|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab): For me, the central issue in the debate is whether the 2012 games are remembered not just for providing a truly world-class event for London, but for giving a lifelong legacy to east London, to London generally and to the United Kingdom. I believe that the Bill augurs well for the delivery of successful games, on time and to budget. Like the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson), however, I have three remaining concerns. First, there is the question of who will be held to account for the delivery of the legacy of the games. Secondly, there is the lack of reference to local government, along with its implications. Thirdly, there are the local difficulties caused to residents and businesses.
The physical legacy to my constituency is not in doubt. West Ham will look very different by 2012. Two thirds of the Olympic park and most of the facilitiesincluding the athletes' village, the main stadium, the swimming pools, the media centre and the warm-up trackswill be in Newham, and 18 of the 26 events will take place within 20 minutes' walk of Stratford station. We have been promised the creation of the largest capital-city park in Europe for 150 years, a park that will incorporate the venues but will also, symbolically and physically, unify communities. It will be the heart of a prestigious new development, Stratford City. The proposals will deliver more than 9,000 new homes in and around the Olympic park, with schools and health and community facilities to match. That is welcome news for my constituency and the surrounding area.
Newham has an exceptionally young population: 41 per cent. of its inhabitants are under 25. It is a poor constituency, bordering to the west and north on areas that are also poor. All its key indicators are in the bottom 10 of the list drawn up by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The promised legacy of the Olympics and the Paralympics would provide a sustainable solution to the poverty and disadvantage experienced in my constituency and in other
6 Dec 2005 : Column 833
communities with similar social and economic indicators, and the Bill goes a long way towards embracing that aspiration.
We said in the bid that we would radically transform London's east end and, through this sporting spectacle, regenerate a poor inner-city area. I recognise that that will be a huge challenge, and to achieve it we must be clear about whose job it is. Who is to be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the legacy? If I understand the situation correctly, neither the London organising committee for the Olympic gamesLOCOGnor the Olympic Delivery Authority owns the responsibility for delivering the legacy for the country. Individual organisations are responsible for the delivery of bits of itfor example, Sport England will be responsible for the sporting legacy, but which body will ensure that it is on track to deliver greater grass-roots participation? Who will be held accountable for the employment legacy, or for realising the health benefits? Who will be responsible for monitoring and scrutinising the different agencies charged with delivery of the various legacy plans?
The reference in clause 4(3) is perhaps not designed to ensure the delivery of the greatest challenge to the games, namely the economic and social legacy. It was the whole package that prompted the huge support for the bid from ordinary Londoners and others, and we must not let them down. I hope that the Minister will consider establishing a formal mechanism and place official ownership of the responsibility for the legacy within the proposed delivery processes. The games are a catalyst to be seized or squandered. We need to plan for the social gains from the games, to set targets for the reduction of poverty, and to realise real social and economic change for the poorest in society from this huge investment.
I get a sense of the potential of the legacy by considering the impact that the bidding process had on my constituency. As a councillor in the London borough of Newham, I led a two-year programme of sporting, cultural and community activity, using the pull of the Olympics to engage and inspire the community. By the end of the bidding process, there were clear, tangible benefits for the betterment of health, education and antisocial behaviour. For example, 43 per cent. of free swims were taken up by people in 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 went up from 34 to 52 per cent., and 40 new after-school clubs were founded around sport and physical activity. The number of sports coaches more than doubled, new disability sports clubs were established, and the West Ham Asians in
6 Dec 2005 : Column 834
Football programme was expanded. And 25 per cent. fewer young people were reported to the local magistrates court.
There are many more similar examples, and if all that can be achieved by local authority leadership around the bid process alone, the social legacy of the games could be truly life-transforming. Those schemes required funding and were achieved by a combination of mainstream and temporary funding. The gains were achieved by local government working in the community. This was not rocket science, and I am sure that examples such as those have been and will be replicated by other local authorities across the country.
If we are to get real social and economic benefits from the games, local government must be integral to the planning and delivery of the soft outcomes for social and economic regeneration. In October 2000, the Government charged local government with the duty to provide for the economic, social and environmental well-being of its own areas. They did so because local government is best placed to deliver those objectives locally; it is part of its core business. We need to ensure that local government is at our Olympic table, leading on clearly drawn and resourced local renewal and regeneration strategies.
The job of realising the legacy is too big for one tier of government, whether national, regional or local. The job can be done successfully only if all tiers of government and the voluntary, community and private sectors work together in partnership towards the same objectives.
We must remember that renewal and regeneration will come at a price for some in the area where the games are to be held. Local businesses will be displaced because of the need to create space for the Olympic park stadium. Estimates suggest that more than 300 businesses will be affected by the proposals. Companies are increasingly concerned by the action or, they feel, lack of action by the London Development Agency. Negotiations have been under way for a long time and no conclusions have yet been reached. That is placing reputable and thriving concerns in jeopardy, and it is not on. Surely the LDA must take immediate steps to assure the businesses concerned and to expedite relocation and compensation. If the LDA does not have the resources or capacity to undertake that role, I ask the Minister to act, and either to provide additional capacity or to take the responsibility from the agency.
The games will also result in the demolition of the housing co-op at Clays lane, which was established in the early 1980s to address the lack of housing for young, single people in the east of London. Approximately, it houses about 450 tenants, who face an uncertain and unsettling future. Communication appears to have been sparse and not very comforting, with assurances made prior to the bid now apparently being watered down by the LDA. I ask the Minister again to hold the agency to account, and to ensure that those tenants are not disadvantaged by their relocation.
If the legacy of the games is to be realised, we must plan for it, ensure that we know who is responsible for the delivery of the legacy and hold them to account to deliver on it. The challenges of east London are immense, but the opportunities of those challenges are
6 Dec 2005 : Column 835
in our grasp if we harness and resource all parties to deliver on them. Let us realise the potential of the games, and deliver a real legacy for generations.
Mr. Don Foster : In some parts of America, politicians can have their speeches read into the record without having to deliver them. In a sense, I wish that we had that opportunity, as my opening remarks echo entirely what the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) said. Rather than list all the people he listed, let me merely say that all those people deserve our thanks for the huge amount of work that they did to bring the Olympics and Paralympics to London in 2012. It was a fantastic team effort by a large number of dedicated and committed people, and one thing above all set our bid apart from everybody else'sits underpinning of Olympic and Paralympic ideals in relation to sporting activities, which could liberate and inspire people not only in this country but across the world.
I also want to thank the Minister for his contribution and thank the Opposition parties for the role that we have played. It is important to place it on record that a small but perhaps important part of the reason that we won the bid was the clear demonstration of all-party unity in backing it. I hope that our deliberations today, on Report and Third Reading, and the work done in Committee and on Second Reading indicate that that cross-party co-operation can continue while allowing the opportunity for constructive criticism when we disagree in certain areas. We have made splendid progress, however, in getting the Bill to this stage. Indeed, given that the Olympics afford a glorious opportunity for Britain, it is right that the Bill has had a smooth passage. It is equally important to recognise that progress has been made on so many other fronts, not only on the measure.
A huge amount of work has already been done and more is under way. Compulsory purchase orders have been issued and LOCOG now has many staff. Many are experienced and were involved in the bid. The Go for Gold scratchcard is a huge success and has already raised more than £3 million. It is the most successful scratchcard of its type. We know about the Mayor's exciting proposals for the great rejuvenation and redevelopment of the east end of London.
Much else has happened. Building work is under way at the Olympic park but that is also true in other parts of the country, such as Norwich, Sunderland, Edinburgh and Brighton. Betting has already started on how well different countries will do in the Olympics. I noted with interest that Lord Moynihan, who heads the British Olympic Association, has bet his Australian counterpart on how many gold medals their respective countries will win. The winner will provide bottles of Bollinger to the other. We shall see how that goes.
However, much remains to be done. The Bill is important because it establishes the framework in which the work will be done, the way in which we ensure that
6 Dec 2005 : Column 836
the resources come in and the right bodies to make it happen. For example, we must provide appropriate protection for IOC and LOCOG sponsors against ambush marketing, inappropriate advertising and so on.
There is a huge prize, if we get it right. We will invigorate our sporting nation, regenerate some of the most deprived areas in our country, improve the environment, thus setting sustainability standards for the future, showcase the country's excellence in arts and culture andperhaps most importantunite the nation. That is an exciting prospect and the work that we have done on the Billthe amendments and changes that we have madeensure that we will progress and deliver a successful games.
The hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) is passionate about the games coming to London. She speaks passionately about the enthusiasm in her area for them and talks movingly of the way in which they will provide sustainable regeneration in her area. She is right to stress that. On other occasions, she has spoken about the way in which the games can raise the aspirations of the people she represents. She summed it up today by saying that the Olympics will leave a life-transforming social legacy. That is true for West Ham and every other part of the country.
It is interesting to note a recent survey, which showed that 68 per cent. of Londoners said that the games would bring long-term benefits. That statistic is reflected in many other parts of the country. The figure rose to 78 per cent. among 18 to 34-year-olds. Young people in particular understand the genuine benefit that can derive from the games.
We have made a united, fantastic start on delivering the best ever Olympic and Paralympic games. There is a long way to go and I hope that the unity that we have experienced so far in the House will continue.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|