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Parliamentary questions

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Parliamentary questions are one of a network of resources useful for researching many aspects of the 2012 Olympic Games. They provide statistical and financial information quite extensively, with pointers to more detailed sources, and are a means of tracing the development of issues and concerns over time as well as the interests of individual members. Member interests are also reflected in the early day motions (EDMs) they put down, and may be stimulated by the publication of Select Committee and National Audit Office reports and by external lobbying.

Play audio: Parliamentary questions 12th May 2008 (9 min)
See transcript of extract in Hansard

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All answers and the original questions, whether transcribed from the Chamber or recorded from a printed format, are set out in The Official Report (Hansard) so they are widely available and accessible.

Play audio: Parliamentary questions 10th November 2008 (12 min)
See transcript of extract in Hansard

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References to Hansard are given in the Olympics 2012 parliamentary questions bibliography. The Guide to parliamentary questions highlights particular issues of concern. Both articles (see 'Research articles', right) are structured according to the five themes.

Play audio: Parliamentary questions 19th January 2009 (11 mins)
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Olympic Games 2012: questions by theme

Substantive questions from MPs and Lords can be analysed according by the following five themes:

  • legacy
  • local benefits
  • finance
  • transport
  • employment

Legacy

MPs would like to be reassured that the Olympics will leave an effective economic and social legacy for London and the UK. London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games to feature a planned national legacy as set out in the Government’s Legacy Action Plan, Before, During and After: Making the Most of the London 2012 Games, 2008.

Local benefits

Members are mostly keen to receive assurances that their constituency, county and region will benefit from the 2012 Games.

To ministerial irritation, enthusiasm for the games is not universal. There are concerns that the event will divert funding from the rest of the country and that the rest of the United Kingdom will be forced to help fund it, for no benefit.

Finance

MPs have been concerned about the rising costs of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Some feel that the government misled the public and parliament over the size of the budget for the London 2012 Olympics. The original budget for the games was set at £4bn, but the bill had jumped to £9.3bn by 2007. There is also considerable evidence of disquiet over the impact of the credit crunch and the recession, which are extensively explored. Parliamentary Questions are a mine of information about costs of all kinds, and point to other useful published sources (see for example Hansard 496 c1996-7W on use of consultants).

Employment

MPs have regularly raised concerns around employment issues, focusing on training and work opportunities for local people living in the five host boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest or Greenwich. The answers to these questions gives a clear picture of the make-up of the workforce engaged to construct the Olympic Park. For example, the answer to PQ 285109 tabled by Alistair Burt and answered on 16/07/2009 shows that of the 3,046 people employed on the Olympic Park in December 2008: (a) 63 per cent. were British (b) 86 per cent. were EU nationals and (c) 14 per cent. non-EU nationals. (Hansard 496 c614-5W ).

Transport

Reflecting current fashionable concerns about environmental conservation and sustainable development, Members have explored plans for transporting construction materials to the Olympic Park by water.

Other transport issues raised include predictable concerns about how visitors to the games can be transported to and from the site without disrupting the routine of regular commuters and MPs (Hansard 487 c1889-90W; 478 c924W). Ministerial answers show that the Olympic Delivery Authority is working with a range of stakeholders to plan transport arrangements.

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UK Parliament

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