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Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):
Does my hon. Friend agree that one problem with how the budget is being implemented is that the Government are spending
far too much on consulting, advising, mentoring, watching and auditing, and not enough on just delivering the facilities?
Mr. Hunt: My right hon. Friend makes a telling point, as I would expect. It is true that the amount of money spent purely on consultancy is hugeat more than £400 million, it has raised a lot of eyebrows. Many question marks have been raised about the amount spent on consultants for the Olympics project, and for many other projects that the Government have set up.
The construction of venues is the responsibility of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and that is on track. The organisation of the games is the responsibility of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, and that too is on track. The legacy of the games is the Governments responsibility: it is a critical area, yet the Government are failing to deliver. One reason for that is that the legacy responsibility has fallen between the cracks, having been divided between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Government Olympic Executive and the Minister for the Olympics.
Mr. Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP): I am listening to the hon. Gentleman very carefully, and I paid special attention to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart). Is he saying that he would like Scotlands lottery money to be returned to Scotland, especially given that Scotland is building for the Commonwealth games and hoping to create its own legacy from them? Would he go further and increase funding for Scotland from other parts of the lottery, as is happening with London in respect of the Olympics?
Mr. Hunt: The point about the national lottery is that it is played throughout the country, so its benefits need to be felt throughout the country. The Government have had to raid good causes because of their miscalculations over the Olympics, and that has meant that the lottery is not operating as it should. We want to return it to its original four pillars so that lottery players in Scotland can benefit from their contributions, just as lottery players throughout the country do.
Andy Burnham: The hon. Gentleman has just used a phrase that is incorrect. I heard him say that we should return the lottery to its original four pillars, but the previous Conservative Government created it with five pillars, one of which was the millennium fund. Has he forgotten that?
Mr. Hunt: No, but the Culture Secretary may not have noticed that we are a long way past 2000 now. As a result, it is possible to wind up the Millennium Commission. I am not sure that many people in this House would say that how the commission spent its money was an especially good example of how lottery funding can be spent. Both sides of the House bear responsibility for what happened with the dome.
I shall conclude by saying that we need vision. Where is the plan to send Olympians and Paralympians to every school in the country to fire up children with the Olympic vision? Where is the curriculum material that will mean that the Olympics can be integrated into what children are taught? We had such material for the Commonwealth games in Manchester, but there is no sign of it for 2012.
Where is the plan to link sports clubs better to their local schools, so that we can reduce the current high drop-off rates when people leave school and stop playing sport? Most importantly, where is the imagination and determination to make sure that we get a legacy in the constrained and difficult financial circumstances in which we find ourselves?
When the Olympics have gone, we are unlikely to see them back in this country in our lifetime. Therefore, let us use them to inspire a lifetime of sport and sporting values, because we have only one chance.
applauds the British Olympic and Paralympic teams for their superb performance in Beijing which should provide an excellent platform for their performance in London 2012; recognises that the increase in public funding for elite programmes has helped contribute to this success; notes that a decade of sustained investment at every level of sportschool, community and elitehas laid the strongest possible foundations for this Olympic period; welcomes the recent School Sport Survey which shows that 90 per cent. of children are doing two hours of sport a week; further welcomes the reform of Sport England that will build a world-class sport development system; and endorses the Governments Legacy Action Plan, including measures that will make a reality of the promise made in Singapore in 2005 to make two million people more active by 2012.
It is not something that I do often, but I shall begin by paying tribute to the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) for calling this debate. Sport matters greatly to millions of people in this country, yet the occasions when their national Parliament focuses on it and debates it in detail are rare indeed.
Bob Spink (Castle Point) (UKIP): The Secretary of State paid tribute to the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) for calling this debate, but does he nevertheless feel that this is a missed opportunity? We are playing politics with this important subject rather than working together to build a positive legacy for people. An example of what I mean is the proposal to build a bike track at Hadleigh in my constituency. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that we should work together to build a legacy based on the wonderful achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians, and on the great achievements made by men and women in sport across our country?
I am glad that the full parliamentary strength of the UK Independence party is behind the Governments efforts to build a successful Olympics. Like the hon. Gentleman, I picked up a churlish note in the speech by the shadow Culture Secretary. That was
disappointing, because although I congratulated him on calling this debate, I was not encouraged by the tone of his remarks.
I was about to say that the next four years present us all, as Olympic hosts, with a unique opportunity. Indeed, it is a one-off opportunity as we will not again in our lifetimes get this chance to change permanently the place of sport in our society.
Mr. Andy Reed: I agree that today should be an opportunity to try to rebuild a consensus about the Olympics. I shall come to my criticisms of the legacy plan later, but I wanted to intervene on the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) towards the end of his speech, as I was waiting for the bit when he would announce the Oppositions plans. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the hon. Gentlemans speech was heavy on analysis but very light on policy specifics?
Andy Burnham: That is a perfect summary. The hon. Gentlemans speech was a series of nit-picking points about the Governments proposals, but not once did we hear a substantive suggestion about what the Conservative party would do differently to alter the place of sport in this country.
Alistair Burt (North-East Bedfordshire) (Con): The right hon. Gentleman and I have played football together a number of times in a very consensual manner for the parliamentary team, so perhaps I can start my intervention from that base. Does he accept
Alistair Burt: Does the Culture Secretary accept that, because of the decline in spending on sport after the raids on the lottery, it is the role of my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt)
Alistair Burt: My hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey is absolutely right to point out that spending decline to the right hon. Gentleman, as we must make sure that the legacy is good and proper.
Andy Burnham: I fear I agree with the sedentary interventions, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We are funding an Olympic games that will be the biggest boost that sport in the UK has ever received. The Olympics will lift sport to a place in our national life that it has never occupied before.
The shadow Culture Secretarys remarks were light on analysis. When the available lottery pot for Sport England is combined with the extra Exchequer investment
available to Sport England in the current spending review period, Sport England will be operating with an increased budget for school and community sport during that period, rather than a diminished one.
Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) (Lab): My right hon. Friend and I have a keen interest in one of the best sports in the worldrugby league. How will he ensure that rugby league benefits from the legacy and how will he ensure that Sport England takes seriously the importance of rugby league and moves away from the sports it always seems to support?
Andy Burnham: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend who makes the case for rugby league, which is a sport important to his constituency and mine. I am sure that he will join me in wishing the England rugby league team success. We congratulate them on their winning start in the rugby league world cup at the weekend. We will see a benefit for rugby league. Under the leadership of Richard Lewis, the sport has made great strides recently in investing in its club structure. I am lucky that Leigh Centurions and Leigh Miners rugby clubs are two of the strongest amateur clubs in the country. Rugby league is agreeing a whole-sport plan with Sport England, which will give the league the wherewithal to develop the sport during the Olympic period, as others wish to do.
Mr. Hunt: The Culture Secretary has just said that total funding for grass-roots sports has increased, so can he explain why answers supplied by his Department to my parliamentary questions show that the amount of money going to sport from the lottery and from grant in aid is £135 million less than when his Government came to power?
Andy Burnham: I will supply the hon. Gentleman with the exact figures for the total spending over the three-year period, comparing the last spending review with the current one. He mentioned grant in aid, but I think he may have missed out the extra money given to school sport to fund the five-hour offer in schools. Much of that money will go into developing sport in the further education sector and school-club links. I will clarify the figures because it is an important point, but I am confident of my statistics.
Philip Davies: We have heard how people were inspired by watching British Olympic success in Beijing. They watched those games on television and the vast majority of people in the UK will watch the London 2012 games on television, so can the Secretary of State explain why there will be such a big increase in sporting legacy after a London Olympics compared to the Beijing games? The only difference is that organisations such as the lottery will have less money to distribute to sport.
I know that the hon. Gentleman is not fabled for his imagination, but he should try to think of the possibility of an Olympic team training on his doorstep, at a local training camp. Can he not imagine what that will do to inspire [ Interruption. ] I
am sure that national teams will train in west Yorkshire. He should think about how positive that will be and not be so cynical. His constituents under the age of 25 will not be anywhere near as cynical as he is about the Olympic games.
Mr. Hurd: The Secretary of State talks rightly about increased investment in sport in schools, but the uncomfortable fact is that Britain has the highest post-school drop-out rate for participation in sport. We have heard about the cut in funding for grass-roots sports, so what are the Government doing to plug the gap between schools and the 125,000 sports clubs across the UK? Most of those clubs are voluntary organisations and we all know from our constituencies that they have great potential to keep our young people fit, active and engaged.
Andy Burnham: The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, which relates to a large part of the substance of what I want to say. My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Olympics has just reminded me that part of the funding package I was outlining to the hon. Member for South-West Surrey includes a guarantee of three hours of sport for 16 to 19-year-olds. It is an important aspect and I shall address it during my remarks, but I am glad that the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Hurd) raised it.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: I want to be positive because I view the 2012 games with huge optimism. We have referred to the Commonwealth games in 2002. May I ask the Secretary of State two questions? First, what conversations and discussions has he had with those who were involved in the Commonwealth games about the legacy of the games? In an earlier intervention, I mentioned the velodrome and my constituents, Sarah and Barney, who won five gold medals at the Paralympics. They did wonderfully well. Sarah won gold
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman will have to content himself with one question. Interventions are getting longer and longer and many people want to participate in the debate, so the Secretary of State should respond
The hon. Member for Macclesfield made an excellent point. Experience in Manchester directly informs how the London games are being brought forward, but the same cynical points that his Back-Bench colleague made about the Olympic games were made about Manchester. People said that we were building white elephant facilities that would have no legacy. The gold medals for cycling in Beijing were made in Manchester from the investment in the velodrome and all the associated infrastructure for British cycling. I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman that it is important to get these things right, but he makes the point very well indeed. I speak regularly with Sir Howard Bernstein, Richard Leese and others who were pivotally involved in the decisions about the Manchester Commonwealth games. We got it right then and we will get it right in London 2012.
I hope that we can use todays debate to agree across the House that the Olympic period should be used to raise the place and prominence of sport in national life and debate, and that by doing so, we will make Britain a more active and world-leading sporting nation. It is precisely because of the scale of our ambition on that point, as my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Olympics has reminded us many times, that we were successful in Singapore in winning the games for Britain. Today, I shall update the House on our progress in delivering a permanent sporting legacy. However, although I shall focus on sport, it is important to remind the Olympic cynics that our legacy goes much widertourism, skills, culture and regeneration.
Mr. Redwood: Given that there is now a lot of unused capacity in building and construction, can we look forward to a fall in the advertised prices of facilities that are not yet under contract? That will relieve some of the pressure on the sporting legacy budget.
Andy Burnham: We can be assured that in the Olympic Delivery Authority we have a team of professionals who are managing the projects with skill and precision. They have already been commended for the tremendous progress they have made so far, and the right hon. Gentleman can be assured that they are taking every step necessary to secure the best value for the public money involved.
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