not only the existing citizenship, PSHE, SRE and SEAL programmes but much more. It would concentrate on developing the soft skills, such as building self-confidence, relationship skills, emotional and social skills, ability to work as a team or to lead a team, commitment and character capabilities and care and consideration for other people. I believe there should be a special qualification and special training for teachers involved in such a programme if it is to be a success.

Will the Government consider funding one of the existing universities which already offers teacher training to introduce a trial training programme which could form the basis of a qualification for teachers to lead young people in secondary schools as they explore the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult life? I apologise to the Minister for not having given him notice of that question and I realise that he may want to write to me about it.

It is true, of course, that many—perhaps even a majority of—children in this country will learn about the importance of stable and supportive family life and the needs of young children through their own experiences as they grow up in their own families. Alas, however, in this country today, too many children between the ages of 13 and 17 grow up in families where their parents are not able to give them the parenting they need. The causes, which we all know, include alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence, mental health problems, poverty, family breakdown or instability and the lack of parenting skills. These families cannot avoid denying their children the opportunity to experience and learn about family life and to learn the skills that one day they will need to bring up their own children. Save the Children has estimated that 85% of a child’s success at school depends on the type of support their parents provide at home.

Today in this country, most 13 to 17 year-old children attend secondary school. A wider distribution of the soft skills could be a powerful agent for increasing social mobility and equality in our society today. Why are we not taking the opportunity in school to prepare these adolescent children, who are tomorrow’s parents, for the day when most of them will find themselves looking after their own very young and vulnerable children?

The Government might say that these matters are adequately covered by the PSHE, the SRE and the SEAL programmes in secondary schools. Alas, this is not the case. Recent Ofsted reports speak favourably of PSHE teaching in primary schools; most of them rate at least as satisfactory. However, the same is by no means true for secondary schools. Ofsted says that in too many of these schools today, PSHE is a Cinderella subject, taught—if it is taught at all—by teachers with no training and little interest in the subject. Will the Government take action to ensure that all children in secondary schools are helped to explore, under professional guidance from specialist teachers, the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities which they will face as they become adults, not least the responsibility to provide for their children a loving and caring family environment?

My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lady Walmsley for introducing this important debate. I declare an interest as the leader of a local authority, though as a matter of fact, I do not take part in early years policy by virtue of another interest—or perhaps I should say “love”—as my wife is principal of a Montessori nursery school in my local authority area.

I want to talk about Montessori. When I last spoke on this subject, Montessori educators were afraid that the homogenising drive of what was then the CWDC risked sidelining their own unique approaches and qualifications. These are reflected in the work of 7,500 Montessori practitioners in the United Kingdom. Their basic contention was that Montessori qualifications should be recognised as valid and relevant in their own right. Frankly, no one who knows anything about the contribution of Montessori education worldwide would disagree with that. Therefore, I was grateful to my two noble friends on the Front Bench today for receiving a delegation to discuss this after I had spoken. Improvements then followed. There was an invitation to the Montessori community to participate in Professor Nutbrown’s work, but still some doubts remained. The Nutbrown report was published last spring. It thankfully acknowledged the contribution made by Montessori education and purported to leave 40% of a qualification non-prescribed to relate to diverse ways of delivery, including, theoretically, Montessori.

Since then, the Montessori Schools Association tells me that there has again been a period of silence from the department on the Montessori question. That may be understandable as a new Minister looked into a brief that she had inherited from her predecessor. New qualifications would have to be validated by an examination board and time for validation and the introduction of qualifications in September 2013, clarifying how Montessori and Steiner qualifications would fit into that, is now shrinking. Those sectors await a departmental response and a timeframe for their plans so they can start development work. I share the question of my noble friend. Can the Minister shed any more light on the timescale for operation?

I would also like to say something about the private sector as a whole, on which we depend so much for the delivery of this crucial service. I worry sometimes about the balance between the private sector as it is and the state sector. It seems to me that many people—I hear this from many Montessori educators and others—still feel that there are too many documents of instruction. Even the basic EYFS framework publication runs to 110 pages, not all of it mandatory but increasingly regarded as so. How Ofsted could ever fully inspect all these requirements is unclear to me and the phrasing of the framework is also unclear. For example, the section on food handling by staff requires formal training, but the training is undefined. Is it about needing a level 2 NVQ to peel an apple, as some authorities are saying, or is it just staff awareness more generally?

I would like to say a word about funding. I endorse everything that has been said about the importance of early intervention and early years education, but I am less sanguine than some about the possibility of providing ever more millions of pounds in pursuit of what some see as an aim of universal two to five year-old education for people of all measure of resources when the country is plunging into debt at the rate it is now and we do not even have enough primary school places. The greatest and most cherished influence on my early years education was my mother, to whom I am proud to declare here in this House my lasting debt. I agree with what my noble friend Lady Jenkin said about the selfless contribution of millions of mothers and good parents and how important good parenting is. I recognise and support the evidence of the value of early years education. It would be hard not to, having been married for a third of a century this week to a passionate advocate of it. However, we may need to focus on prime areas of need in some respects and we certainly need to preserve diversity and choice. That includes the private sector. Can the Minister say, therefore, why there is still not equality of treatment between the maintained and private sectors in adult to child ratios?

The so-called free entitlement, whose rationale I understand, is, in some respects a fiction. I spoke about this at length on another occasion and I am not going to repeat it today, but in many areas the so-called free entitlement has never covered the real costs of education and care. Many authorities have turned a blind eye to what is really charging by another name, but if, as is now suggested, the so-called free entitlement is extended or a heavily subsidised rate is extended to 25 hours, then I fear that the non-maintained sector in sessional day care could be eliminated or be forced to go private and close its doors to those seeking financial support. That would be another push towards the two nations we wish to avoid and entail a significant deadweight cost in replacing, at the taxpayers’ expense, private sector settings that might be squeezed out.

Other providers in the Montessori education sector tell me that some local authorities are trying to enforce acceptance of the two year-old scheme by saying that unless providers sign up to it they will lose three and four year-old funding. That sounds like blackmail and I hope that the Minister will condemn it. We must be careful about hyper-regulation. Small independent settings face many burdens, including the new pension requirements, which will be enormous, and the requirement to match flexible working. Of course, many settings could benefit from better qualified staff, but it does not need to entail a one-size-fits-all structure.

In conclusion, I am nervous about aspects of EYPS. The 10-year strategy said that unless sector leaders had EYPS, they would not be able to continue in that role. Is that still the position? The state has not covered itself with glory in every respect in post-war education and should be a little more understanding of the immense contribution of the private sector and perhaps a little less imposing sometimes.

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, on securing this debate and introducing it so well. Common sense tells us that early years lay the foundations of our intellectual and moral life. If you go beyond common sense and look at research, it confirms what common sense tells us. Obviously, there are some important disagreements among researchers about which early years are more important. A Freudian will say that the important period is between one and two, while Adler and Jung will say that it is between three and four. But that need not concern us. They are all agreed that early years, whichever they happen to be, are important in shaping the adult’s life afterwards.

There is also some disagreement about whether remedial action afterwards can wipe out the damage done in the early years and how effectively it can do that. However, there is agreement among researchers that a good early start is the best policy and that any form of remedial action must be extensive and is inevitably extremely costly. It therefore makes a lot of sense to concentrate on early years rather than to hope that the damage will be wiped out by what we might do to children at a later stage. Early years shape an individual’s life at various levels. They cultivate cognitive skills, train the mind, develop social skills, especially conflict management, between two and three year-olds, which can stand them in good stead when they grow up, and introduce a measure of self-discipline and good habits as to how to organise work, study and life.

The home environment is exceedingly important and plays a crucial role, but it is not enough, because home has a certain intimacy and does not have the kind of impersonality that the school has. Furthermore, a home environment of the right kind is not always available to socially disadvantaged groups. For all these reasons, high-quality pre-school provisions are extremely important, but they are effective and can deliver on their promise only if they satisfy four criteria. First, they must involve parents actively or, if they do not involve them, at least keep them informed about what is going on. Then there is no radical break between the home and the school and between the parental culture and that of the school. All research has shown that parents generally find their association with pre-school provision extremely helpful. It is known that parents who are associated with pre-school provisions generally use less harsh discipline, provide a cognitively more stimulating environment and engage in greater dialogue with their children.

The second condition that pre-school education must meet has to do with something very important, which the term “pre-school” itself tends to obscure. It seems to suggest that what goes on between two and four or two and five is simply a way to keep children preoccupied or is a stepping stone to what goes on in school. To talk about pre-school is to imply that these years have no value in themselves; that they are not autonomous but simply a stepping stone to what happens in primary school, which would therefore decide what goes on in pre-school. Pre-school provisions have their own value and require their own pedagogy, and it is quite important that they should be recognised as having their own social status and command their own respect.

The third condition that pre-school education has to meet has to do with qualified teachers. It is not an area that can be handled by anybody and everybody, and teachers must be qualified up to level 3. They should also be sympathetic to children and they must find ways in which to combine formal teaching with informal teaching. Education at the pre-school level must be child-centred, but that should not mean reducing oneself to the level of a child, as if adults should abdicate their responsibility for educating the child. It should also be easier for teachers engaged in pre-school to acquire qualified teacher status, looking on it as one avenue through which one can acquire that status.

The final condition that pre-school education has to meet is of the following nature. It should aim at curricular content and information but also at certain basic skills and attitudes. Equally important, in a culturally diverse society such as ours, is to get children to feel at ease with the diversity that prevails in society at large. Very often, racist attitudes spring up at that level, when they are reinforced at home. Children notice differences of gender, race and religion. The important question is how they construct, conceptualise and respond to those differences. That is where pre-school education has a very important role to play in countering prejudices that might develop in future. If pre-school education is to play that role, we should also concentrate on the adequate representation of gender and race in the staff in those schools—and by staff I mean not only the teaching staff but the managerial staff.

These basic facts have been grasped by Scandinavian countries, particularly Finland, whose educational system obviously is the envy of the world. If they are properly organised, pre-school educational provisions can also help us overcome class divisions, create a broad sense of social mixing and equality as well as enhance educational performance, and ensure that we produce socially well adjusted men and women.

My Lords, I add my congratulations to my noble friend Lady Walmsley on securing this vitally important debate and declare my interest as president of the National Children’s Bureau. I speak today particularly in my role as vice-chair of the All-Party Group on Social Mobility. Noble Lords will not be surprised to hear that early years education has been an intrinsic part of the group’s focus nor by our finding that, during the earliest years, it is primarily parents and informal carers who shape their children’s outcomes. Like other noble Lords, I underline how investing in good quality and accessible early years education, alongside supporting the critical role of parents and other carers, is the best way to strengthen the still far too shaky ladder of social mobility in the UK. I was fascinated when the Tickell review of the early years foundation stage highlighted the impact that early experiences have on the quality and architecture of the brain. In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every single second. I often feel I could do with a few more of those myself.

The importance of some of the softer stuff, such as emotional well-being and confidence, is often so underrated. If a child feels loved, confident and cared for, they will feel that they are able to take the world on. It is a fundamental tenet of social justice that everyone should have an equal chance to get on in life. Few would disagree with this. My key point today is that effective investment in early years education is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a reality of that aspiration. Every child should be able to know and believe that she or he can grow up to be anything they aspire to be, from doctor, teacher, entrepreneur, scientist or soldier to Prime Minister—in other words that they can realise their dreams. Unfortunately, reality in the UK today does not always bear that out.

We know from the Government’s social mobility strategy that the economic environment a child is born into, through no fault of his or her own, has a tangible impact on that child’s educational and life experiences. For instance, only around 30% of children from the lowest fifth of families in terms of income are deemed school-ready by the age of three. Conversely, of children born into families in the highest fifth of incomes, around 65% are deemed school-ready by that age. To put it more simply, the proportion more than doubles.

We have already heard from my noble friend Lady Walmsley that higher ability children from lower social backgrounds are overtaken by lower ability children from more privileged backgrounds between the ages of five to seven, unless something tangible happens to prevent it. This is not the natural order of things. Indeed, it is a national scandal, as well as an untold waste of human potential and talent. If unchecked, this disadvantage perpetuates as children move higher up the age range—indeed, the gap is often widened. My noble friend also set out the very positive changes in this area made by this Government. I was very proud when the then Minister, Sarah Teather, announced 15 hours of free early years provision per week for deprived two year-olds and the subsequent expansion of this provision so that it will cover the 40% most disadvantaged children.

As I mentioned earlier, the all-party group’s work on social mobility has highlighted two issues particularly relevant to this debate—indeed two of the seven key truths, as the report calls them. First, the greatest leverage point for social mobility is between the ages of nought and three. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough; early intervention in children will pay back dividends in later life. I had been intending to spell out some of the very compelling evidence from Graham Allen’s review of early intervention but my noble friend Lady Jenkin has done this very clearly, so there is no need for me to repeat it. Secondly, by building on the focus on early years, we can break the cycle of poverty through education. Children must be ready and able to access learning, and school-ready when they arrive at primary school, if they are to thrive. School readiness is a really important notion.

The all-party group found that countries with better levels of social mobility than the UK tend to have invested in the training and development of their early years staff. Moreover, early years education does not just open the occasional door for children. It can affect their financial well-being through their life, as the Perry pre-school project showed so compellingly for children in the United States. Nearer to home, the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project found that high-quality education enhances children’s development and that disadvantaged children have the most to gain from it. The project’s 2010 report demonstrated that children who had attended high quality pre-school education continued to demonstrate higher achievement at the age of 11.

Because every child is a rounded human being with the full range of needs and talents to nurture, it is important to acknowledge that, well beyond academic achievement or economic success, early years education can also improve children’s later overall well-being. Indeed, the 2009 Marmot review of health inequalities found a strong positive correlation between early childhood development and longer-term health outcomes. These benefits not only help the individual but are good for our nation as a whole. For instance, the New Economics Foundation produced a report in 2009 highlighting the economic and social benefits of early investment and found that for every £1 invested in a Sure Start children’s centre, £4.60 of social value is generated.

To conclude, investing early matters. An old adage cautions that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I extend that to say that if we as a country fail to invest in the early years education of our children, we will have only ourselves to blame if they continue to face low levels of social mobility and find that doors are shut in their faces. We must not and cannot allow that to happen.

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, for obtaining this debate and in doing so salute her for the consistency and determination with which on the Floor of this House she pursues issues affecting children. I would like to focus on one issue which the noble Baroness identified, and that is school readiness because it is no good talking about education unless you are certain that the child is ready for that education. As chairman of the All-Party Group on Speech and Language Difficulties, I want to focus on the necessary communication skills which, if absent, will prevent children learning.

It is interesting to note how the impact of the electronic age on our children has crept up on us during the latter part of the 20th century and the 21st century. Too many of them are just parked in front of a television set or handed a computer game. They simply end up being unable to communicate, either with each other or anyone else. This was put to me very well last week during a dinner that I was helping to host for Durham cathedral when my neighbour told me of the frustrated anger of her two year-old niece who, like many of her contemporaries, had been issued with an iPad of some kind. She issued frustrated cries of rage when she wiped her hand across a television set and it did not respond.

Members of the all-party group have conducted research into what is happening now and what can be done about it. We were very struck by a graph produced for us which showed that a child with a high IQ coming from an unsupportive or socially disadvantaged background was overtaken at the age of five and a half by a child with a low IQ coming from a supportive background. That to my mind is an indictment of the system. We must do something about it. On discussing this with experts, I was interested to learn that the age of five and a half is very important as it marks the end of a critical window where interventions can be made effectively and identified gaps can be closed. Therefore, it seems hugely important that we should focus on the years up to the age of five and a half to make certain that that crossover never happens.

We are very glad that the Government have done a number of things recently, including bringing in the integrated review incorporating health visitor checks at the age of two and the pre-school progress checks in the reformed early years foundation stage. I welcome the duty that is being put on local health and well-being boards. However, I am very concerned that by putting the duty on local health and well-being boards the Government are introducing the possibility of postcode lotteries, and they worry me. I welcome the early support programmes and the early years foundation stage profiles as a factor but I wonder about the use that is made of them. I also welcome the involvement of speech and language therapies at various stages of education.

However, I am concerned that I have already mentioned the involvement not just of local government but of the Department of Health, the Department for Education and another department. They all need pulling together because individual organisations are doing their own thing. It is very important to recognise that the good they are doing will not be aggregated unless their efforts are pulled together. As I have said many times, the thing that worries me most about prisons is that nobody of a particular type is in charge of who is responsible or accountable for making things happen. Until you have somebody who is responsible and accountable nothing will happen. We cannot afford to let this situation go on. Therefore, my first question to the Minister is: who will be in charge of all the development I have outlined?

During research for a report which my group will publish—we hope before the children and families Bill is published—on the connection between social advantage and speech, language and communication needs, we discovered that the Department of Health and the Department for Education together have published four potential pathways consisting of guidance for workers. One is guidance for health visitors and midwives on pregnancy and the early weeks. Another is guidance for health visitors and school nurses on supporting children from the age of two, and their families, until settled into school. The third is guidance for school nurses on supporting children with complex and/or additional health needs; that continues until age 25, linked with provision for people with special educational needs. The final guidance is for school nurses and youth justice workers on supporting children at risk of entering the criminal justice system. I welcome those publications because they provide a framework within which everything I have been talking about can be brought together. However, I must emphasise that this requires management, not just allowing the pathways to be published and the individual organisations to get on. We must make certain that everyone is required to conform to their pathway; otherwise we will not achieve the results.

Of course, a lot of training needs to go with this. I have been fascinated while we have been undertaking the inquiry, because we have learnt of wonderful examples of work where, for example, Stoke-on-Trent has been training everyone down to the dinner ladies and the lollipop men to identify people who might have the sort of problem that could be helped. There are masses of good examples that need to be pulled together. Under all this, I come down to the fact that until and unless children can engage with a teacher and therefore engage with education, they are never going to make progress. The lesson we have learnt is that until and unless you enable people to do that communication—after all, education boils down to contact between a teacher and a pupil—they will not be ready for the school and the education that is the subject of this debate.

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, for bringing this vital subject back to the House. It provides us with an opportunity to consider some of the telling reports that have come out over the past year or so. As we have heard, early years care and education is an area that attracts strong views and debate.

We can all agree with Dame Clare Tickell when she observes in her report on the early years foundation stage that there are few things more important than making sure that all children are given the very best start in life. Indeed, the aim of doing so through improved childcare, early education, health and family support lay at the heart of the previous Government’s creation of Sure Start in 1998. These children’s centres are an excellent example of partnership between the maintained, private and voluntary sectors. Today, they offer the earliest help to more than 2.5 million children and families.

The Government have themselves said that the series of reviews over the past year have served to strengthen the arguments for investment and reform in the foundation years. I should like to focus my remarks on one report—on an aspect of the debate that I have raised before, but to which I make no apology for returning: the need for a properly qualified, well motivated workforce in the foundation years.

In her review of early education and childcare qualifications, Foundations for Quality, Professor Cathy Nutbrown says:

“The biggest influence on the quality of early education and care is its workforce. Those who engage with children, supporting their learning and interaction with their environment through play, can affect their wellbeing, development and achievements”.

I know that to be true. I should declare an interest here in that my sister is an early years professional, operating two nurseries in Nottingham and previously several in London. I take my cue from her when she says that it is crucial that staff working in the early years are highly trained, well managed and led; that continuing professional development is vital; and that early years practitioners should be appropriately qualified and rewarded. Needless to say, this is not the current state of affairs. However, I am encouraged by Professor Nutbrown’s review, whose final report came out in June this year. She recognises that progress has been made in skills, and notes examples of excellent practice across the sector, but makes detailed and specific recommendations for improvement. I look forward to the Government’s response, which I understand is imminent.

Dame Clare Tickell’s earlier review of the early years foundation stage recommended that the Government keep a focus on upskilling the workforce and,

“maintain the ambitions for a graduate-led sector”.

Professor Nutbrown picks up on many of Clare Tickell’s points. She recommends that level 3 qualifications become the minimum standard for the workforce, changing current requirements so that all staff, including childminders who work with the early years foundation stage framework, should be qualified at a minimum “full and relevant” level 3 by September 2022. She also wants to strengthen level 3 qualifications to focus on the birth-to-seven age range and to include more on child development and play, more on special educational needs and disability and more on inclusivity and diversity. More controversially among the early years community, she has called for the introduction of a new early years teaching qualification to replace the early years professional status, citing research which shows the huge positive impact of graduate leadership on areas such as early literacy and social development.

I wonder about this proposal. The previous Government invested huge sums, through the transformation and graduate leaders funds, to transform the early years profession by the introduction of the early years professional status for existing graduates, based on the pedagogical model so admired in the Scandinavian childcare system, and also by encouraging others to undertake graduate study through the early years foundation and early education degrees. The profession tells us that this has already had a huge positive impact on practice, particularly in the areas highlighted by Professor Nutbrown. Can the Minister tell us the Government’s response to this?

In their response to other reports, Supporting Families in the Foundation Years, the Government announced that they would set up a national network of early years teaching centres to raise standards and improve children’s outcomes. The idea is that nursery schools and children’s centres demonstrating outstanding practice will share their expertise and support with other early years settings in their region. Will the Minister indicate how the Government plan to share lessons learnt from this model and say whether there may be opportunities for expansion?

The Government’s response also pointed to the new workforce agency. The Teaching Agency, operational from April this year, is to take responsibility for early years workers, including supporting the drive for a more highly qualified workforce and an increase in graduate leadership. Can the Minister give us any insights into progress made by the Teaching Agency in these areas?

When we consider the quality of staff needed to give our children the best possible start in life, we need to consider their qualifications. The evidence suggests that those with a higher level of qualification, degree-level specialism in early childhood, have the greatest impact. Research has shown the benefits that graduate leaders, and particularly qualified teachers, bring to early years settings. They have positive impacts, both in terms of curriculum and pedagogical leadership and in terms of measurable improvement in children’s outcomes in early literacy, social development, mathematics and science.

However much we talk about improving qualifications, we must also talk about cost. Someone has to pay for this and in that context, will the Minister say whether the Government will monitor the impact of the loss of the early intervention grant so as not to jeopardise other early years programmes, as the LGA fears? At the moment the major providers of childcare and education, the private and voluntary sectors, are almost totally dependent on the fees paid by parents and carers who need assistance. The early years education grant, paid by local authorities directly to providers for the support of two, three and four year-olds, is a reliable model, but the rate needs to be increased to enable providers to continue to offer it. The tax credit system accessed directly by parents is complicated, confused and easily open to fraudulent or mistaken claims. Will the Government bite the bullet and finally look at a system by which early years childcare and education becomes jointly funded by parents and the state, with all payments being made directly to providers who are highly regulated, constantly inspected and more easily accountable?

We have been told that high quality early education is one of the most important determinants of every child’s life chances. It is clear that we need to raise our expectations of what it means to work with young children and attract the best people into the workforce. We must not lose sight of the fact that investing in early years is investing in all our futures.

My Lords, I declare my vice-presidency of the Local Government Association. I, too, am grateful to my noble friend Lady Walmsley for initiating this debate and for rightly drawing our attention to the crucial importance of early years learning.

Those charged with the responsibility for making decisions on how to invest public money most effectively in education, whether politicians or practitioners, rarely have all the money they would like. Prioritisation is therefore a key part of their role and that prioritisation needs, inevitably, a clear evidence base.

There are fundamental questions that must be taken into account. When is public investment in education at its most effective? How can we get the most impact on child development? How can we reduce the impact of child poverty on aspiration and learning by investing in the right way at the right time for the right child?

We continue to be informed by research studies. One that was drawn to my attention very recently was research carried out at the centre for neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. This 20-year longitudinal research project involving 64 children has shown that the most important factor in cortex development of teenagers is stimulation at the age of four, and that an early childhood with easy access to books and educational toys will have a positive effect on the brain for at least 20 years. That is because the more the brain is stimulated at the age of four, the more developed are the parts of the brain linked to language and cognition in later life.

Researchers in Pennsylvania visited the homes of the 64 children at the age of four and made records to measure cognitive stimulation, including data such as the number of children's books, whether the toys taught them about colour, numbers or letters and whether they played musical instruments either real or toy. They also took account of the nurturing that the children got from their parents. The survey was repeated at the age of eight and then, around 10 years later, between the ages of 17 and 19, the development of each child's cortex was assessed. The results concluded that the development of the cortex was related to the child's cognitive stimulation at the age of four and that other factors, including parental nurturing, were actually secondary.

The sort of intellectual stimulus indicated in this research is clearly more likely to be provided in middle and higher-income families where, even without knowledge of the physiological and developmental consequences of providing a stimulating environment for children, it is a normal part of childrearing to provide books, stimulating toys, visits to farms, museums and so on and to talk to children and encourage questioning.

Other research has shown some very clear differences in the capacity of children on entering formal school aged four and in their attainment at seven, and that it varies according to family background. It is therefore right that specific resources should be directed at economically disadvantaged children from an early age.

This means continuing to provide adequate funding for Sure Start, on the grounds that it funds the early years education of both parents and children and will help to close the gap in attainment between children from poor and wealthier backgrounds in the pre-school period. It means providing money, as this Government have done, for free nursery places for two year-olds from low-income families, and it means continuing to provide funding based on free school meals numbers to ensure that money can be targeted in Sure Start centres, in nurseries and in early years in schools.

However, it is not just a question of the amount of funding. It is also about quality provision and about how the funding is used. I have been struck by the conclusions of two reports published recently that are relevant to this. Both were referred to a moment ago by the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick of Undercliffe. The first is a report on the Early Years Foundation Stage by Dame Clare Tickell, published in March 2011, and the second is a report by Cathy Nutbrown, The Independent Review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications. Both draw similar conclusions about the importance of the training and qualifications of those working in early years education.

Dame Clare Tickell concluded that:

“The importance of a strong, well-qualified early years workforce was a consistent theme throughout my review”.

She further concluded that,

“there should continue to be a level 3 and a graduate ambition”,

and that,

“a new professional qualification is introduced that robustly combines practical experience with the development of expert knowledge”.

Professor Nutbrown's report, published in June this year, concluded that:

“Some current qualifications lack rigour and depth”,

and are not,

“systematically equipping practitioners with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to give babies and young children high quality experiences”.

She recommended that the content of level 3 qualifications be strengthened to include more on child development and play and, because level 2 qualifications were insufficient, that by 2015 70% of staff should have a level 3 qualification. As we have heard, these are important conclusions and I hope the Minister will be able to say something further on how the Government plan to raise the expertise of the early years workforce.

On the issue of clarity of funding, I understand that the early intervention grant, which does not relate only to early years, is being top-sliced by £150 million for two years to support central strategies. I am not quite clear what is proposed here although I am aware of the assurances of the Secretary of State at the end of October that there would be more money each year to 2015. It would be helpful if the Minister could confirm, either today or later, exactly what is proposed for the early intervention grant and why, and whether it is to be a two-year financial change to the funding. It would be helpful to know exactly what the Government propose.

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, for initiating the debate today and I thank all noble Lords who have spoken for their passion and commitment on this issue. It is fair to say that the proposition unites all sides of the House. However, it is also true that we have differences on, for example, the means of delivery, the extent of the funding and the role that central government should play in driving this forward as a priority.

As we have heard today, the evidence demonstrating the crucial impact of a child’s experience between nought to five on their subsequent life chances continues to amass. I echo the comments of several noble Lords and pay particular credit to the work of Graham Allen MP, and others, who have provided a compelling analysis of the social problems which occur if children are not given the right kind of support in early years.

There was a stark illustration of this in the Telegraph a couple of weeks ago comparing the brain scans of two three year-old children, one of whom had been nurtured and stimulated and the other of whom had been neglected. The damage shown to the neglected child’s brain was at such a level that the child could never fully recover. The impact on the child’s cognitive and social development was permanent.

As we have heard, this has broader social policy implications. For example, a recent report by the Sutton Trust on social mobility showed that in vocabulary tests at the age of four and five children from poorer backgrounds in the UK are, on average, 19 months behind their peers. This gap widens as they progress through school. The report concluded that it was vital for young children regularly to engage with adults who are able to stimulate their vocabulary, social and cognitive skills.

The prize for getting this right is more than just narrowing the attainment gap, important though that is, it also begins to address the cyclical patterns of persistent unemployment, addiction and crime that can be traced back to neglect at a young age. This point was made eloquently by a number of noble Lords, including the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin, and the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne.

There are economic as well as social benefits to be gained. Not only does a solid early education benefit the children themselves, in the form, for example, of increased lifetime earnings, but it also cuts the cost of later remedial education and welfare benefits which would otherwise fall upon the state.

I fully acknowledge the argument of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, and my noble friend Lady Massey that the challenge with which we are confronted in the UK is of a different magnitude to the fundamental educational needs being faced in the developing world. I pay full regard to that.

As I said at the outset, there was a great deal of agreement across the Chamber on the principle of early intervention and early years education. However, it is the practical application of these policies within that where the divides begin to show. I shall give some examples where we have some cause for concern.

First, as noble Lords have acknowledged, the Sure Start programme was a keynote policy of the previous Government. It addressed the fundamental need for early intervention by helping whole families improve their parenting skills as well as providing stimulating learning environments for young children. Despite its short existence, it was beginning to deliver results and we were rightly proud of its achievements. That is why we continue to be dismayed that this Government have refused to ring-fence and guarantee funding for the centres, resulting in cuts and closures. The department’s own figures show a net reduction in the number of centres of 281, while a recent 4Children survey reports that 50% say their finances are less sustainable, 55% no longer provide on-site childcare and 20% have reduced the number of qualified teachers. This has gone from being a success story that could have transformed children’s lives to one of a struggle for survival—fighting over scarce resources and tearing up the original concept of a comprehensive one-stop shop for young vulnerable families. What assessment has been made of the impact of cutting the funding to councils on the future viability of the Sure Start network and at what point would the Government be prepared to intervene?

Secondly, we are proud of our record of extending nursery places to three and four year-olds and initially welcomed the Government’s intention to provide free nursery education for disadvantaged two year-olds. Unfortunately, despite the coalition’s continued assertion that this will be funded by new money, it is becoming clear that this is not the case. Even a leading Conservative councillor has described the announcement as “typical smoke and mirrors”. The facts appear to show, as confirmed in a Department for Communities and Local Government consultation, that the money for free education for disadvantaged two year-olds is being taken from existing early intervention budgets. What is more, the Government plan to merge this fund into the dedicated schools grant, which is itself being cut. This is at odds with the statement of the noble Baroness, Lady Garden, in response to a question on this issue from my noble friend Lady Worthington in a debate on 11 October. Can the Minister explain which is telling the truth—the DoE or DCLG? Why is the early intervention grant being abolished just two years after being created? Which department will have responsibility for early intervention in the future now that DCLG is the funding department?

In addition, during Questions in the Commons on 29 October, Michael Gove stated that early intervention money will continue to go up over the lifetime of this Parliament. However, again this does not appear to be the case. This is similar to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley. The figures we have assembled, which have been shared with the Secretary of State, show that by next year early intervention funding will have fallen by over £1 billion, or 38%, and by the end of the Parliament it will have been cut by over 40%. Can the Minister clarify whether this is, indeed, the case and whether the Secretary of State intends to clarify his earlier statement? These may sound like dry statistics but they represent very real cuts in the early years services that we are debating today. That is why even the Conservative leader of the Local Government Association, Merrick Cockell, has described the cuts as “counter-productive”.

Finally, I will pursue the issue of staff professionalism and qualifications, which was raised by several noble Lords. It is quite right that staff need to be trained to provide high-quality care and a stimulating learning environment. As noble Lords have acknowledged this afternoon, Professor Cathy Nutbrown has made a significant contribution to the thinking on this issue. I agree with her that there are far too many qualifications and that they do not necessarily equip students with the right skills. I also agree that we need to drive up minimum standards of qualification for anyone employed in early years provision, across the whole sector.

We have to be concerned about the recent proposals of Elizabeth Truss, now an education Minister, that far from driving up standards and professionalism in early years, the sector should be deregulated and replaced by a mums’ army of volunteers. She has also, as I understand it, proposed that childminders could increase the maximum number of children in their care, from three to five. This would certainly be one way of reducing costs, but it goes against all the knowledge we have acquired on the impact of high-quality, early years care on later development. Will the Minister reassure this House that the Government will not pursue deregulation of this sector and that Professor Nutbrown's recommendations are being actively embraced and pursued?

We have had a great deal of consensus today on the importance of early years education. Our dispute with the coalition is whether it has the political determination, the funding models and, frankly, the joined-up thinking to drive the necessary changes through. So far its record does not display much to cheer about, but I hope that today the Minister is able to give us some better news.

My Lords, I will try to give noble Lords something to cheer about. As my noble friend Lady Walmsley said in her excellent opening speech, there is a lot which the coalition Government can be proud of and point to. I will try to make that argument as we go on. I thank my noble friend Lady Walmsley for the thoughtful way in which she framed the debate. She got us off to a great start. We expected her to show her knowledge of the subject, but also her commitment to the interest of children, for whom we all know she is such a champion. As the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, said, there is compete agreement across the House about the core case that my noble friend made: that children’s physical, emotional, language and cognitive development to the age of five are the foundations for the rest of their lives.

While people’s destinies are not set in stone—and I believe that school has the ability to transform children’s lives—those early years clearly influence how children learn, their physical and mental health, their future friendships and relationships. As my noble friend Lady Jenkin of Kennington set out, this is not least in connection with criminality. I agreed with her points about the economic benefits of effective early intervention—a point also made by the noble Lord, Lord Parekh—and with the case made by my noble friend Lady Tyler of Enfield, about the obvious link to social mobility. We have heard a lot of evidence of the benefits of early years education. As my noble friend Lady Tyler explained, the effective provision of pre-school education study showed very clearly that the benefits persist through school to the end of key stage 2. It certainly found that high-quality early education has a strong impact on the development of disadvantaged children. The OECD found that almost all countries’ 15-year olds who had attended pre-school outperformed those who had not.

We also know that children growing up in workless households tend to do less well at school and are at much greater risk of not being in education, employment or training later on. That is why the Government are committed to doing more to make it worth while for parents to work. Therefore, good quality, affordable childcare also plays an important part in supporting parents to return to, or stay in, the workforce. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, about the broad consensus and I recognise the important steps that the last Government took on this. Significant change and progress have been made in this area, going back some 20 years. The quality of early education provision is improving. In 2010-11 the proportion of early-years-registered providers judged by Ofsted as good or outstanding, for example, increased to 74% from 68% the previous year.

The 2012 early years foundation stage profile results, a measure of children’s development at age five, show continued improvements, especially in early language development. A recent international study of early education systems by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the British system as the fourth strongest in the world and noted the progress made in creating universal access for all three and four year-olds. However, as all noble Lords have argued this afternoon, there is a lot more to do and the attainment gap between the lowest achieving 20% of children and their peers is still far too big.

That is why, as my noble friend Lady Walmsley, argued, the coalition Government have made such a priority of early years. We have taken several steps to increase both the availability of places and the quality offered. As we have already heard, the free entitlement for all three and four year-olds has been extended to 15 hours a week, and 96% of three and four year-olds are taking up a free place. From this September, parents have more flexibility over when they can take their entitlement. They might be able to take it earlier or later in the day or over shorter periods, to make it easier to balance their family and work commitments. We have discussed the new entitlement for two year-olds. We are working with local authorities to ensure that they provide clear and transparent information for parents and to encourage them to take up their child’s entitlement.

We have talked about the review carried out on the early years foundation stage by Dame Claire Tickell. As a result, we have published a simpler EYFS that came into force this September. That cuts bureaucracy, allows practitioners to spend more time with children and places a stronger emphasis on learning and development. As the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, reminded us, we have also introduced a new requirement for providers to review children’s progress at age two to help to identify areas where they might need additional support.

One area which we recognise as a crucial foundation for children’s future progress in reading and writing is early language development. The new Early Years Foundation Stage promotes communication and language as a prime area of learning for all children from birth and the new early learning goals in literacy specifically include expectations for children to be using their phonic knowledge to begin to read and write. I take the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, about co-ordination. It is up to the Department for Education and the Department of Health to work together. Ultimately, I guess that it is for Ministers to provide the leadership which he rightly says is needed to pull these things together and drive them forward.

On the quality of provision, which has been a recurring theme this afternoon, we are investing in and seeking to encourage the development of the early education and childcare workforce. We have supported graduate training at national level for the early years professional status and new leaders in early years programmes. We now have more than 10,500 EYPSs. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, that anti-discriminatory practice is a key part of that EYPS training.

My noble friend Lord Shipley asked about the Government's commitment to the development of graduate-level practitioners; yes, we certainly have that commitment. I hope that we make that clear in our response to the Nutbrown review. We have increased the number of qualified children’s centre leaders through the national professional qualification in integrated centre leadership.

We aim to recruit an additional 4,200 health visitors by 2015. My noble friend Lady Walmsley asked how the Government are doing on that. We are on track to meet our commitment. In 2011-12, three times as many health visitors began training as in the previous year. This year, we will start to see real growth, as the cohort of newly qualified health visitors start to join the frontline.

As I said, we commissioned the Nutbrown review on the next steps, and I was asked specifically about that review by the noble Baronesses, Lady Jones of Whitchurch and Lady Warwick of Undercliffe. We intend to respond in full to its recommendations. My honourable friend the Minister for Education and Childcare will do so shortly and will set out how the Government plan to support the development of a better qualified and well led early years workforce. I will follow up the important points raised by my noble friend Lord True about Montessori education, but I can say that officials will be pleased to involve Montessori organisations in this and ensure that we have their input.

My honourable friends Liz Truss, in my department, and Steve Webb, at DWP, are leading the Childcare Commission, to which my noble friend Lady Walmsley referred. It was set up in June. It is considering the availability and costs of childcare.

I take the point made by my noble friend Lord True about over prescription. We want professionals to have the flexibility to exercise their skills and judgment. One of the issues that that commission is looking at is how to encourage new childminders to register. Increasing childminder numbers will give parents more choice between group-based and home-based care, with the additional flexibility that childminders offer. We are looking into what can be learnt from other countries. We have heard a lot of examples this afternoon about practice in other countries and the commission will be looking closely at the lessons we can learn from them. To refer to the question from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, we do want a system that is high quality as well as affordable.

We are in the process of contracting for the new Early Intervention Foundation, recommended by Mr Graham Allen, who has been mentioned frequently this afternoon. The contract will be for two years. It will operate independently of Government to advise commissioners on what works and to spread good practice. That relates to the point made by my noble friend Lord Shipley about the importance of evidence-based intervention.

Work is also under way with health and early years experts and practitioners to look at how we could introduce a fully integrated health and early years review at the age of two. We hope to do that from 2015. That also speaks to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, about bringing health and education together into an integrated system.

As noble Lords know, we are also running a trial of parenting classes for parents whose children are nought to five years old. The trials are being carried out in Camden, Middlesbrough and High Peak. Information on take-up is being collected as part of the trials evaluation. A parental participation survey is being collected and an interim evaluation report will be published next spring.

The noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, raised the important subject of parenting, as I would have expected him to do. He raised some interesting suggestions and if I may I will follow those up with him later.

A number of noble Lords mentioned funding and particularly the noble Baronesses, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, and Lady Warwick of Undercliffe. Early intervention remains a key priority for the Government and I am glad to have the opportunity to reinforce and restate that commitment.

The changes that we are making to the way we fund local authorities for early intervention are designed to give them maximum flexibility in the way they use funding to provide local services. Local authorities have been asking for this.

We are also using the opportunity of these changes to move funding for the two year-old offer into the dedicated schools grant so that places for two, three and four year-olds are funded through the same grant. In a recent consultation, that was the preferred option.

The total amount that we plan to spend on early intervention over the next two years has not changed as a result of the above. We have not cut funding for early intervention to pay for the extension of the offer of free early education to the 40% most disadvantaged two year-olds. My department received additional funding for this from HM Treasury and this has been added to the existing funding.

The money currently in the early intervention grant will continue to go to local authorities for early intervention activity. In 2013-14, £530-odd million will be added to the dedicated schools grant to fund free early education and childcare for the most disadvantaged two year-olds; £1.7 billion will move to CLG and will be paid to local authorities through the business rates retention scheme; and £150 million, which my noble friend Lord Shipley referred to, will be set aside to support early intervention activities that evidence shows have most impact. If we put those together, it means that Government will be giving local authorities over £2.4 billion for early intervention in 2013-14, rising to over £2.5 billion in 2014-15.

On the points raised by noble Lords about children’s centres, I agree with my noble friend Lady Walmsley and a number of noble Lords on the Benches opposite who spoke about the importance of children’s centres. The Government want to see the retention of a national network of Sure Start children’s centres. They act as a valuable hub for families to access these important services, and I know that they are greatly valued by local communities. As my noble friend Lady Walmsley acknowledged, there has been a small net reduction in children’s centre numbers. The latest figures I have seen, which were provided by local authorities, suggest that there have been 25 outright closures to date, which is less than 1% of all centres. The rest of the reduction is accounted for by local authorities reorganising and merging some of their children’s centres to make efficiency savings, as noble Lords have said. Local authorities have the funding to ensure they can meet their statutory duty to provide sufficient children’s centres to meet local need. They must consult before making significant changes, but fundamentally, the Government’s view is that local authorities should have that funding and the flexibility to decide how to allocate it.

The noble Baroness, Lady Massey, brought a new perspective to the debate by broadening it out and reminding us that whatever problems we have in our country, there are other countries where the problems are even more significant. DfID is engaged in a range of research related to early childhood development. I have been told that DfID programmes are currently supporting 4.5 million girls at primary level and at least 700,000 girls at secondary level, or will be by 2016, so there is work in hand. I was grateful to the noble Baroness for reminding us of a different group of children.

The noble Baroness, Lady Warwick of Undercliffe, asked about early years teaching centres and whether we would share learning from that model. Our view is that they are doing good work. Her suggestion is a good one, and we will actively look to ensure that that learning is shared.

My noble friend Lady Benjamin raised the important matter of toilets for young children at school and in early years. The EYFS requires that all early years providers have to ensure that there are an adequate number of toilets and separate toilets for adults. It also requires that fresh drinking water is available at all times. So far as school level is concerned, new regulations are coming, as the noble Baroness knows very well as she and I have had the chance to discuss them. They set out that washing facilities have to be suitable for pupils. There are also regulations covering the general health, safety and welfare of pupils and a requirement that there should be separate toilets for boys and girls aged eight or over.

My noble friend Lord True asked about the staff/child ratios for independent and state providers. The staff/child ratios in the EYFS apply to all providers, and they vary to take account of the age of the children and the qualifications of staff. He will know better than me that there is a technical difference between independent schools and maintained schools in reception year. I believe that the ratios are broadly the same, but the different wording reflects the different legislation that applies to maintained schools and to independent schools.

I hope I have picked up on the main themes that have been raised. I shall go through, and if there are any specific points, I will follow them up with noble Lords.

I asked a specific question about funding. I am sorry to go on about it, but it is important. I asked about the statement made by Michael Gove in the Commons in October that the early invention grant throughout the life of this Parliament is going to increase. The Minister quoted some figures, but he did not say whether the total is going up or down. I do not know whether he can answer that this afternoon, or whether he could write to me.

I hope I said that the total funding going into early intervention is going up because of the new money that is coming in to pay for the two-year offer. The combination of the two means that it is going up. In this good and simulating debate there has certainly been widespread acceptance about the importance of the early years. I hope that I have managed to show the priority that the coalition Government collectively attach to it and some of the practical steps that we have taken. Although we have made some good progress at what we know is a difficult time financially, there is clearly much more work to do. We will be setting out further areas for action, both in terms of the early years workforce and how to improve the quality of childcare before the end of the year in our response to Nutbrown and also in setting out the findings of our childcare commission. I look forward to discussing those next steps with noble Lords then.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his very full reply and all noble Lords who have taken part in this very wide-ranging debate. We have had everything from brain development, early intervention, the international perspective, parenting and preparation for parenting, to funding issues, the connection with social mobility and well-being, communication skills and the all-important qualifications issue.

If you are given the last word, you are crazy if you do not use it. Here is my last word. I would counsel caution about this concept of school-readiness. Schools must be ready for children and they will only be ready for children when the classrooms are filled with highly qualified early years experts with the freedom to use their professional judgement. That brings me to the issue of assessment and tests. There is no place for summative assessment in the early years. Formative assessment, yes—as long as it is done sensitively and the purpose is to inform the practice of the professionals who work in the early years. But please let us not go back to curricular straitjackets—and certainly not league tables.

Motion agreed.

Future Reserves 2020


My Lords, I should like to repeat the Statement made in the other place.

“With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a Statement on the Government’s consultation on Reserve Forces.

On the 5 July this year, I announced to the House my intention to publish a consultation paper setting out our detailed proposals for the future of the Reserve Forces, in response to the recommendations of the Future Reserves 2020 commission. This Green Paper, which I am publishing today, marks the beginning of a formal consultation period and a significant step forward in our plans to build the reserves of the future.

Reserve Forces play a vital role in delivering Britain's defence capability. Over 25,000 reservists have deployed on operations overseas in the past 10 years, and more than 2,000 deployed in support of the Olympic Games this summer. Sadly, 29 of them have paid the ultimate price while on operational service over this period and I know that the whole House will want to join me in saluting their sacrifice.

As well as delivering a range of combat capabilities, reservists have provided numerous specialist functions—from nuclear, biological and chemical protection in Iraq, to deployed medical support, saving the lives of our injured troops in Afghanistan. Whether it is at home or abroad, we should be proud of the dedication, determination and courage with which so many of our reservists serve this country.

Last year, the Future Reserves 2020 commission reported that, in spite of this service and sacrifice, our reserves, particularly the Territorial Army, were in decline; their numbers were getting smaller; the full range of their capabilities was not being used—and they were not being used in a cost-effective manner. In the Territorial Army, we still have major units configured as they were when the task was to provide mass reinforcements to counter a Cold War-era Soviet threat and we remain unable to mobilise reserves to assist our Regular Forces on their vital standing tasks, such as the defence of the Falkland Islands. The commission found that these deficiencies, when taken together, were contributing to an erosion of the effectiveness of the reserves and of the links between our Armed Forces and wider society. We cannot allow this to continue.

The 2010 strategic defence and security review called for a transformation of our Armed Forces to meet the new security challenges and threats of the 21st century while addressing the deficit in the defence budget. In Future Force 2020, we are building an adaptable whole force to meet those challenges and threats with our Army, air force, maritime and marine reserves at the heart of that force. The reserves of the future will be integral to, and fully integrated with, our Regular Forces, capable of being deployed as formed sub-units and units, as well as continuing to deliver individual augmentees, together providing an agile, high-tech, capability, able to defend our country, project power abroad and respond to diverse contingencies.

Historically, mobilisation of the reserves has often been seen as indicative of an emerging large-scale crisis for which the numbers of Regular Forces would be insufficient, a view reinforced by the current legislative framework, under which reservists cannot be mobilised to support standing military tasks. But in the future, as an integrated element of our Armed Forces, the reserves will be a part of almost every type of operation that our Armed Forces conduct, whether its in combat, capacity-building or fulfilling more routine standing commitments. Indeed, some very specialist capabilities—such as cyber, media operations and medical capability—cannot cost-effectively be held in Regular Forces and we will rely upon the reserves to deliver them.

The routine delivery of the nation’s security will broaden from being the sole preserve of the standing Regular Forces into a responsibility that is shared, through the role of the reserves, much more widely across society. To deliver it, we are investing an additional £1.8 billion in our reserves over the next 10 years, enabling us to increase their size to a trained strength of approximately 35,000. For the first time in 20 years, our reserves will be on an upward, not a downward, trajectory. By 2018, we will have grown the trained strength of the Army reserve to 30,000, the maritime reserve to 3,100, and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force to 1,800.

Reserve units will be paired with, train with and achieve the same standards as their regular counterparts. They will use the same equipment, the same vehicles and wear the same uniforms as the regulars, and they will deploy routinely, together with Regular Forces, on major overseas exercises. This year alone, reserve units will conduct some 22 overseas exercises, with probably twice that number next year. Integrated regular/reserve overseas training exercises are being developed and will become routine. Already, the additional investment we have put in place is making a difference. As I saw for myself last night at the Royal Yeomanry TA centre in Fulham, Territorial Army units are already taking delivery of WMIK light reconnaissance vehicles, Bowman radios and new Regular Army uniforms. As by far the largest element of our reserves. these changes will be felt most keenly by the Army, and to reflect the significant change in the role of Army reservists, I propose that the name of the Territorial Army should change to become the “Army Reserve”. We will consult on that proposal.

Vital to delivering this transformation will be offering a new proposition to our reserves. If you make the commitment, turn up regularly to train and are prepared to deploy, in return we will make the commitment to equip, train and fund you properly. So in the future, we will give reservists much better defined, more fulfilling roles, properly resourced and with adequate training underpinned by a balanced package of remuneration and support for them and their families, much more closely aligned to the pay, allowances and welfare support provided to the regulars. In return, we will expect them to commit to required levels of training, to meet the same exacting standards as the Regular Forces and, crucially, to be available to deploy alongside them.

National emergencies apart, we will provide greater predictability about periods of liability for deployment for our reserves. That will mean, typically, a deployment of no more than six months in a five-year period for the Army reserves, although total mobilisation could be up to a year to cover operation-specific pre-deployment training and post-operation recuperation. This predictability will help those who serve our country and their families to plan their lives. It will also help employers of reservists to plan their workforce.

Crucially, to achieve our aims, we need to develop a new relationship with civilian employers. Too often in the past, this relationship has started only at the point at which reserves have been mobilised. This has got to change. It is vital that we create a much more open and collaborative relationship with employers: providing greater certainty about reservists’ liability for deployment, with advance warning of when their call-up liability period will be; giving confidence that the skills and aptitudes reservists develop in training and on deployments will be of benefit in their civilian careers; and recognising that the relationship will need to be tailored to the different types and size of employers.

I fully accept that it may be large public sector and private sector organisations that are best able to absorb and manage periods of employee absence. I am delighted that companies such as BT, the AA and BAE Systems have shown their support to our reserves and this consultation process. But it is also the case that, with the growth of statutory legal provisions and flexible working practices, employers of all sizes are more used to managing periods of absence. In a modern, dynamic economy increasing numbers do not pursue conventional careers, creating a sizeable pool of self-employed from which to recruit. I look forward, in the consultation process, to exploring further with businesses of all sizes how we could better recognise the support that they give to our Armed Forces—perhaps through a kitemark-style national recognition scheme for reserve-friendly employers or possibly through the use of targeted financial incentives for smaller employers.

Taken together, the proposals in the Green Paper point to a new strategic direction for our Reserve Forces. They are challenging and require the support of both reservists and employers to succeed but they are also deliverable. Reserve numbers in 2018 will still be less than half the size of the Territorial Army in 1990 and recruitment levels are now starting to rise after a long-term downward trend.

Too often in the past, our Reserve Forces have been neglected and taken for granted; an afterthought when it came to investment and training; a soft target when it came to last-minute in-year budget cuts. Under our proposals, with a balanced defence budget and an additional £1.8 billion of investment, our Reserve Forces of the future will be better trained, better equipped and better resourced than ever before. Collectively, they will take on greater responsibility and benefit from greater reward and greater respect.

In the years to come, we will have Army, Navy and Royal Marines reserves, and a Royal Auxiliary Air Force sitting at the heart of the defence of our nation—Reserve Forces, of which we can be proud, supported by employers to whom we will owe a deep debt of national gratitude. I commend this Statement to the House”.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement made today in the other place by the Secretary of State. We support an enhanced role for our Reserve Forces and we pay tribute to the significant contribution made by our reservists and to their courage, not least in operations in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya. Nearly 30 have lost their lives on operations over the past 10 years and many more have sustained major injuries in the service of our country.

The Statement indicated that, for the first time in many years, our Reserve Forces numbers will be on an upward trend. That is obviously the intention, but let us be clear that that is because our Regular Forces numbers are on a significant downward trend, which is now much greater than that indicated in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The Statement has confirmed the Government's earlier decision to invest an additional £1.8 billion in our reserves over the next 10 years in order to increase their size to a trained strength of approximately 35,000. Could the Minister say how this figure of £1.8 billion was determined? What exactly does it pay for in terms of training, equipment, buildings and payments and incentives, both to individuals to join the reserves and to employers to agree to them having the necessary time off to undertake the future enhanced commitment that will be expected? We need to have this breakdown to form a view on the adequacy or otherwise of the £1.8 billion in the light of the Government's intentions on the future size and role of our Reserve Forces.

The Statement refers to the commitment that will be expected from members of our Reserve Forces in the future: a deployment of no more than six months in a five-year period for the Army Reserve, with total mobilisation being up to a year to cover operation-specific, pre-deployment training and post-operation recuperation. Can the Minister confirm that, in addition to this, there will be a requirement for some 40 days’ training each year, or nearly six weeks? Will that 40 days’ training—if that is the correct figure—take place during the week, requiring further time off from employment, or will some of it be undertaken at weekends or during the evenings, or will weekend and evening training be in addition to the 40 days? If part of the training is at weekends or during the evenings, presumably that means that people who have to work shifts or work at weekends, of whom there are increasing numbers, would also require time off work for this training commitment.

Perhaps the Minister could clarify these points, as they relate directly to the amount of time that individuals would require to commit themselves to be away from their employment, and the level of leave of absence to which the employer would be asked to agree. Could the Minister also say how many reserves will be expected to be on extended readiness at any one time?

Could the Minister also confirm that if, as a nation, we felt it necessary in our national interest to become involved in a future operation requiring the level of resources that we have had to commit to Afghanistan and over the same lengthy period of time for which we have had to do that, we would be able to undertake such an operation with the number of Regular Forces and Reserve Forces projected for the future, and within the Reserve Forces commitment referred to in the Statement of a deployment of no more than six months in a five-year period for the Army Reserve, with total mobilisation being up to one year?

The present trained strength of our Army reserves is, I believe, around 17,000 and there is a need to increase that figure by some 13,000 to 30,000 over the next six years or so in order to deliver the Government's objective on the future role and strength of our Armed Forces. We hope the Government achieve that objective as we have made clear our support for an expanded and enhanced role for our Reserve Forces. We also support the proposal to look at the idea of a kitemark-style national recognition scheme for reserve-friendly employers, and we support, too, the intention to look at the renaming of our Reserve Forces.

However, what is not clear from the Statement is whether the implementation of the staged decrease in the size of our regular Armed Forces will be related to actual delivery of the required staged increase in the size of our trained Reserve Forces, or whether the implementation of the staged run-down in the size of our regular Armed Forces is simply related to the intended, but not actual, required staged increase in the size of our trained Reserve Forces. Could the Minister give some assurances on that point, as reducing the size of our regular Armed Forces without the required additional trained reservists being in place at each stage of the reduction will surely represent a potential threat to our national security and our ability to protect our vital national interests?

We have previously expressed our concerns over the ability to deliver the additional trained members of our Reserve Forces, and no doubt one area where the Government will be looking for future members of our Reserve Forces will be former members of our regular forces. Would the Minister consider fast-tracking service leavers’ applications to join the reserves for up to two years after having left the Regular Forces, instead of the one year as I believe it is at present?

The Secretary of State has said that he will be publishing a White Paper next spring, which will set out the Government's proposals for the way ahead in respect of our Reserve Forces, including any requirement for legislation. Employers are going to have to be willing to agree to the necessary time off to enable employees to give the required greater commitment as reservists that will be called for in the future, a greater commitment that frankly makes statements that it should not be a problem, because the size of our Territorial Army has been larger in the past than that now projected for our reserves, somewhat irrelevant and meaningless.

There is an argument that an employee who has had service in the reserves will have learnt and developed skills that will be of real value to the employer. I am sure that will be the case. My only comment would be that in another field, where the same argument applies—namely, over employees who wish to serve as lay magistrates—it is sometimes very difficult for an employee working for a private sector company to get the prior agreement to the time off which really is needed before they apply to become a magistrate. Even if time off can be secured, an employee who was looking to progress up through their company or organisation would need to be satisfied that their prospects of promotion or advancement would not be jeopardised by the fact that, for quite significant periods of time, they would be away and not undertaking the duties and responsibilities of the civilian post that they held. These are real issues, which the Government will have to address if they are to succeed in their objectives for our Reserve Forces, and these issues will be even more acute with small private sector employers for which the Government will need to draw up a specific strategy.

I know it will probably go against the grain for them, but the Government might care to consider whether the trade unions, who represent staff in many of our larger companies, might also have a role that they could be invited to play in drawing the attention of those staff to the opportunity of joining the reserves, and in encouraging employers to agree to the necessary time off along with some cast-iron written guarantees that people will not lose out on issues such as promotion, levels of salary enhancement or bonuses, where it might be very difficult to prove discrimination as opposed to suspecting discrimination.

My final point concerns the impact of the new enhanced role on reservists at a time when medical analysis shows that they are more susceptible than regulars to post-deployment mental health problems and post-traumatic stress disorder. Reservists return to civilian life without decompression with those with shared experiences and do not have access to military medical services. Could the Minister say what improvements are being made to post-deployment care as, in future, we will ask even more of our reserves? We should surely give more back in order to prevent the spread of this kind of invisible injury.

I conclude by reiterating our support for the Government's intention to increase the role and responsibilities of our Reserve Forces. Our concerns are over the logistics and feasibility of delivering the objective without firm, clear and decisive action. Our concerns are not over the principle of what the Government are seeking to achieve.

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his support for the enhanced role of the reservists, the name change to Army Reserve and indeed for his support for the kitemark. We are very keen to approach this whole issue in as non-partisan a way as possible. It is essential that we achieve success on this. We want as much cross-government and cross-party input into the consultation as possible.

The noble Lord started by asking about numbers. I have the current total strength of the Maritime Reserve, Territorial and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. As of today the Maritime Reserve is 2,500, the Territorial Army is 25,500 and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force is 1,300-odd. The target for our total trained strength by 2020 is for the Maritime Reserve to go up to 3,100, the Army Reserve to 30,000 and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force to 1,800.

The noble Lord asked me about the breakdown of the £1.8 billion. I cannot at this stage give him an answer but I will undertake to write to him. The Ministry of Defence has committed an additional £1.8 billion investment over the next 10 years to improve reservist training, equipment and recruitment. The training packages offered will be sufficiently resourced and challenging to ensure a motivated and sustainable force.

The noble Lord asked me some detailed and legitimate questions about training. I draw his attention to the Green Paper. We have gone into quite considerable detail about the training. Again, we are asking employers and reservists for their input on training suggestions. The noble Lord asked if we had the numbers to undertake operations in the future. We are confidant that we do. He also asked a question about the possible fast track of regulars to reserves. This is one issue we are looking into very carefully. It is really important that we get a large number of regulars to convert to the reserves. We have looked at the track records of the United States, Australia and other countries on this and are open to any suggestions and we very much welcome input from anyone about where we can make up the numbers.

The noble Lord asked about next spring’s White Paper as it related to employers and what incentives are being considered. The MoD is considering financial and non-financial incentives for employers, ranging from the award of a national kitemark-type recognition scheme to an employer financial award that would be in addition to that already provided to an employer when a reservist is mobilised for military service. Most importantly, these incentives will be tailored so that they are accessible regardless of the size of the business. The noble Lord asked me about the value to an employer of a reservist. For a number of years, I was honorary colonel of a TA regiment and every year we had a function with the employers. I met a large number of them and they all valued enormously the input of the reservists and how it made a difference to their company. I am pretty enthusiastic about that.

The noble Lord asked me about trade unions and their input. I would very much welcome it. Indeed we are already in contact with the TUC on this issue. It was a point very well made by the noble Lord. Finally, on post-traumatic disorders, once reservists are mobilised, they have the same healthcare as regulars. Health is an issue on which we want to carry out consultation.

I join my noble friend in paying tribute to our reserves. They play a vital part in our defence. I wish also to pay tribute to Corporal Seth Stephens, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. He was a Special Boat Service reservist and formerly a regular Royal Marine. I pay tribute, too, to Corporal Matt Croucher, George Cross, a Royal Marine reservist and also formerly a regular Royal Marine. These tributes illustrate, first, what superb work has been done and is continuing to be done by our Reserve Forces; and, secondly—the point that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, made—the importance of attracting former regular service personnel to the reserves. The regulars have had a long, expensive and often arduous training. They know what they are in for and, most importantly, they understand the demands of the service.

Will my noble friend assure the House that reserve service will be advertised and made attractive to regular service personnel who decide to quit the Regular Armed Forces? For example, there might be some pension advantages and carryover of service. Presumably, the military covenant applies also to reservists. I hope that my noble friend will confirm this.

Reservists and their employers must understand that when the reservist signs up for service he or she is entering an irrevocable commitment or obligation starting immediately, if necessary, to serve at the sole discretion of the Government of the day for the duration of their time in service. Our Regular Forces must never be put in jeopardy by anyone who fails to live up to their obligations.

My Lords, I join my noble friend in the tributes to the two servicemen he mentioned. Like him, I am in awe of the work that the Special Boat Service does. I compliment my noble friend on all the work that he does for the SBS Association. He asked me about incentives for regulars to become reservists. All three services are working to make it as quick and easy as possible for individuals leaving the Regular Forces to join the reserves. This includes simplifying administrative processes, examining the use of incentives and ensuring coherent communications so that individuals who are leaving the Regular Forces, or have left, are aware of the opportunities that exist in the reserves, should they choose to enlist. No decisions have yet been made on the shape of any incentives.

The Armed Forces covenant seeks to ensure that service personnel are not disadvantaged as a result of their service. The covenant recognises reservists. Obligations for reservists very rarely constitute a problem. On the previous occasion I was in Afghanistan I met a number of reservists and regulars. All the regulars to whom I spoke said that reservists were just the same as them—they were not treated differently and mucked in just the same as everyone else. However, obviously, once a reservist is mobilised, he is under military law the same as a regular.

My Lords, I apologise for not being here at the beginning of the Statement. I ran to get here but I am not as fast as I was when I was a young officer. I welcome the thrust of what the Government are doing but share the very real concerns I have heard relating to commerce, industry and various firms. I would like to ask a couple of questions. Given the contents of the Green Paper, will there be full and comprehensive meetings with various firms and no coercive legislation to make firms provide reservists, as I think that would be extremely counterproductive?

My other point concerns the cost of reservists. I have had a lot to do with the Americans in this regard. Reservists are not as cheap as one might think when one starts using them regularly. I hope the Government will look very carefully at this because reservists can often cost more than regulars. If that is the case, perhaps it is better to use regulars.

My Lords, the noble Lord makes a good point. Our relationship with employers is obviously key to this. The Green Paper sets out a series of questions to employers which will help us to chart the way forward. I very much hope that the noble Lord will contribute to this process, particularly any thoughts he has on the United States example that he mentioned. In addition to the Green Paper, we will host a number of national and regional events to discuss specific issues with public sector and private sector employers. The closing date for this consultation is, from memory, 18 January next year.

My Lords, I do not intend to be patronising, and apologise if I appear to be, when I say that I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Astor, for bringing this Statement to the House. In addition, I think other noble Lords share my gratitude in so far as he regularly keeps us briefed on military matters. That is reassuring.

I want to pick up a point that the Minister made in passing when he replied to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and mentioned other elements of government being involved. The one thing I know, having been a soldier who served virtually full-time for 12 years, is that I understand that if you have an objective and faith in your task as a soldier, it means so much more than if you are wondering why you are there in the first place. So much of what has happened during the period of the previous Government and this Government so far has meant that we have sent our soldiers, reserves and regulars into battle without a clear view of the objective. I have raised this point before, and I deliberately raise it now. When I look at what we have left behind after the sacrifices in Iraq, and when I see people such as Martin Kobler being appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and being little more than a tool in the hands of Nouri al-Maliki as he facilitates the evil mullahs in Iran, there would be no encouragement for me to send my children or grandchildren to become members of the Army reserve. When are we going to have a more vital input and a clearer objective enunciated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office—something that gives our military a degree of confidence and assuredness when we send them into battle?

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his support. Over the years I have very much enjoyed chatting to him about his distinguished military experiences over 12 years, and I very much hope that he will give his input into this consultation process. We want to change the situation. The noble Lord was critical of the past. We want to change all this, whereby employers, regulars and reservists all have a clear view of where they stand and have plenty of warning if there is mobilisation. That is important. I cannot comment on the noble Lord’s question about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

My Lords, it is a pleasure and a considerable relief for once to be able to welcome a government Statement on defence policy, and I do so unreservedly. As the noble Lord knows, I am very much in favour of this initiative and I congratulate him on it. I also congratulate General Houghton and Julian Brazier, whose initial study has led to these proposals and provided some of the background. I have just two concerns that I should like to put to the Minister. First, is it not the case that if our reservists are even slightly less well trained and experienced than regulars, we may have more casualties in future operations? That risk can be mitigated only by rigorous and probably more extensive pre-deployment training. Are the Government focused on that?

Secondly, incentives are splendid and, of course, no one would wish coercive legislation on employers, but is it not the case that this will not work at all unless reservists have complete legal protection, as they do in the United States, against discrimination by employers or potential employers in the matter of recruitment, promotion and remuneration? That system seems to work extremely well in the United States. As the noble Lord knows, it has been in operation for a long time; it seems to be widely accepted by American employers and by American society as a whole; and, of course, as we all know, the National Guard plays a vital role in American overseas operations. Does the noble Lord agree that that issue cannot be ducked and needs to be accommodated in the legislation the Government propose?

My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord for his support and I will pass on his words too to the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, and Julian Brazier, the Member of Parliament for Canterbury, who both work very hard. I attended a number of meetings and they were very grateful for the noble Lord’s support. He asked if reservists would be put at greater risk. For reservists doing specialised roles for which they will be trained, pre-deployment training will bring them up to the required levels. The training for reservists will obviously be much greater and they will go into any mobilised operation as well trained as regulars—they will have the same kit, the same uniform—and we will do our very best to ensure that that does not happen.

The noble Lord’s last question, I think, was whether there will be any change to legislation. The integration of reserves within the whole force means that reservists will routinely be part of military deployments at home and abroad. In order to enable this we propose changes to the current legislative power to use and call out reservists. Following the consultation in spring 2013 a White Paper will set out in detail our proposals on, among other things, any legislation necessary to underpin our vision for the reserves.

Will the Minister please have some sort of exemption for small and micro-businesses about the recruitment of people? When an employer hires someone it is because there is a job to be done. If the employer suddenly loses that person for several months, it can bust them. It is very difficult to backfill or infill quickly enough. I had a small business go bust a few years ago because someone was called up unexpectedly, she had not told us properly in advance and she disappeared. We need to have it upfront at the time of recruitment and a small business should be allowed to state that it cannot handle it and have an exemption from it, otherwise there is this terrible thing of not knowing and the penalties on the small business are too great. Small businesses are where the innovation and growth of the future come from. I was a Territorial for 15 years so I thoroughly approve of it all, but please exempt those who cannot afford to do it.

The noble Earl makes a very good point. One point we make loud and clear in the Green Paper is that we want to be very much more open with employers and bring them into a confidence from a much earlier stage. As for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, we aim to tailor our approach, adjusting our working practices to reflect the different opportunities and impacts of reserve service for different employers, public and private, large, medium and small as well as by sector.

My Lords, I, too, welcome the intention behind these announcements and, like other noble Lords, I am very glad that the Minister will be taking this through the House, in view of his connection with the Territorial Army and, therefore, the reserves. As a former Inspector-General of the Territorial Army at a time when it numbered more than 100,000, I must take issue with one point that he made. At that time we initiated the National Employers Liaison Committee and the motto that was adopted about what the employers got from the TA, as opposed to what the TA got from them, was, “a profitable partnership”. That initiative has remained. Therefore, the issue that I take with the Minister is the suggestion that this sort of relationship had not existed before and that the Government were going to change it. I hope that that is not so because it seems to me, and from all of the points that have been made around the House, that the National Employers Liaison Committee is even more important now as a framework with which to conduct these discussions.

At that time, and picking up a point that was made earlier about the connection with the Americans, I was told that the most important and useful weapon used by the National Guard with employers was that employers were relieved of having to pay the employers’ national insurance contribution. I put that to the Treasury then and was told that it was a very good idea. I was told that it could happen provided that I paid it out of my budget. I could not do that, but I believe that it ought to be seriously looked at because it would have an enormous impact on employers.

My Lords, national insurance is one of the issues mentioned in the Green Paper. We are looking at it. I understand that there are a number of complications, but it is an issue that we are looking at.

I hope the noble Lord did not misunderstand me when I said that we were changing. I did not mean in any way that things were not going well. We very much value the input of the National Employer Advisory Board.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement from the other House. Unusually, I think there is general consensus across the House that this is a welcome move. But, probably, the devil is in the detail. It will succeed or not depending on co-operation from industry.

Those of us who have seen the reserves in operation know that it is not the quality of their contribution. Indeed, in modern warfare, technologically, they are probably more advanced than many of the people whom they are working alongside. This could well be a very good move for our services. But can the Minister assure me that the MoD will be flexible in its discussions with employers, especially when it comes to small firms releasing someone? You may need to help fund a substitute, not the actual person leaving to go on operations. You may need to provide that support.

The pensions issue, which is mentioned on page 56, will probably be a difficult one to overcome. The assurance I am seeking concerns the rules and regulations we have laid down now for engaging with the private sector. They may need to be changed to ensure that you succeed in recruiting the numbers that you seek.

My Lords, we realise that this will not work unless we have the co-operation of employers. We are keen to get as much input as we can from them. If we have to change the legislation and make other changes to make it work, we will do that, and of course we will be very flexible.

My Lords, I, too, welcome this Reserve Forces plan. I should like to mention two things. First, I noticed that the right honourable gentleman the Secretary of State used the word “injured”. Military people are “wounded”. The Minister is always good enough to use that word when he talks about the deaths of soldiers and the wounding of soldiers.

A highly paid football player gets a hack on the shin and he writhes on the ground as if he is about to expire: he is injured. A military person who is blown up, loses a limb, is hit by a bullet, shrapnel or sometimes steel: he is wounded. It is not much fun being wounded, but it is a great honour for your country. That should be declared. This awful politically correct way of saying that everybody is injured is quite wrong. The reservist, if he is wounded, would much rather be wounded than injured. There was a time when a stripe was given for being wounded. I know I do not have time to make my second example but I shall make it very quickly. It is not quite over 20 minutes. Why do not the Government get stuck—

My Lords, perhaps next week the noble Viscount will share that with me. I always enjoy his stories. I shall take back to the department the important difference between injured and wounded.

NHS: Death at Home

Question for Short Debate

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made to enable more NHS patients to die at home and whether they have plans to strengthen the NHS Constitution in this area.

My Lords, I am glad to have this opportunity today to focus our attention on patient choice at the end of life. I would, of course, have preferred not to have it at the end of the parliamentary week.

Although I continue to be a staunch supporter of legislation on assisted dying, and will certainly support a Bill along the lines proposed by the commission chaired so ably by my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer, that is not my main purpose today. However, the right to assisted dying in this country should be part of the choice agenda for that minority of people who want it, are terminally ill and have mental capacity. We all like to exercise as much control and choice as possible over the way we lead our lives. As citizens, I believe we should be allowed also to exercise the maximum choice on the way we leave our lives. That is the issue I want to explore today.

Around half-a-million people die each year in England, two-thirds of them over 75. A century ago, most of us would have died in our own homes; today, most of us will die in hospital. Despite the findings of the Gomez report published in January this year showing an increase between 2004 and 2010 in the proportion of people dying at home, only 20.8 per cent of deaths took place at home. This is a lower proportion than the US, Canada and parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands. We also face the prospect of increasing numbers of people dying with more complex medical conditions which could, if we are not careful, push our healthcare system towards more people dying in institutions.

This Government, like the previous Government, deserve great credit for recognising the importance of patient involvement in decisions about their health and social care. I congratulate the Government on their commitment to the principle of “no decision about me without me” and on continuing the end-of-life strategy published by Labour in 2008. That document was a major political initiative in the sense of opening up the issue of death and dying for public debate. Today I wish to explore, in a non-partisan way, the progress made since 2008. In doing so, I will draw on the extensive, 73-page 4th annual report on the end-of-life strategy published by the Department of Health last month, together with the excellent briefings that many of us have received from Marie Curie, the Alzheimer’s Society, Sue Ryder, Dignity in Dying and others.

It is clear that considerable progress has been made on many of the issues identified for attention in the 2008 end-of-life strategy. There have been many local initiatives, some of which are described in last month’s annual report. I do not have time to go into detail on these developments but they increase our understanding of how we can improve the prospects of a good death, with dignity, respect, relief of pain, a preference for familiar surroundings and the company of close family and friends, when we want it. These considerations are being better addressed as a result of the 2008 strategy and all the work that has been done since then. However, we still have a long way to go.

There remains the difficult issue of with health professionals over striving to keep alive people who simply want to let go of life, without pain, in a place of safety and familiarity and at a time of their choosing. That can sometimes produce a difference of view between the patient and the relatives, as well as with professionals. In these situations, I regard the wishes of the individual person dying as paramount. It is their views that should take precedence over whatever professionals and families think. That informs the rest of what I have to say.

I have an uneasy feeling that this issue has some bearing on the current strife over the Liverpool care pathway. I will be clear: I am a strong supporter of the pathway. Properly applied by trained personnel, it does not hasten death but ensures that the right type of care is available in the last days or hours of life. It does not preclude the use of clinically assisted nutrition or hydration. Frankly, if 22 highly respected patient and professional organisations, including three colleges, can publicly sign a strong endorsement of the pathway, I know which side of the argument I am on; and it is not that of the Daily Mail.

Turning to the place of death, I have an opportunity to pay tribute to my favourite medical tsar, Professor Sir Mike Richards, who, as national clinical director for cancer and end-of-life care, has done so much to take forward the end-of-life strategy. In his excellent farewell letter, in the fourth annual report, Professor Richards identifies:

“Deaths in usual place of residence”,


“the main marker of progress for the Strategy”.

He also says that:

“While this does not necessarily capture individual patient choice it is nonetheless a good proxy”.

He reported that, nationally, by April 2012, 42.4% of people are now dying at home or in a care home. This is an improvement from about 38% four years ago, which is an improvement of about 1% a year. On present trends, it will take until at least the end of the decade before half of deaths occur in the place of usual residence.

This improvement and this national figure conceal considerable regional variations. If you live in the south-west, with 48% of deaths occurring in the place of usual residence, you have more choice than in London, where only 35% of deaths take place there. The Marie Curie briefing cites the Office for National Statistics data for 2008 to 2010, which across the UK show 55% of people dying in hospital. However, there is a huge variation from 39% to 70% between local authority areas for the number of people dying in hospital. That is a huge range. This kind of regional and local variation is totally unacceptable and strongly suggests that there is considerable variation in professional and organisational practice and attitudes to allowing people to die in their place of choice.

Ministers and officials are to be congratulated on securing better measurement in this area, but they now have to confront the fruits of their labours—after all we have a National Health Service. It is not just a matter of fairness and patient choice. There is also a matter of cost, which, as Sir Humphrey Appleby would have said, is, “Not an inconsiderable consideration, Minister”. Again, Marie Curie has performed a public service with its publication on understanding the cost of end-of-life care in different settings, which suggests that a week of palliative care in the community at the end of life costs about £1,000 a week, whereas a week of hospital in-patient specialist palliative care costs virtually £3,000. I am not suggesting that costs should be the only consideration, but we need to reflect on these figures because they suggest that we could offer more choice on dying at home and also save the public purse.

What is to be done? I have three suggestions to help speed up people’s right to have their preferences on where they die implemented, although I make it clear that I am not trying to dragoon people into dying at home and recognise some of the concerns that Marie Curie has expressed about people’s views changing. My first suggestion is to bring end-of-life choice into the Secretary of State’s mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board, as many parliamentarians have suggested.

Secondly, it is no good just rewriting the NHS constitution to give people more rights. The Government need to be bolder. The right should be written into the constitution clearly, in order to deal with the postcode lottery in patient experience and professional practice around the country. Thirdly, we should consider going further and provide citizens with a statutory right to exercise such a right, either in government legislation or in a Private Member’s Bill—an option I would certainly contemplate bringing forward. I look forward to hearing other peoples’ views in this debate, including the Minister’s, and I hope I have given him something to chew on.

My Lords, I begin by declaring my interest as chairman of Help the Hospices, the national charity for the hospice movement, supporting more than 240 hospices across the United Kingdom. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Warner, on securing this debate. I find myself agreeing with much of what he says and, as best I can, I shall endeavour to avoid repetition.

Of course, we all bring to our consideration of this question our personal experiences. My father died more than 50 years ago at home, looked after by us his family and by the most wonderful of nuns from the nearby convent, of whom I have never been able to speak too highly. My mother died much more recently at the age of 98 in a care home in which she had spent the last few weeks of her life. They looked after her very well, assisted in the management of her pain by help from a nearby hospice. My mother-in-law died in hospital. I have no doubt at all that the best death, if one can use that phrase—and I believe one can—was that of my father; and the worst death was that of my mother-in-law. There is no doubt at all that far too many people die in hospital. That is the central truth of this debate. The central fact of this debate is that 63% of people say they would like to die at home and a far smaller proportion actually does so. This is what needs to change and I hope that the Minister will give us hope that the Government intend to help bring about this change.

In the time that remains, I want to say some words about the role of hospices in caring for people as they approach the end of their life. I referred in my declaration of interest at the outset of these remarks that there are a number of hospices in the UK. In your Lordships’ House, I need hardly pay tribute to the extraordinary work which the hospice movement carries out. I regard it as an enormous privilege to be associated with it in the way I am. However, there is a misconception about the role of hospices which is highly relevant to this debate and which I want to try to correct. I suspect that when they think about hospice care, most people—certainly very many—think about the care provided to in-patients in our hospices. Yet most hospice care is not so provided. Fully 70% of hospice care is provided for people living in their own homes. Indeed, “hospice at home”, as it has become known, is the fastest growing part of hospice care. So if, as we all hope, more people are going to die at home, the role of hospice care in looking after them is likely to grow significantly. That brings me to my last point. Hospices collectively have to raise £1.5 million a day from charitable sources if they are to keep going. On average, only about a third of their costs are met by the state.

I am sure that the Government do not want to do anything to damage that extraordinary movement, which is the subject of so much admiration both here and abroad and which has been held up by the Prime Minister himself as a superb example of the big society, but the new arrangements for the National Health Service have—I am sure, accidentally—introduced a considerable and unwelcome element of uncertainty into the continuation of even that very modest level of government support. The absence of end-of-life care from the draft NHS mandate, to which the noble Lord, Lord Warner, referred, has, I fear, increased that uncertainty and aroused a good deal of concern.

I wrote to the Secretary of State some time ago to ask for a meeting to discuss all that and, sadly, it has not yet been possible to arrange such a meeting. I do not expect the Minister in his reply to offer me a date, but I hope that he will be able to say something about the future of public funding for hospices that will provide a degree of comfort to those involved in that wonderful work and will enable them to continue to play a growing role in helping those people who wish to die at home to do so.

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Warner, on instigating this most timely debate.

It is in memory of my late husband that I find it important to speak to your Lordships today. I know that he would have wished to have died at home, but it was not to be. My husband, in his last years, had several complicated conditions. He was diabetic; he had had strokes; he had Parkinson’s disease; and a wound that would not heal due to a tumour that was cancerous.

I live in a rural area, and I take this opportunity to say that rural healthcare is different from urban healthcare. I think that that should be recognised in the NHS Constitution. So many health problems seem to happen at weekends, and one is dependent on the out-of-hours service. I feel that there should be a register in each out-of hours-area of people with long-term complicated conditions, so that the out-of-hours doctors know which patients are at risk. There is no way to retrieve individual health records at weekends or at night.

As it was on a Friday evening when my husband had problems, I got the out-of-hours duty doctor to come out. She had to make the 24 mile journey from Harrogate and, because my husband had a swallowing problem, she prescribed a liquid antibiotic. We had great difficulty finding a supermarket which could provide that and, over the weekend, his swallowing became more difficult. On Saturday, I spoke to another out-of-hours doctor who did not come out and rather inferred over the telephone that all was all right. On Sunday, I had to represent my husband at his church lunch, which he would have gone to. On my return, things had got worse. After another agonising wait for another out-of-hours doctor to ring back, an ambulance was sent and my husband was taken to hospital with me and my helper following behind by car.

I have tried to get an antibiotic given to him by drip, but this was not to be and is still not available in the community in a rural area. I had carers for my husband who could have managed a drip.

He died in the A&E department with me with him. If only more help was available in the community, all the stress and trauma would be removed. As it was, two young and inexperienced police officers arrived at the hospital and nobody seemed to know what to do. My husband died of pneumonia, which can develop very quickly.

I tell this story as I hope that more people can die at home with the comfort of knowing that all that can be done to help is forthcoming. With the economic situation, this is very doubtful but I was pleased to read over the weekend that the Secretary of State for Health is doing something which I hope will give hope to people who have become very concerned at the treatment and care of the dying because of the Liverpool care pathway. I cannot think of a more cruel practice than being denied fluids or food if one wants them. I often wake in the early hours with a very dry mouth and I keep a bottle of water next to my bed. To keep the mouth moist and clean should be a basic care need. Many people now fear having to go to hospital and many doctors feel guilty at having used the Liverpool care pathway, which seems to have gone down the wrong road and, instead of care, it has become a way of speeding up death in an underhand way.

I hope that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, will make it clear, with his colleagues, that not only should everyone concerned be involved in end-of-life care but that the patient should not be starved to death. They should be allowed to die in as much comfort as possible when their time comes. This should be made clear in the NHS Constitution and I agree that there should be no decision made about me without me, be it in the community or hospital.

I join in congratulating my noble friend Lord Warner on having achieved this debate.

As a society we are not normally good at talking about death and in some areas it is still almost a taboo subject, so it is even more welcome that we can talk about it frankly and openly. We are talking about choice. There are many people who contribute to end-of-life care and they should be acknowledged—doctors, nurses, health care assistants, social workers and of course the family of the person who is nearing the end of his or her life.

I understand that there is controversy about the Liverpool care pathway. I do not know that much about it but I disagree with the noble Baroness. I do not think that it is such a reprehensible approach and there is a lot to be said for it but perhaps that needs to be debated on another occasion.

Of course it is important to enable more patients to die at home if that is their choice. We know that most people still die in hospital. The figures I have are 51% in hospital, 21% at home, 22% in a care home and 6% in a hospice. Although in commenting on the quality of the care, 92% said that a hospice provides excellent care, or their relatives said that. So when asking people about whether they would choose the place of death, only 44% expressed a preference but of these the vast majority said that they wanted to die at home.

My contention is that it is a matter not just of choice but of informed choice. It is very easy to say that home is the only place but I do not believe that it is quite like that. It may not always be practical to die at home and the hospital or residential hospice may provide the best care for people with complex needs and for managing pain. People need to be better informed about the reality of dying at home. If there is a large supportive family that is one thing but suppose there is not; suppose the person does not have a family to support them. How can they then die at home? It is not practical. It is understandable that, where there is a family, people want to be surrounded by the family as they reach death and normally that will be all right but that also puts a heavy burden of caring on the family, which may not be in the best position to do that. Although the onus must be on choice to enable people to die at home, I am just uttering a word of caution that it may not be the most appropriate decision for them. Indeed, if one is getting near death, at the outset, one may say, “I want to die at home”, but as one’s condition deteriorates, that may not, in fact, be the choice one wants to make, so there always needs to be the opportunity for people to change their minds. What is important is that all healthcare professionals should inform the patient of all care and treatment options so that the patient knows the consequences of any decision they make.

As most people die in hospital, most complaints about hospitals relate to end-of-life care. That is understandable, but that may not be the only matter for consideration. Funding is a problem, and one does not want a situation where people choose an option because it is free. Hospitals are free, I think hospices are free, but at home, financial support for care may be needs-tested and means-tested. One does not want a situation where people choose on the grounds of finance not on where they will be happiest and more at peace with themselves.

Dying at home, in a hospital or in a hospice should be an informed choice, and I would like the NHS Constitution to reflect that, but I add, as my noble friend Lord Warner did, that I feel that assisted dying should also be one of the informed choices. I hope that palliative care will not always be seen as an alternative to assisted dying but rather as complementary to it. In that way, patients would have a happier set of choices and a better path on the road to death.

I am pleased to support the arguments made by the noble Lord, Lord Warner, and I am grateful to him for giving us the chance of this debate.

This is a very difficult area in which to bring about change or certainty, and one of the themes of what I say will be its complexity and confusion. I hope it is not too unrealistic to say that we should be aiming, perhaps in the long term, for simplicity and honesty. Despite that, I believe considerable progress has been made recently with, among other things, the Liverpool care pathway. We have heard about the scale on which it has been adopted to massively positive effect, but with some few negative instances and, as the Times editorial said recently, some mischievous controversy.

Research shows that poor communication around the LCP is not the norm. National Care of the Dying Audit – Hospitals assessed the LCP and found that 94% of relatives and carers were given a full explanation of it and that healthcare professionals discussed it with 56% of dying people. The LCP is a helpful process to minimise suffering at the end of life.

We should be grateful for what Marie Curie Cancer Care has done in this field, particularly in terms of highlighting the timing and cost of hospital in-patient care versus home care. Even with the clear cost advantage of home care, it is known to be quite difficult to set up all the elements satisfactorily, particularly for a patient or family already under stress. We have been given figures on the shortfall between those wishing to die at home and those actually able to do so: 60% want to, but only 21% achieve their wish. According to the National Audit Office, 40% of end-of-life patients had no medical need to be in hospital. In that respect, the message of this debate should be clear. On the NHS Constitution, while I broadly support the recent firming-up of some wording, it might be providing another level of complexity in shared decision-making.

How patients become active and equal partners with their clinicians about their care is still hard to define in any great detail, but that might be the direction in which we should be going. In complex cases, it may be that consultants might be too frightened of being sued to give advice or take action. We have heard tell of what might be called the Shipman effect seeming to inhibit common sense action. Maybe until recently there was a problem of nurses or health workers giving any response to patients who wanted what you might call a normal conversation or guidance on end-of-life matters. The LCP would seem to open the door to some sensible discussion, but it might be difficult for a passing nurse to know the medical status of the person who is asking questions. On the particular matter of assisted dying, I understand that the Royal College of Nursing has given some guidelines in a booklet, but they are understandably not exhaustive. Similarly the GMC has produced useful written guidelines to treatment and care towards the end of life. In understanding and researching this subject, as I said at the beginning, I am struck by the confusing multiplicity of differing sources of advice in this field. It is encouraging that discussion and dialogue are taking place but, for an individual trying to understand what options are available, choices are indeed complex.

In recording and co-ordinating patients’ wishes, we learn that there is something called advanced decisions, lasting power of attorney, advance statements and advance care planning. We learn that in the primary care field, care can be centred on the gold-standard framework, which sounds desirable. There are electronic palliative care co-ordination systems—recording a patient's wishes, one example of which is Coordinate My Care, which is being apparently implemented in London, and is available in addition to about half of ambulance trusts.

With some of this available, and most highly commendable, it is understandable that research shows that patients' misunderstanding and confusion is widespread, as to what their real choices are. I believe, however, that we are moving along with the NHS Constitution, in the right direction. It may be that in advancing the debate and options in this difficult area, such imperfect language and choices are bound to be complex and confusing. Finally, one of the welcome new additions to the NHS Constitution, apparently from April, is what is called the “duty of candour”; meaning that staff must be open and honest if things go wrong or mistakes are made. I hope that this candour might eventually spill over to a more general honesty in end-of-life discussions about achieving a good death.

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for tabling this important debate. It could not be more timely, in the light of the Government’s plans announced this week to strengthen the NHS constitution. In life, we are largely trusted and enabled to make decisions for ourselves. There is no reason why people should be denied this right and responsibility when they are dying. As we have heard, surveys indicate that there is a large gap between where people say they would prefer to die and where they actually do die. One survey on behalf of Cicely Saunders International found that 60% of people would prefer to die at home, but in 2010 only 21% actually did so, with 53% of people dying in hospital. This is not a slight on hospitals and their dedicated staff, though misplaced ethics of keeping people alive in the teeth of the inevitable and conservative protocols on pain relief for fear of being accused of hastening the end mean that palliative care is not always all that is claimed for it. As Prue Leith so movingly testified in the Spectator article of 27 October, rather it is a comment on the benefits of dying in your own home. At the end of life it is often unquantifiable things which can greatly increase somebody’s comfort—being in your own surroundings with those you love—though, again, the importance of good palliative care cannot be overstated. The latest figures for 2010-11 show that whereas just one in five people nationally died at home, a third of those receiving specialist palliative care did. This demonstrates the importance of specialist care in enabling people to die at home with appropriate support and the variation in what is available in different areas.

Of course, some people would prefer to die in hospital. For others, with complex care needs, it may be impractical for them to die at home. However, when someone does want to die at home, we must strive to do all we can to respect and act on their wish. Specifically, we need to remove the barriers that prevent patients from dying in their preferred place of care: patients’ treatment wishes not being recorded, poor co-ordination of information, inappropriate emergency admissions, lack of effective discharge from hospital, and not having a specialist palliative care team in place.

With this in mind, I greatly welcome efforts both by this Government and their predecessor to improve access to good quality, patient-centred end-of-life care, as set out in the End of Life Care Strategy. Since the publication of the End of Life Care Strategy in 2008, there has been considerable progress in identifying patients nearing the end of life, planning for their care and recording their medical preferences. I am particularly impressed with Coordinate My Care, the electronic end-of-life care register to which the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, has just referred, and which was piloted in Sutton and Merton and is now being rolled out across London. Coordinate My Care records patients’ end-of-life preferences and can be accessed by all relevant professionals. The tool ensures that patient information is shared effectively. Alongside this, it prevents unnecessary hospital admissions and allows patients to have the kind of death they want by enabling healthcare professionals to deliver the level of medical intervention decided by the patient. Preliminary audit shows an increase in the number of patients dying in their preferred place of care. Indeed, the tool appears to have had quite a dramatic impact, with people dying in hospital falling from 66% to 21% in the pilot areas. If the success of the scheme is confirmed, I hope that it can be rolled out across the NHS.

That brings me to the NHS constitution and the proposed changes announced this week. On this, my glass is half full. I welcome changes to ensure that patients and, where appropriate, families and carers, are consulted on end-of-life care decisions. I also welcome the underpinning of compassion, dignity and respect as central values of the NHS. However, the constitution could go further. Specifically, the proposal that people should be given information about test and treatment options should be extended to ensure that patients are made aware of their care options, including the use of patient preference tools. This could encompass advance care-planning tools, such as Coordinate My Care, which allow patients to state their treatment preferences and a preferred place of care, and to decide in advance, with legally binding effect, that they do not wish to receive treatment. Good care and treatment go hand in hand, and this should be reinforced by the constitution. The development and provision of end-of-life care has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. The efforts of all involved should be applauded. However, we can do more and should do more in the knowledge that choice and control are central to ensuring dignity in dying.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for securing this important debate. We should probably all declare an interest as speakers since the one certainty is that we shall all die. We speak of dying as a process which occurs in the last stages of life but since, each day, we are moving nearer to the moment of our death, we could be said to be dying all the time. Living and dying are not separate experiences, and we want those in the last stages of life to live well so that they may die well.

It is an entirely understandable human desire to die at home, which I am sure is an aspiration we should meet, while recognising that not all who wish to die at home will die best at home for them or their relatives, as the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, has illustrated.

Many years ago, when I was a newly ordained curate, an elderly lady of great faith and serenity said to me, “I don’t fear death but I’m scared of the mechanics of dying”. It is a frequently repeated sentiment. If anything, the mechanics now concern people even more, given the complexity and range of possible medical interventions. The longing to die at home is understandable if the fear is of a long, drawn-out and possibly distressing process in a hospital ward where there is not even the comfort of familiarity.

Therefore, it is no surprise that hospice care for the dying rates so highly among bereaved relatives. As we have heard in VOICES’ national bereavement survey, 92% of relatives of those who died in hospices rated it as good or excellent care, which is a very high rate of satisfaction in any sphere of activity, let alone one as sensitive as this. Yet if I interpret those figures correctly, that same survey revealed that 71% of those relatives said that the dying person had wished to die at home and that their own desired place of death would be similar.

How is the contrast in the figures explained? I think that even relatives who are highly satisfied with hospice care of their loved ones know that only a small number of people die in a residential hospice—just 6%. Even the best hospice experience does not replace a natural longing for our home as the most reassuring place to spend our last days. The challenge must be to ensure the best approximation of the quality of the hospice experience at home, which is possible, as the noble Lord, Lord Howard, has illustrated.

My wife is a palliative care nurse and I observe how, alongside excellent pain relief and medical care, she and her colleagues include relatives very effectively in the practical care of patients. The freedom from prescribed times of visiting and the ability of relatives to stay overnight are important but the unforced inclusion of relatives in the practical care of patients is liberating and humanising both for them and for the patient. The hospice context gives the relatives confidence that the whole person is being cared for and helps them to be effective carers.

Such things are possible in the home environment but it can be much more testing for the relatives and the patient. That will be especially the case if we encourage dying at home at a time of financial stringency because it is cheaper. It will need considerable investment; yet in Norwich there have been recent cutbacks in the provision of palliative care at home. We seem to be going the other way. I hope that the Minister can give us a crumb of comfort. Many relatives are glad to be volunteer carers, but without good induction, support and respite, they can easily become overextended and exhausted, and their anxiety or disappointment in themselves disturbs the loved one for whom they are caring.

Earlier this week, I was told of a patient who was sent home to die from hospital while in the last stages of lung cancer. His family had not been warned that the cancer had enveloped his pulmonary artery. A slight bleed led to him being hospitalised again. A few hours after his relatives had left, he had a catastrophic bleed, which flooded his bed immediately and rendered him unconscious. Had it happened at home, it would have been horrendous for the family and would not have provided the sort of death which lay behind their corporate desire for him to die at home.

Just over 30 years ago, Philip Toynbee, the writer and literary critic, died of cancer. He kept a sort of spiritual journal of his final months, which was published after his life as End of a Journey. He had come under the influence of a community of contemplative Anglican nuns in Wales whose calm, ordered and prayerful life was a big but attractive contrast to much of his own. In his last weeks, Philip Toynbee was concerned that he might die on the operating table when a last procedure was suggested. He said he did not want to be deprived of the proper stages of dying. He said, “I want to learn all I can from it.”. I have never forgotten that rather deep and unexpected phrase. If we approach the dying as we would the living, enabling them to learn from the experience rather than believe they have nothing left to learn, then we will always treat them with immense dignity.

My Lords, I need to declare an interest, in that I was a member of the Commission on Assisted Dying chaired by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer. It was a very moving experience; it was also a very educative experience. I do not think it was something to which I had given much thought. I was a bit in agreement with Woody Allen, who said, “I don’t mind dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens”. The Bill will be brought forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, in the new year. The right to die at home—the subject of this debate—seems to be just one small part of thinking about our approach to death.

First, I want to reflect on something said at a Dignity in Dying conference in July, which I was asked to address as a member of the commission to discuss its findings. It was followed by a lobby of Parliament, which noble Lords may remember. One of the speakers said that after anti-slavery, women’s rights, the abolition of capital punishment, the legalisation of abortion and gay rights, thinking of ways to die, to ease death and to give more choice about death is the next great liberal cause. I agree with those sentiments. I note that the chair of one of the major medical bodies recently said that a botched death should now rank with a botched abortion as a medical disaster.

Ann McPherson was a wonderful Oxford general practitioner who founded the organisation Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying before she was diagnosed herself with pancreatic cancer. She gave evidence to the commission, but died at the end of May. Ann’s daughter has written an account of her death at home; it is available on the internet. It was a terrible death, but the important point that she wrote about was that it was at home. If a death as complicated as that could be managed at home, then that is the point of this debate.

Being able to choose to die at home or where people live should be a first starting point in the end-of-life care. I support the views put forward by many noble Lords, particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Warner, in this debate. Norman Lamb MP, Minister for Care and Support, recently stated that a review in 2013 of progress in the end-of-life care strategy,

“will inform us when a right to choose to die at home, including a care home, might feasibly be introduced”.—[Official Report, Commons, 30/10/12; col. 149W.]

I hope it comes soon.

Above all, I think we need to talk about this a lot more. Very few people who came before our commission seemed to know about the choices mentioned by the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, of advance decisions, lasting powers of attorney, advance statements and advance care planning. Not enough people seem even to know the term “palliative care”, let alone be able to access it. It is a common saying that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It seems to me that in this great Chamber, we spend a much greater amount of time talking about taxes than we do about death. As the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, said, we should talk about it more. As the Times put it in the leader already referred to this week:

“Without discussing how we die, we have not truly explored how we live”.

I thank the noble Lord for organising this debate and I look forward to further discussions about these matters when the Bill to be put forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, enters this House.

My Lords, for this timely debate, I draw on the information that I have from the Cicely Saunders research institute, of which I am an external international adviser, and my role in chairing the palliative care strategy board in Wales. The topic of licensing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs at lethal doses is complex, and I do not think that it falls within the title of this debate, but I would simply say that from many conversations that I have had with Dutch doctors many have said that they got it the wrong way round. In Holland, one in 38 of all deaths are by euthanasia, but they still have not established specialist palliative care.

I turn to patients’ desire to die at home. About two-thirds wish to be cared for at home and go on to die at home, followed by a preference for inpatient hospice care, which runs at about 29%. That is an important, large number of people who would like to access inpatient hospices when they feel that home care is not an option for them. The wishes tend to remain constant, but not always; the reversal in trends away from home deaths happened after 2004, when the end-of-life care was instigated, and the numbers have risen to over a quarter for those with cancer who are now at home, but hardly risen at all for those dying from other diseases, only going up from 16.7% in 2004 to 18% in 2010.

For those patients accessing hospice at home services, who provide high levels of hands-on care in patients’ homes, the results are dramatically different. Of those referred to hospice at home services in Wales, 92% of St David’s Foundation patients remain at home. In Pembrokeshire, 89% of Paul Sartori Foundation patients, 32% of whom have non-cancer diseases, remain at home. In Gwynedd, those referred to the domiciliary palliative care teams have achieved 45% home death rates overall in 2010-11. So things can be very different very easily.

The conversation around care and wishes happens early and is dynamic and ongoing as the patient’s condition changes. The conversations must address fears and what is likely to happen, what the family feel that they can cope with and what they feel they cannot—and also dispel illusions around what is not likely to happen.

It is worth noting that the Cochrane review of the literature showed that when palliative care services are available the chance of dying at home is doubled. The impact of patient-focused services aimed at supporting those at the end of life is key. The most important factors that enable home death in the UK are receiving home care and intensive home care, living with relatives, having extended family support, being married, being affluent, and being younger. Interestingly, functionally less able patients seem to be able to be at home more often, probably because home care services find it easier to fit to the needs of a bed-bound patient than an ambulant one.

Socioeconomic status is inversely related to home death rates, and lower rates are also seen in the Chinese, black African and Caribbean populations, probably for multiple cultural reasons. But for NHS policy, two other factors emerge that are crucial. First, when GP visits are more frequent, as rated at three or more visits during the terminal illness, home death rates are higher. So if a guiding principle of the NHS is to aspire to put patients at the heart of everything that it does, then continuity of primary care and the ability for home visiting of the terminally ill across seven days a week will need to be addressed, because disease respects neither the clock nor the calendar.

Secondly, there is a relationship between time that relatives can take off work and their ability to provide home care support. The Canadian compassionate care benefits system warrants looking at carefully in the context of our changing NHS as it may well prove to be the most cost-effective way to support the terminally ill at home. Relatives’ satisfaction with care is greater when home care is achieved; this seems important for children who find hospital or hospice visiting difficult, although I could find no specific study of the long-term effects of hospice at home on the bereaved child’s morbidity.

There are also sound financial reasons to help patients to remain home. The cost benefit is clear: the average length of care is almost 38 days, which in a hospital bed would cost over £16,000. In Wales, as in England, we have estimated hospice at home costs to be nearer one-third of hospice in-patient costs, even when some overnight care is provided.

This debate has looked at home death rates, perhaps because they are easy to measure, but we need to know where people want to live during their final illness and ensure that services are rapidly responsive to need. Above all, staff attitudes must focus on patient need. Attitude costs nothing but the right attitude is of infinite value. If patients do not feel safe and confident in care, they will not be able to stay at home.

We must also reassess some of the insistence of services to have a hospital bed in the home. Many people want to be in their own bed and could be moved quite easily on a sliding sheet. The evidence for the ubiquitous provision of a large invasive hospital bed warrants looking at. It is not patient focused and can effectively destroy a home atmosphere. How can a relative be easily cuddled on a large hospital bed in a small cramped living room? We as healthcare professionals have to be risk aware and not risk averse and prepared to take informed risk to meet patients’ needs. One area that we have instigated in Wales has been to put “just in case” boxes into patients’ homes so that, if symptoms become difficult, fluids can easily be set up and drugs given. Investigations at home should be easy.

I will say a very brief word on the Liverpool care pathway because of the preceding speeches. This important guidance is aimed to roll out the best of hospice care into other places of care. It is not a protocol. It is not rigid. It is important that people assess whether the person is irreversibly dying, whether it is an anticipated and expected death and, absolutely crucially, whether the family know and accept that the person is dying. Is regular review in place? Does the patient need fluids for comfort? Do they need their drugs altering? The planning of regular review is crucial. It is the regular review that detects the person who is not irreversibly dying when people think again. Happily, these patients have so-called come off the pathway. It is not a one-way street. However, if it is being badly implemented at a local level, it warrants investigation. This is crucial.

I quote from a patient’s husband about hospice at home. He said:

“The support we received from St David’s Hospice Care was incredible. Their nurse arrived and co-ordinated everything when my wife came out of hospital and another nurse came overnight: I was amazed at the care and support we as a family received. My wife died at home 16 days later surrounded by her family and a Hospice Care nurse”.

We can provide good care but we have to be flexible.

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Warner, on initiating this debate. I agree with the points that he made and I am very sorry to have arrived a couple of minutes after he started. I hope noble Lords will forgive me. Most points have been made so I will be very brief.

We have possibly all in this House had experience of people dying well and people dying badly. My most distressing was perhaps some time ago with a relative dying of cancer in an open ward of a hospital. There was a lack of access to loved ones, a lack of privacy and dignity and an abuse of human rights that today—because we have made progress—would be recognised as such. There are still improvements that we have to achieve if we are to get this right.

More recently I experienced wonderful palliative care at home for an elderly woman. A team visited her eight times a day, sometimes through snow and ice, to ensure that she died well. This was amazing and showed what can be achieved. Even more recently someone else who was dying experienced bed sores and ankle swelling just before dying and the palliative care team were unable to give adequate morphine because they were still frightened, after Harold Shipman, of this being interpreted the wrong way. We still have improvements that we must make sure are made because the right to decent, compassionate end-of-life care is something to which we all aspire and must achieve.

Sadly, end-of-life care has in some respects become a bit crisis-driven and responsive. We ought to be able to plan it so that this is not the case in future. The National Bereavement Survey suggested that levels of dignity were highest in hospices and lowest in hospitals, as we know, but that improvements still needed to be made in certain areas. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Low, that the gold standards framework for recording people’s wishes, preferences and priorities is very important and should be adopted. I was a signatory to a letter only this September about the proposed NHS mandate, which, sadly, made no reference to end-of-life care. Many people signed that letter. It is appalling that this issue is not higher on everybody’s agenda. However, we have to consider certain issues in relation to this matter. Physicians are still not adequately trained as regards end-of-life knowledge as well as end-of-life care. They will not all be actively involved in this sort of care but they should all know more about it, not just the specialists. We need to develop and standardise the systems for recording people’s wishes. There is a pressing need to ensure that information follows patients across different settings because people often want to die with relatives and it is still difficult to get all the information in the right place at the right time. We need to develop the system for recording and establishing the best interests of patients. We also need to introduce better training for dealing with grief among the family and other parties.

The noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, talked about the lack of knowledge that people have about the Mental Capacity Act, advance decisions, lasting powers of attorney and the legal implications of going down the road of using any of those. The public need to be much more aware about these matters. Despite concerns about confidentiality and privacy, which I think can be overcome, we need a national register which is accessible and ensures that people’s wishes prevail. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Warner, on that. Of course, it is essential to talk to the family but the person’s wishes must prevail.