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 233.

    @221. ship-of-fools:
    You can express your opinion as much as you like. What I can't stomach are the miserable HYS whingers and moaners who want to ruin the Olympics for everyone else, whereas you didn't hear them when they had a chance. But then, it's easier to sit behind a computer and inanely rant rather than go out and do something. I was on Trafalgar Square when we won the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Seems nothing more than an attempt by a largely bankrupt government to show off to the rest of the world by pretending the UK is something a lot more & considerably more affluent than it actually is. It's a shame the politicians don't have to pay for it themselves, they'd probably be a little more restrained with spending the money we don't have!

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    “Just go to the lowest rated comments and read all the references to wingers and whiners because they don't support a Government that puts wasting huge amounts of money on the presentation of a sporting event”

    Then why do you support a Party that won the Olympics, inflated the budget and spent most of the money?

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    £9.3 billion for the Olympic Games, but cancer patients can't get some money from the government for necessary extra heating.

    Something smells really bad here. Helping cancer patients won't get you a bung in the back pocket, but the Olympic Games just might !

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    217. John_Bull
    >>>The OG is the world’s No.1 sporting event, and very few people get to experience them first hand..we are privileged to have that opportunity ourselves.

    You are right, but the underlying assumption is that the majority of people in this country care to HAVE that opportunity & I don't think that's the case. Fishing, Gardening, movies & others far exceed sports as popular hobbies

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    was in Greece and was involved in the 2004 Olympics. Like everyone they were well over budget - and had and still have a load of white elephants hanging round their necks (different venues). Hopefully London will be a massive success but its time to leave it where it belongs - Greece! They could do with that business now

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    Bread and circuses. To misquote a phrase - the Olympics are overhyped, overfunded...amd over here. So whilst frail elderly fold and people dying from cancer shiver in the cold, we spend billions on entertainers running in circles or see who can throw a stick the longest distance. It is apparently a "once in a lifetime event". Thank goodness, twice would be unbearable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.


    >>”Just remember that this is another legacy from the last government”.

    “The Labour Government are history & not making the decisions on spending now.”

    But Labour wanted the Olympics, and most of the money was spent whilst Labour were in office.
    What do you expect Cameron to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    The Olympics are the perfect opportunity to stage massive protests against the government. Huge and very visible disruption to the games would be a great way to get the message across that a large portion of the country is totally against this government's actions. After that, at every election opportunity, vote for anyone other than Lib Dem or Tory candidates and clean the slate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    We are populated with an opinionated chattering class of economic illiterates - the games are sold out, the worldwide TV audience will be a rolling 2 billion plus - many from the BRICS looking to travel, establish business contacts and buy products to reflect their new affluence.
    We have been presented (forget the sport) with the biggest business opportunity in a depressed 2012 world - invest..

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    just cancel this monstrous waste of money or give to France or some other willing country. better yet let it be funded by charitable donations so that people who want it can pay for it and those of us who do not and think its a terrible waste of money and an incredible inconvenience don't have to put us with it. WASTE OF MONEY.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    The Olympics should have been cancelled three years ago. How can a country which owes trillions squander 10bn on "playing games". The new Nimrod planes were designed and built at enormous cost - then destroyed because the government "could not afford" £2bn running costs over a 10 year period. Our Harriers were sold to USA. Aircraft carriers are without planes! Yet the games ARE "affordable"!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    214. Real Ale Socialist - not really a socialist

    What additional words of wisdom can you offer us in your interesting world where one isn't entitled to express a point of view? Have you really been contributing to the HYS since Blair was PM? You can't have been, surely not? If you have then you have my sympathies and I suggest that you get out a little more often ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    It is not a national advert. It is a daft collection of hobbyists playing arcane games amongst themselves. Insiders all get very rich on the con trick of getting us to pay for it, and facilities for their hobbies. Meanwhile tourism is heavily damaged, TV is ruined for weeks let alone the build up. The logo and posters set the shoddy example of the in crowd poor taste, and display it to the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    Just go to the lowest rated comments and read all the references to wingers and whiners because they don't support a Government that puts wasting huge amounts of money on the presentation of a sporting event before the well-being of its citizens and you'll understand what a massive gap there is between wealth and poverty in this country.
    The elite don't have a clue or just don't care!

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    Accountability anyone?
    Going to build a dog-kennel soon, £16M to you, £64M when the dust settles - ok?
    S C A M.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    The OG is the world’s No.1 sporting event, and very few people get to experience them first hand. As such, we are privileged to have that opportunity ourselves. 9.3Bn is a vast sum, but this was allocated over a 6 yr period and merely equates to what govt spends every 5 days. Rather than moan about the cost, we should embrace the opportunity and welcome the world back to the home of sport

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    The country is skint. The people are having their standard of living lowered. So why are we spending a fortune in public money on the Olympic Games ? I think a lot of people are going to get rich on this, but it won't be the general population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Cameron deciding to double the budget for the Opening Ceremony worries me about what the original plans were: some X Factor rejects, a Pan's People dance routine and a few sparklers?!

    Re: BBC Sports Personality of the Year, I don't understand how - as Princess Anne claimed - Redgrave's "oratory" helped London's bid win. Unless IOC delegates pledged their votes on condition that he SHUT UP!

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Those who complain about the Olympics now remind me of those who complain about Blair and Brown after Labour rather than during, when you had a choice to put up or shut up. It's too late now. The Olympics are happening, deal with it.


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