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Olympics under budget

Hugh Robertson, Olympics Minister, said that, with 150 days to go, he expected confirmation that the sporting spectacular would come in under budget.

The Government has had to rebuff concerns in recent months that the £9.3billion budget could be overspent after the costs of security and ceremonies soared.

Of the eight venues on the Olympic Park, six have plans in place for their future, while 16 expressions of interest have been lodged with the team working on future uses for the Olympic Stadium.

Contingency

Mr Robertson told MPs on Monday: “We are on track, on time and just under budget to deliver a great Games.

“With 150 days to go, we will be in a position to reveal that of the original budget, £500m remains an unused contingency.”

MPs had earlier debated the Olympics budget, with many looking forward to London 2012 getting under way in July.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “This is going to be an occasion which is probably going to achieve the greatest global television audience almost ever recorded.

“They will all be looking at London and that is a huge opportunity for us and therefore I do think it right that we should put on a pretty good show.

“The select committee has inevitably concentrated on the areas where there have been concerns, we have identified where we think there could be problems, hopefully in a way that has allowed them to be tackled.

“I pay particular tribute to the Olympic Delivery Authority, which I think has done a fantastic job in building such remarkable facilities on time and we hope within budget, and also the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) whose main job is still ahead but nevertheless has done a huge amount of very impressive work and I look forward even more to a fantastic games.”

Triumph

Tory MP Louise Mensch (Corby), a member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said she thought the Olympics would be an “unmitigated triumph”.

She said the £41m increase in the budgets of the opening and closing ceremonies were “cheap at the price, while it has already been decided how six out of eight Olympic venues will be used after the Games before they have even taken place”.

Meanwhile, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has reiterated the Government’s confidence that the Games will come in under budget.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “There has been unbelievably tight financial control across the project.

“We still need an unallocated contingency because there are things that could come up, but we can be much more confident that we will be within budget than we have ever been.

“You can never say never, because you don’t know what’s round the corner.

“But I have always had the view that the most difficult thing that I could imagine having to do in this job would be asking George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) for more money for the Olympics, given the cuts that are happening across the rest of Government.”

 

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