London 2012: Boris Johnson says capital is prepared
- 22 July 2012
- From the section UK
London is as well-prepared as any city in Olympic history to host the Games, Mayor Boris Johnson has said.
Playing down concerns about the city's transport network, he also insisted the Games would make money.
"We are going to be selling London," he told the BBC, adding that the Games had already brought "fantastic investment".
Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called a planned strike by UK border staff on the eve of the Games "an absolute disgrace".
It comes after International Olympics Committee president Jacques Rogge told reporters he was satisfied with security arrangements for London 2012.
Mr Johnson told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "If you look at what Jacques Rogge had to say last night, he's been in London for a few days, he thinks that our city is as well-prepared as any city in the history of the Games."
And he said that so far the capital's traffic and transport systems were "holding up well, touch wood".
In other developments:
- The Olympic torch got a bird's eye view of the capital on top of the London Eye and was later carried by former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis
- Transport for London has said roads around London will "look and feel different" from Monday after a weekend of preparations
- Sunday trading laws have been suspended for the duration of the Games
Mr Johnson said that as the heads of most of the world's biggest businesses were visiting, "we are going to be selling London".
"The Olympic Games have already been responsible for fantastic investment in this city," he said.
"Pension funds from across the world are investing in the Olympic sites right now... to say nothing of all the transport investment, which is transforming London.
"I defy the critics of the Olympics to say that this is not producing economic benefits for the city."
He said 512,000 people were understood to have turned out to see the torch relay on Saturday, and that most people in London were looking forward to the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, Mr Hunt criticised members of the PCS union who have voted to go on strike on Thursday, the eve of the opening ceremony.
The action will involve staff across the Home Office, including the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau.
Mr Hunt told the BBC: "It's an absolute disgrace. It's totally out of sync with the way everybody else is behaving."
He denied the strike would impact on preparations for the Games, adding: "We have a contingency plan in place and I am absolutely confident that we will get everyone into the country."
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told Sky News the strike was a "last resort" and he hoped it could be avoided.
He said: "We've still got a few days to avoid the dispute, I've written to Theresa May, we've written to the management of the Home Office."
Mr Serwotka said that 8,500 jobs were being cut, and 22% of staff at the border were to lose their jobs "even though we routinely have queues and passenger anger is rising all the time".
He added: "These are not demands about personal gain, they are about defending important services, the security of the country and ensuring that people still have the chance to work all the year round."
A Home Office spokesman urged the union to call off the strike, branding it "irresponsible".
"Staff from across government including from the Home Office, MoD police and seconded police officers have been trained to work at the border," he said.
"Those who have not already volunteered specifically for the Olympics are being asked to offer their support on 26 July."