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Three public policy strands are therefore sufficiently important to be explicitly stated within the legacy goals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Community cohesion, social inclusion and anti-poverty programmes must be intensified and connected more comprehensively with all other policy areas. We will not overcome cynicism or the failure to engage with ordinary people who feel excluded from all these initiatives if we do not connect with a diverse range of programmes which all purport to bring social benefits.

Last week the former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, published a pamphlet from which I shall quote one sentence that epitomises the issue we have to deal with. It states:

His research found that poor and wealthy households are living ever further apart. While the Government have lifted large numbers of children out of poverty since 1997, 1.4 million children are still poor, despite having at least one parent in work.

The legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games must have a gearing effect that recognises, as it will do, the needs of elite sports men and women, wider participation, and those who are not part of the can-do culture in affluent London. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be costly but they have the potential to be inspirational. There is no doubt that those associated with developing and delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games are taking steps to address the social inclusion, community cohesion and diversity agendas. We in Parliament have an obligation to help to get it right for the benefit of all the people. They can do; we can do; we must do. To

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use inspirational words which are currently arousing interest and involvement in politics across the Atlantic, I say, “Yes, we can”.

1.01 pm

Baroness Whitaker: My Lords, in following with pleasure the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, I shall narrow my focus to one particular set of communities under the trees, the Gypsies and Travellers, some of whose sites have to be redeveloped. The Olympic Delivery Authority aims, to quote from its website, at,

It adds that Olympic development,

The London Development Agency, its delivery arm, states:

It is,

Work is certainly going on with tremendous commitment—I have been around the building sites, too.

However, what happened on one site in Newham was not like these fine modern management words. The Travellers at Clays Lane had lived peacefully with the settled community for 36 years. They were offered and accepted a new site, which then, for complex, oddly unforeseen planning reasons, was withdrawn. The substitute site was a recreation area. It is felt that, in their urgency to vacate the land for Olympic development, the LDA and Newham Council have disregarded the needs and wishes of both the Travellers and other local residents, causing, I am told, much resentment in the local community. Far from gaining any benefits from the Olympics, they believe they have lost some of their scarce green space and community facilities. The good relationships between the Traveller community and the other local residents which had been built up over such a long time have been undermined. Rather than an increased sense of community cohesion, Travellers now feel more segregated and vulnerable.

After this, as I have said earlier in your Lordships’ House, the Travellers were given 12 different dates for being moved, and they spent many weeks, with their children, with demolition, noise, heavy traffic and dust all around them, post stopped, phones cut off, and street lights gone. An allegation was made by the ODA that the Travellers had themselves caused health problems by burning toxic waste in a furnace, which turned out not to exist.

The All-Party Group on Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform, of which I am a vice-chair, discussed these matters with representatives from the ODA and the LDA who were kind enough to come in. They agreed that a senior official would deliver an apology about the wrongful allegation in person. Yet again, that is not what happened.



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Some of your Lordships may have had experience of developers making life uncomfortable for residents. They will know that developers can be persuaded to negotiate compensation, lessen noise and disruption, and restrict hours of noisy work, often—if they are sensible—through a consultative process where all local people have the chance to be involved. That is not what it was like at Clays Lane. Could it be because the residents were not accustomed to forceful discussions with powerful developers and did not number lawyers and other professionally articulate citizens among them that they were treated with so little respect? What price the ODA’s social cohesion policy here? Where was the listening LDA?

We hoped that lessons had been learned after our discussion in Parliament—indeed, the people from the ODA and the LDA assured us that they had. But the episode of the letter to residents is not reassuring. The next test of the reality of the ODA’s fine policies about sustainable communities with regard to the Travellers is the nearby site of Waterden Crescent, where the ODA and the LDA assured us that the promised, but so far non-existent, written plan for building works will now be issued every month.

Nobody in these sad episodes is asking for development to stop, and nobody wants the Games not to succeed. Indeed, everyone was delighted when the Government pulled off the tremendous coup of hosting the Games. But unless all those in the path of the great machine of the Olympic Delivery Authority are treated with as much respect as if they were powerful and influential people, they will end up with a legacy of mistrust, alienation and an impoverished quality of life.

Nearly £9 billion is to be spent in the area to be redeveloped. We shall have the largest new urban green space in Europe. Can we not ensure that this kind of money is spent at all levels with the right values for truly sustainable communities? The Newham Travellers have their own thoughts about a more positive legacy. They would like the opportunity to return to a part of the Olympic park area after 2012, on their own site, where they will be away from heavy traffic. They have some support from the mayors of London and Newham, and the LDA. If this can be written into the Olympic legacy, it would show that the Travellers had finally been heard. I hope that my noble friend, too, can support it.

1.07 pm

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I was one of those who did not want the Olympics to come, and I doubt that we would be hosting them if we had been honest about the costs that they would involve. However, now that we have the Olympics, it is up to all of us to make them work as best as possible for the whole country.

My noble friend Lord Coe said that he would ensure that they were memorable; I have no doubt that they will be. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, asked, what will be the legacy? The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London told us of some of the opportunities and the new village that is to be built. I hope that appropriate places of worship

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will be within that new village, and I hope, particularly, that a Church of England church will be within it, as that is our established church in this country.

Conversely, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle said that the north-east had felt no benefit. As far as I am concerned, Newcastle is practically in London, so if there is no benefit in Newcastle, there is no benefit whatever north of the border.

To the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, I say, “Don’t hold your breath about the Government”. The Government will mess it up, even though they will do so with the very best of intentions. It happens to be one of the difficulties of government that has plagued every Government in every country throughout the world. However, what I have enjoyed about today’s debate is the enthusiasm and passion that the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, brought, and his real feel for the community.

I have an equal passion for the north of Scotland. A lot of what is happening there depends on arts and heritage funding, because that produces tourism. Tourism is key in the north of Scotland. We do not have much flexibility with regard to farming; there are not alternative things that one can do down in the south-east; industry, particularly the fishing industry, has been decimated; and Dounreay is being decommissioned. We need jobs in that area, and tourism is perhaps the most important sector for us, because it provides employment and keeps the communities together.

However, the real difficulty with the Olympics is the raiding of more than £1 billion from the National Lottery fund budget. That is having enormous consequences. There is plenty of scope for debate as to how and why the Government force the lottery fund to spend its money in certain ways and whether the heritage is relevant so far as the Heritage Lottery Fund is concerned, in view of some of the recent achievements. Those are questions for another day.

I am delighted to be able to say a big thank you to the Government about what the Secretary of State said two days ago in another place; namely, confirmation that there would be no more raids on the National Lottery fund—£1.1 billion is quite enough and way in excess of what there should have been—regardless of whether the costs of the Olympics will increase, which I am sure they will. They will go well above the current budget.

However, there are two consequences. The first is that, a big foot having been put on the main artery that has stopped the flow of funds going to some worthwhile local projects, there is a loss of momentum—a large one built up over the past years. It is all very well to say that we are going to do something in the future—which I will come back to—but when you lose that momentum, people do not put in applications, they lose enthusiasm and regenerating that is going to be difficult.

My second point is on how one is going to compensate the Heritage Lottery Fund for what is being forced on it at the moment. In our last debate

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on 17 May, the noble Lord, Lord Evans of Temple Guiting, whom I am delighted to see in his place, replied to my noble friend Lord Baker that,

There are big questions about the value of land in east London—and, at the moment, about land throughout the country. It appears that there might be quite a discrepancy in what comes back to the lottery. Therefore, I ask the Minister two questions. First, will any repayment to the lottery come back with interest attached? Secondly, would the Government consider allowing the National Lottery fund to have an overdraft account guaranteed by the Government up to £1.1 billion? If it did, the flow of good local projects could be kept going so that we did not have what really worries me—a big stall period for four years in which people lose interest, with consequences for employment and jobs locally.

1.12 pm

Lord Young of Norwood Green: My Lords, unlike the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, my starting premise is that I believe in the UK version of the Olympic vision. I believe it is good for Britain and good for London. Let us hope that my prediction is better than that of the noble Earl, who seems to be the Cassandra for today’s debate. However, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for giving us the opportunity to have this debate and for an inspirational contribution. I took note of his focus on people, places and sustainable communities. People have paid tribute to his track record. If I had a quibble, it was when he seemed to say that it was not the macro that was important, but the micro. Surely the macro is important. We have to deliver the Games. However, I understand the importance of the micro. In fact, surely the task is that we have to combine both.

The noble Lord, Lord Coe, although he did not deliver on time this time—I hope that he will hit the 2012 deadline, and on budget—did well to remind us that the Olympics and the Paralympics are two of the biggest sporting events in the world. As he rightly said, they give us a unique opportunity.

The difference in the UK and in the British approach will be that we have put sustainability at the heart of our thinking. Looking at some of the disastrous attempts to stage the Games, with stadiums which unfortunately languish these days, we know how easy it is to invest an awful lot of money and not get the kind of sustainable payback that we are all looking for.

The task is to run a great Olympics and at the same time have this wonderful sustainable legacy. It is ambitious. However, if we look at what we are investing in, we can see that these will be world-class venues with a great afterlife that are not, therefore, just being planned for the Games. We will have the largest urban park in Europe for 150 years; 4,000 new homes, many affordable—I would like the Minister, when he replies, to give us some assurances that the amount of affordable housing will not be reduced because of this problem with land values—20 kilometres of roads, 32 bridges, new utilities and 12

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kilometres of underground power lines; 7,000 new jobs in construction and 12,000 in legacy; and the key involvement of people who have not been in employment for a long time on the volunteer programme. That is an imaginative and important approach. Trying to involve small businesses and employers is something that I see as a key part of this programme.

I share the concern of the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, about the cultural legacy. We do not want sport to be seen in a narrow dimension. I hope that the Minister will give some reassurance in that respect. We do not want the great sporting event to undermine the valuable contribution that arts can make to not only this event, but the spiritual and even sporting life of the country. I agree with the point made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London—I am not sure whether he is in his place—about the role of faith organisations. However, not only faith organisations but schools need to be fully involved in this programme.

I enjoyed the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on the importance of the sports legacy. He is right to remind us of that. We have a golden opportunity to improve sports facilities and encourage participation. Looking at the disincentive created by the cost of participating in sport, particularly when you come from the disadvantaged areas of your community, I sometimes think that we ought to treat sport in the way that we treat the health service—free at the point of use, certainly for young people. Getting them involved early on makes a vital contribution to their lives.

I agree with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle and the noble Lord, Lord Addington, about the need to ensure that this does not become London-centric. I see that there are moves in that direction. The importance of both regional and local participation is a valid point. I certainly concur with the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, about the importance of community cohesion being fed into this project. If the local communities are not involved, we will only be doing half the job.

I am trying to ensure that I do not incur the wrath of the noble Baroness—unfortunately she is not here—by making sure that I keep to time. Is the Olympic glass half full or half empty? If you are the optimist among us, it is half full. I hope we are going to see it as half full, because we have a wonderful tendency in this country to denigrate ourselves and undermine the possibility for achievement. If we want the Olympics to be successful, sure, we need constructive criticism. However, there has to be a belief that we can do this.

We will never have a better opportunity to create a sense of national identity, inspire a new generation of sports men and women, and create a positive image of the UK. We might even encourage more tourists to Scotland, which might please the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. I want to end on a little e-mail printed in yesterday’s copy of the Times which made me smile, which said: “Despite all the criticism” over costs,



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1.18 pm

Baroness Murphy: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, for securing this debate. Not for nothing has the noble Lord been referred to as the Ezekiel of the East End, castigating local public sector bodies in east London for their sometimes wimpish approach to community regeneration. I know, because as chairman, until last year, of the local North East London Strategic Health Authority, I was on the receiving end of the noble Lord’s occasional diatribes—which were all the more irritating for being right.

Today, I am associating myself wholeheartedly with his vision for Newham and the Lower Lea Valley, as part of the Olympics’ legacy, which has been so admirably described by him and which needs so much input to make it happen right for the people of the East End. I make no apology for coming back to the people who are living there now and will be living there in the future.

I shall talk particularly about the health legacy of the Olympics. We have heard these figures quoted before in this House, but, according to the statistics, a child born in Newham is likely to live seven years less than a child born in Westminster or Kensington and 10 years less if he or she smokes or develops early vascular disease as a result of secondary diabetes, largely as a result of obesity and lack of exercise. The sad fact is that growing up in Newham is bad for your health. One of the youngest, fastest-growing population groups is simply not improving as fast as the population groups of other places in the UK. That is not for want of local initiatives by the NHS and a rather good local authority.

Routine physical exercise is the key, not participation in sport. I remind noble Lords that the Office of Science and Technology Foresight report on obesity published last year outlined the complex issues—the social, technological and cultural drivers—involved. Nevertheless, it cannot be said better than it was said by Tessa Jowell:

While adult energy expenditure is thought to have decreased by as much as 30 per cent in the past decade, calorie intake appears to be the same or even a little below that of 1980. It is a matter of promoting exercise as a whole.

The key thing that we know about creating urban environments in which physical exercise is encouraged is that you need to make it a part of the central regeneration plan. Even using up 200 or 300 extra calories a day is all that is needed to prevent obesity in most people. The design layouts in the built environment, such as streets, the location of recreation facilities, parks, public buildings and transport systems, can either encourage or discourage. A lovely study in Atlanta by Frank and Engelke showed that when neighbourhoods are divided into four quartiles based on an approach of building healthy physical environments, each quartile increase in mixed land use, making people more likely to walk to shops, schools, workplaces and other destinations such as churches close to their dwellings, facilitates better active living and is associated

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with a 12.2 per cent reduction in the likelihood of obesity. Each additional kilometre walked each day is associated with an almost 5 per cent reduction. That is why so much of the design of the Olympic park legacy is so vital.

I shall not say much about the sports facility legacy. We feel that it must be important but we know, sadly, that increased enthusiasm for specific sports after a great event tends to be short-lived—rather like the appearance of tennis rackets every Wimbledon fortnight, which disappear a month later. But we know that those facilities are much more likely to be used by local schools and adults if we provide them as part of a naturally increased physically active environment. We must get the physical activity right as a general rule, before we can improve sports. 2012 provides a unique opportunity to address some of the health issues that the UK faces. We can test what really works. Are the Government intending to use the regeneration area as a test bed for some of the ideas expressed in the Foresight obesity action plan, for example?

I end by expressing some concern about the politics of all this. To date, after the euphoria of the bid, the Department of Health has not demonstrated a keen commitment to the Olympics health legacy. There has been a recent reshuffling of public health responsibilities yet again, but no clarity about who is responsible for what in this area and who will interface with other departments involved. Public health specialists in NHS London and its constituent PCTs have some really good work going on. Sport England used to be interested and involved in improving physical exercise, but its input, although greatly appreciated, has now transferred to the Department of Health. There is a worrying vacuum in the department about who is taking forward this particular responsibility. Will the Minister explore in some depth with his colleagues who is in charge of making the Olympics health legacy really work to improve physical activity and the take-up of the sports legacy? I fear that at present no one is.


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