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Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages

Published Wednesday, January 22, 2020

This House of Lords Library briefing provides background information on the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL], ahead of its second reading in the House of Lords on 3 February 2020.

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The Birmingham Commonwealth Games are set to take place between 27 July and 7 August 2022. Athletes from across 71 Commonwealth member nations and territories are expected to take part and the Government expects over a million people to attend the games and a further 1.5 billion people to watch on television. The games will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the West Midlands and £778 million has been allocated to support delivery.

The Government has described the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] as comprising a “number of operational measures” required to support the delivery of the games. These would be temporary. It has drawn parallels with the legislation required to deliver the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. The bill would permit the provision of financial assistance to the organising committee; require the organising committee to report on its work; regulate association with the games; create offences in respect of ticket touting, advertising and trading; and permit the Government to direct the preparation of a transport plan.

A first version of the bill was introduced in the 2017–19 session. It received cross-party support and was amended before being carried over and then lost at the end of the 2017 parliament. Government amendments on report included a new clause on reporting; clarifying the bodies that could be charged with preparing a games transport plan; and applying the affirmative resolution procedure to a delegated power in respect of compensation claims. The current version is substantially the same as that passed by the House in the short session preceding the December 2019 general election.

The original version of the bill was welcomed by individuals including John Crabtree, chair of the Birmingham 2022 organising committee; Ian Ward, Labour leader of Birmingham City Council; Andy Street, Conservative mayor of the West Midlands; and David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce have also been supportive of the games generally. The Birmingham Mail has suggested that the road closure powers in the bill were “likely to be controversial”. However, the same article noted that the rationale behind the powers was to “ensure spectators, athletes and games officials are able to get to the games while ensuring Birmingham residents are still able to get around”.

Lords Library notes LLN-2020-0022

Author: Thomas Brown

Topic: Sports and Olympic Games

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