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Andy Burnham: I do not recall the comments to which the hon. Gentleman referred. If he wants to send them to me, I will read them carefully. I refer him to the points I made earlier about the review of the BBC’s editorial guidelines. It is crucial that those guidelines reflect majority opinion in the country about what it is and is not acceptable to broadcast. I share his concerns about the excessive use of bad language on television. It is important that broadcasters listen to public concern
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about those issues and ensure that what they broadcast on our screens is acceptable, high-quality entertainment without resorting to cheap headlines or ways of generating cheap publicity.

T5. [234012] Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): In spring last year, Sporting Equals was directed by the Government to produce—as a priority—policy guidance on the issue of racial abuse in sport. That guidance is 14 months overdue, with two missed deadlines, and now no production date has been set at all. Why is the publication of that guidance so lamentably delayed? Is racial abuse in sport sadly no longer a priority for the Government?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe): Clearly, any form of racism in sport is unacceptable. I apologise to my hon. Friend for the time that it has taken for Sport England and Sporting Equals to come up with those guidelines. I will ensure that they respond more quickly than the deadline that he has set, because I believe that it is important that this House ensures that we do not accept racism of any form in sport.

Mr. Jeremy Hunt (South-West Surrey) (Con): Will the Secretary of State confirm rumours that the heritage protection Bill has been dropped from the Queen’s Speech? If that is the case, is that not the final nail in the coffin for the Government’s heritage policies? We have seen lottery money plundered, the Government telling churches to turn themselves into cafés and gyms and now the denial of the vital parliamentary time that would allow the heritage sector better to look after the heritage that belongs to us all. When can we have a positive vision for our heritage sector? Is it condemned to yet more years of neglect and decline?

Andy Burnham: I do not accept the hon. Gentleman’s criticism. In the recent spending round, English Heritage received an increase in funding. We have worked with all parties in the heritage sector to introduce the first heritage protection Bill for 30 years. That is clear evidence of the Government’s commitment to the sector. The hon. Gentleman knows that I cannot comment on the Queen’s Speech in advance of its publication. However, he will know that the Planning Bill will require us to bring forward a new planning policy statement on the built heritage, replacing planning policy guidance 15 and 16. We will do so shortly, and we will issue that statement for consultation. We recognise the importance of the built heritage and we are taking active steps to protect it.

T6. [234013] Nia Griffith (Llanelli) (Lab): What talks has my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State had with Treasury colleagues about the “Subs for Clubs” campaign to extend gift aid to cover junior member subscription fees? That would greatly help clubs such as Llangennech rugby football club in my constituency, which does outstanding work with young people.

Mr. Sutcliffe: We continue to talk with the Treasury and others to ensure that we try to maximise the advantage to clubs of the CASC—Community Amateur Sports Clubs—scheme. It is an important scheme that delivers on the ground and we want to encourage more clubs to
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take part. We are continually discussing ways of trying to support local clubs. Llanelli is a well-known club in Wales, and it was sad to see the team leave its old ground after the game on Friday. We will work hard to make sure we support amateur clubs.

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): Some time ago, the former Secretary of State gave a commitment that the Lilleshall national sports academy, in my constituency, would become a regional training facility for the 2012 Olympics. Will the Minister confirm that that is the case? What is the timetable for bringing that facility on stream?

Mr. Sutcliffe: There are a number of training facilities across the country and we have supported their bids to be training camps for 2012. It is now up to the countries that want to come to those training camps to put bids in, and we will support Lilleshall in the same way as anywhere else.

T7. [234014] Mr. John Grogan (Selby) (Lab): Do Ministers see merit in changing the taxation system for the national lottery and introducing a gross profit tax, such as that used in other gambling sectors, in order to increase turnover and the amount of money that is available for good causes?

Andy Burnham: There is merit in that argument, but there are also potential downsides. It is important that the public have confidence in the tax arrangements relating to the national lottery and we keep these matters under active consideration.

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (UKIP): Does the Minister accept that swimming is an important skill, especially in an island, or a seaside community such as Castle Point, so will he give us a progress report on the free swimming initiative?

Mr. Sutcliffe: I am happy to report that more than 80 per cent. of local authorities support the free swimming initiative for the over-60s and the aspirations for the under-16s. I am concerned, however, that a number of local authorities are playing politics with the issue by not investing their own money in supporting free swimming. It is important that people see the issue for what it is: it came from local government, and many local authorities funded it from their own resources. The Government supported the scheme and have put money on the table, but we are being thwarted by a number of authorities that would rather play politics than deliver free swimming for their constituents.

T10. [234017] John Robertson (Glasgow, North-West) (Lab): My hon. Friend the Minister will be aware that Insight radio, in Partick in Glasgow, for partially sighted and blind people, is doing a great job and is about to roll out across the country. Will she consider having that excellent radio station put on Freeview, which is after all paid for by licence holders, so that blind and partially sighted people throughout the country have better access to the radio station?

Barbara Follett: I am happy to meet my hon. Friend to try to resolve the situation with him.

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Kerry McCarthy (Bristol, East) (Lab): Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is hard to imagine circumstances in which it would be appropriate or acceptable for a child to find out who their father is by means of a DNA test result revealed on daytime TV? Is he aware of my forthcoming ten-minute Bill, which aims to encourage broadcasters to act more responsibly in that and other matters involving children?

Andy Burnham: I did not see the programme, although I am aware of the concerns that my hon. Friend has raised. In principle, it is completely unacceptable for that to happen. In the live debate we are having about broadcasting standards, my hon. Friend is right to raise her concerns and as I said about other issues we have discussed, there should be no repeat of those circumstances and processes should be strengthened to ensure that is the case.


The Minister for the Olympics was asked—


1. Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells) (Con): What her most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of hosting the London 2012 Olympic games; and if she will make a statement. [233980]

2. David T.C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con): What her most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of hosting the London 2012 Olympic Games; and if she will make a statement. [233981]

The Minister for the Olympics (Tessa Jowell): The estimate of public expenditure on the London 2012 Olympic games remains within the £9.325 billion package that I announced in March 2007. I provided further details of the budget in my statement of December 2007 and in my six-month progress updates of January and July 2008. The next progress report, setting out the budgetary changes in detail, will be in January 2009. After that, as part of my commitment to transparency—making the details of the budget as widely available as possible—I shall move from providing financial updates on a six-monthly to a three-monthly basis.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: That £9.3 billion estimate is an increase from the figure of £4 billion originally given to the House, which is an appalling overspend even by the lax standards of this Government. Will the Minister assure the House that the present economic recession will not add further to the public cost, either to the taxpayer, the council tax payer or indeed the national lottery, which has already been raided for the Olympics? Will she give an undertaking that the £9.3 billion estimate will be a full and final figure within which the Olympics must live?

Tessa Jowell: Given that the figure of £9.325 billion includes a contingency of £2.7 billion not included in the original figure, I have made it absolutely clear to all the many stakeholders in the Olympics that
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£9.325 billion is the absolute limit of public money, whether it comes from the lottery, the London council tax payer or the Exchequer.

David T.C. Davies: Given the extraordinarily large salaries being paid to the organisers of the Olympic games for what is, after all, meant to be an amateur contest, does the Minister agree that it might concentrate their minds a little if they were told that any further increase that impacts on the taxpayer at all—whether directly or indirectly—should be matched by the same percentage decrease in the salaries that they receive?

Tessa Jowell: First, I should like to make it absolutely clear that people of world-class experience and stature are working on the project. That is why all the major projects in the construction programme are already on budget and on time. The hon. Gentleman proposes his various flamboyant— [ Interruption ] imaginative—ideas on how costs will be controlled. The fact that we have such high-calibre people running the construction of the Olympic park means that we have made very good progress.

Joan Ryan (Enfield, North) (Lab): What recent discussions has my right hon. Friend had with local authorities, such as mine in Enfield, to ensure that they are doing all that they can to use the Olympics to encourage sport at grass-roots level? She will know that my local authority has a very poor record on sports and leisure provision and was recently dumping rubbish in our athletics stadium, so I am very concerned to know that we are putting pressure on them to ensure that our young people in Enfield get the benefit of the Olympic games.

Tessa Jowell: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I pay tribute to the work that she has done with constituents to ensure that they derive full benefit from the London 2012 games. She is absolutely right to point to the variation in the initiative and imagination shown by local authorities, not just in London but across the country. There are many incentives: the opportunity to host training camps and to maximise the number of local volunteers. The opportunity is part of the economic development strategy to bid for contracts. Of course, there is the opportunity to win the right to show the Inspire mark, which is a symbol of excellence in achievement by organisations, clubs and individuals around the country. Yes, local authorities have got an absolutely key role to play in ensuring that these are the UK’s games in London and that every community has the opportunity to become involved and to show the kind of leadership that she has shown in making that happen.

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): May I ask the Minister to keep her beady eye on who is getting the jobs from this record public expenditure? Is she aware from the latest figures for new national insurance numbers that, in Newham alone last year, 20,000-plus national insurance numbers were issued to non-British workers? Will she hold discussions with the contractors to ensure that local people get a far better share of the new jobs than they are getting currently?

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Tessa Jowell: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend and hope that he will continue to press this issue, on which a clear commitment has been shown by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Of the people now working on the construction of the Olympic park, 25 per cent. are from the local Olympic boroughs and 10 per cent. were previously unemployed. The ODA has commissioned a tracking study to ensure that the people who have been counted as local really are local, rather than transient. I thank him for his vigilance and very much hope that we can live up to his very high expectations.

Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con): I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will welcome the assurances that the Minister has just given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory), but can I tempt her to go a little further? Surely, given the current economic situation, which was not predicted at the time of the March 2007 budget announcement, a number of the costs contained in that budget must have fallen, while others have risen. Does she agree, and when does she anticipate being able to amortise them?

Tessa Jowell: Yes, I agree, and those figures will be published, as soon as they are ready and robust, at the time of the January publication of the quarterly report.

David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): Parts of the costing equation still seem rather vague, not least the £1 billion for the athletes village and the £400 million for the broadcasting and media centre. Will my right hon. Friend tell me whether the formula, under which it was anticipated that £650 million would come from the private sector to underpin running costs, will deliver that sum? Seven tier 1 sponsors have been recruited, which is good news; that is £350 million. However, in this economically pressed time, will we get the other £300 million from smaller firms?

Tessa Jowell: Let me separate out two elements from my hon. Friend’s question. First, as he will know, the private-sector contribution to the construction of both the Olympic village and the press and broadcast centre is subject to renegotiation in the light of the economic downturn and the reduction in the equity and contingent borrowing available. Again, it is important that the House understands the Olympic village’s investment in new homes for the people of east London. Decisions will be taken about the scale on which the press and broadcast centre will be built, depending on the certainty of legacy.

The second part of his question was, I think, essentially about the amount of sponsorship raised by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. I can assure him that it is on target to meet its sponsorship goals. It has already raised more money at this stage than any previous Olympic city. However, it would be ridiculous to pretend that the economic climate is as easy and susceptible as it was when we made the bid. In these circumstances, LOCOG is doing an extraordinarily good job of raising money.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): Will the Minister confirm that if the cost to the public purse soars to such an extent that Olympic projects are put at risk, Ministers will prioritise critical infrastructure
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investment projects, such as the £91-million north London line proposals, rather than spending money on a massive media centre, more £40-million contracts for management consultants, or adding to the 1,000 members of staff already working on the Olympics?

Tessa Jowell: I am afraid that that is a rather half-baked Liberal Democrat analysis of the accounts. Expertise was brought in for the Olympics early on. That is why we are on budget and, so far, on time for all aspects of the development. Without going into the rest of the rather cheap and unsubstantiated points that he makes, I can absolutely confirm that legacy is the basis on which long-term investment decisions about the Olympics will be made. Before we make a major commitment of money, we want to be absolutely convinced that there is a legacy to be realised. Those decisions and judgments will shape the conclusions about the nature of the broadcasting centre that is to be constructed; construction is due to begin next spring.

Commonwealth Games

3. Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): If she will ensure that the preparations for the London 2012 Olympics complement preparations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. [233982]

Tessa Jowell: Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic games in London in 2012, and the Commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014, presents a unique opportunity to realise sporting, business and cultural benefits for the
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whole of Scotland. Ministers and officials are in regular contact on preparations for both London 2012 and Glasgow 2014. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport would agree, both events are regularly discussed at meetings of the Sports Cabinet. Officials have shared experience of various issues, including Government guarantees, legislation, advertising controls and ticket-touting.

Jo Swinson: The UK is fortunate to be hosting two great international sporting events within the space of two years, but it is vital that Glasgow in 2014 is not seen as an afterthought. What further steps will the Minister take to improve joint working, and particularly to ensure that companies can benefit from the experience of working on both events? With Scottish companies so far winning only 2 per cent. of the contracts for 2012, despite making up 7 per cent. of UK businesses, the signs are not promising.

Tessa Jowell: . A real drive from the Scottish Executive to maximise the benefits to Scotland of the contracts, for instance, would be one way forward, as would accepting my right hon. and hon. Friends’ invitations to meet Scottish Executive Ministers regularly to provide support and know-how in hosting the 2014 games. Sadly, however, it seems that the Scottish Executive have declined the offers of help that have been extended to them.

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Point of Order

3.35 pm

Greg Mulholland (Leeds, North-West) (LD): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. While I accept that we are all fallible in terms of the potential to leave on our mobile phones, may I recommend to the House a scheme in operation at Leeds city council, whereby the lord mayor of Leeds fines a council member when his or her phone rings? May I suggest that you, Mr. Speaker, consider a suitable charity and introduce a similar scheme in this House?

Mr. Speaker: I have no powers to fine hon. Gentlemen—or hon. Ladies, for that matter.

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