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Mr. Andrew Pelling (Croydon, Central) (Con): Is not what my hon. Friend said particularly pertinent given that the Olympic bid team felt unable to appear before the London Assembly recently when it had security questions to ask? Does that not suggest that the Bill should include a reference to the Assembly? I declare an interest, as a member of the Assembly.
Mrs. May: As my hon. Friend says, he has particular experience of the role of the authority and its need to be involved. I am sorry that the bid team could not appear before its members. I sincerely hope that that will be possible in the future, and that on subsequent occasions relevant questions can be answered.
Meg Hillier (Hackney, South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): I think the right hon. Lady is confused about the Greater London Authority Act 1999. The Mayor is directly elected and, as the only executive member of the Greater London Authority, has the role outlined in the Bill. I think that is quite right.
As a former member of the Assembly, I know that the London bid team has given evidence in the past. No doubt the successor bodies will do so in the future. I do not think anyone opposes such involvement, and I think the right hon. Lady may have misunderstood the position.
Mrs. May: I am grateful to the hon. Lady, if she is right about the bid team having appeared before the Assembly. It seems that we have two Assembly members in the Chamber, each giving a different view. Perhaps the hon. Lady and my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, Central (Mr. Pelling) would like to discuss the matter outside the Chamber.
London now contains a number of elected bodies. The Assembly is elected, as are the London borough authorities and the Mayor. All elected bodies will have a role to play, and should be able to express their views
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and feel that their constituents' interests are being served. I can tell the hon. Lady that there is a practical point to be made about both the boroughs and the Assembly. If the games are to be delivered, given the implications for the whole of London, all who have been elected to fulfil their various roles should be able to participate in consideration of how that delivery will be achieved.
anywhere in the country. That may not be what was intended, but those are the powers that the Bill gives the GLA. I ask the Secretary of State to look at the clause again and discuss it with the Local Government Association to ensure that, as representatives of local authorities across the country, its members are comfortable with it.
We want to ensure that the benefits of the games are brought to the United Kingdom as a whole, although given my local interest I am pleased that the excellent facility at Dorney lake has been chosen as the venue for the rowing. Of course it is not possible to bring Olympic events to towns and cities all over the country, but the games can attract tourists and visitors who may then wish to see more of what our country has to offer. I would be grateful if in due course the Secretary of State were to provide us with more guidance about how she intends to bring the benefits of the games to a wider audience. We should discuss the possibility of towns and cities offering training camps and sporting facilities to visiting athletes.
Many hon. Members have intervened on behalf of constituency interests today and on the previous occasions on which we have discussed the Olympics. I am interested to hear what assistance the Government will give to local authorities which are interested in hosting training camps in their areas.
We must not forget that the Paralympics is an important part of London 2012. My constituency benefits from an excellent sports association for the disabled, which counts among its members Paralympic medallists, including gold medallists. Up and down the country, talented athletes are watching what the Government do to promote and encourage them to capture British golds at the Paralympics. The Bill does not address that matter, but we expect the Government to provide greater clarity in due course about the resources to support competitors in the Paralympics.
It is worth remembering the sense of joy and euphoria that was felt not only in London but across the UK when the announcement was made. Given the dark days that have followed, it is important to recall the power of this sporting occasion to lift and inspire the British people. The Olympics have the potential to bring a positive change to the whole of the country. It is now up
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to the Government to live up to that potential and deliver a lasting legacy by hosting the finest Olympic games that the world has ever seen.
Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab): I addressed a gathering in West Ham on Saturday as part of the VE and VJ celebrations. After we had reflected on the dreadful events of 7/7, I urged my constituents to take the joy and elation back from the callous bombers who destroyed many lives and our euphoria. Today, I urge hon. Members to take our joy back and to continue to celebrate our amazing victory in bringing the Olympic games to the United Kingdom.
The Olympic games is a prize that we, as a community, strived to gain over the past three years. Many West Hammers contributed to the attainment of that prizefor example, by contributing to community forums to garner support or talking to international or national delegations. Children sent their hopes and dreams to the International Olympic Committee, and the council contributed ideas and expertise to the bid. We contributed to the bid, and we demand the right to celebrate winning that amazing prize for West Ham. West Ham is proud, excited, expectant and optimistic, and it is beginning to celebrate its success, and I humbly ask hon. Members to celebrate London's and the UK's success.
My constituents are looking forward to participating in the games. We hope and expect that some of our residents will compete. Some of our residents will work as technicians, reporters, photographers, translators, artists, vendors, taxi drivers, chefs, medics and hoteliers. We expect some people to start companies, to sell services and to make their first million because of the inspiration and opportunity offered by the games. We are asking our people and our businesses to consider what they might reap from the largest peacetime event in history.
Some of our residents will be among the 70,000 volunteers who make the games so special. Recruitment has already begun, and to date 17,000 Londoners have volunteered, which shows their excitement about and commitment to the games. In my borough, more than 500 volunteers have received training and will participate in the London triathlon and volunteer for other activities in our libraries and schools. The opportunities to volunteer will help to reinvigorate civic pride and civic engagement, which will possibly provide skills, build confidence and increase employment.
The physical and economic transformation of my constituency will hopefully be matched by a blossoming of the unique cultural vibrancy of those dynamic and creative communities. The bid team acknowledged the importance of the cultural development framework prepared by the five boroughs, which includes the concept of a new east bank for Londona community-
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focused yet internationally renowned cultural hub stretching from Stratford city to the Greenwich peninsula.
To achieve those objectives, we must plan because, to use a well-worn phrase, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. Some are concerned that previous Olympic games did not reap the expected social and economic benefits given the financial outlay, although it is difficult to ascertain what social and financial benefits were expected. If one does not plan to reap a specific and quantifiable benefit, one will fail, and the social legacy of the games was not top of previous Olympic agendas.
As a local councillor from Newham, I have discussed the benefits with a number of local, regional and national agencies. Those benefits will massively change the deprivation indicators in east London. If we work to ensure that the legacy of the Olympic games is the renewal and regeneration of an area of the countryand indeed of a generationwe will succeed.
One concern is that the Bill does not refer to local authorities such as my own, and their role has not been recognised. I contend that the opportunities presented by the games will be fully realised, deep rooted and sustained only if the community is engaged with the physical and social changes. Local authorities are uniquely charged with that responsibility and are uniquely positioned to discharge it. Sir Robin Wales, the elected mayor of Newham, has already contributed as a member of the London 2012 legacy board. I ask the Secretary of State to ensure that the legislation fully recognises the essential role of local government in the planning, delivery and legacy phases of the London 2012 Olympics.
The regeneration of communities is a partnership between the different tiers of government, their agencies and the communities they serve. Without such partnerships, the renewal and regeneration of areas will not be accomplished. The Olympics will bring billions of pounds of business to national, regional, and local companies over the next eight years and more. The Olympics will see the creation of 19,000 new jobs in construction, ICT, media, retail, health, hospitality, sport and the creative industries.
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