Relevant document: 5th Report from the Delegated Powers Committee
Clause 1: Financial assistance
1: Clause 1, page 1, line 11, after “interest” insert “and financial reporting”
My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 1, standing in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Addington. Before I begin, I congratulate the Minister on her prescience in predicting that before this stage of our Committee deliberations, the Commonwealth Games Federation would have found a solution to the issues of shooting and archery. I note that our second group of amendments will give us ample opportunity to hear more details about that.
This group deals predominantly with financial matters, in particular financial reporting, and provides an opportunity for the Minister to update us on the finances of the Games and to address some of the lingering problems. Amendment 1 proposes simply that any government grant, loan, guarantee or indemnity must be subject to the condition that the recipients provide financial reports, which seems eminently sensible.
Amendment 5, in my name and the names of the noble Lords, Lord Bilimoria and Lord Moynihan, specifies that the first such report from the organising committee should be completed within six months of the coming into force of this provision, although I note that the reference to shooting and archery in that amendment may no longer be relevant in light of the CGF’s decision.
Amendment 11, from my noble friend Lord Addington, requires in the same six-month period a report from the Secretary of State to be laid before both Houses. It too covers financial provision alongside consideration of other funding mechanisms such as a local lottery or local tax. This issue is picked up in Amendment 3, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and other noble Lords. Quite sensibly, this too looks for a wider report by the Secretary of State—this time within 12 months—covering not only the issues covered in other reports but how to help raise additional funds, and government support for minimising the impact of the Games on local services and maximising various legacy projects—an issue we will discuss in more detail later.
Reference continues to be made to a hotel tax. I am well aware of Core Cities UK’s enthusiasm for this. As I said in a previous discussion, before we introduce such a thing, we should reduce the VAT on accommodation and attractions, as the vast majority of other EU countries have done. However, I note that this amendment has changed from an earlier version and now refers to such a tax applying only during the Games. That is a period of just 12 days. Given that we were previously told that the estimated income for such a tax over a three-year period would be £15 million, a simple calculation suggests that a hotel tax levied solely during the period of the Games would raise just £160,000. I will leave it to the movers of that amendment to explain the benefits of such an approach.
Is it not a fact that in previous debates, the noble Lord endorsed a hotel tax—a view shared by many of us—quite enthusiastically, whereas his noble friend Lord Addington denounced the whole idea on principle? It is very unusual for Liberal Democrats to disagree on such matters, but for clarification, could he let us know where his party stands on this important issue?
I am enormously grateful to the noble Lord. The entire House is looking forward to a later debate on future signage arrangements around Birmingham New Street station, which he is the world’s expert on. I hope that, before our Committee deliberations are finished, he will offer to lead a team of Games volunteers at the station to guide people, since he knows his way around there better than most.
However, the noble Lord’s suggestion is wrong: at no point have I been a clear enthusiast for a hotel tax. He will note that in many debates in the other place, I expressed on the record grave reservations about such an approach until the issue of VAT had been addressed. There is commonality of agreement with my noble friend on the Front Bench on this issue, but there are a range of views, which we will have an opportunity to hear when his noble friend introduces his amendment.
My final two amendments, 19 and 20, look at the wider reporting mechanism. Amendment 20 calls for an earlier report than the Bill currently provides for. I hope the Minister agrees that on financial and other vital issues, we need early reporting. Amendment 19, from the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, calls for not only earlier reports but far more frequent reports than is currently proposed. That way, your Lordships and the other House can keep abreast of what is happening and hold people to account. The more reports that we have as the Games develop, the better, and it is important that we use them to keep a tight grip on expenditure.
Let me give an example of why there are continuing concerns, and why there is a need to keep a grip and to understand what is meant by the Government’s plans for underwriting the Games. We know from newspaper reports that removing the National Express bus depot in order to create the Games village and subsequently providing 1,400 much-needed homes in the area was initially estimated to cost £2 million. Reports now suggest that the cost will be a staggering eight times higher, at £15.5 million. Will the money that has to be found be additional to the £185 million that Birmingham City Council must find, or will it be covered by the Government’s underwriting agreement with the council? It is important that we find out such details now. We need early and regular financial reports on what is taking place, and that is why I have tabled my amendment. I support nearly all the other amendments, albeit that one needs a slight tweak. I beg to move.
My Lords, I shall speak to my Amendment 3 and respond to the noble Lord, Lord Foster. He is right about the need for transparency in the underwriting agreement between the Government and Birmingham City Council. It is not at all clear to noble Lords. The key issue is: who is the provider of funds of last resort if the Games run into financial difficulty? We are entitled to be told at some point during the passage of the legislation. Whether we get that is another matter entirely.
It needs to be repeated that these Games are a fantastic opportunity for the country, Birmingham and the West Midlands. Many characteristics of the Games are very exciting. Now that we have resolved imaginatively the issue of the two sports originally to be excluded, all is set fair for a brilliant competition. However, the problem of finances for a city that is already under some financial challenge is formidable. As we have heard, there is a 75:25% budget split between central government and Birmingham City Council. Birmingham has to find £184 million and it will of course look for commercial opportunities to help with that; but it also has other plans such as the post-Games housing development in Perry Barr. All that means that sources of private funding will have to be found. We must recognise that the city council’s finances are under pressure, which is why this is such an important issue.
I have been interested in a tourism levy because the city council has been. The Core Cities group believes that a levy would be a sensible and fair way in which to raise funding revenue. Scotland is close to implementing such a levy for Edinburgh, and the consultation of the city council there showed high levels of support for it—85% of respondents to the consultation backed a levy of either 2% or £2 per room per night. The noble Lord, Lord Foster, rather unkindly took me to task for the wording of my amendment. We should not take the wording of amendments in Committee too literally. The point that I am trying to make and is clear in my amendment is that we want the Government to look at this matter sympathetically and produce a report. The issue that the noble Lord is right to raise is the length of time for which a levy would operate. I fully accept that important point and it surely would be discussed after review by the Government and the city council.
I entirely accept the noble Lord’s point and that a drafting change can be made, but does he not think it more sensible to adopt the approach proposed in the amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Addington, which talks about the Government looking at ways they can help Birmingham City Council raise funds through, for example, a local tax more generally or even a local lottery? There are quite imaginative solutions and to tie it down to one specific mechanism is probably an error.
We already know from what the Minister said at Second Reading that she will say that the decision on a new tax rests with Her Majesty’s Treasury and it thinks that local authorities already have ample means to raise funding. I am sure she will say that again. The noble Lord raises some fundamental points about local government finance, and I am very sympathetic to them. I have been trying to put forward a very simple suggestion: as a tourism levy has been floated by a number of local authorities and we are seeing one implemented soon in Edinburgh, why not use the Commonwealth Games as a way to pilot it—without commitment to any other city or area of the country or that it will be a long-term tax—to see whether it could work?
I understood that, post-election, Her Majesty’s Treasury was looking at changing all the rules of engagement as part of the Government’s new strategy towards local government and to help in some of the more deprived parts of the country. This is a very straightforward way to try something out to see whether it would work, whether it would impact on the hotel economy—a downturn is clearly one risk—and whether it would be a very straightforward way to enable local authorities to raise more resources for sports, leisure and culture in the future. I do not see the problem with having a pilot scheme to allow that to happen.
Is my noble friend aware that the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London intends to fight the mayoral campaign later this year with one of his policies being the right to levy a hotel tax in this city? If the Conservative candidate in London can say that that is what he is going to fight on, that should surely overcome the objections from the Treasury Bench and certainly from the Front Bench today.
This is an interesting group of amendments about the funding of the Games. My initial reaction was that it is an interesting idea, but how does it affect these Games? My initial response to the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, was that it is an interesting idea but not here and now because the Government told me they have underwritten the Games. We will probably have a little more transparency and more of an idea about how that underwriting takes place in a few minutes’ time, but making these Games a success is the priority in these discussions. We will not solve local government finance in a Bill with this Long Title. It was suggested to me that the department wants us to pass this amendment so that it can fight with the Treasury. I know where my money would be on that one—it would not go beyond three rounds.
What are we going to do about this? We are going to make sure we know what is happening so we can get on and do the Games and do them well. If we get it wrong—remember it is a Bill about the Games—we will lose something that we have built up a huge amount of credit for. We can do these big events well. We have a track record. We are coming in late so we cannot have the schemes and imaginative discussions we had on the Olympic Games. We are the white knights, the rescuers, coming in to make sure the wonderful, second-biggest multi-games event on the planet functions again. We are doing a good thing. If we try and Christmas-tree too many things on it, we will get into trouble. If the Government are making very clear that they are underwriting the Games and Birmingham City Council knows what the relationship is—whether it is a loan or a gift—then we are in good shape. However, we have to know.
My amendment is designed to know what packages can be done. My noble friend described it as imaginative. It is not. It simply uses examples of what we have done before. We used the National Lottery for the Olympics. Do we use some form of lottery now? Do we use something based around it? If we place a series of handcuffs on or stumbling blocks in front of the organising committee, we risk throwing the baby out with the bath water. Let us get on with it. We have come in late. We are doing a good thing. It will not be perfect. We will not have the indulgence of discussing and preparing things like we had for the Olympics, where the Bill was there before we won the bid.
Using tried and tested ideas might be the better way forward. I suggest in future that local government should know what contributions it can make, how much it can raise and what responsibilities it has. Doing a study now will help it in the future because we do not want this to be the last thing to be put on. We do not want something getting in the way of us winning hosting, for example, the soccer World Cup. Let us make sure we have clarity. I hope at the end of this discussion we will have a little more of it.
My Lords, I will speak to Amendments 5, 19 and 20 in the first group. In so doing, I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said: all of us are united in believing that the Games will be great. We already have an outstanding organising committee and there is both political and popular will to ensure that they will be memorable and enjoyable.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath, for introducing my amendment so well. I need hardly say anything more, save to underline the fact that the original reporting provision required the first report to be submitted to the Secretary of State as soon as was reasonably practical after 31 March this year. Because of the delay in the legislation, that was put back a full year until after 31 March next year, which is very close to when the Games are going to be held the following year.
In the context of being transparent and accountable, not only to the people of Birmingham but to other taxpayers, it is important that there is a more regular reporting structure to and timetable for your Lordships’ House. That is why I have proposed the amendment that there should be a report, starting on 15 July 2020 and then every six months until the end of the year of the Games, 31 December 2022.
Transparency is critical. Transparency about any overruns on financing will carry the public with us. It will allow all of us to know the exact underwriting procedure, how it will be dealt with, the precise budget, the current expenditure on the Games at any given six months, and the provisions for drawing down on the contingency, which are unclear to me. I do not know if they are clear to the rest of the Committee. It would be helpful if the Minister could outline on what basis the contingency will be drawn down, particularly given that the Games are underwritten by the Government.
With those comments now on the record, clearly the amendment that I tabled about the budget and revenue sources for all Games events, including shooting and archery, has been overtaken by last night’s decision. However, I look forward to the debate that we will undoubtedly have on the second group, when we will look at some of the detail of what was announced yesterday and the consequences for the Games.
My Lords, like many others in your Lordships’ Chamber, I am very excited by the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I am excited for several reasons, not least because the Commonwealth Games book-ended my career, and my last Commonwealth Games signified that I should find something else to do with my life. Also, I lived in Ward End in Birmingham for four years, and I know that the opportunities to use the Games in an incredibly positive way for the city are boundless.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Foster, about the grouping of the amendments being quite sensible. The expectation that people have of the Commonwealth Games is different from the one they have of Olympic or Paralympic Games because they are different types of events. However, the challenge that this country has set itself is for the rest of the world to see how good we are at organising Games, so it is essential that we get the budget absolutely right—that we have enough money to spend, but spend it wisely. I also agree with the noble Lord, Lord Addington, about what happens in coming to this slightly late. As we get closer to the Games, things become more stressful. The amendments would ensure that all the different stakeholders worked together to do the reporting and make sure that the Games are carried on as well as possible.
The reporting of finances is important for a number of reasons—not just because of the Games in Birmingham. Looking to the future, we are much more likely to bid for another Commonwealth Games before we bid for another Olympic or Paralympic Games. I do not want the group of cities and countries that are able to host the Commonwealth Games to become smaller and smaller because of the cost and transparency involved in them; that is why I believe that the reporting is incredibly important.
I totally agree that there should be early and regular reporting. As we get closer to Games-time, those working on the Commonwealth Games organising committee will be looking for other opportunities. We know that there is a group of people who travel from organising committee to organising committee, and they will be looking to join the committee for the next Olympics or Paralympics. We cannot lose that corporate knowledge of reporting, and that is why it is essential that we have very regular reporting. It would also inform what we do in relation to future bids. Whether it is for the World Cup or any other Games, this information is incredibly important.
My Lords, one advantage of putting my name alongside that of my noble friend Lord Hunt is that he has said pretty well everything that needs to be said on the subject. I want to make the much more general point that we need not only to think about the Birmingham-based Commonwealth Games but to reassure cities which host similar events in the future that they will not be put in huge financial difficulties. That is the reason for the amendments in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and my noble friend Lord Hunt.
Clearly, the most important thing is the arrangement for underwriting and the relationship between central and local government. However, if any additional source of funding can be identified, through whichever amendment we consider, that would make the possibility of a city bidding for a major sporting event more attractive, then it must be part of the legacy. We need to say to the next group of bidders, “These are ways in which the costs can be met.” I think we all know what the Minister will say. If she wants to give us all serious heart problems, she should say, “Yes, the Government agree with all these amendments.” However, showing some degree of sympathy about the financial arrangements and their importance is a really important message that the Government ought to pass on to the city concerned, and to any cities that look to fund future events of this sort.
My Lords, I want to speak in particular to Amendments 3 and 11. This is a major opportunity for Birmingham to promote itself in an international context, with all the subsequent benefits. I know that Birmingham is a fantastic city and that it has been regenerated with huge imagination, creativity and great ambition. Following on from the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, it is very important for us here to give other cities the confidence that they can take their ambitions forward, bring huge benefits for the people who live there and demonstrate what fantastic places they are in an international context.
As has been said, these amendments particularly address the demands that are likely to be made on local authorities, as well as the scope for the maximisation of benefits. I have been a city leader myself, and I can only imagine how the city council feels about the Games. There will be huge pride and ambition against a backdrop of unprecedented cuts to council budgets and the anxiety that must come with that. In an international context, they will have to face great pressures.
Amendment 11 would introduce a range of financial possibilities. The amendment is also very timely. I know that there are very many ways that the Core Cities, among others, could advise the Government if they wish to look at alternative funding sources.
The principle of the pilot tourist levy proposed in Amendment 3 is supported by many cities, not just for major events but as part of a programme for greater devolution of powers, including fiscal powers, to our cities and appropriate local authorities. There is an absolute weight of evidence showing the economic potential that could be unleashed in our cities through a more radical devolution of powers. I like to feel that the Government will look at giving powers—not just words of comfort about giving big sums of money—to the constituencies that they have said are being left behind in this country.
Other forms of fiscal devolution and local fundraising powers have been examined and evaluated by many organisations, such as the City Growth Commission, the London Finance Commission and many others. Amendment 11 offers the opportunity for these to be considered at an early stage in the context of these Games. However, having had direct contact over a tourist levy, I would say there will be a strong need to consult on these proposals. We should not underestimate the level of opposition that can be amassed against such things by interested parties, not necessarily citizens. Nor should we underestimate the need for a realistic timetable, because any new measures need that. We need measures to be taken so that they can be smoothly introduced and supported, rather than constantly opposed.
I know that this has all already been said. I was here at Second Reading when the Minister did not accept the principle behind Amendment 3. However, I hope that the Government will consider the opportunities offered by Amendments 1 and 11 to bring forward more detailed proposals so that there are feasible options available to Birmingham or any other city in the future. I also hope that there might be some new thinking on local taxation and devolution to provide cities and local authorities with the means of taking forward their ambitious plans for the future and putting their own cities on the international map.
My Lords, as noble Lords have said, Birmingham 2022 will make us all proud. It will be a huge fillip for the city and for investing in it, alongside all the wonderful things that the Games themselves will bring. Briefly, I support my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on the idea of a tourism tax. I know that you should never ask a government Minister a question that you do not know the answer to yourself, but I will take a risk. Have the Government done any modelling at all on a tourism tax? Have they had any preliminary conversations with the local authority about it? If the Minister would like to tell us, we promise that we will keep it to ourselves.
My Lords, I was not able to speak at Second Reading but I have listened carefully to the debate on this group of amendments. I hope that, when the Minister replies, a number of points that have been raised will be clarified. I support the amendments in this group. In particular Amendments 11 and 3, which broadly cover the same issue of how to raise more income at a local level, should be supported by the Government. The questions that have been asked about a tourist tax, a hotel bedroom tax or a lottery are all about the same thing: how to get more local income raised. My concern is whether the council taxpayers of Birmingham could be faced with a big bill—or else, big cuts in services—if there are difficulties for Birmingham in raising its 25% contribution. I hope the Minister will be able to clarify this; she needs to explain it to the Committee.
I also seek the Minister’s confirmation that the 25% contribution will include all costs that fall to the city council, or other public bodies, outside the formal structure of the governance of the Games—things such as extra street-cleaning, refuse disposal, information services, policing and emergency planning. There is a long list of them; I assume the Government have discussed it with Birmingham and that these matters have been agreed. It is important that the Minister clarifies what is included in the 25% contribution and what lies outside it.
I am sure we all accept that financial and other long-term benefits will accrue to Birmingham, so a local contribution to the cost of the Games is clearly appropriate. However, I have not really understood why 25% is the right figure or what discussion there has been about that. If it is not the right figure, what is the Government’s contingency plan to make up the deficit? As a number of noble Lords have pointed out, in her reply at Second Reading the Minister said that the Government had agreed to underwrite the organisation and delivery of the Games. The critical word is underwrite, but it requires clarification. Does that underwriting include any shortfall on Birmingham’s 25% contribution if the income streams do not deliver the expected sums?
My Lords, I start by sharing the positive sentiments that many noble Lords, including the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, the noble Lords, Lord Grocott and Lord Addington, and others made about the excitement that we all feel about the potential for the Games and the message that we can send to cities which might wish to host games in future. The Government absolutely share that view.
I turn to the amendments. Amendment 3 calls for the preparation of a report, a key aspect of which includes an assessment of the case for implementing a temporary hotel occupancy levy throughout the Games, the proceeds of which, after costs of administration, would be made available to Birmingham City Council. I understand that Amendment 1, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Foster, is to seek clarity on Birmingham City Council’s financial position. As the Committee knows, Birmingham and the West Midlands region will benefit from a £778 million public investment to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The city council is responsible for funding 25% of the Games budget—£184 million—which the council has publicly committed to meet.
The Government have supported the council by agreeing that we will provide the majority of the contributions in capital and profiling its revenue for the final year 2022-23, as the council requested. A number of noble Lords raised concerns about the ability of the council to meet this. The Cabinet approved the council’s financial plan for 2020-24 at its most recent meeting on 11 February, with the funding requirement to be met from partner contributions, prudential borrowing and council-generated funding, such as capital receipts. The council recently submitted a proposal to my department requesting to pilot a statutory hotel occupancy tax, such as that outlined by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. The tax is not necessary for the council to meet its share of the costs and the council’s own figures show that it would provide only a small contribution towards its revenue requirement. In any case, as I said at Second Reading, if the council wants to raise proposals for a new tax, the Bill is not the appropriate vehicle, as it is not a money Bill.
The Government will continue to work closely with Birmingham City Council to ensure that it can deliver on its financial contributions. It might be helpful if I set out some of the processes and assurances in place to ensure that the Games remain on budget. I also gather that that is the thrust of Amendment 5, tabled by my noble friend Lord Moynihan, and I hope it also addresses Amendment 11, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Addington.
The Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee has been established to deliver the Games, with the UK Government as the primary funder. There is robust financial governance and the budget has been subject to significant scrutiny. Contingency is held by the strategic board, including the Minister, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the leader of Birmingham City Council.
I will cover a couple of additional details, given the number of questions there were on this issue. To reiterate, the budget has a significant but realistic level of contingency within it. As joint funders, it is in both the Government’s and the city council’s interest to keep within the cost envelope. Importantly, it should be remembered that, when Birmingham bid to host the Games, 95% of the venues were already in place, reducing some of the risk around the Games. The Government have also committed to providing Parliament with updates on expenditure during the project.
I note that the intention behind Amendment 5 is to better understand any link between the Games budget and the proposed shooting and archery championships in India. To be clear, shooting and archery are not part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, but rather a Commonwealth event that will be held in India in 2022, at no cost to the UK Exchequer or Birmingham taxpayers.
On the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Addington, on local authority funding for future sporting events, the Government and UK Sport regularly engage with local and regional authorities when it comes to bidding for and staging major sports events. This is clearly successful. Most recently, the UK hosted the 2017 World Athletics Championships, the 2019 Netball and Cricket World Cups, and the UCI Road World Cycling Championships, to name but a few, with a strong pipeline of events in coming years. Local authorities have a range of revenue-raising and fundraising powers to support them meeting the financial contributions associated with such events; for example, through local taxes, such as precepts and business rates. Local or regional authorities may have particular views on how best they can raise funds for such events; I know that the Chancellor keeps the tax system under review and would always welcome representations for improving it. The Government will of course continue to work closely with local authorities to support them in bidding for and successfully staging major sporting events, building on our fantastic track record in hosting such events.
Amendments 19 and 20 seek to bring forward the first period on which the organising committee is required to report, and for these reports to be produced every six months rather than annually. I absolutely understand the desire of the House to be given adequate and timely opportunities, as the noble Lord, Lord Foster, explained, to scrutinise the organising committee’s preparations and delivery of the Games. To allay such concerns, I want to be clear that the end of the first reporting period in the Bill, regardless of the date, will certainly not be the first opportunity this House will have to scrutinise the organising committee’s delivery of the Games.
Unlike the London 2012 or Glasgow 2014 organising committees, the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee is a non-departmental public body and already subject to a number of controls and transparency requirements through a management agreement that is available on GOV.UK. As such, the organising committee must publish an annual report of its activities together with its audited resource accounts after the end of each financial year. These accounts must be laid in Parliament and made available online. The first of these reports was published and laid before Parliament on 9 September last year, and we anticipate that the report for the 2019-20 financial year will be published in July and annually thereafter, in the summer. However, I am happy to undertake to write to the organising committee to request that the report includes reference to those areas set out in the Bill and of interest to the Committee, such as accessibility and legacy. I know that a number of your Lordships have already engaged with the organising committee on these topics.
As noble Lords will be aware, the organising committee has already published its social value charter and has committed to publishing both the accessibility and sustainability strategies once they are finalised. It has also committed to publishing a modern slavery policy alongside its modern slavery statement. The organising committee is happy to write to interested Peers once those documents are available, and I know it would welcome any feedback that noble Lords may have.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan’s amendment also seeks to require the organising committee to produce its statutory reports twice a year. It is only right that we give the organising committee adequate time to make and demonstrate progress in the areas set out in the reporting provision and of interest to the Committee. There is clearly a balance to be struck. Updates on Games delivery are already available through a number of channels. For example, information can be found on the Birmingham 2022 website, and the organising committee plans to produce quarterly reports on progress, including relevant updates on key areas such as accessibility, employability, legacy, skills and sustainability. These reports will be made available online; again, the organising committee has offered to issue them directly to those noble Lords who are interested. As we discussed at Second Reading, the organising committee has also recently appointed a dedicated government relations lead, and I understand that a number of your Lordships have already taken the opportunity to discuss the organising committee’s plans in further detail with him, as well as having met the senior figures in the organising committee, including the chief exec and the director of sporting accessibility lead, alongside officials within DCMS.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Commonwealth Games has recently been reconvened and will meet soon to set out its work programme to ensure that Parliament has a good opportunity to engage with the Games. The organising committee is developing an engagement programme, which includes regular updates to such groups.
I hope that these details are enough to reassure your Lordships that there will be adequate opportunities for Parliament to scrutinise the work of the organising committee and about the Government’s commitment to working with Birmingham City Council and the entire Games partnership; to monitoring the Games budget carefully and managing any cost pressures effectively; and, further, to supporting local authorities in bidding for and delivering future sporting events. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
Before the Minister sits down, the one issue that she really has not addressed is the nature of the underwriting agreement between the Government and Birmingham City Council. Could she dwell on that and in particular answer the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt: who is the funder of last resort in the event that things go wrong?
I fear that I may be repeating what has been said in previous debates, but as part of the hosting requirements for the Games the Government have committed to underwriting the cost of the organisation and delivery of the 11 days of sport. There is a very detailed set of scrutiny arrangements for that and arrangements for contingencies and other elements.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to the debate. I join many of them in expressing my own excitement about the forthcoming Games. I put on record my praise for the organising committee and the work it is doing, particularly, as the Minister has said, the way in which it has been reaching out to parliamentarians to ensure that we have been thoroughly briefed about a whole range of issues.
I thank the Minister for the careful way in which she has answered many of the questions that have been asked. I know that a number of them remain somewhat unanswered, including those asked by my noble friend Lord Shipley about some of the additional costs that will be incurred by Birmingham City Council that are perhaps not directly associated with the organising and running of the Games but which will impact upon the city and the surrounding area. Nevertheless, I am grateful for her explanation of the status of the organising committee as an NDPB and therefore the management agreement that it has, and the need to have annual reports, and, indeed, her pointing out that there will be more frequent reports on a range of individual issues; she referred to access and legacy, two issues to which we will no doubt be returning.
With those remarks, and conscious that we have all said we want to give the Bill a speedy passage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 1 withdrawn.
2: Clause 1, page 1, line 17, leave out “or” and insert “and”
My Lords, in the spirit of wishing to move the Bill on quickly, I point out to your Lordships’ House that my amendment would simply delete the word “or” and insert the word “and”. It is one of those typical amendments that are used to trigger debate on a particular issue. It was intended to give us an opportunity to look at the point made in Clause 1, which referred to the Games as meaning
“an event forming part of the Games (whether or not a sporting event), or”—
“any other event arranged by, or on behalf of, the Organising Committee”.
That would have given us the opportunity to debate the issue of archery and shooting. As we have heard, the Commonwealth Games Federation has now made an announcement about what it intends shall happen with shooting and archery. It has made it clear that it will be a completely separate event not in any way related to the Birmingham 2020 Games, with its own medals, its own organisation and certainly no financial impact on Birmingham City Council or the Government. Nevertheless, subsequent amendments in this group give noble Lords and particularly the Minister an opportunity to comment on the Commonwealth Games Federation’s decision, about which Noble Lords may have a number of concerns. For example, if we are to have, as we have been told, a combined medal table, with the Indian Games covering archery and shooting and the Birmingham Games covering any other events, what exactly is the status of that table? The question of whether the India 2020 Games will be expected to abide by regulations—social charters and so on—similar to the ones we are adopting will also doubtless be raised. I sense the Minister will say that that is outwith the debate, since it will no longer be our responsibility; however, the medal table will be.
The longer-term issue is whether this is the beginning of what could be a very exciting future for the Commonwealth Games, in which individual countries that may find it difficult to fund the full cost of all aspects of the Games in their country could partner with other countries. There could be some very exciting developments, but questions will be raised. For instance, who will have the right to determine which events are to be part of the Games, or will that suddenly revert to the centre, with the Commonwealth Games Federation handling all the details?
We look forward to hearing from the Minister on these issues, and from others with far greater expertise than I have—not least the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, whom I am sure we are all looking forward to hearing from. I beg to move.
My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendments 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 in this group, standing in my name. I will speak to them all since they refer to the same item, in view of the decision that was made last night and was announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
It is important in the first instance to recognise that all the points that are relevant in this context have been raised by the noble Lord, Lord Foster. I will focus pretty much exclusively, as one might expect, on the sporting aspect of the comments that he has made.
It is important to place on the record the work of the executive board of the Commonwealth Games Federation over the weekend to approve the hosting of the Commonwealth archery and shooting championships in Chandigarh, India, in January 2022—a proposal put to them by the Commonwealth Games of India. This is indeed ground-breaking. It is an innovative approach that the Commonwealth Games Federation is taking in partnership with the CGI, the National Rifle Association of India and the Archery Association of India, and it meets the requirements of all stakeholders, especially the Commonwealth shooting and archery athletes. The International Shooting Sport Federation should also be congratulated on its role. It has facilitated the settlement among the Commonwealth family of what has become the vexed question of the exclusion of shooting from the Commonwealth Games 2022—vexed to the point that there was real concern about India boycotting the Games.
Reference has also rightly been made to the important initial work undertaken by the ISSF on the sidelines of its general assembly—held in December last year in Munich with the Commonwealth Games Federation, the NRAI and the Commonwealth Games shooting federation—on a detailed protocol governing the future relationship with the international federation, working in close conjunction with the Commonwealth Games Federation. If the Minister does not have that protocol to hand, it would be helpful if it could be circulated to interested members of the Committee, or indeed placed in the Library. The decision confirmed, as has been made clear by the noble Lord, Lord Foster, that Chandigarh 2022 and Birmingham 2022 will be two separately organised and funded Commonwealth sports events.
However, then came the unexpected announcement last night, not least the Commonwealth Games Federation’s stating that
“as a further and final legitimate ranking of competing nations and territories from the respective competitions”,
the two will be combined. The results from both will be combined a week later. I warmly welcome the decision in principle: it takes the Commonwealth Games into a new era of recognising the importance which should be attached to countries with a common purpose sharing venues when hosting expensive international sport. It comes close on a number of similar examples, not least in the Olympic and the Paralympic world, when it comes to bidding. Indeed, a bit more recently, five ASEAN countries have come together to talk about jointly bidding for the FIFA World Cup.
Although I fully appreciate that the two events are to be separately organised under separate legislation and separately financed, the final medal table will include results from both: that will be the final results from the Commonwealth Games, as I understand it. It is therefore very important to the sportsmen, sportswomen and, indeed, the competing nations to know what the final medal table will include, because some Commonwealth countries will incentivise their teams according to their position in the medal table when considering future financial support for the training of athletes. Indeed, there may be wider legacy projects: the higher you are in the medal table, the better the ranking and, often, the greater the funding from government. That is a common policy used by UK Sport. As chairman of the British Olympic Association, I was acutely conscious of the medal tally as it was being racked up in London, watching with delight as we moved towards 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, and recognising that that ranking of third was very important to UK Sport and other funding agencies, and indeed to sponsors.
Now we hear that they will be formally combined a week later—but why a week later? The shooting takes place in January 2022 and those results can be made available immediately, at the beginning of the Games. So, when we get to the end of the Games, instead of waiting until an arbitrary seven days later, we can have the actual results and celebrate them. Given the support the Indians have shown by hosting, at their expense, the archery and shooting, we should seriously consider encouraging the organisers to bring the medallists over to participate in the closing ceremony as a great celebration of unity among the Commonwealth Games countries. I expect that as they enter the stadium for that celebration, they will get the loudest round of applause of virtually any athlete who is celebrated for their success. It is beyond me, but it is no doubt understood clearly by the Minister, why it would take a week for this to be made public, or why it is not embodied in the medal table during the Games, given that the Commonwealth Games Federation has stated clearly that the shooting and archery competitions will be among the
“final legitimate ranking of competing nations and territories from the respective competitions.”
That is my key point to the Minister. It is an issue that we really need to clear up, and about which the athletes need to know. Of course, they are separate events and I understand the point about the separate financing. I am sure, therefore, that this legislation cannot in any way, shape or form be relevant to the Indian shooting and archery competitions. However, there will be sadness among noble Lords on both sides of the House that Bisley could not host the shooting and, indeed, that Edgbaston could not host the archery, given Lord’s Cricket Ground’s successful hosting of it during London 2012.
Nevertheless, despite that sadness, there will be widespread support and thanks to our friends in India for the way they have stepped in to give young athletes—who have for decades been part of the Commonwealth Games—the opportunity to excel and to have this great event, which is vital to world shooting and world archery—on their agendas in the future. I also hope that, while much is being made of how the two Games are to be completely separate, there will be recognition of some of the sentiments I have expressed. Our Royal Family are deeply and closely attached to the Commonwealth and it is something we all celebrate, so I hope there will be very high-level representation in India for the shooting and archery. It would only be appropriate to express our gratitude to the Indians, given that we were unable to host those two sports, and I hope that the Commonwealth Games Federation will bear that in mind.
I would be enormously grateful if my noble friend the Minister could explain why we are having this week’s delay at the end of the Games before announcing the actual results table. Everybody will know the result the minute before the last medal is awarded, and it will be in every newspaper in the country. It is a bit like having a general election and saying to everyone in a constituency, “You can all vote, except the shooters and the archers. We will count their votes in a separate election and announce the result a week later, when we give the overall result”. It seems illogical to me, but perhaps there is an excellent and clear answer that my noble friend the Minister can give to the Committee.
My Lords, I am delighted for the athletes involved that there has been a late-night solution to this issue. Bizarrely, when we talk about the Commonwealth, Olympic or Paralympic Games, we rarely talk about the experience of the athletes, although they are at the heart of the Games. It can be very difficult for athletes to be in a position where they do not know whether their event is on or off the programme. Most countries do not support athletes financially or with medical services unless there is an elite pathway. This particularly affects women’s events and also involves media support and sponsorship. Once you are off the programme, you have nowhere to go and it is almost impossible to get funding to get back on it.
Having two different events has lots of implications. On the positive side, it could give us an opportunity to increase the number of events for disabled athletes, although there has been an increase over the years, which is great. In 1990, there were just two demonstration events at the Commonwealth Games; it is lovely to see where we are now. However, my big concern—actually, this is outside our control—is about the challenge that smaller countries may have sending teams to different venues. The bigger teams have a chef de mission, a large core staff and large medical teams. The home countries are fortunate that they are able to support that; some of the smaller ones might struggle to fund it.
This is not without precedent, to some extent. Olympic Games sailing events are held in different parts of the country. In Atlanta in 1996, sailing was held in Savannah. India is considerably further away, but we are looking forward to the Paris Olympics and Paralympics where surfing might be held on the other side of the world. The Commonwealth Games should be congratulated on getting to this stage, but I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan: why do we not just start the Games with a medal table? Everyone is going to be doing that anyway, regardless of the announcement; it is important for every country to know where it stands. It would make more sense for the TV coverage, for the athletes in the village, and for the spectators, if it was there.
It is also important to make sure that there is an equivalent experience of being at the Games, with countries having the same kit and the same medal ceremonies. We could share the welcome ceremony when you come into the village—not every athlete is able to go to the opening ceremony, depending on when their competition starts, so the welcome ceremony when they move in is important. I had not considered the closing ceremony until the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, mentioned it. It is really important that the athletes, team managers, and everyone else, go to this, if there is any way that they could be brought over. It is not without logistical and cost problems. In 2012, we promised that there was a bed in the village for every athlete, so they could come to the closing ceremony if they were competing outside. It would be challenging, but it would be a lovely, positive way to celebrate the final medal table.
My Lords, I shall say one or two words on the principle of what is going on here. This is a good thing. At every Games, there are little rows about which sports take part. When the Games were on the Gold Coast, we had basketball but not judo. Australia likes its basketball; we are good at judo, so we made sure we had it. These deals and negotiations are always going on. You are always going to exclude a group of athletes, for many of whom this is the biggest thing they will ever do. This major international sporting event may be at the end of their career, so there is a good principle behind this.
I have a question for the Minister, the answer to which might make my later amendment unnecessary: how are we going to set a precedent for how this is done in future? Every good idea comes with baggage: how do we make sure we know what this means for the organisation? In principle it is a good idea and has good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with those, I am afraid. What are we doing to get this right? There has always been sporting politics over which events are in. There are lovely books about bitchy back-room deals and people fighting to get their event in. This may be a way of reducing that and making sure that more athletes and fans get the experience. It is a good thing; can we have a bit more guidance on how it will be looked on in future? If the noble Baroness cannot give the Committee the answers, it would be helpful if she could point it at someone who could.
My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak to this group of amendments, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. He has a distinguished record both as an athlete and as a Minister. Support for his previous careers is shared by both sides of this Committee. I share his appreciation of the fact that this compromise has been arrived at. There was considerable tension between the athletes of our two countries before the participation of Chandigarh was confirmed. I am sure I speak for all from Birmingham and the surrounding area when I say how pleased I am that that tension can now be eased, and co-operation is going to take place.
Like the noble Lord, I am a bit confused by these arrangements, but my understanding is slightly different from his. I understand that there will be two separate medal tables. As the events are being held some time apart, I presume that the Chandigarh medals will be published first, although the noble Lord appears to think that might not be the case. Perhaps the Minister can clarify when the medal table for the events that take place overseas will be published. I understand that, contrary to the opinion of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, the medal tables for the events are to be kept separate, regardless of the fact that Chandigarh is being seen as part of the Commonwealth Games. I am not sure why that is, but I am sure that the Minister will tell the Committee when she comes to reply.
On a personal note, relating to the noble Baroness, I was looking through a list of Ministers and their remuneration in the Times over the weekend and found, to my astonishment, that the noble Baroness is one of the few Ministers who is working for nothing. She does not get a salary at all. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, has put a series of challenging questions to her, and she should be adequately recompensed if she finds the answers. Speaking for both sides of the House—I hope I can get the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on board—we should start a crowdfunding appeal on her behalf. I am not sure whether her exclusion from the salaried ranks constitutes some sort of sex discrimination. I am sure it would not be tolerated in most other industries. On this side of the Committee—I speak personally, but I am sure I take my noble friends with me—we would be delighted to assist and do anything to combat the apparent injustice.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Snape, for his generosity and concern about my financial position. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Foster, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan for the amendments in this group relating to the shooting and archery championships being hosted by India in 2022. The Government clearly welcome the confirmation, in December, from the Indian Olympic Association that India will be taking part in Birmingham 2022. I share the Committee’s satisfaction that a championship event will give shooters and archers from around the Commonwealth the opportunity to compete at the highest level, but I note the concerns about the cost implications of two venues, raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson.
Before turning to the amendments, I will endeavour to answer the questions about the medals and the medal tables and how the system works, and I am happy to put this in writing to all noble Lords so that there is no confusion. The Commonwealth Games Federation has confirmed that each event will issue its own distinct medal table: one for Chandigarh 2022 and one for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The medals will be different. The medallists in Chandigarh will receive Commonwealth archery and shooting championship medals, not Commonwealth Games medals. Then, as my noble friend Lord Moynihan clarified, a week after the closing ceremony, there will be a medal table which will include the results from both competitions. My understanding is that the week’s separation is to reflect that the two competitions are different. Both are extremely important, but there will be an aggregated Commonwealth sport medal table, not an aggregated Commonwealth Games medal table.
My Lords, I understand how we have got to this position, and I sympathise with the organisers, but since the media will obviously combine them together immediately, is it possible for us to go back and gently say: “Do they not need to think about this again?”
I am very grateful to my noble friend, because I know that this is not an easy wicket on which to be batting. Dame Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, stated last night in a letter to a number of your Lordships that the Commonwealth Games Federation executive board agreed a resolution that,
“One week following the Closing Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the CGF shall issue a medal table that includes results from the Chandigarh 2022Commonwealth Archery and Shooting Championships, as a further and final legitimate ranking of competing nations and territories from the respective competitions.”
It is very clear that both will be brought together, and therefore nobody in the world of sport will separate them. I appreciate that this will not be resolved this evening.
The suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, is an excellent one, as is the suggestion made by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, that if we are going to have this, it is wise to reflect on the best way of presenting it, and indeed co-operating in areas where co-operation would be beneficial to the future of the Commonwealth Games.
My noble friend makes a very fair point, and I am sure that the Commonwealth Games Federation has given enormous consideration to these matters and will continue to reflect on them.
I turn to the amendments in this group. As noble Lords will be aware, the current proposal was announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation only yesterday and was obviously very timely, given the keen interest of a number of your Lordships in this Chamber to see the championship event funded and delivered in Chandigarh by the Indian Olympic Committee and the Government of India. I reiterate what I said in the earlier group that there is no financial operational responsibility sitting with the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee. As this will be organised and funded as a separate event, the organising committee will not be in a position to report on the progress of delivery of the shooting and archery championships, as called for by my noble friend’s amendments. As such, and to address the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Foster, the measures in this Bill apply only to events forming part of the Birmingham 2022 Games or any other event arranged by, or on behalf of, the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee. I do, however, note the intention behind the amendments and fully support the steps taken by the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee to ensure that social values are a key consideration from delivery through to legacy.
In particular, I welcome, together with all noble Lords, the development of the Social Values Charter, which embodies the values of the Commonwealth sports movement and the Transformation 2022 agenda. I agree that the central focus on social values is greatly welcomed and provides another fantastic example to the organisers of other and future events. This has already been touched on this evening. Accordingly, we hope that the Social Values Charter will be a legacy for future Games and ask that the Commonwealth Games Federation considers how the ground-breaking work undertaken by Birmingham 2022 can become a normal convention.
The Commonwealth Games Federation’s Transformation 2022 strategy is clear about how the Commonwealth sports movement places human rights, governance and sport for social change at the heart of its new vision and, indeed, it has already confirmed that, like its host city arrangements for other events, Chandigarh 2022 will be expected and contracted to uphold the highest standards in this regard. Given the clear separation between the two events, but not taking away from the important work that Birmingham 2022 is doing to promote social values, I ask that the noble Lords withdraw their amendments.
My Lords, I thank the disgracefully unpaid Minister for her very careful reflection on the comments made by other noble Lords, not least the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. If the noble Lord, Lord Snape, is to introduce his crowdfunding scheme, I will certainly commit to sharing the website address with Liberal Democrat colleagues.
The most welcome thing that the Minister spoke about was her willingness to continue discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation on this issue. I come at this from a slightly different position, which was raised by other noble Lords. I reflect very carefully on what the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, said about the importance of putting athletes very much in our thinking as we prepare any of these things. It seems somewhat strange that people who compete in the Birmingham 2022 Games will be awarded a Commonwealth Games medal, whereas those who compete in Chandigarh in archery and shooting are to be given a Commonwealth sports medal. One wonders whether there will be some view about the status of those not being exactly the same. Indeed, if they are not, the question has to be asked: why are they being put together in a single medal table? When the Minister continues deliberations with the Commonwealth Games Federation, I hope that sort of thinking will be uppermost in her mind. How will the athletes feel about the arrangement that is currently proposed?
However, I recognise entirely that what the Minister said is that all the amendments in this group are now otiose. They are not relevant to this Bill because what is going to happen in India is a totally separate event. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 2 withdrawn.
Clause 1 agreed.
Amendment 3 not moved.
4: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
“Payment of the Living Wage
(1) Within 3 months of this section coming into force, the Secretary of State must direct the Organising Committee to prepare a strategy for ensuring all staff employed—(a) directly by the Organising Committee, and(b) by organisations awarded contracts to deliver the Gamesare paid, as a minimum, the Living Wage.(2) In preparing the strategy under subsection (1), the Organising Committee must consult representatives of businesses and trade unions in the Birmingham area.(3) The hourly Living Wage for the year 2020 is—(a) £9.30 outside of London, and(b) £10.75 inside London.(4) For the purposes of this section, the Living Wage for each year after 2020 shall be the amounts determined by the Living Wage Foundation.”
My Lords, I take part in these proceedings for the first time. I have held a self-abstaining ordinance in previous discussions, since every point I might have made has been made and the Minister has paid proper heed to those points. Just as we have very properly talked about the athletes and their experience, this amendment focuses on those who undertake work to make these Games possible in an organisational and in a fuller sense. I add my voice, however, to those who have already expressed approval and affirmation of the way members of the organising committee of the Birmingham Games have reached out to us. We have got to know them quite well, in fact: they have made it their business to come.
I know from discussions earlier today that there are going to be quite intricate discussions between Members in the other place and people in Birmingham, as well as those who come to reach out to us. The interactions between those organising the Games and this Parliament seem to be excellent and I am grateful for that. The other day I met, for example, someone who has been appointed to look into the whole question of accessibility. We will get a report on that, and in conversation with her I heard some very imaginative and sensible ways of dealing with the points that have been raised in previous debates on that question.
My amendment comes to the question of pay. I have had opportunities to talk with officials on this question, too. It seems only sensible that as we have given our very careful attention to many aspects of the Games that should be honoured—sustainability, accessibility, proper community development, legacy and all the rest—so there should be a high ethical stance and colour to these Games. Therefore, it seems appropriate to ask about the wages of those who undertake labour. We should remember that nearly all of them will be local people; many will be apprentices and so on. There is a very fine programme of employment being rolled out to achieve these objectives and these people should be paid properly. This amendment simply identifies the living wage as the meaning of “properly”.
Members of the organising committee have told me that they will undertake, as employers, to fulfil this obligation, but the arm’s-length bodies that will be competing for pieces of work will have their own standards. It will be a question in the minds of the organising committee as they interview these potential customers or clients—those who deliver services—and the wage they set will be part of the interviewing discussions they have. I think this is fairly uncomplicated. I do not think we need to put it on a par with a hotel levy to raise money, in terms of the complications it might raise, but it might be a very simple and direct thing for us to incorporate in our discussions a commitment to seek to achieve this. That will then allow us, with the members of the organising committee, to have appropriate conversations.
My Lords, Amendments 4 and 18 seek to ensure that all staff employed directly by the organising committee and those employed by organisations awarded contracts to deliver the Games are paid the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended rates. As the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, set out, all staff employed by the organising committee already earn in excess of the voluntary living wage. Of course, all suppliers will be required to pay the Government’s national living wage, which I am pleased to say is set to receive a big cash increase, rising by 6.2% from 1 April this year. The Government also plan to expand the reach of the national living wage. It currently applies to workers over 25, but it will apply to workers aged 23 and over from April 2021 and to those aged 21 and over within five years.
I think the spirit of the noble Lord’s amendment is that we should be ambitious about the opportunities we offer those who offer their labour as part of delivering the Games. I hope I can reassure him that we are doing that, not only through their wages but through wider approaches. We continue to develop plans to maximise employment, training and volunteering opportunities to ensure really lasting benefits for those living and working in the region. In particular, the organising committee is promoting opportunities for local and regional businesses and voluntary, community and social enterprises to ensure that they can bid for contracts as part of the £300 million procurement spend. When I visited the Sandwell Aquatics Centre I saw some of that happening in practice.
For example, Birmingham 2022 is working with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership on a programme focusing on building the capacity of up to 50 local SMEs from a black and minority-ethnic background to bid for publicly procured contracts across the UK and the Commonwealth. As part of the tender process, organisations bidding for Games contracts will be asked to demonstrate how they support the delivery of the organising committee’s social values charter, which we have already touched on, and there is a clear weighting attributed to this; for example, by promoting local employment opportunities and skills development.
Further, the organising committee is working with the West Midlands Combined Authority to establish a Commonwealth jobs and skills academy with the aim of helping the young and the unemployed gain skills, experience and jobs through the local supply chain. The ambition is that the programme will move people into sustained employment and offer experiences that will be beneficial to their long-term career prospects. I hope that that gives the noble Lord a sense of the progress that has already been made to ensure that the region capitalises on the fantastic opportunities and economic benefits the Games will bring, including through skills development, education, training and increased employment. On that basis I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
Just to be clear, the noble Lord has made a point that is so reasonable that I do not think anyone could disagree with it. Is it expected that subcontractors, et cetera, will meet the living wage? Is it a normal thing that will be expected of anyone who gets a contract? I think that is the essence of it.
Obviously, legally everyone has to meet the national living wage. The Living Wage Foundation’s voluntary living wage will be one of a number of metrics that will be taken into account in delivering on social value, such as, as I mentioned, skills opportunities including people who are further from the labour force. It is a mix, in terms of social aspiration, rather than one single metric.
I believe that the conversations that the organising committee has as it deals with potential suppliers will put that point in the hope of achieving those results. However, the organising committee is not in a position to give a guarantee on that until it has gone through the process. From the good book that I know so well, I believe that the Minister has gone the second mile, and from the context from which I speak I can only say amen to that, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 4 withdrawn.
Amendment 5 not moved.
6: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
“Sports legacy plan
(1) Within six months beginning on the day this section comes into force, the Organising Committee must prepare a sports legacy plan, setting out how the Games will promote sport participation in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom following the conclusion of the Games.(2) The Secretary of State must lay the sports legacy plan and any subsequent revisions of the plan before each House of Parliament.”
My Lords, in moving Amendment 6 I shall speak also to the amendments in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and the noble Lord, Lord Addington. In effect, we are talking about three things in these amendments. The first is sports legacy, which we covered in detail at Second Reading and in consideration of the Bill last year. The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, has focused on schools, which are critical to sports legacy. Her amendment talks about local schools. I think we may need to broaden that: I hope that the sports legacy from these Games touches schools throughout the United Kingdom. The noble Lord, Lord Addington, will talk about future Games’ success strategies. All three seek to embed these into the legislation because it is absolutely critical, if we are going to host the Commonwealth Games, that we have government support for achieving a proper sports legacy from the Games and a clear success strategy for future Games. In my view, nothing is more important than the school sports strategy that should also flow from it.
This is not 100% the domain of the organising committee. I know that it is absolutely committed to having a good sports legacy from the Games, but this is where the Government can help. It is where they can say that the Commonwealth Games in 2022 should be a catalyst for a transformational sports legacy in this country. The challenge, therefore, is to make an outstanding Games great through exceptional performances of athletes from throughout the Commonwealth, but at the same time ensuring that it leads to a step change in sport and recreation opportunities for those inspired by the Games. Strong ministerial co-ordination is essential in this context. We need it through a wide range of departments: the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and ultimately—and most importantly—the Department for Education. In all three, we need to have co-ordination, greater government commitment, and political leadership that can turn a great Games into a great sports legacy.
Schools are the epicentre of sport around the world. The United Kingdom should be no exception. We should learn from the strength of New Zealand sport. It a small country that punches massively above its weight across so many sports. Its facilities are in use 24/7. It has a policy that focuses on making sure that school sports facilities are available to able-bodied and disabled athletes whenever possible and that appropriate coaching is made available through, and with the support of, the schools. They meet the challenges that are historically a problem in this country. These include insurance—schools not making their facilities available for fear of insurance consequences—and the cost of transporting youngsters to and from those schools and of lighting, particularly in the winter months. All these can be overcome if there is a clear direction from the centre, political will, and a recognition among schools—not least independent schools—that they should fulfil their charitable status obligations by reaching out into the community and embracing young people from primary and secondary schools in the area to ensure that all sports facilities are properly used.
It is interesting that in France, before the beginning of the academic year, there is a freshers’ fair equivalent, where all schools welcome sports clubs in the vicinity to encourage young people to take up sport. It is schools, with the enthusiastic support of heads, PE staff, parents and local coaches, that are the vehicles to drive participation rates. No school should be an island; they should work with a multiplicity of local clubs: in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, but throughout the United Kingdom. I say “throughout the United Kingdom” because I emphasise the point that the Games should be a catalyst for the Government to say that we are going to take sport to a different level. We are going to increase participation. We saw a gradual drop-off in participation figures as a percentage of the population post London 2012. That was one of the saddest reflections on what was otherwise an absolutely magnificent year and a great Games. We must ensure that we learn lessons from that and that Birmingham does not repeat that. I hope that head teachers will be given support from the Government to reflect the demand for giving sport a higher priority in the school curriculum.
The problem is not, however, just on the school side. We need to look at planning laws and how we could change them to protect the playing fields in this country; to make sure that more resources are directed towards Fields in Trust—the national playing fields association—and to encourage Ofsted to take a far more proactive role. Quite frankly, nothing short of a revolution is required to improve the content and time devoted to prepare primary school teachers to work with schoolchildren in physical education. I hope that this wider agenda, which is absolutely critical, is not dissimilar to the recognition by the Government that, if you want to be an author, you learn to read and write first. It is the same with physical activity: if you want a child to become involved in sport, you first need to teach them to run, catch and jump. That is why physical literacy is so important and why it should be part of every child’s school life.
We touched upon the specific aspects of a sports legacy plan for Birmingham at Second Reading. Today we have two excellent amendments, which I fully support, to make sure that we embed these principles into legislation. We encourage the Government to do so by recognising in the Bill that we should be highlighting the importance of not just supporting the organising committee, as we are doing in this Bill, to host an amazing Commonwealth Games in 2022—of which I have no doubt we shall all be proud—but making sure that embedded into the same legislation is a commitment by the Government to make the future legacy very real. It should be a step change from what this country has enjoyed in terms of participation and opportunity for young people who are inspired by watching the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. I beg to move.
Amendment 7 (to Amendment 6)
7: After Clause 1, in subsection (1), at end insert “and support local schools to maximise use of their facilities to engage children and families in sport and physical activity”
My Lords, I declare that I am chair of ukactive, which is listed in the register of interests.
The absolute base thing that we need is a good Games. There is no doubt that amazing sporting performance inspires young people to be active and play sport. That is usually in the summer and then reality sets in in the cold winter nights, and you realise that, actually, becoming the next Jess Ennis or Dave Weir involves training 15 times a week, 50 weeks of the year, and it is slightly different.
We need to think about legacy: it will not happen on its own, whether it is about investment or a change in mindset. It is really important that we think about that. I would love physical literacy to have the same status as literacy and numeracy in school: for me, it is about healthy mind, body and spirit. It is outside the remit of this legislation to look at changing the school day or how we train our PE teachers. That is perhaps for another time, but my amendment is quite simple in what it is asking for. It is about maximising schools’ facilities before, during and after the Games to get the best possible legacy that we can for young people and their families in the area. The good news is that my proposal would require only minimal investment from the Government. However, if they would like to invest more and open it to the whole of the UK, I would be more than delighted.
We have to think differently about how we use our school sites. The reality is that, as much as we have this incredible elite success, today’s children are the least active generation ever. Sport England research in 2018 showed that just one in four boys and one in five girls in England achieved the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As children lead increasingly sedentary lives, they are at bigger risk of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. That has serious implications for the NHS. We know that children’s fitness declines by as much as 80% over the summer holidays, so when they come back in September they are way behind where they were at the start of the holidays.
Announcing levels of government funding for the Games in June 2019, the then Sports Minister Mims Davies MP said:
“The Games budget is a significant investment in Birmingham and the region. It will deliver benefits to local people for years to come. It will increase participation and encourage more people to get active and stay active.”
But we need to do more. The Games are a key sporting milestone, but we know that post Games there is a spike in participation, but then it drops quickly. If we look at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, there was little increase. The figure was 67% in 2013 and 68% in 2016, so my idea is to discover how we can open schools and use them as community hubs during the summer holidays. Children live on average 2.4 miles away from a school, with the average distance falling as low as 1.4 miles in inner cities, where levels of deprivation are much higher. What I did not realise until relatively recently, which I perhaps should have done, is that 39% of sports facilities in England sit behind school gates. When they shut in the summer holidays, not just young people but anyone who accesses them no longer has the opportunity to do so.
I am already involved with pioneering a model which opens schools in the summer holidays, giving young people two snacks, lunch and physical activity, from 9 am to 3 pm. They run around and are active. Nutritious food is a really important part of that. In 2018, 24 schools across England and Wales hosted holiday clubs for young people aged between five and 15. Importantly, at the end of that first pilot it was reported that the number of children meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for physical activity increased by 29%. The children were not all going throughout the summer holidays; they might pick a week or two weeks, although some went through the whole summer. The programme went from 25 sites in 2018 to 70 in 2019, offering a total of 10,000 free places for children on free school meals. Over 30% of these clubs were located in deprived areas.
Through that pilot we have seen a continual increase in the number of schools the model operates in, working with partners. There is consistent increased participation and we need to do more to look at opening schools in the Easter holidays for children most at risk. This model, if used at local schools before, during and after the Games, would engender a lasting legacy for increased participation, feeding young children into sports clubs if they wanted to go into sport, and helping set them up for the rest of their lives.
This is a really important thing we could do around the Commonwealth Games. At least if we did it around the Birmingham and wider West Midlands area, it would give young children in some quite challenging communities—I lived for four years in Ward End, which is quite a challenged part of Birmingham—a real opportunity to think differently about themselves and education and set them on a positive path. I beg to move.
My Lords, I have been unable to speak in this debate previously but am enthusiastic to have the opportunity to say something on the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. It concerns me that we have talked about sports legacy for a very long time but have never willed the consistent funding and approach to genuinely embed it for generations of young people. I speak as a former convenor of the Commonwealth Teachers’ Group and am therefore actively engaged with teachers across the Commonwealth. I am very excited about the Commonwealth Games.
I am slightly concerned that, when I started teaching in 1973 in the ILEA, we had many sports clubs in schools. It has been a consistent rollercoaster of up and down; sometimes sport is well funded and sometimes it is not. Sometimes Ofsted is keen on it; sometimes Governments are keen on it. If everything that has been said by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, is to come to fruition and we are to see that young people in our schools have these serious opportunities in term time and during the school holidays, we must think about the legacy of these Games not just in terms of headlines but hard and long about how we fund all the things we want and need to happen in our schools.
I absolutely believe that there is a commitment from the teaching profession that schools, as the hubs of their communities, should be open more of the time. But that requires resources. It requires that the facilities, which will be used in addition to the time when the schools are in session, be maintained. It requires that there be coaches and other available teachers. It requires that schools work together. In Birmingham, for example, we have a plethora of different types of school, some of which work well together and some of which do not necessarily work so well together. We heard earlier in this debate about the problems vis-à-vis the financial challenges potentially facing Birmingham, and I am sure noble Lords will know that there is currently a significant issue around education funding generally, whether for sport or other issues.
For all the reasons already given in some of these fine speeches, there should be a real legacy that relies on young people having an absolute right to the level of physical activity which we all seek from them. I hope that noble Lords who may have the ear of Government will ensure that this sports legacy is not just a headline but a reality, perhaps initially, as the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, has said, in Birmingham and the surrounding area but spreading out across the whole country—ultimately, so that GB can be a model of the kind of sports legacy to which our young people can aspire and have as an absolute right in their lives, in not just term time but school time. It will result in a healthier school cohort and possibly even more medals.
My Lords, I echo my noble friend’s point that we often debate the use of school facilities and bemoan the fact that they are in use for a disappointing percentage of time in the average week. However, we must face the financial reality that school governing bodies face at the moment. In Birmingham, a lot of primary schools are now closing at lunchtime on Fridays because they simply cannot find any other way to balance the books. The idea that the education system of schools in Birmingham can somehow magic up the ability to open their facilities for hours on end, particularly in the summer holidays, will not happen. I am sure that the Minister’s department wishes very much for schools to do more, but we have somehow to find a way to give them the ability to do it.
I hope also, although the amendments before us do not mention health particularly, that there will be a way to find an opportunity for health bodies in Birmingham to take part in some of the discussions. The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, has talked a little about young people’s health and well-being, but I am afraid that Birmingham’s obesity levels are very high. I have always hoped that the Commonwealth Games might be a catalyst for us to try to do something about it. The health service needs to step up to the plate, because its enthusiastic involvement in legacy planning could be very important. Health interests and sport interests do not always mix easily, partly because people in health worry that things such as the Commonwealth Games stress the joy of competitive sport at the expense of everyone. I understand that, but they can sometimes be very precious about it. I still believe that the two can run together, but opening the door to health interests now would be a good way to see whether they can be round the table and proactive in promoting legacy. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, put it so well: this time we should ensure that we get legacy right.
My Lords, I will make a few comments. First, on my amendment, I think we covered part of the international co-ordination and spreading the events in the previous debate, but if the Minister has more to say on that I will of course listen gladly. The main thrust coming through here is represented by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, effectively asking whether the Government will enact their own sports policy properly, which involves the department of health co-ordinating with the Department for Education and local government to make sure we have facilities to get out there and participate in grass-roots sport. Competitive sport is there at grass-roots level; it is just not as well done. I pray in aid my own sporting career. I am afraid that I missed Second Reading because I was playing rugby against the French Parliament. Yes, we lost. I recommend parliamentary rugby to anybody who wants to see the detail of the game, because we are so slow that you do not miss anything.
A good sports policy alone does not create champions. They often come by freak and fluke, and the very lucky get through. A good system will leave a supply of them. A really good sports policy will provide second-team and third-team players for small clubs and address the health problems, et cetera. People saying, “Wow, isn’t he great, let’s look at him on TV”, but then sitting down with beers and chips and saying, “Let’s try another channel” does not help very much. We need to get people out there to take part.
Perhaps we should be set up differently, but schools are a great facility. I started my club career playing on a school pitch that was lent to a small club that had just got itself a ground. We came through after 10 or 15 years of using school pitches. We must not stop that spontaneous growth of sport. We have a tradition of organising ourselves at a far higher level than any other country in Europe. Doing it ourselves means a cheaper facility. We should help and support that, as these amendments would do, enacting a sports policy which says, “These bits of government should come together”. Surely if something as exciting as a Commonwealth Games cannot allow us to do that, we really are missing a trick.
My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, is 100% right; schools must be involved in trying to ensure the sporting legacy that we desperately seek. There have been financial problems, as raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. However, there have also been many initiatives over the years to do the most sensible thing: link sports clubs with schools, so that youngsters have an opportunity to try a far wider range of sport and find one that they are interested in. When they leave school, they would then have somewhere to continue participating in that sport. Sadly, we still have dreadful figures about the drop-off rate of sports participation at the end of the school years.
I support the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, which has my name attached to it. He rightly points out that although in all the multisport events in this country over the years, we have had a range of very good legacies—buildings, contracts, upskilling and so on—we have failed to develop a sporting legacy from any of them, and certainly not at anything like the level that we hoped for.
I notice that the organising committee’s current legacy plans were on just one page of the Social Values Charter it put out in October 2019, saying that everybody is working together and that it is still in the process of developing long-term legacy plans. As I am sure noble Lords have seen, a number of new appointments have been made to the legacy and benefits committee; I welcome that. It has identified nine key themes for legacy. One of them is what we are speaking about: physical activity and well-being. Against each of the other eight, various organisations are also referenced, but in relation to physical activity and well-being the DCMS is listed as the lead body. The Minister said that it is the responsibility of the organising committee, as an NDPB, to produce regular reports on issues, and we have been assured that legacy will be one of them. But can she tell us what plans the Government have—and her department has—to produce a legacy planning report? It would give those of us who are interested an opportunity to comment, and perhaps collectively achieve for the first time what the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, is keen for, as am I: a true, lasting sporting legacy from a multisport event.
I also want to speak to the amendment on the legacy of the Games, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Addington. Moving away slightly from the issue of sports, I refer to its proposed new subsection (3)(a), where he talks about:
“the impact of the Games on the local community in which it was held”.
One of the key impacts is on capital development. I want to put on record my thanks to the Minister, and the team from Birmingham 2022, who came to talk to me about housing standards, which I raised at Second Reading. Although I will refer to it on the next group of amendments specifically in relation to disabled athletes, I want to make two brief and wider points on legacy.
I mentioned the lifetime homes standard for a very good reason: its category 2 makes just enough provision for an ordinary unit of accommodation to be adapted for less than £2,000, to be suitable for an elderly or disabled person but not somebody living in a wheelchair, whereas it takes in excess of £20,000 to adapt most units of accommodation, for example with slightly stronger walls where grip bars can be put up or slightly larger bathrooms with walk-in showers or baths. I am very disappointed to discover that, of the 1,472 plots on the Perry Barr residential scheme, only 20% will reach category 2, which is “flexible and adaptable”. The vast majority will be category 1, “visitable dwellings”. Hopefully, somebody in a wheelchair can be taken into one of them, but this category still permits steps into the building, which makes it utterly useless. Habinteg, an expert in lifetime standards, says that category 1 should not be used by the Government or anyone else and that category 2 should be the minimum. There are very few units at category 3, which is for those who live in and use wheelchairs. I will come back to why that affects sportspeople on the next group.
Having heard all that, I did some quick research. The Birmingham Mail reports that of the 1,472 units, only 58 affordable houses of family size will be built, despite there being 2,500 families in temporary accommodation in Birmingham. That is a massive missed opportunity. Over 1,000 of these units will be sold, so there will be very few left for affordable use by local communities or housing trusts. This is one lesson we can start to learn already. A large amount of taxpayers’ funding is helping to purchase and build the site—£185 million—yet the legacy of affordable housing in Birmingham has been missed completely.
My Lords, I do not want to say very much—honestly, I do not—but I have grown increasingly impatient with myself as this debate has continued. We need a full-scale debate, rather than one under the rigours of debating a Bill, about why and how the legacy of the Olympic Games did not deliver the ideals that have been mentioned, and why, despite the fine words, the legacy from these Games is just as likely not to be delivered. This involves far more than somebody putting a clause in a Bill. I put a great deal of effort into the two inner-city schools that I have some responsibility for. People can use their facilities any time they like—because we have not got any.
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Moynihan’s Amendment 6, and Amendment 7 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, consider the sporting legacy of the Games. I thank them for highlighting the importance of Birmingham 2022’s legacy. I know that they have also taken a keen interest in other areas of Games delivery—my noble friend in the development of the organising committee’s Social Values Charter and the noble Baroness in the organising committee’s accessibility work. I thank them for that.
It is right that legacy and realising the very real benefits of hosting major events, such as the Commonwealth Games, are areas closely scrutinised by Members of your Lordships’ House. As we have discussed, the Games will bring economic growth, through new jobs and business opportunities, accelerate regeneration through infrastructure projects and create new ways for more people to get involved in culture and volunteering in their local community. In particular, I share the enthusiasm of this House for maximising the opportunity that the Games present to promote sport and encourage people to become more physically active. Our plans to promote physical activity will include maximising the impact of the new sporting facilities being delivered for the Games, as well as existing facilities.
The new facilities will include: the redevelopment of athletics facilities at Alexander Stadium, to increase permanently the number of seats from 12,000 to 18,000 post-Games; the creation of a brand new aquatics centre in Sandwell which, in legacy, will provide a 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool, a 25-metre diving pool and 1,000 spectator seats for community use; and the addition of new cycle lanes across the city. As my noble friend Lord Moynihan pointed out, the Government have an important role in catalysing the impact of these new facilities. We are therefore working with all the Games’ delivery partners and local stakeholders in the region to develop programmes that will harness the power of the Games to promote sport and physical activity. For example, the Department for Education recently announced £20,000 of funding in Birmingham to encourage more young people to become volunteers and coaches in sports clubs and the local community in the run-up to the Games. This will provide a boost for Birmingham and develop a pipeline youth volunteer workforce ahead of the Games. We will also draw on the evidence from Sport England’s £10 million local delivery pilot investment to promote physical activity among hard-to-reach groups in Birmingham and Solihull.
To respond to the points raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, we are working with schools across the region to ensure children and young people are able to access all the opportunities to get involved in physical activity that the Games will create. As well as making the most of the new facilities developed as a result of the Games, we will look at how we can make better use of existing facilities. Sport England is already working with the Active Partnerships network to open up school facilities outside school hours, following a £1.6 million funding boost to help schools make better use of their sporting assets. We will continue to work with the network to explore ways in which school facilities can play a part in the physical activity legacy of the Games.
I am aware that a number of the points made by the noble Baroness are broader than simply the potential of the Games, which are a hotspot for focusing on that. However, a lot of work is going on in the department on investment in grass-roots football and a wide range of youth activities. I am more than happy to meet the noble Baroness, if that would be helpful, to discuss how we can use our combined wits to try to make the best of that issue.
A commitment to publishing a legacy plan was given during passage of the Bill in the previous Parliament and I am pleased that we are making good progress on that, with the development of the evaluation framework under way, including learning lessons from previous Games such as London 2012 and Glasgow 2014. As we develop the plan, and in recognition of their experience in this area, I would welcome the insights of my noble friend and the noble Baroness regarding physical activity and sport. I will also ensure that a copy of the plan is placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The noble Lord, Lord Foster, asked how the reporting on the plan would take place. That is being done as a partnership. It is a work in progress but I shall make sure that the House is kept updated on it.
The Games partnership is keen on draw on a broad range of insight. Noble Lords touched on this at Second Reading; the Committee may be interested to know that the organising committee recently appointed five influential community leaders to the legacy and benefits committee, a cross-partner group set up to ensure that the city, region and country maximise the benefits of the Games. The new members bring expertise drawn from a range of diverse backgrounds. For example, one of them is the founder of the Beatfreeks collective, which works with creative young people in Birmingham to have a positive impact in the city. She is joined by others with experience based in sport, education and skills, accessibility and the arts. The noble Baroness, Lady Blower, highlighted the considerable task ahead of us to achieve this change, but we are working hard to bring the right people in to help lead on this work.
I turn to Amendment 10 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Addington. I am sure that other noble Lords will congratulate him on his participation, not just in interparliamentary rugby but the tug of war between your Lordships’ House and the other place. His amendment would require the Government to lay a report before Parliament on lessons learned from Birmingham 2022 and how lessons have been learned from previous events. With regard to previous Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation orchestrates the formal exchange of information between previous and future hosts to understand successes, lessons learned and areas for improvement. Lessons for Birmingham 2022 have also been taken on board from London 2012 and Glasgow 2014. Not only are there practical lessons from their approach to delivery; we are also learning from the inspirational way in which those events harnessed the community spirit of their host cities.
I turn to the lasting impact of Birmingham 2022. We have been clear that we want the positive effects of the Games to be lasting for Birmingham and, more widely, for the West Midlands. Hosting the Games is already accelerating infrastructure and public transport improvements across the city and region. In addition to the new sports facilities, the Games will act as a catalyst for new housing in Perry Barr—although I hear the concerns raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton—and improvements to University and Perry Barr railway stations, not to mention the infamous Kings Heath station.
The long-term ambitions for the Games are to improve health and well-being, bring people together, be a catalyst for change, put us on the map and help the region to grow and succeed. We are carefully considering how this story is told once the Games end, while working with partners to look at how best to measure and report on the impact of the Games, including the impact on the local community. We will keep this House updated. We are committed to taking forward any lessons learned from the Games into planning for future major sporting events, and confident that effective plans are in place for doing so, which is why such a provision is not required in the Bill.
I hope that noble Lords are reassured that plans are in train to deliver, learn from and report on the benefits that come from hosting the Games. In view of that, I hope that the noble Baroness and my noble friend will be happy to withdraw their amendments.
Amendment 7 (to Amendment 6) withdrawn.
My Lords, I am very grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in this interesting debate. As the noble Lord, Lord Foster, highlighted, this is an area of responsibility for government. It is even built into the documentation for the Games. Quite frankly—I say this with a heavy heart—we should not be funding events if we are not prepared to fund the sports legacies of those events. To give a final example, while pressure is applied to local authority spend the fact is that it is discretionary spend and will always be squeezed first. I hope my noble friend the Minister can take this point away: sport and recreational provision is discretionary spend in England. It is the largest source of funding for sport in this country.
However, until we recognise the importance of sporting opportunity: for the young in educational terms, as the noble Baroness, Lady Blower, said; in aiding the fight against obesity, which was highlighted in terms of health; in providing the only language understood by too many of our young people who find the classroom alien and who, without the medium of sport, would find themselves on an escalator to crime; in overall health terms; in learning teamwork, the mantra of any further education; in management skills from shopkeeping to JP Morgan; and in realising the opportunity of a multibillion dollar industry worldwide, with new media and global social networking access, then the discretionary funding of sport will see sport and recreational facilities, and their legacy, wither and die on the vine of cost savings. With it will go the inspiration awakened by a great Games for so many young people in 2022.
There needs to be a concerted sports legacy policy—not just a plan but a series of policies—to open up our schools to dual use and make the sports legacy a reality. I make no apologies for being passionate about this subject, and I will make the case until they carry me out. But with those words, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 6 withdrawn.
8: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
The Secretary of State must make such regulations in relation to the access of disabled athletes, employees, volunteers and spectators to Games sport venues and sporting events as he or she thinks fit, including in relation to technical specifications, training for accessibility and events requirements, so as to ensure that all venue design and planning as well as sporting events’ operations satisfy the principles of equity, dignity and functionality as further specified in Accessibility Guide - An Inclusive Approach to the Olympic & Paralympic Games, issued by the International Paralympic Committee in June 2013.”
My Lords, I shall make a brief introduction to this amendment because we have covered this in some detail, but that does not in any way take away from the importance of accessibility and of a focus in the Bill on the interests of disabled athletes and anybody with any disability who is associated with the Games, whether a spectator, a worker, an employee or any individual. They should not be in any way discriminated against. Placing accessibility in the Bill should be at the heart of our approach to hosting an international sporting event. We need an inclusive approach to these Games. In my amendment I refer to the International Paralympic Committee, which has done remarkably good work on technical specifications for access, circulation, pathways, ramps and stairways. Those are clearly defined—the IPC accessibility guide has some 250 pages. It has rightly been accepted as a live document; it should improve. It was written in 2013, post London 2012, but it is still regarded as the key document for any sensible and modern approach to accessibility when hosting Games. It covers amenities, hotels, other accommodation, publications, communications, transportation—which we will come to in a much-anticipated contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Snape—and training in accessibility. Training the volunteers about accessibility is really important, as is making sure there is awareness training and job-specific training for hosting Games. Then, there are the Games requirements which we have considered in the past.
Tokyo 2020 has just published its accessibility guide for the Paralympic Games. It is interesting to note that not only does it aim to use the Games to ensure that all the venues, facilities, infrastructure and services provided are accessible and inclusive; more importantly to me, it sees the Games as a catalyst for change throughout the whole of Japan. It has simultaneously published a universal design 2020 action plan, which the Japanese Government are looking to implement to improve accessibility across the country. That is a step forward from the 2013 document, because it states that hosting an Olympic Games or other major sporting event needs to focus on accessibility in all its forms, but it can also be used as a catalyst for change in the country as a whole. All these measures show how vital it is to place disabled athletes and anyone who faces any form of disability on exactly the same basis as any able-bodied athlete or anybody who does not require detailed consideration of their disability. We must improve social inclusion and accessibility. I am looking forward to the highlight of the Committee this evening, when we hear more about the transport plan—and, on a serious note, the importance of accessibility throughout the whole of the transport network. With those brief words, I beg to move.
My Lords, I do not want to delay my noble friend’s tour de force but I want to support the noble Lord in what he said about accessibility. My amendment concerns a small bit of accessibility, but a very important one since many visitors will arrive to see the Games via Birmingham New Street station. New Street is a paradox because it is a wonderfully bright building which is very popular and has fantastic facilities, but it is not really a railway station. It is a retail outlet that was placed on top of a railway station, with no increase in the capacity of the station, apart from the four lounges at the top. I do not know what my noble friends think of those lounges, but they are basically deeply unattractive concrete holding pens to stop people cramming down on to the platform. There is no carpet. They are not like an airport. There is not even rubber matting. They are concrete and cold and miserable and do not do the job.
At Second Reading my noble friend Lady Crawley spelled out the confusing nature of the layout. My noble friend Lord Snape is puzzled by platforms A and B, but there is also the name. Is it Birmingham New Street station or is it Grand Central? There are different signs with different descriptions of what I think is the same building. The noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, raised the issue of people with disabilities trying to get through. We go through regularly and see people asking where the taxi rank is. There are two taxi ranks, but they are nowhere near where people leave the station. Both are in the open air because even though the station was designed to have one taxi rank with cover, it was then decided that that was not where you should catch a taxi. If you ask people what they think of the retail outlet—John Lewis and the restaurants—they say it is wonderful; but it is not New Street railway station.
All I am doing is highlighting a real concern that Network Rail needs to get a grip on this and rediscover its role of providing facilities for rail travellers rather than being a retail estate developer, which is essentially what it has become. We need some assurance that the organisers understand this and are going to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find their way to buses, taxis, trams and other facilities. I realise it could be argued that this is a small point concerning an otherwise fantastic Games, but it is actually quite important.
I put my name to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and I will come back to that in a minute. I just want to pick up the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. I want to refer again to the meeting I had with two people from the organising committee who were extraordinarily helpful. Emma Clueit, in particular, was knowledgeable and more than helpful—she tried to explain things. I thought she could influence what was going to happen, so it was an entirely positive conversation.
However, there is a “but” coming. The “but” on transport is that she was saying that they had just been invited to have somebody on the transport forum. However, that is only one voice on a much wider forum. I have sat on those regional or subregional forums, and my worry about Birmingham New Street is the ability of one body to change something is much more limited than if you have a longer-term base.
The other issue is that change is required very quickly. I did not even know that there were two taxi ranks at Birmingham New Street when I relayed my problems with one of them at Second Reading. I find that quite amusing. There are going to be major issues with the large numbers of people coming through for the Games that will need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. That will be a legacy for Birmingham if it is handled right.
I want now to move back to Amendment 8 on having a statement of accessibility in the Bill. I completely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, that it is essential. To refer again to the conversation that I had with Miss Clueit and her colleague, the Games team have slight concerns about the IPC standards being used because sometimes they want to better them. I have complete sympathy with that, but that is not what the amendment says. It says that the standards must be satisfied. In other words, it is a floor of accessibility, not a cap.
I think there is a very good reason for having it, for just the reason I have said, on transport. We need to ensure that Games committees have real power in the communities in which they are working to make changes happen. Having something in the Bill will make the other statutory bodies in the area have to face up to their responsibilities as well. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to put it in the Bill because some of the problems outlined during Committee stage today demonstrate that, while the organising committee has the best of intentions, its ability to deliver everything that the wider community wants is harder without the power of something being in the Bill.
I said I would go very briefly back to the issue of accommodation for athletes. I was rather disappointed with the letter I got from the leader of Birmingham Council. There are two forms of category 3 for living accommodation for wheelchair users. He said:
“Category 3 is generally around the provision of equipment specific to user”.
No, it is not. My worry is that the council is providing the planning permission for these units and the advice that Councillor Ward has got from his officers does not even understand the basics that Paralympic athletes will need. I remain extremely concerned about that. I hope that perhaps I can have an update letter from Birmingham City Council to reassure me. My letter made no indication at all that there was any accommodation for category 3. I know that that is not true because of the conversations I have had with Miss Clueit and I have also seen the Birmingham Mail report on the number of units that will require extra care in the future. It is 161 units and I suspect they are the wheelchair-user ones.
There is no joined-up thinking on this and that is exactly why accessibility needs to be in the Bill to make sure things do not drift and fall through the net.
My Lords, I fear the sense of anticipation outlined by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, will be equalled only by the sense of disappointment when I sit down. Speaking in these debates on transport is very difficult. The Minister said at Second Reading, tongue in both cheeks I suspect, that I was a world expert on railways. I was reduced to the ranks earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Foster, who described me only as the world expert on railway signage. The difference is fairly substantial and neither of them is particularly true. I will take it in the way that he meant it, rather than the way he expressed it, as he meant it sincerely.
I have three brief points on transport and particularly on New Street station. My noble friend Lord Hunt amply set out the difficulties for able-bodied Brummies to get round it. I am neither of course, although I have lived in Birmingham for 40 years. People who live in the city find it difficult to find their train. You can find a hamburger or a newspaper very easily at New Street Station; finding the right train is much more difficult.
I will confine my remarks to the platforms. For various reasons, all the platforms at New Street— all 18 of them, I think—are divided into A and B ends. They are poorly signposted and it is baffling for people from out of the city. You walk down the stairs and it is not apparent whether you are at the A or the B end. You get on the train in the station and go in the opposite direction to one you wished to go in—it is that bad. Surely the powers that be—I think it is a Network Rail station; the ownership of railway stations is a difficult matter these days—should have the concerns of passengers at the forefront of their minds. As my noble friend said, it is a fine retail centre but not good as a station.
Also, as it is an underground station with tunnels at either end, it is extremely smoky if there is a diesel multiple unit standing in the station. Some of them stand in the station for a long time. Many of the people arriving for—and departing from—the Commonwealth Games will spend some considerable time in the station. It is not a pleasant atmosphere, and these days when we are much more aware of the danger of diesel fumes, for example, it is not to be commended.
Virgin Trains—much missed in my opinion—used to have a spare Voyager diesel multiple unit standing in the sidings in New Street station. I do not know whether its successor, Avanti trains, does the same. The train would stand for four or five hours at a time with its engine running. I do not see the point of that or why no one has realised the danger to those using the station.
Again—I am not trying to demonstrate a particular expertise and the fact that I take some interest in these matters—New Street station should have been resignalled under Network Rail’s plans in 2016. For various, understandable reasons that it would be inappropriate for me to go into, it has not been done. Network Rail is now talking about resignalling the station shortly. I would like to know, and I would like the Minister to find out, what “shortly” means because it is not a simple task to resignal a station such as Birmingham New Street. Its current signalling was installed in 1964. It is time expired. For some reason, that brutalist building at the end of the platform has been listed. It is a typical example of 1960s concrete architecture, but I am no expert. It is a credit to the signallers over the 56 years that a station designed for 600 trains a day in the 1960s now accommodates around 1,400 trains in the course of 24 hours. Resignalling it is going to cause considerable dislocation and delay.
I ask the Minister to talk to her counterparts in the Department for Transport to ensure that resignalling does not take place immediately before, during or immediately after the Commonwealth Games, because it would cause considerable dislocation for passengers using the station. I repeat that these matters are not, strictly speaking, anything for this Minister, but we would like an assurance from her that discussions will take place between her department and the Department for Transport so that some of these matters can be debated and, perhaps, resolved. There will be an enormous impact on the Commonwealth Games if we get the transport system wrong, but so far it does not appear that Network Rail is making much of an effort to get the transport system, particularly New Street station, right.
My Lords, I should probably apologise to your Lordships because all my favourite subjects are wrapped up in these two amendments. I shall try to be brief, which is something that noble Lords never want to hear at this time of the evening. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for introducing his amendment in such a positive way. I also thank the organising committee, which has been very generous with its time. There are a few areas that I would like to cover.
Quite rightly, we talk about the athletes’ village and transportation but I am not aware that we have talked about moving athletes’ sports equipment around, from the village to the training venue or wherever. Usually there is storage at the competition venue but these pieces of equipment are really expensive—between £5,000 and £20,000. An athlete’s desire to be separated from their equipment is usually very low. When I competed back in 2004, I tried to explain to somebody why I did not want my racing chair to be thrown on to a separate bus. I said that I would rather my two year-old child was sent on a separate bus, but then I realised that I sounded like a slightly harsh mother.
Most athletes will have only one piece of equipment and it is not easy to obtain. There will be a repair centre in the village, but it is far easier not to have to repair equipment in the first place. This is about training the volunteers and understanding the value not just of the sports equipment but of an athlete’s day chair. If you transfer to a seat in a bus, you do not want your day chair to disappear, as it may never come back again. Of course, disabled people are not just athletes, and I hope that the volunteer programme will do as much as the 2012 Games and Glasgow Commonwealth Games in encouraging disabled people to volunteer.
I am also very keen to think about what we can do for spectators. For example, I am thinking of flexible seating. I was offered quite a lot of reassurance about the purchase of accessible tickets, and that will be done in a very sensible way. Disabled people often have to apply on a separate phone line and often, only a limited number of tickets are available.
For me, one huge success of the 2012 Games was their flexibility. Whether people had bought a disabled ticked, an end-of-row ticket or a ticket for a seat with more leg room, when they turned up at the venues, they found that the volunteers were exceptionally well trained to think about how to make the most of the situation. The experience of a spectator is not just about watching the sport; it is about being part of a group of people—part of the crowd and the environment. As a disabled person, you rarely experience that. I was trying to think how to describe it. It is a little like being a Cross-Bencher or a wheelchair user in this area of the Chamber when the House is packed. You miss everyone around you—those little conversations that you can have with the people in front of you or behind you. It can be quite isolating, and that is the experience of the majority of disabled people when they go to concerts or sports events. It is them and their carer—a word that I do not particularly like. Often, it is just the wheelchair user plus one.
I shall tell your Lordships about my worst experience. Again, I am not a terrible mother but I took my child to a concert when she was two years old. It was explained to me that, as she was not my carer, she was not allowed to sit with me. They tried to make her sit 25 rows in front of me until I pointed out that they were responsible for her safety—and then they suddenly allowed her to sit with me. That is an example of rules and red tape, and of just not thinking.
The best situation that I have witnessed was at the 2012 Games. Plastic seats were found and a group of us who happened to be wheelchair users and had travelled together were able to sit together and enjoy the experience. I hope that Birmingham will be able to offer that sort of flexibility, understanding people’s needs and not saying, “You haven’t got the right ticket. You can’t come in”.
One of my favourite topics is toilets. I would love there to be appropriate toilets and lots of Changing Places toilets. I have been assured that that is being looked at very carefully. If the RADAR scheme is to be used, I have spare RADAR keys—the keys for disabled people. If you come from another country, you may not know that that scheme exists, but it is important.
Moving on to transport, the noble Lord, Lord Snape, lived up to expectations. I hope that in future I will be able to refer to him as “my friend in accessible train transport” or “my friend who finds solutions for train stations”. I share many of his concerns about New Street station. I declare that I am part of a group called the Campaign for Level Boarding. It is not strictly part of the Bill but we are looking at how to make it better and easier for disabled people to travel. I am delighted that the Secretary of State today launched a campaign called It’s Everyone’s Journey, which is a step forward in looking at access. However, the reality is that what we have talked about today is only a small fraction of what is needed to make stations, including New Street, more accessible. I will be writing to the Secretary of State later.
We need to think more about how the Access for All fund can be improved. As a disabled person, the reality for me is that I am only likely to be able to have truly accessible transport in the UK in 2075 and, although I hope to be, I warrant that I will probably not be around then. For me, part of the Commonwealth Games is thinking differently about how disabled people travel. When we get to the Games, lots of people will be travelling and New Street station will be a gateway. We need to think about how to get people out of the station quickly and how it can be used as a queueing system. I agree that the signposting around New Street is really difficult. When I lived in Birmingham, it was the old New Street station. I slightly prefer the new one.
Also, I did not realise that there were two taxi ranks at the station—I thought that there was only one. I find it an incredibly station difficult to navigate. I spoke to some colleagues from the Campaign for Level Boarding to get their experience of New Street. Dr Amy Kavanagh, an activist, praised the staff. Amy is vision-impaired and said that the staff there are superb. They are really helpful and adaptable and are an exemplar of staff across the network. Doug Paulley, a renowned campaigner, also praised the staff, but said about New Street that it is,
“narrow and curved. The underground tracks make it very difficult to find. The shopping centres and exits are hideously complicated, and it’s a huge distraction from what it’s meant to be: a railway station”.
He also described it as “Mordor”, which is an interesting view, but it shows his frustration at how difficult it is to get around.
Solutions are required. We need better signage. The signage in 2012, with spots on the floor, was really useful and we should think about that. Regarding the two taxi ranks, we should think about platforms or humps to enable people to get in and out of taxis more easily. Currently, the accessible toilets are on the wrong side of the ticket barrier. They can be used only when you have gone through the ticket barrier, so they need to be repositioned to the outside.
We need to be really creative in how we train and prepare people. The whole experience of being at the Commonwealth Games comes back to what I said at the beginning. It is not just about when you get to the Games venue; the experience starts when you leave home —the excitement and the fact that you have tickets and are going to the Games. Every step along the way is a very important part of that. In 2012, that is what TfL got right. For the vast majority of the time, it got the public transport right, and that is one reason why people have such fond memories of the Games. If we can take a bit of that magic fairy dust and move it to the Birmingham Games, it will mean that people go away having had a really positive experience. If we can sort out a few of the issues at New Street, we will have a better chance of making the Games a success.
I thank my noble friend Lord Moynihan for raising the important issue of accessibility through Amendment 8 and for his very helpful analysis of all the different issues involved. He gave the example of Japan and explained how focusing on accessibility and getting that right can improve the broad experience of the Games.
I know that the organising committee recently engaged with a number of noble Lords on its approach to accessibility, including the noble Baronesses, Lady Brinton and Lady Grey-Thompson, the noble Lords, Lord Griffiths, Lord Hunt and Lord Snape, and my noble friend Lord Holmes. It is extraordinary to listen to the expertise that noble Lords share on these different issues, and I am sure that I speak on behalf of the organising committee in being grateful to them for sharing that expertise.
The aim for Birmingham 2022 is that all venues and the services around them are designed, operated and delivered to ensure that everyone has a great Games experience. That is why Birmingham 2022 is developing an accessibility strategy with spectators, athletes, media, the local workforce and volunteers in mind. The strategy will be published this spring. I am sure that noble Lords will take the opportunity to provide feedback to the organising committee on all aspects.
I understand that a number of noble Lords have spoken to the organising committee since Second Reading about the approach to accessibility. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, for her feedback on that. I hope that that helped to address some of the questions raised, including around New Street station signage and accessible seating.
The noble Lord’s amendment refers to the International Paralympic Committee’s guidelines, which undoubtedly provide a foundation and benchmark for accessibility standards at major sporting events. At Second Reading, the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, shared her experience —not such a good one—of seating. I thought that it would be helpful to look at what will happen in Birmingham. Birmingham 2022 will meet the committee’s guidelines on accessible seating provision, with 0.5% of seating for wheelchair bays, 0.5% for companion seating and companion seats located next to bay spaces. Games organisers will also look at providing seating for friends, family and others in the party as close to the wheelchair bays as possible, hopefully addressing the point about flexibility that the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, raised.
While such standards will act as a marker and consideration for accessibility planning for Birmingham 2022, the Games will look to encompass a range of accessibility guidance, best practice and regulations, taking an approach that reflects the size and scale of the Games. This will include areas such as ticketing and the recruitment and support of volunteers to ensure that accessibility is at the forefront of thinking. It was helpful to have the examples from London 2012 about good training making such a difference.
I also understand that the International Paralympic Committee’s guidelines are currently being updated, which my noble friend referred to. That is one of the reasons that Birmingham 2022 plans to design and deliver the Birmingham inclusive Games standards. This will be an evolving and bespoke set of access and inclusion standards which we hope will be applied not only across these Games but potentially for future events.
As noble Lords will know, the Government tabled an amendment in the previous Session requiring the organising committee to report on what it has done to ensure that Games events are accessible to disabled people. It will also produce quarterly reports on Games delivery, including updates on this area. We take this extremely seriously.
Turning to Amendment 17 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I have taken note of the points raised by the Committee about ensuring appropriate transport links to Games venues. I understand that a particular focus of this amendment is around the provision of accessible transport and hope to reassure noble Lords that such an amendment is not required.
Games partners are committed to delivering a fully accessible transport system so that everyone is able to participate in and enjoy the experience of the Games, which ensures, as far as possible, seamless journeys for spectators, athletes and officials to all venues. The organising committee will write about athletes’ equipment, because I do not have a specific answer.
A joint transport group was established over 12 months ago, chaired by the managing director of Transport for West Midlands, to ensure full integration in transport planning for the Games. Details of routes and transport arrangements for the main transport hubs and all venues will be included in the next version of the Games strategic transport plan, the first draft of which underwent a period of public engagement between September and December 2019.
I understand that this next version will include the arrangements for all spectator and workforce transport modes, including buses and taxis. I presume that this will include both taxi ranks at Birmingham New Street—we have all discovered the second. I have been assured that there will be engagement with disabled people’s organisations and other groups to ensure that the necessary accessibility requirements are fully considered; for example, as already set out in the first draft Games strategic transport plan, the provision of accessible bus shuttle services from key transport hubs and park and ride sites. If noble Lords would like to suggest local groups or stakeholders they would like to see engaged as part of this process, I would be very happy to pass those on to the organising committee.
Concerning plans for New Street station specifically, I am happy to talk to my noble friend the Minister in the Department for Transport on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Snape. More broadly, I am pleased to report that Birmingham 2022 is working with Games partners to make sure that Games signage in hubs such as New Street will be completed. It is already engaging with Network Rail—the landlord and station manager—on improvements that could be made in the run-up to and during Games time. I am told that plans for the station at Games time will build upon successes from other recent major events, including the Cricket World Cup, and will be drawn up later in the year once full details of competition schedules and venues for Birmingham 2022 have been released.
For the Games to be successful, we know that transport in the host city and region must work effectively and be accessible—from the point that you leave your front door, so that the stresses of getting to the Games are kept to an absolute minimum—for athletes, spectators and those working and living around Games locations alike.
The Government are confident in the Games partners’ ability to deliver on Games-time transport needs. I hope that the progress and planning that I have set out have reassured the noble Lord—who I hope is also my noble friend—that work is on track to achieve this, and, further, that noble Lords can see the commitment to delivering a truly accessible Games in 2022. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord feels able to withdraw his amendment.
I am very grateful to the Minister for her response. There were a lot of very firm commitments there from the Government, particularly around accessibility. I think that this is important. Frankly, it is worth while tabling an amendment of this type simply to listen to the experience of the noble Baronesses, Lady Brinton and Lady Grey-Thompson, who have in effect put out a lexicon and agenda that must be followed. I am grateful to the Minister for her strong commitment and response. I am sure that we will pick up on the specific concerns that were raised as well. I look forward to the Government responding to those.
Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Snape, absolutely lived up to expectations—another gold medal performance from him. It was a blessing that we did not get a potted history of his experiences in Birmingham hotels this evening, as we did at Second Reading. With those brief observations, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 8 withdrawn.
9: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
“Charter for the Games
(1) The Secretary of State must direct the Organising Committee to prepare a Charter for the Games (“the Charter”).(2) The Charter must include policies for the Organising Committee on matters stated in the Birmingham 2022 Host City Contract including—(a) prohibiting any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, physical or mental ability, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status;(b) protecting and respecting human rights, conducting human rights due diligence, and ensuring any violation of human rights is remedied, in a manner consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“UNGPs”) and all international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and in line with internationally recognised human and labour rights standards and principles;(c) refraining from any act involving fraud or corruption, in a manner consistent with any international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and all internationally recognised anticorruption standards applicable in the Host Country, including by establishing and maintaining effective reporting and compliance;(d) carrying out all activities in a manner which embraces sustainable development and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and COP21; and(e) having regard to planning, construction, protection of the environment, health and safety, labour and working conditions and cultural heritage, including the implementation of a compliance management system to ensure that the work of partners and contractors is performed in line with the UNGPs and is held to high standards with regard to procurement, service delivery, due diligence and compliance.”
My Lords, I will be brief. The social value charter is now on the website. Details of the principles to be upheld are clear for all to read. They cover everything inserted in the new clause that the noble Lord, Lord Foster, and I have proposed to the Committee this evening. It is vital to protect and respect human rights. It is essential that the host country refrains from any act involving fraud or corruption, above all to prohibit any form of discrimination, and to carry out all activities in a manner that embraces sustainable development and contributes to the UN sustainable development goals.
Finally, the amendment looks to
“having regard to planning, construction, protection of the environment, health and safety, labour and working conditions, and cultural heritage”.
All these have been taken on board in the social value charter, and the work being undertaken by the organising committee is gathering pace. It has had conversations with accessible ticketing providers. We covered accessibility in some detail in the previous debate. It is important to recognise that Birmingham 2022 is not seen as an isolated event. These Games are the culmination of the Transformation 2022 agenda, which the Commonwealth Games Federation has been working on for several years.
I have recently returned from Qatar, where I was looking in detail at how many of the issues covered in this charter are being implemented, in a country which has faced many criticisms and challenges in the past. I was going to share some of those reflections with the Committee this evening but instead I might write to all Members, just to demonstrate how a country can use the greatest single sporting event—in Qatar’s case, the 2022 World Cup—to transform its political and social landscape. It has established is own charter and is committed to a much-needed process of implementing change.
There is a torchlight that is shone on countries over all aspects of the social value charter, which are summarised in the amendment; it is absolutely essential that the charter is taken seriously and implemented in full. Tomorrow I shall have the pleasure and privilege of meeting the president of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne over lunch. I shall be discussing how this document can be turned into a live document. It is remarkable work; the organising committee should be congratulated on it. It can be a template for work that is undertaken in Paris for the forthcoming Olympic Games and for all future international sporting events. I very much hope that it will be seen as that. The Commonwealth Games Federation should be congratulated on the work it has done to date. It is far easier to write words than it is to implement them, as all those of us who are interested in the subject know—not least the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Hornsey, who spoke at earlier stages of the Bill and has done so much good work on this, and who continues to lead, as she does in the House, on the subject.
With that in mind, and with these brief comments, I simply ask the Minister to recognise that all this work is being done. Let us put it in the legislation and show the world that the Government are equally committed to ensuring that the social value charter is effectively implemented.
My Lords, I briefly thought about whether disability should be added to the list but, after the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, presented Amendment 8 so eloquently, I am much happier with that.
The noble Lord’s amendment is really important. Given that homosexuality is illegal in 37 of the 53 Commonwealth countries, it is clear there is still a very long way to go in ensuring people’s human rights. This amendment brought to my attention the fact that a lot of disabled athletes who are part of the Commonwealth Games teams are treated far less favourably than their non-disabled counterparts. This goes down to the provision of kit. A number of Commonwealth countries do not provide their disabled athletes with appropriate competition kit or tracksuits. There is a charity called Kit Us Out, run by Alex Mitchell, which has provided several thousand pieces of sports equipment and kit to disabled athletes competing at both the Commonwealth Games and the Paralympic Games. At the previous Commonwealth Games, he also provided 12 wheelchairs for athletes who did not have them, making their lives significantly easier.
Due to the late hour, I shall write to all Members of the Committee and connect with the Minister’s department. This is something that is worth pursuing—making sure that we send out the right message to disabled athletes who will be competing in this country.
My Lords, as we have heard, Amendment 9 requires the Secretary of State to direct Birmingham 2022 to prepare a charter for the Games. I thank my noble friend for his amendment and, in so doing, welcome the great progress that has been made to ensure that such issues are at the forefront of Games delivery—not least, it must be said, because of the important role of this House and of my noble friend in exercising scrutiny of this Bill and the Games.
In October 2019, the organising committee published the Birmingham 2022 Social Values Charter, which focuses on five key areas: sustainability, health and well-being, inclusivity, human rights, and local benefit. The charter will be a living document. Birmingham 2022 is committed to reporting on its progress through planned quarterly updates. Of course, the organising committee is further required by the Bill to report on what it has done to ensure that its delivery of the Games promotes the values of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which is intended to capture the content of the charter. That was the key point made by my noble friend: words on the page are not enough; we need to see things implemented in reality.
We should, rightly, applaud the steps that have been taken by Birmingham 2022 to promote and build upon the values of the Commonwealth Sports Movement. Accordingly, I hope that Birmingham 2022 will provide an example for others to follow and that the Commonwealth Games Federation will consider how the charter can provide the framework and standards for the policy and practice of future events. I have full confidence that this is, and will become, a model for best practice; I know that the organising committee would be happy to speak to the noble Lord about how best to raise awareness of the approach that it has adopted.
In recognising the great work that has been done, and will continue to be built on, I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.
Amendment 9 withdrawn.
Amendments 10 and 11 not moved.
Clause 2: Annual reporting
Amendments 12 to 20 not moved.
Clause 2 agreed.
Clauses 3 to 9 agreed.
Clause 10: Ticket touting offence
21: Clause 10, page 7, line 14, at end insert—
“( ) A Games ticket which is suspected to be touted in contravention of this section may be treated as a prohibited article under section 1(7) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (power of constable to stop and search persons, vehicles etc.), and a constable may use powers conferred under that section for the enforcement of this section.”
My Lords, Amendment 21 covers the subject of touting. We have discussed at earlier stages the abuse of the secondary market and the importance of this as a criminal offence. My principle concern in tabling this amendment is to encourage the Government to commit to recognising that the issue is not so much one of abuse of the secondary market but the lack of enforcement powers. It is vital that those enforcement powers are made available. In the interests of time, I will discuss the subject with my colleagues in another place who, I know, are interested in tabling amendments to that effect. I hope that my noble friend the Minister will be able to say something about the importance of enforcement. There is real concern that those powers are not available at present.
The additional amendments, Amendments 22 to 27 —and a ghost amendment, potentially Amendment 28, which appeared suddenly overnight but was never tabled—all relate to questions about advertising. I tabled these amendments because the Advertising Association, with which I am in agreement, has expressed concern that the current clause on the timing of the vicinity restrictions is too open to interpretation, creating significant uncertainty for many businesses large and small, as well as for outdoor media owners with billboards near the event venues.
As currently drafted, Clause 13(3) requires the vicinity advertising restrictions to come into effect from
“the beginning of the period of 21 days ending immediately before the day on which the Games begin, and … end no later than the end of the period of 5 days beginning with the day after the day on which the Games end.”
I recognise the need to ensure that event venues and the vicinity around them are kept clean from advertising during the event itself, but the clause currently gives scope for the advertising ban to extend for nearly a month and possibly across a wide area of England, which the sporting events will be spread over, with sporting venues in Birmingham, Staffordshire and Leamington Spa, and the velodrome in London. This is surely unnecessary and goes against the stated aim, which is to limit advertising in the immediate vicinity of the event for the period when the event takes place.
The amendment tabled would limit the advertising ban to the locality around each event and put in place reasonable time limits, starting the day before the event takes place and finishing the day after. The amendment also takes account of the possibility of multiple events at the location. I appreciate that planning for the event locations is still ongoing; the amendment does not impede that process, but provides a more proportionate and balanced approach to the vicinity restrictions. Given that the Secretary of State will not publish the implementing regulations until after the Bill has received Royal Assent, I believe this amendment is essential to give businesses up and down the country appropriate clarity.
The amendment takes the same approach as for the UEFA European Championships in Scotland, where regulations governing the trading and advertising arrangements have already been published for consultation by the Scottish Government. These state that if one venue hosted a single event that lasted only a day, the restrictions could apply for as little as a day before the event takes place and the day after. There is a strong case to align with this. Amendment 24 covers much the same issues for the trading offence, for the same reasons as I have outlined regarding Amendment 22 on the advertising offence. There is a direct read-across to that.
I tabled Amendments 25 and 26 to Clause 18 because, as noble Lords will be aware, the two must be read together. The Government accept the case for a statutory exemption for the sale and distribution of news media—newspapers and magazines. As I will argue, this requires both these amendments to Clause 18, given that Clause 18(1) is a summary of the exemptions set out in more detail by the subsequent subsections. Amendment 26 would provide a statutory trading exemption for the selling and distribution of news media, including newspapers and magazines whether online or print versions, along with the other trading exemptions. This amendment would create a further subsection, Clause 18(7).
At Second Reading, other noble Lords and I raised the need for the Government to confirm continued consultation on, and then the provision of, statutory exceptions to enable normal newspaper publication and distribution during the Games, as sought by the News Media Association. The Government, in reply, welcomed the engagement of the association on the development of the Bill, which places on the Secretary of State a duty to consult specific people before making the exceptions regulations for advertising and trading. The Government then helpfully stated that they were keen to continue working with the News Media Association and others as work on potential exceptions develops. The NMA has welcomed the constructive response of the Government. It stresses the importance of the enactment of robust, comprehensive newspaper exceptions to both the advertising and trading offences, which will be created by the Bill, and that these protections must be no less than the newspaper protections provided by such exceptions regulations for past Games and similar events.
My amendment also includes the sale and distribution of magazines. Such statutory exceptions are necessary, simply to enable the normal, lawful, unimpeded sale, distribution and provision of newspapers and magazines, including their usual editorial and advertising content, to their readers—surely something on which we all agree.
The final amendment covers scrutiny in this House. Noble Lords will recall that this was raised as an issue at Second Reading. It is important to have public scrutiny of the implementation of these restrictions to ensure they are workable for businesses that would be affected and are proportionate in their application, because the Secretary of State is not obliged, under the Bill, to publish the implementing regulations until Royal Assent, which reduces the opportunity for public scrutiny.
I commend all these amendments, which require a similar level of scrutiny. I have put them on record because a great deal of work has been done by interested parties, behind the scenes and outside the House. I hope they will be considered carefully by the Minister and in another place. I beg to move.
My Lords, the amendments tabled by my noble friend Lord Moynihan on advertising and trading restrictions seek to provide that news media would be excepted from the advertising and trading offences, to limit the period in which the restrictions could be in place in the vicinity of Games locations, and to apply the affirmative procedure to the regulations setting out when and where the restrictions apply. The ticketing amendment seeks to change the powers that can be used by the police for enforcement of the ticketing offence.
On Amendment 21, we recognise the importance of effective enforcement of all the Bill’s provisions, including those prohibiting the unauthorised sale of Games tickets. The enforcement provisions in the Bill have precedent, and have been informed by the experience of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is important to note that the Bill provides for ticket touting, advertising and trading offences to be enforced primarily by trading standards, as authorised by local weights and measures authorities. Nevertheless, the police may be asked to support trading standards carry out some enforcement activity, where this is operationally necessary, and we are working with the organising committee, local authorities and West Midlands Police to develop a co-ordinated approach to enforcing the Bill’s provisions.
I reassure my noble friend that this amendment is not needed to address an enforcement gap. Tickets can already be seized by trading standards under the Bill. Enforcement officers already have a suite of investigatory powers available to them through Schedule 5 to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, including the power to search and seize documents. We need to ensure that enforcement of this provision is proportionate. We should bear in mind that the provision is primarily intended as a deterrent. It would be disproportionate to add Games tickets to the list of prohibited articles, as this is intended to cover offensive weapons, and items intended to cause harm or to assist in acts of burglary or theft.
Finally, we believe that this amendment perhaps does not reflect the changing landscape of ticket touting. It concerns the enforcement of the ticketing provision against touts outside venues—thankfully a diminishing feature of the secondary ticketing market—rather than those operating through online ticket resale platforms, where potential breaches of the offence are perhaps more likely to take place. Importantly, as the Bill stands, the ticketing provision addresses the enforcement of the touting provision wherever it takes place. For these reasons, I ask my noble friend to withdraw Amendment 21.
On Amendments 22 to 27 on advertising and trading offences, we should remember that these offences have been brought forward to ensure that trading does not obstruct easy movement in the vicinity of Games locations and to provide a consistent approach at each venue. My noble friend Lord Moynihan also seeks to apply the draft affirmative procedure to the advertising and trading regulations, setting out when and where the restrictions will apply.
I mention here my thanks to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee for its report on the Bill. The committee recommended that these regulation-making powers be made affirmative. I intend to respond to this report shortly and will ensure that a copy of that response is made available in the Libraries of both Houses. However, I am not persuaded that such an amendment is necessary.
The Government are of the view, given the temporary nature of the offences and the proportionate approach to the offences set out in the Bill, that the negative procedure is appropriate. However, I reiterate and provide the reassurance that it is not the Government’s intention to place a blanket advertising ban or outdoor trading ban across Birmingham or the West Midlands. All Games partners are committed to engaging with those affected; indeed, business engagement across the city and region is already under way.
My noble friend Lord Moynihan has sought to include in the Bill that the restrictions provided in the vicinity of a Games location are time-limited, so that they begin no earlier than the day before the first event at a location and end no later than the day after the final event at a location. I remind the House of the remarks made by my noble friend Lord Ashton on Report of this Bill in the previous Parliament. He confirmed that the intention is in most cases for a facility to
“extend a few hundred metres beyond a Games location.”—[Official Report, 24/7/19; col. 790.]
However, it is important that we maintain operational flexibility with these restrictions, to protect the vicinity of Games locations from unauthorised advertising and trading. Such areas within the vicinity of Games locations may be affected only for a number of days—for example, in the immediate run-up to the Games—but as a consequence of this amendment they could not be protected from ambush marketing for the duration of that period. However, I want to provide reassurance that these restrictions will be proportionate and temporary, lasting a maximum of 38 days, and potentially far fewer in many cases. It will be driven by when and how Games locations are used; some may be in use only for a very few days. Because we are seeking to underline that commitment to proportionality, the Bill includes a small number of exceptions and a power to provide further exceptions in the regulations.
The Government are aware of the approach taken to the advertising and trading restrictions for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics and Paralympics where an exception was provided in regulations for newspapers, subject to certain conditions, for instances where the trading offence would have captured selling newspapers. We are of course listening to concerns raised by the news media industry and are committed to considering whether additional exceptions should be brought forward. The Bill places an obligation on the Government to consult specific people on those potential exceptions. Indeed, I am grateful for the constructive engagement so far of the Advertising Association and the News Media Association, among others, and I look forward to that constructive engagement continuing. However, it is important that the Government have the opportunity to consider that consultation before determining which exceptions should be carved out in order to ensure that the regulations are as effective as possible. I would be pleased to write to noble Lords to inform them when the consultation goes live to ensure that they have further sight of the Government’s proposals.
I hope these remarks have provided noble Lords with reassurance that a proportionate approach will be taken to restrictions and a similarly sensible approach will be taken to exceptions. With that, I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.
My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for her response and particularly her commitment to continue discussions with the Advertising Association and the News Media Association, which have been very constructive to date, although there is clearly further mileage to cover before both parties reach a satisfactory agreement.
I was disappointed to learn of the Government’s rejection of the proposal by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee because I believe that it put forward a very strong argument for the affirmative resolution in this context. However, I note that the Minister is going to write to all members of the committee, and we look forward to the response to that committee recommendation in due course.
The Minister recognised that the most important body to deal with fraud in the ticketing world was likely to be trading standards officers, but that is a very inadequately funded organisation in the context of ticketing abuse at the moment. Ticketing abuse is a growing problem. I welcome the CMA’s involvement with StubHub, viagogo and others, but we must not underestimate the importance of enabling the police to take swift action and to search individuals suspected of committing offences on the ground under Section 1 of PACE.
With those comments and my further thanks to the Minister and the House, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 21 withdrawn.
Clause 10 agreed.
Clauses 11 and 12 agreed.
Clause 13: Advertising offence
Amendment 22 not moved.
Clause 13 agreed.
Clause 14 agreed.
Clause 15: Exceptions to the advertising offence
Amendment 23 not moved.
Clause 15 agreed.
Clause 16: Trading offence
Amendment 24 not moved.
Clause 16 agreed.
Clause 17 agreed.
Clause 18: Exceptions for certain kinds of trading
Amendments 25 and 26 not moved.
Clause 18 agreed.
Clauses 19 to 30 agreed.
Clause 31: Regulations
Amendment 27 not moved.
Clause 31 agreed.
Clauses 32 to 34 agreed.
Schedules 1 to 3 agreed.
Bill reported without amendment.