HL Deb 16 October 2002 vol 639 cc54-5WA
Lord Clarke of Hampstead

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they expect the final report of the English National Stadium Review to be published. [HL5962]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone)

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is today publishing the final report of the English National Stadium Review, led by Patrick Carter, and placing copies in the Libraries of both Houses. The report reflects the detail of the agreements concluded by all principal parties on the national stadium project on 26 September.

My right honourable friend set out on 19 December 2001 in another place (Offical Report, cols. 291–3) four tests which we expected the Football Association (FA) and Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL) to meet before the offer of government support to the national stadium project could be confirmed:

First, an independent assessment of the multiplex stadium construction contracts: this was undertaken by Cyril Sweett Ltd and copies were placed in the House Libraries in May. Since May the contract has changed from a design, construct and finance arrangement to a design and construct contract. Cyril Sweett Ltd has therefore reviewed the new contract and produced an addendum report that concludes the new contract remains value for money. I am placing copies of the addendum report in the House Libraries today.

Secondly, as my right honourable friend explained in her 7 May statement in another place (Official Report, cols. 21–2), WNSL has made available to the Comptroller and Auditor General papers relating to the project.

The third test is corporate governance changes to be made to produce a management structure capable of delivering a complex project within procedures acceptable to the public sector. In addition to the significant strengthening of the WNSL Board, already announced, a range of improved procedures are now in place.

The fourth is confirmation that financial support was adequate and fully committed. As Patrick Carter's report sets out, this is now the case.

Having reviewed the steps the FA and WNSL have taken since December last year and Patrick Carter's assessment of the progress made by WNSL, including his view that on balance our four tests have been met, we have confirmed the Government's support to the national stadium project which we had first offered in December. My right honourable friend has however also ensured that the public interest in the new national stadium is protected by stronger safeguards than those secured at the previous project's failed syndication in 2000.

The time has come for Government to stand back as the project moves into the construction phase and is taken forward by the FA and WNSL. But, as Patrick Carter has noted, to safeguard the public interest, the project as a whole will require careful monitoring, and with Sport England and the London Development Agency we shall be putting in place new arrangements as recommended by the Office for Government Commerce.