London 2012: Hunt rejects 'austerity' Olympics

Jeremy Hunt The Games will be an "incredible expression" of Britain's culture and history, says Jeremy Hunt

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The culture secretary has rejected claims that the London 2012 Games should be an "austerity" Olympics.

Jeremy Hunt told the Daily Telegraph that rather than cutting its budget, the economic downturn meant the event's opportunities must be "harnessed".

Mr Hunt said voters would not forgive the government if it failed to make the most of the Games.

The government has provided £9.3bn for the Games - up from an estimate of £2.4bn at the time of the bid in 2005.

Mr Hunt said: "You can take two attitudes to the Olympics. You can say: these are times of austerity and therefore we should pare them down as much as possible.

'Positive impact'

"Or, you can say: because these are times of austerity we need to do everything we possibly can to harness the opportunity of the Olympics."

The minister said hosting the Olympics would have a "massively positive impact" on economic confidence.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

"We're going to be the centre of global attention and it will be the first time that we've had a major sporting event that's watched live by half the world's population.

"People would not forgive us if we didn't make the absolute most of this moment.

"This is going to be an incredible expression of Britain's culture, Britain's history and Britain's creativity.

"So, we decided that the sensible thing to do is to make sure that we finance it properly."

The government recently more than doubled the budget for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies - from £40m to £81m - after Prime Minister David Cameron saw the plans.

The extra money came from within the £9.3bn Olympic public funding package.

The venue security allocation has also risen by £271m to £553m after the estimated number of security guards required more than doubled from 10,000 to 23,700.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Didn't France do well loosing out to Britain - I think they are the winners

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    It’s A Knockout would have cost less than the Olympics and give more fun and pleasure in these difficult times. AND it could tour the country, making money everywhere, not just London. Ahhh those were the days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Typical, the govt are crucifying the country financially, sacking the Armed Forces. Then give more away in aid, to countries that don't really need it.
    To add further insult, they INSIST that HMRC let off large corporations with billions in tax.
    Then state they are going to "blow" an eye watering amount on some tawdry event. What a farce, voting changes nothing

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    I bet most contributors here spent Christmas in a dark room, wrapped in a blanket with a single candle burning. All the usual "we're broke", "spend it on the hospitals" self flagelation comments. I suprised that no one has suggested that the evil "bankers" pay for it. Let's just do it the best we can and send a positive message about the UK's outlook and character and there will be payback

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    If anyone is under the illusion that these games are anything but an absolutely massive squandering of public money with vast amounts of cash being handed Mafioso style to a few rich companies, then you'd do well to spend 40 minutes listening to "File on 4 - costing the games".

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    The Olympics is a terrible waste of money to the UK tax payer, and we have to ask ourselves will we make a profit out of this in the long term?

    The other part of it is – we simply haven’t got the public transport to cope. London is packed as it is, people crammed together like sardines on the underground, long delays at customs, motorways full.

    Stop spending Cameron and Hunt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Its too late to try to balance the books now. Its high time though that the costs and the benefits and in particualr how they have been distributed across the country are calculated independently. For instance, it looks like the benefits have mostly gone to firms in the S East and the negative impact on business, transport and tourism seems likely to be massive. Is it really a net benefit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Another ego trip for a few metrocentic tory parasites, Coe, johnson cameron etc, there will be no benifit to anybody outside London. The only way the ordinary man in the street will benifit is if he lifts the wallet of one the corprate fat cat spivs on freebie

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    It's the same old story and I am getting so sick and tired of it! Sure, go ahead. Spend the money that the people you have made homeless are being denied in the benefits you have cut in order to stage a sporting event that only the rich can afford to go to see live! Tell you what.. why not actually feed the old and infirm to the rich? Look at all the protein going to waste! This country..........!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Once again this government play with the public's money at a time where families are finding it very tough indeed, with the possible exception of London no one apart from the organisors and consultants who will make a fortune are going to benefit from the Olympics the 9.3 billion could have done wonders for the NHS instead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    The games are an opportunity-very expensive yes, but who thought the original cost number was anything but a fib? It's happening so the job is to make the most of it. And no Geoff, because you don't like a sport doesn't make those who do 'psycho damaged' -not my cup of tea either, but there are many sports represented and show what can be achieved by those who get off their backsides and try.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Lets get the Government to be totally transparent with the out come of the Olympics. At the end of the games produce a list of all companies that made a profit and made more jobs, which areas of the country made an income to help them. List all new companies and jobs that have arisen due to us holding the games, I think you will have to wait along time for this truth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    13. surpluspop1
    "Who will ever forget the Millennium dome?"

    The Millenium dome was a massive success, notwithstanding the efforts of many elements of the media to paint it otherwise.

    I think it's great we have something as high-profile and international as the Olympics to boost the economy. Though not interested in the games at all personally, I can see the event being a massive success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    It is not very reassuring to know that this government has no conscience with the sacrafice of its disadvantaged population at the alter of global political status.
    We were conned at the initial cost when the games were awarded and we have continued to be with every aspect of it ever since.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Of course it should be an austerity Olympics! It's a brilliant opportunity to show the world that these are incredibly difficult times, and that we should cut our cloth accordingly.
    Instead, it'll end up being a complete and utterly over-the-top waste of money- OUR money, again! Are the politicians any different from the bankers? NO! Will they ever learn that they represent us,not themselves? NO!

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Although far from agreeing to this governments austerity measures I happen to agree with the increase in the budget for the opening & closing ceremonies. I can forsee that the Olympics will bring in a lot of welcome revenue for our coffers and if we put on a good show it will boost our trade for the export market, so let's not be so pessimistic please
    Alun Urch

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    No country has ever made money on the games but some individuals will make a pack on this I would love to see just what the money is going on.what is it 36 mill for swimming team that a lot of goggles and towels. if we won every gold it will make no difference to my life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    What's wrong with an Olympic Competition in the original, basic, amateur sense? Without being drugged up to the eyeballs or leotard stuffed full of dosh.

    Another 'story' without a byline so it's government guff, toe in the water to see how far they can push us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Almost four times once budget already ! Good old government.

    Why can't the UK be the first to implement austerity and save some money OR do we really need to outdo the last games wastages?

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I agree with Peter Young, I cannot wait for this farce to be over. It will be rammed down our throats by the TV and press media. If we didn't have all the FREE helpers just what would be the full cost of these games be.So just several weeks away and I'm looking for the big business opportunities and jobs that are going to come of holding the Olympics, none so far.


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