MEMORANDUM BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
Staging International Sporting Events
28. The Committee's most extensive sporting inquiry
examined Government support for bids to stage and the staging
of major sporting events in the United Kingdom. We found a compelling
case for more concerted and co-ordinated Government support and
recommended in May 1999 that:
- the Government and national bodies take a more
leading role in events in partnership with host local authorities;
- the Government examine the case for additional
Government funding for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games;
- the Prime Minister designate a Minister for Events
in the Cabinet Office with particular responsibility for the Manchester
2002 Commonwealth Games and Wembley National Stadium.
29. The Government responded on 8 September 1999.
A Minister in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the Manchester
Commonwealth Games had been appointed in July 1999, but this was
due to a personal initiative of the Prime Minister in response
to our Report rather than any action by the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport.
We decided not to publish the Government's response. The reply
was eventually published by the Government itself in a modified
form in January 2000, but this document differed little in substance
from the previous version.
30. This year we examined one issue which had caused
us concern in the earlier inquirythe development of Wembley
National Stadium and its preparedness for athletics in particular.
The Report which we published in early March considered that the
new Stadium was suitable to serve as the venue for the 2005 World
This recommendation was rejected by the Secretary of State on
the day of the Report's publication. The Government published
a full reply, extending that rejection to the Committee's other
recommendations and conclusions,
later in March 2000.
We subsequently published the more positive response from Sport
England and other related documents ourselves.
31. The Committee has decided to conduct a follow-up
inquiry in the New Year to examine the impact of our earlier Report
on Staging International Sporting Events and developments since
The Future of Professional Rugby
32. Last year the Committee held a short inquiry
to examine the difficulties faced by professional rugby, both
League and Union. We concluded that the sustainability of professional
rugby mattered because of its wider impact on participation in
sport. We recommended the extension of best practice in rugby
clubs' educational work to other sports and linkage of grants
for facilities to community work and scrutiny of the financial
viability of clubs.
The Committee received a positive reply from the Government and
new memoranda from Sport England and the Department describe subsequent
33. The Committee has devoted five inquiries during
the current Parliament to the on-going scrutiny of Millennium
projects, including the Millennium Dome.
The following issues relating to the Millennium Dome were highlighted
during our inquiries:
- the paramount importance of the timely delivery
of the transport infrastructure;
- the particular difficulties and pressures for
the project created by the unalterable deadline for opening;
- the project's dependence upon innovative and
attractive content and the slow pace at which this content was
finalised and marketed;
- the crucial role of an effective ticketing and
- the need for the New Millennium Experience Company
to generate a sense of national involvement in and ownership of
- the importance of harnessing the regenerative
benefits of the project for the area and the nation;
- the need for effective planning for the long-term
future of the Dome; and
- the need for the highest standards of financial
accountability for the project.
34. Some of the Committee's concerns have been justified
by recent events. However, in other ways, the Committee has accepted
that, despite its close scrutiny of the project and of Government
responses, it failed to foresee some of the problems which have
now become apparent. Most of the Committee's recommendations have
been superseded by events and the Committee has not sought further
information from the Government at the present time. Some issues
remain outstanding and it is possible that the Committee will
return to its consideration of the Dome in the course of 2001.
35. It should be emphasised that several of the Committee's
inquiries were not confined to the Millennium Dome, but considered
the impact of Millennium projects across the United Kingdom. There
are some outstanding issues arising from this consideration, relating,
for example, to the assessment of the regenerative impact of the
Millennium Commission's capital programme, the financial sustainability
of projects and arrangements for support of such projects when
the Millennium Commission is dissolved.
The Government's most recent response does not provide definitive
answers on these issues.
We may pursue some of these issues in the course of 2001.
36. The Annex to this memorandum sets out the number
of days between the publication of the Committee's Reports and
the receipt of the Government's response. From this it will be
apparent that the Government has not always adhered to the two
month convention, though as a general rule, the Committee is more
concerned with the substance than the timing of replies. The swiftest
response we received was on Wembley National Stadium: the
reply took 21 days and rejected all of our recommendations.
37. Of the 22 Government responses which we have
received, 10 have been in the form of Command Papers and 12 have
been in the form of memoranda which we have subsequently published
in the form of Special Reports. I consider the latter method unsatisfactory.
In my view, replies are Government documents and Government should
take responsibility for their publication. Publication by Government
itself also makes publication possible during the recess.
13 December 2000
56 Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee,
Staging International Sporting Events, HC (1998-99) 124-I. Back
Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Wembley
National Stadium, HC (1999-2000) 164, paras 45, 143. Back
International Sporting Events: Government Response to the Fourth
Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1998-99,
Cm 4575, January 2000. Back
(1999-2000) 164. Back
National Stadium: Government Response to the Fourth Report from
the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000,
Cm 4686, March 2000. Back
Special Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Wembley
National Stadium: Responses to the Fourth Report from the Culture,
Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, HC (1999-2000)
Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Future
of Professional Rugby, HC (1999-2000) 99. Back
Special Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The
Future of Professional Rugby: Government Response to the Second
Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000,
HC (1999-2000) 268; Appendix 2, Part V; Appendix 5. Back
Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Millennium
Dome, HC (1997-98) 340-I; Sixth Report from the Culture, Media
and Sport Committee, Not Only the Dome: The Millennium Celebrations
in the United Kingdom, HC (1997-98) 818-I; Third Report from
the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Back to the Dome,
HC (1998-99) 21-I; First Report from the Culture, Media and Sport
Committee, Countdown to the Millennium, HC (1999-2000)
24-I; Eighth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee,
Marking the Millennium in the United Kingdom, HC (1999-2000)
(1999-2000) 578-I, paras 7-30. Back
the Millennium in the United Kingdom: Government Response to the
Eighth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session
1999-2000, Cm 4899, October
2000. Cm 4899, pp 1-2. Back