|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton, South-East) (Lab): None of us will forget where we were when we heard that London had won the contest to host the 2012 Olympic games. The whole country is conscious that the games can be a tremendous showcase for our capital city and our country. I, too, congratulate the Secretary of State, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, Lord Coe and the team behind the bid. We all remember great Olympic moments of the past such as the titanic struggle between Sebastian Coe, as he was then, and Steve Ovett a couple of decades ago or Kelly Holmes's recent triumph in Athens. I am sure that the 2012 games will bring us more memorable sporting moments, hopefully with British winners.
As has been said, sadly, the moment of celebration when we won the games will for ever be entwined with the terrible events of the next day, when terrorism came to our capital city and an act of hate against the very diversity and plurality that helped us to win the games brought death and grief to London.
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1490
We await news of today's events, which show that that moment has not yet passed. We are still hunting those behind the bombings and still engaged in the much longer fight against the ideology that led people to commit terrible crimes against ordinary people who were going about their daily business. Our capital city and our country will not give up in the face of those who have attacked our way of life. We will lift ourselves to reclaim the spirit that won the games and we all hope that we will stage a games that captivates the world and of which our country is proud.
The Bill sets out a structure for managing the planning of the games and the financial arrangements for the huge investment required to make them a success, both of which are vital factors in a successful Olympics. The British people celebrated winning the games and look forward to a wonderful sporting showcase, but they also expect the games to be properly organised and delivered on time, and they expect the costs to be controlled. They are entirely right to take that approach, which is why it is welcome that the Bill sets out proposals for the ODA to manage our approach to the games.
The ODA faces a huge logistical and financial task. It must plan the games in a manner that inspires and maintains enthusiasm while commanding public confidence. It must ensure value for money and that the games result in not only 17 days of fantastic sport, but a legacy of lasting benefit to the whole country.
The ODA has one other essential task, which is to deliver on the Government's intention that the whole country should benefit from hosting the games. Of course the primary benefits will be in London. London is the host city and London will receive the lion's share of the spending involved. We understand that. But the Minister and the Secretary of State will be aware that, to maintain the great spirit of optimism about the games that we witnessed at the announcement, there must be continued efforts to ensure that other parts of Britain benefit.
Hon. Members from many parts of the country have pressed Ministers for their areas to host events or training facilities, each arguing the benefits of their own area. The west midlands, like other regions, will want to host training for competing countries and to play as large a role as possible in the games. There is already a commitment to host football in Birmingham at Villa Park. We have some excellent sporting facilities in the region, and a long tradition of producing wonderful athletes. Any country that comes to the west midlands to prepare for the games will find first-class facilities and a very warm welcome.
There is another dimension to what the west midlands can contribute to the Olympic games. The region is the manufacturing heartland of the UK. It has good access to London. We have world-class companies that excel in their fields and a strong record of innovation in science and technology. In information and communications technology, a recent survey found that more than a third of the sector in the region is growing at more than 20 per cent. per annum. Property and accommodation costs are much lower than in London. The region has led the way in ethnic minority business start-ups and has a highly committed work force that will relish the opportunity to help to deliver the games. Given the enormous amount of construction work that is needed,
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1491
along with equipment and supplies, the west midlands is well placed to make a tremendous contribution. Of course, that will require investment to ensure the right mix and level of skills, but what we need most of all from Government is the opportunity to make the kind of contribution of which the region is capable.
Today, I spoke to people at CBI West Midlands and our regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. I am pleased that clause 34 specifically refers to regional development agencies and their role in preparing for the games. In our region, they are already working together with local authorities, educational institutions and the tourism sector to ensure that the region makes the most of the opportunities offered by London hosting the games. Their plan covers three essential elementsfacilities for teams to prepare, business procurement and tourismto ensure that the region extends the warmest possible welcome to the hundreds of thousands of people who will come to Britain in connection with the games. I assure Ministers that I will send them a copy of the plan, and I hope that they and the organisers of the delivery of the games will give it full and proper consideration.
In thinking about how the country can share fully in the games and go beyond the formal hosting of events and provision of training facilities, important as those are, we must also think about how the investment and job opportunities involved in making the games happen can be shared around the country. Although London will host the games, the west midlands can, in many ways, make the games. If the country pulls together to deliver the games, as I am sure that it will, we can create a truly unforgettable event.
No other sporting event has the global reach of the Olympic games. We will recover from the attack on our way of life that took place two weeks ago and triumph over the ideology that led to it. If we manage this project properly, our Olympics can show Britain at its besta modern, open country, confident in itself, sure of its place in the world and the showcase for a sporting festival in which the whole world can share.
Meg Hillier (Hackney, South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): It gives me great pleasure to add my congratulations to the bid team, particularly the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and Tourism, who was a champion of the Olympics before it was popular to be one. Other Members have mentioned the Mayor of London. This shows what we can achieve when we work together.
We all know where we were on 6 July at 12.46 p.m. As I stood at Stratford station, I rejoiced at the news that the Olympics had come to London. It seems unreal to be debating the games actually being in London instead of the mere prospect.
On 7 July, at about 7.30 a.m., a bus left the Olympic zone at Hackney Wick. That number 30 bus with its indicator board clearly displaying the sign Hackney Wick was blown up on its return journey and 13 people died. As we have listened to this debate, a number 26 bus going along Hackney road in my constituency has suffered from an explosion. I hope and prayall Members will join me in thisthat the reports that there have been no casualties are correct.
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1492
That reminds us of the contrast. London was bombed and may have been attacked again today because we are a world city. We won the Olympic bid because we are a city of the world and that world is reflected in London and throughout the UK. Hackney is a diverse borough, with all the countries competing in the Olympics represented in Hackney alone, let alone the rest of London and the UK. Since the bombings of 7 July, Hackney's communities have joined forces to show what they can do when they work together, particularly the Muslim Jewish Forum, which has existed for some years in Hackney and brings together different faith groups to face challenges together. It has demonstrated tolerance, a commitment to London and the fact that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.
I am delighted to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Harry Cohen). He was right to remind the House that the Olympics is not simply about Stratford, with respect to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown). Hackney Wick sees the largest amount of sporting activity in London every Sunday. Not many of my colleagues present, but perhaps some of their constituents, will have played Sunday league football on Hackney marshes. The games are often described as the Stratford Olympics, but it is important to remember that four boroughs will host the Olympic park. Hackney is proud to be one of them. Arenas will be built in Hackney, with the basketball centre as a lasting legacy. We will also see redevelopment of its important business centreplans that local people have been frustrated to see, but have accepted, being put on hold as we bid for the games. We will see important environmental improvements to those football pitches and elsewhere. We will see access to about 5,000 new homes, many of which will be affordable and welcome to my constituents. Critically, for Hackney as a whole, we will see the delivery of the East London line extensions, at last. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] I welcome that support.
Very importantly, the Olympics will be the catalyst for further transport improvements. We will see the North London line become a turn-up and go service, with eight trains an hour. Hackney will effectively get its tube thanks to the Olympics, which will connect Hackney better with London. I welcome the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) that we seek a further extension to Highbury and the Victoria line by 2012.
Hon. Members on both sides have mentioned extra council tax. I do not take any council tax increase lightly, but it is a small price to pay for the many benefits that will come to London, particularly to my constituency. We will also see a sporting legacy. Yes, we must see the investment in elite sport that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State outlined in her opening speech, but we need to see physical activity for all. The health impacts will be enormous for east London and the UK. I look forward to seeing more detail from her and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how to ensure that sporting opportunity and physical activity penetrate deeper than just to the elite sportsmen and women whom we hope will bring back gold in 2012.
Environmental concerns are at the forefront of many of my constituents' minds, particularly because part of Hackney marshes and Mabley green will become a car
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1493
park for the duration of the games. That is not something that an hon. Member is likely to stand up and welcome, but the pitches, which I have walked around, are in poor condition and need investment, so I welcome the assurances of better facilities and improvement and replacement of metropolitan open land. Although we lose the facilities temporarily, it is a price worth paying if those improvements come. I put down a marker for my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Minister that I shall be watching like a hawk to ensure that that happens.
I also welcome the new linear park that will be created and the fact that the power lines in east London will be buried. A transformation will occur, with bridges over cleaned-up rivers and waterways and, bizarrely, a link with the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker), as he and I will be at either end of the new Lea valley park as it stretches properly into Hackney at last.
The Olympics will also bring important cultural benefits, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State outlined. Hackney benefits from being the borough with the highest density of artists and creative businesses in the country. Many hon. Members have mentioned the relocation of businesses in the area. We must preserve diversity in those relocations. Again, I echo the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North. Hackney is greater than the sum of its parts and the artists and creative businesses contribute enormously to that. It is important to work out a formula that ensures that they can remain and contribute on a continuing basis to the diversity and creative talent of Hackney, and that they are not squeezed out by yuppie or any other sort of development.
I visited the Travellers on Waterden road, who are concerned because they still do not know where they will be relocated. They and I and others locally recognise that they have to move from their site in the Olympic park. I was reassured by a meeting with the London Development Agency yesterday, when it assured me that it is still working with Hackney council to work out a relocation package that will allow the Travellers to continue their lifestyle, as has been guaranteed.
Hackney is fully signed up to the Olympics and it is important to highlight to hon. Members who perhaps do not know itI want especially to reassure the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May)that the Olympic boroughs propose to establish a co-ordination unit to work with the Olympic delivery authority and act as a key link with the Olympics organising committee. That is a sensible step, which builds on the collaborative work that has already gone on between the five boroughs.
The co-ordination unit will focus on communications, the essential legacy issues, business supportto ensure that local businesses gain benefitssorting out the regulatory functions and creating and helping to deliver the vision for culture and creativity that is part of the Olympics. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister will support that rational and co-ordinated approach and, in doing so, help to reassure hon. Members who have raised anxieties about the matter.
21 Jul 2005 : Column 1494
Legacy is the main reason for my support and that of the people in Hackney for the Olympics. We welcome the physical sporting legacy. The basketball zone is certainly a better legacy than a car park. We look forward to international basketball champions training in Hackney for many years to come. I have mentioned the environmental legacy but we need to highlight it more, especially given that the Government, the Mayor and the Olympic delivery authority will naturally and rightly focus on delivering an Olympic park on time and on budget. We need to ensure that the environmental benefits are connected not only to the development of the Olympic park but to the future of the Lea valley and the Lea valley park.
I am especially concerned about jobs, skills and business opportunities for local businesses and local people. Other hon. Members pointed out that, too often, they can go elsewhere, not to local businesses and people. When I spoke to the LDA's chief executive yesterday, I was reassured that he and his team are recruiting a special business unit to provide support for business skills. That is imperative to ensure that London benefits and is not leapfrogged as other businesses throughout Europe compete for the important work around the Olympic zone.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|