TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2001 __________ Members present: Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman, in the Chair Mr Chris Bryant Mr Frank Doran Michael Fabricant Mr Adrian Flook Alan Keen Miss Julie Kirkbride Rosemary McKenna Ms Debra Shipley John Thurso Derek Wyatt __________ Memorandum submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Examination of Witnesses RT HON TESSA JOWELL, a Member of the House, (Secretary of State), RT HON RICHARD CABORN, a Member of the House (Minister for Sport), PHILIPPA DREW, Director for Education, Training, Arts and Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, examined. Chairman 214. Secretary of State, Minister, I would like to welcome you here for both of your first appearances before this Select Committee. I know the Secretary of State has gone to some trouble to make herself available today and we much appreciate that. I understand that you would like to make a brief opening statement before we begin, and you are very welcome to do so. (Tessa Jowell) Chairman, thank you very much indeed for that. I would indeed like briefly to address the Committee by way of introduction, and in doing so introduce my two colleagues: Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport, on my left, and Philippa Drew, who has overall responsibility for sports policy in my department. I am delighted that this is my first appearance before the Select Committee and hope that in the time ahead we will enjoy a constructive dialogue, improving the delivery of the Government's agenda for Culture, Media and Sport. The UK has a strong track record in staging world-class sports events, both one-off events such as the Modern Pentathlon World Championships earlier this year as well as regular annual spectaculars such as Wimbledon, The Open, Henley and the Six Nations Championship. I am keen that all events which the Government is involved in are of good quality and good standing to make sports governing bodies pleased that they have chosen to come to the UK. It is very much in this spirit that we are willing and taking practical steps to ensure the success of the Commonwealth Games next year. When Richard and I were appointed, as Minister for Sport and Secretary of State respectively, in June, one of the key issues we had to resolve was the staging of the 2005 World Athletics Championships. It was very clear to us from the earliest briefing that this was a project in some difficulty. Sport England's Lottery Panel then expressed doubts about the Lee Valley regional park authority's application for Lottery funding on the 18 June. I welcomed Sport England's decision, which I informed the IAAF of before it was announced, to ask Patrick Carter to review the whole project, and you will be aware that Patrick Carter had just recently concluded a review of the budget and state of readiness for the Commonwealth Games. As you know, his report submitted to me at the end of August concluded that the level of risk facing the project had reached such a stage as to make it unsustainable. Having discussed his conclusions in detail with Sport England, I had to decide whether to invest significant amounts of new money in the project to make it sustainable or whether to look to alternatives. Patrick Carter was clearly of the view that even with significant additional funding the Picketts Lock project still faced the very real prospect of being a substandard event due to transport, infrastructure and athlete accommodation difficulties. I was not willing to see the United Kingdom, almost wilfully, proceed to stage a substandard event. I concluded that it would not be right for Sport England to be solely responsible for ending the project by declining the Park Authorities lottery application. I therefore agreed, in the light of Patrick Carter's Report, and Sport England's advice that the project should not proceed and that I should be the one to explain to UK Athletics and to discuss options with them before approaching the IAAF. All this, as you will be aware, was conducted in a very tight time frame. Similarly, I regarded it as important that I should explain the rationale directly to the Picketts Lock Project Team. It was clear from Patrick Carter's review that there was no alternative for Picketts Lock in London for staging the World Athletic Championships. While it would have been open to Government at that stage to abandon the staging of the Championship our preference was to offer the IAAF an acceptable substitute, and this we have done in the form of the Don Valley Stadium for the Championships and offering a London venue for the IAAF Congress that takes place at the same time. I will shortly confirm this offer in writing, once I have had the opportunity to discuss the terms of my letter with UK Athletics. We will consider next steps, including whether to enter a competitive process, if it is the IAAF's decision, once we have received their reply to my letter, which makes it clear that Sheffield is on the table as an alternative offer. I am well aware that the decision that we took has been unpopular in some sporting circles, but I am absolutely convinced that it was the right and the only decision to take. I am equally conscious that there are a number of lessons to be learned from having to take this decision and earlier decisions also on a financial package to ensure the vulnerability of the Commonwealth Games. Some of these lessons have already been spelt out in this Committee's previous reports but I am well aware that the Government needs to look at this issue across the piece, not just from a sports perspective, and I have therefore asked the Prime Minister to commission a review of major events policy from the Performance and Innovation Unit which can study recent events and compare this with the best practice overseas. The Prime Minister has agreed to my request and the PIU will scope the extent of the review in the next few weeks and, of course, an announcement to Parliament will be made at that time of the details of the review. Finally, Mr Chairman, let me just say this, Richard Caborn and I have certainly examined how we got to a point where this was the only decision to be taken in relation to the National Athletics Stadium. I think we also have to accept, having been appointed on 8th June, that we are where we are. Our focus, rather than picking over the coals of what might and might not have happened in the past, is to address the way in which we will deliver our commitments to sport in this country for the future. Michael Fabricant 215. The President of the IAAF offered the athletics games to London, what makes you think, Secretary of State, it is going to be remotely interested in Don Valley? (Tessa Jowell) I accept that the games were offered to London. It became clear, as a result of Patrick Carter's inquiry, commissioned by me and Sport England, that London could not be delivered to the standard that the IAAF had a right to expect. We looked, before reaching the conclusion that Sheffield was the only feasible alternative, at other London possibilities, indeed, they had been pretty exhaustively examined at the point at which Picketts Lock emerged as the best London option at the time the initial bid was made. I informed the IAAF about my intention to Commission a review with Sport England, just before it was announced, on either the 1st or 2nd July, I spoke to the Chief Executive of the IAAF. It was my sense, and I would not in any way hold the IAAF to this, that the possibility of a non-London option was not one on which the door was firmly closed. 216. Why was Crystal Palace ruled out? (Tessa Jowell) Crystal Palace was ruled out on very much the same grounds that Picketts Lock proved to be unfeasible and the inadequacies of the transport infrastructure, transporting 40,000 people at the start of every day and taking them away at the end of everyday. My constituency adjoins Crystal Palace Park and I know well what the problems with transport in that part of the South London are. Secondly, there was also what became even more pressing, the compound problem of the athletes accommodation, which was the second new reason, post the Carter Inquiry, that made Picketts Lock an implausible option. As I understand it, there is no other suitable student accommodation offering the number of bed spaces any closer to Crystal Palace than Hatfield is to Picketts Lock. One of the reasons for ruling out Picket's Lock was the difficulty of athletes negotiating that 19 mile journey with the associated problems with transport. The short answer to your question is that the problems in relation to Crystal Palace were as great, if not, in some respects, greater. The existing stadium, in the Carter team's judgment, would have had to be demolished. 217. Can I now move now to decision-making processes within your Department, which I can say to you were made before you were appointed? John Greenway, one of our colleagues, has been very helpful in giving me some correspondence that he had with your predecessor Chris Smith. In a letter on 19th January, which is only nine months ago, Chris Smith was very, very sure that the decision had been made, which was correct, to move to Picketts Lock. He goes on to say,"WNSL's announcement fully vindicated the decision I took on December 1999 to remove athletics from the Wembley Project and the subsequent decision by UK Athletics to opt for Lee Valley as the venue for the 2005 World Athletic Championships". You will probably have seen this letter, or at least been aware of its contents, have you since you have been appointed as Secretary of State made any investigation in your own Department as to what advice the officials gave the previous Secretary of State, only nine months ago, as I said, to give him such certainty that that was the right decision, when nine months on we know that decision was completely wrong? (Tessa Jowell) If I can begin by saying, I think that from my point of view what is important now is to focus on the lessons learned from the past to be applied in the future in order that we avoid the difficulties that have arisen with this project in the future. I have not seen the correspondence between John Greenway and Chris Smith, I am very happy to study it and to provide a further submission to you in the light of that should you wish me to do so. I think that what is also important is it is clear to me that Picketts Lock became unviable because of two new events, first of all, the fact that the promised upgrading of the transport link did has not proceed and therefore would not have been delivered in time. 218. When was that decision made, was that after the nine months ago? (Tessa Jowell) No. The Strategic Rail Authority, as I am sure you will be aware, reprioritised a number of their investment projects post Hatfield with projects which were being justified on the grounds of safety taking precedent over those taken on the grounds of capacity, and this is a project taken on the grounds of capacity. I am reminded that the Strategic Rail Authority wrote to Enfield, the responsible local authority, on 14th August this year informing them of two things, first of all that they could deliver an extra station but it would not deliver the necessary capacity for the Championships and that upgrades for increasing capacity they recognise as a priority but that programme could not be delivered before 2005. Having been briefed on the sort of alternatives that were being offered to cope with the lack of rail infrastructure I concluded that they were inadequate. Chairman 219. Secretary of State, back in your introductory remarks you said, "we do not want to pick over what happened in the past, we want to learn lessons from it". That is very fair. In the case of Picketts Lock - I do not know what the view of the Committee as a whole will come to when we draft our report - as far as I am concerned I think you made the right decision. It was a decision made as a result of an external report by Mr Carter. Mr Fabricant has drawn attention to the reaction of the Secretary of State, your predecessor, to the Report that we made, with excellent advice from our then colleague Mr Faber, but it was the Committee as a whole which did it, in which we recommended Wembley with a platform. Mr Brooking this morning has confirmed that that was the right recommendation and we could have gone ahead on that basis. Yet when we published that Report it had scarcely had time to get round to your Department before the Secretary of State had issued a statement in the most derogatory terms rejecting our Report. The reason I am doing this is not to mull over the past but so that you can clarify whether you rejected our report on internal advice from the Department - because if so I think it is very important to find out who gave that advice, since it was clearly very bad advice - or that it was not so advised but it was his own personal decision. I think it is very important for us to know that? (Tessa Jowell) If I can just start with where I picked this up from and then we can, perhaps, look at how that takes us back in time. What I was concerned about with Picketts Lock was, is this project deliverable, is it affordable and have we contained all of the containable risks? I have to say that when I was first briefed on it and when my right honourable friend, the Minister of Sport, was first briefed on it we were both extremely alarmed. I was fully aware that we had a substantial commitment to the athletics community in the country and to the IAAF to host these Championships. I did not feel that it was right simply at that point to say, "okay, we are going to draw a double line under this", but to commission a robust assessment. I had very quickly developed a very high regard for Patrick Carter and his team, having studied very closely the work they had done on the Commonwealth Games, he understood the nature of sporting projects, particularly those that have, perhaps, an overly ambiguous relationship with Government, which was why we involved him in this. That was how I moved it forward. I think all of these decisions and all of these judgments are on the basis of a discontinuing of where the risk sits. I was risk adverse in relation to this project and I was quite clear that it would proceed only on the basis that we were certain that it was going to work and that we were not going to find ourselves, as we had done with the Commonwealth Games, almost right up to the event faced with having to find a lot more public money in order to bail it out, because every million pounds that is preempted in that way is one million pounds that is not going into grass roots sport. On the basis on which my predecessor took the decision I do not know what was in his mind and I was obviously not party to, nor have I seen, notes of the discussions that led him to that conclusion. He reached a decision which I am quite, quite sure he considered at the right time, having taken advice, was the right judgment. I was looking at this project some months on and reached a different conclusion, not least because a number of circumstances had changed. 220. Secretary of State, I repeat, I cannot fault, from my personal point of view, the decision that you made, but with regard to what you just said, you said that your predecessor made the decision he did having taken advice? (Tessa Jowell) I think I said I assumed he had taken 221. I recommend to you, Secretary of State, since it is not a previous government you presumably have access to the internal documents within your Department, that you take a look at them, because on as recently as 3rd August, the month before last, at a ministerial level within your Department Picketts Lock was being talked up. The advice that you were getting from within your Department was favourable to Picketts Lock, Carter came out with his report, which you accepted. It does seem to me that from your own point of view it is very important, indeed, that you look at the advice on this so that you know whether the quality of the advice that you have been getting on this issue is sufficient? (Tessa Jowell) Can I add very briefly to that and say that when I was looking at this for the first time in the middle of June the advice I received at that time, indeed in the press conference that announced the Carter Review of the Picketts Lock Project I made clear at that time that the option of returning to the platform at Wembley was no longer viable because the advice was that it simply could not be delivered for 2005, so it failed my first important test of deliverability. We did not revisit the possibility of that because also the Wembley project was by then, as well know, back in the melting pot. 222. I am sorry to labour this, sorry to take up your time, let me clarify this, it was perfectly clear, and it was made clear by the WNSL people who came last week, that by the time you took office the Wembley option was no longer available. I am not crawling over the decision that was made on that basis, certainly I am not asking or suggesting that you should have visited the Wembley option at that time, although I think the reaction to our report, I am not saying it is proprietorial it just so happen that large numbers of people with authority now say we were right on that. The point I am making is this, I am not saying that you should not have revisited Wembley what I am saying is that there is a prima facie case for saying that within your Department the opinion well into the summer of this year was that Picketts Lock was still a runner, and it was only the Carter Report, which is an external report, that either decided the view or reinforced the view you had already. I am simply saying this, it does seem to me that unless Mr Smith made that decision totally off his own back that the quality of advice that was available in your Department right through to this Summer was advice that is something that you should look at because you need assistance from your Department, every secretary of state does. (Tessa Jowell) Ultimately every secretary of state, minister, particularly secretary of state, is responsible for the decisions that they make. I want the Committee to know that since I have been appointed I have been served in a first class manner by my civil servants, I have impressed by the quality of their judgment and by the quality of advice and no doubt I will stand and fall by the good sense, or not, that I have in applying their advice to the judgments I have to make. The same goes for any secretary of state. 223. Absolutely, it is in my book, "How to be a Minister". (Tessa Jowell) That is probably where I first read it. Michael Fabricant 224. Tell me, would it have been the same civil servants who on 19th January drafted the letter for Chris Smith to John Greenway when he says regarding the œ20 million, which you will know is exercising this Committee at the moment, quite rightly, that the repayment of the œ20 million is contingent on the successful completion of the Wembley loan syndication. That is on 19th January, and yet just a few months later on 5th April he changes his tune completely in a Parliamentary written answer to John Greenway when he then said regarding the œ20 million, "under the agreement the final payment is due to be paid by December 2004", which is a new date which suddenly appears out of the blue. Firstly, or really I would simply ask, when exactly is this œ20 million going to be repaid? Was Chris Smith right on 19th January when he said it might be repaid if Wembley Stadium goes ahead, if it does not go ahead it will not be repaid or was he right on 5th April when he says the final payment of that œ20 million is going to the made by December 2004, contingent or nothing? (Tessa Jowell) Can I say two things about that, first of all I do not know whether whoever drafted those letters is still in the Department or not. At the end of the day we as ministers are responsible and I know that Chris Smith, or any other secretary of state, accepted that wholeheartedly as his responsibility. I think it is important not to try to divide ministers from their civil servants but to recognise that as ministers we take the responsibility. 225. It is your responsibility, when will it be repaid? (Tessa Jowell) That it will be repaid is recognised by the Football Association, they accept that the money will be repaid and it will be repaid to Sport England. When it will be repaid is a matter which is, at the moment, subject to discussions in camera, and I hope with as much radio silence as possible, between Patrick Carter and the FA about the future of a national football stadium. I will, of course, or would in camera amply that further that I am very keen to ensure that those discussions have the opportunity to proceed to whatever conclusion so that the repayment of the œ20 million is not in doubt, in the words of the Football Association. The timing will be clarified when those discussions between the FA and Patrick Carter are finalised. Chairman 226. Our Report on this inquiry will be published some time in the first half of next month, probably, that gives you two parliamentary months in which to reply, are you confident that in your reply you will be able to clarify the date on which the repayment will have to be made? (Tessa Jowell) In the light of the outcome of the discussions between Patrick Carter and the Football Association I will do my best, depending on the outcome of those discussions, to provide the certainty that we all want about this, not least Sport England. Rosemary McKenna 227. As a new member of the Committee I am interested in how we take this forward. It may very well be that 2005 is abandoned, that we just cannot deliver. It may very well be the decision that you would come to because everything is up in the air at the moment, from what I can gather. One thing I would like to see is how much of an intent there was by UK Athletics' very reasonable approach to the whole issue when they gave evidence to this Committee, they are the ones who have lost out most by this and they have accepted it in the spirit of taking things forward. You said, and I start from the premise that sport is absolutely crucial to the health and well being of the nation and from what we have heard so far it would appear there is very little joined-up thinking across government in terms of how sport can help in that agenda. How do you see your Department being able to develop that throughout Government, working with all of the various organisations so that we can support our young people and eventually be able to host the kind of events that we do very successfully? (Tessa Jowell) Thank you very much, indeed. If I can just begin with the first part of your question about the games being abandoned, the games will not be abandoned or the bid for the games will not be abandoned. The position is that we have told the IAAF we cannot proceed with Picketts Lock and we have provided them with Sheffield as an alternative, that offer is on the table and I am satisfied that it is a deliverable and affordable alternative. It is now with the IAAF to respond to that proposal. The second point is a point about fragmentation across government and across the various sporting bodies, that is a view that I have a lot of sympathy with. Within Government my department is the lead department on sport but, of course, we cannot deliver the programmes in the very substantial commitments we have for instance to reintroducing sport to the life of every child in the country, delivering the sporting entitlement, without working very closely with the Department for Education and Skills. There are also very important benefits from close collaboration with the Department of Health, there is the vexed question of playing fields, which brings us into dialogue with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. If I might just think aloud about this for a moment and share with you thoughts which have not yet had any formal discussion. I do think that there is a need for better coordination across Government. We have the Sports Cabinet, which is a way of pulling together all of the key bodies, but I have also asked Richard Caborn to look at ways in which we can improve the efficiency of our delivery at a grass roots level by improving the level of coordination across Government. I think that we in some respects spend too much on the administration of the money before it actually gets out. I am not satisfied that there is a short enough distance or a quick enough time between the money being spent and the results being achieved. This is, I think, the most important challenge that we have to address over the next few years. Miss Kirkbride 228. First of all, congratulations on your new appointment, and we look forward to doing business with you on this Committee. Can I ask about the national stadium, can you give us your views or your thoughts about the site of the national stadium for football and rugby? (Tessa Jowell) I really do not want to be difficult but I would just like to be clear to the Committee that discussions following my receipt of Patrick Carter's Report on the national stadium are at a sensitive stage and I think it will be some weeks before I am in a position to provide the Committee with a further update on that. I would rather go no further than any of the statements that have already been made on that. 229. You have received the report? (Tessa Jowell) I have received the report and I have studied it very carefully. 230. You cannot give us something of an overview. There is a great deal of concern in the West Midlands that we are being reconsidered as a site in Birmingham for the national football stadium, are there any views that you have that we would be interested in hearing? (Tessa Jowell) The position is this, following my receipt of the National Stadium Report I asked that Patrick Carter engage in further discussions with the FA about the options that he had examined, and are developed quite fully in the Report. He expects to give me his report on those discussions at the beginning of November. This is an area of policy where it is I think important we lower the temperature, we reduce the level of speculation and as far as possible, in what is a pretty frenzied environment in which this discussion takes place, we proceed with care and on the basis we are sure about where we are going rather than being driven by events. 231. Is it possible to say roughly when you will be announcing the location of the national football stadium and where the new stadium will be built, whether it will be at Wembley or elsewhere? (Tessa Jowell) The FA are at the moment in discussions with Patrick Carter about his report and, as I think they have made clear, they are looking at all the options which, as you know, include Wembley, but also include the West Midlands and also include the option of not proceeding with a national football stadium. The decision about a national football stadium is a decision for the FA, the FA must take that decision in the first instance. It will then be, if the FA decide they want a national football stadium, for Government to help with its delivery. 232. So how will you be involved in the decision? You will endorse whatever the FA and Patrick Carter decide? (Tessa Jowell) I am taking this discussion a stage at a time. The stage we are at at the moment is Patrick Carter is in discussion at my request with the FA. I expect to receive his report of those discussions, from which we will discuss the proposals for the next steps, in the earlier part of November. 233. But you will take the decision? It will be your Department which announces the location of the national stadium when these decisions come to a conclusion? (Tessa Jowell) We are a long way from that. The decision first of all is about whether or not to proceed, and that is a decision for the FA, it is not a decision for Government. 234. But in proceeding and choosing a site, that will be a matter for your Department? (Tessa Jowell) The first decision which has to be taken is whether or not the FA wish to proceed with a national football stadium. 235. Yes, but on the basis they do, I want to be clear who then takes that decision. (Tessa Jowell) No, there has been far too much speculation about what happens next in the context of this project. I am going to take it a stage at a time. I will receive the report of the discussions with the FA and we will then make a judgment about the next step if there is to be a next step. Mr Doran 236. Can I welcome the announcement you made earlier, Secretary of State, about the review by the PIU into the events which obviously you are looking into. They have a very good track record particularly in innovative thinking and cost-cutting in Government, so I think that is particularly important. It does seem to me in the way you have presented the announcement that they are being asked to look at how we should proceed in future attempts to win the four major world sporting events for this country. I think it is fair to say that in some of the discussions we have had and the evidence we have heard that I do not think all of the witnesses we have heard would agree that that is the only thing we should be looking at. In some respects there is a choice to be made before we get to that stage, and the choice is really that it could be argued in the context of world sport as it is today we are perhaps well-meaning amateurs and we should forget any ambitions we have to attract world-ranking events; the four major tournaments. Alternatively, the other part of the choice is that we go ahead, we put the proper resources in and we become much more professional in our approach, and we have had a lot of evidence about the lack of focus, lack of co-ordination, et cetera. First of all, do you accept that is a valid choice and will the PIU be considering the possibility we do not in future make any bid for these world-class events, the four major tournaments? (Tessa Jowell) If I can begin with the first part of your question about my announcement of the PIU review, the terms of which are in the process of being discussed, I think that it is commonly accepted across Government that the machinery of government lacks the necessary capacity to deliver big projects, not only big projects in the sporting field but there is clearly a read-across in that sense. It happens a number of these very big projects, very high profile projects, sit within the responsibility of my Department and I want, with my ministers, to make sure we do everything we can in the future to get these right. I think there are a number of ground rules that I hope the PIU report will address by way of guidance for Government. The first of these is, a point my Rt. Hon. friend frequently makes, that we have to make sure that decisions about major sporting events are, if you like, strategy-led rather than events-led. The end in itself is not to get the big stadium, the end in itself is to enrich sport in the UK. So the first question is, what are we going to get from this. Then there are a number of other operational issues which need to follow from that: an awareness of the infrastructure obstacles and problems with infrastructure, the cost of infrastructure, the timing of infrastructure delivery, ahead of a point where a bid has been secured and we are racing against time, which was the case with Picketts Lock. So I think we need, through the PIU, and I have pretty clear views on this, to develop a sort of template which sets out the way in which we approach proposals for these bids in the future. Very critical to that is the role of Government in this. I do not think it is the role of Government to build and manage big stadia, but to pretend that these big projects can be delivered with the Government holding back is also naive. So what we need to have is a proper relationship between the managing body that is bearing the responsibility for delivering the project and Government, which is an enabler helping the project to deliver. To some extent we need to approach this on a case-by-case basis but, that said, I think the ground rules that I have begun to set out and would be developed by the PIU inquiry will put us not just in my Department but across Government in a much stronger and less nervous position about big projects. The minute the Government gets nervous and ambivalent about a big project, it will turn round and bite you. I think the other point to remember is that we are, above anything else, serious about delivering to grassroots sport, growing and building the champions of tomorrow. If we keep being blown off course by big projects that over-run, that grab all the headlines, that discredit what we are trying to do, we are never going to be able to do that. Mr Doran: That is very helpful. Derek Wyatt 237. Good morning. Rodney Walker said he would have liked to have driven this project but was never asked, yet he is the chairman of UK Sport. If the PIU is now going to do this, what is the point of UK Sport? They have Events Co-ordination run by Adrian Metcalf. (Tessa Jowell) UK Sport clearly has a role in procuring the Games and in the successful bid that was approved in April last year when the IAAF awarded us the Games. The discussions since the commissioning of the Carter Report have been very much about the practical delivery of the Games and therefore have focussed on the local relationships - Enfield Borough Council, Lee Valley Partnership and of course Sport England and my Department as the principal funder. So that is the main reason why the focus has shifted. If the other part of your question is, should UK Sport have been involved in this discussion, then I think it is fair to say they should. 238. I think the Sports Minister was at Edmonton, did you have an opportunity to meet with President Diack of the IAAF? (Mr Caborn) I did. 239. Did you confirm Picketts Lock was our choice? (Mr Caborn) No, I did not confirm that. The Secretary of State had already indicated in July that we were holding an inquiry under Patrick Carter and because I was at Edmonton I thought we could give an up-date of what was taking place, which I did. UK Athletics and my officials were at that meeting as well. We just said that Patrick Carter was proceeding but there were real difficulties as we saw it with Picketts Lock at that time. As the Secretary of State has already said, we had deep concerns, we had heard reports of Picketts Lock and indeed having read the Select Committee Report as well. That is the action we took. Can I say that what was said by the Secretary General when we came out was very important, bearing in mind I was with my officials. He said, he wanted the best for the Games and he wanted the best for London. We believe we have actually delivered that for the IAAF. 240. Other witnesses today have said that it is written in some sort of stone apparently that you have to have capital cities now for future bids. I am just saying that other witnesses have said that. If that is the case, and they say they got this from the president of the IAAF, is there any purpose in getting more egg on our face by making the Sheffield bid our bid? (Tessa Jowell) Over the last 12 years certainly - and I can give you chapter and verse on this ------ 241. This is subsequent to Edmonton, which was the last one apparently. (Tessa Jowell) In 1995 the Games were held in Gothenburg, in 1997 in Athens, which is a capital city, in 1999 in Seville and in 2001 in Edmonton. So it is not the case, or it has not been the case, that the Games have always been held in a capital city. The IAAF have not to my knowledge said to us that they have changed policy so they will now always be held in a capital city, certainly Sheffield has experience of hosting major sporting events and major sporting events with a degree of success, which is why we believe that Sheffield is a viable alternative to Picketts Lock. 242. On London sites, did you think about any of the football stadia like Chelsea? Did you consider the Legal & General site near Northolt or the chalk pits at Dartford? (Tessa Jowell) The process of examining London sites was really done in two stages. First of all, there was, I understand, a pretty exhaustive scan of London site possibilities before Picketts Lock was finalised as the venue. Yes, Northolt was looked at. I cannot off the top of my head tell you whether Chelsea was looked at, but certainly the advice to me was that all the available possibilities had been looked at. The Carter team, when Picketts Lock began to look uncertain, also looked at other London venues and concluded that the risks associated with them were as great if not greater than the risks associated with Picketts Lock. Mr Flook 243. Secretary of State, Mr Doran spoke of the Performance and Innovation Unit, and I am not necessarily sure I welcome the decision to subject the decision-making process to the long grass of the PIU but I suppose it is at least an admission of failure of Government. Why would the PIU insight change the basic lack of courtesy shown to UK Sport not to be contacted about the decision to move the Games from Picketts Lock to Sheffield, which is what Mr Callicott said earlier this morning? (Tessa Jowell) If UK Sport feel there has been a lack of courtesy, I would apologise wholeheartedly to them because no lack of courtesy was intended. I hope I made clear in relation to my earlier comments the rationale for focussing the discussion about moving from the reassessment of Picketts Lock and then identifying Sheffield as a discussion which focussed on Sport England and the local partners who were responsible for delivering Picketts Lock. Nor do I accept that to seek the help of the PIU is an admission of failure. If every time we ask for advice in order we do things better it was castigated as an admission of failure, we would be in a pretty sorry and sad position. I want us to be in a position to proceed with confidence and certainty in a way which does justice to the ambitions of our sports men and women up and down the country. The reason that the PIU review in this area is so relevant is the weaknesses in project management of big projects, and I think this ambiguous relationship which needs to be sorted out between Government and these projects applies not only to sporting projects but a range of other projects as well. I think it is a good thing that we are willing to learn and apply that good advice. 244. Now that we have lost all credibility for those major events, what might be the catalyst or driver to put anything the PIU say into practice? (Tessa Jowell) I also do not accept that we have lost all credibility with these major events. We are looking forward to hosting the Commonwealth Games next year, we are looking forward to hosting the World Indoor Athletic Championships after that, and we have a record of a dozen first-class world events which have been hosted in the last three years. I do not think you should talk UK Sport or sport in the UK down by saying we have lost confidence. I do think that the IAAF and UK sporting bodies are disappointed and frustrated by this decision but I hope what I have made clear to this Committee is that I believe it is the right and only decision to be taken. I hope that in the years to come when we look with Sport England and UK Sport and UK Athletics at the development of the Legacy programme, in the event the Games do not go to Sheffield, in time athletics will recognise that they got something out of this and that to us is very important indeed. John Thurso 245. Secretary of State, you said a few moments ago that Britain should not be in the business of building big stadia, from which I take it to mean that the Government should not be in the business of building big stadia and I take it you mean funding. Last week Mr Sheard in his evidence said, and I quote, "Britain has actually had a long history of not funding stadiums whereas most other countries have had a long history of building stadiums." He went on to explain that virtually all Continental countries and America and Australia all fund their stadiums using some form of either local, state or national funding. Does your comment mean that we can look forward to not having stadia in this country? Do you think that is right? (Tessa Jowell) No, absolutely not, and I am glad you have clarified your earlier point about distinguishing between Government and Britain. I hope Britain will both refurbish, redevelop and build new sporting facilities on a number of different scales. What I hope I have also made clear is that these very big projects do rely on the support of Government in order to deliver them, because where you have major rail infrastructure, road infrastructure or planning issues, then Government cannot stand back from that, Government has to get engaged. Once a decision has been taken that the project is to proceed and Government is engaged with it, public money is put into delivering that infrastructure. So to suggest that I have said that public money should not go into these big projects is not the case. To some extent we have to take a case-by-case point. We have to be quite clear that where these big projects are approved there is a clear legacy, that they are in the mainstream of rather than a diversion from our bigger strategy for sport, and that they are not going, by over-spending and under-performing, to derail or discredit that bigger strategy. But the role of Government is an important one. There will be an expectation of public resources, whether from local authorities or from Government or from the Lottery, in order to make these projects happen, but what I am quite clear about is that we need to look at the gross costs rather than the net costs and we need to be clear that the gross costs can be met and that those who are responsible for providing the money are signed up to deliver them. 246. Forgive me, Secretary of State, but if the Government is to effectively stand back and it is others who are to fund these - and the evidence was that hardly a stadium has been built without Government money - you have effectively the Government standing out of that and sport coming as a supplicant to Government saying, "Here is a lovely idea, we would like to do this", and then Government says, "Maybe we will, maybe we will not, yes, we will support you", and you actually have the fundamental root cause of the whole problem we have gone through. We either need to take a policy decision that Government does not want to see these things and we do not try, or we take a policy decision that Government will lead and be at the forefront of it, and it is one or the other, we cannot have a middle road. (Tessa Jowell) No, I do not accept that. I think Government needs to be alongside these projects. The formulation I have described is a healthy one. It is Government as the enabler of these projects and, undeniably, in many cases being the only available funder for the key infrastructure which makes a stadium or a sporting venue sustainable. But before these projects are signed off at the planning stage we have to go much further in ensuring their deliverability and affordability than has sometimes been the case in the past. Ms Shipley 247. As a Black Country MP I have to ask you is there any reason our second city should not be the location for the national stadium? The other thing I want to go on to say is that I was so pleased to hear you say "strategy led" because from this morning's discussions, strategy seems to be missing, particularly with the Legacy programme and world events. We heard this morning plea after plea from almost every person who spoke to us that they wanted a leader at Cabinet level preferably, certainly at political level, to drive things through, so once a decision has been made to drive it through and make it happen. Would you consider yourself that person given the problem of interdepartmental decision- making and you have mentioned yourself health, education, environmental issues, and how you see that working? (Tessa Jowell) Yes, I do see myself as the champion in Cabinet for sport and the development of sport. I have also indicated that we may well want to look at ways of strengthening the interdepartmental relationships in order to ensure a degree of seamlessness and momentum and priority that sport should have. 248. Could I ask you about the second city question as well? Given what you have just said, why is it that every single speaker has said that that was lacking? Why has someone to drive through the decisions been lacking, literally the power to drive them through? Where would you locate that problem? (Tessa Jowell) I do not know. I did not hear the earlier speakers and I do not know what evidence they were drawing on. We are now where we are. I am Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, I am responsible in Cabinet for securing the resources and then driving through the delivery against the criteria for which the money was given. I am determined we are going to do that. 249. I think a lot of people will be very pleased to hear you say that. Is there any reason why our second city should not be the location for the national stadium? (Tessa Jowell) At the risk of being tedious and trying the Committee's patience, I have nothing further to add beyond what I have already said. Alan Keen 250. One very simple question, I understand your caution but you did say in answer to a question in the last half an hour or so that if the FA decides it does not want a national stadium, that is the end of it all. That cannot really be the case, can it? Surely you should be going to the FA saying, "Please build a national stadium, we are giving you œ100 million towards it through the Lottery"? Because if you do not, athletics is fatally doomed forever never to have the Olympic Games because you would have to build a œ300 million stadium to use once every 20 years. Should you be leaving it to the FA to say, "We are very happy going to Old Trafford or St James's Park or Riverside"? Should you not be going to them and saying, "This is in the interests of the UK and athletics and staging international sporting events"? (Tessa Jowell) What is clear is that for a national football stadium to succeed it must have the support of and be wanted by football; it is football's asset. It is for that reason I have been absolutely clear that the decision about whether or not there is a national football stadium is first and foremost a decision for the FA. 251. Should you not encourage them? Otherwise we will have no national stadium into which we could put a platform and will never have a major athletics events. (Tessa Jowell) I have given in the clearest possible terms my position about this, and particularly in view of the sensitivity of the discussions which are currently underway with the FA I have nothing more to add. Mr Bryant 252. For what it is worth, in relation to a national football stadium probably Cardiff is quite happy for there not to be one. We are quite happy having everybody coming down to Cardiff, it is a very good place to be and it is quite a good capital city as well. I wonder whether you would comment, Secretary of State, on the comment made earlier by UK Athletics that Australia, following the Montreal Olympics, made the decision when they got no Olympic medals - I am not sure if that was no golds or no Olympic medals at all - that the most important thing was first of all to spend money on getting their athletes and their grassroots athletics in place before they contemplated going into the market of trying to stage enormous events. (Tessa Jowell) I would be quoting the words of a past member of your Committee who said that perhaps we should look to increase the number of athletes who win medals in other people's stadia rather than increasing the opportunities for people to win medals in our stadia. I think that is a view with which a lot of our athletes have a lot of sympathy. I do believe that the most important thing is to invest in the training, coaching and facilities that enable our athletes, our sports men and women generally to become world beaters. When you stand at the top of the winner's podium, you do not particularly mind which city it is when you are draped in the Union Jack. I intend to have discussions with our athletes about precisely these choices, how to get the balance right, and at the end of November we will be addressing their conference. I think this is a very important dilemma and let me be clear with the Committee, for me the risk is this, that every large stadium that over-runs is many millions of pounds not being spent on making inner city football pitches good enough to play on, providing modern tracks for kids who aspire to be great athletes, building our coaching programme and investing in our, if you like, human sporting capital for the future. 253. Or indeed on Fearndale Rugby Football Club, of which I am patron. One other issue: the announcement you made at the beginning about the review which is to be made, as I understand it, it is just about big sporting events, is that right? (Tessa Jowell) No, it is about big projects. 254. So would you include perhaps Welsh Assembly buildings being built and Scottish Parliament buildings being built? (Tessa Jowell) I think those would be regarded as devolved decisions. Rosemary McKenna: Absolutely! Mr Bryant 255. Other arts buildings as well? (Tessa Jowell) Yes. Chairman: Thank you very much, Secretary of State. With the benign spirit of John Maxton hovering over the Thatcher Room, I declare this session closed. Thank you and Richard for coming.