Tessa Jowell backs Building’s campaign in the House of Commons

Shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell today raised the row over Olympic marketing rights in the House of Commons, highlighting Building’s campaign on the issue.

Speaking two days after ODA chairman Sir John Armitt made a public call for a relaxation of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Olympic Marketing Rights Protocol in order that 2012 firms can better promote their involvement in the Games, Jowell quizzed Olympics minister Hugh Robertson on the matter in parliament.

Building reported the frustration in the construction industry over the strict protocol - designed to protect the rights of paying sponsors - in its first issue of 2012.

Since then, the row has grown in prominence with David Cameron asking Robertson to investigate and Armitt, ODA chief executive Dennis Hone and Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) bosses Margaret Ford and Andrew Altman all questioning the protocol in recent weeks.

Speaking during Department for Culture, Media and Sport questions in the Commons today, Jowell said: “The fact that 1,500 businesses from across the UK have built the Olympic Park and will equip the Olympics is a great British achievement.

“Does the minister not therefore share my concern that those businesses that have done so well and are rightly proud of their contribution to this year’s Games are too tightly bound by the marketing rights protocol which is preventing them from revealing the part they have played?

“And would not every Member of the House in whose constituency one of these businesses is, not want to praise and thank them for their efforts?

“Would the Minister agree with me, with Building’s 2012 campaign and now with John Armitt, chair of the ODA, that we should seek from LOCOG and the IOC the necessary relaxation of the protocol to ensure a national celebration of our great British businesses, who built the Olympic Park on time and on Budget?”

Robertson responded by referring Jowell back to the 2006 London Olympics Act and the need to protect sponsors.

However, he insisted that government was sympathetic to the industry’s concerns and suggested that the rules would be relaxed after the Games take place.

“Because the process has been such a success, we want the country and individual businesses to go out and tell that story”, he said.

In February Building reported that the prime minister has asked Olympics minister Hugh Robertson to look into complaints that firms involved in building London’s Olympic park are being prevented from taking “due credit”.

This followed a call-to-arms on the issue by Peter Murray, New London Architecture boss, in Building. Firms such as Olympic stadium engineer Buro Happold backed Murray’s complaint that LOCOG was being unduly strict in protecting the marketing rights of sponsor firms such as Populous and Atkins.

Armitt’s intervention comes after Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) chair Margaret Ford, chief executive Andrew Altman and ODA chief executive Dennis Hone, all strongly questioned the Olympic marketing rights protocol earlier this month at the Mipim conference in Cannes.