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Mr. Love: I seek a couple of reassurances from the right hon. Ladyfirst, that she will speak to authorities such as my Conservative-controlled authority in Enfield, which has been somewhat lacking in its support for the Olympic bid. I hope that it will be able to change its mind and get fully behind it. But the real reassurance that we need is that the Opposition will now get behind the Mayor of London and support the precept that will be critical to delivering the Olympic games in 2012.
Mrs. May: If the hon. Gentleman will wait, I have something to say about London authorities and the Mayor of London in relation to the Olympics.
The Bill establishes the framework for London's games, a games that the Opposition, along with the Government, hope will be the finest the world has ever seen. We also hope that it will be a games that produces a significant, if not the largest ever, crop of British gold medals, and medals generally. We also hope that it will be a games that is delivered on timeit has to be delivered on timeand to budget. We will continue to give our support to the Government, but that does not mean that we will not criticise or raise concerns when we have them.
We support the Bill, but all hon. Members must be careful to ensure that the Bill will genuinely deliver what we all want to seethe best Olympics and Paralympics everand that means that it must be subject to proper scrutiny. There are issues that should be raised at this early opportunity if we are to ensure just that.
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We all know that the ultimate guarantor of Olympic funding is to be discharged in a sharing arrangement with the Mayor of London and through additional national lottery funding. Any cost overrun will be picked up by taxpayers, by London council tax payers and, potentially, through loss of income to charities and other good causes throughout the country.
The Minister for Sport and Tourism has already made it clear that almost every Olympic host city has seen the cost at least double from initial estimates. In evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 15 January 2003, he said:
"On the financing, one point that was very interesting on our visits to cities that have already run Olympics was that in broad terms, on the cost, every one of them has doubled from the first figure that was given."
Sydney and Athens ran more than 100 per cent. overspends. Sydney's original bid costs were estimated at £1 billion and the games ended up costing about £2.3 billion. The final figures from Athens are not yet established, but the original bid estimate of costs was again £1 billion, and costs published to date are £3.98 billion.
The Opposition are determined that London should learn the lessons from those cities, and we must ensure that the games are brought in strictly to budget and on time. We owe it to the many thousands of athletes who will be participating to do just that. We also owe it to council tax payers and to taxpayers, who will be left to pick up the tab long after the last medal is awarded if we do not put the right financial controls in place.
We are pleased that Government propose that the Olympic delivery authority's accounts will be examined and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General, who will lay a copy of the statement and report before Parliament, because I assume that that will allow the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee to examine and investigate the accounts. Perhaps the Minister will be able to confirm the PAC's role when he winds up the debate.
However, in the interests of transparency, and to allow the House fully to consider and discuss the development of the work, I hope that the Government and the Secretary of State will go further and agree to have an annual debate in the House on progress on the preparations for the games so that it is open to proper parliamentary scrutiny.
The Government and the bid stakeholders have made public commitments to the IOC to establish the ODA. In particular, commitments have been made that the ODA will have development control powers in the Olympic park, powers to acquire land, and powers to control and co-ordinate Olympic transport. All those commitments are delivered on within the Bill.
The Secretary of State will appoint members of the ODA after having consulted the Mayor of London. The Bill is not about Olympic goals or sport development. It is about street sweeping, massive building projects, and developing transport and infrastructure links. All those are complicated, costly and difficult to deliver. We have seen what can happen if we do not get the delivery of such projects right. That is why it is essential that we have the right people to do the jobnot political appointees or placemen, but professionals, experienced in managing and delivering large-scale projects on time
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and on budget. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us how the Olympic delivery authority will be appointed, and reassure us that the process will be open and transparent and that the Government intend to seek proven professionals.
In the light of recent events, security is at the forefront of all our minds. We remember that the Olympics have been the victim of attacks on past occasions. We welcome the provisions to allow consultation with police commissioners from the metropolis and the City of London, and the British Transport police, as part of the transport plan. The Bill makes no mention of the overall involvement in security and policing of the event as a whole, although I understand that a Cabinet-level security committee will oversee the games. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us more about the security arrangements and their funding, but if he cannot do that today, I trust that in due course a Minister will announce the arrangements to the House.
Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): I believe that security has been costed at £23.125 million. Given the events to which the right hon. Lady referred, does that figure not seem rather low? Might not the Government have to think again about what is needed?
Mrs. May: The hon. Gentleman is right, in that there is a costing for security. I understand, however, that it is not £20-odd million, but £225 million. Perhaps the Minister can tell us, today or on another occasion, whether that is the total sum or whether, as I suspect, other sums will be available from policing budgets or the overall Home Office budget. I am sure, however, that the Government will keep the matter under constant review.
One element of the Bill worries us particularly. We recognise that delivering the games is a huge task, and that additional powers will be needed to meet the challenge. We also understand that we need to grant the Mayor of London Olympic-specific powers allowing him to fulfil his obligations as a signatory to the host city contract. The powers in the Bill are far-reaching, however. Clause 32 is potentially the most controversial measure, as it gives the Greater London Authorityand therefore the Mayorvery wide-ranging powers.
In its impact assessment, the Government claim that that there is no risk in the clause because
Yet the clause gives the GLA power to
"do anything . . . for the purpose of complying with an obligation of the Mayor of London under the Host City Contract"
or to prepare for and manage the games. It contains no requirement for the GLA to consult the London boroughs that will play such an important role in delivering the Olympics. We fear that the absence of a requirement to consult not only the boroughs that will be the homes of event venues but those that will have to help deliver the transport, street cleaning and logistics to deal with hundreds of thousands of visitors to London will have a major impact on the ability to deliver those services. I hope that the Secretary of State will be willing
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to work with us to develop a framework allowing proper dialogue and decision making with the London boroughs.
Mrs. Lait: I agree about the importance of negotiation with the London boroughs, but it worries me that the Greater London Assembly has no effective control over the Mayor, while the Secretary of State is an appointee to the Olympic delivery authority. Is there not a democratic vacuum between the role of the ODA and the role of the Assembly?
Mrs. May: I share some of my hon. Friend's worries. It is notable that parts of the Bill give powers to the Mayor of London specifically, while others give the powers to the Greater London Authority. It would be helpful if the Minister could elaborate on the distinction that the Government draw between the two persons of the Mayor and the authority. Perhaps he will tell us how they think the democratic process will be available to ensure that the powers are being applied appropriately, so that we have a genuine London games and not just an event for which the Mayor is responsible. It is important for all London authorities to be part of the process, and not to feel that any interests that they have are being sidelined by the actions of the Mayor.
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