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The Minister for Sport and Tourism (Mr. Richard Caborn): I start by saying thank you to all hon. Members this afternoon. It has been a successful debate and, to a large extent, it has mirrored the way in which we have taken the nation forward. The nation has been united behind the project of winning the 2012 games. I, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, Seb and all his team have felt proud to lead a nation that was united with a tremendous amount of pride.
Like the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson), I did not think that I would be standing here congratulating the Mayor, but I should like to congratulate some others, including the press. Broadly speaking, the press were behind the bid, and that was helpful.
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The unity of purpose behind the bid was epitomised when the evaluation team was here. We were all at No. 10 sitting around the Cabinet table just a few weeks before the general election. The leaders of the various political parties were all there with the Prime Minister and they sang off the same song sheet with a unity that even shook the evaluation team of the IOC. It showed clearly how we were all behind the bid. Hostilities broke out five minutes later of course, but for that period we were united. There is only one thing that can do that; it was sport itself that brought the nation together.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mark Hunter) on his maiden speech. It was a thoughtful speech. He gave us a vivid tour of his constituency. Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, I was not involved in the by-election; we were out gathering votes in other areas of the world. The hon. Gentleman said that the north-west, through Manchester's Commonwealth games, had played a significant part in getting the Olympics for us. It was a multi-sport event, and he described the fantastic role played by some of his constituents who were volunteers for those games. That showed the pride of the north-west and it helped us significantly to convince people in the IOC that we can and will continue to stage major sporting events.
The challenge now is to deliver the games with a legacy for London and the whole of the UK, as well as for the Olympic movement. We have made some clear commitments to bring young people back into sport through the Olympic movement. We made those commitments genuinely in relation to this nation and internationally, and we will live up to them.
The right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) said that we had spent a lot of time travelling the world and learning from cities that have staged the Olympics. We did, and I hope that we will learn from any mistakes they may have made. It became clear to us that the process has three stages. The first is winning, and there is no doubt that Barbara Cassani, who set up the company, and Seb Coe, who later led it to victory, brought together the skills that we needed in a partnership to win the games. We now need to deliver one of the biggest construction programmes that this country has seen for many years. The third stage will be the delivery of the games themselves. Each stage requires particular skills, and the two companies have been designed with that in mind. The first is the London organising committee for the Olympic Games and the other is the Olympic delivery authority, which the Bill will set up.
The ODA will be responsible for delivering the construction projects, and people can be confident that no favours will be done when the chairman, chief executive and board are appointed. We are looking for the best in the world and if we have to go internationally to get people to go on that board or join the staff, we will do just that. Seb and Keith Mills will be the chair and deputy chair of LOCOG, and they will seek a chief executive in the near future. They will be looking for the very best.
I assure the House that we are approaching the setting up of those two companies very professionally. We have learned the many lessons from Picketts Lock, the dome and Wembley, so the companies will be set up to deliver those two main functions. The Office of Government Commerce has "destruction tested" the structures we
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propose, and we will set up a programme management committee to oversee the process and provide an early-warning system. We have spent a lot of time on the structures and on the budgets and financial structures. We were commended by the IOC on that chapter of the bid document, and it said that our structures were robust. It drilled down deeply into that chapter, and that is why we are confident that the structure will hold up.
We took the view that an overview was necessary as an early-warning system. If things start to go wrong, the programme management committee can inform the steering group and the board, which consists of the three stakeholdersthe Mayor's office, the British Olympic Association and the Government. It would also inform the two major companies that will manage the project.
On the wider issues of the nation and regions, the committee that has already been set up and functions well under the able chairmanship of Charles Allen will continue its work. I met the committee last week and I was pleased to see the depth of representation, at a senior level, of the regional development agencies, the regional sports board and many others.
I shall not go into detail on all the questions that have been posed in the debate, because I am sure that in Committee and through the many contacts that we will have over the months and years ahead we will be able to explain the process and ensure that we get it right. It is in the interests of the nation to get it right, because it will provide many opportunities way beyond sport. Sport is the vehicle for many other opportunities, including regeneration and tourism. The committee will continue to function and I hope that many Members will be involved as the weeks and months unfold.
There is no doubt that there will be competition for the training camps. In my region of Yorkshire, the regional development agency and the sports boards have already carried out an audit, through the universities, and I should not be surprised if they had not already contacted people in various countries to encourage them to come to the county well before 2012.
Mrs. Sharon Hodgson (Gateshead, East and Washington, West) (Lab): As my right hon. Friend knows, the world-renowned Gateshead international stadium is in my constituency. The Secretary of State explained in her speech that the Bill will include guidelines for the role of RDAs in attracting training camps and, in turn, regeneration. My hon. Friends the Member for Tyne Bridge (Mr. Clelland) and for Blaydon (Mr. Anderson) and I will be meeting our RDA, One North East, during the recess to get the process under way, but does my right hon. Friend the Minister agree that a fundamental element in the success of training camp bidsespecially ours in Gatesheadis the complete and unified support of local communities, as was the case in London, from whose success we all hope to benefit?
We cannot go into the wider issues in this debate, but the talented athlete scholarship schemes, talent identification and the world class performance plan will develop the sustainable structure for sport that many people want.
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We shall deal with the Mayor's powers in more detail in Committee, but we shall be working with the Mayor and the London Assembly to ensure reasonableness in the operation of those powers. I think that the provisions of the Bill will ensure that the powers are used properly for the purposes for which they were designed. They were necessary to deliver our obligations to the IOC, as was right, but there are enough checks and balance to ensure that they are used reasonably.
Mrs. May: Earlier, I asked about the relationship of the London boroughs and the London Government Association in respect of powers that relate to the rest of the country. Are the Government willing to include those bodies to ensure that the reasonableness is tested by them, too?
Mr. Caborn: Absolutely. We should expect that, even though it is not stated in the Bill. There will be consultation and we believe that it should include all major partners, such as the local authorities and the LGA. As the project has developed, we have seen those partners come together on issues such as planning, and I would never have believed that we could have achieved so much even before we started talking about primary legislation. There has been a fantastic demonstration of support and partnership across local authorities and political parties on planning issues.
Members asked about funding. The figures have already been set out, but there were questions about overrun, which will be dealt with through a memorandum of understanding. Our work on the funding mechanism was helped by our experience of talking to people in other Olympic cities, especially Sydney. I shall never forget the person who said, "Do not underestimate the budget. If you have to go higher, it will be seen as a failure so make sure your calculations are realistic."
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