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Those flats were built in the late 1970s and I discovered subsequently, rather to my embarrassment, that one of the blocks of flats had been named after me. Howarth Court came into being and, to my chagrin, I discovered that they had spelt my name wrong. It is not only the annunciators in your Lordships House which occasionally make that error. It has been a source of embarrassment for many years that I had a block of flats named after me with the spelling wrong. After 30 years, they have recently been knocked down.
This brings me to a point that I want to emphasisethe importance of social housing. If housing was a serious problem for young people in the early 1970s, it still is now. All the units of accommodation that we were successful in getting built have now been knocked down to make way for the stadium, so I am glad that in the legacy plan that the mayor has published, a copy of which came in this mornings post in time for this debate, there is a serious emphasis on housing and a commitment that the Games will have an immediate legacy of 9,000 high-quality homesa great deal more than the ones that were knocked down at Clays Laneof which at least 30 per cent will be affordable to Londoners on low incomes. There is an aspiration for considerably greater housing development after the Games are concluded in the peripheral areas.
I shall not say very much about jobs, although they are crucial in the area. I merely emphasise, as did the noble Lord, Lord Harris, that east London has more people of employment age who are out of work than almost anywhere else in the United Kingdom. I was going to say something of the importance of the transport link but the noble Lord, Lord Harris, has covered that fairly comprehensively.
I appreciate some of the difficulties that have been referred to in the debate today, and probably there will be some more, but, on an optimistic note, a tremendous amount of work is already going on that I find encouraging. I went back to the site yesterday and walked down the Greenway, the newly tarmacked, signposted and better lit public footpath that takes one over a bridge on Marshgate Lane in the centre of the site. The vision of the activity is phenomenal; I have seen nothing like it anywhere in the world, except in China. There must have been a dozen huge earth-moving machines and a dozen large trucks; a fantastic degree of activity was taking place on that site yesterday. It staggered me and the friends of mine who came with me to look at the work that was going on on that site.
There has been a lot of talk about legacy, but some of it is already happening. On the fringes of the park, at Hackney Wick station, new housing developments are taking place. Street lighting is being improved and the station has already been improved. This is a place where I was mugged a few months before moving away from the area, not long after I came into your Lordships House. It happened on a dark night. The area was an extremely lonely place to go and many people have asked, Why does anyone want to use Hackney Wick station late at night?. Already that environment is being transformed. The housing being built there and the street lighting make it safer. The legacy is already with us; I am very optimistic about that.
Lord Moynihan: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, on securing todays debate. Let me start by declaring my interests. I am chairman of the British Olympic Association; a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and its audit committee; and a member of the Olympic Board,
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The British Olympic Associations role is to prepare, select, manage and lead Britains finest athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. In Great Britain and Northern Ireland the BOA is responsible for the development and protection of the Olympic movement, whose vision is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport. However, as the host nation, our role goes further to reflect the International Olympic Committee charter. We believe that as important as our success in the 2012 Games is the sports legacy and inspiration which the Games has the ability to deliver to everyone, able bodied and disabled, the length and breadth of our nation.
To date, the focus, as noble Lords have mentioned, has been on the regeneration of the East End of London and the construction of the Olympic park. Now I believe the attention of the nation, the Government, the national governing bodies of sport, Parliament, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and local communities needs to turn to the Olympics sport legacy, which needs to be costed, with clearly defined time lines on policy objectives, accountable, transparent, openly discussed and deliverable. For us in the British Olympic Association the starting point was Gordon Browns Olympic manifesto as the then Chancellor of the Exchequer. On 24 October 2006, he wrote an article in the Daily Mail entitled,
The time has now arrived for all of us, from Ministers and the Olympic Board, down to local sports clubs, to rise to that challenge. We at the BOA, who also raise money from the private sectoras my noble friend has just mentioned, we have been totally independent for more than 100 yearshave been fully and publicly supportive of every single one of the now Prime Ministers commitments.
In our role as a host nation of the NOC we take seriously our duty to ensure that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games leave a fitting sports legacy in this country. We recognise that the Games provide an opportunity to change the culture of health and fitness in the United Kingdom and a real chance to meet the targets set by the Prime Minister. We also recognise that the proposed Olympic sporting legacy was fundamental to Londons successful bid to the International Olympic Committee to host the Games. No doubt everyone in this House joins me in hoping that every promise made in 2005 is delivered upon by 2012 and that we all have regular opportunities to monitor those commitments.
I am confident that with an outstanding sports Minister in Gerry Sutcliffe, who is totally committed to a lasting legacy for sport, these objectives can be achieved, but they will neither come cheap nor be attainable without fundamental reforms to the sports policy the Prime Minister has inherited, which has struggled to deliver the commitments for an Olympic sports legacy of the type he has outlined. To that end, a number of reviews are currently ongoing regarding the legacy of London 2012. The Governments legacy action plan is nearing completion. Additionally, Sport England will soon be publishing its own Olympic sports legacy report, and the mayors plans for London in that context are due to be outlined presently. In the Olympic Boards London 2012 sustainability plan, to which my noble friend has referred, it has been mandated that the British Olympic Association will be consulting with sport and the general public for their views on whether the desired legacy outcomes are being addressed. It is our anticipation that that work will begin later this year.
Aside from all those reviews, the news in late November last year that the first concrete financial commitment on the subject of sporting legacy had been issued by the Government was very welcome in the context of the programme to deliver cultural and sporting activities across the UK. However, key to the Olympic sports legacy, which must touch Olympic and non-Olympic sports alike, is the need to improve sports facilities across the country. A comprehensive Olympic sports legacy needs to address all sports facilities and to address participation, the development of excellence and new systems that ensure that every child in this country has their talent identified and developed to the full.
Expectations have understandably been raised and hope has abounded that community facilities will be reinvigorated, local clubs will be assisted and our children will be offered much, much more. I still think these aims can be achieved and that the Prime Ministers Olympic manifesto commitments can be honoured, but only if action is taken nowdecisive action on an all-party basis. The Games and the Olympic movement give us an opportunity to deliver real benefit to all young people, practical value in terms of sport and recreation about which one day I hope our children will reflect, Our parents never had the chances we have today. That must be our goal for Londons Olympic sports legacy.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this timely debate. From the other end of the country, I associate myself with many of his remarks. We are all excited about the prospect of the Games coming to London, and it is widely recognised that the legacy of the 2012 Games has to be a worthwhile one for London, the nation and the regions. Just as there is a big smile on the faces of the people of Newcastle this morning for the first time in a long while following yesterdays events at St James Park, I fervently hope that the same will be true for us all as the Games get under way and for the legacy thereafter.
This speech will be different from many of the others we have heard today because I want to speak from the regional perspective of the north-east. It is hard at the moment, four years away, to feel anything other than that the Games belong to London. I do not sense any kind of ownership of the Games yet in other parts of the country. Yet the construction of the Olympic site and the organising and running of the Games are already having an effect on communities not just in east London but many miles from the capital.
I want to raise two or three points from the perspective of the north-east. First, there is obviously the question of funding. In the north-east there is great concern about the voluntary and community sector; concern that, as resources are targeted towards the Olympics, the essential funding for projects working with some of the most disadvantaged people and communities will suffer. There is a particular concern about the continuing availability of lottery funding. Add to that the significantly reduced ability of the Northern Rock Foundation to fund key local voluntary projects, and the north-east is facing a double whammy. Funding from all sources into the voluntary and community sector has been crucial in enabling the north-east to find its way following the collapse of all the traditional industries in the 1970s and 1980s. If the Olympics cause a further decrease in funding availability in our region, we will not be able to claim that the London Olympics have contributed to sustainable communities across the country.
Secondly, our own experience of regeneration through the creation of large-scale central venues for the arts and culture has been pretty mixed. Although there are
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I suggest that there are some lessons to be learnt and it is important that those preparing for the Olympics learn from other situations where large-scale cultural projects have successfully overcome social divisions rather than exacerbated them, so that the legacy for the communities in east London is greater sustainability and more cohesiveness rather than less. For my money, the prime ingredients for building sustainability in local communities are local participation and local ownership. Things imposed on people by central bodies or external agencies do not work, nor do the more cosmetic kinds of regeneration initiatives that we sometimes find. Local participation and ownership, the right kind of infrastructure, a good quality built environment, the best kind of public space; all of these help to build sustainable communities.
In the end, the test is whether people feel included, whether they want to live in a place and, indeed, whether they can afford to do so. Securing a worthwhile legacy for the Games is not just a London issue; the effects will stretch far into the English regions. So let us ensure that there is indeed a worthwhile legacy, not only in London and in the nation but in the regions as well.
Lord Addington: My Lords, when I saw that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, was introducing a debate on sustainable communities and the Olympics, I decided that I would address those communities that should be most directly affected by the Games: the sporting communities.
I shall focus on those small sporting clubs that provide a centre of community and involvement for those in them. Anyone who knows anything about amateur sports clubs knows that they become the hubs of peoples lives for periods of time. Often a parent who has played in the first team may now be involved in coaching young people. Such clubs, I have discovered, can also become employment brokers, especially for casual labour. These places offer many types of activity and a lot of support.
What do the Olympics do for this type of sport? Potentially they will do not very much directly, unless we are careful, because the elite level can be seen as another animal, something that does not affect or inspire us and is beyond us. The challenge here, which
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We have already heard much about the almost certain improvements to the physical environment into which we are pumping money. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, said that they would not have to clean up the environment in order to run a successful Games and it is absolutely true: you do not need to do that for a major sporting event. As anyone who went to the old Wembley stadium would know, you can attend a wonderful sporting event even though you have to go through a pretty grim area. But in this case we have taken on the challenge of doing something more. We are trying to get in on an idea or a concept and trying to make it accessible. That is quite a big challenge to the culture and nature of what is going on around us.
Thus we have a goal. However, there is also a built-in fear for some smaller groups. My noble friend Lady Bonham-Carterwho has apologised for not being in her place, but her contact lens has come loosementioned that many of these groups are frightened that their funding will be cut and diverted towards the elite end. We can play our own games by saying that the Olympic Games should create knock-on effects and inspiration. However, if the funding to pump-prime these smaller groups is affected there is a danger that we will lose one of the major benefits: to inspire small communities around the country. If we want to facilitate people in the regions outside London and inspire them to get involved in their own clubs, perhaps in non-Olympic sports, then they will need the extra funding. The noble Lord, Lord Coe, gave a wonderful example of what happened at his athletics club following his own success, when they simply could not handle the numbers wanting to get involved. We cannot achieve a similar result now unless funding is guaranteed. The CCPR has a wonderful way of putting it: the major events have a long sunrise but short sunset.
Concentration on this aspect of the Olympic movement should have started a while ago. As the activity intensifies, where are the structures to encourage local participation and to tie it in with overall Olympic success? Are we guiding smaller groups on how to get in on the benefits? Are we telling them that they should be involved? Are the Government convinced that they are doing enough?
The idea of the Treasury driving sports policy is new to me but it may work because the Treasury, which tends to have more attention-grabbing things going on around it, has the money and the power. I have always felt that if sport is to deliver on its huge potential, it must attract both money and power either directly or indirectly. I believe that the Department of Health should have far greater responsibility for sport. If the idea took off, some lovely accounting procedures and number-crunching could show how greater participation in sport created savings in the NHS. I do not know whether the Treasury will be quite so amenable to the idea.
How are the Government are tying these two structures together? How are they helping in this
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Lord Ouseley: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, not only for allowing us the opportunity to participate in this debate but for the excellent work that he has been doing as a leader, though he would not necessarily describe himself as that, within east London, among people who need his leadership and inspiration, and for the promotion of the can-do philosophy that he uses to guide his work.
I am prepared to say something quite different in this debate for two reasons: first, the limitation of speaking for only six minutes; and, secondly, my receipt of a letter from a prisoner in Pentonville which connects me back to why I am here. This person is seeking to use his own can-do philosophy to do something about the avoidance of guns and gangs and he is asking for help from within the prison environment. Although that may seem removed from this debate, I would like to talk about how we can connect real-life issues, not only for Londoners but for people right across the UK, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am keen to keep stressing that there are Olympic and Paralympic Games because we are almost forgetting that the can-do culture extends to people with disabilities who will inspire us with what they can do by participating and succeeding.
Sustainable communities are about people, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, spoke about earlier; they concern their vulnerability, their strengths, their interdependency and their quality of life. It is not just about the quantifiable investment, the infrastructure and development, the environment or the economy, although all of those are hugely important. The London Paralympic Games in 2012 have the potential to be inspirational not only for Londoners but for all those who are ready to have their potential unlocked, appreciated, engaged, nurtured and developed for both self and public benefit. They have the potential to challenge the public cynicism that exists both in the north-east of Englandalthough I am sure that Kevin Keegan will put that to rightsand in places such as Peckham which are not that far from east London.
We have to recognise that everything connects to the issues in peoples lives. The cynicism extends because peoples experience is that they have been promised so many benefits from a whole range of regeneration programmes and investments that have not been realised. This is an opportunity to create and apply a can-do philosophy that inspires young and old, men and women, people with disabilities, the unemployed, the homeless, the poor and the deprived by seeing each person as a special individual.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have already shown how they can inspire enthusiasm, as witnessed in the euphoric celebration that we had on the streets of London in July 2005 when London was awarded the host status. The commendable leadership of the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his multicultural team showed that can-do spirit. They won the Games for us to host, against all odds. I was certainly one of those celebrating a victory that he did not expect, and a lot of other people felt the same. We must now push on to spread the philosophy thatwhoever, whatever and wherever you areyou can do it in pursuit of your dreams.
No one can deny the sustainable attributes and qualities of the people of London, or indeed of the entire UK population. London is able to regenerate itself, as the noble Lord, Lord Coe, said, and we do not need the Games to create the improvements that are happening. Londons diversity is a huge strength in attracting inward investment. Record numbers of tourists visit each year from all parts of the world. London is also home for the many migrants who settle here, filling gaps in the economy left by the outward migration of others to leafy suburban areas and less congested parts of the country. We also observe a growing aged population and more people experiencing disabilities and mental health illnesses. There are increasing levels of dependency.
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