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Meg Hillier: I suggest to the hon. Lady that she is raising a scare by suggesting that London council tax payers will be paying for 40 years. Does she not agree that the benefits to London will be enormous? I agree that we need clarity, but the benefits to Londoners are particularly important, so it is only fair that they should pay their share.
Mrs. Lait: I agree that London will benefit enormously. I hope that the hon. Lady will take part in the Committee stage, when we can tease out how much London council tax payers will be responsible for. It would also be sensible if they could see on their bills a statement of how much the Olympics are costing them each year.
I have long believed that there should be a bigger role for the private sector in the delivery of the Olympics. We want to ensure that the private sector has as much access as possible to the bidding. I am slightly concerned that an organisation such as the London Development Agency could itself take responsibility for construction. With the best will in the world, while it may be a good commissioner, it is not a good provider. We have to ensure that the private sector gets as much access to the contracts as possible.
One of the issues that I was keen to tease out from the Secretary of State was planning. The Bill gives the ODA planning powers similar to those that the London Docklands Development Corporation had, and we have seen what a success the LDDC was. One thing that concerns me is that the current compulsory purchase powers in the planning Acts are passed over to the ODA for the purposes of the Bill. If that happens, many businesses will find themselves not receiving the compensation for removal that they believe, and their valuers tell them, that they need and deserve.
If we were, for instance, to adopt the French system for the provision of the Olympic facilities, people could be bought out at a price that they could accept and there would be no delays in delivery as a result of the planning system. The planning system could be one of the keys to delays and hence cost overruns. Why is the Minister not prepared to adopt the French system of buying people out?
We have also to consider the impact on businesses around the Olympic site that perhaps do not fit the image of the modern Olympics, such as old warehouses that are not a pretty site but are outwith the envelope of the Olympic developments. What sort of compensation should they be looking for?
Several hon. Members have raised the issue of transport, and earlier this week we debated the Crossrail project and the impact that its construction might have on the Olympics. My hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field), who unfortunately cannot be here this afternoon, made the point that Crossrail will be being built during the Olympics and will mean that Charing Cross road will be closed for two years, not only to traffic but to
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pedestrians. The businesses in Charing Cross road, especially the bookshops, are part of the cultural offering that London makes to any visitor, and those businesses will suffer severely. I was pleased to hear that the Select Committee will be able to consider the interaction of Crossrail and Olympic construction, and I hope that such issues can be resolved sensibly, because I am a great supporter of both.
We want to see London's transport links developed, but we must be careful about the interaction of their construction with the construction of the new Olympic venues and village. The pressure on the construction industry will be enormous. Hon. Members have already mentioned the need to ensure that we have enough people in training to provide the building skills that will be required, but we must recognise that people will need to come in from outside the UK. We should encourage as many as possible to come to ensure that we can deliver all the projects. The East London line extension is one of those projects and the hon. Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) has already mentioned the impact on his constituency. It will also have an impact on my constituency. Several stations will be closed for varying periodstwo years, 18 months, a year.
Ms Dawn Butler (Brent, South) (Lab): Is the hon. Lady suggesting that local people will not be trained and able to do the construction work and that we should spread the net wider? Surely part of the Olympic legacy should be that we ensure that local people are trained in construction and able to take well-paid jobs.
Mrs. Lait: I agree with the hon. Lady. We want to ensure that as many people as possible are trained to take advantage of the jobs that will be available. However, I doubt that we can train sufficient numbers, so people will come from all over the world with their skills, at management and professional levels. I have no objection to that, because the introduction of new skills raises the level for everyone. That is a real legacy that the Olympics will provide. However, we must also ensure that the construction projects are managed so as to minimise disruption to everybody else as they try to move around London to get to work and create the wealth and infrastructure that we need to deliver a world-class Olympic games.
The East London line development is a case in point. We must ensure that it is delivered in a way that minimises disruption to everybody. We need better transport to Heathrow, from east to west. We also need to build into that, in the case of my constituency, the tram from Beckenham to Crystal Palace so that people can then travel on the East London line. The issue of Crystal Palace has been of concern for many years. We need to ensure that we get that development right, too. If we can achieve everything that I have mentionedit is a long menuwe will have a world-class Olympics, and it is thanks to all hon. Members encouraging the Government and our team for 2012 that we have the Olympics in seven years' time.
Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Lab):
First, I inform the House that I am a trustee of TimeBank UK, the largest volunteer group in the
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country, which is charged with the volunteer programme for the Olympics. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) said that she thought that 15,000 people had volunteered, but in fact they are volunteering through our website at the rate of one every five seconds. More than 30,000 have registered so far, and we held a meeting this week to discuss what to do with them for the next seven years. We need only 75,000 volunteers in total and at this rate we shall have them all by next weekend.
Mr. Love: I was interested in my hon. Friend's comments on volunteering and I am pleased that so many people are coming forward. The knack is to ensure that the volunteering programme reflects the diversity of both London and the UK. Do his figures show how the different communities that make up London and the UK are reflected in the volunteers?
Derek Wyatt: I do not have that breakdown, but I will get it for my hon. Friend. Given TimeBank's existing workfor example, it carries out all the mentoring on behalf of the Home Office for families who take in asylum seekersI am sure that the strength and commitment of its team will be satisfactory, but I will obtain the figures and place them in the Library.
Like everyone else, I congratulate the team. Seb Coe, Keith Mills, Mike Lee and Alan Pascoe have done well, but two people have not been given enough credit. The first is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State who had the unenviable task, three years ago, of convincing a rather sceptical Cabinet that the bid was worth while, but to her great credit, she gathered support and did so. We must not forget that. The second person was one of our ambassadors in Singapore, who, so my spies tell me, was doing the rounds with great élan: the Prime Minister's wife was corralling many members of the IOC and introducing the Prime Minister to them. The campaign was very much like a general election campaignthat is where some of the other bid teams got things wrongwhere the last four days are critical. We got the last four days right and France did not. That was the key, so we should also commend the Prime Minister's wife.
I was lucky enough to see the Sydney bid at close hand, as I visited Sydney twice before the games. I made a post-games visit to Athens as part of my Select Committee work. Making such a bid is like a couple of entrepreneurs setting up a start-up company: they have got to the starting line and obtained their moneyin this case, we have been awarded the games. There is then a rather difficult situation, after the initial public offering, in that the management of the company last only for the next 18 months and, because they cannot cope with managing a brand-new company, are replaced by professionals. We should not be surprised if the current management team is not the same in 18 months' time. That is normal and we should expect it.
The key thing is to ensure that the ODA understands how companies are built and developed, and that the appointment of people to the management team is
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critical. I realise that the Secretary of State will make those decisions, but we need to understand that members of the management team will need to be replaced, not at regular intervals, but in two or three years' time.
Two things worry me, and they have been raised by other Members. The first is security. There was a hijacking at the Munich games in 1972 and a bomb at Atlanta in 1996. Greece did not expect expenses for security of £2 billion, which it had to take on the hip. The Athens games cost the Greek Government 10 per cent. of gross domestic product. In any normal economy, that would be overwhelming. Given the problems that face any major world event, security is critical and I do not really see why it should always fall on the home team to provide the money. The IOC is a very rich organisation indeedit will probably take between £20 billion and £30 billion in TV fees over the next 10 yearsand although it is generous in giving at least $1 billion to the host city, I do not see why there should not be a separate fee for security, and we need to argue for that between now and 2012.
SecondlyI will not be popular for saying thiswe must look again at how this matter is managed in the House. We did have a Minister without Portfolio whose only portfolio was managing the dome. The dome was built on time and to budget. It was popular with some people. The only thing that did not materialise was our 12 million visitorswe only got 6.8 million. Everyone who told us that we would get 12 million was wrong, including every tourism expert and everyone from British Airways. If we can have a Minister for a rather minor event like the millennium dome, it seems to me that, as we grow our expertise in the Olympics, we need a Secretary of State for the Olympics, or a dedicated Minister for the Olympics only. That is very important. The Secretary of State has wide responsibilities. She not only has the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but she is Minister for Women too. As this complex, difficult area develops, the Government should look at establishing a Minister for the Olympics.
The ODA will report to Parliament and it will be required to send an annual report to the Secretary of State. I wonder whether we might beef that up. It is critical that the Government find time every year for the House to debate that report, as other hon. Members have said. I say that because I chaired a meeting two weeks before Singapore on the design implications of the Olympics. About 100 designers attended and the Minister for Sport and Tourism was there. One aspect made me nervous, and it has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn), who is no longer present: housing.
In essence, so far the housing looks to be rather like Le Corbusier and the 1950s high-rises that went up in south and north London that we are now blowing up and taking down. We could be much more Port Sunlight, New Earswick and Welwyn Garden City. We need a very different approach on this and, if we go for high-density, cheap housing, we will deeply regret it within 10 years. It will not be the site that we think it is in legacy values. That is why there should be a way for hon. Members to feed our expertise into the system.
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In The Observer last Sunday, there was an interesting article by Tim Payton, in which he floated the idea of Olympic parks across Britain. I am greatly attracted by that idea. We are all struggling in our constituencies, wondering which 1 per cent., or 1 per cent. of 1 per cent., we can get of the big budget of the Olympics. We are struggling to find out how we can participate if we are not a London borough. I just wonder whether the Olympic parks might be a good idea.
I also wonder whether we can persuade the Minister to look at that 12p in the pound of the lottery that goes to the Treasury. Although £750 million from the lottery will be made available for the games, a hell of a lot of money is still going to the Treasury from that 12p. Could we make that a bond that could go into the market to develop the Olympic park idea, so that if we beefed up the regional development agencies' interest in this whole procedure, we could at least give some of the money from the 12p to each RDA, to make some sort of infrastructure facility bid?
I live in Kent. We are the largest local authority. We do not have a single Olympic event. We do not have any facility that could host an American team or a Japanese team, and therefore we shall need to come for money.
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