|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Naseby: My Lords, when the assessment has been made by the Committee on Safety of Medicines, will the Minister report it publicly? Many noble Lords believe that the yellow card system has worked extremely well over many years. As the noble Lord, Lord Winston, said, the "Panorama" programme does not quite have consistency of reporting.
Baroness Andrews: Yes, my Lords, we will certainly make the conclusions public. The most recent development of the yellow card system is its going online. That is being piloted in one area, and we will
Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, what evidence does my noble friend have for claiming that the yellow card system is one of the best in the world? My impression has been that under-reporting under the yellow card system was very serious.
Baroness Andrews: My Lords, there are two sorts of evidence. First, the system was picked up by other countries. They have not introduced it in its full capacity, but it has served as a model. Secondly, it has a proven track record of identifying safety issues. Let me give just one example: reports of sudden death in patients receiving the schizophrenia treatment Sertindole led to suspension of the product pending a full review. Sertindole has now been reintroduced under very controlled conditions. I could give the noble Lord several examples. I am very happy to write to him on both issues.
Earl Howe: My Lords, does the Minister agree that inquests do not generally take account of contributory factors such as drug treatment, and that there is no mechanism for collating information arising from inquests that might be in the public interest? Will the Government consider that?
Baroness Andrews: My Lords, I know that only one coroner's inquest has alluded to the drug as having been a potential factor in a suicide. I shall consider the serious issues raised by the noble Earl.
"This morning, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has telephoned Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, to inform him of our decision. He has told Mr Rogge that the Government will back to the hilt the efforts of the BOA, to whom I would like to pay tribute, alongside the GLA, the LDA and, of course, the mayor and others.
"The bid will be a huge stimulus for elite sport. Lottery investment in our athletes helped us to our best medal haul for decades at Sydney; a London bid allows us to build on that and raise standards and aspirations even higher.
"But our Olympic bid will also rest on a growing commitment to grassroots sport. It will be central to our efforts to increase physical activity and identify, nurture and develop talent in our young athletes.
"We want to harness the power of sport to inspire people and address some of the key issues our nation faceshealth, social inclusion, educational motivation and fighting crime. We want to spread the benefits all around the country: promoting tourism and business for the whole of the UK; staging a four-year cultural festival; investing in community sports facilities to offer to visiting teams to prepare and train here; and holding the football competition, as part of the Games, and other events outside London.
"I warmly welcome the pledge from all parties to support the bid. That cross-party support is important because it gives us the very best chance of winning and of making the games a resounding success.
"I have previously set out for the House four tests which an Olympic bid would have to meet before the Government could agree to give their backing. Those tests were: can we afford it, can we win, can we deliver a strong bid and a high quality games, and what legacy would a games leave behind?
"We have spent the last few months applying those tests rigorously. I believe on the basis of thorough scrutiny, that a London bid passes those tests on every count. I would like very briefly to take the House through each one.
"First, the cost. We estimate the cost of bidding will be in the region of £17 million. Business, the LDA and government will bear that cost. If we win a bid, the cost of the Olympics should be borne at least in part by those who would benefit most. So I have agreed with the Mayor of London a funding package of £2.375 billion, which includes a 50 per cent contingency. Of that, £875 million will be borne by London through a £20 increase in council tax for band D properties and a contribution of £250 million from the LDA.
"But the biggest contribution comes from the lottery. Contributions from the existing sports lottery, and a new Olympics Lottery game would raise an estimated £1.5 billion. We will review the package in 2005 in the light of what by then will be firmer and more detailed estimates of the costs of staging the games.
"The next test is whether we can win. Other confirmed bidders for 2012 include New York, Leipzig, Madrid and Havana. No doubt, others will emerge in the coming weeks. That is a strong field, but London has many advantages over these other cities, and our bid will be the equal of any.
"The third test was whether a bid could really be delivered. As the jointly commissioned ARUP report shows, we can deliver a high quality and competitive bid based around an Olympic zone located in the Lee Valley.
"We will set up a dedicated organisation to develop and market the bid, with the very best people from both the public and private sector and with strong leadership. The bid team will act at arm's length from government. But all of us will pull out all the stops to bring the Olympic Games to London. 2012 is a prize well worth the fight and is also the diamond jubilee year of Her Majesty the Queen.
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, before responding to the noble Baroness, I must declare an interest. I am still a member of the Millennium Commission, which is chaired by the Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell.
First, for those of your Lordships who remember the debate in December, it goes without saying that I am delighted to stand here thanking the Minister for the Statement and congratulating the Government. They already know that they have this party's support in making the decision. I welcome the decision, per se, but I welcome one part in particular. The Minister said:
There are several questions that I wish to ask, but I must make one more point. It is important to the nation that the Government as a whole are seen to support the bid. The Minister's Statement must be followed quickly and backed up by both the Prime Minister and the Treasury and the Chancellor. Given the way that life is in the press these days, we need to see that the whole of governmentpolicy and moneyis behind the bid. The Commonwealth Games was a great success that followed one or two failures. Let us hope that failure in sporting events are in the past.
The first phase of the project is to sell London to the Olympic movement world-widethe small nations, as well as the large ones. Huge attention to detail will be required to win the bid. Will the noble Baroness say when she hopes to announce the bid leader, the person who will lead the team, and how he or she will be selected?
To be successful, the bid must be supported nationally. For that to happen, the public must have a sound and transparent understanding of the costings and, more important, the expected return and the legacy. Those of us who have been involved in Olympic Games know that that is where the money goes. Olympic villages serve their city well for many years after those games are forgotten.
Although I support the use of lottery money, I would like the noble Baroness to explain the likely effect on current lottery beneficiaries. A successful Olympic bid will benefit the whole country. I also said that in December.
Can the Minister explain how the £20 increase in council tax was arrived at? Is it a one-off flat rate? It is important for everybody to understand that the method of paying for the Games is fair. Can the Minister furthermore explain where the democratic accountability comes from for this £20 and how? Do the Government consider that London Transport is adequate for the job, or will be? Do they believe that a London Olympics is feasible without the completion of Crossrail?
I realise that these are serious questions. So often on these occasions the devil is in the detail. I sincerely hope that we, as a nation, have the capability to sort out the detail to get a superb bid and win.
Lord Addington: My Lords, first, I congratulate the Government on taking this step. This bid is what the country deserves and, indeed, what the capital deserves. We have already had the arguments and it must be the capital, but Manchester has shown the way forward in staging the Commonwealth Games. I was lucky enough to attend part of the games. If the huge benefit to that city and the feeling of goodwill generated could be replicated and expanded on for London, that would bring immense benefits to the whole country.
The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, and I seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Therefore, I shall not take long with the rest of my remarks. However, I shall begin at the point where the noble Lord finished. Crossrail and, indeed, the entire transport infrastructure are vital to the success of the bid and this is an area where the Government must take the lead. The noble Lord rightly spoke about the Olympic bid being run independently of government, but that cannot be said of the transport infrastructure. The Government must lead, be seen to lead and must make a public commitment that everything will be in place.
Finally, provided that the Government have the will to push forward the bid, we shall give our wholehearted support. But, as the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said, we must ensure that the details are correct and that government leadership is unified, loud and does not leave any room for doubt. It is in the detail, and lots of it, for the devil has a lot of room to get in.
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am enormously grateful for the support from both Front Benches for the Government's decision to bid for the Olympic Games in 2012. I hope that I can give both Front Bench spokesmen, and that they can accept, the reassurance that the Government are completely behind this bid. There should be no doubt about that. The Government have taken a little while to decide because they have carefully gone through all the pros and cons. They have thought about this deeply. They have done as much preliminary investigation as could possibly have been expected prior to making a decision. Having done that, we shall give the bid our wholehearted and complete support and will be enormously grateful for support from right across your Lordships' House.
I should like to add that the Prime Minister has already spoken to the President of the International Olympic Committee and has stated just how passionately he will be supporting this bid. I am also grateful for the support of the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, for the structure that we are putting in place to support the bid with an independent group of people working at arm's length from the Government. I hope, as does the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, that the bid will be led by someone of enormous quality, with a team behind him or her also of the highest quality. We hope that we shall be able to announce the name of the bid leader within a few weeks and certainly by late June or early July.
Questions were asked by both Front Bench spokesmen about transport. Of course, they are right to raise these questions. It is vitally important that we have a transport infrastructure in place that can deliver what is needed to host such an enormous event. I should like to make it absolutely clear that we shall be able to do this without the completion of Crossrail. We could not give a guarantee that that would be
The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, asked about lottery money. We are absolutely clear that there will be a new lottery game. Given the very high support for an Olympics bidpolls have indicated that more than 80 per cent of the population are strongly in favour of a bidI imagine a new lottery game will produce substantial amounts of money. It is, of course, the case that there will be some switching from support of existing lottery schemes. The current estimates suggest that up to 2009, that switch could lead to an approximately 4 per cent reduction in money for other good causes. After 2009, it might lead to a somewhat higher 11 per cent reduction in support for other good causes. Of course, at present, these can be only estimates.
The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, asked about council tax. That is a matter for the Mayor of London, who is, indeed, elected. I know that he will want to explain to the people of London the very many benefits that the Olympics would bring the capital in terms of improvements to its infrastructure and the creation of up to 5,000 new jobs. I suspect that on learning of the large number of benefits that will derive from the Olympics, the people of London will be willing to pay a small amount more, which amounts to about a 2.2 per cent increase for band D council tax payers.
The noble Lord, Lord Addington, rightly pointed out that Manchester had shown the way forward. As he said, there was a huge amount of goodwill in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games. I believe that we shall see that goodwill in London, too, should the bid be successful. However, I believe that there will also be goodwill from the whole country. The noble Lord asked for an assurance that small community-based sport would not suffer as a result of the bid. I should like to reassure him that the impact on grass roots sport will not be negative; it will be positive. There is no question of any wish to reduce available support. Indeed, the Government hope that a decision to bid for the Olympics will encourage more people to participate in grass roots sport with all the benefits that that gives rise to. I think that I have answered all the questions raised by the Front Bench spokesmen.
Lord Jopling: My Lords, I regret to say that I speak as one who will not shed a tear if the bid fails. Can the Minister explain why it is wise to spend a lot of money on a bid when, given the politics of the matter, it is most unlikely that two out of the next three Olympic Games will be held in Europe?
Does the Minister recall an answer that she gave to me on 27th February in which she pointed out that the 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1996 Olympic Games were bedevilled by bloodshed and boycott? Can she say how much has been put into the contingency sum to deal with such matters, which, as she made clear in her answer, the Government fully recognise?
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page