2012 Olympics and job creation

Meeting: 
MQT on 2007-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2007
Reference: 
2007/1230
Question By: 
Damian Hockney
Organisation: 
One London Party
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

The London Assembly's report into possible outcomes of the Olympic Games (A Lasting Legacy for London?) appears to justify One London's view that there will be no new full time jobs created as a result of the 2012 Games. At the recent Assembly plenary the Olympic Delivery Authority were unable to quantify the numbers of new permanent jobs.

Can the Mayor now specify where these new jobs will come from, and does he have any figures for the numbers of jobs lost to the Olympic boroughs with the closure, extinguishing or relocation of firms on the site of the Games?

Answer

Answer for 2012 Olympics and job creation

Answer for 2012 Olympics and job creation

Answered By: 
The Mayor

This question is one of the worst examples yet of the whining and cynicism which characterises some Members' attitudes to the huge opportunities the Olympic Games are bringing to London and Londoners.

Let us start with the claim that the Assembly's recent report justifies this pessimism and negativity. In fact, the opposite is the case. The Assembly's own report concluded, and I quote,

'London has made a strong start to securing a physical legacy from the Games, including an ambitious plan of urban renewal. Although the evidence suggests that a sustainable legacy in terms of employment and skills is difficult to achieve, we believe it is right to set ambitious targets, and are encouraged by early work to secure success in these areas.'

It is a pity that what, on the whole, was a balanced and helpful report was used by some Members of the Assembly, without any justification, to spin negative headlines about the Olympic Games.

On Monday I met with Frank Lowy, the Chairman of Westfield, and discussed the progress of the huge private sector investment of many billions of pounds that he and his partners are now making at Stratford, effectively as part of the preparations for the Games. That would not be happening without the Olympic Games. It means another 10,000 jobs in the construction phase, on top of those for the Games themselves, and many thousands of high quality permanent jobs in retail, business services, leisure and other sectors after the Games. It will bring new flagship John Lewis and Marks & Spencer stores to East London. The associated housing developments of at least 9,000 new homes will also bring many new jobs with them, as well as affordable homes for local people. The confidence the private sector is showing in the Olympics opportunities is in stark contrast to these efforts at knocking the Games, and it is backed with huge amounts of hard cash. That is, no doubt, why every opinion poll shows that a huge majority of Londoners continue to support the Games.

I am delighted that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has already started work on the earthworks to create the development platform for the Media and Broadcast Centre. The legacy of the Centre will be thousands of new jobs and the transformation of Hackney Wick from one of the most depressed parts of London into one full of opportunities, something the local council and local residents find exciting, even if some Assembly Members do not.

We have seen all this before with the claims that the London Development Agency (LDA) would fail to relocate important local businesses like Bywaters and Lance Forman's food business, all false. Over 90% of the jobs in the area already have a confirmed relocation site. Many businesses are taking the opportunity of new improved premises to invest more and create more jobs for Londoners. Bywaters alone is taking on another 100 staff. The LDA is continuing to support remaining businesses and their employees during the relocation phase, and, for the small number of those businesses who decide not to relocate, the LDA is committed to working with their partners to help employees find alternative employment and/or provide training to enable them to access other employment opportunities.

It is a pity that Damian [Hockney] does not have the good grace to admit how wrong he is, and to congratulate the LDA's staff on the successful efforts they have made to preserve jobs and businesses, which efforts are unprecedented in a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) of this magnitude.