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Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth, North) (Lab): Although I welcome the new jobs that the Olympics will bring, particularly in the construction industry, we must remember that the Government are also creating new construction jobs through programmes such as building skills for the future, and better homes. I hope that hon. Members agree that in planning for the Olympics we must ensure that we have enough training places to allow our young people to obtain the necessary skills to take advantage of those jobs and that we have sufficient capacity in the construction industry to meet the various demands.
I agree with my hon. Friend. If we do not set up training programmes and plan to get our children into those jobs, we will simply fail. The games will bring an opportunity for us to showcase our talent, creativity, innovation and design to global audiences, and will transform the local and regional economy.
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We must, however, remember that there will be casualties from the regeneration of the area. Local businesses will be displaced because of the need to create space for the Olympic Park stadium. The Bill allows for the necessary compulsory purchases. I ask the Government and the London Development Agency to take immediate steps to reassure the businesses concerned and to proceed to expedite the responsibility of relocation and compensation. Land must be acquired at a fair market rent.
Mrs. Lait : I am grateful to the hon. Lady for allowing me to pursue an issue that I took up with the Secretary of Statethat of compensation on compulsory purchase. As I understand the BillI will be grateful if she tells me differentlythe LDA is limited to the current terms of the planning Acts, which means that it cannot go beyond compulsory purchase price. Can the hon. Lady explain where she sees the area for negotiation?
We need to ensure that the planning that is essential for the continued vibrancy of the companies concerned is expedited as quickly as possible. Firms have talked to me about wanting a fair price and about needing to ensure that any red tape is dealt with sympathetically so that they do not incur down time and therefore financial loss, which will mean a loss of confidence among their suppliers and customers. I ask the LDA or the Olympic delivery authority to streamline the planning and licensing permissions to avoid delays that might otherwise impede the relocation process.
I am further concerned by reports that break clauses in leases are being used as a device to lessen compensation, which may result in job loss and a loss of economic activity in the area. We all want the games to bring in additional businesses and business growth, not to see the demise of long-established businesses of international renown. Access to increasing opportunities is vital. Newham is the tenth poorest area in England and Wales and the fourth poorest in London. It is flanked on its western borders by the London borough of Tower Hamlets and the London borough of Hackney, which are the first and second poorest areas in the capital.
Think of the vast area of deprivation, the lack of skills, the high mortality rate, and the low educational achievement. West Ham has the lowest employment rates in the country. A third of our households contain no one in employment. Our people die six years earlier than those in the community of Westminster. More than half our children live in poverty. Imagine what could be achieved for this community by the benefit of the games. A games that fails to benefit these peoplebenefit, not displace themwill be a failed opportunity and a failed investment. If we can secure these benefits for the community, it will reciprocate.
The country and the world can rely on the energy and enthusiasm of east Londoners. After all, more than anywhere else in the world, this is where the world comes together. Some 110 languages are spoken in Newham schools alone. It is a place where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated. Every athlete will find a community to cheer them on.
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In return for the honour of hosting the games, we promise that visitors from the rest of London, the rest of the UK and the rest of the world can expect the warmest of welcomes in the east end. As staff, hosts, passionate spectators, and enthusiastic and efficient volunteers, West Ham residents will make the 2012 games unforgettable. In return, we must collectively ensure that the 2012 games are remembered not only for providing a truly world-class event but for providing long-lasting benefits to east London, to London, and to the whole of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): Notwithstanding the appalling tragedy that befell London the day after that wonderful moment as Jacques Rogge fumbled with the envelope and announced that London had won the Olympics, the hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) is absolutely right to say that today we must use our discussion of this vital Bill as an opportunity to celebrate the success of London and of the whole country.
I have had opportunities on other occasions to give my thanks to all those who have been involved in that wonderful successSeb Coe, Keith Mills, Barbara Cassani, the Prime Minister, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport team, including the Secretary of State and the Minister for Sport and Tourism, and many others, including the large number of elite athletes and young athletes who joined us as part of the bid team in Singapore. They all deserve our praise for a fantastic achievement. A few days before the announcement of the result, the Prime Minister anticipated how he would react were we to be successful, saying:
I can assure hon. Members that when the announcement was made in Singapore very many people were punching the air, doing jigs and embracing the people next to them, but we understand that it also happened in London and right across the country.
We all know that winning the bid is not the finishing line but merely the starting gun that signals the hard work that is necessary to ensure that we deliver what we promised to deliver in 2012the best-ever Olympic and Paralympic games. This Bill is part of that process of getting on with the work that is necessary to achieve that. We all know how important it is to get on with it quickly, because there are huge prizes to be won. We know that from all the other countries that have benefited from having the Olympic games. Just one example suffices to illustrate it. Before the 1992 games, Barcelona was ranked as the 16th most popular destination for tourists; since then, it has been for many years consistently ranked in the top four. If other countries and cities can benefit, there are also huge prizes for London.
Of those prizes, five crucial ones are on offer. First, above all, the delivery of the 2012 games will help to invigorate our sporting nation. It is worth reflecting that one influential International Olympic Committee member said, after London had been awarded the bid:
It was, and rightly so. The underpinning philosophy that should guide the way in which we deliver the 2012 games is the way in which it can invigorate our sporting nation.
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That is a vital goal. This week, as our schools finish for the summer holidays, 70 per cent. of those leaving school will drop out of any sporting activity whatsoeverthat is a staggering 390,000 children. We need to find ways of persuading them to continue being involved in sport, and the Olympics will help in that process. It is frightening to think that by 2020, on current trends, 70 per cent. of women will do no exercise other than walking. We are all aware of the problem of obesity, which has trebled among children in the past decade, and overall is costing this nation £8.2 billion a year. I mention that figure to draw attention to it in comparison with the cost of the Olympics. Obesity is costing £8.2 billion a year. The expenditure of some billions of pounds on the huge prize of the Olympics pales into insignificance by comparison. The games will inspire the nation to get active, and I welcome that.
The Bill will also create a lasting legacy for our sporting infrastructure. Unlike some of the previous games, it is being planned so sensibly that there will not be enough "white elephant" sports facilities to start, as in the cliché, an "albino zoo". That will not happen here because of how we have planned for it.
Secondly, the games will enable the regeneration of three of the most deprived boroughs in the United Kingdom, and will bring broader economic benefits across the whole country. The games will be crucial in the lower Lea valley, which will blossom and benefit hugely, like so many other areas.
Thirdly, the Bill will enable zero waste games, which will help set sustainability standards for the future. The IOC recognised that our games offer comprehensive and positive environmental legacies, which are prizes worth striving for. Fourthly, the activities leading up to the games will showcase our country's excellence in art and culture. Indeed, the bid already did so with schemes, such as the "40 Artists, 40 Days" project, in the countdown to 6 July. With Jude Kelly at the helm we have every reason to believe that the London 2012 games will also offer a world-class cultural programme.
Fifthly, another crucial prize, the games will unite the nation, sharing in the build-up to 2012 and in the excitement of the games themselves. Those are the huge prizes to be won, but several hurdles need to be overcome to ensure we attain them. It will not come as any surprise to the Minister or his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that from time to time, supportive of the games as we are on the Liberal Democrat Benches, we will be critical of some details. Earlier this month, David Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics, said,
"This is one issue where politicians can truly unite and show the public that they can co-operate when they need to and challenge when they need to do so, but do it in a way that is for the greater public good."
As the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) said, we face some challenges. We must deliver the games on time, and we have got off to a flying start with our intention to get the Bill on the statute book as quickly as possible. We need to avoid all the delays that could arise from unclear lines of responsibility. In a recent debate in Westminster Hall, some of us referred
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to the huge complexity of the current arrangements in sport. This Bill, together with other activities connected with planning for the games, adds a number of additional bodies to that sporting framework. It is crucial that each body knows what its responsibilities and lines of communication are and what it is accountable for. We must get that right to avoid problems of delay. I am not thinking just in terms of structure; I am thinking of areas, such as construction and transport, where we need to ensure perfect co-ordination.
During the debate on Crossrail, the right hon. Lady, like me, was concerned about some aspects of the Bill. We are concerned that current arrangements for Crossrail give the Office of the Rail Regulator power to give overall primacy to Crossrail above anything else. Conflicts may arise about some transport arrangements for the Olympic games, so I am delighted at the agreement that that issue will be looked at by the Crossrail Select Committee.
We also need to ensure that Crossrail and the Olympic games do not conflict over the need for people with relevant skills. I hope that the Minister will work closely with the Department for Education and Skills to ensure that we provide appropriate training now to ensure that we have people with the right skills to carry out the jobs, rather than us having to rely on workers from overseas.
We must deliver on budget. That will be a challenge. Other countries have had difficulty maintaining their budget plans. We have robust budget plans for the games, but prices can change. Construction costs are increasing at three times the rate of inflation. We need to explore how further to protect Londoners from significant increases in their council tax, more than has already been announced, and how we can ensure that no additional raids are made on lottery funds.
We must deliver a safe games. The IOC approved Britain's security arrangements and praised us for our role in helping to make the Athens games safe. Our plans are robust, but in the light of the recent terrorist attacks they must also be seen to be robust. There needs to be greater reference to security in the Bill. It is surprising that the Bill places no specific duty on the Olympic delivery authority to have regard to security in planning decisions. I hope to return to that issue.
There is a need to balance the IOC requirements with the needs of UK residents. The Olympic movement is an immense force, overwhelmingly beneficial, but with the potential to be overbearing. While honouring the requirements of the IOC to restrict advertising, street trading and ticket resale, legislation needs to be light touch and flexible. We should not gold plate any IOC requirements in respect of those issues.
We must ensure that throughout the next seven years and right up to the games we maintain the current, fantastically high level of support for the games. It is worth looking at reports in local newspapers the day after the announcement was made. The Herald in Glasgow, for example, said,
From all the nations of the United Kingdom we have seen an immediate reaction of genuine excitement about winning the games and genuine belief that all parts of the United Kingdom will benefit. My local paper, the Bath Chronicle said:
That is what people expect and we must ensure that they are not disappointed. We must ensure that each part of the country is given the help and support that it needs to maximise its potential. As the Secretary of State said in response to an intervention, the nations and regions support group under Charles Allen has a crucial role to play. I know that it has been working long before we won the bid but it has already held meetings subsequently and I hope that the Minister will tell us a little more about the support that each part of the country can expect.
I find the Bill's references to regional development agencies confusing. It implies that RDAs can undertake work in their regions in relation to the games if the Olympic delivery authority asks them to do that. One would have thought that they should be able simply to get on with work if they believe that it is appropriate for their region.
We have already heard what the Bill does. It creates the Olympic delivery authority; gives that authority powers to provide a transport infrastructure, including sophisticated traffic management, low carbon vehicles, the Olympic javelin train from King's Cross to Stratford, with a travelling time of only seven minutes and so much more; empowers the Mayor of London to spend council tax revenues for use in the games, and fulfils various IOC requirements on touting, training and advertising and ensuring that the Olympic environment is clean and hassle free. The Bill will achieve great things but it also asks us to take a leap of faith.
We took a leap of faith with the bid and we were proved right. However, we are being asked to take a leap of faith with the Bill. It does not mention many key issues such as immigration and tax arrangements for athletes, their entourage and supporters. It does not refer to the role that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise will have to play in dealing with the likely flood of counterfeit merchandise. It does not mention the huge challenges that we will face in 2012, when we shall have not only the games but digital switch-over in London. The media authorities have the huge task of ensuring clear spectrum for broadcasters who want to beam out each day's events in London.
Even when the Bill refers to key issues such as the prize of setting new sustainability standards, it often does not go far enough. For example, I should like the ODA to be made to have regard to sustainable development in fulfilling its planning responsibilities. That could be done in clause 5.
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The Bill requires a leap of faith for another reason. During the passage of the Gambling Bill, I criticised the Government for including so many opportunities to give the Secretary of State secondary powers. One in every 10 clauses in the Gambling Bill gave the Secretary of State secondary powers. In the Bill that we are considering, one in every three clauses provides for a new power for the Secretary of State through secondary legislation. I hope that the Minister will assure us that, when the Committee considers the Bill, it will see as many of the regulations as possible in draft form.
We will pick up on several other issues in Committee. I have already referred to the problem with Crossrail. Why, in outlining the mayoral powers, does the Bill contain no provisions to enable the Greater London assembly to scrutinise their exercise? Why do not restrictions on ticket touts include more onerous restrictions on newspapers and online market places such as eBay advertising illegally touted tickets? Is it not odd that, in relation to the role of the powers of the GLA, the Bill does not refer specifically to consulting the ODA or, as many others have said, local authorities?
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