HC Deb 08 March 2004 vol 418 cc1232-3
7. Eric Joyce (Falkirk West) (Lab)

What assessment she has made of the impact on Scotland of a successful UK bid for the 2012 Olympic games. [158922]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell)

I am grateful for the support of the First Minister, Jack McConnell, for the London Olympic bid. He recognises the excitement and energy that the Olympics would bring to every part of the United Kingdom. In testing public opinion before the decision to bid, we found that the level of support for bidding was higher in Scotland than almost anywhere else in the UK. Scottish athletes will enjoy the great boost to sport that the Olympics will bring. Hampden will be used as one of the football venues, and training facilities will be needed for the many visiting athletes. Of course, the tourism profile of the whole UK will be higher, which can only be good for Scotland.

Mr. Joyce

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. She will be aware that there are a number of super, high-level facilities in Scotland, such as the national swimming academy in Stirling, the judo centre of excellence in Edinburgh and the rowing centre of excellence at Strathclyde university. Does she agree that a successful Olympic bid, or even simply an Olympic bid, would enhance the possibility of the success of a Scottish bid for the 2014 Commonwealth games?

Tessa Jowell

I agree with my hon. Friend, who will know that the four home countries are working closely together through the sports cabinet to plan and support bids for major international events such as the Commonwealth games, when the time comes. I know that Scotland is interested in the Commonwealth games, and we welcome Scotland's support for bringing the Olympics to London.

Mr. Andrew Love (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op)

The best way to have an impact in Scotland is to give Scotland a voice. The Secretary of State is currently setting up a forum in London to give people in London a voice. Why not extend that to other parts of the country so that the whole country can have a say in the way in which the bid is put together? In that way, people can be reassured that their part of the country will be included.

Tessa Jowell

That is a very important point, and Barbara Cassani and other members of the bid team have been travelling all round the UK to have precisely those discussions. She had a good, constructive meeting with the First Minister in Scotland. The key to the success of our Olympic bid will be to achieve a high level of enthusiasm not just in London, but radiating right round the United Kingdom.