November 18 - The governance and overall responsibility of the London 2012 Legacy should be given to a "state-level Minister", according to a report published by the House of Lords Select Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy today.
In the report, the Lords acknowledged the "outstanding success" of the Games, but urged the Government to hand responsibility of the legacy to a Minister who "should be responsible and accountable to Parliament for coordinating delivery of the legacy [...] this would provide clear, identifiable, national ownership of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy."
The recommendation comes after the Committee found legacy benefits to be "in danger of faltering" following squabbles over major projects, such as the ownership of the Olympic Stadium, and the failed boost to participation in sport across the UK.
The report indicates that "little evidence" has been found for the increased participation of sport, one of the major promises made in regards to London 2012 legacy prior to the Games.
"The legacy aspiration was for a step change in participation, with the inspiration of the Games leading to much greater participation by the general public," said the report, entitled Keeping the flame alive: the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy.
"Looking at the data as they stand, it is too soon to say whether the slight post-Games rise in activity will be sustained, or whether the slight fall overall earlier this year was more than a seasonal blip.
"Whatever the position, the evidence does not support a surge in participation in the immediate wake of the Games across the population as a whole."
It also highlighted the uneven distribution of economic benefits of the Games and criticised UK Sport for its "no compromise" policy on sports without short-term medal prospects.
"Too strict an adherence to this approach, which is by its nature based largely on a retrospective assessment of performance, will develop a growing gap between the sports which already do well and those which have little realistic prospect of developing in the next few years," read the report.
"Unless it is moderated, and tied more strongly to performance pathways, this approach will fail to foster the long-term development of sports from grassroots level up."
Government figures claim that £2.5 ($4/€3) billion of additional foreign direct investment had been secured since the Games, resulting in 31,000 new jobs.
But while London and South-East England benefited with nearly 15,000 additional jobs, just seven were created in the North East and 51 in the East Midlands.
Also, of the investment secured since the Games, just £21.5 million ($35 million/€25.6 million), or one per cent, has benefited Wales whilst over £1 billion ($1.6 billion/€1.9 billion) has been secured for London itself and £716 million ($1.2 billion/€853 million) for South-East England.
"We note that economic benefits which might have arisen from the Games are disproportionately weighted towards southern England," stated the report.
"The scale of difference goes beyond that which might reasonably be expected to occur as a result of the Games taking place in and around London.
"We urge the Government and UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) to assess the reasons for this disparity and, in light of this assessment, to revise their plans for promoting post-Games investments in regions outside southern England, whilst recognising the importance of London to the UK economy as a whole."
The ongoing row between West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient over the future use of the Olympic Stadium has also been a "disappointing distraction", according to the report.
The Committee says they are "concerned that the central point is being missed" with regards to the Stadium, stating that "the Stadium is a national asset and the focus should be on making the best use of it for the community and for the taxpayer."
They also urged, "Those concerned to think further on how the two most local football clubs might work together, including whether any difficulties can be ameliorated through wider community use of the Stadium, which may include its occasional use by Leyton Orient FC if appropriate financial arrangements can be agreed."
As well as the appointment of a Minister to take overall responsibility of the legacy, the report believes that the Mayor of London should be given control and ownership over further development of East London and the Olympic Park in Stratford.
"Ultimate responsibility for the long-term, over-arching leadership and ownership for the legacy in East London must fall to the office of the Mayor.
"We recommend that this principle is accepted both by national Government, by the Greater London Authority and by the London Boroughs and that the office of the Mayor is given the necessary powers and authority to ensure that that legacy is delivered."
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