PtG Article 16.02.2011

2012 London budget in danger of unforeseen rise

The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report on the preparations and progress regarding the 2012 Olympics in London, and warns about a rise in expenditure and possible failure to live up to legacy promises due to uncertainty of the Games’ final costs.

Although progress seems to be on track, the NAO has found “substantial risks” in the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games’ (LOCOG) budget, raising the possibility of the Government having to bail it out because of financial guarantees given to the International Olympic Committee, writes The Telegraph.

The main concern is the completion of the troubled aquatics centre at the Olympic Park, which now costs £269 million – 11 per cent more than its 2007 budget, and the overall security budget which has increased from a former £600 million to a total of £757 million.

According to the Financial Times, the NAO reports concerns about the deliverance of six promises made by ministers since June 2008. The promises include regeneration of east London, sustainability of the Olympic Park and providing economic, social and sport participation legacies.

According to Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, “ 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."

Despite the warnings, the audit presents an overall positive picture of the ongoing preparations.

"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, the Games organizer, and operational planning has improved”.

Download the full report from NAO’s website here