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Olympic Games '£2bn over-budget'

The London 2012 Olympic Games are running £2 billion over budget, according to a report by MPs

According to the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the Olympics’ £9.3 billion funding package was almost depleted and the true cost of the Games could amount to £11 billion.

It also claimed ‘finger in the air’ estimates about security and transport had left the London 2012 Organising Committee with virtually no contingency funds.

Committee chair, and controversial former architecture minister, Margaret Hodge demanded that moves were made to prevent the Populous-designed Olympic stadium from becoming ‘a white elephant’ .

She said: ‘We are particularly concerned about the significant increases in the security bill.

‘LOCOG now needs more than twice the number of security guards it originally estimated and the costs have roughly doubled. It is staggering that the original estimates were so wrong. LOCOG has had to renegotiate its contract with G4S for venue security from a weak negotiating position and there is a big question mark over whether it secured a good deal for the taxpayer.

‘We were promised a strong Olympic legacy but the Government has chosen not to adopt the target of 1 million more people participating in sport by 2013, and plans for the stadium have fallen through. It must not become a white elephant.

She added: ‘The Government is dispersing responsibility for delivering the legacy and we need clarity about who is accountable.’

A DCMS spokesperson said: ‘With 140 days to go until the Olympic Games, we are on time and under budget, with over £500 million worth of uncommitted contingency remaining. We are in a strong position and, while we can’t be complacent, are confident that we can deliver the Games under budget.

‘As we told the PAC in December we do not recognise the figure of £11 billion. We have always been transparent about what is included in the £9.3 billion. The cost of purchasing the Olympic Park land will ultimately come back to the public purse through the resale of the land after the Games and was therefore not included. Funding for the legacy programmes, that the PAC refer to, comes from existing business-as-usual budgets and we have been clear about this. These are for projects designed to capitalise on hosting London 2012 but are not an additional Olympic cost.

‘We have already delivered much on the legacy front including regenerating part of East London and securing tenants for six out of eight venues on the Olympic Park. We are completely committed to delivering on Lord Coe’s promise to use the Games to inspire a generation to choose sport. From our new Youth Sport Strategy and the School Games competition to investment into facilities and the protection of playing fields, we have the foundations in place to deliver a lasting sports legacy post London 2012.’

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