Considered in Grand Committee
I beg to move that the Committee approves the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (Compensation for Enforcement Action) Regulations 2021, which were laid in draft before the House on 17 May. With less than 13 months to go until Games time, preparations are ramping up to deliver the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games—the biggest sporting and cultural event ever staged in the West Midlands.
Before turning to the regulations that we are here to debate today, I remind the Committee of the context in which this instrument has been brought forward. Measures in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Act, which many in this House scrutinised and shaped, include those which restrict the resale of Games tickets and prevent unauthorised advertising and trading in and around specified Games locations. We are working closely with the organising committee and enforcement authorities to ensure a consistent, co-ordinated and proportionate approach to enforcing these elements of the Act.
None the less, as a safeguard in the enforcement framework, the Act provides a person with a right to compensation in the event of property damage arising from unlawful enforcement or the use of unreasonable force in enforcement action. The draft regulations before us today set out the administrative process by which a claim for compensation can be made, considered and appealed. This ensures the process is clear, consistent and proportionate for both potential claimants and the enforcement authorities involved. I will now set out in a little more detail what the regulations contain.
I am sure I do not need to remind noble Lords that the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee raised two particular points in its report. I am pleased to be able to provide clarity on these matters today. The first was in relation to the person or body responsible for determining claims for compensation. Where someone believes they have experienced damage to their property as a result of enforcement action being unlawful or unreasonable, they will be able to submit a claim to the local trading standards authority where the damage occurred, or to the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland. This is known as the relevant authority.
Claimants should submit a claim, in writing, with the necessary information, within 90 days of the end of the Games; this should include the date and location that the enforcement action took place, the nature of any damage and any supporting evidence. Within 14 days of a claim being received, the relevant authority should determine whether it has sufficient information and evidence to make a decision on the claim. If so, it will have 28 days to decide whether the claimant is entitled to compensation and the amount due, and to communicate this outcome, alongside information about how to seek a review.
It is important to note that, under the Games Act, local trading standards authorities are responsible for authorising officers to undertake enforcement in relation to Games offences. This is consistent with the Consumer Rights Act 2015. In the past, such as for London 2012, there was a role for the organising committee in designating enforcement officers, and therefore in considering claims for compensation. However, in tandem with arrangements in the Consumer Rights Act, these regulations provide for claims to be considered by the authority which authorises an enforcement officer—in this instance, a local trading standards authority or the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.
It is worth noting that the Act provides that a person is entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing the property that was damaged during the enforcement action, or, if it is not possible to repair it, the cost of replacing it and the amount of any other loss that is the direct result of the damage to the property.
The second point raised by the DPRRC was whether there is to be a right of review or appeal and, if so, to whom the review or appeal may be made and what grounds for appeal would be available. As set out in Regulations 6 and 7, if a claimant is unhappy with a relevant authority’s decision, such as the amount of compensation offered, they will have 14 days to request a review of the decision. The relevant authority will then have a further 14 days to consider this and provide a response. If the claimant remains unsatisfied with the outcome of the review, they will be able to submit an appeal within 21 days to the county court or, in Scotland, to the sheriff. The regulations do not specify or limit the grounds for appeal. The court, or the sheriff in Scotland, will be able to rehear the case and examine both the facts of the case and the law.
As restrictions on advertising and trading can be in place only for a maximum of 38 days, and in most instances a much shorter period, we expect any compensation claims arising from enforcement to be minimal. Indeed, we are not aware of any arising from similar regulations that supported the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games or the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
To summarise, these regulations plug a gap in the enforcement framework and provide the necessary clarity around the procedure for compensation claims, including the right to appeal any decision made by an enforcement authority. They are a small but nevertheless important part of the ongoing preparations to deliver a fantastic Games next year—a Games that will showcase Birmingham, the West Midlands and the entire country to the rest of the world as a place to live, work, study and do business. I look forward to continuing to update the House on this. I commend the regulations to the Grand Committee.
My Lords, I welcome the Minister’s statement and these regulations. Let us hope they do not have to be used, but certainly they are useful as a backstop.
In supporting the regulations, I say again how much I welcome the decision of the Commonwealth Games Federation to select Birmingham as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I applaud the city’s ambitious and innovative vision. The Games will open up a whole host of opportunities, including cultural engagement, business, trade, volunteering, physical activity, jobs, skills, education and tourism. Of course, it is the sports programme that is at the heart of Games, which will feature many thrilling sports, with wheelchair basketball making its first appearance at the Commonwealth Games. For me, the inclusion of women’s cricket is a great joy. It will be the first ever fully integrated parasport competition, with the potential for more medals for women than men—a first for any major multisports event.
I am grateful to the Minister for updating us in a recent letter on the sustainability pledge made by the Games organising committee to deliver the first carbon-neutral Games, and which also covers environmental, social and economic outcomes aligned with the UN sustainable development goals.
Of course, there are challenges, the first of which is finance. The funding of the Games is complex and includes a substantial contribution from commercial revenues. The budget is split, 75% and 25%, between central government and Birmingham City Council and several key partners. Additional commercial revenue will be raised by the organising committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation partnership through ticket sales, sponsorship, merchandising and the sale of broadcast rights. None the less, this is a major challenge, particularly because the finances of Birmingham City Council are themselves under huge pressure. Can the Minister update me on any budgetary issues, including whether there are any financial overruns and the projected commercial income? Can the Minister also confirm that the venues being built or adapted for the Games will all be ready on time?
It is important that the legacy includes a commitment to encourage sport and physical activity among young people. I am particularly interested in what contribution the Games legacy can make to the future health and well-being of people in Birmingham and the West Midlands—we certainly need to. The improvement in life expectancy in Birmingham has levelled off in recent years. It has one of the highest levels of obesity among year 6 pupils in England. Indeed, NHS Digital figures show that more than one in four children who finished primary school in Birmingham in 2017-18 were obese, of whom 6.5% were severely obese. Additionally, 15% of year 6 children were overweight. That means that 41% of Birmingham’s youngsters are unhealthily overweight when they finish primary school, so the opportunity a legacy offers in helping to change this is too good to miss.
Going back to the London Olympics Games, we know that hopes were raised that they would increase sports participation. Jeremy Hunt, then Secretary of State, said that the Games were an extraordinary chance to re-invigorate the country’s sporting habits. Despite an extraordinary Games, the evidence is that there has been virtually no change in participation rates in the 16 to 25 year-old group. I hope that Birmingham can learn and do better. Will the Minister say something about that?
My Lords, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (Compensation for Enforcement Action) Regulations 2021 set out the details of the process for claiming compensation for damage that occurs as a result of enforcement action, the timescales for each party at each stage and the appeals mechanism, as the Minister has outlined. I am proud to be chancellor of the University of Birmingham, one of the top 100 universities in the world and a Russell group university. It will play a key role in the Commonwealth Games.
Birmingham 2022 will be the biggest multisport event to be held in the UK for a decade. There will be 11 days of sport, with 286 sessions, 283 medal events and 19 sports, including eight parasports and the largest ever integrated para programme, and, we hope, more than 1.5 billion global television viewers. The Birmingham Games are going to have many firsts. They will be the first carbon-neutral Games, and it will be the first time a social value requirement has been embedded in every tender for goods and services. Birmingham will have the largest business and tourism programme of any Games and the first comprehensive and ambitious community engagement programme. They will be the first Games fully to integrate volunteers from all delivery partners into a united volunteering programme, and the first major multisport event to award more medals to women than to men. They will be the first Games to include women’s cricket—the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, mentioned this—3x3 basketball and wheelchair basketball.
The Games will be a wealth of opportunities for people and will deliver significant economic benefits to Birmingham, the West Midlands and the wider UK, through job creation, business and trade opportunities, and tourism. I speak on that as president of the CBI. The West Midlands region will benefit from £778 million of sport investment, the largest since London 2012. Glasgow 2014 contributed £740 million to the Scottish economy, and it is expected that, when the figures come through, the Gold Coast Games in 2018 will be shown to have delivered 1.3 billion Australian dollars to boost the economy in Queensland. Millions of extra pounds of extra tourism, trade and investment can be secured from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games under plans that will bolster the region’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery via the West Midlands Growth Company’s business, trade, tourism and investment programme.
A lot of employment will be created through the Games. Approximately 35,000 Games-time roles will provide important employment and economic benefits to the city and the region, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for jobseekers and professionals at all levels. Right now, there are 13,000 trained volunteers, known as the Commonwealth Collective, coming together to help organise, run and manage the Games.
The Games authority has worked with the West Midlands Combined Authority and partners to launch a Commonwealth jobs and skills academy to accelerate and amplify plans to improve regional skills and employment opportunities through the Games. Very importantly, there will be a focus on supporting young people and unemployed adults. These Games are titled the “Games for Everyone”, with tickets starting from just under £8 for under-16s and from £15 for adults.
From a business point of view, there are procurement opportunities, which will also support and promote the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP’s Inclusive Commonwealth Legacy Programme. This supports BAME-owned businesses in particular, and provides training and support to bid for Birmingham 2022 contracts. This is particularly important for me as the first Chancellor of the University of Birmingham of Indian origin and the first ethnic-minority president of the CBI, which has launched an initiative called Change the Race Ratio to promote and champion ethnic-minority participation across all business, including championing the Parker review.
From a culture point of view, the Games will have a comprehensive culture programme, with the Queen’s baton relay. From a human rights point of view, the UN guiding principles of human rights will be delivered—the respect, support and promotion of these rights and freedoms is guaranteed to all individuals under law and the Games are committed to protecting human rights.
They will also be the first carbon-neutral Games. The stand-out initiatives include the creation of 22 acres of forest and 72 tennis court-size mini forests to be built in urban areas across the West Midlands. Each mini forest will be linked to one of the nations and territories competing in 2022. This is a fantastic initiative, utilising sustainable practices and subscribing to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework—again, a first for the Commonwealth Games. To summarise, the commitment to sustainability will be based on four Cs: certification, carbon, the circular economy and conservation.
The West Midlands is one of the largest networks of urban communities outside the capital and home to over 4 million people. Its central location places it at the heart of the UK’s transport network and firmly positions the region as a dynamic and ambitious place to live and work. But the region is not without challenges. It has a higher than average unemployment rate, and overall deprivation is high, with 34.5% of local areas among the most deprived in the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed pre-existing disparities in the local economy, highlighted the growing challenges that the region faces and exacerbated the inequalities in health, education attainment, innovation and economic development. But as we emerge from the pandemic, there are now opportunities to do things differently—to champion the region on the world stage, transform local infrastructure and stimulate job creation, securing an inclusive workforce that is fit for the future.
Following his re-election in May 2021, the mayor, Andy Street, must continue to champion a strong economic vision for the region, working collaboratively with both the private and public sectors to capitalise on future opportunities, such as the UK City of Culture coming to Coventry and, of course, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which will bring new investment opportunities, showcasing the region’s dynamism on the international stage.
The CBI, of which I am president, has created a business manifesto for the West Midlands, developed in partnership with our members, setting out three guiding principles for the mayor. The first is to champion regional dynamism and global competitiveness to raise living standards—the Commonwealth Games will do that. The second is to transform digital and physical infrastructure in the race to net zero—the Games will help to do that. The third is to stimulate job creation and secure an inclusive workforce for the future—and the Games will do that too.
The challenges faced by the region are by no means insurmountable, and this manifesto sets out a way in which business and local government can work together, in collaboration, to ensure that the West Midlands achieves its full potential during the economic recovery and beyond. We stand ready to support the West Midlands and help the Games to succeed.
The Games present an opportunity and a challenge. The region is gearing up for a once-in-a-generation platform which will make a real difference, far beyond the 11 days of the Games. Regional and national stakeholders must come together, ahead of the Games, seize the moment and put in place meaningful commitments that will create meaningful benefits and a positive legacy for local communities. Does the Minister agree?
While 2022 might seem a very different world, given the struggles of the past 15 months with the Covid pandemic, we must all recognise and embrace this. Businesses have struggled during these turbulent times; for a city which prides itself on being a visitor destination, this year has been devastating. The need for the Games to deliver tangible benefits is more important than ever. The region must seize the moment and capitalise on this, while fostering local economic recovery, and remain a vital visitor attraction. To realise its full potential, more must be done to engage and inspire the local business community. Again, the CBI stands ready to help.
To conclude, 2021 has been and is a watershed year for the UK, post Brexit and post pandemic. We have just successfully chaired and hosted the G7, and there is COP 26 to come. Looking ahead, we have the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games 2022. Seize the Moment, our economy strategy for the UK, identifies £700 billion of opportunity and six pillars, including clusters. The West Midlands is a model cluster, and the Commonwealth Games will highlight its power through the power of sport.
My Lords, if there were gold medals for ingenuity, breadth, scope and extent, and enthusiasm about these Games, the two speeches we have just witnessed would win them. It is a privilege to follow the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, having won his gold medal for covering virtually every aspect of what will, undoubtedly, be a great Games, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. I echo everything he said in emphasising that a sport, recreation and active lifestyle legacy for all ages and people, not just in Birmingham and its surrounding area but in the United Kingdom as a whole—indeed, in the Commonwealth—is vital. He was completely right to remind us that that was the one element we did not deliver post London 2012. We had an extraordinary Games and wonderful urban regeneration in the East End of London, but we missed out on a sports legacy. We must not do so in Birmingham 2022.
My comments will be a little briefer, less extensive and not of such gold medal-winning proportions as the previous two speeches. I thank my noble friend the Minister for plugging an important gap and for the clarity that these new regulations provide. As she knows, I am co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, which works hard in this area. My only concern about what she has announced in this context is that, just as the Delegated Powers Committee highlighted—and I declare an interest, having sat on that committee for a number of years—putting a lot of emphasis on the work of the local trading standards authorities has one problem: they are poorly resourced. They must be better resourced to take on their many responsibilities, not least their enforcement powers under Schedule 5 to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which she referred to, for the purpose of enforcing an offence under Section 10 of that Act, on ticket touting, which is relevant to what we are discussing today.
With that minor but important point, I urge her to continue the good work she has done, not just on this Bill but in general, in making sure that we criminalise modern-day touting and that we have appropriate legislation in place for not just the Commonwealth Games, football and the Olympic Games but many other sporting events. When we get the opportunity to look at improving the legislation on this in due course, I hope she will stand shoulder to shoulder with many noble Lords in making sure that the lessons we are learning from the Commonwealth Games are put in place.
Finally, I thank my noble friend the Minister for her letter, which the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Bilimoria, mentioned. The pledge, which is now public, that has been made by the organising committee in the context of sustainability is exceptionally welcome. It is a first. I only wish that the Olympic Games in Paris, after Tokyo, had such a robust sustainability pledge, because it will deliver the most sustainable Games ever—by that I mean not just among the Commonwealth Games but when compared to Olympic Games, both present, in Paris, and in the past. It will deliver the first ever carbon-neutral Games, do so in a socially responsible and inclusive way, support region-wide economic recovery and ensure equal access to opportunities and participation for all.
I hope we can add a fifth to that list, which was rightly highlighted by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. He made an important point about how the level of participation has not in fact improved since London 2012; as a percentage of the increased population over that time it has, in fact, decreased. I hope that government will grasp the opportunity to make sure that one of the great legacies from what I am sure will be an outstanding Games will be a focus on developing opportunities for sport, recreation and an active lifestyle among all population groups, post Birmingham 2022.
With those closing words, I thank my noble friend the Minister, not only for her presentation of the regulations today but for the consistent hard work and enthusiasm she has shown to support the Commonwealth Games in their preparation and, I am sure, in their execution as well.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her introduction of this regulation and the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, for what he said—I believe he should get not only a gold medal but a diamond one, if that were possible. We should all support the Birmingham authorities and wish them well, but they must ensure a speedy resolution of the claims made by the citizens of Birmingham. Has the Minister made any calculations of how many millions will be spent by tourists during the Games?
My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, I feel slightly intimidated in trying to match the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Bilimoria, in both their knowledge of Birmingham and their enthusiasm for the Commonwealth Games next year. As I explained before we began this debate, I am a late replacement for the noble Lord, Lord Addington, who is doing good elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster at this moment. I asked the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, to consider me as a kind of Jack Grealish—a late replacement, or what I think they call in the sport an “impact player”.
Outside Birmingham, I have found almost entirely enthusiasm for the Birmingham Games. The only small thing I should report is that one colleague said, rather crustily, “Well, I hope they give a special medal for finding your way out of New Street station”. It may be a cruel joke but there is an important lesson there, as one of the factors in the Commonwealth Games, and indeed the Manchester Games, is the great signage and the ever-present, helpful guides who help people; it makes a heck of a lot of difference to the success of an event if you have that kind of back-up.
The first real impact of athletics on me was the 1954 Vancouver Games, which featured the great competition between Roger Bannister and John Landy in the “miracle mile”. It certainly gave me an interest and an enthusiasm for athletics—which carried on until politics took over, I am afraid.
The fact is that the Commonwealth Games have always been a kind of family affair. They have a softer edge than the Olympics and are the better for it. Certainly, the host regions have benefited. I was an MP for the Greater Manchester area and still have strong links in the north-west, and so can say that the Manchester Games were a success; the new stadium, which is being put to quite good use by Manchester City, and the velodrome are just two examples of legacy benefits.
I have looked at the website and seen how much the organisers are making an effort to make this a real community effort. So I have every support for the SI. The right to protect, as it does, the organisers from fake products and ticket touting is very important because, as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said, a good proportion of the budget will come from sponsorship. Are there any limits to sponsors? For example, are gambling or alcohol organisations allowed to be sponsors?
On one final point, I have long believed that sport can offer young people a diversion from gangs and crime—I was chairman of the Youth Justice Board. I know the statistics show that participation has not increased since the 2012 Olympics, but I still believe that sport can play a big part. As a kind of quid pro quo from sponsors for the protection that these SIs give, can they be encouraged to help with bringing hard-to-reach individuals and communities into the excitement of these Games, in preparation and while they are on? My successor as chair of the Youth Justice Board is Keith Fraser, who has strong roots in the West Midlands. I am sure he would be willing to give advice—as would, I am sure, James Mapstone from Alliance of Sport, which relates to the criminal justice system—on just the things that the YJB and the alliance are doing to attract youngsters into sporting participation and away from the kind of things that gangs provide them with.
I end with sending my best wishes to Birmingham. We will all be in whatever is the new normal of 2022, but in that new normal I hope that Birmingham has a Games that will be remembered as vividly by this generation of 11 year-olds as I remember the Landy-Bannister mile of 1954.
My Lords, it is always a bit of a nightmare coming just before the Minister, when everybody is waiting to get their questions answered, but even more so today following the gold medal performance of the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, the keen advocate in my noble friend Lord Hunt, and the impact player who is undoubtedly the noble Lord, Lord McNally.
With so many sports fans focused on the current Euro 2020 championships, Wimbledon and the upcoming Olympic Games, it is easy to forget that the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will take place next year. We have recently seen the full competition schedule, which will help to build that sense of anticipation to which the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, referred. The Bill to enable these Games did not of course have the easiest of journeys through Parliament, having to be reintroduced after it lapsed on the first occasion. However, it was rightly a piece of legislation for which there was cross-party support and enthusiasm, even if matters such as those before us today had to be left to regulations.
As with any sporting competition, there are rules on ticket touting, and in his contribution the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, made a valiant plea to keep this at the forefront of our thinking. Regulations such as these deal with some of the supplementary issues arising from it, including the risk, cited in paragraph 6.8 of the Explanatory Memorandum, that damage may be caused to people’s property in the course of enforcement action being taken. It is right that the Government make this provision and our Benches welcome it being done well ahead of time. However, can the Minister outline whether an assessment has been carried out of the likely or probable costs that may arise? If so, can the Minister provide us with some details of this today?
Paragraph 11 of the Explanatory Memorandum notes that no guidance has been published alongside this instrument, although the Government will continue to engage with local authorities and answer any questions on implementation. Can the Minister say a little more about their engagement with relevant authorities to date, both on this specific issue and more widely?
The issue being debated today is part of the wider discussion on the Bill, relating to how the Games and local communities can work in tandem to make the competition a success. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, and my noble friend Lord Hunt about how that is working. During the passage of the Bill, some of my former Front-Bench colleagues and my noble friend Lord Hunt—[Inaudible]—relating to community benefit, and we are pleased that progress has been made on that. I noted that it included access to housing once athletes had left the city, which is a major issue in the West Midlands. I hope that issue does not fade away.
I ask the Minister if she can also assure us, and the Committee as a whole, that the Government are fully behind the cultural programme of engagement that runs alongside the Games and seeks to widen the economic, social and health benefits that the Games bring to the region as a whole. Today, we heard some pretty shocking figures on engagement after events such as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and we must ensure that we get full benefit from elite sporting events such as this to inspire the next generation. While I am broadening the scope of the discussion, can the Minister say a little more about what progress is being made on these areas, particularly in the light of the earlier decision not to proceed with the dedicated athletes’ village in the Perry Barr area?
During the passage of the Bill, we also raised concerns regarding the likely financial pressures on Birmingham City Council and the other local authorities. As this is our first opportunity to debate the Games in quite some time, can the Minister provide an update on these discussions, because there will undoubtedly be some quite severe or adverse impacts on the Games, which may not have been thought through or immediately apparent at the time?
With that said, I thank the Minister for her open approach, her recent communications and the active support role she has played on this. As other colleagues have said, this is a wonderful opportunity not just for the region but for the nation, and I am sure that Birmingham will do us proud.
My Lords, I thank all members of the Committee for their consideration of the regulations today and their incredibly warm and enthusiastic welcome—I am not sure whether it was a gold or diamond medal performance, or many medals—for the Games in general and the regulations in particular. I will try to address the many points raised by your Lordships and, if I run out of time, I will of course write.
The noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Bassam, both asked about progress on the implementation of the Games and funding, particularly in relation to Birmingham City Council. I am pleased to confirm that, despite an extraordinarily difficult period with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Games remain on time and on budget. There has been a constant dialogue between the Government and the city council on all aspects of the Games, including the budget, and the Government have full visibility of all the financial plans.
I must apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Bassam; the connection was slightly coming in and out, so I did not catch exactly his question on the athletes’ village in Perry Barr. The decision to move away from a single athletes’ village was obviously made as a result of the impact of the pandemic. The Perry Barr regeneration scheme is bringing more than 1,400 new homes to this part of the city and will still be delivered as planned by Birmingham City Council. We believe we have an excellent solution which will provide the 6,500 athletes and team officials coming to the Games with best-in-class facilities at three sites: the University of Birmingham, the NEC and the University of Warwick.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan talked about the importance of there being an ongoing legacy of physical activity and well-being. That portion of the legacy programme rests with my department, the DCMS, and is a real priority. Our focus is to use the momentum of the Games to tackle some of the stubborn inequalities which noble Lords referred to, and which the noble Lord, Lord McNally, linked to levels of crime. We will tackle those inequalities, focus on underrepresented groups and promote wider well-being across the region. As the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, set out so clearly, inactivity is a particularly acute problem in the West Midlands, which is classified by Sport England as the least active region in England. We have been working very closely with Sport England and it is bringing to the table £4 million to address this legacy.
The noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord McNally—I gather that Jack Grealish is known as the “McNally” of the English team, so the feeling is mutual—raised issues of accessibility, including the signage at Birmingham New Street. I remember sending the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, a photograph of the signage when I was in Birmingham New Street station during the passage of the Bill, having been to visit the works at Sandwell to build the aquatics centre, so I share his pain about the signage. More seriously, the organising committee is committed to delivering a highly accessible and inclusive Games. Your Lordships may be aware that there is an accessibility advisory forum, which includes representatives from the disabled community across the region, to make sure that we can deliver on this commitment.
The noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, spoke about the opportunity and the challenge presented by the Games. I think the Government would absolutely agree with him about the importance of a positive legacy for local communities. He listed some of the major economic benefits, both for Birmingham and the West Midlands and the wider UK. We also see this as a huge opportunity for local and regional suppliers to makes sure that they can really benefit from some of the expenditure that is going into the Games.
The noble Lord, Lord Bhatia, asked about tourism. An investment of £21.3 million for a business and tourism programme has been secured, which will help to ensure that the city, the region and the nation can take advantage of the economic opportunities that hosting the Games will provide. An additional £2.6 million of funding has been provided from the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan raised concerns about the impact on local authorities’ resources and their capacity to fulfil the role given to them in these regulations. Local authorities are working very closely with the organising committee to make sure they have the necessary plans and resources in place so that they can enforce these measures if needed. We are working with all partners within my department on the development of the advertising and trading provisions and the approach to enforcement to take resource pressures into consideration but, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, we expect claims for compensation to be minimal.
On the wider issues of ticket touting, raised by the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan, we are absolutely committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market and making sure that people can buy a ticket at a reasonable price. We have strengthened the law on ticketing information requirements and introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We are also working with the enforcement agencies in this area to make sure that these measures are effective.
I thank my noble friend Lord Moynihan for his very generous comments about the sustainability plans for the Games. We debated them at length, rightly, during the passage of the Bill and I am delighted that he, the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, and others recognise the work that has gone into this.
The noble Lord, Lord McNally, asked about sponsorship. The Government have made it clear that sporting bodies and events organisers must consider their wider responsibilities to fans and the wider community when entering into commercial arrangements. In the case of Birmingham 2022, any such arrangements should support the vision and mission of the Games. We will continue to work closely with the organising committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation to support that.
The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, asked me to confirm that the Government support the cultural events that accompany the Games and see their value. I have great pleasure in absolutely confirming that.
To close, I reiterate the procedural but important nature of these regulations, which are yet another milestone in the preparation for delivery of the Games next year. If your Lordships have any further questions about the progress being made to deliver the Games, I know that the officials in my department and the Games organising committee would be very happy to discuss them. With that, I commend these regulations to the Committee.
The Grand Committee stands adjourned until 3.23 pm. I remind Members to sanitise their desks and chairs before leaving the Room.