(P115) Text of a statement made in the House of Commons - 15 May 2003

The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.

London 2012 Olympic Bid

Mr Speaker, I am delighted to be able to inform the House that  following the discussion at Cabinet today Government has decided to give its wholehearted backing to a bid to host the Olympic Games and the Paralympics in London in 2012.  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 Government will back to the hilt the efforts of the BOA, alongside the GLA, LDA and others.

The Bid will be a huge stimulus for elite sport &endash; 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 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 and develop talent. 

We want to harness the power of sport to help address some of the key issues our nation faces - health, social inclusion, educational motivation and fighting crime. 

We want the Olympics to be  the catalyst that inspires people of all ages and all talents to lead more active lives.

We want to spread the benefits 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

* holding the football competition and some other events outside London

Mr Speaker, I warmly welcome the pledge from  all Parties to support the Bid.  That cross-party support is important to giving 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 its backing.

Those tests were: -

* Can we afford it?

* Can we win?

* Can we deliver a strong bid and a high quality Games?

* What legacy would a Games leave?

We have spent the last few months applying these tests rigorously.

Mr Speaker, I believe on the basis of rigorous scrutiny a London bid passes those tests on every count.  I would like to take the House briefly through each one. 

First, the cost.  We estimate the cost of bidding will be in the region of £17m.  Business, the LDA and Government will bear this.

Should we win a bid, I believe that the cost of the Olympics should be borne at least in part by those who would most benefit.  

So I have agreed with the Mayor of London a funding package of £2.375bn, including a 50% contingency.  Of that, £875 million will be borne by London through a £20 increase in council tax 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 Olympic game would raise an estimated £1.5bn.

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.

Next  - can we 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 venues, 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 that we can deliver a high quality and competitive bid based around an Olympic zone located in the Lee Valley.

Lastly, legacy. 

The Games will bring great benefits to London:

* The Economy will benefit

* Tourism will benefit

* The Lower Lee Valley will benefit from new facilities and regeneration

So the work starts now. I am quite realistic about the work involved and the risks ahead. I know that public opinion will ebb and flow in favour of the project.

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 arms 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. 

We are bidding because we believe it will be good for sport, good for London, and good for the whole of the UK. It is a declaration that we are proud of our country and confident of our ability.

Mr Speaker, London is bidding for the Olympic Games.  I believe it should host the greatest games on earth.  Now we have two years to prove to the world that we deserve to be given that chance.

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15/5/03 Last updated 15/5/03