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Fears of Olympic overspend subside

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BBC Sport blog editor | 17:41 UK time, Thursday, 16 February 2012

Just before Christmas there were genuine concerns starting to emerge that the Government wouldn't be able to deliver on its promise to stick within the London Olympics £9.325bn budget.

First we had the announcement that an extra £271m was required to boost security in and around the Olympic venues.

Then there was the decision to splash an additional £41m on the Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies, doubling the cost.

And finally there was the National Audit Office's unseasonally gloomy forecast that organisers would spend all but £36m of the remaining £500m contingency.

The Olympic Park, in Stratford, east London is quickly taking shape. Picture: Getty images.

It was the first time since the 2008 financial crash forced organisers to bail out the athletes village, that the project found itself on the back foot on the budget.

But suddenly the cost of the Games was back on the agenda lending credibility to all those naysayers who predicted from the outset that London 2012 would never come in on budget. With public sector cuts starting to bite, unemployment on the rise and the economic outlook so worrying, ministers knew this was not the time to be tackling headlines on rising Olympic costs.

But in the last week or so there appears to have been another shift in mood. Sources inside government have told me that the recent budget concerns are subsiding.

In fact it's my understanding that the Government will announce in a couple of weeks that £500m of contingency remains in place with around 97 or 98% of the project complete. Over the three months to the end of January there has been hardly any significant draw-down on the contingency pot leaving officials feeling increasingly confident that they are entering the home straight on costs.

Of course all that will be thrown up into the air if there is a major security scare or if another serious unforseen problem emerges. In that situation the Government will have to hope the public understand that there is no alternative but to plough more of our cash into the Olympics.

But if everything does now stay on track it raises the question of what happens to any money left over.

As I understand it the Olympic contingency sits in the Treasury and is only drawn down as required. This means any money left over will just be absorbed back into the Treasury's coffers and - given the current climate of cuts to public spending - reallocated to other areas of the public sector.

However, is there an argument to be made here for sport? Sport has done well out of the recent reorganisation of the lottery guaranteeing potential real terms increases in funding when other areas are suffering cuts.

But what if some of the money was used to deliver on those promises to increase participation off the back of the Olympics? In the long run that would potentially lead to us all being healthier and so reduce the burden on the NHS. Isn't that the sort of legacy vision we all bought into as a proper return from the £9.3bn of public money?

In reality that is a debate sport has little chance of winning. And most will just be relieved if the Government does now deliver on its promise to deliver the 2012 Games on budget.


  • Comment number 1.

    Would it, perhaps, have been more cost effective to let Paris win the right to stage the games and then give every British taxpayer a return flight, a hotel for the night, and a ticket to a day at the games?

  • Comment number 2.

    Come on, let's be realistic. Yes of course it would save money in the long term, and yes a sum of £500m would make much more of difference to sport in this country than it would contribute to the NHS. However, how often does the government make decisions with an eye on the future?

  • Comment number 3.

    How dare we think of how this money could have been spent for the good of the country when politicians have their legacies to worry about?

  • Comment number 4.

    Is this piece of news really anything to celebrate? So the games are likely to be within the set budget, that is exactly what should happen.

    Now if they came in well under budget, that would be worth a mention and a slap on the back would be deserved.

    We should be questioning why the budget was set so high.

  • Comment number 5.

    #1 - With only about £150 per person available, no it wouldn't have been more cost effective to let Paris win. That argument is no more convincing even if only the flight and hotel were provided. Furthermore, we wouldn't get the infrastructure or the more intangible benefits of increased sporting participation/excitment/etc.

  • Comment number 6.

    #4 Being from Scotland I can tell you that something coming in on budget is certainly something to celebrate. I would have a hemorrhage if this happened in Edinburgh.

  • Comment number 7.

    Coming in on budget!!!
    Which budget would this be exactly, the original, the revised, the revision of the revised budget, the fifth set target, or maybe another one we've only just been told about?

    I'm all for the Olympics, but I can't stand lies being told, especially when they are presented as facts, please stop these kind of articles, there are hundreds of other stories about the Olmpics which would be worth telling us about and each one of them would actually be truthful.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'd be more interested to see a projected "profit&loss" for the games so we can see the net cost of staging them. Then we can really evalaute whether the legacy will be worth it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ah yes context. Lets get some then facts out there shall we. The olympic budget at the time of the bid was estimated (hopelessly optimistically) at around £2 billion. Once the bid was won Total costs where eventually agreed to be around £5-10 billion mark which was eventually settled to the current budget. That means that the olympics will with all of its new venues the olympic improvements to the london transport infrastructure and the regeneration of a large area of industrial wasteland cost around £10 billion. thats actually not bad all in all spread over 7 years that means that the london olympics cost around 1.4 billion pounds a year or 1.3% of the nhs budget for this year. Not the government budget, the nhs budget for every pound you handed over in tax less than a penny went to the olympics.

    Now you may not like hosting sporting events like the olympics but they will at least provide jobs new infrastructure and at least some legacy. Many of the projects that the olympics has provided impetus for may have happened anyway which mean the costs inflate the budget artificially etc. However honestly i can't say that the diversion of less than 1% of national resources to host an event which im unlikely to see again in my lifetime as a bad thing. Especially when increasing evidence is emerging that encouraging sporting activity and excercise throughout life is the single greatest public health goal that all nations should be pursuing.

  • Comment number 10.

    Whilst I agree that hosting the olympics is a once in a lifetime spectacle that should be embraced (it will be nice to be able to watch the olympics at a normal time of day) the comment

    ... "Furthermore, we wouldn't get the infrastructure or the more intangible benefits of increased sporting participation / excitement / etc."...

    doesn't hold true as 90% don't live in London to benefit from the facility usage and infrastructure improvements.

    I might have been tempted to spend some of the money on rectifying public transport so that the current 2 hour 2 bus £4.50 one direction bus journey could compete with the 15 minute £5 car trip.

    Or reducing the 12 month waiting list for my daughter to join a gymnastics club without it costing £50 a month.

    Or make fresh fruit & veg cheaper than the processed unhealthy alternative.

    Or make childcare costs drastically cheaper so that it becomes financially viable for adults to work for a living in order to pay for all of the sports activities they would like their children to participate in.

    Just a thought....

  • Comment number 11.

    The biggest joke is the £9.325bn budget, Seb Ce stood up and told the IOC and the world this was going to cost £2.4bn, so where did the extra £7bn magically appear from?

    The one thing that will be guaranteed is that a full cost analysis will not happen, it would be too embarrassing for those involved to admit that its cost the UK economy far exceeds any benefit.

    Too add to th list of alternative useful benefits how about keeping open the swimming pools that have been closing at a rate of 2 per week becaue of underfunding.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why are we so over-critical in this country? When we won the bid the financial crisis that we are enduring wasn't predicted, now we are coming in on-budget this seems to be a bad thing. This is one of the few Olympics where tickets for every event will be over-subscribed (something else to beat ourselves up about I suppose).

    Just for once be proud and be patriotic and be British (can I say that anymore?)

  • Comment number 13.

    Come on David, I expect more from you. How can it come in on budget when the original bid was made predicated on the cost being some £2bn. So it's going to cost 5x the budget. This is what is called overspend. You can't simply "reset" the budget and then claim it came in on budget. Well, not in the private sector anyway - I know that heads would roll if a project I had worked on came in 5x the estimate.

  • Comment number 14.

    5 - Rob 1911

    My comment was a sardonic one on the rising cost of the Olympics rather than a serious suggestion about potential money-saving measures. I am aware that sending every taxpayer to the games is neither financially nor practically viable on this budgetary figure, and I was merely intimating that it is in fact a colossal figure which has been contributed to by every British taxpayer, and in many cases for no perceived return.

    However, as the Olympics has been paid for by the British taxpayer, rather than the London taxpayer, your comment regarding the benefits of infrastructure, participation etc fall a little flat for those outside of the London area. To be honest, it falls flat for some people inside the London area. A friend of mine is a deputy headteacher who lives in Bexley, in Kent, well within the London commuter belt. He has had no benefits in infrastructure as no works have extended to his area and he has no benefit of participation as he was unable to get tickets to anything but gymnastics, and he is not a gymnastics fan. He was, however, one of the first to feel the Olympic pinch as his council tax was increased as soon as the bid was won. (This was when the cost attached to the scheme was much lower and it was believed Londoners could actually pay for it all through council tax increases) I myself live just outside Wolverhampton, and there has been no tangible benefit in my area, though there has been a skills drain taking construction management personnel to London "where the work is".

    I understand there is often a boost to national pride and global recognition which comes with an Olympics delivered well, and I recognise that as a valuable thing. However, considering the initial bid was based on a spend of just under £2.5bn and that that has now increased to almost four times the original figure, I think there were certainly better ways to spend such a large chunk of public monies, particularly as costs have been allowed to spiral virtually out of control through a recession.

    By the way, I like the Olympics, I like that London won the Olympics, I don't like the spiralling costs which effectively denote a failure to successfully manage the preparations for the games. The most sickening thing is that if this had been a privately funded enterprise, the people responsible for such financial mis-management would have been held accountable and sacked. (More likely, if it were privately-funded it would have been delivered on time and on budget - contrast the Emirates Stadium project with New Wembley). Given it is a publicly-funded project, the worst that will happen to the person in charge is a seven-figure pay-off and a peerage. I hope, for the image of Britain around the world, that the games themselves are far better run and that the Great Britain team fulfill their potential

  • Comment number 15.

    What planet are some of these people who comment on?
    In a credit crisis, and the world in recession the whole olympic building project has been completed, on time and built safely and unlike other host countries the budget has been ridgidly controlled.
    This sends a message to the world that we are good at major construction projects and we should be proud and sell this fact alone.
    This was Europes largest building project and yes a lot of the facilities for the first time in Olympic history will be used for either future sport, housing (a lot at low cost). Remember Greece, Australia recently they have facilities standing empty and doing nothing.
    Ignore China because they have a different mindset and regadless of costs, Health and safety they would move the earth to save face.
    Time for people to be proud and stop this knocking of Great Britain and come into the real world.
    Proud yes and delighted we have done what we said and looking forward to the Olympics. Come on get behind GB.

  • Comment number 16.

    15 - Ianmack

    Firstly, the project may have been built on time but some £7bn over budget. This is certainly nothing to be proud of, certainly not through a credit crisis. The message it sends to the world is that, we can build a large project but we have no idea how much it will cost.

    Regarding future use of facilities, you are correct insofar as the bid included projected and intended future use. However, so did Sydney's and Athens' bids, it is a requirement of all bids that legacy use of facilties is included. This alone does not necessarily make it so and it remains to be seen whether the facilities will continue to be used. I have my doubts over some, and keen expectation over others.

    I think saying "ignore China because they have a different mindset" is a little crass as they are the most recent direct comparison.

    We should be proud of our ability to deliver a large project like this, agreed. But we should be utterly embarassed that, given the sheer number of estimating staff working on the bid, we were unable to even predict the cost to within 300%

  • Comment number 17.

    15 - Ianmack

    Having reread your post, I must say the comment about China seems a tad xenophobic to say the least. I had just taken it at face value to be somewhat dismissive. Is there any substance to your claims that they shirked their health and safety responsibilities in favour of a timely, on-budget delivery? I recall seeing reportage that suggested they had expected people to work very hard, but I don't recall any documented reports that there were health and safety concerns. Please provide such evidence as I would like to be able to review it to decide whether I agree with you or not. Thank you

  • Comment number 18.

    At 09:19 17th feb. 2012, halfasherman wrote:

    He has had no benefits in infrastructure as no works have extended to his area and he has no benefit of participation as he was unable to get tickets to anything but gymnastics, and he is not a gymnastics fan.


    My daughter is a top talented gymnast and would die for those tickets, we applied for just about every ticket going for the Womens Artistic Gymnastics and got precisely zilch.
    In my opinion your friend is a very lucky man indeed.

  • Comment number 19.

    #15 - While some of what you say is true, I would take issue with the comment about there not being "facilities standing empty and doing nothing".
    As far as I'm aware, the only confirmed use for the Olympic Park centrepiece - the stadium - is the World Championships in 2017.

  • Comment number 20.

    Olympics - yawn.

    I'll be glad when it's all over.

  • Comment number 21.

    18 Random Word Generator

    I hope you weren't offended there. My point was not the tickets were of no value, it's just that they were of no value to him. I'm sure to many people they would in fact have been prime tickets and highly sought-after. But the point was that not everyone in the London catchment area has seen any tangible benefit in terms of infrastructure or participation. (It's a shame we hadn't spoken previously, as he asked me if I knew anyone who would like the tickets as he would have liked to be able to pass the opportunity on to someone who would appreciate them).

    I hope next time round you are benefitting from having tickets as parents of a potential medallist, best of luck to your daughter

  • Comment number 22.

    12 Kilby99

    when the bi was one, the financial crisis had not been predicted, correct. (SOme might argue that given that the same keen economic minds who didn't predict it are predicting some 3-5 years ahead as we speak, perhaps it should have been foreseen, but that's for another blog). However, when the bid was won, it was at slightly more than a quarter of the figure now being claimed as "on-budget". hardly a stunning performance in terms of commercial management.

    Also your point on oversubscription of tickets isn't quite true, as the football events have been quite underscubscribed, as I understand it. Sad really, given it is our national sport. Two friends of mine, solicitors for a large law firm, were initially offered 2 tickets each for 2 matches. They now, due to the availability of large numbers of tickets, have 4 tickets each for 3 matches. From 4 tickets each to 12 does suggest a large under-subscription for that sport. Just a note

  • Comment number 23.

    re 22, I don't know how I did that, but 1st line "when the bi was one" is gibberish. "When the bid was won". Apologies all round

  • Comment number 24.

    A bit like the new sports site - head in sand time, if we don't talk about it then people will forget about the overspend - you either agree with the olympics or you don't, I don't, and no matter what is said I look at the figures and think what a gigantic waste of money, and there can be no amount of legacy that will ever come close to covering that bill
    It will only be in years to come when the figures have to be released that we will actually realise the true cost of this white elephant, and by then the in charge government will just blame the other for it.
    But who will care, we will probably be as bankrupt as Greece by then, but it won't matter because hey, we did the Olympics

  • Comment number 25.

    the whole build up has been a fiasco, lets hope we get the predicted profit that they said we would instead of a revised(reduced) one!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    well said forrester!!
    the overspend will not stop the day the olypics kick off! it will continue for a year or so in the clean up and the renovation of the olympic village into ''stylish'' appartments we will be in utter turmoil.

  • Comment number 27.

    sorry olympics is missing an *m what a wolly!

  • Comment number 28.

    I see the argument that the bid was one on 2 billion pound estimate and therefore we overspent by 7 billion. First off this was an estimated cost not an actual budget the budget was set after we won the bid which we have stayed within. Now what this actually states is there's flaw within the bid process in that the plans for staging the games is not full realised and no one can actually put a legitimate budget together for a project of that scale. So naturally what countries do is put all the gloss on it and fudge the figures as they don't really know the cost. Maybe what needs to be done is the budgets estimates for the bidding process need way more scrutiny

    Who honestly thought the game would every cost 2 billion? Wembley cost 757million for one stadium. The estimates cost was always wildly optimistic and fanciful anybody could see that.

    Personal option is 10billion is nothing and people did to stop complaining they are coming regardless now and you may as well try to enjoy them.

  • Comment number 29.

    @28 ncurd
    SO put up and shut up is your contribution? even if badly spelt anyway.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ #28 Personal option is 10billion is nothing ????

    You're winding us up surely? 10 billion to the NHS, to defence, to education would be something, maybe to host the Olympics its nothing (but a waste of money)

    But what a crass statement to make, 10b is nothing

  • Comment number 31.

    #29 Sorry did you make a mistake in your post? I think you did! Don't lower yourself to petty arguments.

    So what would you do now were less than 200 days to go? Cancel the entire thing with the money already spent?

    There's tons of things the government spends tax money on I disagree with, do I complain when it's planning? Sure but I don't complain after the fact it's pointless and doesn't serve any purpose. What is getting angry about the games actually doing for you right now? Instead of complaining about the legacy how trying to contribute to improve it? Too many people complain about a problem and don't actually try to improve it.

  • Comment number 32.

    improve it how? sit in my lounge pig faced wide eyed and smiling? do me a favour!
    maybe you are stuck in pre 2008 and are living in a country un-hit by recession and downturns but for us who dont live in wonderland 10billion is a massive slice of budget to something nobody could even get the right tickets for.

  • Comment number 33.

    and furthermore alice... i cant believe you really think we should just see what its like, britain is a sinking vessell and i for one just hope the olympics isnt the iceberg that sinks it. with such legacy talks going on its hard to see the reality through the rose tints im sure , but please do step back because this picture gets a lot bigger!

  • Comment number 34.

    the olympics is the marmite of todays culture love it or hate it are your options but your typing entries like a withered old gran feeding us your ''try it son, it aint so bad'' philosophy on rye bread! well news is i hate it and granny there aint nowt you can do!

  • Comment number 35.


    Sadly in the grand scheme of things it is, big numbers sound scary but last year the tax receipts were 548 billion since the bid was won we've made 3,740 billion in tax. So the games have cost 0.003% of the tax obtained since the bid (these numbers don't include borrowing obviously and government spend is a lot more than that). Now 10 billion focused on one specific thing in one area will make a huge difference there no question about it. However trying to make a judgement cost of if that 10 billion is better spent elsewhere is hard and not clear cut. The government will always spend a huge amount on things you specifically dislike and way more than Olympics has cost. The Olympics are just very high profile.

  • Comment number 36.

    @35 ncurd
    history suggests we will hash it up and be more of a sporting 'laughing stock' the even recent footballing events have shown.
    excited? im not

  • Comment number 37.

    Its that sort of thinking that has got us into this mess - we owe a trillion, we will never be in a position to clear that debt, so what does 10b matter?

    Actually it does not matter the size of the numbers, or how many 0's you put on a number, its about basic economics, if you can't afford something don't spend money you haven't go to buy it

    Put simply - we can't and never could afford the Olympics, even though its 'only' 10b

    If you or I do the above we will either have to pay what we owe or go bankrupt, that can't happen can it, or hey wait, look at Greece!

  • Comment number 38.

    @37 forrester again i totally agree.
    no matter how much money we can or cant throw at this its still not going to reap any benefits, its also been a pr disaster from the offset and seb coe has done nothing but tighten your blindfold so you cant even make out what the extent of the damage is from the mess we have let him create

  • Comment number 39.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in July 2003, the deadline for the original bid, no one could foresee the global recession that has hit us all.

    All ncurd is saying is 'Why criticise something that has already been decided and at the same time state 'we will hash it up' or 'its still not going to reap any benefits'.'

    If you want it to be a disaster you can help it become one, but if you want it to have a legacy and leave a lasting benefit then you can help that as well.

  • Comment number 40.

    zboy1989 - you really do have a lot to say, don't you! Not only do you rely on hindsight, you seem to be almost Nostrodamus-like in your foresight. Maybe you are really Biff Tannen - is that a copy of Gray's Sports Almanac poking out of your pocket?

    Global depression, 7/7 bombings, Mumbai attacks - all reasons why costs have risen. I think ncurd has set out the financial case clearly so I'm not going to repeat that. The £2bn costs that people refer to are the cost of running the Games by LOCOG - that figure still stands. What has increased, is the costs incurred by the ODA.

    One thing, however, if one more person says "the money could have been better spent on the NHS" I'll pull my hair out! We'd be employing 50m Nurses if every project like this was channeled that way by the naysayers!

  • Comment number 41.


    The recession has absolutely zero to do with an estimated cost for the Olympics. The fact is, the actual cost has increased by over 300% from the original estimate. The original estimated cost, either shows negligence or it was part of a deliberate action to sell the games to the people of this country.

    You write of a lasting benefit, an Olympic games never has given a lasting benefit to a nation. A regenerated area of London may be some people's idea of a lasting benefit but there was a government policy already in place to regenerate areas such as the Olympic site back in 1999.

    The legacy will be a memory of an Olympics being held in our country. Now is that truly worth 9 billion plus.

  • Comment number 42.

    28 - NCurd

    I think you have not realised what goes into a bid of this nature. You seem to be suggesting the original estimate was perhaps done on the back of a cigarette packet at the last minute, and a number plucked from the air? In reality, a team of professional estimators would have worked on the original bid, which would have detailed each individual facility and it's construction / refurbishment cost and also running costs through the games. For these to be out by a factor of 300% or more tells me one hing and one thing only - that the numbers were deliberately understimated in order secure the games without too much of a furore in Britain. Once the bid was won and as a nation we were committed, then the government was free to inflate the bid any way they chose. It would be reasonable to assume that they had a very good idea of what the games WOULD cost but bid based on what it COULD cost, knowing full well that that would be an absolute bare minimum, and even then underestimated in for the bid book.

    One big question which I think should have been asked and answered is why was Wembley not built to allow for atheltics as well as team sports, and included in the bid as a pre-existing venue? Nothing in the Olympic bid process says only new venues can be used, hence rowing will be at Henley and 3-day eventing at Badminton. So why build a new Wembley with public money AND an Olympic Stadium when - unless a team secures the Olympic stadium for use a football stadium - they will both stand empty for most of the time

  • Comment number 43.

    pasta muppets
    you really do have a lot to say, don't you! Not only do you rely on hindsight, you seem to be almost Nostrodamus-like in your foresight. Maybe you are really Biff Tannen - is that a copy of Gray's Sports Almanac poking out of your pocket?


    You seem to have a lot to say yourself, perhaps you would like to tell us the benefits for the people of this nation, by staging an Olympic games in London 2012.

    Memories are not a benefit in real terms. Stadia that cannot be used by the people, cannot be classed as a benefit. Regeneration of an area that did not involve any consultation with the people who will live there after the games has gone, is not regeneration for the good of the people.

    I have no doubt the games will make an enormous amount of money for certain organisations and individuals but for the people of this country who have been bled, they certainly will not see a return.

  • Comment number 44.

    One big question which I think should have been asked and answered is why was Wembley not built to allow for atheltics as well as team sports, and included in the bid as a pre-existing venue?

    A subsidary of the FA owns Wembley and they did not want a multi purpose stadium, when the new one was built. I do agree with you because the old Wembley worked well for many sports over many years.

    The only negative was the show jumping, for obvious reasons.

  • Comment number 45.

    @43 - I doubt anyone will be able to give you what you are after with regards to benefits to the nation. As it seems monetary terms are the only ones you seem to think are valid.

    Benefits to a nation are often difficult to quantify. An example could be the impact of the success our cycling teams have had over the past 20odd years. Cycling is now a popular sport in this country with many people participating that may never have done so had the success led to the following exposure. There are some monetary benefits there for suppliers etc. but the benefits to the health of the nation, due to more participation, would be impossible to quantify for certain as there are so many other factors involved.

    You also say that the memories of a nation are not worth £9 billion. So how much of a price would you put on memories - as I'd argue that a lasting good memory can be priceless.

  • Comment number 46.

    #37 I agree partially. The problem isn't overspending and borrowing it's the amount were doing it by while we take 500 billion in tax we'll spend 750 billion (in a year). that's not one project we shouldn't spending money on that's an entirely different way to organising it. Why wasn't the government going "We've spent 50% more than we actually made how do we reduce this"? The Olympics aren't the cause of us being massively in debt it's budgeting in the first place for everything. We should be looking at every aspect and asking how we reduce costs not scrapping entire projects. The budget would be balanced by reducing the cost of everything by 50% which isn't easy in slightest but we can reduce costs on a lot of things and then scrap projects based on that new figure. The issue with reducing costs is people never agree how to do it and the government can't win there either!

    #42 Like I said the bidding process is flawed but I don't think the fudging of the figure was just for our benefit. With the reaction to costs at the time I don't think the actual number would of swayed public opinion that much.

    #43 Unfortunately those intangible benefits are what the money the game are about in some degree. You can't measure them in any quantified state so if they are actually better or note than the cost it's impossible to tell. I think they are worth it but there's no way to actually know that and would never pretend to.

  • Comment number 47.

    #40 "One thing, however, if one more person says "the money could have been better spent on the NHS" I'll pull my hair out! We'd be employing 50m Nurses if every project like this was channeled that way by the naysayers!"

    Remember that the next time you're in A&E with understaffed underpaid and overworked staff treating and CARING for you

    Unless of course you go private, in which case I can see why the economic arguement does not really concern you

    Better that money is channelled to the NHS or other worthy recipients rather than throwing it at the most expensive two weeks in British history

  • Comment number 48.

    naysayer indeed! why because im not a dimwitt? you are clearly one of the blinded eejits whom have been sold a 'legacy' and for the cost of 10bn and you are happy to foot the bill and because i do not think this 'legacy' is worth 10 bn this means i must have a ''copy of Gray's Sports Almanac poking out of my pocket''
    let me put it to you sir that a legacy is not funds for grass roots sport it will be for the wealthy and the likes' kids to benefit not average joeand his rugrats to participate in which for me is not a legacy worth leaving....
    we will see

  • Comment number 49.

    i love the fact im a naysayer when your sat typing naysayer and the such at my opinions!

  • Comment number 50.

    #44 - Like #45 (deleted) has observed, your view of 'benefits' is a bit narrow - I'm not sure if any answer I gave you would make you change your mind.

    #47 - Sorry to bust your bubble - I am one of those caring souls who work in the NHS, I just get fed up hearing the same "wouldn't it be better if it were spent on Nurses" line. Far too simplistic argument. Thanks for your support though :)

  • Comment number 51.

    Oh I give up, seems like the lefty deficit deny'ers are on the rampage on these boards today. Yes, you know the type; the ones who like to call wasting our money, ahem, 'investement', the ones who waste our money, but are also 'prudent'; the ones who waste our money, yet call themselves 'progressive'.

    and yet you think the olympics isnt a waste of money?

  • Comment number 52.

    #50 - and because you say you work for the NHS we bow down and believe you

    I work at Lincoln County Hospital, not front line, merely an IT trainer so I'm not essential, but I know how hard it is for clinical staff to cover shifts on the wards, how hard it is to come to essential training sessions for new systems - I'm not supporting you or actually believing you as your view does not marry with the views I hear from our staff here

  • Comment number 53.

    #47 Again how do you define worthy recipients? Yes I get you don't like the Olympics but who made you the arbiter of that decision? Quite a few people do like them and do think they are worth spending the money. There's plenty I do disagree with however. Also how do you define understaffed an underpaid? Every time I've been to A&E I've been afforded good care and attention relative to my condition. Bead stuck up my nose as an idiot child? Long wait. No flesh on my knee? Seen almost immediately. I've never met anyone in the NHS who didn't show me the care and attention I needed (I've never been to a private place although I do have Private Care now for long term situations that I've never used).

    I think we can all agree there isn't a bottomless pit of money of public resources. However it needs to spent on what groups of the population want in proportion not just on one particular thing. the issue being is you'll never get a majority of the public wanting for it all to be spent on the same thing.

    #48 Except it doesn't work that way. Sports which require more equipment will cost more to play straight up and then as you go up in the quality of which you play the costs of equipment and training costs more. My Uncle once made a good point to me the popularity of football has nothing to do with the quality of the game but the fact all it requires to play is the investment of 1 ball. This when it comes down to funding of sports means that more money has to spent on the Elite level rather than the lower tiers it's just the way it works.

    However I think case in point is the Cycling example above HUGE amounts of money has gone into the Elite level. however it has inspired average joe in the street to take up cycling as a hobby. I know in my office alone participation in cycling for enjoyment has increased substantially since when I started. this bread on the success of Elite athletes and their funding. This is despite the people I work with getting little help to fund their new hobby.

  • Comment number 54.

    #53 I'm not trying to be any arbiter in how money is spent, however I would still argue that we are spending money we don't have, we are in grave danger of loosing our AAA rating, we will certainly loose that if we continue to spend more than we collect - and while to some people this seems a small amount its not, and its not when added to everything else we can't afford

  • Comment number 55.

    First of all China Spent £30billion which is 3x our budget so i say, well done.

    Qatar is going to spend that or more on the World Cup (which would have required virtually zero in the UK due to the stadiums and infrastructure in place already).

    £10b seems like quite a good budget to keep within, thats £166 for every person in the country (assuming 60m people) and i am looking forward to watching the football myself after easily getting tickets.

    Maybe all the moaners on here should move somewhere else that doesn't make the rest of us look like whining, whinging and generally downbeat on anything Britain does well.

    I betSomalia is wonderful this time of year.

  • Comment number 56.

    #54 spending money we don't have is a far bigger issue than 10 billion on the Olympics though as noted we spend 50% more than we take in. That's not a small amount that's a massive amount. It's not solved by removing projects but having to make changes everywhere and even restructuring how we do things to make them more effcient. What it does need to be sorted out more than anything is staying within budgets of things and spiralling costs. This project was within budget once it was set and has been rigidly stuck to despite concerns it wouldn't.

    Like say a 12.7 billion NHS computer system that got scrapped despite an original budget of 6.2 billion all because it was pretty much done poorly from the start an an entire mess. Seriously it was being taught years ago as how NOT to do an IT project before it even got scrapped. This was despite the fact the system should of been a fantastic tool for NHS as a whole.

  • Comment number 57.

    44 - Londoner in Exile Returns

    Ah, thanks for the info. I wasnt aware of the FA's stance on it. Seems a bit short-sighted from a commercial standpoint on their part, as if they part own it then they would surely be entitled to part of the revenue generated from renting it out for other events. But whoever let common sense get in the way of a large publicly-funded project? :-D

    55- nicknack1

    It's hard to disagree that, compared to other Oympics £10b is not excessive, but surely compared to a winning bid of £2.4m it does suggest incompetence somewhere.

  • Comment number 58.

    57.At 16:20 17th Feb 2012, halfasherman wrote:

    I don't believe for a second anyone thought they could do the Olympics for £2.4b, thats more than 10x less than 2008 so was clearly an estimate or designed to not foster too much ill will against the idea as tends to happen in the UK.

    Either way i'd rather we spent the money on Olympics than giving it to single mothers and layabout so they can get a house the rest of us can't afford!

  • Comment number 59.

    First of all China Spent £30billion which is 3x our budget so i say, well done.

    Qatar is going to spend that or more on the World Cup (which would have required virtually zero in the UK due to the stadiums and infrastructure in place already).

    £10b seems like quite a good budget to keep within, thats £166 for every person in the country (assuming 60m people) and i am looking forward to watching the football myself after easily getting tickets.

    Maybe all the moaners on here should move somewhere else that doesn't make the rest of us look like whining, whinging and generally downbeat on anything Britain does well.

    I betSomalia is wonderful this time of year.

    How ridiculous can people get.

    I love the idea of an Olympics being staged here. BUT! BUT! BUT! you appear to have lost or more likely never understood in the first place, what sport is all about.

    The Olympics has been used by the hosts for a number of reasons and very few relate to competetive sport. I've heard people say it's an advert for our country, well we've seen it used for much more in the past, it's more of a statement to the rest of the world.

    We had an opportunity to get sport back to what it should be about and that is sport. It did not need to have cost an obscene amount of money and if money was the only way to win the bid, then they are not worth having.

    I wonder if people like you would be prepared to have payed the share of those that did not want it.

    We have a long history of not getting value for our pound and this is certainly not value.

    I am still waiting to see someone write of the benefits of staging an Olympics.

  • Comment number 60.

    58 - NickNack1

    I apopreciate your views on where you would rather spend the money and I'm sure, given those options, we would virtually all be in agreement. But what about if the money had been spent on sports facilities for the whole country? A decently-specced leisure centre can be constructed for £12-14m. Would not 800 of them around the country have been a good spend of £10bn, and obviously more worthwhile than "giving it to single mothers and layabout so they can get a house the rest of us can't afford". Or perhaps 200 leisure centres and keep the £7.5bn not mentioned in the original bid for other, more essential causes.

    I'm just playing Devil's advocte, there by the way, as I am not against Britain having the Olympic games at all. Quite the opposite. I do take some exception to the orignal bid being approximately a quarter of the final cost, as to call that an estimate is along the lines of General Custer looking out at Wounded Knee and saying "This might be a toughie". (I don't mean to sound flippant, I am merely trying to illustrate how wildly inaccurate the original figure was). I would say if the figure was as you suggest designed to not foster too much ill will - and I think there's a lot of meat on those bones, incidentally - then surely that should be regarded as intenional deceit by the Government of the time?

  • Comment number 61.

    Lord Coe - master of smoke and mirrors! The budget has been increased dramatically over the build period so let's have no more of that. Grass roots development in all sports should always win out to elite althletes. Too much waste and all the sports bodies are interested in is the cost per gold medal. The medals target has been very carefully manipulated - just like the budget.

  • Comment number 62.


    Like you I am not opposed to the Olympics, like you I am opposed to an obscene amount of money being spent with no long term effect.

    The idea of a number of publicly funded sports developments nationwide is excellent, it would enable many to have access to a sport, which at this time they have no chance of achieving.

  • Comment number 63.


    We seem to have forgotten what sport is. It is certainly not just about winning medals.

  • Comment number 64.

    Is that right 63. - well that's what determines the amount of funding given to national sports bodies isn't it?

  • Comment number 65.

    42 17th Feb 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    60.At 16:43 17th Feb 2012, halfasherman wrote:

    "We have a long history of not getting value for our pound and this is certainly not value."

    I expect every nation on earth can say that, everything costs money, literally everything. The Millenium dome and Wembley are great examples of over expensive white elephants (whilst also being world class entertainment facilities which i am for one am glad they built/rebuilt!)

    Sport and money are no longer seperate and despite the problems its caused, money raises the standard of whatever the sport is that attracts money.

    Basically every person of any nationality can complain about the spending of their respective governments (esp at the minute) however they have to spend money on events such as this and as stated previously £10b is a drop in the ocean for a £1.5 Trillion economy (thats right the olympics are going to cost less than 0.75%(?) of national annual GDP and alot of it is paid for by sponsers btw).

    So there, stop complaining about a great event in a still great country.

    As stated previously there are plenty of countries out there looking at us with envy like the guys who wanted the olympics and spent millions not getting it, or some war torn 3rd world country with REAL problems to complain about e.g no water, no sanitation, no healthcare, no facilities, no infrastructure and no nothing really!

    I wonder what people in Somalia, Iraq, Syria complain about because i can bet it isn't the cost of the Olympics!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh and East London was total S**t anyway and needed tearing down long before they built the facilities!!

  • Comment number 67.

    @65 & 66

    As you say the Dome and Wembley, cases of vast overspending with no return. But one of the key benefits given for an Olympics, was the regeneration, of a part of East London.

    Back in 1999 the 'decent homes policy' passed through Parliament. It was a national polic, specifically designed to regenerate housing and areas such as East London. It had a completion date 2010. The funding was in place at the time. To date less than half the work has been carried out, the funding has gone, and it will never be completed.

    In other words money was used to regenerate an area way beyond what was acceptable at the expense of the rest of the country. It is a shame that you know zero about regeneration, or it's effect on communities.

    It is also sad that you compare us to Africa or the Middle East, the fact is this is the UK therefore what happens elsewhere is certainly not part of this issue.

    The way you put it .75% of our economy, suggests we can afford to waste it. If that is the case how much would the percentage need to be before you considered a waste.

    What you fail to mention, money from business gets a return for those involved, the taxpayer gets zero return.

    Contrary to your belief, money does not necessarily mean a raise in standards for sport. Money can and has had a detrimental effect on many sports.

  • Comment number 68.

    My complaint about the Olympics is that for the majority of Londoners, who have helped pay for it, they may as well be staged in New York! I know one person who has got tickets and they are for the football in Manchester. I could accept not getting a ticket if those who live around Stratford, particularly the children, had been given the opportunity to attend the games but I think it will be watched, in the main, by the wealthy and the wealthy will make a lot of money out of it. I realise that my comments will not make a scrap of difference, however it makes me feel a little better to register my disgust at the way the ticketing has been organised and the way the fat cats have been allowed into the running of it (see Channel 4 documentary).

  • Comment number 69.

    Ridiculus. All this cutting back and then as soon as a 'jolly' day out comes along (like the royal wedding) and the olympics. They turn to us tax payers to bail em out!

  • Comment number 70.


    If you went to an estate agent and found a house you liked, a really nice house with a swimming pool and gym, and a nice garden, and the price said £250,000 and you said "wow, I've got that amount of money here, I'd like this house" and they said "ok, it's yours". And then, just as you're about to move in, they say "We're not giving you any more pools, or any more gym equipment, or a bigger garden, but now the price is a a million pounds but you've signed the paper so you've got no choice, you have to buy it", would you still like that house as much? Or would you feel a bit cheated?

  • Comment number 71.

    Regardless of whether it is agreed that a 'legacy' or any boost to British sport, as a result of the games, is worth the cost, there are diplomatic and cultural benefits that are undeniable.

    #69 Compared London 2012 to the Royal Wedding as an example of needless spending in a time of austerity. And yet as an Englishman living in Ireland I am acutely aware of the monumental shift in political and cultural attitude that the wedding and Queen's visit caused. A country still brooding with a deep historical resentment suddenly thought England was the best thing since sliced bread, no doubt facilitating an invaluable improvement in diplomatic and financial ties.

    The Olympics will no doubt do the same. Britain has a chance to charm a global audience with her culture and leave a lasting impression of the idealogies for which she stands - many are still familiar with the tales of empowerment attributed to Jesse Owens or H. Boulmerka, despite the former occuring over 75 years ago. In an age of mass communication and involvement what can be more valuable than a demonstration of freedom, multi-culturalism and democracy, especially from a country deeply involved in the origins of those concepts?

    A new aircraft carrier may cost us a similar amount to the Olympics, but so long as the former reacts to a hostile force, and the latter may do just a little to ensure that that force may never reach fruition, I know which budget should be kept under the closest scrutiny.

  • Comment number 72.

    The London 2012 bid to the IOC was to stage the games at a maximum cost of £2.375 billion pounds. We had Caborn, Jowell and Coe spouting that figure out week after week and confidentally predicting that the Games would be staged within the budget of, wait for it again, £2.375 billion pounds. The shameful deceit that has been delivered to the British people with the claim that the 2012 Games are within another 'revised' budget is an insult and a travesty. It now seems that the 'smart money' is on the 2012 Games breaching the £10 billion pound mark, other analysts insist that the final cost will be much higher. Yes folks, we have been taken for a very expensive ride.

  • Comment number 73.

    First of all China Spent £30billion which is 3x our budget so i say, well done.

    Qatar is going to spend that or more on the World Cup (which would have required virtually zero in the UK due to the stadiums and infrastructure in place already).
    okay first of all china is a mega country with a thriving economy and a much larger population with a thrice or more higher national tax rate (income) as a country so probably can afford 30 bn we are a tiny island with a much too large population and not enough income.
    qatar is an oil rich country with billionaires springing up every where (take the ones who just bought psg for fun!!) again can we compete? no
    so this argument itself is futile, with too many basic variables not considered at all.

  • Comment number 74.

    we are in a downturn and the olympics shall hold us there we have the optimists saying (im one of them who tell my staff in my hotel we will make a killing) it will be a real money maker (i dont believe my own spoutings but have to motivate the work force in my defence!).
    it wont there will be anarchy when the ''profit'' (loosely used) margins are released.


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