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Olympics 2012: Official fears over Athletes' Village and Zaha's Aquatics Centre

The final cost of the 2012 Olympics remains unknown, with Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre one of the main uncertainties, the National Audit Office reports

The size of the final bill the taxpayer will face to cover the cost of the London 2012 Games has yet to be determined, the government’s spending watchdog has said.

The National Audit Office (NAO), in its latest report on preparations for the Games, notes that the final cost is ‘inherently uncertain’.

The timings for the handover to LOCOG (the Games organisers) of the £269 million Aquatics Centre in July and the Athletes’ Village in January 2012, are now ‘becoming tight,’ the NAO said.

However the ‘complex’ operational planning needed for Games time has improved. The £9.3 billion Olympic project can boast that five of the 24 main Olympic Delivery Authority-run building projects are finished and set for handover.

The overall cost to the public purse of security during the Games has increased from £600 million to £757 million, the NAO reports.

This is mainly because the government has now agreed to provide £282 million from the £9.3 billion public-sector funding package to help secure the perimeter of the Olympic Park and other venues during the Games.

This is offset by a possible £125 million saving on wider security and policing.

The NAO, which had called for final figures and a statement of responsibility on venue security to be confirmed, notes that some progress has been made.

Of the original £2.7 billion contingency in the public-sector funding package, £974 million remains.

With almost 80 per cent of the ODA’s construction programme complete and all known areas of uncertainty resolved, risks have been reduced.

The NAO warns there are no guarantees the remaining contingency will be enough to cover further unknown risks to the Games.

It called on the Government Olympic Executive to have plans for how it will meet any need for extra funding that cannot be met from within the contingency.

Amyas Morse at the National Audit Office said: ‘Good progress is being made in the preparations for the 2012 London Games which will begin in 17 months.

‘All construction and infrastructure projects are forecast to be completed on time, albeit in two cases with little room to spare before the deadline for handover to LOCOG and operational planning has improved.

‘However, the final cost of the Games to the taxpayer is inherently uncertain and as the Games near there will be less flexibility to make savings in response to any unforeseen financial pressures.’

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