|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Tessa Jowell: I shall move on to reaffirm and underline the importance of the points made by a number of hon. Members in interventions about the benefits that we hope will extend to the whole United Kingdom. In clause 34, regional development agencies are given a new purposeto prepare for the London Olympics.
I add my voice to the congratulations to my right hon. Friend on the role that she played in winning the bid. A number of provisions in the Bill are designed to ensure that the priority is to deliver the games by 2012. Is she confident that the Bill contains enough
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1440
protections to safeguard the regeneration aspects of the development, so that the focus is not exclusively on delivering the games?
Tessa Jowell: I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention and pay tribute to his advocacy of the Olympic bid and the regeneration of the lower Lea valley, which will bring great benefits to his constituents. He has been an advocate for many years when the Olympic bid did not have many friends to call on. We would miss the opportunity of a lifetime if regeneration were not inextricably linked to the purposes of the creation of the Olympic park and the lower Lea valley. I can assure my hon. Friend of the priority that is given in the Bill to regeneration.
Jeremy Corbyn: My point is about regeneration and the protection of existing communities. In the boroughs surrounding Stratford and the other sites, there are many very poor people. There are also many artistic communities that have limited and low cost facilities. Will the Secretary of State ensure that the games do not end up with a succession of yuppie flats and developments, and that the beautiful people and the rich do not move in after the games and take over the whole area, and that instead it will be of real benefit to the poor and needy of north and east London, who should not suffer because of the games, but should benefit from them?
Tessa Jowell: I thank my hon. Friend for that important point. I hope he will be reassured in part by the fact that the Olympic village will represent a substantial contribution to London's affordable housing. Working with the communities around the Stratford park and the lower Lea valley has been an important part of the bid's approach to date, and it will continue, because of the risks that my hon. Friend outlined.
The last time the Olympic games were held in London, it was against the backdrop of a world devastated by war and a country looking for inspiration. In 1948, just over 4,000 competitors from 59 different countries competed. School buildings were used to house athletes. A temporary track was built at Wembley stadium and many Government buildings were converted to temporary uses. The games could be watched on television only by those who lived in Britain. Athletes were asked to bring packed lunches. Despite all that, the games were a success. Three years later, the nation celebrated the Festival of Britain. The festival raised the nation's spirits while promoting the very best in British art, design and industry.
Sixty years later, the 2012 games will be very different. They will probably be the biggest ever staged. They will be held in a brand-new Olympic park with nine world-class sports venues. Over 11,000 athletes from 200 countries will compete and will be watched by 4 billion people across the world. They will create a legacy like no other in Olympic history. They will leave behind the biggest urban park built in Europe for 150 years, 3,600 new homesaffordable homes12,000 new jobs, three new schools and a generation inspired to get active by the opportunities of sporting excellence. The games will create economic opportunities across the UK, billions of pounds worth
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1441
of contracts, and a huge boost to tourism and the UK's global exposure. Training camps for athletes will be spread around the nation.
Pete Wishart: I have been waiting patiently to say something nice to the right hon. Lady. May I say on behalf of the Scottish National party how sincerely and wholeheartedly we congratulate London on securing the games? It is incumbent upon her to match the rhetoric and demonstrate that it truly was a national UK bid. Now that we have secured the games, may we consider the ludicrous funding arrangementsthe £1.75 billion of lottery money, which will deprive the grassroots sports organisations that we require to do well in 2012?
Tessa Jowell: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention, which was well worth waiting for. He has been consistent in at least one respecthis opposition to using lottery funds to meet the costs of the Olympics. That will not change. That is the way the public contribution will be met, in large part. However, I welcome his conversion to the value of the games, not just to the people of London, but to those of Scotland as well. I thank the people in Scotland who have throughout recorded their strong support for the games coming to London. That was an important and persuasive part of the case that we presented to the International Olympic Committee.
Throughout the country, we will see training camps for athletes. In the run-up to the games, the torch relay will sweep the country, heralding the start of a nationwide cultural festival. There will be music, comedy, fireworks, carnivals and a special Olympic Prom, all to embody the bid's major themes of voyage, exploration and exchange.
Delivering the 2012 games and Paralympic games will be a challenge like no other. I am sure that in the years ahead we will see, perhaps in all parts of the House, doses of scepticism as the plans for implementing the games are rightly subject to scrutiny. I hope, however, that that healthy scepticism will not tip over into unhealthy cynicism.
As a nation, we have an opportunity that we must seizean opportunity to deliver tangible facilities and transformation to one of the poorest parts of our country, and to bring changes in the quality of life of the people who live there that they could not have dreamed of. We also have other, more intangible opportunities to seizeto express pride in our country, to express solidarity, to celebrate the tolerance in our diversity, and to be guardians of the dreams of millions and millions of young people. That is a prize which, I hope, will continue to unite the House in the years between now and 2012. I commend the Bill to the House.
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1442
Mrs. Theresa May (Maidenhead) (Con): I begin by echoing the comments that I made in this Chamber on 6 July when the Secretary of State was in Singapore. The congratulations of the whole House are due to my noble Friend Lord Coe on his inspirational leadership of the bid team and in securing the London 2012 bid. But congratulations are also due to all those involved in putting the bid together, including Ministers and officials in the DCMS, and the Prime Minister for his personal commitment to the bid.
It is important that there is real support for the Olympics and Paralympics on both sides of the House. The intervention of the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) on behalf of the Scottish National party suggests that we have indeed obtained the support of all parts of the House.
Mr. Walker: I would love to be nice to the Secretary of State because I am from Broxbourne and we are absolutely delighted to have got the canoeing. May I congratulate the Government and everybody who played a part in bringing the Olympics to London and just north of the M25 to Broxbourne, which is fairly near Scotland, but probably not near enough? May I make one plea, because it is very important that the Olympics are for everyone, and too often we see the corporate moguls move in? It is important that my constituents, the people from Waltham Cross and Cheshunt, which are not particularly rich areas, should have a chance to go to the canoeing in Broxbourne and take part in this great celebration.
Mrs. May: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention and I echo his comments. I think he will find that the elements of the Bill that outlaw ticket touting for the Olympics will go some way to ensuring that what he hopes will be the case for his constituents.
It was the cross-party support for the London 2012 bid that went some way to ensuring and convincing the IOC that Britain was united in its ambition to host the Olympic and Paralympic games. It is with the same spirit of co-operation that we approach the Bill and all other legislation that may be needed in order to deliver the games. We all know the potential that the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics have to transform London and the lives of so many young people throughout Britain.
We hear the phrase "a lasting legacy" used on many occasions when talking about London 2012. It underpinned the whole of our bid. That legacy is twofold. There is of course the opportunity to regenerate one of London's poorest and most rundown areas, although in doing so it is important to ensure that those displaced by the project are properly compensated. I hope that the Secretary of State will have recognised from the interventions from my hon. Friends the Members for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) and for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) that there is still
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1443
considerable concern about the issue among those businesses and others who will find themselves displaced by the regeneration. So there is that opportunity to provide low-cost housing to thousands of families, to improve transport and infrastructure links and to build some of the world's finest sporting facilities for years to come. Those are all matters that the Bill has the power to deliver.
What the Bill does not address is the part of the bid that so impressed the IOC delegates: the commitment to inspire thousands of young people throughout the country and indeed the world; to bring something into the lives of boys and girls, to give them a reason to work harder, something to aim forthe thought that perhaps they could be standing on the podium collecting Olympic gold in 2012.
On the Saturday after the bid success was announced my swimming teacher, who is herself a British world championship triathlete, talked about her son, who rows for Reading Bluecoat school in my constituency, which managed to qualify for the Henley regatta for the first time ever this year. She hoped that the bid success would inspire himthat if he works hard he could be there in 2012. That is the spirit of enthusiasm, optimism and dedication that we want to encourage by having the Olympics in London.
However, those aspects are not dealt with in the Bill, and we shall be looking to the Government for further reassurances that they are putting in place the mechanisms that will deliver on that promise to our young sportsmen and women, not only to those who may be Olympic athletes of the future, and encourage an interest in sport and a healthy lifestyle as an offshoot and a legacy of the Olympic games.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|