Motion to Take Note
To move that this House takes note of the role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering a lasting legacy to the Olympics, and of the lessons that can be learnt more broadly.
My Lords, as we enter 2013 we are all conscious that we will remember 2012 as the year of the Olympics and Paralympics, and be thankful for the many men and women from across this country who came together and made the Games the world-class success that they were. But it is now time to move on and focus on the longer-term legacy of this investment and human endeavour. For me, today, that focus on legacy must now be on east London, which hosted the Games and made them possible in the first place.
There is no doubt that the Games accelerated public and private sector investment in east London and inspired a generation of young people and adults. There is a great deal to build on, but to ensure that this positive impact is sustained and to stop our legacy from being the white elephant that it has become for many previous host countries, we now need to focus.
Over the past year, politicians and the media have shown us a carefully co-ordinated view of the Games and our society through the lens of a flattering telescope. Today, I want to share with you the view up the telescope—a perspective whose roots come from working in East London on the ground for the last 30 years; a local perspective, the view of a neighbour from the heart of the lower Lea Valley.
The first thing to say is that for those of us who live and work in the lower Lea Valley, the Olympics are not and never have been the biggest show in town. The Games acted as a very important catalyst and we have hailed them as a significant milestone half way through a 50-year journey in regeneration. This journey began over 25 years ago and was led by the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, who took the first tentative steps in arresting east London’s decline by creating the London Docklands Development Corporation and later encouraging the development of the Canary Wharf financial district. Through his bold vision the lower Lea Valley once again found its place on the global map.
Today, a new city—a new metropolitan district of London—is emerging in the lower Lea Valley. Many of us locally call it Water City, and here I must declare an interest as chairman of the Water City CIC. This city stretches from the developments in Greenwich and around the O2. It takes in City Airport, which is growing fast, and the accelerating global investment in the Royal Docks—which includes the Abu Dhabi national exhibition and conference centre, the Siemens Crystal and the Emirates Air Line cable car, the £3.7 billion of investment taking place in Canning Town and the business district at Canary Wharf, which may double in size over the next decade.
The scale of international investment in the lower Lea Valley is truly staggering. Ten minutes on the Jubilee line will take you to the Westfield shopping centre, which has had more than 48 million visitors since it opened. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a stone’s throw to the north-west—and here I must declare an interest as a director of the LLDC, where we plan to build five new villages and connect these communities into the surrounding area. Then, of course, a short distance to the west, in Hackney, you have Tech City: a significant growth area in modern technology whose tentacles are already starting to spread into both the park and the Canary Wharf districts.
Many of us locally call this colossus Water City because of the 6.5 miles of river and canals that surround London Docklands and connect the many pieces of this regeneration jigsaw. Water has driven our economy from the heart of the lower Lea Valley for over a thousand years. The time has come to capture the glorious history of east London’s trading past and to build a new city fit for the future, a city not defined by poverty and dependency, as in east London’s recent past, but by human endeavour and entrepreneurial spirit. We are in the moment: the biggest opportunity which we all must now grasp is to change east London for ever. The question is, how?
A clue lies in the £1 billion regeneration programme of work in Poplar where ground-breaking work has been done by the local housing company and its partners, which are starting to demonstrate in practice how you can work with local residents in housing estates to move us all on from the familiar dependency cultures and create enterprising communities focused on entrepreneurial and business activity, bringing together truly joined-up projects that start to connect health, education, housing and enterprise. This is the future.
For those of us living and working in the lower Lea Valley, the big story for us—barely noticed by the Olympic project—is the entrepreneurial culture that is growing among local people as communities embrace an enterprise culture in its many forms and move on from a dependency culture that is so often driven by the public sector institutions. As one example, when I arrived in east London 30 years ago most charities were suspicious of business. Today, the Bromley by Bow Centre, which I founded, has only 6% of its funding dependent on the public sector; most of our relationships as a local community organisation are with business. A part of this big story is the practical working relationships developing between major businesses and the social enterprise sector.
So, how do we similarly turn the rhetoric of legacy into reality? What needs to happen now to maximise this legacy opportunity and grasp the moment? First, we must start with the people and the place, not with the policy or strategy. The Olympics showcased what can be achieved when this latent energy and talent is harnessed. In my experience, communities and places often reinvent themselves organically from within, and the good news is that the conditions are now right: many local leaders and entrepreneurs are up for this journey in east London. There exists in east London a real opportunity for innovation: to explore, for example, on the first Olympic village what those key words in the Health and Social Care Act “enterprise”, “innovation” and “integration” might actually mean in practice. How do we explore them, and how do we prevent the procurement rules preventing us from doing innovation?
Secondly, we must now take the long-term view. Phase 2 of this 50-year regeneration journey is just beginning, and we have at least 25 years of focused hard work ahead of us. One of our problems in east London is the public sector endlessly restructuring itself around those of us trying to build fully engaged communities. We have too many good people coming and going in the merry-go-round of public sector structures. The recently defunct London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, for example, spent many millions of pounds on policies, strategies and plans, but actually built very little. We need to understand, as the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, describes in his excellent report No Stone Unturned, that the energy and drive in local communities does not come from Whitehall or necessarily from London government but comes from those already living and working there. But government needs to get behind these people and start showing active and sustained support. The GLA says that there will be no money in 2015, and some people are privately murmuring, “Let’s throw it all in the air!”. No. Let us stick with the project, talk with the private sector and work it out. All our experience tells us that we need consistent leadership in east London over the next quarter of a century. The job is not done: we are simply at the end of the beginning.
We all need to continue to focus hard on attracting business to the area. We need to get the international train stopping at Stratford station; we need to get a proper Thames crossing in place, a tunnel and a bridge; and we need to invest in new schools, university technical colleges and higher education institutions that will enable young east Londoners to grab hold of opportunity. In particular, getting University College London to Stratford will be another game changer for east London.
Thirdly, did you know that the lower Lea Valley is home to the largest artistic and creative community outside New York? I still fail to understand why the BBC did not decide to move a key component of its operation into the middle of this dynamic environment. The noble Baroness, Lady Ford, did so much to try and make this happen, but maybe my noble friend Lord Hall can revisit this opportunity as he takes the wheel of the BBC this year. This is a fantastic opportunity for a key cultural institution to have a base in this new and emerging dynamic area of London. Stop looking west: start looking east.
Fourthly, organic growth and partnership working is key to innovation. If the five Olympic villages are to become thriving and enterprising communities, and not just another group of soulless east London housing estates, then the public sector needs to see this new city landscape as a real opportunity to innovate and experiment on many fronts. It is not the public sector’s job to do everything for us, but it is its job to create enabling conditions.
A key component of the future of the lower Lea Valley is going to be science and technology, just as the valley was in the past the birthplace of modern biotechnology and the place where plastics, petrol refining and bone china were invented, and where perfumes, rockets and airplanes were developed. One project I am working on with Professor Brian Cox—I declare my interest—aims to connect science education to health and business development on the edge of the park, to help make London and the UK the best place in the world to do science. This illustrates the kinds of relationships between science, education and business that are starting to emerge among the next generation of young east Londoners.
There are concerns locally as we look forward as colleagues in the public, business and social enterprise sectors. Will large public sector bodies, which have a track record of missing opportunities in east London and messing up on the detail, kill the entrepreneurial spirit that is in east London today? We worry in the midst of this opportunity that government will not learn the lessons of what actually works on the ground and build on them, but that along the way—that through this 25-year-plus task—new Administrations will come along, reinvent the wheel around us, and the continuity that we now need to build thriving sustainable communities will be lost. This once in a lifetime opportunity in east London now demands that all political parties, whether in or out of office, use the time we now have to understand what works on the ground, build on it and back success.
Over the past three years I have chaired the All-Party Group on Regeneration, Sport and Culture, and during that time we have run a number of visits for Peers and MPs by boat into the lower Lea Valley. I think many colleagues have been surprised by the scale of the investment and the opportunities that now exist there. Sir David Varney, former CEO of Shell and chairman of O2, recognised on his trip that the valley has the potential to be one of the most significant business investment areas in Europe. But let us get the detail right. We need a joined-up narrative for the investment community across the world that has integrity and is deeply connected to the social, economic and demographic realities on the ground.
I hear lots of politicians quoting numbers and statistics on social housing and the like when they talk about legacy. That is all very well, but as those of us who live, work and have to build buildings there know, the key task now is to build sustainable communities which are defined not by ticking boxes but by diversity—by thriving communities who see that they have a life there for themselves and their children, and who will invest wholeheartedly in the place. It is about the detail of how you do this in practice.
Communities are about people like Leanne Doig. Leanne is a 20 year-old woman from Canning Town who has wanted to get into the construction business for as long as she can remember but was always told that she could not because she did not have what it takes—mainly that she was a girl and not a boy. She got her basic qualifications at college but her big opportunity came with an apprenticeship on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the transformation works. She says:
“I want to own my own Company and have loads and loads of women working for me”.
She also says:
“I’ve been brought up here my whole life and all people ever do is look down on east London … to have the Park will change things because it will give everyone a chance”.
That is the spirit of young east Londoners that we must encourage. Leanne is a young woman who is excited about her part of town. She has spotted the opportunities that the changes in east London are creating for her and her peers, and is grabbing them with both hands with energy and entrepreneurial intent. She understands that the route to equal opportunities is through practical hard work and inspiration. Is that not what the Games were all about? Why should regeneration be anything different? My question to the Minister is: what are the Government now going to do to help us grab hold of this bigger picture in the lower Lea Valley, to connect the dots and to learn from this new city rising like a phoenix in the East End of London?
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on introducing this debate and on the excellent speech that he made in setting out his vision for what needs to happen in the development of east London. Many of your Lordships know that few people know more about that area, or have contributed a greater personal commitment to it, than the noble Lord. I think that the only thing that he got wrong was the time. As he was speaking, I reflected on when I first got involved. In 1979, 34, years ago, Michael Heseltine and I flew over the dockland area. We looked down on 5,000 derelict acres, which were a couple of miles from some of the most valuable real estate in the world—the City of London—and made a great cry that something must be done. I had the privilege of taking through the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, which set up the London Docklands Development Corporation, out of which flowed so much, including Canary Wharf.
I must declare an interest. For the past 18 years, I have been involved in the creation and establishment of ExCeL, which is now a world-class, international convention and exhibition centre. Kindly, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, referred to it as one of the key growth elements in east London. That is particularly satisfying because I agree very much with what he said about government bodies and public bodies coming and going. I am very proud that we built ExCeL. It was a private sector venture, without any great government subsidy. Most big convention and exhibition centres around the world are owned either by the city or the government. They usually lose money and are a charge on the ratepayer. I am very proud that ExCeL has established itself as a successful and valuable addition to the economy of London.
In our early days, it was a great battle to get recognition for east London. When I first talked about ExCeL, a lot of people thought that it would be somewhere near Southend. There used to be a great bias in favour of west London and the centre of London. In terms of the population and its distribution, the centre of London has now moved: many noble Lords will know that it used be at Hyde Park Corner, is now thought to be at Tower Bridge and is steadily moving east. A lot of people thought that it was rather inaccessible. One of the most valuable legacies of the Olympics has been the recognition by so many people of how easy it now is to get there. There was enormous investment by successive Governments, both the present and previous, in improving communications in east London.
ExCeL is now considered to be probably one of the best connected major venues in the world in terms of its communications given the proximity of the DLR, the Jubilee line and the City airport, not forgetting one of the most amazing attractive new ventures comprising the Emirates AirLine: that is, the cable car which runs from the O2 to ExCeL. I recommend it to any of your Lordships who have not been on it. I took my grandson on it during the Olympics and he insisted on going on it three times as he found it so enjoyable. However, the area has battled to get recognition. In this respect the Olympic legacy to which the noble Lord referred is very important.
During the Olympics, 1.5 million people visited ExCeL. The figure for the Olympic Park is even more substantial. In 2012, 5 million people visited ExCeL. An important element of these major success stories in east London is that we have made people recognise how accessible the area is and the quality of the facilities that now exist there. The area will create enormous economic benefit for London and considerable economic benefit for the United Kingdom.
ExCeL is now in the business of trying to attract major international conventions. London, with all its amazing attractions and facilities, was ranked 20th in the world in market share of big international conventions. I am proud to say that, given the number of bookings taken at ExCeL, we have already moved up to seventh in the world ranking. Given the quality of the other facilities that London offers, I cannot believe that it will not end up in the top four, with all the benefit that that would bring. ExCeL generates £1.8 billion worth of economic benefit a year. A recent PwC report said that 32,000 jobs are derived directly or indirectly from activities at ExCeL. We have latched on to an important industry in the world today: that is, hospitality and tourism. It is a major employer in all sorts of different activities and a major boost for the economies of those countries that can develop it. It offers considerable employment at a time of obvious concern about employment opportunities. I am not talking just about ExCeL but the whole tourism and hospitality industry in which the United Kingdom needs to have a share.
As regards the Olympic legacy, one of the things that people around the world noted was not just the quality of the facilities at the Olympics but the niceness of the people involved in them. The Games makers and the Games ambassadors did a wonderful job for London and for Britain. Until I came to prepare my speech, I did not realise that 40% of London’s population were born overseas. Therefore, whatever country you come from, you will probably find a few of your fellow countrymen in London willing to welcome you to the city, and that was the case with the Games. Indeed, the Games makers were almost as important as the quality of the facilities. That is one of the legacies that will undoubtedly survive and I hope that other parts of the country recognise it.
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and I have worked together closely in a number of areas, and we know how good the co-operation is between the different bodies—Newham council, the City airport, Westfield, Canary Wharf, Transport for London and the DLR. We know the people involved in those bodies and are on Christian name terms with one another. This legacy is coming together for the benefit of the people of east London and London as a whole. It is developing and has reached a critical mass. As the noble Lord said, it will take many years to go forward but the only way is up. I congratulate him on the contribution that he has made to help this legacy move forward.
My Lords, I am very grateful indeed for the opportunity that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, has offered the House to reflect on the legacy of the Olympics. Like the noble Lord, Lord King of Bridgwater, I pay tribute to his extraordinary role, not only over the past 20 years but in the way he has seized the opportunities that the Olympics presented to go forward. That was clear in his excellent speech. He has agreed that I can extend the terminology of the debate very slightly to talk about our physical and cultural heritage, but I can also reflect on what he has said in that context about regeneration and the way in which that heritage not only formed some of the most powerful images of the Olympics but helped to show some of the opportunities available to us.
The Olympic vision gave essentially and crucially a defining and dynamic role to our heritage. I declare an interest as the chair of English Heritage. I was very impressed by the way in which the confidence in our culture, our creativity and our communities came across in those images and what they said to the rest of the world, not least in terms of community engagement. I start with the fabulous opening ceremony, which depicted the extraordinary sweep of history from ancient earthworks to the rural and pastoral scene, to the Industrial Revolution and to the National Health Service. It presented breathtaking imagery, which told us who we are, who we think we are and where we have come from. What I found most stirring was the dramatic demonstration that our present brilliance in the two critical creative industries of design and engineering, in which we have a global lead, is rooted in the genius of the Industrial Revolution, stretching from Brunel to Sir Tim Berners-Lee. We witnessed the extraordinary forging of the rings from the furnaces of the past and the creation of a beautiful, exemplary democratic torch, an illustration that our legacy must lie in our future with intensive investment in innovation, design and engineering, because that is what we are very good at.
The point is that we know how to do it. You have only to walk through St Pancras these days and look at the way in which the Kings Cross quarter is developing to see the extraordinary fusion of three centuries of engineering and architectural genius and the incorporation of the old and the new. We must think not only of London but of the images presented of the rest of the country. They include the mills and weaving sheds; the fragile and rather scarce industrial memories, which are becoming the powerhouses of the future; communities engaged in setting up local technical universities; vibrant arts centres; community enterprise; and high-tech industries. We hear no longer the clacking of the looms but the whizzing and whirring of brains in these places.
One aspect of our community legacy will be to ensure that our heritage is seen as something that serves the future—something to be picked up confidently at local and community levels as part of regeneration and industrial policy, as it is already doing in the East End. Indeed, English Heritage invested £1 million in one project, High Street 2012, which saw the restoration of buildings along Mile End Road and new listings along the route, involving children in identifying the most important buildings and drawing them, showing which meant the most to them in their community. That is an excellent legacy for the protection of the future
Above all, the Olympics connected with the reality of who we are and the diversity of our community—a country used to living in the light and shade of history. Everywhere people saw where they lived in a new light as they saw their reflection in the torch as it went through, whether it was at Stonehenge or in our medieval and historic towns. Who will forget the images of London, the three-day eventing in Greenwich Park or beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade? Apart from the sheer pride in place— which is beyond price—the community benefits in other ways. First, it benefits, I hope, in the way in which heritage is viewed, valued and will be protected in the future. As the noble Lord, Lord King, said, we have seen the extraordinary phenomenon of joyful volunteerism, which I think, like measles, will spread to places that it may not yet have reached. I know that English Heritage will be taking advantage of that.
I turn specifically to the Cultural Olympiad and one of the projects in which English Heritage was involved, Discovering Places, a grass-roots campaign of live events, performances, online blogs and social media bringing together more than 250,000 people in this country to discover their local built and historic environments. These were pioneering partnerships. Of course, arts and heritage go together. There is no contest; it is not new. But the Cultural Olympiad broke down some of the barriers between culture, the arts, heritage and technologies. It encouraged risk, shoved out the boundaries and engaged on an innovative scale. It showed that there are innovative ways of bringing arts and heritage together in the physical framework, such as, for example, setting fire to Stonehenge. That actually worked all right. I could give many examples, but what I am trying to say is that the Olympics and Paralympics gave us a unique opportunity to showcase the monuments, the buildings and the beautiful places that are our legacy. That legacy would not have existed if our predecessors had not recognised that it was necessary to protect it. Part of the legacy should be to ensure that we understand and care for it, and protect it more effectively, so that it can serve the future more energetically.
I shall end by advising noble Lords that 2013 may be the morning after the party but for our cultural heritage it is the beginning of the party, as we celebrate in 2013 the centenary of the Ancient Monuments Act, introduced in this House by a Private Member’s Bill. The Act recognised for the first time that there are some physical remains of the nation’s history that are so special and so significant that only the nation itself can look after them properly to secure their survival and lay the foundations for a world class heritage protection system. That collection of 850 monuments all over Britain, cared for by the leading cultural institutions—English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland—tell the story of the nation. This year we will be telling the story of the nation in that way, and I hope that noble Lords will enjoy it and join us in doing it. We are celebrating what our predecessors achieved, and we will be inviting those communities to step further into history. One of my hopes is that there will be increasing commitment in local communities to looking after their local heritage. Above all, I want that legacy and the Olympics this year, which made it so much more plausible, to show that we are neither tied to the past nor indifferent to it. We are very comfortable in making the old serve the new. Our heritage is not static; it is not separate from life but dynamic. It is something that we are not afraid to change. It is our competitive edge and we should build on it. That is something that we will owe to the Olympics as well.
My Lords, I join in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing this debate.
The modern Olympic movement was created by Pierre de Coubertin, an amateur boxer, but also a part-time poet. The cornerstone to his vision in reviving the Olympics was to bring sport and culture together in one great festival. That, of course, was precisely what London did in 2012. Its Cultural Olympiad was a triumph, and here I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who so brilliantly chaired the Cultural Olympiad board, Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad and Dame Tessa Jowell who was so pivotal in its original conception.
Like the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, I refer back to Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony—a beautiful, brilliant spectacular. It was complex, self-deprecating in its narrative, although not in its conception and execution, and deeply humorous. As well as a celebration of the entity that is the United Kingdom this was a showcase for our creativity and for our creative industries. Take James Bond, which is, first, the product of writer Ian Fleming; then of film makers, actors, special effects creators, costume and set designers, and those who make the costumes and sets. And finally, in Boyle’s dazzling tangle of fiction and fact, the fictional spy gets to meet the factual Queen and her corgis.
The ceremony also celebrated music, television and art, and how art and design come together in such wonderful creations as Thomas Heatherwick’s cauldron and, centre stage, literally, Tim Berners-Lee, the British creator of the world wide web. It was shot through with recognition of our creative accomplishments—and it was a huge accomplishment in its very self.
This debate invites us to take note of the role of communities. The Cultural Olympiad pledged to encompass thousands of local and regional events as part of our nationwide celebration—and it did. Martin Creed’s “Any Bell. Anyone. Anywhere.” was one of the Olympiad’s biggest community projects. At 8.12 pm on 27 July, almost 3 million people across the UK rang bells to celebrate the first day of the Games. They included individuals, communities and organisations; enthusiastic children; change-ringing experts; Big Ben; and the bells of the UK Parliaments and of British embassies across the world.
In all, 621 productions and projects resulted in 13,000 performances and events at 1,270 venues across the UK. There was street art and high art, hip hop and ballet. Everywhere, new audiences were introduced to the arts. LOCOG estimates that 19 million people participated in the Cultural Olympiad, and that 10 million people have been inspired to continue to take part in cultural activity. We are here to talk about legacy, and we must ensure that these people continue to do this. We must ensure that the fact that the strongest interest in the Olympiad came from younger audiences and ethnic minorities is not lost but built upon. We must ensure that the innovative new partnerships that creators forged online, and at local, regional and national level, continue.
We on these Benches welcome the Arts Council’s initiative of a creative employment programme of apprenticeships and paid internships in the cultural sector for unemployed 16 to 24 year-olds. We welcome the setting up of a creative people and places fund that will focus investment on parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below average. However, the most important thing is that we continue to create the creators. In this area we face not a jobs problem but a skills problem. The Next Gen. report published last year drew attention to the fact that our education system was not keeping up with the times, and in particular that the way ICT is taught in schools did not provide the appropriate skills. The good news is that the coalition Government listened. A draft programme of study for ICT, which from 2014 will include a computer programming option, has been developed, and last October the Secretary of State for Education announced bursaries of £20,000 for 50 top graduates to train as computer science teachers.
However central the understanding of technology has become to the creative industries, they are still underpinned by creativity itself. The creative economy needs creative employees—people who are skilled not just in computer science but also in art and other creative subjects. Darren Henley’s report on cultural education is another crucial element in delivering a lasting creative legacy. The Secretary of State for Education greeted the Henley review with huge enthusiasm. The government response to the review, published last February, stated that a national plan for cultural education would follow immediately. The last time I asked when this would happen—because despite the “immediately”, it still has not—I was told that it would be at the beginning of this year. Will the Minister assure me that this is still the case and therefore that publication is imminent?
There is concern about the lack of a sixth strand to the EBacc that would cover creative subjects. It was argued that this was not necessary and that there was plenty of room for them in the curriculum. But it is all about perception. Grayson Perry stated:
“If arts subjects aren’t included in the EBacc, schools won’t stop doing them overnight … By default, resources won’t go into them. With the best will in the world, schools will end up treating arts subjects differently”.
There is evidence that this is already happening. A participant at a recent Westminster Education Forum described how he had,
“spoken to many headteachers who are cutting subjects from their Key Stage 4 curriculum in order to feed into the EBacc … So … now the school is saying, geography is in the EBacc, drama isn't, we really, really recommend you do geography, or in some cases you have to”.
For us to continue to excel we must place creative subjects at the heart of our education system. If a sixth strand to the EBacc is not to be, I am sure that the Minister will agree that action must be taken to ensure that head teachers do not treat creative subjects as second-class. Grayson Perry’s prediction must not be allowed to come true.
Dame Tessa Jowell said in 2008 that the 2012 Olympics presented,
“a rare chance and a real opportunity: to deepen and widen engagement with culture in all its forms”.
The Cultural Olympiad delivered this. We must ensure that the Olympic legacy lasts.
My Lords, I declare my interests: I was involved in LOCOG until the end of the Games and have been recently appointed to the London Legacy Development Corporation alongside the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, who I thank for tabling this debate.
I am delighted to be talking about the legacy of the Games but, for once, not about sport. Sport is still really important and I will still keep campaigning for good school sports, but much effort is expended, not least in the media, on measuring participation figures and debating appropriate levels of physical activity and what elite sport is going to look like in the 1,289 days to the Olympics and 1,322 days to the Paralympics in Rio. That is okay. Through the Games, I was introduced to a much wider constituency of people. I found that people from culture were not different; we had very similar aims of inspiring people to do something different. We must continue this communication.
I was involved in the bid from 10 years ago because I wanted to consolidate the Paralympics in the UK, and I think that we have achieved that. I was in Madrid last year with the Foreign Office, and members of the bid team there told me that they had very strong evidence to prove the economic advantage of just being a candidate city, let alone of winning the Games. There is also strong evidence for that from other cities.
When I went to Stratford for the first time in 2004, I found it almost impossible to imagine how the Games could happen. An integral part of the bid in 2005 was showing the amazing history, culture and art that is the UK. I will never forget the moment when the noble Lord, Lord Coe, stood in front of the IOC and asked the children in the audience who had come from the East End of London to stand, in order to show the world what we meant by diversity.
I asked Kate Allenby, an Olympian as well as a teacher, about the effects that she had seen from the Games. She said, “The linking of arts and culture through the tool of Boyle’s opening ceremony and the torch relay evoked a new, incredible level of interest amongst our school children. It demonstrated the power of being uniquely British—opening a gateway for children to explore and be inquisitive about who WE really are and where WE really come from”.
As I was leaving the presentation after the speeches in 2005, a member of the Paris bid team stopped me and said that we had done one thing that they had never expected from us—show emotion.
Obviously there has been a lot of talk about venues. It was right to build temporary venues; they may have cost more in the first place but will save money in the long term. Now that the Games are over, it is important to consider how Queen Elizabeth Park blends into and defines the local community, and this is what I hope the LLDC will do. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is passionate about this, and I strongly support his work. The park cannot be an oasis that isolates or displaces the local community. In the lead-up to the Games, much time and thought was given to the employment of people from the host boroughs, diversity and procurement, involving people from every background. This work is not massively high-profile or of much interest to the media, but it needs to continue now that the Games have moved on.
As an athlete, I moved in and out of cities, often not spending much time there. My first Games were in Seoul, which bid for the Games because it was about showing vitality and that it was a modern city and was technologically up to date. The organising committee sold the Olympic village and media centre a year before the Games for $264 million but the Paralympics had a different village, as there was concern that people would not want to live where all those disabled people had been. However, they did sell the village on. Many disabled people at that time were begging on the streets, and the Games gave them the opportunity to change their lives. It was sad, however, that many of the Paralympians who we saw compete were not able to carry on their career after 1988. This cannot be said of Britain.
Barcelona was more publicly known for its regeneration, but by 1993 33% of the village was not sold. Athens was about reorganisation, and as athletes we were simply grateful that the village was built and finished, or at least nearly finished.
Sydney was about tourism, and was my first experience of bids. I was part of the Manchester bid, and it did not matter that we had years—I think around 60 years—of data to show that in spring Sydney had significantly more rain than Manchester did in summer. All they had to do was hold up a picture of the Sydney Opera House and a beach, and we lost. Actually, possibly they had to do a bit more than that.
The Beijing Games helped to change the city. In 2000 it had 392 hotels and 80,000 hotel rooms. This had risen to 800 hotels and 180,000 hotel rooms by 2008.
These days I am pleased to say that, beyond sport, the Cultural Olympiad is expected to add significantly to the prestige and prosperity of the Games. Through 2012 I was delighted to see projects, funded through Unlimited, that celebrated the work of deaf and disabled artists on an unprecedented scale.
The Women of the World event organised by Jude Kelly at the Southbank had sessions on all aspects of sport for the first time. I met artists who learnt the benefit of being physically active. Unfortunately, the one project that I was not able to be involved in was very interesting—it was using my spinal X-rays to create art.
Much of what I want to highlight could never be described as a creative industry, but it may be the start of inspiring others. After the torch relay, many people have approached me and said that this inspired them to join local groups, to contribute back to the community and to look at culture in a different way. There are several groups of Games makers and London ambassadors but one, the Spirit of London 2012, helps local groups find volunteers for other projects. This is community spirit at its best and what the big society should really be.
In the past 18 months I have visited many schools, either in person or through the power of modern technology on my computer. They embrace not only sport but art. I have been sent pictures, collages, models and boiled eggs dressed as athletes, Games makers and performers; I have been sent essays using the Games as an inspiration. That was not just before the Games, this is happening now. Who knows who will go forward from these people to form an integral part of future creative industries?
I was also reminded by Kate Allenby of the quilting project, where thousands of local organisations joined together to send each and every athlete who came to London 2012 a memento of their time in London. I had a beautiful cushion sent to me by residents of a care home. Who can forget the guerrilla knitters of Saltburn depicting every Olympic and Paralympic sport on the pier? The Games makers were stunning in themselves, but if you looked carefully you could see “knitteds”. Many knitted Games makers were proudly being carried, and I have one on my desk. It was started by Liz Gibson, who made the first one and then made the pattern freely available to anyone who wanted it. I met one young man working at Heathrow Airport as a Games maker who knitted his own, complete with full accreditation. For those who could not knit their own, others helped out. I met many young people who, because they had seen the knitteds, suddenly decided that they wanted to learn to knit so that they could make one of their own. These are not the big projects we associate with the cultural Olympiad, but they are really important.
On a personal note, the Paralympic Games gave me the opportunity to fly through the air on a high wire. “Terrified” is the only word I can use. I have been asked more questions about that than about sport. For me it will never happen again, but it will give inspiration to young people who think it can.
The Games were a magical moment to be celebrated and were so much more than sport. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, that this is the start, not the end.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, has done both this House and the Government a great service by introducing this debate. If one looks at the place of the east end of London in the history of our country over the past 50 years, it would be true to say that, until recent years, no one comes out of it with any great credit. It has been one of the great unobserved areas of our country. Happily, that is changing and will continue to change, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and my noble friend Lord King of Bridgwater made clear.
The second reason I wanted to be here today is to pay a personal tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson. He is the epitome of what has caused the change in the east end of London. He is rightly recognised around the world as one of its foremost social entrepreneurs, and he can point to overwhelming evidence which lends great credence to what he has said to us today.
In the time that is available, I want to concentrate on only one lesson. That does not mean the others are not important but colleagues have already addressed them. I want to look at that part of the Motion which refers to lessons that can be learnt more broadly and concentrate on only one. We can talk about a lasting legacy and occasionally get the feeling that the Government, the public or local government have the responsibility for it. It is none of these. Trust the people. They have the ideas and the aspirations, and in the east end of London they have the multicultural base on which to build and develop.
This is a good forum in which to say that it is a mistake to believe that lasting legacy is solely or, indeed, overwhelmingly guaranteed by the spending of public money. It is much more important than the spending of public money. The lesson I would like to draw from the Games as a foundation for lasting legacy is that which we have learnt from my noble friend Lord Coe and the then Mr Deighton. It is the lesson of leadership. We rightly celebrate the athletes and para-athletes and we rightly celebrate those who worked on the ground to make the Games an enormous and impressive spectacle and such a happy occasion. But there needed to be firm leadership and a broad-based understanding of what constitutes leadership, in that it is not all in the public sector or the private sector. It is a sensitive combination for the common good. That leadership is frequently not as available in our society as many of us would like, so I want to thank the people who had the responsibility for organising and delivering the Games on time and on budget, neither of which is inevitably the consequence of activities in our nation.
However, Government and Ministers have a role to play in all this, but it is not the role of providing exclusive leadership. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is perhaps the most sterling example of the fact that you do not have to look to Government to lead renaissance and change. I would like to suggest that the role Ministers should play is that of—if I may use a rather inelegant colloquialism—banging heads together. It is to say to people, “Your mindset is wrong. Your locality cannot move forward unless you address the mindset”. Those who are involved locally find it hard to do that, so they need guidance from outside. Sometimes Ministers need to move in to resolve turf wars which hold up progress on the ground. Sometimes they need to move in and say, “I understand your focus on the detail, but actually the bigger picture is this, and this is what we should be doing”. Sometimes Ministers need to say that the relationship between Government, local government and the private sector is simply not good enough and needs to be changed.
What we have learnt from the Olympics is that change creates challenges. I would say to Ministers and to my noble friend: in case you think there is nothing for you to do, take all of your colleagues down to Bromley-by-Bow and let them see what has emerged from virtually nothing. It is one of the most impressive displays of social entrepreneurship anywhere. We are focusing on the European Union these days and it is more impressive than anywhere in the Union. The question to be asked is this. What head-banging needs to be done to enable Bromley-by-Bow to move even further ahead and to see that being replicated across the whole of the Lower Lea Valley? Stratford station is sitting there. Perhaps my noble friend would like to encourage one or two of his colleagues to ensure that the station is actually used, and used properly. I declare an interest because I was the Secretary of State with responsibility for the Channel Tunnel and the building of Stratford station.
We are talking about how the Olympic stadium might be used in the future. It might get tied in to football. It ought to have some tie-in to athletics, and maybe a little head-banging needs to be contemplated by my ministerial colleagues, and the encouraging of more investment in the facilities. The private sector can provide the money but sometimes it needs a little bit of help from Ministers to clear the ground to enable that money to be spent effectively.
My lesson for the legacy of the Games is that we ought to focus on and encourage real, sensitive, community-led leadership.
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for introducing this debate. I begin by declaring that I was heavily involved in monitoring the delivery of the 2012 Games on behalf of the London Assembly. Throughout that time, my main concern was the Olympic legacy. The bid promised 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”.
We must do everything possible to ensure that that promise is kept. However, this regeneration will not happen by itself. It requires proper planning and execution. It also requires some government funding. Without this, we will be at the mercy of private developers.
The focus of the legacy plans is the Olympic Park, the Lower Lea Valley and the surrounding communities, which are set to become an important area for business investment. The regeneration of this area provides an opportunity for innovation and engagement with local people, but the Government must help rather than hinder this process. I say this because, whenever a big idea or large-scale scheme is being launched, all tiers of government have a tendency to reinvent the wheel by setting up a new organisation to deliver it. Time and again, we end up with cumbersome bureaucracy and fail to use the expertise of people on the ground. Ministers and the Mayor of London should not get involved in the detail but should set out a clear vision and then leave the implementation to experienced people who understand the needs of local communities and businesses.
A good example of that principle in practice is the work of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, which owns and operates three Olympic venues: the White Water Centre, the VeloPark and the Hockey and Tennis Centre. The authority uses a tried and tested business model for sports venues, which allows it to make profits while remaining focused on the needs of local communities. This business model encourages the widest possible range of visitors, including both grass-roots and elite use. It is a very innovative authority. When it won the bid to build the White Water Centre for the Olympics, it decided also to build an easier course for the general public. This has become a huge commercial, sporting and social success, with visitor numbers and income more than double the original estimates. The authority’s programme for the VeloPark will include a mix of first-timers, schools, major events, leagues, races and sessions for a variety of groups: the over-50s, disabled people and women-only activities, because women are greatly underrepresented in cycling activity.
I have highlighted the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority because it illustrates very well what can be achieved when government sets out a broad strategy and then leaves it to people who know what they are doing to get on with it. This principle should be applied to other legacy projects.
However, there are real challenges. The work done by the Arts Council in developing an arts and cultural legacy is a good example. Some really excellent arts projects were delivered in the run-up to and during the Olympics but, sadly, very little of this was designed to appeal to people living in disadvantaged communities, who are seriously underrepresented in the arts. This is largely because the Arts Council is relying on the usual partners instead of working with people on the ground who understand the kinds of activities that appeal to local people.
The problem is not achieving a legacy but achieving the right kind of legacy. The transformation of the Olympic Park is well under way. But in the present tough economic climate, some major challenges must be addressed to ensure that local people get the range of homes, jobs and business opportunities they were promised. The provision of the right number and type of affordable homes, for example, requires some very difficult decisions by the Government and the Mayor of London. It is essential to maximise the number of affordable homes and to invest in high-quality schools and health facilities for the residents, but these needs will have to be balanced against the availability of grants and the requirement to repay to the National Lottery the funds generated from Olympic Park land sales.
I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, that we need international trains to stop at Stratford, and we also need a new Thames crossing in east London. The Government must invest in local infrastructure to boost private sector investment in the area. Most importantly, we need government at all levels to lay out a clear and cohesive vision, to stick to that plan and to allow experienced people on the ground to deliver it without undue interference. This will give the private sector the confidence to invest. It will also invigorate the greatest resource in the area: the local people and communities whose entrepreneurial energy has already driven so much change in east London.
William Ewart Gladstone asserted the principle of “trust in the people, qualified by prudence”. I suggest we do the same.
My Lords, I thoroughly enjoyed the Games and felt very proud indeed to be a Londoner. I would question only whether we took seriously enough the commitment to deliver a multilingual Games, and consequently whether we have short-changed ourselves on this aspect of the Olympic legacy. I declare an interest as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages. I thank everybody responsible for the most brilliant staging of Shakespeare in other languages at the Globe as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
My contention is that if, as Olympic hosts, we had made more connections between the official language services during the Games and language teaching in schools, we could have matched young people’s enthusiasm for the Games with an injection of new enthusiasm for learning foreign languages, and perhaps even seen an increase in the number of teenagers sticking with languages after the age of 14.
This is such an important legacy issue because the lack of language skills in the UK is currently damaging our economy and competitiveness. The employability and social mobility of our young people are seriously limited as they compete for jobs in a global labour market. Employers are recruiting from overseas because neither school-leavers nor graduates from the UK have the language skills, and the cultural knowledge that goes with them, to meet the needs of business. Robust evidence shows that lack of language skills is a barrier to export growth.
Of course, the irony is that London is the most multilingual city in the UK and Newham is the UK’s most multilingual borough. Dozens of local schoolchildren could have easily spotted the embarrassing mistake on the sign at the entrance to the Olympic Park, which said “Welcome to London” in various languages but the Arabic section was written back to front. This faux pas in an otherwise hugely successful international event led to Britain’s inability to cope with foreign languages being ridiculed not only in our own media but in press stories in the US, South Africa, China and the Middle East.
I first asked an Oral Question about the steps the Government were taking to prepare for a multilingual Olympics in December 2008. Of course, it was a different Government then, although I do not believe that the present one would have taken a significantly different line. The Minister of the day told me that the Government,
“are working to ensure that the Games leave a lasting legacy of language development”.
He also said that,
“we will need to draw on the vast range of communities that can offer language skills to the wide variety of visitors whom we will receive”.—[Official Report, 16/12/08; col. 731.]
Unfortunately, this proactive attitude was not really followed through. We even had to rely on the French embassy to help to fund a translator for the announcements in French during the Games. Why could that not have been part of the mainstream budget? It would even have been a great challenge for local schools.
There were several language projects but LOCOG seems to have regarded them as marginal. The Welcoming the World programme helped more than 60 companies with translating signage and training staff, but its funding from the LDA ceased in April 2010 and LOCOG declined to pick it up. Similarly, the Routes into Languages programme and the Capital L group worked with schools and colleges on the importance of languages and the opportunities offered by the Games. However, again, their funding ran out and they found very little support from LOCOG.
The Get Set programme might tell a different story, and I should like to ask the Minister specifically whether he can give me an update on the Written Answer that I got on 13 December 2011. I was told that LOCOG’s education programme, Get Set, included a small number of modern foreign language applications and that an annual evaluation was being conducted. I should be interested to know—later in writing if the Minister does not have this with him today—what, if any, positive results were generated.
What I know of the language services during the Games seems to have worked well—for example, the fact that the first tier of drivers for the IOC and Olympic family was allocated according to language skills, and personal observation reported to me suggests that this was effective. On the other hand, it was very difficult to find out what else was being done and whether community resources were being tapped. I was told that the chief interpreter and the head of language services for the Games were too busy to meet the all-party group, even though the noble Lord, Lord Coe—chairman of LOCOG and surely busier than either of them—was kind enough to come to one of our meetings. I am very grateful to him for that.
I hope that both the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and the Government will now ensure that the importance of language skills forms a clear part of the official report on the London Games, as well as featuring in any vision or strategy for their legacy. I fear that an opportunity was missed to showcase London as a richly multilingual venue, even though we know that this is a major factor for global companies deciding where to locate their headquarters. More than 200 languages are spoken by schoolchildren in London, yet most of their languages are not formally taught, examined or accredited, despite being badly needed in the field of public service interpreting in courts, hospitals and police stations. In 2008, the then Minister told me on the Floor of the House that his department wanted,
“to ensure that the Olympic Games provide an opportunity to show young people in the area the advantage of developing language skills. That is what we are seeking to achieve”.—[Official Report, 16/12/08; col. 732.]
Can the Minister tell me today to what extent the Government judge this to have been achieved and how it will be followed up in future?
To conclude on an optimistic note, I spoke to several volunteers in the Olympic Park who told me that they were now off to learn Portuguese so that they could volunteer again in Rio.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on bringing this debate forward. What attracted me to it was that broad lessons will be learnt from this, one of the primary lessons being that you can bring people from different, often self-defined, groups together and make them work effectively.
The first point at which I really had doubts about the process of doing this, but knew that the challenge was there, was at a dinner I was asked to many years ago, which first brought people from the arts world to speak to people from the sports world, at the start of the planning. A few parliamentarians were there as well. As the discussion got going, after people had swapped pleasantries during the meal itself, I felt that I was looking at a sort of peace conference between the Martians and the Venusians, where they were talking together for the first time. The look of total blank astonishment when it was actually suggested that they might have matters in common was quite comical. However, it was also ridiculous, because they do have very similar attitudes.
At grass-roots level, what is the difference between somebody trying to get a play together—finding the people for it, getting somebody to run the finances, organising it and finding venues—and somebody trying to run a sports team and get people to training and to turn up on time, and get coaches together and run the finances? It is exactly the same dynamic going on. The fact that they were brought together to create one thing that worked well is one of the broad lessons that can be taken on into the future: you do not have to just talk to your own people about your own subject. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, suggested this in terms of planning: certain people, such as central government and local planning, must learn to understand and trust each other. It is something that must happen.
The Games have shown us how to bring these two together. They have also probably shown us the limitations of this at the moment. The Cultural Olympiad was very important, because something other than just the Olympics had to bring people in. Effectively, I felt that the Cultural Olympiad was a little like a Christmas present: it was that very important, enticing bit around the outside—the wrapping—that made it look good and gave you the buzz and excitement beforehand. The fact that there was something going on was very important: the Olympics were happening and there was something coming. That was so important to the general feel of the Games for such a long time. However, it was not the Olympics themselves. The hard core was the sport. If we can take that model, for instance, when sport provides some wrapping for a cultural event, we will at least have achieved parity between these two worlds. We must look at how we integrate them to bring more of the same process.
We have talked about the creativity of the opening and closing ceremonies for both Games, which was one of the aims of the Cultural Olympiad. However, unless it goes beyond saying, “Wasn’t it great?”, which we have all done and which I did when I saw them, you have failed to work on the initial steps that have been taken here. We learnt to do it in the planning. The political parties had a common goal in the preparation and planning—or rather they learnt and then continued to remember that they had a common goal—which is why the bid was successful and why we were able to take it forward without the normal position in politics of simply opposing and backing, to make sure we had something coherent in the planning stage. That is what allowed us to win in Paris.
Unless those outside the core activities are prepared to buy in, and buy in to something that they do not regard as their own, we will have lost something here. We gained something very important: the chance to say that it is not just somebody’s—ours or yours—but co-operation at various levels. Learning to buy in to something that you do not have control of is probably one of the signs of growing up. I hope that both the arts and sport have done some growing up and seen that the world is slightly bigger than just them. There is always a temptation to say, “Mine” and not talk.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for prompting this insightful and multifaceted debate. Every aspect of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics was a triumph and a tremendous credit to all who led those fine ventures from beginning to end, not least in our House and not least the noble Lord, Lord Hall, who is with us today. The bid itself was hard won—but well won. The gigantic infrastructure and arena construction programme was a model of successful implementation. Once the Games started, the outstanding achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians were a testament to not only individual talent, application and determination but, as we know, to skilful investment choices, to the professionalism of the coaching and to the rigour of the performance management.
The opening and closing events were sublime; Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was his masterpiece, as the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, eloquently expressed earlier. As an event, it was audacious and deeply British. It captured our history and the transition from a picture-postcard, pastoral Britain to the very crucible of the Industrial Revolution. It reminded the world of the sports we have invented and of our writing tradition, from Shakespeare to James Bond to Harry Potter. It conveyed Britain’s unsurpassed contribution to modern popular music.
The opening ceremony held some delicious surprises and two of the best jokes ever, starring Rowan Atkinson and, unforgettably, Her Majesty the Queen. The stage management of the event, with a cast of thousands, was awesome and effortlessly smooth. The design, whether the amazing, inflating industrial chimneys or the use of the lighting tablets, was spellbinding, producing, as the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, said earlier, breathtaking imagery. All in all, as I said, it was a triumph.
One part of the overall legacy was that these Olympics defined all that is best in Britain at this moment in time; and they bound us all together, unashamedly proud of our Britishness. This very British staging of the Olympics also had, for me, some unexpected consequences. On holiday in Italy a few weeks after the Games, I was struck by the sight of innumerable young Italian men and woman wearing union jack T-shirts. In Sri Lanka recently, I noted exactly the same. In Paris in the autumn, wandering along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, I spied in the window of an upscale shoe shop an array of vastly expensive velvet slippers—not my kind of thing particularly—one pair of which had a beautifully stitched union jack as its main motif. Surprised and curious—I used to be a journalist—I went in and inquired of the manager whether there was any demand for such ostentatiously British wares among the citizens of Paris. He told me, and he insisted on this, that it was by far the hottest-selling item in his shop and that all the buyers were French. President de Gaulle, of whom I have just read an excellent biography, will be turning in his grave.
In Beijing just a few weeks ago, I happened to have lunch with a group of young Chinese journalists who volunteered, unprompted, how much they had enjoyed the opening ceremony—I promise that I did not prompt them in any way. One young woman journalist giggled and observed, “You British, you are gentlemen. And you are funny”. I thought that that was not a bad epitaph. She paused, then declaimed roundly, “Mr Bean!”. At which point, the whole table laughed uproariously, all remembering Mr Bean’s hilariously disruptive, and wholly unexpected, appearance as a London Symphony Orchestra keyboardist during the opening ceremony. We can surmise that every aspect of the Olympics and, above all, its opening, was a powerful statement about Britishness, not just for us but for the rest of the world, and that this statement will bring the United Kingdom many benefits in multiple spheres.
One lesson that I take away from it all is that our extraordinary success as a country in creating and funding national institutions such as the Arts Council, our art schools or the BBC, which husband and nurture our most creative and innovative talents, has a payback well beyond the edification of our citizens. Another lesson is that, with both a challenge and a deadline on the one hand and a governance structure on the other that brings together and unites the political parties, we can be creative, rigorous and disciplined, and achieve extraordinary things.
What a contrast there was between the dizzy heights of the Olympics and the Paralympics that we all remember so well—the unity that we all experienced—and the immediate gloom of a prolonged economic crisis, in some part of our own making, and of a decaying national infrastructure. What a contrast, too, with a reminder of our inability to develop a fit-for-purpose national air hub, one of our main economic lifelines to the rest of the world. The Olympics and the Paralympics showed that if we can find effective ways to combine and assemble our best talents, and if we can set aside our poisonous and disputatious political culture, we truly can as a nation achieve absolutely anything that we set out to do.
My Lords, I want to mention the green legacy of the Games. The big space of the legacy park in east London presents us with an opportunity to create a green lung for that area. It could be a place where urban wildlife thrives and an outdoor classroom for many of the schools in the area. I hope that woven into the design will be the spaces, and even the messy areas, that wildlife needs—for example, along the edges and on the riverbank—and the sort of meadows that the London Wildlife Trust has developed so well. The trust’s membership demonstrates that just as many people who are interested in all these things live in that part of London as anywhere else. In fact, urban wildlife can be more thrilling than rural wildlife because it is often in much greater proximity to us, so we can see it better—indeed, going back to Lambeth the other night, I met a fox not a half a road-width away and it was quite exciting.
The green legacy is important, but I want to talk about one particular aspect of it—one particular community that had to make a big sacrifice for the Olympic park and one very special space that was lost. I shall say why the promises that were made when that sacrifice happened need to be kept. The space that I am talking about is the Manor Garden allotments that used to be beside the River Lea. The land was given before the First World War by Major Arthur Villiers, who bequeathed it for use in perpetuity by East End families, whom he saw as being in great need of allotment space because their diet was so poor. In the Second World War, the allotments became a model for the grow-your-own Dig for Victory campaign. There was some hope at the beginning of the development of the park that perhaps the allotments could be kept, with their 100 year-old apple trees and fig trees, as a model of Englishness—because allotments have a lot to do with what Britishness is. The community that ran the allotments, the Manor Gardening Society, was a very good model of community, being mixed in age, background and ethnicity, but it was brought together by a common interest in growing food. However, the difficulties in keeping the allotments where they were were considered too great and they were relocated temporarily but with a crucial promise that, when the compulsory purchase order was granted, they would be given a space in the legacy park that was equivalent both in size and quality once the Games were over.
Now we are into that period of looking at the legacy. The space that has been offered is split between two different sites. Although the area is exactly equivalent in size to the former allotments, it does not have any of those margins around the edge of the river bank. In theory, this is more provision than the society originally had, but that is only if one counts the actual allotment space and not the surrounding wild land verging on the plots. It is that combination of both allotment land and land for wildlife that can create symbiotic biodiversity, meaning that pollination takes place, that people are concerned about the wildlife and that you can create a very living green lung. We need to ensure that. I hope that the members of the corporation who are here today will take this back and think about it. The Manor Gardening Society has struggled on through its relocation. It has been difficult. Some members gave up because they could not travel as far as their temporary plots. However, its waiting list has grown.
That brings me to another issue that needs to be solved. The offer of replacement allotments now appears to be only to individual plot holders, not to the society as a whole. The society is the embodiment of a particular community interested in growing. It would be a shame if as vibrant and historic a community as the Manor Gardening Society did not have its rightful place in the park. I have talked to Mr Dennis Hone about that, and he was kind enough to write back to me. He said:
“The commitment was to individual plot holders at the time and the LLDC will continue to work with those plot holders who wish to return”.
My question is: why would the LLDC want to micromanage that? Earlier in the same letter, he says:
“The ODA has worked closely with the Society on the detailed design of the legacy allotments which is something the LLDC has continued”.
On the one hand, the LLDC agrees that the society has a role to play and has extended the community space available but, on the other, it wants to deal only with individual plot holders. That may seem a detail but given the effort across London, from bodies such as the London Food Board under the terrific chairmanship of Rosie Boycott, that has gone into spaces where Londoners can grow food, and considering the effort that the Department for Education is putting into the Food for Life initiative so that schoolchildren understand about growing food, that detail must be got right for the legacy of the park. If we are interested in children having an all-round healthy lifestyle and in tackling issues such as obesity, this detail is extremely important.
My Lords, I add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing this fascinating debate. I also declare interests, as I leave the Royal Opera House and head towards the BBC, as a board member of LOCOG and chair of the Cultural Olympiad board. I should point out that the Cultural Olympiad board has been asked to continue, to guide and draw action from an assessment being carried out by Liverpool University. This is due by Easter, and we will then take recommendations to the Government. However, I want to share what I think are some of the lessons from last year.
First, as has already been mentioned, one of the most striking aspects of the London 2012 festival was the level of participation. At every event, from the spectacular Fire Garden at Stonehenge to the UK’s biggest celebration of dance, the Big Dance to Unlimited, I saw how people of all ages and backgrounds seized the chance to be part of something creative, ambitious and big. We put events outside and in public places, and the audiences, large and diverse, found them. We wanted free events, and it paid off: 19.8 million people took part; 80% came for free.
Here is the rub: overall, 38% of those taking part were under the age of 24. This to my mind shows the immense appetite for culture among the young. One of the legacies must be to secure future opportunities for participation in culture for both young people and those who commonly feel excluded from the arts.
The festival also used the fact of the Games to highlight how good we are at arts and culture. About 40,000 journalists were in the UK to cover the Games, which meant that we could secure publicity for arts and cultural organisations both here and across the world. For example, the Cultural Olympiad programme in the West Midlands alone secured media valued at £11 million. That underlined the huge value of linking large-scale events to the arts and the importance of linking into similar nationwide events in the future, such as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. By the way, the arts also need to work in close collaboration with agencies such as VisitBritain, building the importance of the arts and culture in tourism.
As has been said, Britain saw something that it liked about itself during the summer and during the festival. The world saw the strength of our arts and culture and why Britain is such a fantastic place to visit. However, as we all know, the artists and leaders who made it possible, such as Stephen Daldry, Danny Boyle, and many others came originally from the subsidised sector. Indeed, the festival could not have happened without the commitment of the publicly funded organisations—museums, theatres, galleries, opera houses, concert halls, and so on. Their financial strength over a long period gave them the security to create the ambitious commissions that we saw in the festival. Stable investment in the arts must be sustained if we are to maintain that legacy. With every £1 of public subsidy for the arts generating £4 of earned income, it also makes financial sense to do so.
To my mind, the festival underlined the strength and economic value of our cultural industries and the importance of nurturing creative talents in future generations. I am still really impressed by the way that the Tate, working with CBBC and the animators Aardman—the people who produced Wallace and Gromit—offered 34,000 children the chance to learn how to animate and create a film, “The Itch of the Golden Nit”. The film has already won a children’s BAFTA and a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest creative team ever. I guess that we will have to wait 20 years to judge its true success: to find out how many lives we changed and how many new animators and filmmakers the project created.
I know that the House has recently debated the EBacc, but I briefly add my view. The arts must remain at the heart of the national curriculum to allow all children, regardless of their background, the chance to develop their creative talents and contribute in future to our world-leading arts and creative industries. One day, we will look to a new generation to create an event of a magnitude to rival London 2012. Let us give them the skills to do so.
The Cultural Olympiad also gave us a chance to show the value of a creative education in helping young people to find jobs. Inspired by the work that we have been doing at the Royal Opera House, where 1% of employees are apprentices, the festival offered unemployed young people in the host boroughs apprenticeships in the arts. Forty per cent of the participants had secured a job by the time the scheme ended. That is why the Arts Council decided to fund a comparable, national creative employment programme. That alone could be an enormous legacy of the Cultural Olympiad, and one that demonstrates how much we achieve by investing in the creative talents of children and young people.
The festival also highlighted something key about the role of the BBC and the media more broadly. From the beginning, it was vital that the BBC, as a public broadcaster, was at the heart of the Cultural Olympiad. It delivered collaborations and coverage of exceptional scale and quality. It built, for example, on the World Shakespeare Festival, which was an extraordinary achievement, to create its largest ever education project. In the Radio 1 Big Weekend, it gave young people from Hackney and the East End the chance to work with their musical heroes and learn production and backstage skills. By the way, as I found out, it was a fantastic, exhilarating weekend.
The Cultural Olympiad showed how the BBC, working with cultural organisations, world-class artists and public and private funders can teach creative skills and transform the life chances of young people. It also underlined how important the media—in particular the BBC—are in fuelling public appetite for the arts.
One amazing example of that from last summer was The Space. This digital platform, funded jointly by the Arts Council and the BBC, gives people wherever they are a chance to experience the arts directly online. You could enjoy a private view of the Goldsmith College degree show or hear, if you wanted to, the Stockhausen helicopter string quartet as it played above Birmingham. There were many other rich, amazing events. It is clear to me that The Space and other digital innovations like it have immense potential for promoting the arts and giving people direct access to artists, performances and art. It is a profoundly important development, which comes out of the cultural festival.
I have always believed strongly that world-class art and culture should be available to everyone. Out of the many excellent things that the Cultural Olympiad did, fulfilling that goal is by far the team’s proudest achievement. I shall pick up on something that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said by remembering that, as we proved in that summer, if we bring everyone together—whether it is through sports, arts, tourism or whatever—we can achieve great things.
My Lords, I first declare my interests as a council member of University College London and a trustee of the Barbican Centre Trust. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, along with other noble Lords, on not only initiating this debate but constructing one that can be so wide-ranging in its subject matter. I also congratulate the noble Lord on his passion for regeneration in east London.
My second motive is to say how delightful it is to follow the noble Lord, Lord Hall, who gave us such an interesting description of his work as chairman of the Cultural Olympiad board. I congratulate him and Ruth Mackenzie on all the work they did in constructing the London 2012 festival, which was so well captured in the book of photographs that many of us have received thanks to the noble Lord. I think the last time that I saw the noble Lord, Lord Hall, was at the aquatics centre when he was giving out medals and I was giving out flowers—there is a job for everyone in this world. I wanted to congratulate also Danny Boyle. I have a whole list of other really fantastic people, such as Stephen Daldry and Mark Tildesley, who were all involved in the various opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics. Many of us have spoken about those ceremonies today but their impact on us all, nationally and internationally, has really been quite phenomenal. They will be memories that we have for all time.
As far as the festival is concerned, it had nearly 20 million visitors and there were more than 25,000 artists from all competing nations—what an achievement. One of the most inspiring occasions, which my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter mentioned, was in being part of the 3 million taking part in Martin Creed’s work when we all stood there at 8.12 am on the opening day, ringing whatever bell we could find to hand. That was participation writ large. We all look forward to the evaluation, which the noble Lord, Lord Hall, mentioned of the festival and the Cultural Olympiad but there can be no doubt that the evaluation’s conclusions will be extremely positive.
Ruth Mackenzie was quoted as saying after the festival:
“All of our partners want to know what happens next in economic and cultural terms”.
There are promising signs in terms of local legacy. The Arts Council said that from 2012 to 2015 it plans to invest more than £49 million into national portfolio organisations in east London; I note the caveats of my noble friend Lady Doocey there. The London Legacy Development Corporation has agreed an arts and cultural strategy, due to be launched this year, which uses Olympic and Paralympic momentum to motivate, raise aspirations and promote cultural activity. There is also the new Legacy List, of which the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is a trustee. It is a charity,
“dedicated to making creative connections between people and the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park”.
During the festival, of course, an incredible number of diverse and potentially competing interests were brought together to create a phenomenal cultural menu for audiences around the country. It is this legacy of creating partnerships which we need to maintain in the future, particularly in east London.
The Barbican Centre was able to provide an unparalleled variety of events during the London 2012 festival. These were not just for the City of London. The organisation has worked for a long time in east London and the Olympic events took the City beyond its boundaries to work with communities in Hackney, Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets, Bethnal Green and beyond. In recognition of that commitment the Barbican has been asked to mount, with the east London artistic partnership Create, the weekend to celebrate the public reopening of the Olympic park in July. That work continues as part of the Olympic legacy. The Barbican Centre and the Guildhall School are now working closely with the east London boroughs to discuss the formation of a partnership which could drive forward an integrated, comprehensive programme of creative learning.
There are many other positive developments on a national level, especially in the skills area. My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter mentioned those. The Big Lottery Fund is establishing a trust to build on the social and community aspects of the Games legacy. There is the extension of the creative employment programme that the noble Lord, Lord Hall, did so much to create at the Royal Opera House. There is the creative people and places fund and the creative apprentices programme. We have also had funding announced in the Autumn Statement for creative skills through Skillset.
Local and national aspects are important but there is a global dimension here, too, as the mayor’s cultural strategy recognises. The UK has the largest cultural economy in Europe and the creative and cultural industries represent one of our economy’s greatest success stories. We must take advantage of the opportunities provided by cultural tourism. As the noble Lord, Lord King, mentioned the arts, museums and galleries are a vital part of the UK’s offer to tourists. Then there are the overseas trade opportunities. As the DCMS said in its recent evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:
“The success of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games has focused the world’s attention on the UK’s creativity. UK Trade & Investment … plan to build on this by helping UK companies, including those involved in the delivery of the London Games”.
I welcome all this but it needs to be put together effectively. There needs to be co-operation between VisitBritain, the Arts Council and the British Council to pull that together.
What are the additional challenges? There is the continuing question of access to finance. The Creative Industries Council recently produced a report by Ian Livingstone. This excellent report highlights the scale of the challenge. How are the Government going to take those recommendations forward? We also have the EBacc, which my noble friend mentioned extensively. I entirely agree; we had a debate on that subject only last week and the feeling within this House was quite unanimous. Then we have the issue of the resourcing of the DCMS and the budget of the Arts Council. The DCMS co-ordinated the successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and oversaw the Olympic Delivery Authority and the Paralympics, but its funding has been cut.
Meanwhile, businesses must be able to capitalise on their involvement in the games. Suppliers must be allowed to promote their work for the Olympics or similar events but, at the moment, the terms and conditions do not allow the businesses in those creative industries to publicise that. All those suppliers were promised a long time ago that that would be settled. Finally, there is, I hope, the great prospect of another London 2012 festival if the Cultural Olympiad board recommends that to the Secretary of State, which I very much hope it will.
My Lords, I, too, salute the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and commend his consistent leadership and advocacy for all the communities in the East End of London. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Hall, on the Cultural Olympiad.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were won with the promise to promote inclusion, with a vision to deliver new opportunities for some of the poorest and most socially excluded neighbourhoods in the capital, transforming the heart of east London. London’s five legacy commitments included increasing opportunities in sports and jobs, to showcase the diverse communities and transform the East End. In the end, the UK spent £9.3 billion of public funds on the 2012 Olympics. A majority of the public quite rightly believe that this has been a worthwhile cause. Had the Government not intervened, the Games would certainly not have happened.
Of that £9.3 billion, £1.7 billion has been used for regeneration and infrastructure, opening up London to the world. Five villages—4,000 homes—will be built in the vicinity of the Olympic park, relieving pressures on local housing and providing more jobs in the area. We need to allay fears that local residents may be forced out of east London, as happened to many living on the edges of the River Thames and in Canary Wharf during the Olympics development. Here, dreams of access to good-quality and plentiful low-cost housing and local jobs, promoted at the time by the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, remain unfulfilled for most local graduates.
In Tower Hamlets we welcomed the Olympics with an open heart. There has been a dramatic improvement to the infrastructure of London and the East End. I welcome the Games’ legacy and its reflection of Danny Boyle’s extremely energising and imaginative vision. Its inclusivity embraced our health service and innovations. It saluted our music, and his tribute to our creativity was inspiring and gracious. Olympic flames beamed our joy and expectations across our country and the world. Yet the prospect for the citizens of the five boroughs was not just that we were hosting greatest show on earth, as it was regarded by some, but also that its legacy would be more than just the park, a few thousand homes, and some jobs in the service and construction sectors.
Our expectation was that the legacy, addressing severe inequalities in one of the richest cities in the world, would be transformational for jobs, and increase skills and opportunities, so much so that there would be a reverse in the inequalities that have separated east London from the rest of the city for perhaps a century. Tower Hamlets has one of the highest rates of youth and graduate unemployment in London. Bethnal Green and Bow has the highest level of child poverty in the UK, with more than 50% living in poverty. From the bottom of my heart I welcome the promise of the legacy to boost long-term employment and improve skills in our boroughs. This should not be just for jobs in the hospitality and security sectors but also for the broader development of jobs in the IT industry. Most importantly, the management structures of the institution delivering that legacy should visibly reflect these boroughs’ populations.
The populations of the five boroughs are blessed with countless entrepreneurial men and women, whose talents make east London a vibrant community, contributing silently to the creation of this new city in the East End about which we are proudly talking. The East End is often reported as having some rough edges, with immigrants having settled in waves among the white working-class locals who have been living there for generations, but Bangladeshi communities in Shadwell and Whitechapel, the African and Caribbean communities in Hackney, and the Turkish, Kurdish and orthodox Jewish communities in Dalston have all contributed to creating strong identities, championed by the bid itself. The curry capital and Banglatown are as much loved as the 24-hour bagel shop, with the Shoreditch yuppies bringing with them, of late, new outdoor cafes, night clubs and little boutiques, now dotted around Spitalfields market, enlivening the area in the spirit of Danny Boyle’s depiction.
The shooting in August 2011 of a young black man by police in north London triggered the worst rioting across the capital for 30 years. Chaos raged between rioters and police in Hackney. Many people looted shops shamelessly. Experts have reminded us that the riots are a reminder of the deep-seated prejudice and division in many parts of our cities, and I accept that the Games could not have an impact on many of those who over decades have felt most marginalised; nor will a few cultural events and projects engage those who have suffered the long-standing effects of racism, and are at the bottom of the pile in the education system—unemployed, disengaged and alienated. The disfranchised from Bethnal Green, Dalston and Stratford are witnessing the developments and seeing outsiders moving into new houses, claiming jobs that they are not qualified to take.
The legacy board has a tough job in aligning some of its strategies to the needs of those in the community who have been born and live within the reach of the park, and who may feel that they have no place or sense of ownership in their institutions. I hope that in building the legacy, the board will ensure the proper and serious involvement of a wide range of individuals and organisations, so that the final outcome reflects the culture, aspirations and experiences of those who understand, and live in, the broad cultural diversity of our communities. These include Mary Swenham, a local businesswoman, Shamim Azad, a local poet, and Joleeda Ali, a film maker. These are women who have contributed to making the communities what they are. What is the Minister’s assessment of such women and of their contribution to making a real legacy for the community?
The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked for consistent leadership. I agree. A narrative that speaks the language of our young men and women, and a vision that translates and reflects their experience and culture, are a must for a successful legacy. The Games have conquered the imagination of our communities and inspired the whole nation. The legacy must do so too.
My Lords, I too congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing this important debate and his comprehensive opening speech.
Any consideration of an Olympic legacy that does not give a high priority to children will be seriously flawed. Childhood lasts a lifetime and what we deliver for them today at the early stages will influence their lives for ever. In the Government’s legacy plan, one of its five aims is to inspire a generation of young people to take part in local volunteering and in cultural and physical activities. The role of the arts and creative industries in delivering a lasting Olympic legacy should be to inspire a generation of children, as well as young people, to take part in the arts.
Every child should be able to take part in the same artistic activities that we enjoy as adults, but truly to share in that same experience and reap the benefits they need not only their own books but plays, films and music, created for them by artists who know how to fire up their imaginations. This is a vital part of their growing up and a preparation for their adult lives. The arts and creative industries must do more for children than they do for adults. Children should not just be expected to sit and watch. The creative industries have to put on plays for them but also give them opportunities to put on their own plays. They should not just publish books for them but also encourage them to write their own stories and poems through competitions and campaigns, such as the ones set up by Booktrust.
The creative arts have to bring children into museums and art galleries, and let them paint, draw and have hands-on participation. They should be brought into concert halls, where they can make music and dance. Children need twice as much to stimulate their fresh, impressionable minds and to create that wonderful feeling of experiencing things for the first time. But more often than not that is not the case.
In a debate last year, I spoke about the freedom of information request made by the charity Action for Children’s Arts. I am a patron of this charity and declare an interest. It showed that most of the UK’s major arts organisations spend far less on producing work aimed specifically at children—in most cases only around 1% of their total budget—than they do on work for adults. With a heavy heart I say that today, of the £337 million in grants that Arts Council England will give next year to the 688 organisations that it supports, just over 2% will go to organisations producing work specifically for children. Fifty-one organisations will receive grants ranging from £1 million to £25 million but only one of them, London’s fantastic Unicorn Theatre, produces work exclusively for children. What kind of legacy will this type of policy produce?
Children need more, yet we give them less. They depend more than any other population group on services in their local community, services provided by charities as well as local authorities. That includes after-school clubs, nurseries, parks which offer sporting activities, such as those provided by the Mappin Group’s parks and community project, music clubs, such as the World Heart Beat Music Academy, and of course libraries, many of which are being threatened by cuts.
“Please sir, I want some more”, but Oliver’s plea was turned down, and that is when the real problems started. In the current economic climate, asking for more is particularly difficult. Where is it to come from? Children’s arts organisations are often underfunded and understaffed. They lack the time and expertise to go in search of funds from the private sector. They are wholly dependent on public funding and, like Oliver, are apt to find themselves at the mercy of the beadle.
Last year, the Action for Children’s Arts conference called for arts organisations and the arts funding system to put children first. I am making that plea once again. For if we really want to secure a lasting legacy from the Olympics, we have no choice but to put children first. Action for Children’s Arts has two proposals to make: first, to create an Olympic legacy working group, made up of leaders from the arts and creative industries, with a brief to identify ways of integrating work for children into the output of their organisations; and secondly, that arts funding bodies be asked to evaluate the extent to which their existing policies for children encourage artists and arts organisations to create original works for this age group. So I ask my noble friend: will the Government support these proposals and, if so, what practical steps will they take to facilitate them?
All children need beauty around them, but those from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose lives revolve around gang and drug culture, do not have any exposure to creativity, so they need it more than ever. They need to be able to channel their energy creatively, artistically and positively to feel that they belong and have a part to play in their community and their society, giving them the opportunity to create a legacy that they can pass on to their own children. Surely this is what we all want for all children, so let us make sure it happens and that we do not miss this opportunity that the successful London Olympics have given our great country. A nation is judged by the way it provides for its children, the future. We must not let them down, so let us give children more.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, is to be thanked for and congratulated on bringing this topic to the House for debate today. When we look back at last summer, we remember Britain transformed from passive to active in both sport and culture. It became ever more evident that the pledge made when London won the bid was a promise that the nation demanded that we keep. It subsequently became more evident that it could be achieved only if key players worked in collaboration with each other. That is why this debate is so crucial. Are we satisfied that the collaboration is working? Are we confident that the legacy will be delivered?
I began by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for his initiative. Now I thank him for the way he began this debate. His personal statement laid down a blueprint for all other contributors to follow. He was positive, critical and creative. His experience and expertise were there for all to see. We are incredibly fortunate to have others here with us today who have shared their knowledge, world-class expertise and vision of the cultural future with us. A galaxy of stars has brought us a shimmering debate. As a footnote, I must also acknowledge the contribution made by outside contributors; the briefings came thick and fast. They were all helpful and significant, and we are most grateful. I learnt an enormous amount from them.
The role of the Arts Council is important in the realisation of the legacy and for Britain’s international reputation. It pledged to invest in the arts and cultural experiences that will enrich people’s lives. Between 2011 and 2015, £1.4 billion of public money from the Government will be invested in the project, and a further £1 billion has been pledged by the lottery. In March 2013, there will be a full evaluation of the London festival—other noble Lords have mentioned this—and we await that publication with enormous interest.
East London has been debated here very fully today, and it remains a strategic priority for the Arts Council. The noble Lords, Lord King and Lord Mawson, and many other noble Lords reminded us that the transformation would not have happened without the Olympiad. It is all the more welcome as east London was a deprived area that was desperately in need of regeneration. The noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, shared with us her unique engagement and regeneration experiences and demanded the right kind of legacy. How we agree with her. We also welcome the apprenticeships and paid internships in the arts sector, which were mentioned by many noble Lords. They are invaluable at a time of such high unemployment. Innovations in music and dance schemes offer great opportunities. Many areas are committed to this initiative, and foremost among them are the Royal Opera House and the London Symphony Orchestra. The noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, spoke about educational opportunities, and she was quite right. With such internationally renowned contributors, many others will surely follow. My noble friend Lady Andrews and the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, spoke inspiringly about the opening ceremony, as did other noble Lords. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Hall, who is to be congratulated on his new appointment, will ensure that it is screened regularly, just to keep in our minds what a wonderful moment it was when we looked in disbelief at those great nurses dancing around and all the other things that we witnessed and identified with as we retaught ourselves a history lesson that all of us should remember. This debate has been unique in the all-star line-up who have spoken today. They have shown us what is being done and what can be done. It is a message that must be widely spread.
So why I am still left with a sinking heart? Why does the political cynic in me have misgivings about the legacy? Why, even after today’s uplifting debate, do I feel a bit like Ruth amid the alien corn? Quite simply, it is because the Government’s ill considered actions with regard to local authority funding and the inexplicable actions of Michael Gove put all these things in doubt. As to the first, local authority funding has been slashed. Clearly, at a time of economic stress that would not be unlikely, but what is clear is that the funding reductions have been cynically targeted at Labour councils, often in areas of high deprivation, to such an extent that libraries, theatres and museums are under threat. Much has been said about the fine city of Newcastle. We await with trepidation the outcome of those negotiations. These are people centres. We have talked about them this morning, and it is vital that people have access to cultural activities all over Britain. All the good work being done, as we have heard today, will be undermined by unfair funding, and the legacy should be felt by everyone in Britain, not just by those in east London.
As for Michael Gove, much has been said already in this Chamber and in the press. His proposals, yet to be finally published, could totally dismantle grass-roots sport and culture in our state schools. I remind noble Lords that these schools educate 94% of our young people, but Michael Gove’s proposals threaten to tear the heart out of primary and secondary schools. His curriculum proposals spell doomsday for our next generation of young people, and for the hopes that the legacy so clearly brought us. The noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, reminded us in a powerful speech that we must put children first. Children must be introduced to sport and the arts at the earliest opportunity. We must ask why Michael Gove is ignoring that fact. No amount of outside enrichment can compensate for state schools devoid of ring-fenced funding and the provision of properly trained teachers. Michael Gove chooses to ignore all this.
Though I regret those negative observations, I am convinced that the legacy is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; others have said that. All of us must demand a review of national policies that would deny us the rightful outcome. By working together, we can indeed succeed.
Finally, thanks are due to all participants. All have shown their commitment. It has indeed been an outstanding debate.
My Lords, it is a privilege to thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and particularly to acknowledge his pioneering work in east London. He was one of the earliest proponents of bringing the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to east London. How grateful we all are.
We are also fortunate to have in their places today in your Lordships’ House Members who have made outstanding contributions to the Games and their legacy. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, for her continued inspirational work on sport, disability and the planning and legacy of the Games, the noble Lord, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, for his leadership on the Cultural Olympiad, and my noble friend Lady Doocey for her work in ensuring a legacy for London. It would also be most remiss of me not to acknowledge the supreme efforts of my noble friends Lord Coe and Lord Deighton in masterminding the Games, which made their country so proud.
This debate allows us to maintain attention on securing the most enduring legacy from the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The legacy is wide ranging. Indeed, the International Olympic Committee president has already said that London provided a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts. The Government are committed to its delivery.
On communities, the Games provided a focus for people across the United Kingdom to come together, reinforcing so much that we all share. The torch relay was the first indication that people in every part of the British Isles were taking the Olympic spirit to their hearts. That was raised very movingly by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. Alongside the staff, the organising committee and its partner organisations, legions of volunteers and our superb Armed Forces ensured that the Games ran like clockwork. From July to September, up and down the country, communities came together to cheer on their sporting heroes.
London 2012 made people proud to be British and to be part of their local community. We want to ensure that people continue to have opportunities to come together. I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said: collective activity, involving the public, private and voluntary sectors, and leadership and decision-making at the local level create the conditions for people to live in vibrant and successful communities.
My noble friend Lord King of Bridgwater raised London regeneration in terms of ExCeL and the contribution to the economy. I am particularly mindful of the comments raised by my noble friend Lady Doocey on bureaucracy. However, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, spoke most powerfully about what has happened and will happen in east London. The redevelopment of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will offer iconic visitor attractions alongside new homes, schools, businesses and open spaces. I say to my noble friend Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer that green lungs are vital; I speak as a very keen gardener.
I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, that of course business enterprise is important. It is important that business men and women play their absolutely essential part in economic recovery and regeneration.
The Government are committed to improving sport participation figures, which are encouraging. Sport plays a key role in bringing communities together and there are many initiatives. Sport England’s Places People Play programme has already provided local sports clubs with grants to improve and upgrade facilities. I say to my noble friend Lady Benjamin that children are of course absolutely key, and sport of is one of the great joys of being a child. Nearly 60,000 people have signed up to volunteer in their communities to help fellow local residents to get involved in sport. The Government and the Mayor of London’s office have set up the Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group to ensure that the Paralympic legacy is strong. Through Sport England, £1 billion will be invested over the next five years in the youth and community sports strategy to encourage all to take up sport.
In response to the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, the Government will shortly be announcing plans which acknowledge the important role that sport plays in our schools. Physical education will remain a compulsory part of the curriculum at all four key stages of education.
On volunteering, I shall never forget the spirit and humour of the volunteers last summer. The Games have shown what a huge impact volunteering can have and how personally rewarding it can be. Volunteering is inspiring, contemporary and exciting, and a key part of community life. The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, in her inimitable way, referred to knitting.
It is important that those who are new to volunteering or inspired by the Games are given similar encouragement and opportunity. Since the Games, Team London ambassadors have continued to provide a warm welcome to visitors during major cultural and sporting events. The charity Join In is aiming to build on its achievements in 2012 with a new programme for 2013. The decision by the Big Lottery Fund to use its share of funds generated by the sale of the Olympic village to set up a UK-wide Spirit of 2012 Trust is very welcome. It is no surprise that the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow received more than 10,000 volunteer applications within the first hours of advertising its own plans.
Married to a sculptor on the council of the Society of Portrait Sculptors, I need no rehearsing as to the importance of the arts to our culture and our nation. The UK delivered the largest nationwide cultural festival ever staged and the most ambitious of any Olympic Games. The noble Lord, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, with the Cultural Olympiad board and its director Ruth Mackenzie and her team, led this celebration of the UK as a centre for cultural innovation and creativity. The many public and private sponsors and supporters who worked together to ensure its success deserve our considerable thanks. As the noble Lord, Lord Hall, observed, nearly 20 million people attended events across the country, from Big Dance to Bandstand Marathon and bell-ringing.
The noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, drew attention to heritage. The noble Baroness, Lady Coussins, drew attention to languages and skills and, indeed, Shakespeare—but I fear I will have to write to her about her earlier Parliamentary Question. Of course, foreign languages are one of the core academic subjects of the English baccalaureate.
Public awareness of the festival was high, particularly among younger age groups and minority ethnic groups. The “Unlimited” series of commissions—29 commissions of work by deaf and disabled artists—ensured that the shift in the UK’s perceptions of disability was seen in culture as well as in sport. As with the delivery of the Cultural Olympiad, the cultural legacy of the Games is one that the Government want the sector to lead, with support from government. They have asked the Cultural Olympiad board to look at further options to maximise the legacy of the Cultural Olympiad. As the noble Lord, Lord Hall, said, these proposals will be received in March.
As regards the importance of arts and culture within education, which was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hall, and my noble friends Lady Bonham-Carter and Lord Clement-Jones, the English baccalaureate is a core set of academic subjects that gives students the broadest possible opportunities to progress. It is designed to leave around 20% to 30% of time in the curriculum for pupils to take other subjects. The importance of creative subjects such as art, drama and music is fully recognised as part of a broad curriculum. The Department for Education is currently considering how to ensure that high-quality qualifications are available in these subjects. I know that my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter mentioned the word “imminent” but I am told that the word I can say is “soon”.
The noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, referred to arts funding. Protecting all arts funding while cutting public spending in other areas is simply not an option. None the less, the Government are committed to supporting art and culture. Overall, £2.9 billion will go to the arts over the life of this Parliament; £1.9 billion will be in direct government funding and more than £1 billion in lottery funding.
Our country has the largest creative industry sector in the world on a per capita basis. The sector exports almost £9 billion-worth of services. The artistic and cultural success of the Games offered a very specific opportunity to promote the UK’s excellence across the creative industries internationally and at home. The coverage of the Games delivered a worldwide advertising campaign for the creative industries of the UK.
As was highlighted by many noble Lords—although I particularly want to mention what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, my noble friends Lady Bonham-Carter and Lord Clement-Jones, and the noble Lord, Lord Birt—900 million people watched the opening ceremony. They witnessed our excellence in theatre, music, screen, art, heritage and storytelling. I shall never forget Thomas Heatherwick’s spectacular Olympic cauldron, which was magnificent. How proud we were to see its assembly and its fulfilment during the ceremony.
The challenge now is to translate that into more international business and growth for the UK. We aim to generate £13 billion of benefit to the UK over the next four years from additional sales and inward investment, and from attracting 4.6 million extra visitors. The GREAT campaign promotes Britain and British business as part of Creativity is GREAT in key markets around the world. UKTI will continue to champion our industries and help them to secure global opportunities.
We had some intriguing suggestions on lessons learnt from noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord Birt. The suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney, of banging heads together is particularly fine—perhaps, I should say, by Ministers. However, the success of the Games was not by chance. It was due to stable and consistent leadership, meticulous planning, cross-party support, as the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, so rightly advised us, and the public and private sectors working together. The thoughtful speech made by my noble friend Lord Addington dealt with that very well and powerfully. What we have learnt from the Games will be embedded as we take the legacy forward.
We should not lose sight of the fact that London 2012 was, from the outset of the bid, the first legacy Games. We should be proud of what has already been achieved. We are at the beginning of the legacy journey. We must focus on delivering an enduring legacy nationwide. The Games will be remembered as a summer of excellence for Great Britain. They should also be remembered for helping to shape and foster our future communities and culture for the national good. That means inspiring a generation to contribute to their communities in innovative ways. My noble friend Lady Benjamin rightly highlighted the importance of children. Clearly, they are the future of our country and it is our responsibility to ensure that what happened last summer is part of their legacy and that they gain considerable benefit from it.
It also means building on the United Kingdom’s identity as a centre for cultural innovation and the new audiences engaged by the Games. It means capturing the success of creative companies in delivering the Games and translating this into new business at home and abroad. A great deal of work will be going on in Brazil but it is encouraging that British companies to date have won 60 contracts for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games and already £7 million-worth of deals in Rio. We must now build on these successes and I am sure that there will be many more opportunities.
We have made an excellent start. I hope that we will ensure that the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, will not have her heart sinking. I believe that many people across the piece are working extremely hard and effectively to ensure that the legacy is as strong as our nation deserves. As many of your Lordships have said today, it means continuing to work in partnerships in all sectors—public and private—and within communities. Those are the places where our goals can be achieved.
We have learnt that the world thinks more positively of us as a nation after the Games. The noble Lord, Lord Birt, took us through some interesting country and territory as to where the union flag is now placed, but I think that what he said has very much been reflected across the globe; namely, that we are seen as a warmer country, a friendlier country, a country that came together and a country that is at ease with itself. I also suspect—one can be quite moved about this—that we feel rather differently about ourselves because of the Games, which is one of the most powerful legacies that I have picked up. The Games have taught us once again that we can, as has been said, deliver great things of national importance and beyond when we, the British people, come together.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions to this debate. We are at the beginning of the next stage of the Olympic project when legacy must be our focus. The contributions today have helpfully opened up the issues that we must now all grasp. I cannot possibly respond to all the points that have been made and some of them are not in my area of expertise but perhaps I may offer a few thoughts.
I very much agree with the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord King. ExCel is a clue to what needs to happen more widely in east London. I agree with him that east Londoners are very nice people. I welcome the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, about the importance of culture and heritage, and that it needs to be a living culture. It is good to have the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, on the legacy board with me and I very much look forward to working with her. In due course, she will become clear about how little I know about sport. I welcome the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney, and his point that legacy is not just a government responsibility. Legacy is more important than just spending public money. I agree with him on the need for leadership and careful thought about what constitutes leadership. We will always be thankful to the noble Lord for his leadership when he intervened nearly 20 years ago in a turf war in Bromley-by-Bow. As a direct result, 1,000 flowers have bloomed.
I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Doocey, that government should not constantly reinvent the wheel and I agree with her comments about the Arts Council. In my view there is a major problem as regards the mindset of the Arts Council. I welcome the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Birt. My daughter tells me that people all over Cuba are now wearing union jack shirts. I also welcome the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. I agree that we need to encourage wildlife in the park and I will look into the allotments issue.
We welcome the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Hall. East London is a creative hub of international significance and I know that he understands that. I also welcome the challenge that the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, set for the noble Lord, Lord Hall, to ensure that the BBC keeps reminding us of this important moment in time.
I thank the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, for his response to the debate and I look forward to working with him as we move forward in east London. I thank him for meeting me before the debate and for taking such a keen interest in the issues we face in east London.
The opportunities to extend and deepen the legacy in east London and to stimulate further investment are considerable. The opportunity to create thriving and sustainable communities is very real but this will not happen by magic. If the present procurement systems are left unchallenged, they are quite capable of simply repeating past mistakes in east London and wrecking many more people’s lives. Let us together grasp the moment. The Games have left us with an opportunity to create a world-class legacy that countries hosting the Games in future will all want to come to see.