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Session 2005 - 06
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Standing Committee Debates
London Olympics Bill

London Olympics Bill




 
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Standing Committee D

Thursday 13 October 2005

(Morning)

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairmen: †Mr. Jimmy Hood, Mr. David Amess

†Brown, Lyn (West Ham) (Lab)

†Caborn, Mr. Richard (Minister for Sport and Tourism)

†Foster, Mr. Don (Bath) (LD)

†Hillier, Meg (Hackney, South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op)

†Lait, Mrs. Jacqui (Beckenham) (Con)

†McFadden, Mr. Pat (Wolverhampton, South-East) (Lab)

†Mann, John (Bassetlaw) (Lab)

Miller, Mrs. Maria (Basingstoke) (Con)

Pelling, Mr. Andrew (Croydon, Central) (Con)

†Reed, Mr. Andy (Loughborough) (Lab/Co-op)

†Robertson, Hugh (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con)

†Robertson, John (Glasgow, North-West) (Lab)

Selous, Andrew (South-West Bedfordshire) (Con)

†Swinson, Jo (East Dunbartonshire) (LD)

†Tami, Mark (Alyn and Deeside) (Lab)

†Ward, Claire (Watford) (Lab)

†Wyatt, Derek (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Lab)

Alan Sandall, Committee Clerk

†attended the Committee

[Mr. Jimmy Hood in the Chair]

London Olympics Bill

9.30 am

Ordered,

    That—

    (1) during proceedings on the London Olympics Bill, in addition to its first meeting on Thursday 13th October at 9.30 am, the Standing Committee shall meet on Thursday 13th October at 2.00 pm, on Tuesday 18th October at 10.30 am and 4.00 pm and on Thursday 20th October at 9.30 am and 2.00 pm;

    (2) the proceedings shall be taken in the order shown below and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 20th October: Clause 39; Clauses 1 to 3; Schedule 1; Clauses 4 to 30; Schedule 2; Clause 31; Schedule 3; Clauses 32 to 38; Remaining proceedings on the Bill.

Clause 39

Short title

Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): I beg to move amendment No. 64, in page 26, line 6, after 'Olympics', insert 'and Paralympics'.

We are obviously going to make great progress, which I am sure the whole Committee is delighted about, so I shall not detain hon. Members long on this amendment. The Committee will be aware that the long title of the Bill refers, quite properly, to the Olympic games and the Paralympic games. All Members of the House have been at great pains to remind the entire country not only that this country is the home of the Paralympic games, but that what we won in that wonderful victory in Singapore a few months ago was the right to put on the best ever Olympic games and the best ever Paralympic games. It would be a huge pity if the short title of the Bill did not refer to the Paralympic games in addition to the Olympic games.

It is worth recalling the press release that Lord Coe issued on 29 August about the phenomenal success that occurred in Singapore. I am sure that the whole Committee would wish to congratulate him and his team on the amazing work that they did in securing the games, which will be of great benefit to all parts of the United Kingdom, not only London. In the press release, Lord Coe says:

    ''We won our bid as one bid for both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.''

Lord Coe says that; the long title of the Bill says it; it would be appropriate if the short title of the Bill said it as well.

Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con): We simply want to add our very strong support to the amendment, which we co-signed with the Liberals. I think that everyone in the Committee would agree that Paralympic sport has been moving up the sporting agenda considerably in recent years. It was a key part of winning the bid in Singapore and it would be
 
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entirely appropriate if that was recorded as part of the Bill. I would be amazed if anyone disagreed with that.

The Minister for Sport and Tourism (Mr. Richard Caborn): First, I apologise slightly because I got in at 3 o'clock this morning after coming back from Manchester following a great victory by England over Poland and I have not followed my speaking notes as I should have done. I should have welcomed you to the Chair, Mr. Hood. The proceedings have moved on quite quickly, but could I welcome you to the Chair now, and Mr. Amess as well?

As the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) said, we are here this morning because of the support from both Opposition parties. That is why I hope that the proceedings over the next few weeks will deal only with detail rather than with principle. We have had an incredibly good dialogue. The reason why we are here with a Bill that is pretty sound now is that we did a lot of work before 6 July, when we won the games, which has put us in a good position to move the proceedings forward.

On amendment No. 64 and the sentiments expressed by the hon. Gentleman, one of the things that we put very forcefully in our bid was that the Paralympics were coming home, because 1948, when the Olympics took place in London, was, many say, the origin of the Paralympics. I therefore agree in principle with what the hon. Gentleman said. If he withdraws the amendment, I will ensure that it comes back on Report. The lawyers want to look at it, as always, but I am sure that we will not deviate from the words in the amendment. With that assurance, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw it. We will bring it back on Report.

Mr. Foster: Now that the Minister has taken the opportunity to welcome you to the Chair, Mr. Hood, may I, too, say that I look forward to serving under your chairmanship and that of your co-Chairman?

The amendment is simple. I have some difficulty in understanding why the Minister feels the need to go away and think about adding the words ''and Paralympics'', and then to come back with an amendment of his own—especially as I suspect that it is likely to be worded in a very similar vein, because I have considerable difficulty imagining how it could be otherwise.

Nevertheless, I wish to act in keeping with the spirit of these proceedings, and I take into account the need to ensure that the wording is absolutely correct and that parliamentary counsel have given their full approval so that the Minister can claim great credit for putting forward a Government amendment referring to the Paralympics—we well understand how these things work. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Chairman: The Minister's brevity caught me out. However, I want to remind the Committee that there is a money resolution in connection with this Bill, and that copies of it are available in the Room. I also remind Members that adequate notice should be given
 
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of amendments. I and my co-Chair do not intend to call starred amendments, including any starred amendments that might be reached during an afternoon sitting.

Clause 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 1

Interpretation of principal terms

Mr. Foster: I beg to move amendment No. 30, in page 2, line 15, at end insert

    ', and

    (h) ''sustainable development'' means development that will strive to incorporate—

    (i) low carbon emissions;

    (ii) low waste;

    (iii) the provision of sustainable transport;

    (iv) the use of local and sustainable materials;

    (v) the use of local and sustainable food;

    (vi) the use of a local and sustainable workforce;

    (vii) low water demand;

    (viii) the conservation and enhancement of natural habitats and wildlife;

    (ix) local heritage and contemporary culture;

    (x) the principles of equality and fair trade;

    (xi) the promotion of health and well being;

    (xii) low energy demand.'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 14, in clause 5, page 4, line 28, at end insert—

    '(ba) to achieving sustainable development,'.

Mr. Foster: Again, I hope not to detain the Committee for long. Members are aware of the clear commitment made by the bid team, in putting together the bid for the 2012 Olympics, to ensure that the games are in all respects developed in a sustainable way. The team produced an extremely good document ''Towards a One Planet Olympics'', which clearly sets out its intention to ensure that it provides the first sustainable Olympic games and Paralympics. Indeed, that was a fundamental objective of the Olympic movement, through Agenda 21 and ''Sport for Sustainable Development''.

Unfortunately, although that was made a high priority in our bid document, the Bill reflects little of the zeal that underpinned that aspect of the bid that we took to Singapore. There is little mention of sustainable development, and that term is not defined in the Bill. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to give the Minister the opportunity to tell us a little more about sustainable development and how he foresees it fitting into our future plans for the delivery of the 2012 games. That is why I tabled these amendments, with some definitions of sustainability that he may wish to discuss and suggest some changes to.

I should make it clear where the definitions in the amendments come from. They are largely based on the ''One Planet Living'' document, a set of benchmarks produced by World Wide Fund for Nature and some other organisations. Along with those that they produced, in these amendments two further
 
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benchmarks are proposed: low energy demand, which would, of course, be over and beyond the low carbon emission aims that we already have; and the use of a local and sustainable work force.

There are a number of other issues that we could discuss in some detail if the Minister were interested in doing so, but I think that he and Committee members are well aware that sustainable development is a key element in the planning for, and delivery of, the games. By these amendments we have given an opportunity for sustainable development to be given a higher priority than it has in the Bill. I hope that they will be supported by the Minister, at least in principle, if not in their full detail.

 
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Prepared 13 October 2005