Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120 - 126)



John Thurso

120.  Can I ask you about the process of your review. We have heard this morning that reports of the Committee have been responded to with great alacrity by Government and these replies have subsequently found to have been rather inaccurate. Therefore what I really wanted to know is whether you feel you have been given sufficient time and sufficient resources to undertake your review and what things, if any, you would have liked to have looked at that you have neither had the time nor the resources nor the remit to look at.

  (Mr Carter) One of the things you learn about doing these reviews is that you have to battle for the resources early because otherwise you cannot do it. As one of the conditions of doing this we were able to secure sufficient financial resources to employ outsiders and, after a competition, KPMG did the work on this and through Sport England there were teams of cost planners and quantity surveyors to get some accurate numbers into that. I think we had the resources to do it. You would always like more time but there is a moment in these things when the lights do not get any greener and you have to make your mind up and we were able to get to that point, partly because of the work the Select Committee had done. Reading its Third Report again, there is so much similarly between us that perhaps we were helped with the navigation of the process anyway.

121.  Can I ask two follow ups to that. Firstly, how much did KPMG get paid for the work?

  (Mr Carter) The answer to that is it was part of an overall fee linked also to the National Stadium Study.
  (Mr Raine) The total costs of the National Stadium Review and the Picketts Lock Review have been given in a written answer to Mr Yeo at just over £300,000. [2]

122.  Because we heard this morning that out of £120 million about £14 million had gone on design fees. Is this £300,000 in the £14 million or on top of that?

  (Mr Carter) No, that is separate.

123.  Did you have a chance within your report to look at the economic impact of the various decisions and recommendations, the wider economics of what might happen to tourism, things of that kind?

  (Mr Carter) There was an economic impact study which was done by Greater London Enterprise[3] in the case of Picketts Lock, which we looked at, which had some numbers in it. Suffice to say they were interesting but not altogether compelling.

124.  What was interesting rather than compelling?

  (Mr Carter) Economic impact studies are quite hard to measure and they usually revolve around jobs created and how many you are creating and how long they are going to be on site and are they construction jobs or quality jobs afterwards, and how do they work back to the economy? Is it displacement? Are there people employed there already or are you just moving them around? So on that basis it was interesting but it did not take me further than that.


125.  You quite rightly draw attention to the fact that we have looked at things more than once. The reason we look at things more than once is because they do not listen to us the first time. Have you, Mr Carter, had any opportunity in your Wembley remit—and if you do not feel it is appropriate to answer then please say so—to look at the mystery of the missing £20 million?

  (Mr Carter) Missing £20 million, Chairman?

126.  The £20 million that Mr Smith told us he had agreed with Mr Bates should be repaid by the FA to God knows who actually after it was decided not to have athletics at Wembley, where it is now, in view of the fact that Wembley National Stadium told us they had spent £106 and therefore there was not £20 million left in any case—no, sorry, Sport England. The Clerk has passed me a note, as is the function of the Clerk, surreptitiously. The fact that he has had to do so is because the whole thing is enswathed in such mystery that nobody knows who is actually involved, who is responsible, where the money is, and what is going to happen to it.

  (Mr Carter) I could possibly help you with part of it but not all. My understanding is that Sport England did make a payment to WNSL. They received that money. What happens from here is obviously a matter of some discussion.

  Chairman: Mr Carter, all I can say is if there is a spy from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport here perhaps he can report to his Secretary of State that we expect her to give very precise answers when she comes here next week. You, Mr Carter, have given very precise answers; we are most grateful to you, and with that I declare this session closed.

2   Hansard Written Answers-22 October 2001, Col 20W, Review costs £313, 505p. Back

3   A report from Greater London Enterprise for the NAC Stakeholder Group and the London Borough of Enfield entitled "The Regeneration and Community Benefits of the Lee Valley National Athletics Centre"-August 2001. Back

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Prepared 20 November 2001