Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department of Culture Media and Sport
The Committee has asked for answers to a number
of supplementary questions.
1. In evidence to us the Lee Valley
Park Authority (LVRPA) describes the National Athletics Centre
planned for Picketts Lock as a "Government-commissioned national
project" for which the LVRPA was the vehicle. Do you accept
We accept that the Lee Valley National Athletics
Centre project was initiated because of the Government's commitment
to stage the 2005 World Athletics Championships. In recognition
of the importance of staging the event, Sport England set aside
£67 million in their budget whilst the Government allocated
£8 million. Funding, in both cases was predicted on a viable
project coming forward. Regrettably, as Patrick Carter's report
points out, no viable project was likely to emerge.
2. Both LVRPA and Sport England refer
to the former Secretary of State's statement to the Committee:
"We are working very closely together with Sport England
and with UK Athletics in ensuring that we can have a very good
stadium in order to host the Games . . . I am confident that will
happen because all the fundamentals are right . . . I am absolutely
confident that we are properly on track". Do you accept that
funding problems at Picketts Lock were not addressed in a timely
manner because, at least in part, promises from the then Secretary
of State clearly suggested that the Government would ensure that
the funding gap, and other difficulties, would be bridged?
We would not accept this. The Government made
clear to the project team throughout the project that only a limited
amount of public funding would be available and if project costs
exceed the money available, that a range of other funding sources
would need to be explored. Considerable efforts were made by the
project team in this respect. The project team were unable to
attract sufficient interest of third parties and it became inevitable
that the funding gap could only be met by either Sport England
or the Government.
3. As late as 3 August the Sports Minister
is reported in the Evening Standard as reaffirming the Government's
commitment to staging the World Championships in London 2005.
He said "This is a commitment from the Prime Minister down
and is not considered negotiable. We will meet all the deadlines
set by the IAAF. . .". Can you reconcile these statements
with the evidence from the Secretary of State referring to ministers'
"alarm" over the state of the Picketts Lock project
on taking office in June?
The Minister for Sport was referring to the
Manifesto Commitment to develop a first class athletics stadium
to stage the 2005 World Athletics Championships. The Government
believes it has kept the commitment by keeping the IAAF informed
at all stages about the problems with the Picketts Lock project
and by offering a robust alternative once it was clear that Picketts
Lock was not sustainable.
4. LVRPA state: "For the entirety
of its short 18 months life the NAC project was bedevilled by
lack of confidence, continual uncertainty and endless negative
press speculation. This negative climate was fed by the never-ending
Wembley saga and the failure of Government to match supportive
statements with a tangible commitment and effective leadership.
As a consequence it proved impossible to obtain more than just
interest from public and private sector organisations regarding
funding and investment for the NAC project". On 3 August
the Sports Minister is quoted as stating that "We are going
to bring stability and confidence to the management and delivery
of these events and in bringing that we will win more support
from the private sector." (Evening Standard) How do you respond
to the accusation of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority that the
Government inaction and indecision prevented support for Picketts
Lock from the private sector?
The Government agrees with the Lee Valley Regional
Park Authority that negative publicity about the project has been
extremely corrosive. The government did all it could to create
a positive environment for the project, and was consistent
in its support and in its efforts to overcome the obstacles.
5. In February 2000, the then Secretary
of state told the previous Committee: In relation to the 2005
athletics bid, it is a bid for London. That was the clear decision
of UK Atheltics to proceed for a bid for London. (HC164, 1999-2000,
Q367) In addition, as we have heard, the clear advice to you from
UK Sport and UK Athletics was that Sheffield would not be acceptable
to the IAAF as an alternative. Why did the Government offer Sheffield
in the face of all this advice and its own previous understanding
of the position?
Patrick Carter's report revealed that the Picketts
Lock project not viable. It also confirmed that there was no viable
alternative in London that could be in place for 2005. The Government
was fully aware of commitments given to the IAAF and of their
strong preference for a London Championships but concluded that
there was merit in asking the IAAF to switch the 2005 Championships
to Sheffield, where existing facilities with some enhancements
could provide everything necessary to stage a first class World
6. What discussions did the DCMS have
with Sport England before offering the Sheffield alternative to
the IAAF for the 2005 WCA?
A number of discussions with Sport England took
place before the decision to offer Sheffield was taken. On 4 September
2001 DCMS Officials asked Sport England to prepare a written assessment
on the Carter report and examining the case for the alternative
venues identified in the report. Sport England officials provide
their assessment of the report by Patrick Carter on 14 September
and concluded that Sheffield was the most straight forward of
the alternative options.
The Secretary of State met Trevor Brooking on
24 September to discuss the Lee Valley project. They agreed that
the changes which have taken place since the time of the UK's
bid, and identified in Patrick Carter's report, made it impossible
for the Government to guarantee to the IAAF that it could deliver
a World Athletics Championships at Picketts Lock of the quality
and standard that the IAAF has a right to expect and the UK wants
to deliver. They asked DCMS and Sport England officials to hold
discussions with representatives of Manchester City Council and
Sheffield City Council. These discussions took place between 24
September and 4 October. The Secretary of State and officials
met a Sport England Council Member (in Trevor Brooking's absence)
and officials to confirm the choice of Sheffield prior to the
discussion with UK Athletics and the Lee Valley Project Team.
7. Our written evidence from UK Athletics,
the BOA, UK Sport and Sport England is clear that the perception
of the UK's commitment to sport has suffered a major blow and
that future bids to host events have been jeopardized. What is
the Government going to do to rebuild the UK's reputation and
The UK has a very high reputation for staging
international sporting events and we believe any implications
arising from the decision to cancel the Picketts Lock project
will be temporary. We are committed to staging an outstanding
Commonwealth Games next year in Manchester and are confident that
this will demonstrate our ability to host major sporting events.
The World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham in 2003
will offer us the chance to work closely with the IAAF. The Government
is keen for British Sport to take an active role in international
sporting bodies and will continue to press this with the various
agencies and governing bodies in the coming months.
8. The Government memorandum states:
"The Government is minded to invest some of the funds originally
earmarked for the NAC's youth and community facilities for similar
facilities in another development in the Lee Valley". What
investment has been agreed for the Lee Valley site by Government
and from what sources?
The Government acknowledges that the cancellation
of the Picketts Lock means there is a need to reassess redevelopment
plans for the Lee Valley. The Government is therefore prepared
to offer the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, in principle,
and subject to receipt of satisfactory detailed proposals to commit
up to £4 million from the Capital Modernisation Fund to a
project or projects meeting the following criteria:
focuses on children of primary school
age as well as the wider community with initiatives to help access;
has match funding of at least 50
per cent for the capital costs of the project;
the local partners have in place
a long-term package of revenue support.
9. What assessment has the Government
made of the direct and indirect costs of not hosting the 2005
The only direct costs are the project development
costs between May 2000 and September 2001. Total development costs
are £2 million of which Sport England have spent £1.5
million; the Lee Valley Park Authority £0.5 million. We have
made no assessment of potential indirect costs.
10. What are the terms of reference
and the timetable for the Performance and Innovation Unit's review
of major events policy announced by the Secretary of State on
The Government will make an announcement shortly
about the terms of reference and the timetable for the Performance
and Innovation Unit report.
31 October 2001