HC Deb 29 March 1999 vol 328 c718
6. Mr. John Grogan (Selby)

If he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards the Commonwealth games in Manchester in 2002. [77374]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Chris Smith)

We want to see a highly successful Commonwealth games in 2002. I am pleased to say that £112 million of lottery money will help to build facilities that will not only house the games, but provide a lasting sporting legacy for the people of Manchester. I am pleased also that a detailed sports programme for the games has been agreed and that the programme for athletes with disabilities has been fully integrated. Manchester 2002 Ltd. will now be able to work up a detailed budget and pursue television sales and sponsorship.

Mr. Grogan

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Manchester Commonwealth games will be an excellent showcase for Britain in the year of the Queen's golden jubilee and that their success will enhance our chances of attracting similar prestigious international events? Is he, therefore, seriously considering the case for central Government financial support for the costs of the opening and closing ceremonies and security?

Mr. Smith

There is already substantial support for building the facilities. It is early days yet in determining the revenue needs of the games, because much will depend on accurate estimates of the costs, both of running the games as a whole and of the opening and closing ceremonies. Much will also depend on the sale of television rights and the amount of private sector sponsorship that is sought. At this stage, it would not be right to pre-empt decisions on those issues.

Mr. Ronnie Fearn (Southport)

Is the Secretary of State aware that, at last week's meeting of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, we were informed that there might be a danger on the site that has been proposed for the Manchester games stadium, because deep mine workings are still in operation underneath that site? A fortnight ago, we visited the site and we were not informed of any difficulties. What will the Secretary of State do about that problem?

Mr. Smith

I am aware of the issue. A number of former mine workings are near the site of the facilities that are due to be built. All those have been identified, and the stadium and other facilities will be sited in areas that are unaffected.

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