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Meg Hillier (Hackney, South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): May I welcome you, Mr. O'Hara, to the Chair and thank you for chairing today's proceedings? I am delighted to have the opportunity to open this debate on London and the 2012 Olympics. We all remember that great day in July when we won the Olympic bid. I was at Stratford with my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) and our legs nearly collapsed beneath us with surprise and delight that we had won. We now know, however, that there is a large challenge ahead. [Interruption.] I hope that that was not a rude comment from the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster). It is obvious that I shall have to visit Weight Watchers.
We all now know the importance of the next steps for London to ensure that we secure the long-term benefits. To summarise what the Olympics are about, if we think of the five Olympic rings, we also think of the five key challenges of the London 2012 Olympics for our capital city and our nation. We need world-class venues. We need world-class, record-breaking Olympic and Paralympic games. We need a step change in local employment opportunities so that the east end of London in particular is transformed once and for all. We all look forward to a leap forward in participation in sport and physical activity in the United Kingdom from now on and, crucially, after 2012. The most important thing is a living legacy for the 21st century both for my area of London and the wider nation.
I want to highlight some of the issues and challenges within those five themes, and then I will touch on the key issues for east London and Hackney in particular. First, great venues are clearly a must. We now have Jack Lemley and David Higgins, formerly of the channel tunnel rail link and English Partnerships respectively, as chair and chief executive and bringing their useful and welcome experience to the Olympic agencies. We also need to see the London Development Agency's procurement and job brokerage schemes working for local people so that now, up to and beyond 2012 local people and businesses gain from the jobs that are available and we do not lose contracts to the wider world. I will touch more on that later.
Secondly, we will have a great games. I have no doubt about that. Rightly, that is the major focus for the International Olympic Committee and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic games. We have a good team in Lord Coe, Lord Moynihan, Keith Mills and their colleagues to ensure that the games are an enormous success. I wish to raise a local issue, however. I met some nine-year-old schoolchildren and one of the key issues they raised was whether they would get tickets. The Minister should focus particularly on that. Those local nine-year-olds will be 16 at the time of the Olympics and they do not want to lose out to international visitors, much as we will welcome them.
Thirdly, we want to see local jobs. The London Development Agency is working to deliver a procurement chain so that for every large contract that is delivered, a chain of smaller local businesses from the east end of London, London as a whole and the rest of the UK can benefit from the job and business opportunities that arise from the Olympics. The agency
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is launching a job brokerage scheme to match people to jobs in the east end in particular, which is something we need to see work if the people in my area are to benefit in the long term. It is also developing a business club so that when the big contracts are let, the businesses involved can go to local businesses to find someone to match the skills they need.
Those are all good ideas, and I have no doubt that the London Development Agency is committed to them. However, as Members of Parliament and others with an interest in the Olympics and east London, we must keep a close eye on those ideas to ensure that they deliver. We have to raise a question about the Learning and Skills Council and the London Development Agency: which has the lead role in delivering jobs and training locally? We must make sure that there is no confusion and territorial land grabbing while local people lose out.
Groups of businesses must also help themselves. I recently chaired a meeting of creative and voluntary groups in Hackney. Those individuals and organisations were keen to be involved in the Olympics and were talking about ways in which they could get involved as they were worried that they might get left behind. I am delighted that the Olympic Delivery Authority, in its early form, has told me that it is willing to engage with businesses, and is keen that the groups organise together and approach it to see what they can gain by working together.
Creative businesses are big business in Hackney, and they can help us to create now and for the long term London's new east bank, a cultural and creative quarter for our city and our nation. We will see that culminate in a vibrant national and international creative hub in the form of the Olympic institute, which is a welcome development. It will include facilities for sport, sports medicine, ecology, biodiversity and cultural and creative industries. The project is supported by all five local boroughs and builds on Hackney's well-deserved reputation as a centre for creative business.
Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on obtaining the debate, but I wonder whether she has set her sights too low for the institute. We do not have a sports university; we have no deposit for our digital sports rights; we have no centre of training, coaching, psychology and history. Would not it be better if we set our sights higher?
Meg Hillier : I bow to my hon. Friend's expertise in this matter, but I think that the most crucial thing is to establish the institute and get it grounded before we develop further ideas about building on it. The main thing is to get the foundations in place. His suggestion would therefore be something to build on in future.
I have touched on some of the positive aspects of the subject. Key issues also arise affecting job creation and skill development, and I have some stark facts to outline about employment in my constituency. Unemployment in Hackney, South and Shoreditch is the 12th highest in the UK. Yet the ratio of jobs to people of working age is 1:1, which is above the UK and London average. In my constituency, 22.7 per cent. of people of working age have no formal qualifications. London-wide, the figure is only 13.9 per cent.that is still too high, but Hackney's rate is considerably higher. Also, 28.3 per cent. of unemployed people in the constituency are aged between 18 and 24.
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Those figures show that the issue is not just jobs. There are jobs available and it is important that local people are skilled for the long term, and that any training that is offered is matched to jobs that are or will be available. Who, however, will care whether local people get those jobs? I am pleased that work is already going on in the Olympic Delivery Authority, in its early form, both to develop a local employment framework, so that main contractors and their subcontractorsthey are crucial to what is happeningwill consider local people and to establish a London living wage policy. I am delighted that J. Murphy and Sons, which has one of the first major contracts, for work bearing the power lines, has signed up for that. The Mayor of London has led the way in championing that approach at the Greater London authority. Hon. Members should all support it. The agency is also working on a community involvement framework, which is of key significance, so that people will not feel that the Olympics have landed on their doorsteps from outer space, but rather will feel that the games are truly theirs.
The fourth key issue affecting the Olympics is sports engagement. In Newham the engagement that has been part of the bidand my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham will no doubt know more about the detailhas produced a reduction in some youth crime. Involving young people in physical activity can be seen to bring about a direct benefit and reduce crime. In Hackney, Councillor Nargis Khan, the lead member for communities and voluntary groups, is leading a project to get young people involved, through the Future Olympian programme. Those and many other initiatives, which I do not have time to go into today, will be critical if we are to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in more sport and physical activity.
There are many strands to the legacy of the enterprise. First, the venues must be usable; they must not be white elephants. We need money to be set aside for continuing maintenance. We do not want, in 50 years, a legacy that is a crumbling, paint-peeled symbol of a past success. We want a well-used and well-loved venue that is fit for its purpose and is part of the community as well as being among our national treasures.
We also want a greener area of London. Last Friday, in the nearly snowy weather of east Hackney, I had the delight of planting trees on Mabley green with nine-year-old children from Daubeney school. Form 5D had many strong opinions about the Olympics, but it was apparent that, apart from wanting tickets, they wanted the games to be environmentally friendly. They wanted more trees and fewer roadsthat was a point that they constantly repeated.
Hackney is now infamous for the car park that will be on east marsh. Will the Minister, together with other local MPs and me, use any influence that he has with the London Development Agency and others, to try to preserve at least some of the 350 mature trees around the edge of the marsh? Predictably, architects' models show that curtain of trees, some of which are more than 100 years old, and which include the native black poplara rare tree in London. Yet when the plan is examined in more detail, it emerges that there is a real prospect of those mature trees disappearing. Surely, if we have to suffer there being a car park there, we can at least retain some of those trees. If we in Hackney have
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to suffer the indignity of the car park, it would be better to leave the trees that are there rather than to wait until 2112, which is how long it would take some of the replacement trees to grow to maturity.
We are awaiting news from the London Development Agency about the land that will replace the common land at Arena field and White Hart field, and part of east marsh, which the LDA is buying through compulsory purchase. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will join me in seeking reassurances that all land currently designated as metropolitan open land or that is promised as new metropolitan open land will have the full protection of that status and that there is no risk of its ownership being transferred to another body after the ODA's demise.
We all welcome the creation of a linear park linking Hackney marshes through Hackney Wick to the Thames via the River Lea. It will be a much-appreciated green lung for the east end; we need it as a long-term legacy. We also look forward to seeing cleaner, greener and more pleasant waterways. The development brings real opportunities. During the development of the park, an estimated 5 million tonnes of material could be moved by barge, saving 500,000 lorry journeys through London. After 2012, which is the time on which I want to focus, 125,000 tonnes a year could be moved by barge, saving more than 12,000 lorry journeys a year. We should grab that opportunity while we can. Also, many new homes will be built, including 3,600 new apartments in the athletes' village, and many others on the Olympic site.
I want to highlight the issue of the Travellers at Waterden road in my constituency, whom I last visited 10 days ago. We hope to hear concrete news about their relocation by January. I mention them, in particular, because they are among the handful of residents who will be affected. Businesses will also be affected, which is important, but we are talking about people's homes and future, so we need to ensure that their futures are secured and that in a few months' time they will be certain of where they are going.
A key legacy for Hackney is the way in which transport will be affected, but that is a win only if we secure the changes for after 2012 as well as for the games. If Londoners pay £20 a year for the Olympics, a turn-up-and-go service on the North London line, which will be a major boost, will be worth that contribution. It will effectively convert Hackney's key transport spine into part of the tube network and, along with the East London line extension, will put Hackney on the tube map for the first time.
Martin Linton (Battersea) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that it is important that the Olympics should be seen not simply as the east London Olympics, but as the all-London Olympics, and that improved transport in London is the key to involving south Londoners in the excitement and joy of the Olympics rather than their feeling cut off by the difficulty of travelling through central London? Does she agree with the East London Line Group that the current phase of
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the East London line is the key to putting the Olympics within the reach of people in south-east London and that
Meg Hillier : We in Hackney would certainly welcome further extensions to the East London line. We all know the challenges of delivering this transport project, and how long it takes for such projects to reach fruition, but we in Hackney do not want to have just our little bit of the East London line: we want it to take us places. It would be fantastic if that could be delivered by 2012, or if we could at least have a timetable by then.
There is also a sports legacy on the horizon, of which we should be proud. Hackney's major legacy will be Arena 3a national basketball centre. I have already mentioned the Olympic institute. There are other legacies in the offing, such as the food academya training centre for jobs in hospitality and cateringand other mixed use developments on the sites. The key question on legacy is: who will run and fund such establishments? That burden must not fall on local taxpayers of the five boroughs.
We would all agree that the Olympics should focus on each of the areas that I have talked about, and that there is a need for clear leadership. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and her Ministers, the Mayor of London, Lord Moynihan, Lord Coe, Jack Lemley, David Higgins and others are each taking a lead in various aspects of the delivery of the Olympics. However, when we think about what is needed for London as a whole and east London in particular, we see that one part of the jigsaw is missing, and I ask my hon. Friend to take the matter very seriously: who is in charge of the legacy? In a sense, we all are. However, we know that once the venues are built, the medals have been won and the short-term gains have been delivered, most people will go off with their happy memories of a successful Olympics and, I hope, of having seen our team with a haul of gold medals. Those who have lived through the upheaval and the construction of the sites will be left with the legacy. Who is to speak now for local people to ensure that their post-2012 needs and desires are reflected in the current plans?
Of course, I would expect the Government and the Mayor to focus on delivery. That is right; the last thing that we want is a games that does not happen. However, for Hackney residents, delivery is about maintaining and enhancing our green space and ensuring that the legacy includes Arena 3, the London Olympic institute, the food academy, the long-term improvement to the North London and East London lines, cleaning up the canals and waterways in and around Hackney Wick and, crucially, jobs and skills. Hackney cannot deliver that legacy alone. The five-borough partnership of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Newham and Waltham Forest should be invited to the table now. I urge my hon. Friend the Minister to consider better ways of engaging with that excellent group of boroughs. Locally elected representatives know best what works locally. The five-borough partnership is there and willing. Local people's voices need to be heard because
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they will have to live what is left in 2012 and beyond. Would my hon. Friend the Minister consider an amendment to the Bill that is to have its Third Reading next week, to allow for borough representation on the London Olympics organising committee?
We are all looking forward to the Olympic games. The nine-year-old children to whom I spoke in Hackney last week were clear what they wanted. They want to go to the games and they want a long-term legacy for themselves and for all of us. We can learn from our children. In the next stages of the process, we must ensure that all the legacy issues that I have outlined are as much a part of the current thinking as are the inevitable pressures of what has to be delivered by 2012.
Mr. Edward O'Hara (in the Chair): Order. I remind all hon. Members that the winding-up speeches must start at 3.30 and that many of those present wish to catch my eye. Hon. Members who speak might wish to bear that in mind.
Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): I shall speak briefly, Mr. O'Hara. First, I congratulate the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) on having secured this important debate. I know that she has been trying to do so for some weeks and that one opportunity clashed with a sitting of a Standing Committee of which she was a member.
I start with a confession. I had very grave doubts about whether London should even have bid for the Olympic games and, until that wonderful day on 6 July, I felt that our chances of winning were limited. It was a great achievement, particularly on the part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Prime Minister and Lord Coe, that we managed to squeeze out the last few votes and win the chance to host the games. My concerns were not about sportI am a great sports fan and it will be a marvellous opportunity for sport to be showcased in our capital citybut about cost and about whether there is sufficient commitment to turbo-charge the transport links to which we have heard reference to ensure that London gains real benefits.
My concerns about cost remain. The hon. Lady referred to some £20 per head per annum. The figure that was quoted in this House in early June was some £30 per head. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) has said that he is going to table a new clause to the London Olympics Bill to try to cap the cost for Londoners to the £625 million that was agreed at the time of the bid. That reflects a grave concern of many Londoners. After all, the games are a national, not a London, event. As has been pointed out by the hon. Member for Battersea (Martin Linton), many in the capital see it as an east London event. We have heard reference to five rather than the remaining 28 boroughs, which will have their part to play.
My other fundamental concern is about other redevelopment and regeneration projects. The Kings Cross phase 2 redevelopment, which is worth some £250 million to £300 million, has effectively been put on hold
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indefinitely. We also have concerns about the Thames gateway. The Mayor of London's projection of two or three years ago for the coming 15 years to 2016 envisaged massive redevelopment in the east of the city, adjacent to the Thames. That would, of course, take place not only through London, but into Kent and Essex. As all the focusthe sexy focuswill understandably be on the Olympic games, we are concerned that many other important regeneration projects in other bits of east London and other parts of the capital will be put on hold indefinitely.
We are worried about what will happen in respect of Crossrail, given the disruption that would be caused if it were built in the period up to 2012for example, Shaftesbury avenue in my constituency would have to be closed for about 18 months. A number of projects will have to be delayed. One hopes that they will only be delayed, and that the funding will still be in place. Some concerted thinking needs to take place within London governanceI suspect that the London governance I am thinking of will be the Mayor of London and the Olympic Delivery Authority. Those organisations need a timetable that goes well beyond 2012 to put in place all such infrastructure projects, which are of great importance to London, but which may or may not be of importance for 2012.
The hon. Lady highlighted the importance of legacy, and it was interesting that she took a more broad-ranging view of the definition of that term than many would. One of the greatest disappointments in respect of what happened in Greenwich almost six years ago and the Greenwich millennium village is the failure of the legacy that we were all promised at that time. The right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) shakes his head, and he perhaps has more direct knowledge of this matter than I do. However, many of us are concerned not only that the dome was a white elephant, but that much of the development that could have taken place to create a real sense of community in the GMV has not happened to the extent that many would have hoped. Apart from anything else, it would have been useful to link up Woolwichwhich I often think of as being a bit like a northern town on the banks of the Thameswith the centre of Greenwich and into the docklands light railway network. I know that plans have been afoot, but there was a tremendous opportunity, and it has not been entirely fulfilled.
Mr. Raynsford : Before the hon. Gentleman digs himself further into the hole he is in, I put it to him that without the investment in the regeneration of the Greenwich peninsula and the millennium dome, the extensive regeneration that is taking place in the peninsula, the GMV, the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich and elsewhere would not have happened. It is happening because there was investment in infrastructure, the Jubilee line and the millennium exhibition. We must do exactly the same in respect of the Olympics legacy.
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The other legacy to which the hon. Lady rightly referred is in respect of human capital. One of the great current disappointments in London is that it is impossible to go to any bar, restaurant or pub without being served by someone who comes from outside the UK. There is an enormous inflow of people coming to work in Londonmany are young people who work on a short-term basis, to make their way and earn some money before heading back to Poland, Lithuania or wherever. That is an exciting part of London living. However, there is also a very large residual unemployment rate in London. I am greatly concerned that many of the 7 per cent. of people who are unemployed are almost unemployable, and the hon. Lady is right to identify that we need to focus part of the legacy on some of the poorest London boroughs and on trying to ensure that youngand, indeed, middle-agedpeople have sufficient skills not only for the 2012 Olympics but for the time ahead.
I wish to end by mentioning the environmental legacy in the Lea valley. I again run the risk of treading on a Member's groundthe hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Love) might have cause to disagree with what I have to say. The lower Lea valley site requires major redevelopment. I walked there in March because I was aware that debates such as this one were likely to take place. There is Marshgate lane, and a plethora of goods yards and canals. It is clearly an area that is worthy of significant redevelopment, not least because of its proximity to central London. However, the upper Lea valley should also be considered. Only a fortnight ago, I walked to the Springfield park area in the north of the borough that the hon. Lady represents. I know that Springfield park is not in her constituency but in that of her neighbour, the hon. Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott). Tremendous work has been done at Springfield park and marina. It is important that those great benefits to the environment are translated one, two or three miles further along. I hope that all parts of the Lea valley will be integrated. In a post-industrial world, it offers a tremendous opportunity for great benefits in the years ahead.
Again, congratulations to the hon. Lady, who made a good speech. I hope that the junior Minister is able to answer the questions, and that his private office has been in touch with her in the past couple of days, as important and specific questions need to be asked and answered.
Obviously, we all wish everyone involved in the Olympics God speed at the earliest opportunity. There is little doubt that work must begin now. Nothing would be worse than for us to twiddle our thumbs or perhaps engage in internal disagreements in the next 12 or 18 months and then find ourselves in a mad rush in the run-up to an event that is taking place in only six and three quarter years.
Laura Moffatt (Crawley) (Lab): I am delighted to take part in this debate. It may seem strange to hon. Members that a Member from Sussex would wish to contribute, but I am truly delighted to be able to do so. I hope to explain
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why I believe that London's sustained success will be helped by support from communities not only directly touching London but throughout the United Kingdom. London's success is success for all of us.
All hon. Members will agree that it is absolutely delightful that we are able to have this debate. I am not sure that this time last year we thought that we would be having a debate to consider the sustainability and legacy of the Olympic games in the UK. We are in a privileged position. Wherever we come from, we must take this opportunity and do our utmost to ensure that the games are a success.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) rightly focused on employment, sustainability and ensuring that local companies derive benefits from the Olympic games. That was right and proper, and I congratulate her on her clear understanding of how all those facets come together to secure success. I wish to concentrate on the sustained aspiration that the Olympic games has given us and what it has done not only for communities in London but for those close by.
Hon. Members may know that Crawley is a new town, built immediately after the second world war to give new opportunities to people from south London. We have a very London-centric view in Crawley. We watch the London news and what is going on in London. In fact, we are often described as a London borough in the heart of the Sussex countryside. Therefore, Crawley will not allow this subject to pass it by. We wish to play our part in ensuring London's success in the Olympics.
Long before we in the UK decided wholeheartedly to support the bidnever underestimate the power of the Prime Minister, who galvanised everybody to ensure success and to win the bidand long before the bid was in place, there were authorities that had aspirations for their communities. London's success in winning the Olympic bid has raised opportunities and aspirations in my town a hundredfold. We have done that not only by encouraging young people to take part, by closely examining what is happening in London and by examining how to ensure that the plans are sustainable, but by building an infrastructure in my town to ensure that its facilities are second to none and that young people can take part in the Olympic games.
I hope that all hon. Members in the Chamber today share the aims of ensuring that we get all the employment matters right, and that young people today have an eye to being competitors in the 2012 Olympic games, so that they can become ambassadors for sport and secure sustainability for London.
Several years ago in Crawley, we envisaged a new leisure facility, which has recently opened. It is something to behold. It has a 50 m Olympic pool and other facilities that are second to none. It will ensure that local people can take part in sporting activities and literally raise their game when they consider the future. It troubles me that there will be no legacy unless we enthuse our young people and work in and around London to ensure that they feel this excitement for the games. All hon. Members must work to ensure that their communities understand the importance of the games for London and outside.
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Does the hon. Member for Crawley agree that, even though the Olympic games are some years away, there is an urgent need to ensure that the enthusiasm is sparked now? Does she agree that the work needs to start now if the plans are to be put in place, local businesses are to benefit and sports clubs are to gear up to produce their next generation of Olympic champions?
Laura Moffatt : The hon. Lady is entirely right. I hope that I am spreading the word about the urgency of reaching young people. We need to deal with all those matters, not only with sustainability, employment and job opportunities. Everyone who is keen on sports needs the highest possible level of training and, as I was trying to say, the best facilities. It is no good wishing that our young people will be successful if we do not provide them with the facilities that enable them to be successful.
Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South) (Con): The hon. Lady has spoken on behalf of her constituency, and has described the aspirations of her constituents and the benefits that the Olympics can bring to them. If she expects benefits from the Olympics, however, is she prepared to share the burdens? The people of London must chip in to meet the costs of the Olympics. Is she volunteering the people of Crawley to pay for them?
Laura Moffatt : I firmly believe that the people in Crawley have already contributed to the Olympics by paying for £37 million of sports facilities to try to prepare some of our young people for them. I call that a town that is contributing to London's success. We do not have to step away from the games and feel ashamed. We want to help London to be successful, and we want to ensure that we have top-flight competitors who use all the facilities in a way that can make us proud.
As I said, we should provide those facilities, encourage people to take part and nurture young people. On the site of the fantastic facilities that I mentioned, we now have a brand new school with sports status. The whole thing is beginning to come together so that we can ensure that the Olympics in London are a success and are sustainable. I hope that hon. Members are looking to their constituencies throughout the UK to see how we can help London to be a success. With openness and dialogue, that can happen. I am so looking forward to the Olympic Delivery Authority's visit to our facilities to see whether we can play our part and be an Olympic village. We are extremely close to Londonjust forty minutes awayand would desperately like to contribute.
We can do our work in all sorts of ways. We need urgently to get on the job, focus on our work and assist London Members to make the London games the best Olympics ever. I have no doubt that they will be.
Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South) (Con): As time is short, I shall concentrate on the issue of the businesses on the Olympic site that are facing relocation. I speak on behalf of my constituent, Mr. Brundle, a freehold
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proprietor of a site just about where the main stadium is located. That is causing him and his business huge problems. He has been told that he has to be out just 18 months from now.
There is a complete lack of transparency about the process for his relocation. There is no clear view on what that process is or on whether alternative land is available, and there is no clarity on the compulsory purchase process. The other day, the Mayor of London appeared before the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. He said that no one would be worse off and that reasonable costs would be paid. What on earth does that mean?
As a freehold proprietor, my constituent first has to find another freehold site. Without any help from the London Development Agency, he has found one at Rainham marshes. He now has to convert, rebuild and refurbish an old building and adapt it to his business. He is in the wire mesh, metal and scrap metal business, so his stock is not lightweight, but it has to be moved from one side of London to the other. His business is primarily based on the white van traffic that comes in from the east end of London on the way to building sites in central London. That business will be lost. He has to relocate and retrain his staff and relaunch and market his business. He is a sole proprietor and has gone to the LDA to ask, "Will you help me?" It said yes, but has done absolutely nothing.
I do not know why the situation has arisen. I mean no disrespect to this Minister, but the Minister for Sport and Tourism, who has answered all previous debates on this issue, has always come up with splendid words such as, "I take a keen interest in this. I do not want people to lose out. I will make sure that compensation is paid."
Meg Hillier : Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the LDA has offered funding for legal and surveying costs and its own sites for relocation? In particular, has it not tailored support packages to help businesses such as the one that he describes to move?
Richard Ottaway : I wish that that were the case. The LDA has offered to pay the legal and surveying costs, and if that were all that was involved it would be wonderful. However, I say to the hon. Lady, who introduced this debate very well, that there is much more to the issue than just legal and surveying costs, as I have spent the past few minutes setting out. It is not enough to go with an invoice to the LDA for those costs because they will be paid several months later, after the person has had to carry the cash burden themselves. That is not a help, but a hindrance. Hon. Members have to focus on that issue.
Mr. Mark Field : Surely my hon. Friend agrees that this is a like-for-like situation. One advantage for companies that have been in the lower Lea valley for generations has been their proximity to central London. It might be difficult to get hold of sufficient land, but surely the LDA could compulsorily purchase other pockets of land in some of the neighbouring boroughs to which the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) referred and provide an opportunity for the businesses to relocate to an area as near to central London as they currently are.
Richard Ottaway : I wish that that were so. The hon. Lady said that land was available. However, it is not
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freehold land that is available, but leasehold land. If a business had been on a freehold site, it would expect to go to a freehold site. As my hon. Friend said, the land is not available.
Richard Ottaway : The right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) is shaking his head. If he can show me the LDA's freehold landI do not think that he canI will stand corrected. Only a few days ago, it did not have freehold land as an alternative.
Mr. Raynsford : I was shaking my head because the hon. Gentleman is making a case for the retention of a business that is environmentally far from attractive, in a location that will be transformed for the benefit of the whole community in east London. If he wants a scrap metal business in his community or if the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field) wants one in his community, let them make the offer. We shall then believe more in their sincerity.
Richard Ottaway : I am surprised by the right hon. Gentleman, for whom I have huge regard. Frankly, what he said is a plain insult to the business. It is not a scrap metal business. It is a wire mesh business. It is contained inside warehouses; it provides cast metal fittings for building sites. To belittle a business man who is carrying the cost himself just because the right hon. Gentleman's political mates on the LDA cannot face political reality is disgraceful. It is an appalling state of affairs.
Richard Ottaway : I cannot understand the right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich. I have always thought that he was a perfectly reasonable man. I also thought that I was making a reasonable case.
Richard Ottaway : The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Does he expect that, after a ministerial pledge and a pledge from the Mayor of London that no one will be out of pocket, that business man will have to take a loss of £2 million from his own pocket? He has just bought a site in Rainham marshes. He is currently paying interest on that money of £3,500 a week. He asks the LDA, "Can I have compensation for the £3,500 a week?", to which it replies, "Not until you agree to sell
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your site at a value that we think is right, rather than at the market price." Why should he do that? Why is he not entitled to the market price?
Such issues are not being addressed. A way in which to resolve the problem and the approach taken by Labour Members might be to appoint an independent arbitrator who can evaluate the loss for the businesses, audit the loss and present the details to whichever Department will pay the compensation. That will be the agreed transfer. That suggestion has all-party support.
Derek Wyatt : That is one business that has been affected in that way. Will the Minister consider setting up the position of an independent Olympic ombudsman? It is not just a matter of £2 million. About 30 to 40 businesses are in a similar position. They are feeling anxious about the process.
Richard Ottaway : That is a good suggestion. The hon. Gentleman and I work together on the all-party Olympics group. He is the chairman; I am the vice-chairman. Several hundred businesses are affected.
Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab): The current estimate is that more than 300 businesses will be affected by the proposals. I have been approached by several companies that are worried about the London Development Agency's lack of action. Negotiations seem to have gone nowhere. I take the hon. Gentleman's point when he referred to the business that he is representing. However, there are a number of thriving, internationally renowned businesses that we need to consider, not just the one wire mesh company that he is representing well today.
Richard Ottaway : I agree, but well known multinational companies, such as those that the hon. Lady is talking about, do not have the problems of a sole proprietor: they are all on leaseholds and can terminate leases, move, or relocate without any difficulty.
As a result of the games, West Ham will look very different in 2012. Two thirds of the Olympic park and the majority of the facilities, including the athletes village, the main stadium, the swimming pools, media centre and the warm-up tracks will be in Newham, and 18 of the 26 events will take place within a 20-minute walk of Stratford station. The stadium will be built to accommodate 80,000 peoplereduced to 20,000 after the event, which, to be honest with the Minister, disappoints me. I ask you to consider again the sweet deal that Manchester's residents got from the Manchester Commonwealth games.
I want the Government to reconsider the sweet deal done for Manchester after the demise of the Commonwealth games, to ensure that there is access for some of the poorest people in our communities to the world-class facilities that will be built in my area.
I hope that hon. Members forgive me if I talk a bit about my constituency. It is poor, bordering other poor areas to the west and north. All Newham's key indicators with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are in the bottom 10. Almost 7 per cent. of economically active residents said that they were unemployed, compared with just over the 4 per cent. average for London. Two thirds of Newham's children are considered to live in poverty. People in Newham die earlier than people anywhere else in London. We also have the lowest employment rate in the country.
Hon. Members may wonder why I am giving those statistics in a debate on sporting excellence and the Olympics. I am doing so because bringing the Olympics and Paralympics here is part of the solution to the poverty and disadvantage experienced by the communities of West Ham and other places with similar problems in east London.
We said in our bid that we would radically transform London's east end by having a sporting spectacle to regenerate a poor inner-city area. That is the greatest challenge. I know that those responsible for the planning, designing, building and staging of the games must think that they have the hardest task, but the hardest task will go to those who are attempting to realise a legacy in the soft infrastructurethe soft regenerationthat is so crucial to that part of London.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch said, the hardest job will be securing jobs and retraining for those in our communities who are currently without them. The other hard jobs will be to raise the aspirations of our children in those communities for them to realise their full potential, to realise the health benefits for all those in our poorest communities, and to ensure that afterwards we narrow the gap between those who are living longer in richer, more affluent communities and those living in poorer communities.
The potential social legacy is huge and complex, and we have not yet fully thought through the true extent of the detailed implications. I got a tiny sense of what we could achieve from the impact that the bidding process had on my constituency. As my hon. Friend said, the London borough of Newham has led a two- year programme of sporting, cultural and community activity, and by the end of the process there were tangible benefits.
Some 43 per cent. of those taking up free swims came from social groups D and E, and there were 64,000 attendances at Newham's Olympic summer of sport. The completion rates for exercise-on-prescription schemes for people suffering from ill health increased from 34 to 52 per cent. Some 40 new after-school clubs have been founded around sport and physical activity, and the number of sports coaches in my borough has doubled. For the first time, there has been a 25 per cent. drop in the number of young people who have been reported to the local magistrates court. I believe that that is because of the sporting and other interventions made under the programme. New disability sports clubs
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have also been established, and West Ham United's wonderful programme of football for Asian communities has expanded.
Those schemes could not have taken place without additional money, and we used the neighbourhood renewal fund to pay for them. If we do not plan to secure such social benefits, or do not understand what social benefits we need to secure, we will not fund them or design interventions. At the end of the games, we will find that we have not secured a real legacythe soft legacyfor the communities that desperately need one. The job before us is too big for just one tier of government and it cannot be done by local, regional or national Government alone. It can be carried out successfully only if we include all tiers, as well as the voluntary sector, the community sector and the private sector.
The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) mentioned jobs and businesses. I ask the Government to oversee the development agency and to hold it to account to ensure that it discharges its duty to the local community and minimises the downtime to the sustainable, valuable businesses in the area so that they can remain there.
The games will also result in the demolition of the housing co-op at Clays lane. I recently had representations from the tenants, who face a very uncertain future. Communication seems to have been sparse and not very comforting, with the LDA apparently watering down assurances that were made prior to the bid. I ask the Government again to see what they can do to offer some comfort and to hold the LDA to account.
Mr. Andrew Love (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op): I agree with my hon. Friend and understand her passion for what the Olympic games will achieve. She mentioned the difficulties faced by the Clays lane housing co-op. Does she agree that one legacy of the Olympics will be the more than 4,000 units of housing accommodation? Does she also agree that it is important that those units are affordable for the people who live in the five boroughs?
Lyn Brown : Indeed I do. In fact, that is mentioned in the longer version of my speech. I intended to talk about the fact that housing accommodation will be secured not only in London, but up and down the country, where visiting teams establish training camps. We need to ensure not only that that housing is affordable, but that it creates sustainable communities that people up and down the land can access.
Mr. Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab): I shall be brief. I start by declaring an interest as the deputy chairman of the Construction Industry Council. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) on securing the debate and presenting the case in such an eloquent and intellectually rigorous way.
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We all recognisemy hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) put this across clearlythe huge opportunity to transform some of the most depressed and deprived communities in our country through the successful delivery of the Olympics. The gymnastics will be hosted in the dome, in my constituency, and the building is admirably suited to the purpose, despite the views of the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field). Furthermore, the equestrian events will be held in Greenwich park and the shooting will be held at the former Royal Artillery barracks in Woolwich, so we in Greenwich have a real interest in the success of the games.
There are a number of challenges. The chair and chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority have been appointed. I am delighted about the appointment of two very high-calibre people who have a good track record of delivering construction contracts. We must ensure that their focus is not diverted and that their energy is not dissipated by too many bolt-on requests for additional benefits. We have been partly guilty of that this afternoon.
It is understandable that we all want the best possible outcome on a range of activities, but there must be a single-minded focus on delivering the crucial things: the main infrastructure and the environment in which the games are held, and the legacy, which my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch highlighted.
I want to focus on two issues concerning legacy. The first is the structure and the physical environment. We want high-quality buildings that have a viable post-2012 future. We want high-quality urban design and the transformation of the currently degraded environment in the lower Lea valley, to provide a world-class environment for the people of east London. Such design must mesh well with the Stratford city redevelopment and with the network of waterways that surrounds the site, to which the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster referred. That is important in order to create an attractive environment in which people will live long after the games in 2012. The physical legacy is important.
My second point relates to the human and social infrastructure legacy, which is just as important. We must ensure, in this area of considerable disadvantage, that we seize the opportunities to give people the training, encouragement and support to obtain the employment that will come along as a result of the investment going into the Olympics and their associated activities.
In part, that is to do with construction. Much work is already being done by CITB-ConstructionSkills on the development of appropriate training packages in construction skills. However, even in 200910, at the height of the construction programme, the latest estimate is that Olympic-related construction will account for only 3.7 per cent. of total construction in London. Although the construction will be important, we should not overestimate it. The important thing is to give a push to high standards and expectations about quality training, which will enthuse people to seek appropriate opportunities in the construction industry. That is where the development of the Olympic
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commitment will make a huge impact. It is being prepared by the strategic forum and is due to be published shortly. It will focus on proper site health and safety standards, good training opportunities and best practice by employers as part of the delivery of the Olympics.
Other things are also important. We know what can happen from the experience of the dome in Greenwich, which, despite the comments made by the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster, was a success; it has opened the door for regeneration on a scale that would never otherwise have been possible and it provided opportunities for a large number of people to secure employment during 2000people who had previously been unemployed and who had not had such opportunities. The transformation to their lives was possible as a result of good training programmes, which we had in Greenwich, where local labour and business provided opportunities for disadvantaged people and others in need of jobs to secure the training and the employment on the site.
We must pursue that approach by tailoring the needs to the job opportunities that come up. If done properly, it will transform the human and social infrastructure of the area for many years to come. The jobs will continue in the hospitality industry and the service sectors. Such provision is necessary because of the Olympics, but it will have a long-term future beyond 2012. This is a great opportunity, which we must take. We must focus on the things that matter and must not be diverted, or allow those responsible to be diverted, by other considerations, however desirable they might appear.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): I congratulate the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) both on securing the debate and on an excellent and wide-ranging speech. It was fantastic to hear the enthusiasm that she is giving to the Olympic games and Paralympics, which, I believe, is shared by people in her constituency and in the wider area. It was also good to hear other hon. Members referring to the importance of the benefit not only to the five boroughs but to the whole of London and the rest of the country. It is worth reflecting that had it not been for the support for the bid of people from all parts of the United Kingdom, it is unlikely that London would have succeeded.
The hon. Lady made a number of crucial points about the Olympic games legacy that we hope to achieve. It was a speech mirrored by her right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford). She pointed not only to the sporting legacy and its health implications, but to the employment, physical and wider human legacies that we hope shall be achieved.
Mr. Foster : Having praised the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch, let me refer to some
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other contributions. The hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field) rightly mentioned his concern about Londoners paying more than their fair share, and the importance of capping the amount of funding that is required from them. He will be delighted to know that I shall support the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) when we debate the London Olympics Bill next week.
The hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) made an important point. She is right that London's success is a success for all of us, and it is good that she is working in her local community to ensure that those whom she represents benefit from the Olympic games and the Paralympics. I take issue with her claim that Crawley's facilities are second to none. Those of us from Bath, Loughborough, Sheffield and various other places might wish to challenge that. However, not having visited Crawley, it would be unfair of me to make a judgment, although I know where my vote would go. None the less, her contribution illustrated the importance of recognising that the Olympics will benefit the whole nation, and that the whole nation should contribute and participate in them.
The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) made important points about the problems of a particular constituent. Such troubles are reflected in a number of other businesses. He argued that we must ensure that those who are displaced get a fair deal. The idea of appointing an independent arbitrator or ombudsman is sensible, and I hope that it will be given serious consideration.
The hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) spoke of the poverty and disadvantage in her constituency, and the role that the games can play in helping to lift people out of that situation. Importantly, she mentioned raising the aspirations of people in her community. Another important element of her speech was her observation that it was vital to bring community, voluntary and private sector groups together to work on issues relating to the Olympic games and Paralympics.
The right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) was right to remind us of the need for a single-minded focus on delivery and on legacyI have already referred to his comments about both physical and social legacyand I was delighted that he referred to the importance of training. One of the things that concerns me is that when we talk about the benefits that will accrue in terms of job creation, we cannot guarantee that jobs will be given to United Kingdom companies unless we can ensure that the people working for such companies are properly trained and have the skills to deliver the work and so earn the contracts.
I told the right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich a few minutes ago that his defence of the dome reminded me of the defence that I continually make of my spa project in Bath. He pointed out that his was completed on time and to budget, whereas mine has not been. The difference is that his had content that was inordinately disappointing whereas I can assure the House that when mine is finished, the spa will deliver fantastic content of great benefit to the people of Bath.
Mr. Foster : Thank you. Mr. O'Hara. I wish to return to the aside made by the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster right at the end of his remarks. He said that he hoped very much that people would not sit around for years twiddling their thumbs. I, too, hope that they will not. However, I can assure him that that is certainly not happening. A great deal of work is going on to ensure that we deliver the best ever Olympic games and Paralympics, and I am delighted at the progress already made.
It is worth mentioning that in August, almost two months after we won the bid in July, Mr. Denis Oswald from the International Olympic Committee was able to say that the London Olympics could not have started on a better footing. He is absolutely right; rapid progress is being made, with the London Olympics Bill going through Parliament. I am delighted that, as a result of my suggestion, it is to be renamed the London Olympics and Paralympics Bill; that is an important point.
I am delighted that there has been a smooth transition from the bid team to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic gamesLOCOG. I am pleased that many of the same faces that helped to secure a successful bid will be involved in ensuring the delivery of the games, but I am also pleased that new people are being brought on board. The appointment of Jack Lemley and David Higginspeople with enormous talent and expertise in delivering major infrastructure projectsto the Olympic Delivery Authority is welcome, as has already been said. Although some people might be marginally critical of an American and an Australian getting the job of delivering the British games, I for one do not make that criticism. They have a good track record, and I am confident that they will help us to deliver.
Many other things have been pleasing, too. There is the enormous success of the national lottery's "Go for Gold" scratch card, the fastest selling scratch card of its kind in the lottery's history. As long as that initiative continues to work as successfully as it does now, we might not have to deal with concerns that have not been mentioned yet; for example, it is predicted that other lottery distributors may lose out on money, but perhaps that will not happen if we continue to be successful.
I am delighted that there is clearly acceptance that the games are for all parts of the United Kingdom. Projects are already under way in not only London, but Sunderland, Norwich, Weymouth, Edinburgh, Brighton and, as we have heard, Crawley. It is fantastic that that is already happening. Of course, we have to maintain the momentum and ensure delivery, not just in London but in all parts of the United Kingdom.
As for those who ask how other parts of the United Kingdom will benefit, as I suggest they will, it is worth reflecting on the fact that, in Australia, the economy of the state of Queensland, which is about 1,000 miles away from the Sydney games, was boosted to the tune of 15 million American dollars as a result of the Olympic games. That, I believe, was due to tourism, hosting visiting teams, the cultural programme that was in place and infrastructure. I am confident that that will happen across the country, if, as the right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich says, we continue with the focused approach that is so crucial.
Of course, there are areas of concern. One of mine is that, although a major benefit of the London Olympic games and Paralympics will be the effect on tourism,
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tourism is not a key function of either LOCOG or the Olympic Delivery Authority. We have to make sure that tourism is tied in so that we genuinely find ways of benefiting. I gently tell the Minister that I have some concern that the constraints placed on, say, VisitBritain, in terms of how it can advertise this country and its connection with the 2012 games, may inhibit some of the tourism benefits.
Hundreds of new jobsperhaps as many as 100,000, as some people have predictedwill be created as a result of the games. As I say, it is crucial that we provide the infrastructure of training and the skills uplift to ensure that this country gets the benefit of those jobs coming to the United Kingdom.
There are other areas of concern, but there will be an opportunity for me to rehearse them in more detail in other forums. However, I will share one with the Minister: if sporting aspirations are to be a key pointother hon. Members have touched on thatit is crucial that we are realistic about what we expect. I know that sport is not the Minister's main brief, but the Government have a target of getting 70 per cent. of the population active by 2012. That target is based on a mistranslation of documents from Finland; it is a crazy target. He will be aware that in the last few days, in response to the impact of the Olympics, Sport England has announced its aspirations of getting us up to a 50 per cent. activity rate by 2012. I say gently to the Minister that it would make a lot of sense for the Government to drop their crazy target and adopt the Sport England one. Then we would know that we were trying to achieve a realistic target and we could work on it together.
People are more interested in hearing the Minister's response than more from me, but I hope that the all-party coalition that has existed in support of the games will continue and that the Government will continue to involve and consult all Members of the House from all parties to ensure that we go forward in the seven important years ahead in a way that delivers the most successful Olympic games and Paralympics the world has ever seen.
Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con): I start, as others have, by congratulating the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) on securing the debate. She has been a regular and thoughtful contributor on Olympic matters ever since her election earlier this year and she has a grandstand seat as a local MP. She spoke well on Second Reading of the London Olympics Bill and I remember her speaking well in Committee about the football pitches on the Hackney marshes.
The hon. Lady touched on two issues that are absolutely key: the legacy and the representation of the boroughs. As far as the second is concerned, she will remember the debate we had in Committee. I agree with her: that representation of the boroughs in this process is vital. They are not formally represented in any way at the moment, and I hope that the Minister will take that on board. She was also absolutely right to talk about the legacy and the right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) made a very good point
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about that. We have to start being realistic. The right hon. Gentleman was absolutely right to say that as a local MP.
A huge amount of hype has grown up around the 2012 games and people throughout the country are now expecting the games to solve all sorts of regeneration problems. The right hon. Gentleman is right: we have to focus on what is key, which is delivering the games in 2012. If a lot of the other things happen, that is all well and good. It would be terrific, but there is no finance available to do those things at the moment and the sooner we get that message across, the better.
We have had good speeches all round this afternoon. My hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field) made some powerful points about managing the infrastructure and focusing on legacy issues, particularly for the poorest boroughs, and I entirely agree with him. The hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) spoke up well about the raised aspirations in her town. She is right, but I just repeat that slight warning that we have to focus on the games.
My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) sensibly and reasonably raised a key issue to which I shall return in a moment concerning businesses and the effect that the games will have on them. The hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown), another regular contributor to Olympic debates, spoke up extremely well for her constituents, as always. The right hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich made the absolutely key point about focus. He knows about that all too well from his ministerial experience. Finally, I come to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster)it is always a pleasure. He made another sensible and well balanced contribution to the debate. After all these months, I could almost write his speeches for him and he could do the same for me.
This is the latest of a number of debates we have had on the Olympics. There was a debate in Westminster Hall before the bid, one afterwards on elite sport that concentrated mainly on Olympic matters and the debates on the Bill. During all those debates, I have reiterated my party's support for the games and I do so again today. Once again, I congratulate the Government on their part in bringing them to London in 2012.
Normally, I go on to press the Government on my party's three key issues. First, there is the legacy for sport in general and, in particular, the reforms we want to be carried out to the structure of sport. I am sure that the Minister will have read the independent sports review, co-authored by a Labour MP, and the Government will undoubtedly be actioning that in the near future. Secondly, there is the question of cost overruns. I suspect we shall return to that question on Report of the London Olympics Bill in a week's time so there is no need to dwell on it today. Finally, there is the issue that we always raise concerning the £320 million tax take that the Treasury is planning to take from the Olympic lottery. This is a one-off national event and the benefits are supposed to accrue throughout the country.
Mr. Love : Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the biggest challenge involved in the delivery of the Olympics is the danger of division, particularly of a party political nature, over funding? If he does, will he
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have a word with the London borough of Enfield, which continues to make capital out of the funding of the project, even though, as I understand it, the Opposition Front-Bench team is totally in support of the Olympic bid?
Hugh Robertson : As the hon. Gentleman will know, my party leader, like the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was a key figure when the evaluation committee came over. The hon. Member for Bath and I went to Singapore to emphasise that cross-party consensus and every single time that I have spoken, I have made clear my party's commitment to securing the best games that London can deliver in 2012I have done so again today. I cannot reasonably be expected to do more than that.
No doubt we will return to the issue of cost overruns on Report. I want to finish the point about the tax take. Given that there are considerable financial constraints on the Olympics and given that we are talking about a one-off event, it is iniquitous that the Treasury will pocket £320 million from the Olympic lottery games. There is a huge worry among the major sportsparticularly football, cricket and the two rugby codesthat funds are being diverted away from the lottery.
Hugh Robertson : I will come on to my final point, which is about the businesses in the lower Lea valley. After receiving what I am bound to say was a number of invitations, I visited businesses on 17 November. I would be the first to say, in all honesty, that the issue is not simple. I tried to approach it with an open mind and came away with considerable sympathy for the plight of the businesses. It seems that three key issues are worrying them.
The first, which was referred to earlier, is the lack of action by the LDA. One can understand why that happened. I do not believe that the LDA expected us to win the bid, and there are grounds for thinking that that expectation was not unreasonable. However, as a result, some of the preparatory work that needed to be done was not done early enough, and we are now experiencing problems.
There is also the particularly nasty issue of some surveyors and conflict of duty. There are, apparently, firms of surveyors that are acting on both sides of the fence. They are carrying out compulsory purchase valuations and then acting as agents for the resulting sites. From my experience of working in an investment bank before coming here, I know that that is a clear breach of every established professional practice. I hope that the Minister will be able to guarantee that he will write to the LDA and ensure that strict guidelines are in place to prevent that from happening.
The final pointin many ways, the most contentious oneis that the Olympic site is the last industrial site in London. That, of course, is why it is the Olympic site. Therefore, as there is no comparable replacement of that
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size, any settlement must be based on post-bid, not pre-bid, land values. It is clear that land values have risen dramatically and the stock of available land has shrunk. Unless we can get over that hurdle, a settlement will be difficult to find.
The encouraging thing about my visit was that I found a real willingness on the part of the businesses to accept that the games were coming to London in 2012 and that they would have to move. However, a feeling is brewing up that they have not been treated fairly by the LDA, and it will not take a great deal for that to turn to militancy, with all the unfortunate consequences that that will entail.
I shall leave it there, not least because I want to give the Minister the maximum time to reply. I would like to finish where I started, by once again congratulating the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch on securing the debate. I also reaffirm my party's support for the Olympics, which we backed all the way through. I wish the games all the best.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (James Purnell) : It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. O'Hara. I would like to start, as everybody else has, by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) not only on securing the debate but on introducing it in such a clear-sighted and effective way. She has already proven herself to be a fantastic campaigner on behalf of her constituency and has made this subject one of her key issuesthat is absolutely clear to everybody. She and I were councillors together many years ago in what seems like another life, and she was just as effective then as she is already clearly becoming in this place.
During a recent round of interviews about licensing, I was introduced on LBC with the words, "James Purnell, Minister for London, you are launching this consultation today and consulting Londoners about their views. What is that about?" That was not what I had been asked to talk about, and I am not the Minister for London. I had similar feelings today when delving into the details of London Olympics policy. I therefore start by saying that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sport is disappointed not to be able to be here today as a result of other unavoidable engagements.
Hackney was an invaluable partner in our bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, along with all the other London boroughs, and we look forward to working closely with them over the next few years. I reassure my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch that the Minister for Sport will be delighted to meet the representatives of the five boroughs. She said that one of her amendments to the London Olympics Bill would have added them to the membership of the Olympic Delivery Authority. I understand that we have not yet requested formal representation for anyone on that body, but when making appointments we will have to have regard to those places that will be affected by the games. We therefore expect there to be appropriate representations to deal with her concerns. We imagine that the planning committee in particular would have such representation.
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The 2012 games give us a unique opportunity to transform huge swathes of our national life. It is an opportunity not only for 29 days of world-class sport, but to leave a real legacy. As my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Love) said, it will lead to thousands of new jobs and homes and generate billions of pounds of public and private investment, which together will create a genuine physical and social infrastructure. My right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) was right to say that we should be thinking not only about buildings but about the social infrastructure, and about the people involved in ensuring that our standards of training are top-notch, so that we can deliver a legacy.
Mr. Eric Joyce (Falkirk) (Lab): As well as the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown), who are 20 minutes' walk from the games site, people across the UK will benefit, including those in my constituencyalthough they would have a brisk walk of 150 hours. Will the Minister join me in commending the work of regional and national bodies including Sport Scotland and the nations and regions committee of the Olympic committee, which is chaired by a Scot?
James Purnell : I endorse what my hon. Friend says. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) was right to say that, if Queensland benefited from the Olympics in Sydney, his constituency and constituencies throughout the country should benefit. The games will provide inspiration not only for developing sports participation but, as my hon. Friends the Members for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) and for West Ham (Lyn Brown) so eloquently said, for lifting the aspirations of people in general.
I have little time, so I shall try to answer as many of the specific points made during the debate as I can. First, however, I echo what the hon. Member for Bath said about the importance of cross-party support. Tremendous progress has been made in the House and outside. It has been much helped by cross-party support from all sides, and we want that to continue.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch mentioned the children in form 5D at Daubeney school. I can reassure them about their ability to access tickets. We have already made it clear that the ticket pricing policy will be fair; more than half of the tickets will cost £20 or less, and that will include free transport. On top of that, Keith Mills recently made it clear in evidence to the Select Committee that he would develop a scheme for local young people, and I hope that that will provide the members of form 5D with the opportunity not only to watch the games on television but to watch them in person.
I listened to the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt), and I agree about the ambitions for the hub. However, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham that we must focus on ensuring that the Olympic institute is well grounded and that it will be doing something achievable. We will consider what she said about community involvement in those facilities once the games have finishedI will be sure to mention that
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to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sportin order to ensure that such a fantastic facility will also be available to local people.
An essential point which Members on both sides of the Chamber mentioned was the issue of local communities and businesses. Local businesses stand to benefit significantly from real opportunities presented by the games. We want to ensure that we can deliver many opportunities, particularly for local people, to work in delivering those benefits. The lower Lea valley and the areas around it have enormous untapped potential, with one of the youngest and most culturally diverse populations in Europe. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham said so eloquently, they also have real issues of poverty. One in three people are unemployed on some local estates. There is, therefore, a real opportunity to use the games to regenerate that area.
We have already made headway on that crucial objective. I hope that I can reassure my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch by saying that the LDA has already announced an initial funding package of £9 million. That covers the job brokerage scheme that she mentioned, as well as specialist construction employment support, which should reassure my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich.
That, of course, is just the beginning. We are happy to commit to working with the five Olympic boroughs to ensure that we develop further plans for local people genuinely to benefit from the job opportunities arising from the Olympics.
Regarding the relocated businesses which the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) mentioned, local businesses recognise the value of the Olympics. About 78 per cent. of them said that they supported the games. I am aware that the LDA is seeking to engage with all those businesses individually. I have of course heard the concerns raised by a number of people. While we cannot comment on individual cases, we will be sure to write to the LDA, so that it knows of the concerns expressed in the debate.
I heard the points on funding made by both the spokesman for the official Opposition the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) and the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mark Field). We are committed to ensuring that there is effective project management, and that costs are clearly kept under control. In doing that, we will make every effort to minimise the cost to the London taxpayer, who, under the plans submitted as part of the bid for the games, will be asked to contribute less than a quarter of the total of the public sector funding package. Should there be any unavoidable shortfall, our memorandum of understanding with the Mayor provides for the increase in funding to be shared between the Mayor and the lottery.
Hugh Robertson : The point about surveying firms being caught on both sides of the fence is an important one for local businesses. Will the Minister confirm now that he will write to the LDA on that point?
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James Purnell : I will. Turning to the environment, that is an essential part of what we can do to put Britain in the world's shop window in 2012. We are committed to having the greenest Olympics ever, which, we believe, was a genuine selling point in our bid. We are committed to delivering a low-carbon and zero-waste games, conserving biodiversity and promoting environmental awareness and co-operation. The neglected waterways of the Lea valley will therefore be a key focus. I am told that, once the games precinct is replaced by the successor developments, it will give way to an open river valley landscape of semi-naturalistic parkland, with increased biodiversity. I hope that that will reassure the children of form 5D. The waterways will also be cleaned up to provide recreation, aesthetic pleasure and an ecological habitat. I can also confirm to my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch that we will look at the potential for transport using barges. There are clearly economic and practical implications that need to be looked at.
In conclusion, we are firmly focused on the potential of the Olympic games to deliver a real legacy for my hon. Friend's constituents, for London and for the whole country. Tourism is central to that, and we will work with hon. Members on both sides of the House to ensure that we deliver.
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