Olympics chiefs to set out opportunities for ceramics in 2012

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15 Dec 2009

Organisers of the 2012 London Olympics, including athletics legend Sebastian Coe, are to spell out the opportunities for North Staffordshire’s pottery industry in over £700 million of contracts to be awarded in the run-up to the Games, following questioning by Newcastle’s Labour MP Paul Farrelly.

The pledge came at today’s meeting of the influential House of Commons Culture Media & Sport Committee in the latest grilling of Olympic chiefs on preparation for the Games so far.

Appearing before the Committee, alongside the now Lord Coe, were John Armitt and David Higgins, chairman and chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is building the venues, and Paul Deighton, chief executive of LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games, which Coe chairs and will actually run the Games).

In questioning, Paul referred to disappointment originally when an initial small order of tableware for the organisers’ own use had been given a while ago to a company which sourced the products from China.

‘Everywhere around the world, people prefer the quality of ceramics made in Staffordshire,’ Paul said. ‘At the Vancouver Winter Olympics, or Microsoft in Seattle, turn over their cups, they say Minton or Steelite. The same is true in the House of Commons, or Virgin Trains when you head back up from Westminster.’

Lord Coe said LOCOG alone had £700 million of business to be placed and would happily set out how ceramics firms in North Staffordshire could take advantage. There were also, he stressed, great opportunities for licensing for the industry around the 2012 Games.

Paul responded that the industry wanted LOCOG and the ODA to source their own and the Games’ needs from the industry in Britain, too.

‘Every time you turn a cup, or plate over at your headquarters, as well as at the Olympic Park itself, we want to a promise that we’ll see ‘Made in Britain’ and ‘Made in Staffordshire,’ he said.