Motion to Take Note
My Lords, before we begin tonight’s debate, I express my delight at the calibre of those who have signed up to speak. The entire membership of the committee is participating, which does not surprise me as, throughout what was at times an intense inquiry, their diligence, enthusiasm and expertise helped the committee to get its job done. Even the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Bates, served his time on the committee; our loss was the Government’s gain when he was promoted to the Whips’ Office in October. We are delighted that he will be responding to tonight’s debate. In addition, two valuable witnesses to the inquiry, the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, are joining us, along with the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, another multiple Paralympic medal winner.
In that context, I should perhaps begin by declaring an interest, or rather a non-interest, in my own rather less than distinguished, not to say non-existent, sporting career. At the age of 12, I was expelled from the PE department of my school—or, as they put it, “Harris is excused games for the rest of his school career”—on the grounds of wilful lack of effort. As noble Lords can see, the rest is history. I stand before you as a nasty warning of what will happen if the Government fail to take our recommendations on school-age sport more seriously.
The committee, which I had the privilege to chair, was appointed in May last year to consider,
“the strategic issues for regeneration and sporting legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
We were ordered to report by 15 November and, in the event, managed to do so a few days early. This committee was an experiment by the House. Rather than having the full Session to conduct an inquiry into one policy area, this year two committees shared the resources of one to complete two separate inquiries. Suffice it to say, given the breadth of the topic set by our terms of reference, this was a tall order, which we sought to resolve by packing as many witness sessions into six months as most committees would attempt in a year.
Tonight I shall speak to both our report and the joint response to it from the Government and the Mayor of London, which was issued, in my view rather inappropriately, while the Lords was in its February Recess.
We began our inquiry less than a year after the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games, which I think we all felt was early to try to gauge the legacy. As a result, we did not even attempt to make definitive judgments on what the end results would be but instead concentrated on whether credible arrangements were in place to deliver the maximum possible legacy, once the euphoria of the Games themselves had disappeared. We tried to see the most representative possible range of groups and bodies. We took formal evidence in person from 52 witnesses in Westminster and one in South America —by video conference rather than visit, I hasten to say. We sat for four days during the Recess in September and, importantly, spent one of those days very fruitfully visiting people in the host boroughs. That day included what I am sure was unique—a visitation by your Lordships’ House to an East End boxing club.
The tightness of our timetable meant that our work was necessarily compressed, and that many of our oral submissions had inevitably to take place before we had received the written submissions from the organisations concerned. Like all ad hoc committees of the House, there is an issue over how our report will be followed up. I know that the Liaison Committee is looking at this, but my colleagues and I are, like Barkis in David Copperfield, willing—willing to be recalled to review these issues in the future, should the House so request us to do.
I am grateful to everyone who engaged with the inquiry. Personally, I am indebted to my colleagues on the committee who were, between them, expert in so many aspects of the terms of reference. Our work would not have been possible without the superb support of our clerk team: Duncan Sagar, who has now switched seamlessly to covering modern slavery; Matthew Smith, who switched on the day of the report’s publication from being an expert on urban regeneration to being one on the taxation of personal service companies; and Helena Ali, who has now, I understand, been poached by the House of Commons. We were also ably assisted by our two advisers: Professor Ian Henry and Professor Allan Brimicombe.
The euphoria over the Games was justified. The hosting of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was an outstanding success. The Games exceeded expectations and confounded sceptics by giving the world a spectacular example of what the United Kingdom is capable of doing, and, what is more, they delivered that major event on time and to budget. The evidence that we took suggested that legacy played a bigger part in the planning of the 2012 Games than for any previous Games and, again, this in itself deserves credit.
At a year’s distance, many of our witnesses argued that it was simply too soon to assess the legacy for the regeneration of east London. This will be seen only over decades and generations. However, the sporting legacy, or perhaps in some instances the lack of it, is easier to assess. The single biggest promise on the sporting side was for a much more physically active population. The UK faces an epidemic of obesity, which, on Budget Day, I should note costs an estimated £20 billion per year, as well as seriously curtailing health and quality of life. The promise of inspiring a new sporting generation was crucial and a tantalising part of that legacy aspiration. We found the evidence was pretty clear in this regard and, I have to say, rather disappointing. The envisaged post-Games step change in participation across the United Kingdom and across different sports simply did not materialise. If anything, sporting activity subsequently declined.
There were, of course, some honourable exceptions. Some sports, such as cycling, have used a succession of events and sporting successes, building on the Manchester Commonwealth Games and various victorious Tours de France, to have a really impressive and sustained boost in participation across the country, amplified by the heroics of Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris Hoy and their teammates in 2012. However, across the board, the picture was one of a lack of legacy planning by sports, particularly for what would happen at grass-roots level. The links between sports governing bodies, the investment from Sport England, and community clubs, schools and facilities, are critical and need more investment. From the Government’s response to our report, it seems that this message is only now beginning to hit home. This may be, tragically, too late to secure a participation legacy from 2012. This was a missed opportunity, and we have to hope that it is not too late to leverage the coming decade of sporting events hosted in the UK, beginning with this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Games themselves were also an impressive example of what could be done to inspire volunteers, but here again there was a missed opportunity adequately to harness that enthusiasm. I have spoken to so many of those who were Games makers, who tell me that, with a little more encouragement in the immediate aftermath of the Games, they would have been ready to continue with that level of volunteering commitment.
To try to address these gaps in planning, as well as to ensure that sports governing bodies are reaching out to previously underrepresented groups, we called for more transparency through the publication of the whole sport plans, which each sport produces as a part of Sport England’s funding process. I was disappointed that the Government in their response did not engage with this recommendation positively. I hope that the Minister, when he responds, will give us a reason why these documents should not be put in the public domain.
The Paralympic Games seem to have provided genuine inspiration for more people with and without disabilities to take up sport. However, there are barriers in the quality of the facilities available in clubs, which affect disabled people looking to participate in sport. As well as boosting sporting participation for those with disabilities, an important hoped-for legacy of the Paralympics was the transformation of general public perceptions of disability. Extensive media coverage has certainly had a powerful effect on changing public perceptions of disabled sport. However, I have to say that there is less clear evidence that there was a similar impact on the broader perception of people with disabilities.
The adequate provision of sport for school-age children is essential, coming at that key moment in young people’s lives when an intervention can create lifelong habits and enjoyment of exercise. Our report supported the findings of the recent report for the Welsh Assembly by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, on sport in schools in Wales, in particular that PE needs a greater emphasis in the school day and that teachers, particularly in primary schools, need the training and skills to teach PE if we are to achieve meaningful progress. Our report called on the Department for Education and Ofsted to take more active roles in making this change happen. The Government’s response, including confirmation that PE will remain compulsory at all four key stages and that Ofsted is emphasising PE skills in new teachers, certainly talks the right talk. It is essential that this translates into meaningful progress.
Turning to high-performance sport, the biggest single controversy was over UK Sport’s “No Compromise” approach to funding, whereby funding is directed at those sports with the best medium-term medal prospects. Because of Team GB’s hosting of the Games, a number of Olympic and Paralympic sports received additional funding so that we could field teams in every event, including those that were not traditionally popular in the UK. Some sports, such as handball and volleyball, really caught the public imagination and had the potential to grow new participation bases on the back of Team GB’s displays. There is no question that the “No Compromise” approach to sports funding has clearly improved the top end of Team GB’s performances in the recent past, and the transformation in medal haul from Atlanta in 1996 to London in 2012 is a staggering achievement. However, we were concerned that it does not sufficiently help emerging sports. There is also a bias against team sports, a point put to us powerfully to in evidence by Sir Clive Woodward. Without throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we called for UK Sport to adopt a more flexible approach, which reflects this problem and enables sports to nurture a broader base and a wider pool from which future world-class talent might emerge.
I have been contacted—as, I am sure, have colleagues since the report’s publication by a number of those affected by UK Sport’s recent decisions. One of the most disappointing aspects of the Government’s response was their flat refusal to consider making the process more flexible. Will the Minister confirm whether the door is closed to rethinking the “No Compromise” approach in future? Certainly, today’s funding announcements by UK Sport hardly bode well for future participation in the sports such as basketball that have lost out.
Before turning to the second limb of our inquiry—the regeneration legacy—I want to say a word about the facilities built for the Games and their future use. We searched hard for the white elephants that have been the legacy of so many previous Games and we did not find any. The Olympic stadium itself will not be standing idle and empty but will be the home of West Ham United. That was not the original legacy concept, but it will be used.
Our view was that the stadium is a national asset and it remains important that the focus must be on making the best use of it for the community and the taxpayer. Last week, I met West Ham United, and I recognise the enormous efforts it is making to bring football “back to the people” with its Kids for a Quid scheme, its community sports trust, and its work with youngsters to reduce anti-social behaviour and provide out-of-school study support for underachieving children. The arrangements for the stadium’s use when West Ham is not using it must also be focused on delivering community benefit.
It is the local people who should stand to gain most from the legacy of the Games, and it is for this reason that the regeneration of east London was a major part of what was promised. Previous Games and other major sporting events around the world have failed to leave meaningful transformative legacies for local people. We heard from the vice-president of the IOC that regeneration is all about domestic palatability, and the promise to transform the lives and prospects of future generations of east Londoners was the biggest moral case for the Games.
The regeneration of east London is a huge, long-term task with a potentially great reward. The redevelopment of the Olympic park itself is led by the mayor’s London Legacy Development Corporation, or LLDC. We were pleased to find that the park will offer a mix of good-quality, new housing within the former athletes’ village, and in five new neighbourhoods that will be developed across the park. It is important that a fair proportion—at least the LLDC’s target of 35%—of this housing is affordable for, and accessible to, local residents. We recommended that the LLDC should take steps to manage and monitor this. We were a little concerned that, in the mayor’s part of the response to the report, the LLDC seemed to be focused only on affordability and not on the wider questions of suitability. Many local families are relatively large when compared with the UK average, and it is more common in the local communities than nationally for extended families to cohabit. If the housing is to work for local families, it needs to have a decent share appropriate for those larger families.
Outside the park, there is massive potential and need for further housing development in the surrounding boroughs. It is essential that the mayor, the GLA and local authorities work together to accelerate development on these sites and to ensure that the high standards so far achieved are sustained in subsequent development. The responses of the Government and the mayor contain a number of commitments to exceed environmental and sustainability minimum standards. I trust that they will stick to those commitments.
The development of the park and surrounding area will generate significant new employment opportunities over the coming decades. The perception of the local people whom we met during this inquiry was that, so far, they have not felt the benefits of these opportunities. Our report called on the responsible bodies to develop a co-ordinated programme through which new opportunities can be targeted at local communities. The LLDC has assured us that it is rolling out a programme of outreach and engagement events to ensure that local people are aware. However, this is only half the answer. The new jobs will be taken by locals only if the skills base of people in the area improves. This requires action and investment in the short term to secure the longer-term dividend. We were pleased that the GLA and the LLDC responded positively to our recommendation that a construction employment and skills programme be developed, and the corporation is now working on it.
Central to all this is the extent to which the Olympic park itself comes to embody the potential future of the East End—a future of aspiration and hope, and a future of technological jobs that will have a benefit not only locally but for the nation as a whole. The transformation of the former media centre will be central to this, and I know we were impressed by the way in which BT Sport has used the space that it has acquired. I was heartened also to see the news last week that Maker Faire, which the Observer rather unkindly called an “unashamed celebration of geekdom”, will come to the park next year—the first time it has taken place outside the USA—and is expected to draw 75,000 visitors over its four weeks during the summer holidays.
The transport infrastructure left in the wake of the Games will also be critical to that future development. We recommended that the Department for Transport take proper ownership of the unsolved problem of providing Stratford International station with international services. I was disappointed that the Government’s response showed no willingness whatever to engage to a greater degree to push this process along. In preparation for the Games, Transport for London made great strides in improving the accessibility of the London transport network, including for travellers with disabilities. The momentum of these changes must not be lost, and the successful joint working by transport operators must be maintained.
A number of initiatives also piloted during the Games allowed businesses, particularly SMEs, a platform on which to compete to provide services in support of the Games. We concluded that these initiatives were successful and need to be maintained to maximise the benefits to businesses.
In summing up, I come to perhaps the most important observation that ran throughout the various legacy programmes. The real-world pressure of a set deadline to host the Games and the political unacceptability of failing to deliver a world-class event meant that there was a healthy driver to ensure that the plethora of organisations—the veritable table Tower of Babel of competing voices within and outside government—were led strongly to a single common purpose. This leadership and sense of direction are equally important to delivering the legacy but they diminished after the Games passed. We were unconvinced that the Government’s current oversight arrangements represent a robust way in which to deliver the legacy. There is now confusion on the timeframes and targets involved in its delivery and a lack of clear ownership. We recommended that one Minister be given overall responsibility for the many strands of the legacy, working with the devolved Administrations to ensure UK-wide co-ordination. Otherwise, we cannot see much of a meaningful legacy outside London. In the same vein, we called for the mayor’s office to own the vision for the future development of east London and the creation of a lasting Olympic legacy in the capital—and for the mayor’s office to be given the necessary responsibility and power.
In their response, the Government overtly accepted only one of our 41 recommendations. They did not engage with the recommendation that a single Minister be given specific responsibility, beyond restating the role of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Time will tell, but the committee was convinced by the evidence we received that more coherence is needed if the huge and very real legacy opportunities are not to be missed. I commend this report to the House.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for securing this debate on an issue of such importance, not just to this House but to the entire United Kingdom, and for chairing the ad hoc committee in such a commendable way.
On 6 July 2005, just before 1 pm, London time, I stood in Trafalgar Square for what was surely the longest envelope-opening in history—and we heard that word, “London”. What a decision, what a journey, and what a Games. Some 2.4 million fans came to the Paralympics in person, tens of millions watched on Channel 4, and hundreds of millions watched around the world—many watching Paralympic sport for the first time. It was a Games that made household names out of Paralympic athletes for the first time in history. It was a Games in which all the Olympic sponsors were also signed up as Paralympic sponsors, and in which broadcasters around the world showed wall-to-wall coverage.
However, that was then. What of this in 2014? There are massive memories and all that glittering gold, but what stacks up in terms of the legacy promised right from the word go? It makes sense to start with sport. When the noble Lord, Lord Coe, spoke in Singapore he talked about inspiring young people all around the world to choose sport. Since that moment, 350,000 more disabled people are engaged in sport, but that represents tens of percentage points less than their non-disabled counterparts and is a stubborn figure on which to improve.
The funding is in good shape. UK Sport, post-London 2012, has increased funding for Paralympic sport by 45%. Sport England has committed £157 million to improve participation facilities so that disabled people right across the country can get into sport. For the first time, it has put a criterion in the funding programmes for national governing bodies requiring figures to be recorded on disabled participation in their sports. Forty-two out of the 46 national governing bodies have signed up to this. What does the Minister believe Sport England is doing to ensure that that becomes 46 out of 46?
There has also been a tremendous events legacy from the Paralympic Games. In November, the International Tennis Federation will host the wheelchair tennis male singles. Next year, the Para-Swimming world championships will take place in Glasgow, and in 2017—probably the high point of this current cycle—the IAAF World Athletics Championships will also have a Paralympic Athletics World Championships.
On the one-year anniversary of the Games, we saw this events strategy brought into stark relief with, for the first time, the National Paralympic Day being hosted on the Olympic park. Some 6,200 people came through the Copper Box to watch not only elite sport but, in the morning, to witness young people from all the growth boroughs have the opportunity to have a go and try out Paralympic sport. That is a real legacy. And it was not just about London: in 36 events right across the country, from Glasgow to Hastings, people had the opportunity to try sport. Leeds City Council reported 1,000 people trying out Paralympic sport in that city alone, and there was a social media campaign touching three-quarters of a million people. This was ground-breaking stuff.
A year on from the Games, back at the park and right after the Anniversary Games, we saw not only superb Olympic performances but Paralympic athletics in a packed-out stadium. For the first time, sponsors were not just getting involved at Games time but continuing their involvement with the British Paralympic Association and with Paralympic sport. Sainsbury’s was very quick out of the blocks with its legacy plans. It announced them in the same week as the closing ceremony for the Paralympic Games. The Sainsbury’s Active Kids For All programme goes to the heart of one of the key problems, enabling those involved in teaching and in leading sport to gain the skills, the experience and, crucially, the comfort and the confidence to become involved and to offer sporting opportunities to disabled people right across the country.
Similarly, BP and BT have announced continued commitment to the British Paralympic Association right through to the Rio cycle. This has never happened before. Historically, Paralympic sport has not even had sponsors in the first place; certainly the sponsors do not stick around post-Games to be involved between the four-year cycles.
Probably one of the greatest things, and the one that gave us so much promise for the legacy, was the broadcast deals that we were able to strike at LOCOG. Channel 4 provided wall-to-wall coverage at Games time, with a continued commitment post-Games, not least in programmes such as “The Last Leg”, which was truly ground-breaking, brave broadcasting. Its marketing campaign at Games time and post-Games was led by Dan Brooke, something of a marketing guru. He runs the marketing campaigns at Channel 4 and he also happens to be the son of my noble friend Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville.
Then there was Sochi only last week. Previously, had it not been for London, you would not have seen Paralympic winter sport on your TV screens. The coverage of the athletes on snow and ice brought to us by Channel 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live was a real sporting legacy from the broadcasters.
It is probably worth mentioning at this point one of the unsung but most significant parts of the Games, not just in the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games but post-Games. A real cornerstone of the legacy is the National Lottery, which provided half the funding for the Paralympic Games. I think we all owe a tremendous debt to Sir John Major for what he did all those years ago. He showed the vision, drive and determination to have a National Lottery which would commit so much funding and so much possibility to sport, culture and the arts in this country. It made a difference at Games time and it will make a difference in legacy, not least with the Spirit of 2012 Trust, which has £40 million to push into strategic projects, not least in the area of disability sport.
How do we measure all this? In some ways in terms of the legacy for 2012, one could cite AJP Taylor on the Russian revolution: “It’s too early to say”. Much research was done post-Games. We at LOCOG commissioned research all the way through—we were convinced that we should root everything we did in research. What we saw in the autumn, post-Games, was a real shift in both qualitative and quantitative data. There was attitudinal change as a result of our hosting the Paralympic Games in London. The qualitative data showed that it was not just a question of numbers shifting by large percentages; they showed that attitudes had shifted tremendously. However, all this is incredibly tentative and could easily just slip away if it is not gripped, grasped and driven by all the different organisations responsible for making this stuff happen post-Games for decades to come.
Similarly, we did not just want London 2012 to be the most accessible Olympic and Paralympic Games in history. We were not just providing access for access’s sake; we were doing it to build an inclusive experience at Games time. That is a key element of the legacy. What we were able to achieve at Games time is not what people experience in the premiership, in rugby or in sporting events right across the country. In the coming year, we are going to lead a piece of work for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to really drive into this and to try to assist those organisations to make a significant difference in that area. My interests in the EHRC are as set out in the register.
When we talk about legacy, it is useful to glance over our shoulders and remind ourselves that we have the absolute honour to have started the Paralympic Games in this country. We have that gem and are pushing it into our legacy going forward. Now, wherever the Paralympic Games are held, there will be a flame festival at Stoke Mandeville, where the flame will be lit and taken to wherever the Games are. We saw it recently as the flame started its journey to the Sochi Paralympic Games. This will happen for Rio, Pyeongchang and beyond, putting Stoke Mandeville at the heart not just of history but of the Games going forward. This is reflected across the park with Mandeville Place, with the Agitos—that fabulous Paralympic symbol—and with a medical centre named after Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the genius who came up with the idea of a Paralympic Games in Stoke Mandeville in 1948. That is where it began and it has to have a future, a purpose and a relevance.
In conclusion, I want to highlight two final points which, of themselves, may seem quite small but which I believe had an incredible impact at the time and have the potential, if grasped, to be central to the whole question of legacy. The first is that for the Olympic and Paralympic Games we were able to get true cross-Whitehall working, with 18 government departments coming together and connecting to makes the Games happen. The Games were unique but that cross-Whitehall working does not need to be unique just at Games time; it needs to continue in order to drive and deliver the legacy, and it needs to continue across, quite frankly, every appropriate relevant policy area.
Secondly, the work we did with Get Set and the education programme enabled young people with open minds to learn about the Olympic and Paralympic values. Schoolchildren with open minds—the architects, web designers, policymakers and politicians of tomorrow—are learning about inclusion. When they grow up and are in their professional careers, diversity and inclusion will be a given.
There are many ways to look at legacy. There are many measures, including more than several spreadsheets and many metrics. All that has its place but alongside it I urge that we look at the specific, the individual, to see the world in a grain of sand. That was brought home to me last year at an event when a young blind lady spoke to me. She said, “Before the Paralympics, I was ashamed of my white stick. I did not like going out in public. The Paralympic Games made me proud to be a disabled person in Britain”. Our mission is nothing short of that. We have to ensure that we drive legacy and that our Government, corporations, communities and individuals do everything they can to enable that inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of background, disability and any intervening factor, is able to achieve their full potential in a truly united kingdom.
My Lords, looking back to that wonderful day when we were told that London would host the Olympic Games of 2012, the future of sport seemed secure. Our bid was inspirational and unique. There was a pledge to produce a new generation, a sporting generation, which seemed not only possible but inevitable. Seeing the support of the nation, the Government promised all the funding needed for the project. The team given the task of planning and building the Games was formidable; success was assured—and so it was. The Games were wonderful. The facilities, the well funded athletes and the millions of volunteers combined to enchant a worldwide audience. As we were promised, it was the “greatest show on earth”.
So how could the original pledge be so badly broken? Who should take the blame? What can be done, and must be done, to remedy the failure? The facts are stark. We have no new sporting generation. Worse than that, we have a generation scarred by obesity. The Government have failed to catch the wind and have made wrong decisions about elite sport over grass-roots sport. They have failed to provide a sound, cohesive strategy to create a strong sporting foundation for the future.
Every sensible person knows that a successful sporting lifestyle has to begin at the earliest opportunity. Expert advice across the piece—from governing bodies, educationalists and medical professionals—was of one mind: namely, that an early start is essential. The Government inherited the school sport partnerships programme, which for the first time brought fully trained physical education teachers into state primary schools. It worked, and the results spoke for themselves. So how could it be that the first post-election action of the Education Minister, Michael Gove, was to scrap the system, thus putting grass-roots sport to the back of the queue? Following public and professional outcry, he was forced to replace the scheme—with a pitiful replacement which has little or no chance of success.
The Government’s response to our report is totally negative. Only a radical rethink will repair the damage. Investment in fully qualified PE teachers, helping to create a link between clubs and schools, and helping clubs to improve their facilities with support for better playing facilities—such as flood-lights where appropriate —are actions that the Government must take if we are to see any progress. But none of those has brought any positive response from the Government to our report.
We must have a Minister with overall control of all these issues. Without that, we will continue to see a decline in our promised sporting nation. Given the fine start that the Olympic Games gave us, what a tragedy that hopes are dashed and millions of pounds have been wasted. The Government, being responsible for increasing sporting participation, had plenty of warnings that all was not well. Sport England, the Active People Survey and the Taking Part survey into sport all flagged up concerns. The sporting press became more vociferous and asked: where is the promised legacy? Failure was becoming evident.
Tennis is a good example. For many years, tennis writers and observers were critical of the Lawn Tennis Association and its chief executive, Roger Draper. It was all promises and no product, despite the fact that he was being paid £640,000 a year and had an annual budget to spend of more than £60 million. As the scandalous mismanagement persisted and the facts were put to the Sports Minister, no action was taken. Yet the Government had a duty to intervene. For the first time, government funding, taxpayers’ money, was gifted to the LTA to improve grass-roots performance. But there was absolutely no response from the Government. Why did they not intervene? Why was the LTA not called to account? Even today, after Roger Draper has been forced out of office, the chickens are coming home to roost. We have heard from Sport England, formerly the English Sports Council, that two sports—football and tennis—have showed a serious decline in participants in the past 12 months.
After watching football on TV last weekend, I can see why football is in trouble, but in the year that Andy Murray won Wimbledon—after a 77-year wait—and added the Olympic gold medal to his collection, how could the numbers have fallen in tennis? It was almost more difficult to see a reduction than to see an explosion in the number of new tennis players. Public courts should have been swamped by youngsters taking up the sport. But, sadly, many of those tennis courts have been closed. The point that I am seeking to make is that, if the Government had intervened earlier and taken a stronger stance, thousands of pounds could have been saved and the health of tennis could have been improved. It is an object lesson in incompetence and complacency.
In conclusion, I am sure that the setting up of the Select Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy was entirely right. It allowed the committee to call for evidence from a wide range of sources. It allowed the press and the public to look again at the Government’s competence in fulfilling their Olympic pledge and to challenge the outcomes. Questions that we asked were echoed by the press and the public. The written submissions, of which there were hundreds, bear them out. The Government clearly wanted the legacy issue to fade away but our committee has ensured that it will not.
The committee was excellent. It was committed and competent. Our chair, my noble friend Lord Harris, is wise and tolerant, and our expert advisers were outstanding. I found the whole experience valuable. I learnt much which I promise to use in the future to ensure that some of the glaring mistakes made by the Government will be hotly challenged. We can and must do better.
My Lords, the whole experience of the committee was one in which I found myself looking with a critical eye at something about which I cared passionately and had always supported. Of course, the noble Lord, Lord Harris, provided a very good hand on the tiller, particularly as he admitted that he was not in love with the idea of sports. That provided a nice, sane stabiliser.
We were looking at a huge project that had huge energy and focus. As the noble Lord pointed out, we had a finite time to deliver. This meant that the political class got its act together and got on with it. It said, “We will not tolerate anything going wrong”, and made sure that those they were talking to were told that they were not going to tolerate things going wrong. That proved that if you have focus, you can achieve.
Historical examples of such things happening are there in abundance, but the new thing was legacy. As the noble Lord pointed out, the one legacy that we knew about and had experience of—because we had got it wrong in the past—concerned the facilities themselves, which seem to have turned out to be a success. We have function, in that the stadium will be used and facilities have been reinvented. We are going to get rid of the stuff that we do not need and leave the hard core that is useful. That is a very good idea. Remember Wembley Stadium and Pickett’s Lock? Remember the disasters? Remember the places that did work? Principally, they were for the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
When we came to a sporting legacy, we had an idea—an idea to take what we do, inspire and support the concept of being involved, taking part and creating an elite and going forward with it. To expect us to get things absolutely right first time was probably asking too much. Indeed, I remember on several occasions saying to various people that the people who would experience our legacy model best would probably be those at the next Games. We should remember that this is an international organisation and many of the examples that we used, about how not to have white elephants, waste money or go over budget, were taken from those who went before us, particularly at the Sydney Games and the Athens Games.
Taking on the idea of the legacy in terms of sporting achievement and going forward was always going to be something that we would be taking the first steps on. The most important first step is the fact that we are still discussing it now. I have received briefing from the RFU about the Rugby World Cup, which is desperate to ensure that it has a legacy. It is probably easier for a single sport. Indeed, when rugby league had its world cup, it also tried that. In a single sport you have a focus and you can encourage structures to get involved, recruit players, get better pathways, and make sure that you are there to receive them. I will let noble Lords into a little secret. This is merely an extension of what they should have been doing anyway to build their sports. All sports should have been doing that.
On youth involvement, to go back to rugby union again, I had the great privilege of finding myself at lunch the other day with the chap who invented mini rugby. For those who do not know it, that is the junior, short version of the game that was created for rugby union so that when young children play the game they do not find themselves having an exercise in boredom waiting for the ball to come to them. They receive it and are allowed to play. This is something that has been taken on by all sports—you create something small that people can get involved in. It can be shorter-term activity such as short tennis, kwik cricket and shorter terms of football. All of them take this on board.
How do we work this in? How do we build it in? It has to find a home in the education process. There is disappointment about the government response. All political parties have this problem. Sport is great when you are cheering from the sidelines, but would we all not rather be talking about English pass rates or how maths is in decline? I am afraid it is there. There are far too many people involved—although I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Harris, is now a convert—who gave up sport at the age of 14, when they could fake their mother’s signature and join the politics society. It happens. If noble Lords have not seen that, I will take them on a guided tour. We have to try to ensure that involvement is consistently there and that we take it on. Unless we make it a central focus of what we are doing, youth involvement and early involvement will fail.
The previous Government took some interesting steps, but the idea remained that something had to be done, and that idea was probably already within the current Government—in both parties. That something had to be done and that there was a row about it was probably a good thing. Maybe the scheme was great, maybe it was not, maybe it had flaws, but the idea going forward is the important thing. That is what we must try to encourage. It may not be perfect, but the idea is there.
Carrying on from that, one area that the noble Lord, Lord Harris, brought forward is the “No Compromise” approach for elite-level sports. We dealt with the problems of Atlanta in 1996. I hope that we have killed that dragon, or at least given it a good thump and driven it off the field of play. We have to look at something that develops our sporting base. We need more in sports aspiring to be at the top. Great as it may be to cheer people winning in rowing and cycling—the Australian joke is that we are great at sports where we sit down—we have to try to expand. We need more people competing in more sports and challenging. We can do it. British amateur boxing is now a dominant force. Maybe that was under this system, but it was on the grounds of one person winning a medal at one Games. I am afraid that the “No Compromise” approach is vulnerable to one person having a bad day—two training accidents and somebody having food poisoning at a competition. That makes you vulnerable to losing your base and your future. We must get the idea that we have to go further and bigger. We have won this: do not refer back. Try to go on and get something out there.
Basketball has already been mentioned. It is a sport that has huge potential, especially in areas of urban deprivation. It does not require that much infrastructure —a hard surface and a hoop, and teams of five that are interchangeable. It is non-contact—supposedly. It can involve people. It is a sport that eternally struggles to make it through to the next stage. What we know about mass participation is that it is incredibly helped by having elite-level sport to look up to. Children like heroes.
Unless we can tie everything together with focus and unity, at least within government—and I hope across the political parties—we will all always bump into “Wouldn’t we rather do something different?”. Unless we decide that we must have a way of trying to get those groups and sports outside who are not having instant success, and tolerate some failure, although not eternal tolerance, we will miss opportunities. We have done well and come far, but we must not peter out or flatline: we must think creatively. We may have to offend the rest of the world by saying, “You must change to do this”.
My Lords, I, too, had the privilege of serving on the Select Committee. I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, whose hard work in keeping us all up to speed was an invaluable component in the success of this venture, as was the extremely impressive input of our officer team and the diligence of my committee colleagues.
If I have a criticism of this experiment in the use of the Select Committee approach for a short, sharp, focused exercise, it is a positive one: a report with this much good material in it deserves more widespread publicity and dissemination. A few newspaper articles are not enough to spread the word and while this debate tonight is more than helpful, a more extensive follow-through over a sustained period would make the whole exercise better value for money.
I turn to the content of the Select Committee’s excellent report. My special interest is in the legacy promised by the Games for the regeneration of east London and beyond. Just how successful has this huge investment been and are there lessons, positive or negative, that we should take for regeneration projects both here and elsewhere in the future? A number of our witnesses explained how installing the transport and developing the sites of the Olympics and Paralympics meant compressing decades of much needed investment into a few years. The incredible facilities, the transportation systems and extensive infrastructure, and the housing—the Olympic Park alone will eventually house more than 10,000 new households—have all magically accelerated the regeneration of east London. Certainly there has been a speeding up of the hoped-for convergence between the position of the East End boroughs and the rest of London as measured by a number of key indicators.
So is this a story of unmitigated regeneration success? It is important to see what has worked and why, because of the implications for the regeneration of other post-industrial areas of the UK and, indeed, for other large-scale housebuilding projects, including the development of whole new settlements like the “garden city” of Ebbsfleet, announced earlier this week. What this whole exercise has demonstrated is that a particular set of organisational structures, a particular governance framework and a particular modus operandi can be hugely successful. The key components are central government support for a devolved local agency that crosses local authority boundaries with a powerful co-ordinating vision and a clear master plan, with powers—compulsory powers, if necessary—to acquire, assemble and control land use. Like the London Docklands Development Corporation which gave us the phenomenon of Canary Wharf, like the new town development corporations, and like so many international examples of large-scale regeneration from Amsterdam to Singapore, these are the characteristics for successful outcomes. What is then achieved is what was positively planned, in this case including high-quality buildings delivered on time and within budget, not the least of which is well designed, sustainable, affordable and accessible housing.
These are the things we hope for in other places but so seldom achieve. Indeed, the usual approach to development in the UK is almost the exact opposite. By and large we sit and wait for speculative developers to come forward for planning permission with projects that we hope will fulfil all the economic and social objectives an area needs, and we are invariably disappointed. The model of the Olympic Delivery Authority and now the new mayoral London Legacy Development Corporation, show how we can do so much better. These lessons can be transferred not just to the new town of Ebbsfleet, but to major regeneration projects far from the south-east of England, and indeed to the vital task of doubling the nation’s supply of new homes.
I come now to a less positive lesson from the regeneration legacy of 2012. Despite all the brilliant outcomes from the Games, I feel that there is an Achilles heel in this success story. It is that the economic development that produced thousands of new jobs largely bypassed Londoners born and brought up in the East End. As the noble Lord, Lord Harris, said, the Select Committee met with local community groups and heard the sense of grievance that there had been so few opportunities for them. This is confirmed by statistics suggesting that despite there being 104,000 unemployed people in the Olympics boroughs, convergence with the rest of London on the employment criteria has lagged behind, even though more than 10,000 new jobs were created by the Games. Counting as a “local”—someone who has lived nearby for the last 18 months—misses the point. Waves of workers from eastern European countries moved here over the several years of the Olympics development, and they did a great job. I accept the point made by a manager on one of the projects we visited. He agreed that it was a pity that no one on the site was truly a local, but asked, “What did you want—the Olympic village built on time and on budget or a construction training scheme for local residents?” He had a point.
In a world of globalised labour markets and with a major problem in this country of poorly targeted skills building, we cannot blame the leadership of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for failing to engage enough home-grown talent. Some useful efforts were made to persuade contractors to take on apprentices and the results were better than for most construction sites, but largely the opportunity was missed. However, the massive regeneration effort kick-started by the Games will run and run. I note in today’s Budget, for example, that extensive housing and development is to be supported in Barking and that some 6,000 new jobs are likely to result. It is not too late to change our ways and use investment in regeneration to skill up many young people—there are still nearly 1 million under 25 year-olds who are not in employment, education or training—so that we can gain not just buildings but jobs for local labour. It is wasteful to pull in the next cohort of eastern European building workers while the unemployed of east London remain unskilled and dejected.
I commend the report released two weeks ago following an inquiry by a cross-party group of parliamentarians jointly chaired by the right honourable Nick Raynsford and myself called No More Lost Generations: Creating Construction Jobs for Young People. The report, which was backed by the Construction Industry Training Board and the Chartered Institute of Building, calls for work in schools and for careers advice about the opportunities in an industry that reckons it will need over 500,000 more workers over the next four years to replace those retiring and to cope with the current expansion of building activity. Yet, as the report notes, only 7,200 apprenticeships were completed in the construction industry last year. I was encouraged by the Government’s and the mayor’s response to our firm recommendations that this issue should henceforth be given real priority in order to take forward the legacy of the Games, and I hope that the LLDC will see this through.
In conclusion, the regeneration legacy of the 2012 Games is truly wonderful and demonstrates what a proactive, empowered and devolved development structure can deliver. But as we continue to regenerate east London, and indeed take the legacy lessons elsewhere, I hope that we can use the resulting investment to achieve a double benefit, not just the infrastructure and new homes we need, but the apprenticeships, the training and the jobs that the construction industry can so importantly provide for our own next generation of workers.
My Lords, 10 years ago in your Lordships’ House, the day after London was shortlisted by the International Olympic Committee as one of the bidding cities for the 2012 Olympic Games, I tabled a Motion for debate to call attention to the progress of the London 2012 Olympic bid. Our prospects were not good. The IOC may have shortlisted us, but we lay eighth out of nine cities, behind Madrid and Paris and even Leipzig, Moscow and Havana. The demonstration of all-party support that day was as important to the success of the bid as I believe it is important to the success of the sporting legacy. This House has continued to play a significant role and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Harris, the Select Committee and the clerks on their work. The report holds out real hope that an urban regeneration programme can deliver an outstanding and lasting legacy for east London. If it does, it will be due in no small part to the foresight and skills of the Olympic Delivery Authority chairman, Sir John Armitt, the chief executive, David Higgins, and the senior management team, including outstanding contributions from Dennis Hone and Alison Nimmo.
Olympic glory represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement. Its attainment requires a partnership between the highly talented athletes who compete and a national sporting infrastructure that allows them to rise to the top because of it rather than in spite of it. As chairman of the British Olympic Association which was tasked with selecting, leading and managing Team GB for the Games in Beijing and London, it is my firm belief that Olympic success requires a dynamic, vibrant, positive and inclusive approach that reaches up from the grass roots of primary schools and after-school clubs to the very pinnacle of elite performance.
As the report concluded, the true sports legacy of London 2012 will come through the protection of playing fields and facilities, quality PE teachers, first-rate coaches, enthused volunteers and the transformation of sport in our schools. London 2012 was the opportunity to provide the inspiration to generate a step change in the provision of school sport. However, as we discovered during the work of the Select Committee, very sadly, it has barely touched the sides and has left a generation uncertain and at the centre of an increasingly sterile debate over the success or otherwise of school sports partnerships. If every school had a trained PE teacher, a programme of building relationships with professional and voluntary clubs, a strong competition framework, and a supportive head backed by parents and local clubs, there is no reason why school sport should not succeed in this country, as it does in all leading sports nations.
We need to meet the goal set out by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, following his attendance at the closing ceremony in Beijing, to extend the time pupils participate in sport from two to five hours a week, if necessary by a longer school day, and set a date by which we intend to deliver this objective. Such a policy would pay for itself many times over in educational and health benefits for young people, particularly by addressing the challenge of obesity and inactivity. Physical education should be an entitlement for all children and young people, and the keystone of a sustainable sports legacy. Our attitude to sport and its role in our lives is formed in childhood and in school sport. We need to deliver physical literacy and to recognise the social policy benefits of sport in our communities. Sport is the great social worker.
According to afPE, at least 40% of all newly qualified primary school teachers receive six hours or less preparation to teach physical education out of the totality of their training. That requires a response which goes far beyond the nominal pilot projects which have been commissioned by government and were mentioned to us in evidence. A nationwide approach to finding a solution is essential, and the Department of Health should be central to this campaign, not on the fringes.
Although we heard that many of the activities organised around the School Games have been fun, the four pathway levels are not functioning as effectively as we would like. It is a little-appreciated fact that no school competes at national level; young people represent the region in which they live. Thus it is impossible to capitalise on the loyalty between pupils and their schools which inspires success. These are not the School Games—they are the School-Age Games. With the level of funding involved, the governing bodies of sport, which in many cases have run inter-school competitions at local, regional and national level for more than a century, could transform the landscape for far more children, in far more sports, to a much higher level of attainment than has been achieved.
The Government have argued that there has been an increase in participation. In winding up, I would be grateful if my noble friend could confirm once and for all the position regarding participation levels in sport. My noble friend Lord Coe, in his evidence, talked of 1.5 million more people playing sport—but since 2005, he added. That 1.5 million comes against a background of a 4 million increase in population, the majority of whom are economically active or students. As such, the figure represents a decrease in participation among the overall population, and yet an increase was fundamental to the sports legacy that was set at the time we bid for the Games.
According to the breakdown by sport, there are six major professional sports in the UK, and the London Olympic Games regrettably had negligible impact on their activities. In order of economic impact they were: football, horseracing, tennis, cricket, rugby union and rugby league. In terms of participation, tennis moves above horseracing, but the list remains otherwise unchanged. Golf is the only other professional sport that has mass participation in the UK, and there is no evidence that this was impacted by London 2012.
Let us focus on the 26 summer Olympic sports and what they gained in the London 2012 process, bearing in mind that professional sports occupy more than 95% of the media coverage during an Olympic quadrennium. Of the sports I have mentioned, only football and tennis were Olympic sports in London, and participation in tennis, as the noble Baroness mentioned, has actually dropped since the Games, despite Team GB winning a gold and silver medal in the event. The two sports showing an upturn are swimming and cycling. Cycling has done so for a complex set of reasons, both Olympic and non-Olympic, including Team Sky and the remarkable success in the Tour de France, while swimming has recently been penalised heavily at the elite level by UK Sport.
As Hugh Robertson, Minister for the Olympics and one of the best Sports Ministers this county has seen, stated:
“We have held an Olympics which surpassed expectations; it has produced an amazing stimulus, and a new generation of sporting heroes. However anybody who remotely pretends it will be easy to increase general participation in sport is kidding themselves”.
It may not be easy. It will require a comprehensive overhaul of sports policy and a move to empower the governing bodies of sports, but it is essential that we reverse the current trend and not lose the requirement for an Olympic sports legacy by kicking it into the long grass and placing it in an arbitrary 20-year plan.
The National Lottery, introduced by Sir John Major in 1995, revolutionised funding, as my noble friend mentioned. At the top of the pyramid, the Select Committee reviewed the so-called “No Compromise” philosophy of the Government-appointed UK Sport—which is, incidentally, still without athlete representation on its board. Even UK Sport has never dared to echo the Government’s response to our report:
“UK Sport’s ‘No Compromise’ philosophy has taken the GB Olympic team from 36th in the medal table in Atlanta 1996 to 3rd in London in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
It is not the “No Compromise” approach that wins medals, but outstandingly talented able-bodied and disabled athletes, superb coaches from around the world, world-beating support systems and world-leading performance directors—all supported and led by the governing bodies and not run by UK Sport. The money from lottery players, channelled through UK Sport, is of course absolutely invaluable as a platform, but money does not guarantee a suite of medals. If it did, the results in swimming would have been very different. We have to empower the governing bodies to deliver the performance pathways at all levels: child, junior, senior and Olympic. It is performance pathways, not funding based on previously won medals—after which, incidentally, many of the athletes then retire—which should drive funding.
So far, the pursuit of the “No Compromise” approach has seen the demise of any chance of a sports legacy for synchronised swimming, handball, water polo, weightlifting and the full basketball programme—all of which have had their funding completely withdrawn by UK Sport. Volleyball is also down, by 90%. Are your Lordships and David Walsh the only independent campaigning voices for Olympic sport left? It is surely wrong as well for UK Sport to take the position that, as it stated in its evidence:
“We have no plans to review this approach as we have no wish to give other nations a competitive advantage over Team GB”.
John Coates, vice-president of the IOC and mastermind of Australia’s Olympic success over the years, demonstrated in his evidence that he fully understands every aspect of the “No Compromise” approach.
Furthermore, it is very unwise for anyone in government, of whichever political party, UK Sport and the ultra-secret work of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy to talk of exceeding the 29 gold medals won in London when we go to Rio —even when you include the new sports of rugby sevens and golf—before you know who you have selected and who you are competing against and, on top of that, not to take into account the home advantage we had, with Team GB supported by a nation of patriotic sports fans galvanised across the United Kingdom. Aspirations are fine, but medal projections are for the bookies, not for serious politicians and sports administrators. Sir Clive Woodward’s evidence about the cuts to Olympic sports and the impact on the future performance of Team GB was impressive in this context.
At stake in this report is the provision of a genuine, far-reaching and enriching sports legacy for this country: one which fundamentally transforms the expectations, aspirations and very lifestyles of future generations of children and adults alike. This was an outstanding report, the best on the subject from inside or outside Parliament. It allows us to have a defining moment in time, when we can revolutionise our sporting life—if we have the collective vision, courage and determination to do so.
Sadly, after a brilliant Games and with such potential for the regeneration of the urban legacy, precious little progress has been made on the sports front over the past two years. As the noble Lord, Lord Harris, said, this is deeply disappointing. We need determined leadership, strong independent voices, and members of the Cabinet sub-committee out on the road, not closeted in secrecy. We need commitment and attention to detail, not the generalities of long-term aspirations for the next 10 or 20 years of sport. We need action now, not in the distant future. We owe it to the British Olympians who made the Games great. Above all, we owe it to the athletes of tomorrow and the young people of today.
I begin by declaring an interest as Channel 4’s diversity executive and I am incredibly proud of Channel 4’s legacy as the Paralympic Games broadcaster. I echo the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, about Channel 4’s achievement in changing attitudes towards disability, not least the “Meet the Superhumans” trailer, masterminded by Dan Brooke. It was nothing less than a game-changer. So, too, was the entire legacy promise of London 2012. No previous Olympic Games had ever put legacy at the very heart of the bid. Our legacy promised,
“nothing less than a healthier and more successful sporting nation, open for business, with more active, sustainable, fair and inclusive communities”.
The key question was posed by one of our veteran 2012 medallists, the rower Greg Searle. He said: how do we turn all the national pride generated in all corners of the country into producing not just the next generation of Olympic gold medallists but the next generation of good citizens? How do we inspire a generation, make Britain a more active sporting nation and, through the Paralympics, give every disabled child the same chance of engaging in sport as their able-bodied counterparts? Our report considers those huge questions, and how we can fulfil the legacy before it is too late.
I will start with the most obvious and urgent legacy: a healthier, more active nation. Why is it so important? The answer is simple: it is a matter of life and death. Is this an exaggeration? It is not, especially if you live in Tower Hamlets. I will come to that shortly. The obvious starting point is the well documented obesity epidemic facing Britain. Data from the Health Survey for England show that by 2050 fully one-quarter of young people under 20 will be obese. Today only one-third of boys and one-quarter of girls achieve the recommended 60 minutes’ physical exercise a day. That means that two-thirds of boys and three-quarters of all our girls are setting themselves up for health problems in later life, including but not at all limited to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In other words, they are setting themselves up for premature death.
I am sorry to say that in Tower Hamlets we have already reached the future predicted for England in 2050. Today, on average, women in Tower Hamlets already die 18 years earlier than their counterparts in Richmond. Men in Tower Hamlets can worry a bit less: they die only 15 years earlier than their counterparts in Richmond. You lose approximately a year of life for every stop on the District line as you move from Richmond to Tower Hamlets. In Tower Hamlets, more than one-quarter of all children leaving primary school are clinically obese. If you add together the children leaving primary school in Tower Hamlets who are both overweight and obese, the figure is over 40%.
There are two things that will stop those children dying younger. It is not rocket science—we know what they are. One is increased activity and the other is better nutrition. I will leave better nutrition for another day, although I confess to being slightly obsessed with it, because too often I spend the morning at the school gates in Tower Hamlets watching children eat crisps for breakfast and drink fizzy cola. I will concentrate instead on increased activity and grass-roots participation in sports. That is why the committee’s recommendation to improve PE teaching is so important. In our report we state that,
“PE needs a greater emphasis in the school day … Improving PE is fundamental … and we call on the DfE and Ofsted to take more active roles in making this change happen”.
I endorse everything that the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said on this issue. If we need to lengthen the school day, let us lengthen the school day. Surely it is better than shortening children’s lives. I also endorse the excellent report by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, calling on the Government to give PE greater priority in the school curriculum.
It is absolutely critical to improve the link between primary school and secondary school sport. My noble friend Lady Billingham has already spoken about the sad demise of the school sport partnerships. The problem with the current system is that money goes to individual schools but does not support the sporting infrastructure between schools that promotes competitive sport.
A related problem that we have already heard about in some detail is the negative impact on team sports of the “No Compromise” approach. The focus on medals above all else has damaged funding opportunities for team sports. Team sports are the ones that kids are most likely to play—football, netball, volleyball, basketball, rugby and hockey —the sports we all remember playing as kids. They are the sports where you get the most bang for your buck in terms of grass-roots participation. They are the sports kids want to play. These sports will arguably do most to keep the London 2012 flame alive. How perverse would it be for our elite medal quest to reduce the sporting participation of British kids and shrink our sporting talent pool?
I understand that our approach has had huge success and I would be the first to say that I was filled with enormous pride at our medal haul. To come third in the world behind only China and America is extraordinary. The mountain we climbed was perilously steep, as we have heard, from being ranked 36th in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 to coming third overall in London 2012. But the one thing that would be even more extraordinary and make me even more proud of this country would be a 2012 legacy that inspired a fitter, healthier country. It would be seeing Britain climb the league table to become the healthiest and most active country in the industrialised world. It would be to see our children living longer and having more active and meaningful lives.
That is the thing about sport: it creates this magic thing that politicians and policy wonks call social cohesion. We all remember the Oldham riots, where Asians and whites fought running battles in the streets. What was the one thing, the only thing, that the council could find that represented a bridge between the two communities? It was football, and that is because sport is a universal language.
London 2012 also made sport more inclusive, particularly for disabled athletes, as we have heard, but also for women. Women in the Olympics have come a long way. The founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, is similar to many great men in history. His achievements were, well, great—and his belittlement of women was even greater. At the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, which de Coubertin arranged, 245 men took part, representing 14 countries, competing in 43 events. No women took part because de Coubertin said their presence would be,
“impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect”.
You wonder what he would have said about the Paralympics; it does not really bear thinking about.
In 1912, women were allowed to compete in swimming for the first time, but none of those competing was from the USA, because the USA banned its women from entering events without long skirts. I am not talking about Saudi Arabia; I am talking about the USA. That illustrates how far we have come. We have come so far, in fact, that, today, the words “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect” would probably be a fair way of describing our men’s football team in London 2012, but not our women. I salute all the British women who performed so magnificently and I look forward to the Minister securing equality of funding for women’s sports.
On the subject of fairer funding, we should also look at who gets to represent Britain in the first place. Elite sport is dominated by those who are privately educated—that should not be such a surprise, because everything is dominated by those who are fortunate enough to have a private education—but it is still staggering, even though we know that that is real world, to find, as the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, first pointed out to me, that more than 50% of the medals won in 2012 went to British athletes who were privately educated. Why should we get so exercised about that? Well, it is about the talent pool, stupid, because that means that more than 50% of our sporting talent is drawn from less than 7% of our population—the 7% of British children who go to private schools.
I have raised some of the problems affecting children growing up in very disadvantaged areas. These problems, which lead to nothing less than premature death, require structural change. One small yet decisive structural change in government that would support London’s 2012 legacy is our committee’s proposal to have a Minister for the Games Legacy. I have one simple question for the Minister: what harm could it do? It could no harm, yet it could secure immeasurable good. It would make current plans more coherent; it would give added impetus at a government level. It would cost nothing—zilch, zip, nada—not even a newly minted 12-sided pound coin, not even a threepenny bit. If it is so cheap at the price, why are the Government so resistant to considering it? It would be fantastic to get a considered reply and not just a restatement of government policy, although experience tells me that that is probably the most the Minister will be able to achieve—but I live in hope.
As our report states, and as the noble Lord, Lord Harris, who so ably chaired the committee, stated, we hunted for white elephants but we did not find them. What we found, despite the resounding success of London 2012, were myriad missed opportunities. Some were modest, some were galactic—such as the missed opportunity immediately to harness the enthusiasm of the volunteers—but the biggest missed opportunity would be a failure to nurture increased sporting participation. Given the link between sport and social cohesion, between sport and good citizenship, and between sport and living longer, it would be an unforgivable failure of the promise of 2012 if that legacy was not realised. I therefore urge the Minister to heed the report, which states:
“We are unconvinced that the Government’s current oversight arrangements represent a robust way to deliver the legacy”.
For that reason, I ask the Minister to give a more positive response to the committee’s well researched and evidenced recommendations than we have thus far received from them.
It was one of the most pleasurable and immensely interesting experiences of my three years in the Lords to take part in this Select Committee, ably and expertly led by our chair, the noble Lord, Lord Harris, and very well served by our excellent committee staff and our advisers. Above all, we all got on incredibly well. I wondered why that was and I think that, fundamentally, it was because we were discussing and examining something that was successful and we all had great determination that we were not going to lose the legacy of that success.
I think that there are four principal elements of this legacy. There is the ongoing sporting success which we want to lead to increased participation in our sport and to better lifestyles and health—we are, after all, a nation of great lovers of sport and it is always more enjoyable when we are good at it. The second legacy that we were interested in is the boost to business, which was so successfully involved in the running of the Olympics—the construction, the involvement of our creative sector, the event organisers, the logistics experts and sporting businesses. Thirdly, there was the huge success of delivery by government agencies, assisted by private sector expertise. We must learn the lessons from that and the best practice that was employed through that success. Finally, the most important thing going forward is the whole regeneration of the East End of London, which was at the heart of our original Olympic bid.
We have discussed a number of issues tonight, but I want to draw on a number of examples of people whom we met and people whom we visited to draw out lessons for the legacy. I want to start with the issue of elite sport. The medal tally was outstanding. There was, however, a huge advantage to the home team. We must have lower expectations in Brazil, because I fear that there will be a spiralling down of performance, as happened with Australia, which simply continued after Sydney through Beijing to London. That is a warning to us.
There were two evidence sessions which left a mark on me. The one has already been mentioned, with Sir Clive Woodward. Sir Clive Woodward was exceptional as a witness and he clearly played a key role in our athletes’ success. We know what happened to English rugby when he left that scene. We know also that he told us that there was a huge organisational effort behind the scenes to achieve success in the Olympics, where the margins between success and failure at this level are so narrow. He said that it would be very difficult to replicate that away from home, and the team has largely disassembled since. He gave us a warning also about the lack of encouragement to key underperforming team sports and said what we should do about it. It is most difficult to win in those sports, which is one reason why they are not targeted, but we know that they have large public participation benefits. We have to understand, obviously, the rigour in competition for encouraging success at elite sports. It puts pressure on improved performance.
However, we have also to admit that UK Sport has ignored our advice—it has done that this week. If it does not want to consider compromising on the basis of elite funding, somebody—I suppose that that is going to be Sport England or other organisations—has to provide parallel, complementary funding for community sports to encourage sports where there is high participation potential, even if elite success finds it very difficult to qualify for elite sport funding.
The second meeting which impressed me was that with Ian Drake, the chief executive of British Cycling—modest, professional, supremely successful in what he has achieved—setting out his original objectives. Twelve years ago, he told us, they had to advertise for athletes to be Olympic cyclists. The strategy that they adopted matched their elite performance success in Beijing and London, with target rates of public participation improvement. Now they choose from 50,000 competitive cyclists for their success at the senior level.
The approaches outlined by Clive Woodward and Ian Drake contrasted, as we have already heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, with the complacent approach of more wealthy major sports such as football and tennis. I hope that Greg Dyke will shake up football in England at national and community level and answer the questions: does Germany’s success depend much more on its community football structure, with twice as many volunteer qualified coaches than we have; and are training facilities and processes for players and coaches simply not rigorous enough?
As my noble friends Lord Holmes and Lord Moynihan said, elite sport success has been built on John Major’s initiative with the Lottery. Over £300 million goes into the current Olympic cycle for elite sport funding. However, others in the world will copy what we do and have achieved. They will poach our know-how and skills so that it will become much more difficult for us. We cannot stand still or be complacent. We must seek out enhanced, competitive advantage and, ultimately, focus on increased participation and better training pathways than other countries can produce.
As for regeneration, two visits struck me and stay in my mind as showing the challenge for regeneration. We have already heard of the meeting we had with the community residents in Newham. It was depressing. They saw little benefit from the Olympics. Their perceptions were of traffic congestion, construction work, Games disturbance and no jobs while their council houses remained unpainted. Then there was the uplifting meeting we had at Gainsborough School in Hackney Wick. Some 40% of children there were from immigrant population origins and 10% came to the school not speaking English. Yet it was vibrant—a well led school in a Victorian building, with only a tarmac courtyard for play facilities. We met keen, aspirational children who had been in the opening ceremony at the Olympics. They were enthusiastic about the Olympics and their own aspirations were encouraging. The school facilities were about to be transformed by two pitches on the Olympic park by the press and broadcast centre, with their own bridge across the canal from the school to those playing pitches built by the legacy corporation.
The challenge for us in regeneration, though, is whether we can retain the optimism and aspirations of these children as they move through our educational system. Regeneration will work well only if all parts of the community benefit and housing is provided that is affordable. I picked up one word of warning as we went round the park: the first £1 million flat was for sale. Is that a warning of what will come? As we regenerate and build, the skills of the local people—as the noble Lord, Lord Best, pointed out—must be harmonised and harnessed in that process. That started a bit, as we heard, in the Westfield shopping centre, but this is an area of low aspiration that must be transformed with better educational and technical training facilities. In the response from the Government and mayor, it is encouraging that they are moving ahead with the opening of two university technical colleges, one dealing with modern methods of construction of business units and the other with design and engineering. That is a start.
As for the stadium, we had two fascinating meetings with the CEO of West Ham and the chair of Leyton Orient. We thought the dispute between West Ham and Leyton Orient was unseemly. Having seen them, we were cautious in proposing that they should work closely together—that was probably wise. But the national stadium is iconic. It is bigger than those two clubs. There was a huge cost in changing the plans for that stadium. What matters now is that those two clubs do for their communities what really needs to be done and make a success of those facilities and their presence there. They have a key role in raising expectations and achievement in those communities. That role could be immense. It is also very important that the stadium sets a standard—as I am sure the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, will tell us in her remarks—for the quality and quantity of seating for the disabled. I was encouraged by the Government’s response to the report on that issue.
So much success in sport, business and indeed politics depends on strong confidence. The key to the Olympic legacy is not to lose the feeling of confidence that we really can achieve something in our sport, business ventures, regenerating east London and inspiring those young children we met in east London to aspire and take advantage of the Olympic legacy so that it becomes self-fulfilling.
My Lords, I, too, place on record my appreciation for the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, chaired the committee and the excellent support we were given by the committee clerk and his team, and the two special advisers.
As has been noted, the committee put in a very considerable volume of work at short notice to get our report completed by our deadline. Against that background, the Government’s response is disappointing. On many issues raised by the committee in its unanimous report there was little response more than restating government policy without regard to the report’s rationale. There is little point in incurring a commitment of time and money in undertaking such an investigation if the Government treat it less than rigorously. But, to be even-handed, I note my disappointment that there appears to be no direct comment from the Governments of Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, either, although many of the recommendations have a direct bearing on the responsibilities of those devolved Administrations. Of course, they have no obligation to respond. However, the Welsh Government recently took their own initiative. I will return to that in a moment.
I make one general point before addressing six or seven of the 41 government responses. The Olympic Games are awarded to a specific city and not to a country. The ethos of the Games requires that the competitors, and hence the competitions themselves, function within a reasonable proximity of the location at which the Games are held. These aspects are not always fully understood. As the general UK taxpayer had to fund the considerable cost of the Games, there was a feeling sometimes that they should benefit more from a greater spread of the activities. For example, there was no need to build artificial mountain cycling locations in Essex. There are perfectly good natural ones in Wales. Sports such as sailing which, inevitably, had to move away from London could have been held in locations such as Pwllheli, where many European competitions are held.
I accepted that London and south-east England would benefit far more from hosting the Games for those reasons, but perhaps the Government should have been more honest from the start by making that clear to everyone. I also repeat what I have gladly put on record many times: that the Olympic Games and, in particular, the Paralympic Games, were a tremendous success and that everyone involved—competitors, organisers, security services and volunteers and, indeed, both Governments—deserve congratulations.
Perhaps I may make a few brief comments on half a dozen issues arising directly from the Government’s response. First, there are the recommendations relating to sport in schools, to which several noble Lords have already alluded, particularly primary schools. I am looking at recommendations 4, 5 and 6. There does not seem to be any new government thinking on those matters; rather, there is the approach that “We are already doing what we deem appropriate”.
I urge the Government to follow carefully the initiatives taken in Wales arising from the work of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and her review committee. In fact, just yesterday, the Welsh Education Minister Huw Lewis announced a new £1.8 million physical literacy programme for schools. That is part of the response to the report of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, on schools and physical activity. It is to do four things: increase physical activity in schools; develop a physical literacy framework; involve prominent athletes in community sport; and build on Wales’s annual school sport survey.
The Welsh Government, in taking that strategic initiative, have asserted that physical literacy should be as important as reading and writing, which goes towards the proposal of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, that PE should be a core subject, something which will now be considered by Professor Graham Donaldson in his curriculum review, due shortly. No doubt the noble Baroness will expand on some of those points in her contribution.
However, I welcome the Government’s response 13, dealing with the access to and facilities for disabled people at sports grounds, particularly football grounds. I am glad that the Government are prepared to consider further legislation on licence conditions, and I hope that we will be hearing more about that. Can the Minister —our poacher turned gamekeeper, if I may put it that way—indicate the timescale envisaged to progress that legislative aspect?
I am somewhat disappointed by government response 15. It relates to the identification of the net benefit figures and the committee’s call for them to be published. The response has been woeful. The Government appear to be totally complacent about measuring the economic effects in terms of gross benefit and stubbornly refused to identify the net benefit. I can only conclude that they may have something to hide and that the net economic benefit is a much smaller proportion than the gross figures.
As we are repeatedly told that so many aspects of the project spending would have taken place in due course irrespective of the Games, I can only conclude that such infrastructure spending is being treated coyly to avoid the possibility of generating Barnett consequentials for the devolved Administrations.
On response 32, the committee called for SMEs to be helped in the public sector procurement process by having the “compete for” system permanently available. The Government’s response did not address our worries about the danger to SMEs of the proliferation of procurement tools. Can we be assured that the Government have taken that fully on board and are sensitive to the needs of SMEs, and that opportunities for SMEs will be equally available throughout the UK?
The committee noted in item 33 that south-east England benefited disproportionately from the Games and called on UKTI to assess the reasons for the disparity. The Government defend their record by quoting the number of projects going to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—14%, by number—but they do not give the figures with a breakdown by value and do not address the failure to give northern England a fair deal. That response is rather complacent.
I can, however, welcome the response to point 34 about the need to ensure that tourists coming to the UK get beyond south-east England. I notice that the DCMS has asked VisitBritain to address that issue and I hope that the House will be kept informed of progress.
I turn to response 37, dealing with the committee’s questioning of the existence of any long-term distinct legacy benefit of the Cultural Olympiad. The Government passed the buck in its entirety to the Arts Council of England, and every item that it mentions which has a geographic base is in fact in England. That is perhaps understandable for the Arts Council of England, but the Government are a UK Government, and taxpayers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland contributed to funding the Olympic Games. Surely the Government should have been aware of the need to address legacy issues in terms of the arts and culture in the three other nations, not just in England. Perhaps they have done so and have just forgotten to mention it in their response. Perhaps the Minister can clarify that.
Finally, I address item 39, which concerns the omission, tacitly acknowledged in the Government’s response, on ensuring that the legacy is delivered outside London and that a designated Minister should work with the devolved Administrations. The Government’s response is that it is a matter for the devolved Administrations to make the most of the Games’ legacy in devolved functions, so there will be no additional resources or co-ordination on those matters. I believe that that is letting down a particular aspect of the legacy. I pick out those points and ask for the Minister’s response on them, but there are many other points in the body of the report which I hope will not be forgotten.
My Lords, there are many speakers here this evening better equipped than I to talk about the sporting legacy of the Olympics. I was a member of the committee and it was a very enjoyable experience, as others have said, helped by a very able chairman and a back-up team who were excellent. I think it better if I restrict myself to some aspects of the broader legacy, particularly in employment, skills and trade.
The Olympics demonstrated that Britain is indeed Great and gave credence globally to the campaign being run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to market this country and what we can do. However, parts of Britain are not in some ways as great as others. Unemployment in the host boroughs was, as we have heard, prior to the Olympics some of the highest in the region. The massive project of the Games and the regeneration programme has improved the situation a little, but not enough. There is a continuing challenge to ensure that the boroughs get the new jobs that they need.
The Stratford City development as a whole is due to create 30,000 new jobs. Westfield at Stratford has already created 10,000 jobs and of those, a third went to local people who were previously long-term unemployed. There are those who carp that the Westfield shopping centre was going to go ahead, come what may, but it certainly happened sooner than it would have done without the Olympics and, for those who are working there, time of course is money. Meanwhile, of the people now employed at the Copper Box—the first venue on the Olympic park to reopen to the public and a wonderful facility for local people and schools—more than 90 per cent are local. Admittedly, this is a small number but the principle is encouraging. Equally encouraging is that the Copper Box is being run by a social enterprise and that several other businesses now operating within the Olympic park are social enterprises, giving people who work there not just a job but a sense of ownership.
At iCITY, which was the communications hub during the Olympics and Paralympics, tenants are being asked to have a quota of jobs for local people. This is a particularly exciting prospect because iCITY is to be home to some of the digital and communications businesses that are the future of this country—the real engines of growth. As your Lordships have heard, we were lucky enough to go along and visit the BT Sport centre. We saw the state-of-the-art studios that it has built in what was the communications centre during the Olympics. The studios are fantastic and were opened in record time, and they are taking on local people as well. New jobs are being created down there and yet the evidence we heard indicated that there was a degree of doubt, verging on cynicism, about whether the upsurge in job opportunities that is part of the Olympic legacy would benefit the local people.
The noble Lord, Lord Best, pointed out some of the reasons that that might be. One can sympathise with the belief that in getting the stadia ready and finished on time for the Olympics, getting there on time was more of a priority than training locals in the skills needed to create the buildings. However, there are now signs that that is changing. The legacy corporation is already working with local jobs brokerages but we recommended that people needed to be skilled up and that there should be a concerted effort by the Mayor, the host boroughs and employers to invest in developing a construction skills programme. There seems to have been great progress on this front and, as my noble friend Lord Stoneham pointed out, it is great news that not one but two university technical colleges are being built in east London to provide vocational training to lead 14 to 19 year-olds into careers in the construction and engineering fields.
We heard wonderfully cheering news today on the jobs front generally, with the Budget speech revealing that youth unemployment has been falling faster than at any time since 1997. That may, in part, be part of the Olympic legacy but we also heard about the Government’s determination to help businesses flourish and drive exports. There are some businesses which had hoped that their involvement in the Olympics would provide them with a major advantage in winning future contracts, but which have been disappointed. The Olympics provided a fantastic showcase for what Britain could deliver and UK Trade & Investment has done—and continues to do—a great deal to help many of those companies, big and small, that were involved in the 2012 Games. This was the first time that the International Olympic Committee had been persuaded to allow a supplier recognition scheme, which has allowed more than 770 companies to gain official recognition for their contribution to the Games and use it to promote themselves.
It is no fault of the Government that there are many other businesses which are precluded from taking this route. Many of them are in the creative industries, where the UK excels. According to PLASA, the trade association for the professional entertainment technology industry, some of the companies that were responsible for developing the most memorable moments in the opening and closing ceremonies, including the iconic Olympic rings, cannot boast about the fact that they were there and they did it. The reason is that the supplier recognition scheme is limited by the draconian Olympic no marketing rights protocol. The protocol is intended to protect the giants who are the major sponsors of the Olympics, so companies are excluded from the supplier recognition scheme if they are involved in—it is a broad-brush approach—audio, video and audio-visual equipment.
Our committee recommended that the Government should work with the British Olympic Association and suppliers to narrow the list of exclusions. The Government’s response to our recommendation was somewhat disappointing, albeit perhaps realistic. They said:
“There is no scope for changing these categories”.
While I acknowledge that the IOC is not always prepared to compromise—perhaps that is putting it mildly—it is surely worth encouraging the British Olympic Association to press further on this point. To put massive handicaps on David in order to protect Goliath seems to lack a bit of the Olympic spirit.
Let me give you just one example of how these broad-brush restrictions work in practice. Baldwin Boxall is an innovative business which provided the London Olympic stadium with a special voice communication system that would help disabled people in the event of an emergency, particularly a fire. It is for use in emergencies only. The system does not broadcast. Yet the company has been unable to use its involvement to market what it did in 2012 to help it pitch for Sochi or Rio. The reason is that Panasonic and Samsung are among the sponsors who need to be protected. Baldwin Boxall is an innovative business, but it employs just 45 people and has a turnover of around £5 million. Does Panasonic, with around 300,000 employees and revenue last year of $76 billion have anything to fear from Baldwin Boxall? Should Samsung, with 427,000 employees and revenue last year of not £5 million but $269 billion be frightened by the little company from the Wealden Industrial Estate in Crowborough?
Companies such as this helped the UK deliver a superb Games. They ought to be able to reap the rewards and, in so doing, they ought to be helping to boost British exports. The British Olympic Association surely needs to do better in battling for the little guys against the protectionism of the IOC.
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Harris, and the Select Committee for their helpful report and for keeping us all focused on the longer term issues that surround the Olympic project. The long-term legacy in east London has been the focus for my work over the past 16 years of involvement with this project. The Olympic project is far from finished; it is a work in progress. If done well, in partnership with the business and social enterprise sectors in east London it will continue to act as a catalyst regenerating an area that stretches across the lower Lea Valley from the O2 in the south, north up through Canning Town, Canary Wharf, Poplar and Stratford to Hackney Marshes.
I thought it might be most helpful this evening, as a director of the London Legacy Development Corporation —here I declare an interest—if I focus my remarks on the legacy and regeneration work being undertaken in east London. I will leave other matters mentioned in the report to those more expert than I in these areas.
The London Legacy Development Corporation is driving the legacy of the London 2012 Games to positively change the lives of east Londoners. By transforming the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a vibrant destination, we will develop a dynamic new heart for east London. Opportunities for local people will be created alongside innovation and growth for the rest of the UK. Our 10-year plan is to lead regeneration and create opportunity in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park through a number of routes.
First, we will create a successful and accessible park with world-class venues, leisure space for local people, arenas for thrilling sport, enticing entertainment and an ongoing programme of sporting, cultural and community events to attract visitors. Secondly, we will create opportunities and transformational change for local people, wider access to education and jobs, connecting communities and promoting convergence, bridging this gap between east London and the rest of the capital. Thirdly, we are creating a new heart for east London. We are doing this by securing investment from across London and beyond, by attracting and nurturing talent to create, design and make world-class, 21st century goods and services. The park will be a place where local residents and new arrivals choose to live, work and enjoy themselves, and where businesses choose to locate and invest. The legacy corporation is now working with partners to engage local people and help them to access jobs and business opportunities, and to use the facilities offered. We will make sure that the legacy is one that can be enjoyed by everyone, post-Games.
Since the end of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, huge progress has been made. We have removed temporary venues, improved transport connections across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and created beautiful parkland areas. The full opening of the park is on 5 April 2014—only weeks away. More than 1 million people have already visited the park since it partially opened in summer 2013. The future of all eight permanent London 2012 venues is now secure. This collectively means that London is further ahead than any other host city in history. Five new neighbourhoods are being created; each has its own distinctive character. Up to 10,000 homes will be built on the park by 2030. Chobham Manor, the first of these neighbourhoods, will start receiving residents in 2015. Demand has resulted in the acceleration of development in the East Wick and Sweetwater neighbourhoods, bringing forward completion from 2029 to 2023.
Approximately one-third of homes on the park developments will be affordable housing. Family homes will make up 70% of the available housing. These homes will be built to the latest sustainability standards: new play areas, schools, nurseries, community spaces, health centres and shops, as well as parkland and open spaces are being created. Alongside East Village, new community facilities have opened, benefiting both existing and new residents. A new school, Chobham Academy, opened in September 2013, offering free schooling for all ages alongside an advanced medical clinic, the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Centre, named after the founder of the Paralympic Games.
The legacy corporation is also working with the borough partners to ensure that training and job brokerage programmes help local people into work, so maintaining the positive work done by the Olympic Delivery Authority prior to the Games. For the current transformation workforce, the legacy corporation set targets that 25% would be from east London, 10% previously unemployed, 25% from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, 5% women, 3% disabled and 3% apprentices. These targets have been exceeded by a significant margin.
Some 20,000 jobs will be created by 2019, in addition to those already created by Westfield and other regenerated parts of east London, driven by the Games. This figure includes 5,300 jobs created by Here East—formerly iCITY—and a further 2,000 in the ensuing supply chain. The regeneration of Hackney Wick station is under way to kick-start work in the Hackney Wick/Fish Island area following £8.5 million of secured LEP funding. Some 4,421 jobs will result from the creation of housing, shops and other community facilities, and 250-plus jobs will be in the venues and stadium. There will be training and apprenticeship opportunities for the local community.
At a peak there were more than 1,000 workers on-site, and around 40% of the current on-site workforce live in one of the host boroughs. During a survey undertaken of the local workforce, more than 85% had been resident in one of the host boroughs for over a year. The legacy corporation is constantly working with the growth boroughs, partners and contractors to support apprenticeships and programmes to ensure that local employment targets are met.
Here East is located in the former press and broadcast centres on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will provide a new home with state-of-the-art infrastructure for the creative and digital industries. It will include a range of versatile spaces, bringing together global companies with London’s most innovative start-ups to collaborate and learn from each other. It will feature three main buildings: a 300,000 square foot innovation centre, a 1,045-seat auditorium, and an 850,000 square foot building housing educational space, broadcast studios, office space, and a state-of-the-art data centre.
Here East is being developed by iCITY; it is a joint venture between Delancey, a specialist real estate investment and advisory company, and Infinity SDC, the UK’s leading data centre operator. Here East has already secured a number of tenants and is over 40% pre-let. BT Sport is based at Here East with an 80,000 square foot production hub. That contains three industry-leading studios, 20 edit suites, three main interoperable galleries, four sports galleries, and an audience-holding area for a 160-strong audience. Loughborough University will create a multidisciplinary postgraduate teaching, research and enterprise facility. Hackney Community College will deliver its pioneering digital apprenticeship scheme within a new Tech City Apprenticeship Academy. Infinity SDC will develop one of the largest and most efficient data centres in Europe, featuring a 260,000 square foot gross internal area, fed by multiple power grids and providing 40 MVA of power with exceptional resilience.
On regeneration, in December 2013, plans were announced for the Olympicopolis project, a joint project between the legacy corporation, UCL and the V&A Museum to create an educational and cultural quarter on the park. This is a very exciting development which is expected to deliver an extra 10,000 jobs on the park and an additional £5.25 billion of economic value from the area. UCL is focusing on construction and finance, including what it can afford to contribute to development. The V&A is also exploring other cultural uses, as well as funding scenarios, including what can be funded by private sector development. We may bring in other partners and will determine the scope of our plans by the end of the year. We hope to make planning applications in 2015 subject to funding, and the Chancellor announced his commitment to backing plans for the creation of a major new higher education and cultural district on the park in December’s national infrastructure plan.
So much is happening, and those of us who have worked in east London for many years are delighted with progress to date, but there is still a great deal for all of us to do. There are of course some specific challenges, and I will highlight a few of them. First, we need to make sure that East Village is a “joined-up” community and that the disconnects between housing, education, health and business do not replicate themselves, as we have seen so often in government-led regeneration projects across this country. In my view, public sector bodies and businesses still have a great deal to learn about integration and the creation of joined-up communities. Governments should see the Olympic Park as an opportunity to innovate and learn about new ways in which to build dynamic, joined-up communities. This is still a challenge for large organisations, and we need to be encouraged to learn from and build on the local experience of building integrated communities in east London. Silo working will not get us anywhere.
The second challenge is to ensure that the developments on the park are fully integrated with the surrounding area. This will require focus and determination in the years to come. The third challenge is for the Government to tell a joined-up story about the developments that are happening down the lower Lea Valley, which stretch from those around the O2 and the Royal Docks; the airport, which is expanding; £3.7 billion of development in Canning Town; Canary Wharf, which may double in size in the next 10 years; a £1 billion development programme with local residents in Poplar; and the developments in Stratford and the Olympic Park. This is a new city growing in the East End of London—just join the dots. My colleagues and I will set this out at a major exhibition at ExCel in the Royal Docks from 3 May to 11 May, in partnership with Grand Designs Live, which will be called Walking on Water. Here I must declare a further interest. Noble Lords might like to come and have a look.
The future in east London is full of opportunity, but it still demands hard work, focus and a continuity of purpose.
My Lords, I think that it is reasonable to say that, when the committee first met, we had a fair degree of scepticism about such a legacy and that, if a legacy did exist, it would be minimal. Under the very able chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, and with unswerving guidance from our clerks, this, disappointingly, proved to be the case. Although the Government’s aspirations and intentions were well placed, our original doubt proved correct.
One of the principal justifications for spending £9 billion on this great sporting event was that it would transform overnight almost every aspect of how the public engaged with sport. We were all meant to pick up the nearest tennis racket or javelin and begin running, jumping, swimming, throwing and hitting with the passion of a convert. Well, it ain’t turned out quite like that. Taking the report as a whole, the comments and criticisms put forward by the committee found, strangely enough, an unusual agreement across most of the media, which possibly means that we were on the right track.
Out of all this, by far the most important point of this whole affair is physical education in schools, as so many noble Lords have said. In the committee, we made very forceful recommendations to the Government on this point. Physical exercise feeds the nation’s well-being; it causes the blood to flow more quickly and brings about a sense of achievement. It improves results in exams, as demonstrated in schools in Canada, and equally importantly, as mentioned before, it helps to combat the scourge of modern society, particularly among the young—the scourge of obesity. Of course, that would feed through into the hard-pressed NHS.
We called for investment to be made in primary school teachers and club coaches, the link between whom is of crucial importance, to create a more positive attitude to sport and physical activity in young people in the UK. We also called on the Government to require Ofsted to inspect and report on the time in the school day spent on PE, including out-of-hours sport, in all school inspections. That would ensure that school leaders take the development of PE seriously and invest in the professional development of teachers and coaches.
The Government’s response to these points was, frankly, pretty woolly. However, confirmation from the Department for Education that PE remains compulsory at all stages is welcome. It is absolutely essential that this continues to be the case, and woe betide any Government who relax this. As Graham Greene said:
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in”.
Why should not that future be that of great sporting heroes brought about by PE at a young age in our schools?
As regards individual sports mentioned in our report, I mention in particular tennis, which has been referred to, not only because I am a proud member of the Lords and Commons tennis team, captained recently by the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, but because I say that the criticism she levelled against the Lawn Tennis Association was totally justified. Over the years, I have been to a fair few meetings of the LTA and on all occasions found them to contain a lot of rather plausible waffle, with scant evidence of providing world-class players. I should tell your Lordships that both Andy Murray and Heather Watson did not go through the LTA system. The fact that the then chief executive received some £640,000 a year—the pay of a senior captain of industry—was a scandal. However, I now understand that the whole organisation has been restructured from top to bottom and that the new chief executive’s salary has been considerably reduced—and not before time.
Another of the report’s recommendations was that there needs to be a senior Minister, at Secretary-of-State level, to be responsible for accounting to Parliament for co-ordinating the delivery of this legacy. This would provide clear, identifiable national ownership of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy. Such a person should be resolute and determined to deliver the legacy. However, since this role would appear to involve every single department of government, we suspected that a certain amount of chaos could arise. It was unfortunate that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport was unable to tell us how often this committee met. It was left up to the galloping mayor, Boris Johnson, who came bounding along and, without hesitation, told us that it met only once a quarter. Does it show continuous resolve and determination to deliver this legacy that is so badly needed when the committee meets only four times a year to track the expenditure of £9 billion?
Out of our 41 recommendations, only one was accepted—that of ensuring that the regions outside London enjoy a tourism legacy from the Games. Were all the others that unacceptable? I think it is somewhat insulting to a committee of very diverse and able people who worked long and hard on this subject.
Governments, Ministers and civil servants come and go and we are on the verge of another general election. A new Government will appear with different priorities, policies and needs. It will take a very strong Government indeed to keep the flag of Olympic legacy flying high. While the Government’s intentions were noble, let us not forget that no Games have ever left behind a lasting boost in sporting participation. However, there have been benefits. For instance, all the remaining Olympic venues would appear to have viable, sustainable futures and the conversion of the athletes’ village into affordable housing is going well.
London 2012 was a wonderful party, and one that revived a desolate part of the capital. What the Olympics really gave us both in the organisation and in the performance of our athletes was the belief that we can be proud of our country and what it can achieve.
My Lords, in common with every other speaker in this debate, I express my appreciation to my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey not only for securing the debate but for the brilliant way in which he led the Select Committee. It was a pleasure to serve on it and I, too, thank our excellent clerk and special advisers who ensured that we covered the ground thoroughly and delivered the report on time. I also express my appreciation to my noble friend Lady King for suggesting the report’s title, Keeping the Flame Alive: The Olympic and Paralympic Legacy. It was an inspired choice which nobody else has mentioned this evening.
I remind the House of two relevant unpaid interests. I am a vice-president of the Football Conference and of Level Playing Field, formerly known as the National Association of Disabled Supporters. I shall be speaking mainly about football this evening.
Three aspects of our inquiry and recommendations are relevant. There was one issue on which we could make virtually no headway and the Government’s response has been virtually non-existent—the future of Great Britain’s Olympic football teams. We recommended that the British Olympic Association should continue to field at least a women’s GB team in future Games, and that efforts be made with the home nations’ football associations to field men’s teams in the Olympic under-23 tournament. I am aware that there are complications and sensitivities here, and the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, reminded the committee of some of those during our deliberations, particularly over a men’s team. However, given how important the Olympic Games are to women’s football across the world, it is regrettable that the Government have effectively washed their hands of this issue and said that this is a matter entirely for the football authorities and the BOA. In my view, Britain’s women footballers deserve better and would welcome some encouragement from the Government.
The second football issue was the one that attracted some media interest, and certainly the most colourful exchanges with witnesses. I refer of course to the future of the Olympic stadium and the dispute between West Ham United and Leyton Orient football clubs. Members of the committee will recall that on 24 July we took oral evidence in succession from Barry Hearn, chairman of Leyton Orient, and Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United. Hansard reports me at question 263 as asking Mr Hearn:
“on the ground-share, are you saying to the Committee that if the proposition was put forward that Leyton Orient would share the stadium with West Ham, you would welcome that?”.
Hansard goes on to report his reply, which was:
“Welcome it? My friend—excuse me for being familiar—I would welcome it. I would kiss you, right, and I do not normally kiss men”.
That exchange was picked up by the media, not just in this country but abroad.
While a number of members of the committee were surprised by just how favourable a deal West Ham had received, we did not examine that in detail. Our main concern was to ensure that the Olympic stadium should be available for community use in addition to becoming the home of West Ham. In the committee’s view, that should certainly include occasional use by Leyton Orient. I envisaged that that would be for matches such as major cup ties when their own ground at Brisbane Road was reckoned to be too small to cope with big crowds. The Government’s response to our report said that the London Legacy Development Corporation had arranged a meeting with Leyton Orient to discuss this issue, and I spoke to Mr Hearn yesterday—the first time that I had done so since that exchange in July. I was told that that meeting has now happened. However, bearing in mind that West Ham will be only a tenant of the stadium, not its operator, there seems to be room for some further discussions about a long-term ground share with Leyton Orient in order to help maintain its role as a community club and the stadium as a community facility.
I revert to the question of how to maximise benefits to the taxpayer. Your Lordships may have seen media reports that the present owners of West Ham United may be planning to sell its controlling interest in the club, which would be at a profit enormously inflated by the deal to occupy the Olympic stadium. I should therefore like to ask the Minister whether he can give an assurance that if such a sale materialises the taxpayer will receive a fair proportion of that enhanced value.
On the third of the football-related issues that we covered, I am hopeful that we will eventually record a success—in meeting the need to provide appropriate standards of access and facilities for disabled supporters, which is covered in our recommendation 13. The context for this was set by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, who is going to speak to us in a moment, in her oral evidence to the committee on 3 July. She contrasted the provision of facilities for disabled supporters at the Olympic and Paralympic Games with the situation in most Premier League football grounds, which she described as,
“pretty shocking if you are a wheelchair user”.
In response to questions, the noble Baroness agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, that it should be illegal for football clubs to discriminate on the basis of a disability, and with his analogy of clubs having to comply by law with safety requirements, in providing disabled access.
We returned to this issue when the committee questioned the Secretary of State, Maria Miller, on 9 October. We drew attention to the success of the Paralympic Games and the change in public attitudes towards disabled sport generally. However, as far as access to sports grounds is concerned, the situation is patchy at best and scandalous at worst. I referred to recent reports that places for disabled supporters at some Premiership football grounds had been taken out to make way for more television camera positions. By coincidence, the BBC screened an item on its TV news bulletins yesterday, reporting on the findings of its own investigation into disabled access at Premier League grounds. It centred on the experience of Mr Anthony Joy, an Arsenal fan and wheelchair user. The BBC reported that only Swansea, Southampton and Cardiff City comply with the recommendations of the Accessible Stadia guide, and that eight clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, do not provide even half the number of wheelchair spaces laid down in the guide. Mr Joy said that at West Ham, Aston Villa and Liverpool the limited number of spaces meant that he had had to sit with the home fans.
Taking all 92 professional football clubs into account, only 14 provide the minimum recommended number of wheelchair user spaces, and many clubs offer only very few away spaces for wheelchair users, some as few as three. This is not good enough and something has to be done. As Level Playing Field said in its evidence to the Select Committee, it is,
“unacceptable within an industry that remains collectively wealthy with record-breaking resources including the new Premier League TV broadcasting deal for 2013/14 which is reported to be in excess of £5.5 billion”.
I was pleased to see that in their response to our report the Government said that they agreed that,
“disabled people should be provided with appropriate standards of access to football and other sports grounds, to continue the successes around accessibility at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Equality Act 2010 requires providers of services to the public, including sports grounds, to make reasonable adjustments so that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in accessing those services”.
If football is to avoid having to face scores of claims for damages under the Equality Act, action is needed now. First, there needs to be an access audit review into what has to be done at each ground to ensure that every club meets at least the minimum requirements of the ASG. A strict timetable must then be established for the implementation of the necessary work, similar to what happened in the aftermath of the Taylor report into the Hillsborough stadium disaster, when clubs in the top divisions had to go all-seater within a specified timeframe. This programme should be overseen by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and funded, if necessary, by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund. However, given the amount of money within football today compared with 20 or so years ago, and with clubs prepared to pay players up to £300,000 a week, it is not acceptable for the clubs to plead poverty and to continue to neglect the reasonable access needs of their disabled fans. They have had more than 20 years to make the necessary changes under the DDA.
My final question to the Minister is a simple one. Given the positive nature of the Government’s response to the Select Committee and the encouraging nature of the Secretary of State’s answers to the committee, will he confirm that they are serious about seeing the necessary programme through, that they will, if necessary, hold football’s feet to the fire and legislate if necessary to make it all happen?
My Lords, I very much welcome the debate tonight and commend the work of the committee. It has produced a very detailed report covering many areas, but I hope that the detail of the report and some of the challenges that the committee highlighted mean that this matter will not be ignored in the future. I have said repeatedly, both before and since the London 2012 Games, that we cannot just expect legacy to happen, but there are many different ways in which we can encourage it.
I have a number of interests to declare. Everything is listed on the register but the most pertinent ones for tonight are that I sit as a board member of LLDC and Transport for London. I did work with LOCOG and am a trustee of SportsAid.
Tonight, I shall cover several areas of the report. The Paralympic Games were amazing. They exceeded every expectation that I could possibly have had. On day 1 of the athletics, at 9.50 am, with the session starting at 10 am, the stadium was packed with 80,000 people. Going back to the days when I competed in Atlanta where we could literally name the crowd, I never thought that we would get to a Games where the public would engage in such an amazing way.
Looking back, it perhaps seems that some of those things were easy to achieve. But there were many challenges along the way and a number of people deserve praise, not least the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, for his work in integrating the Paralympic Games into the organising committee. I also worked closely with the diversity and inclusion team, which should be congratulated on the incredible work that it did in employment, procurement and volunteering, which will have a long-term effect, although some of the challenges are difficult to measure.
I am convinced that the Paralympic Games changed the attitude towards Paralympians, but I am not sure that it did much to change the attitude towards disabled people in general. We only have to look at the disability hate crime figures, which when last reported were the worst they have been in 10 years, to see that there is a mismatch between how the public view Paralympians and disabled people.
I strongly welcome the new Sport England targets on disability participation. This is the first time that any governing body will be seriously measured on what it does for disabled athletes, although it has been included previously in various plans. We need to be careful about how we measure participation and that we do not have double or triple accounting, and that we genuinely measure the number of disabled people who have opportunities.
In terms of how we measure equality within sport, I would be interested to find out how many of our Olympic and Paralympic national governing bodies employ disabled people. These data are probably not available now but, in terms of disability rights, we spend a great deal of time talking about co-production, and the idea of working with disabled people and them being part of the decisions that affect them. From what I see of our national governing bodies, we do not have enough disabled people working in the bodies, coaching or volunteering. With a little effort, that easily could be achieved. Through my work with the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, we know that there are not enough women on sports governing bodies. It is my guess that the representation of disabled people is even less.
Wearing my LLDC hat, I am really pleased that there are no white elephants, although I have to say that all that work was done before I joined the board. However, London set the most amazing standard for inclusion for spectators. For the first time ever I went to a sporting event and was able to sit with the people with whom I had bought tickets. My family were not sent 10 rows in front of me and my daughter was not sent to sit in another stand completely. The sightlines were amazing and you could see everything that was going on. The platforms were built in such a way that when everyone jumped up at the start of the 100 metres, we were still able to see. There were some very simple things: for example, the toilets were in appropriate places and the access to food was amazing. In addition, the Games makers were trained to be positively helpful.
Where we are now was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, as regards spectator seating in football clubs, which is not good enough. To have three clubs that provide decent access is poor. We are missing out on a massive opportunity. I strongly support Joyce Cook from Level Playing Field when she said that the clubs need to react to the DDA and Equality Act legislation. It is not as if they have not had a decent amount of support. Information that the clubs have been given goes back as far as 1995 and they still have not done enough to rectify this. The Government provided a detailed, self-explanatory response, so I do not expect the Minister to respond on this matter. But I would strongly support any work that the Government were going to do in that area.
I also do not think that it is acceptable for fans who are wheelchair users to have to sit with the opposing team. That is completely unacceptable. But I also strongly disagree with clubs that offer either a specialist pricing programme or a different way of accessing tickets. What that usually means is that disabled people cannot just buy a ticket the same way as anyone else: they are reliant on a smaller body within the club to allocate them tickets. That is not always a terribly fair way of allocating them. It also means that a disabled person cannot complain. If they complain about the sightlines or lack of access to toilets or food, they will not get tickets next time and they will be even further excluded from watching the sport they love. I was therefore delighted when the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, mentioned that the EHRC will be helping those sports that require to be pushed in a slightly more positive direction.
Transport at Games time was amazing. Last week, I helped to launch “turn up and go” for London Overground, which is about disabled people not having to book 24 hours in advance to travel on the overground in London. The booking system that exists whereby wheelchair users have to book 24 hours in advance makes some sense to me, but disabled people need flexibility in their lives and should be able just to turn up on public transport and travel whenever they wish. I really hope that this will expand out across the whole of the rail network.
Just last week, I was invited to take part in a radio interview with a disabled businesswoman called Sarah Rennie. She was on a train but found out that the only accessible space was in the quiet coach, so she was not able to work. Just a couple of days later, I found myself in exactly the same position when I was travelling from London to Cardiff. I also found out that on a two-hour journey there were no accessible toilets. That particular train company, First Great Western, has since said that on those services it does not have accessible toilets in that particular carriage. It is hard to see that disabled people in the areas of transport are not experiencing some level of discrimination, and I plan to write to the Department for Transport on that particular matter.
In terms of participation, there are some really good things happening, but it does not always feel like that work is joined up. In terms of a living legacy, associations such as SportsAid, which has been around for a very long time and will continue to be around, is doing great work in terms of helping talented athletes, but also working with them to find the next generation of practitioners, strength and conditioning coaches, physios, and sports psychologists, and finding different ways to develop young athletes’ skills. But I firmly believe that we need to have other schemes that do not have such a huge profile, such as the talented athlete scholarship scheme, which helps athletes stay in education while they are training to make sure that when they leave sport they have other things to go on to.
That leads me to my view on elite sport. I sat on UK Sport for two terms and I also sat for one term of “Mission 2012”. I completely understand and accept that the “No Compromise” situation for London was okay, but we need to think differently about how we support our sports teams and how we enable them to get up to a decent international level. Over the years, I have seen many national governing bodies have several attempts to get it right. The sports that are now successful were not immediately so when lottery funding first came in. Gymnastics was one sport that was funded, then not funded and then funded again. It was a maelstrom for athletes and coaches who did not know where they stood. I wonder whether there is anything we can learn from history. By now, we must know quite a lot about performance planning and about how to be efficient with money. I do not think we are talking about huge sums in terms of helping athletes to be the best that they can.
I was really disappointed to learn that water polo, basketball, goalball, synchronised swimming, visually impaired football and wheelchair fencing today lost their appeal. Particularly on water polo I received a huge number of e-mails—possibly the largest number that I have ever received in the time that I have sat in your Lordships’ House—from young girls who want to play water polo saying that they do not know where to go. That is the sport that they want to play and they do not want to be talent transferred to another sport, but they do not feel that they have any options.
At the moment, we are in danger of telling people who have an aspiration to be an Olympian or Paralympian that they cannot do the sport they love. I understand that lots of sports such as lacrosse do not have much funding, but they are not Olympic or Paralympic sports. At the moment, we are consigning these sports to little chance of international success. David Owen, the journalist mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, has been vocal about this—he tweeted this evening that we should,
“think about medallists, not just medals”.
Team sports can create many role models but bring in only one medal. I think that the current view is short-sighted. I do not want to be where Australia was in London 2012. I enjoy the friendly rivalry with the Australians and I love beating them, but I like to beat them when they are good, not when they are bad.
Finally, I would like to talk about physical activity. I thank the Select Committee for mentioning my work chairing the schools and physical activity task and finish group on the role of PE in Welsh schools, and I pay tribute to the members of that group who were all experts working on the ground. I worked hard on the project and it led to quite a radical report that made one single recommendation, which was to make PE a core subject. The idea behind it is about physical literacy and balancing that between literacy and numeracy. It is also about influencing teacher training and measuring equality of experience. It is not about measuring how high children can jump or how quickly they can run but about measuring the core skills they acquire. So I was delighted to learn yesterday that the Welsh Assembly Government have announced £1.78 million for a new physical literacy programme and a further £2.35 million has been agreed in principle to continue this work, subject to review.
In England, the money that has been confirmed for English schools is welcome, but I wonder whether the Minister can explain what plans Her Majesty’s Government have to help teachers make cost-effective use of that money. I have seen amazing teachers working in primary schools, but most of the time it feels like it is down to luck—it is because of the sporty teacher, the person who wants to do it. Some teachers find it a struggle and some head teachers may not understand the benefits of sport. They will not make the best use of this money. The situation in schools is this: if our children were being taught maths by someone who stopped engaging with maths at the age of eight, had a really bad experience of it, and then went to teacher training college where the tuition on how to teach the subject lasted four to six hours, there would be universal outrage, but that is happening in PE. I accept that that is a gross generalisation of the worst of the worst, but how can we expect our children to acquire the correct skills if we do not equip teachers to help them in the best way they can? I firmly believe that our children deserve better.
The Games alone cannot change the world. They did a huge amount to move things forward, but we still have an opportunity to do better. I am sure that we will return to this debate and I look forward to the Minister’s response.
My Lords, one of the most moving experiences of my life occurred as a result of being in your Lordships’ House. I was invited to participate in the medal ceremonies for the Paralympic Games. I presented six medals to people who had done extraordinary things in an extraordinary competition. The crowd was amazing in its support of the athletes, but what struck me most was that for those professional athletes or those operating at such a high level, I thought that all the emotion would be in the winning. In fact, the emotion was in receiving the medals—standing up and representing your country and being applauded by everyone, including your peers. The moments spent in the green room before the medal ceremonies were some of the most intense that I have ever experienced. It was an extraordinary and life-affirming occasion for me.
This has been a fantastic debate. I think that all the speakers have performed brilliantly. Speaking or being in this House is not an Olympic sport, nor I suspect will it ever be, but I think we should remember that we are up against a rather amazing football match in which a well known team looks as though it might actually win for a change, but noble Lords are in the Chamber and staying until the end of the debate. I am sure that the noble Baroness sitting opposite has the match on her very attractively styled iPad. Perhaps she will tell us when it is finally over because there are still a few minutes of stoppage time, but it is quite close. Anyway, enough of such boring things.
It must have been a fun Select Committee to serve on, and I must say that I felt a twinge of interest when I learnt about all the various things that happened. To have done all that work in such a compressed time speaks volumes about my noble friend Lord Harris and his ability to command and control. We experience it regularly on our side of the House because he chairs our Wednesday party meetings. You have to be very careful when he is in the chair. Clearly the committee was a model for the work of the House. The only thing I am concerned about is this. Why is it that such brilliant reports and the good debates that take place as a result of them are put down at relatively unpopular times, particularly when the House is relatively light? Perhaps the usual channels, which are represented here this evening, might take this comment away and think about it. This has been a really good debate which deserved a better audience and a greater chance to reach out and take its message to others. It would be nice if that were the case.
The point was made, which I think was a good one, that the committee’s timing might have been a problem, in the sense that, although it was post-euphoria, it probably did not have sufficient distance to look and see what main learning points we took from the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is something for the House authorities, but maybe the committee should agree voluntarily to reconvene perhaps in four-year Olympic cycles so that it can keep track of this over a much longer period. It is only in that way that the necessary learning and evaluation can take place, from the necessary distance. That may be too difficult to organise within our rather odd procedures, but I recommend the thought as a way of maintaining longevity for what has obviously been a very useful and appropriate use of the resources of the House.
What I have taken from the debate is an overall judgment that the Games were a spectacular success. They came, I think in the words of my noble friend Lord Harris, tantalisingly close to delivering what we would probably all agree was a legacy—not just limited to sporting issues but more generally. However, the term is problematic and we should perhaps not spend too much time worrying about what does and what does not qualify as a legacy. The Games seem to have not been successful as a beacon lighting the way for us who follow behind in terms of what we could learn from that and what we could do as a result of having experienced them. Instead, they rather cast a shadow in which the worry is that many of us, and most people in the country, have slipped back into our older bad ways and have not made a step change in our habits, activities or focus, which was what was hoped for.
It is the British disease to knock our successes, so we should not go over the top in terms of being critical about what happened. We clearly punched our weight in every conceivable way in terms of delivering a fantastic Games. For the first time, as noble Lords have said around the House, we embraced Paralympic sport and allowed it to come up to its rightful level as an equal partner in the arrangements. We increased women’s participation and helped to valorise that activity across the whole country. It re-inspired us in terms of what we call volunteering. All sports that I have ever witnessed or been involved in rely on volunteers, but to see them operating in London on the scale that they did was a dimension that we had not anticipated and was fantastic. We have regenerated east London and proved, in the words I think of the noble Lord, Lord Best, that the public realm can actually deliver fantastic changes to our houses and public spaces, and that we do not have to wait in the hope that some private sector company will, relying on the profit motive, somehow deliver something that would be of value to us. There are different ways of doing this and we should learn from that.
Why did we achieve this and what lessons should we learn from it? A common theme in all the speeches, although not always explicit, was that one of the key factors was that this was an apolitical process. All the parties concerned made this work, despite changes in the mayoralty and in government at the time. It was maybe sometimes difficult to restrain the natural wish to attack that which you see, but it was very important that in all the early stages, over the transitions and towards the end, everybody pulled together. It really made a difference.
It also helped that the budgeting was done in a sensible and mature way. We gave what seemed necessary to deliver the best Games possible—we did not whinge too much, there was a whacking great contingency and therefore, not surprisingly, they came in under budget. You just have to accept that the big-ticket costs are going to be there for this sort of event, and it was a huge occasion. It was well planned, and we have not said enough about the quality of the team that was recruited to deliver the Games and all the activities that went into them. The members of that team were superb and we owe them a great debt.
The scale and ambition of the Olympics and Paralympics has led to them being described in one of the reports that I have read, by the DCMS I think, as “mega” events. They did of course have a number of side products, because they encouraged co-ordination within government and across a range of bodies and organisations. The DCMS rather coyly says that these organisations perhaps would not normally have worked together but had to do so in order to deliver the Olympic Games. Maybe something of that idea of working with people you do not normally even spend time with might stick.
A similar but slightly different issue is how we had to improve our communications. Running so many events in so many different places over such a short period requires excellent communication, and the stakeholders, businesses, organisers and the Government had to improve what they normally did. They did, and that should not be undervalued.
We might never in our lifetimes repeat the Games on the scale that we saw in London but it was clearly a learning experience for everyone who was involved, even tangentially, in this work. As the DCMS report says, it clearly helped many organisations,
“to develop new skills, approaches and strategies”,
and, again rather coyly, to become,
“less frightened of complicated projects”.
So that is the answer: we just have to make things more complicated and they will be delivered. That is all right. We have learnt that and we should tick that box when it comes to be ticked.
That is all very macro and not very detailed, so what should we be doing about some of this stuff? Clearly the report and the committee’s discussions lead us towards suggestions about what we should do. First, as we have heard, it is important that we recognise that there are some negatives and things that did not go right. There are still some things that are not working as well as we would like. We should not have our eyes taken over the horizon and ignore things such as the travel stories related by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, which are just ridiculous. Perhaps this is a tribute to the Games and the fact that we have been so exposed to it, but these problems now seem to be from some time in the past and I am really quite shocked that they still exist in modern transport arrangements. But if they are there, there must be some changes and I hope that the Government will pick up all those examples and ensure that we get an improvement in the way the world operates.
A number of noble Lords said that they were disappointed by the Government’s response, and I can see where that comes from. The report received the distinction of getting a very long response from the Government, which deals with all the points, but the tone is not right. It seems very limiting about where it might go and does not leave any real aspiration in terms of the discussions, and I think that is a pity. I hope that the Minister might put a gloss on some of that.
The speeches tonight were really good. I took a great deal from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, some of which I think he has given before. I mean no disrespect to him at all but I think this is the first time I have seen him try to give an all-encompassing view of what we need to do to better arrange our disposition of resources for elite athletes and to encourage the participation of those who will never reach the elite level but who need and want to be part of a more active and more participative society. We must read what he said carefully. Again, I hope that the Minister will respond to it and think carefully about the tone of what was said, because in the report there was a sense of bringing together a number of themes and thoughts that would bear further discussion and debate.
The figures given by my noble friend Lady King about the obesity situation in her area were shocking. I recall that when we won the right to host the Games in Singapore, the then Government made a promise to the IOC and, indeed, to the people of this country that we would inspire a generation of young people through sport. This was not just because of sport but because of the important underlying link to obesity and fitness.
It has been said that inactivity is probably the biggest public health problem of the 21st century and I think there is a lot in that. Physical inactivity, along with poor diet, has led to the epidemic of obesity that we have heard about, with 26% of adults and 30% of children in this country now classified as obese—the fourth highest level in the world. That is simply shocking. Other associations with exercise that we need to think about include the way that it reduces stress, anxiety and depression. We have also heard how high-quality PE and sports programmes, managed by committed and trained teachers and coaches, can boost attendance among certain groups of children at school, challenge anti-social behaviour and, most importantly, boost academic performance. So there is some value in that. Will the Minister explain what is happening in school sport?
We knew when we got the Games that simply having a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games would not necessarily bring about a sustained increase in sports participation, and there is research evidence to support that. That is why, as the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, reminded us, the previous Government invested year on year in school and community sport in the years running up to the Olympics. The number of young people doing at least two or more hours of sport per week had risen to 90%, with 55% doing three or more hours a week, which is a very important aspect of what we have been saying. However, since 2010, we have seen some of this sporting infrastructure begin to disappear. There has been a reduction of about 70% in funding to school sport. Can the Minister remind us what is in the plan and how that will change over the next few years?
What is happening to adult participation? There was a target of 2 million more people being physically active as a result of the Games—which was mentioned by my noble friend Lady Billingham—and, overall, 1 million more people being active through sport. Money was given to Sport England to get “whole sports plans” for national sporting bodies to drive up participation. I agree with the report’s view that these plans need to be made transparent and that we should discuss and debate them because they are important, but the money has been cut and the number of those who are active in sport has gone down, which is not a good thing.
What is the government response to that? Is there any hope that they might look again at how the sports bodies deliver those funds and make sure not only that those adults who are interested participate in sport at the appropriate level but that far more people generally get active in sport?
I have suggested that one of the key elements of that must be to try to work together across the parties. It is important that we get across some of the ideas that might put some flesh on that. It was an important part of the success of the Games that we were able to work together across the political parties. It does not often happen in British politics, although the Leveson episode is another that we could pray in aid in this. Is it not about time that we thought about that in relation to the legacy? We have had a success. Team GB has been fantastic. The television coverage brought that out to the widest possible audience that we could get, and they loved it. So could the real legacy be that we should make the future of sport above party politics? Why do the Government not expand the current, rather secretive Cabinet committee and make it cross-party, and invite all the organisations responsible for making sport happen in our country to come together and see whether we can get some real, concrete action?
Let us reverse the downward trend in public funding for sport and physical activity. Working cross-government and cross-party on that, that might be achievable. Any investment that raises participation in sport has to be a good thing and there would be savings. One could perhaps have as a national indicator that the amount of money that goes into sport should be a reflection of the savings that would come later in the life cycle in terms of what the NHS would have to bear if there was disease related to lack of activity.
What about the structures that we have talked about tonight? We should try to come up with something that genuinely serves the elite but also improves participation. It would need a lot of work and effort, and there are lots of ways in which it would be difficult to do because of the way in which sports are organised in the country and strength of the clubs. However, working together and working across party, maybe that is possible.
The most important issue that has come out of the report, and one that I would like to see most attention paid to, is the question of primary schools, which, as many noble Lords have said, is probably where we have to start. Habits for sport and exercise, we know, are set early in life, and all the available evidence indicates that expert coaching at an early age is the best route to installing lifelong sporting habits. But it has to be expert; it has to be properly delivered; and it has to be done in a way that is consistent and does not depend on the individual in the smaller primary schools who might not have the right training or approach. School sports partnerships had a big impact on improving the sporting offer. It is interesting that the model that was adopted by the previous Government has now been picked up by Australia, Brazil and Canada. With imitation being perhaps the sincerest form of flattery, we might want to look at that again.
Those are some ideas that I hope the Minister might respond to. However, the excellent report that we have before us and the wonderful speeches that we have heard tonight merit a better response than we have had so far.
My Lords, it is a great privilege and honour to respond to this debate on behalf of the Government. The report which we are looking at began on an extremely positive note. On page 1, it states:
“The hosting of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was an outstanding success. The Games exceeded expectations and confounded sceptics by giving the world a spectacular example of what the United Kingdom is capable of doing, delivering a major event to time and to budget”.
That sense of optimism trickles down through the report, although not of course completely, all the way to the end. It was a great privilege for me—I declare an interest—to serve under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, whom I congratulate on securing this debate and on the extremely high quality of the report which he has produced and on the way in which he conducted that Select Committee. Whoever the PE teacher was who accused him of wilful lack of effort, all of us who served on that committee would never voice for a second anything other than to recognise his incredible hard work and the way in which he guided the committee through that process to come to some very robust and rigorous conclusions. I pay tribute to that.
During the debate this evening we have had some extraordinary talent and ability, with immense insight and understanding of the world of sport. I think of the contributions of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond, who, if they were countries, would between them probably top most of the gold medal tables at the Paralympic Games. There was also our distinguished Olympian, my noble friend Lord Moynihan.
I want to begin on that note, by paying tribute to the Winter Paralympic team members, who recently returned from their triumphant performance in Sochi. Their tally of six medals, including a gold for Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans, represents the best ever performance by a team at the Winter Paralympics and took them into the top 10 of the medal table. That in itself shows that if the legacy of London 2012 is not alive and kicking then certainly it is alive and curling and skiing. That should hearten us. It also answers to a degree one of the points made by my noble friend Lord Stoneham, who wondered whether we could actually match or go beyond what was done in London. It suggests that perhaps our high expectations in Rio are not so unfounded because of the work that has been done there.
I also recognise that those of us who enjoyed so much the coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi just recently did so by courtesy of the broadcasters, who conveyed that into mainstream terrestrial services. I particularly pay tribute to Channel 4—I know the strong connection of the noble Baroness, Lady King, there.
The recommendations in the report focused mainly on two of the five legacy themes, namely sport and healthy living, and the regeneration of east London. But it also touched on aspects of the other three, namely economic legacy, communities legacy and—cutting across each of the other four—the legacy of the Paralympic Games. The Government and Mayor of London gave each of the report’s 41 recommendations very careful consideration. Of course, I heard some criticism of the response from the Government and the Mayor of London as perhaps lacking in any sort of original or new statements, but restatement of a policy if it is there is not necessarily a bad thing.
Legacy has been at the heart of this project since the very day on which the bid was first submitted. It was all about legacy. Therefore, we should not be surprised, nor do ourselves down, because the structures and forethought that went into the Games also went into the legacy, and those processes are quietly continuing to deliver their results. The noble Lord, Lord Mawson, highlighted what the London Legacy Development Corporation is actually doing in delivering on the Olympic park as evidence of that. I will come back to some of his points.
Let me turn to some of the key points of the legacy as the Government see it. We made a strong start in that legacy. The progress includes 1.5 million more people playing sport regularly since the bid was won in 2005. The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, made that positive point, as well as the cross-party point about raising the bar on the Paralympics and there being a fresh level of thinking and perception of those living with disabilities. We advanced the regeneration agenda and increased women’s participation. In that, the legacy is secure, but needs to go further.
Of course we want more people to participate in sport. My noble friend Lord Moynihan mentioned how participation in swimming and cycling has increased; but other sports, noticeably tennis, as the noble Baroness, Lady Billingham, said, have seen a decline. I am sure that the reasons for that are complex, but the point is that overall more people are playing sport on a regular basis since 2005, and that must be welcome.
Another positive thing that I want to highlight is that eight out of the eight retained venues on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park have a secured future. That includes the Aquatics Centre, which is now open for community use, where the general public can pay £3.50 to swim in the wake or drift of the Olympic and Paralympic champions in the pool which made history. Very soon, the VeloPark will be open to cyclists and mountain bikers. Whatever the attractions of the Welsh mountains, which the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, mentioned, we can bring some taste of that mountain biking into the heart of the capital. I also note what the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, said, about the excellent proposed exhibition about the work of the London Legacy Development Corporation in east London, Walking on Water, which seems to be an appropriate title and I will be sure to go along to it. Those facilities are reopening.
The noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, said that there was a diligent search for the white elephants, which always seemed to be in stark profile following previous Olympic and Paralympic Games. As he said, the committee found none because legacy was at the heart of the thinking going into the buildings’ construction and therefore is at the heart of their use thereafter.
So far, £11 billion of international trade and inward investment has been won because of the Games. The noble Lord, Lord Stoneham, referred to the boost to business. It has to be remembered that the Games were taking place when, in many ways, the economy was, if not on its knees, certainly struggling to its feet and some doubted whether this was the right place and time to invest that sort of money. Since then, it has perhaps inspired business and all of us with a level of confidence that is part of the reason why the UK economy seems to be coming out of the recession ahead of some of our competitors—which, in itself, is something to be welcomed.
Volunteering has increased from 65% in 2010-11 to 72% in 2012-13, reversing the steady decline since 2005. There was an 8% increase in the number of people volunteering regularly, up to 49%, and that followed a decade in which volunteering had flatlined. The Games changed that, with thousands volunteering to make the Games a success—of course, the Games makers were at the heart of that. My noble friend Lady Wheatcroft mentioned the UKTI and BIS “Britain is Great” campaign. That also contributed to the perception of Britain around the world. We soared to No. 1 in the Monocle magazine list of soft-power countries in the world. That is also a legacy of the Games, gaining a positive reputation for the UK. VisitBritain recently produced figures showing that visits to the country had increased by 16% over the past year—not just to the capital but beyond into the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.
The figures for disabled people playing sport have risen steadily since 2005. More than 350,000 more disabled people are taking part in sport now than when we won the bid in 2005. In many ways, I think of my noble friend Lord Addington’s injunction that young people and children need heroes, which is one of the arguments for elite sport. Perhaps behind that figure of 350,000 more disabled people taking part in sport are the likes of my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson.
There is a long way to go and the Government are absolutely at one with the committee in recognising that. The Mayor of London recently published a long-term vision for the legacy of the 2012 Games. I think one of your Lordships mentioned that there were too few areas where there had been a positive response or a change in thinking as a result of the report. However, one of them was very much in the mayor’s decision to publish an annual statement of where we were with the legacy and regeneration, which he will now do. That is part of the effort which we will come back to.
Several noble Lords, particularly the noble Earl, Lord Arran, referred to the need to have a clear voice from someone of Cabinet rank with responsibility for the legacy. Well, we do: it is my right honourable friend Maria Miller, who is the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. She is deputy chair of the Cabinet committee—deputy to the Prime Minister, that is—and chairs that work across government. Some 18 different departments are working on the legacy. Communicating and getting them working together, which my noble friend Lord Holmes raised a point about, is quite a challenge for any government Minister but the representation on that committee and the fact that it draws upon expertise from the noble Lord, Lord Coe, as the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic legacy ambassador is very important. I also pay tribute to the work of my noble friend Lord Holmes as an adviser to that committee on the legacy of the Paralympics.
In the time that remains, let me address some of the specific points raised during the debate. I shall try to get through as many as possible and, failing my doing that in the time allotted, I will of course follow up with a letter to the noble Lord, Lord Harris, and copy it to other members of the committee and those who have spoken in the debate. It is notable that of those who have spoken, virtually everyone at one stage either served on or gave evidence to the committee. Again, it should not surprise us that in the three hours of debate we have had on this very important matter, there have been such high-quality and thought-provoking contributions.
First, the noble Lord, Lord Harris, asked why the Government do not make public the content of the whole sport plans and report regularly to Parliament on progress with delivery. Sport England already publishes summaries of the whole sport plans on its website. In addition, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equality reports directly to Parliament on a quarterly basis on progress being made against a sports legacy action plan, including that on meeting sport participation targets.
I have already covered the points relating to how the legacy is dealt with across government and how different departments are getting going together on this. Of course, at this point it is always fashionable to say that we want joined-up government. Many of us on all sides of the House have been in government before and I think that the aspiration of every single Prime Minister is to get joined-up government. Somehow that has never quite been successful here or, I guess, abroad. However, the reality is that if we look at the 18 departments involved, across the piece, they are all going away and working on very important parts of this—be they the education department, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Cabinet Office with volunteering, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, or the health department with its input in improving nutrition and exercise.
The noble Lord, Lord Harris, and the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, referred to transport requirements and talked specifically about making greater use of Stratford International station for communication. This is a matter for the operator. I know that the committee took evidence from High Speed 1, which pointed out that one of the difficulties was having sufficient customs facilities at Stratford station to sustain the level of traffic. That is a consideration for it. Deutsche Bahn, in particular, is hoping to introduce services from Frankfurt through the tunnel to London from 2016 onwards. We understand that its intention is to run those services directly to St Pancras. Where it stops is a matter for the operator, but some strong cases have been made.
My noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond asked about getting all national governing bodies to have targets for participation by disabled people. Currently 42 out of 46 do so. Sport England has taken this very seriously and it will no doubt form an important part of its regular discussions with those governing bodies.
Several noble Lords referred to the contribution of the National Lottery to funding and rightly paid tribute to Sir John Major for taking that initiative. This funding is the subtext to the transformation of our dismal performance in Atlanta into our stellar performance in London and Sochi.
I am grateful for the intervention of my noble friend and new employer—after the noble Lord, Lord Harris—the Government Chief Whip, who has instructed me that we are running close to the time limit.
Let me try to deal with the point relating to school sport, as that is something that all noble Lords talked about. The government are trying to focus attention on primary school teachers and club coaches through investment in primary schools, with £150 million a year for primary school sport for two years from September 2013. Many schools are using the funds to invest in professional development—which is exactly what my noble friend Lord Moynihan urged us to do—and to encourage high-quality coaches. Sport England is also investing more than £400 million in the 46 governing bodies to deliver whole-sport plans. The National College for Teaching and Leadership has already developed a new specialist primary PE course for trainee teachers.
In answer to the question from my noble friend Lord Arran, the figure I gave for participation includes 92,000 more young people aged between 16 and 26 who are now participating in sport. There are also more women playing sport, with more than 480,000 more women playing sport regularly than in 2005. My noble friend also asked what Ofsted is doing. Ofsted will be inspecting schools to ensure that the additional funding provided for physical education goes where it is intended to go.
With that I will draw my remarks to a close. In doing so, I once again pay tribute to the excellent report which the committee produced and thank noble Lords for their contributions to the debate this evening. I assure all noble Lords that the Government see this as a long journey in which we have made a positive start. It is vital that Parliament and the Government hold each other to account in ensuring that that legacy lives on in the future.
My Lords, I am enormously grateful to all who have participated in this debate. It has been, as a number of noble Lords have commented, an extremely impressive debate which has covered many of the issues that the committee considered. The debate has also demonstrated why the committee was so effective and successful as the range of experience and expertise brought to bear in our committee has also been reflected in the Chamber today.
It is therefore disappointing—despite the Minister’s excellent presentation of the Government’s response—that the response is quite thin on quite a number of the detailed points raised. However, that does not alter the fact that no one is suggesting that the Olympics were anything other than an enormous success and that we have delivered far more legacy than any previous Olympic Games. It is just that we could have done it so much better and achieved so much more. Our hope is that it will be possible, even now, to capitalise on the Olympic Games and to take forward that legacy.
The Chief Whip will be delighted to hear that I am not intending to reprise all the comments that were made. I will pick out just one, from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond. He made the point that the reason why the Olympics were so successful was the cross-Whitehall working, bringing together the 18 different government departments. He made the point that this does not need to be unique. The message of this evening’s debate is that we do not want it to be unique. We want it to continue to capitalise on the legacy, to make sure that that legacy is delivered.
This is all about leadership—it requires leadership within government at the highest level. This is not a criticism of the current Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, but to corral all the different senior Cabinet Ministers together and make things happen requires the highest level of leadership within government. Within London, it requires the leadership of the office of the mayor to carry forward a vision for the East End and for London, to make sure that we capitalise on the spirit of 2012. That is what is required.
House adjourned at 10.17 pm.