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Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab): I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for indulging me and other London Members, who have had to duck in and out of the Chamber to find out the impact of this afternoon's traumatic events on our constituencies and constituents.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mark Hunter) on his maiden speech. As far as I am aware, I have never visited Cheadle, and although he did not say anything that put me off the idea, I suspect that it may be a little time before I get the chance to do so. I congratulate him on his model maiden speech and wish him well for the remainder of the Parliament.
This afternoon's events again bring into juxtaposition the Olympics and terrorism in London. It seems to be an unholy coincidence that just as the euphoria of the bid success in Singapore was succeeded by terrible atrocities the following day, today we are debating the Olympics and again we have seen appalling events in London. By 2012, the pain caused by the horrors of a couple of weeks ago, which will never be forgotten, will, I hope, have eased. A successful games will be the best memorial to those murdered two weeks ago. So far as I am aware, my constituency suffered more than any other two weeks ago, in that four of my constituentsRachelle Chung Far Yuen, Michelle Otto, Neeta Jain and Anthony Fatayi-Williamswere victims. Those four people came from four different ethnic backgrounds, which reflects my constituency's diversity, London's diversity and our country's diversity.
Diversity was a key factor in our successful bid. Every visiting team will have its own home crowd, because among London's residents there are people with roots in every nation in world. Some of those residents are recent arrivals to our shores, while others have been here for
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generations. The Norman Tebbit cricket test was out of place when it first appeared; it is out of place now; and it will be ancient history when we host the games in a few years' time. People will back the GB team as well as the team from their roots country, which is how it should be. The GB team will be strengthened by our country's diversity, because competitors from different backgrounds will add to our chances of striking gold, and the whole of our country will support it, irrespective of ethnic roots. A successful 2012 games is the best way in which to answer the bombers. I am pleased that the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, has announced that relatives of the victims and those who were injured will be given pride of place in the stadium at the games.
Bombers and terrorists do not believe in the Olympics or the Olympic ideal. My hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt) has referred to the history of the ancient Olympic games. The Olympic truce was another feature of the ancient Olympics. We should consider trying to stop wars around the modern world, at least for the couple of weeks of the games, in the same way as wars were stopped in the ancient world as part of a religious duty. Greece tried to engender such a truce before and during the Athens games.
We must build quickly and locally on the great enthusiasm for the Olympics. Good practice notes are needed to help communities and local authorities use the games as a focus for their own sporting endeavours. As has been said, London council tax payers will pay some £20 a year towards the cost of the games, and if we are to maintain enthusiasm, we should spread around the benefits.
How should we go about arranging training camps for visiting teams and how can other countries' Olympic associations find out what is available in our different communities? Shaftesbury Barnet harriers, one of the country's leading athletics clubs, is based at the Copthall stadium in my constituency, where there are also two specialist sports colleges and many other public and private sports facilities. Some of those are in need of investment to bring then up to scratch, although in many cases it is not a large amount of money. We need to know whether that investment is available and how it can be readily accessed to ensure that in hosting visiting countries' teams we can provide the facilities that they need to ensure that they can compete to the best of their ability. Will there be some co-ordination among areas able and willing to host visiting teams or a competitive environment with one authority bidding against another? I would prefer proper co-ordination around the country and around London to ensure that the games are distributed fairly.
Ms Butler: Does my hon. Friend agree that co-ordination is also needed as regards the delivery of apprenticeships? We need to ensure that companies that are already established in delivering skills for jobs, such as Stonebridge House, are used in the bid process.
In housing visiting teams we should build on diversity around the country to try to host teams in communities with which they have links. For example, in my area we
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have a large Jewish community with many excellent connections and roots in Israel. We have one of the largest Indian communities in the country, and many African nations are represented. Is it possible for several areas or local authorities to get together to put in a joint bid to host some of the larger teams? We need some guidance on how those arrangements should be made and accessed. The proposed Olympic delivery authority could play a useful role in the co-ordination of such activities.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Ms Butler) anticipated my remarks when she mentioned the role of apprenticeships as we go about organising the construction projects. It is fair to look at what has happened elsewhere. In Greece, much of the construction work, large and small, was farmed out around the whole country, benefiting the whole of Greece and the Greek economy. There is no reason why that should not happen here, given that this will probably be the biggest and most important construction site in London and the south-east, if not the whole country, once terminal 5 is completed.
My hon. Friend also said that this should be an opportunity to ensure that there are plenty of local jobs for local people. Foreign teams of construction workers may arrive from all over the European Union, perhaps in the same numbers as their sporting teams given the scale of the project. There is no excuse for not making efforts to ensure that local people are trained up, through the apprenticeships that my hon. Friend mentioned, to play their part in building the major projects in the east end. It would be alienating for local young people if they saw people coming in from outside and the sporting facilities going up with no jobs for them.
Those who work on the sites must have proper terms and conditions and health and safety arrangements. That is particularly so in the case of overseas workers. During the last Parliament, the Work and Pensions Committee's report on the work of the Health and Safety Executive highlighted the problems of health and safety in the construction industry, with particular reference to the position of migrant workers. I hope we can take that into account in our approach to the letting of construction contracts.
Ms Butler: In the context of the trade unions, will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the GMB on the deal that it has managed to secure whereby Wembley stadium in my constituency will be built on time next year?
Mr. Dismore: As a fellow GMB member, I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who makes an excellent point. The GMB has played a major role in that success. Trade unions can play a constructive role in ensuring that the work force plays its full part in delivering such projects on time. We have some excellent trade unions working in the construction industry. Their job is not only to ensure decent terms and conditions and health and safety but to act as a proper link between management and work force to deliver these important projects.
Many others Members wish to speak, so let me say in summary that we would welcome a cultural Olympics throughout the capital. London is the cultural capital of
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the world for theatre and art. The Olympics will bring enormous economic benefits to London and the country as a whole. The legacy of the Olympics will be long-lasting.
I congratulate all those involved in the bid. It was a hard but worthwhile job, and a job well done. Now the real work starts to deliver the Olympics. I know that all my colleagues in London, in this House and in local government will do their utmost and make great efforts to ensure that the games are successful, as will the Government.
Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore), particularly as it is not a Friday, when he is not constrained by a time limit. I noticed the passion with which he spoke about the Health and Safety Executive, which we will hang on to with great interest.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mark Hunter) on an excellent maiden speech. I did not go to Cheadle during the campaign, although I have to admit to spending a lot of time on the telephone, talking to his now constituents. He should not take it for granted that I will not call in future, but I congratulate him and look forward to hearing his contributions in the years to come.
Like others, I congratulate the bid team on a fantastic triumph. Seb Coe and the others deserve every accolade. We should not forget the efforts of Barbara Cassani, who laid the foundations at the beginning of the bid. For Londoners it was a rollercoaster week with such euphoria on 6 July and such depression on 7 July. It is up to the people of London to make a success of this. It is the greatest honour that the world can bestow on a city and we must make the best of it.
London will reap tremendous benefits: the legacy, the development of the facilities and the inspiration to our young people. I agree with the hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) that we must involve the boroughs as much as possible. I should be interested to hear from the Minister how parts of London with facilities to offer can put them forward. Will there be a sort of clearing house? In the Croydon and Bromley area there is Crystal Palace, which has already been mentioned and does not need a clearing house, and schools such as the Whitgift with tremendous national-class facilities, which it would love to make available. Guidance is needed on how that is best achieved.
Plans for London are undoubtedly ambitious. There will be a number of temporary facilities, such as Lords, Wimbledon and Horseguards Parade. There will be places around the country, such as Weymouth for rowing and sailing, in which I take a particular interest. The Lea valley site is extremely large. Canary wharf is only 85 acres; Lea valley will be 500 acres. It will need top-class management to fulfil its potential and to bring about the necessary restoration and regeneration of the east end. I do not want to make party political points, but lessons can be learned from the Jubilee line and the dome. The hon. Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt) held out the dome as a triumph; others might not see it that way. The lessons of development and project management have to be learned from those projects.
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A lesson is to start building early. If we leave it to the last minute, as in Athens, there will be the inevitable scramble, which we want to avoid. A key player will be the Mayor of London. I am pleased that he is given substantial powers to cut through bureaucracy. With a major development, many organisations feel obliged to be consulted and want to have their finger in the pie. It will take a fairly ruthless so-and-so to cut through that and drive the project forward.
The people of London still need clarity about finance. The Secretary of State said in her opening speech that the position was clear. It is clear if the games are on budget, but if the cost overruns, it is not clear who will pay and how the contributions will be found. If the Minister is not in a position to elaborate tonight, will he provide a steer in the coming months?
I want to consider the affected businesses. I have taken a particular interest in one company, F. H. Brundle, whose sole proprietor is a constituent of mine. He has run a business in the relevant area for several years and owns a freehold site. However, he is obliged to relocate. He is a builder's merchant who picks up passing trade that comes from the east end of London into the development sites of the City and the west end. The London Development Agency is offering to relocate him five miles away in Beckton or 12 miles away in Rainham Marshes. Neither site has freehold available. My constituent has a freehold site and there is therefore no question of like-for-like compensation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) made the point in relation to clause 4 that the sums of money are equivalent to those that would be paid if the land were purchased compulsorily. If that is the cap, the businesses will lose money. They have to find a new site and build on it and relocate factories. Not all the staff will be able to move with them. There will be redundancy payments and relocation costs. Investment value will be lost because the businesses have freeholds but will end up with leaseholds. Business will be lost in the transition and because the firms are no longer on such a prominent site. My constituent estimates that he will lose several million pounds.
I know that the Minister has an open mind and that he does not want such consequences. However, the Bill suggests that, with all the good will in the world, there will be losses. I hope that either I have read it wrongly or the matter can be tackled in Committee. I hope that there will be scope for proper compensation for the businesses that are affected by the problem.
Before the bid was successful, the line was always that the matter was for the LDA to determine. The Minister knows that I asked about that on several occasions and the Secretary of State claimed that it was a matter for the LDA. However, the LDA says that it is constrained by statute and finance. We are going around in circles and only two people can cut through the problemthe Minister and the Secretary of State. I would be grateful if the Minister could tackle the matter as a priority because businesses will be seriously affected. There is a lack of suitable alternative sites nearby. The sites on offer from the LDA are not ready to plan for or start development. There is uncertainty about the available funding and compensation. Many businesses are already worried about the time frame for their location.
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The Olympic games will be a major project, subject to the scrutiny of the nation and the world. There are bound to be problems. There will be scandals, accusations of corruption and issues that we have not anticipated. It is incumbent on us all to keep our nerve when the going gets rough. We are not considering a political issue. All the parties want to get behind the games and make them a success. London has the ability to put on a great games, but we must deliver.
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