London 2012: Olympic security cost raises concern among MPs

The Olympic Stadium on 6 March 2012 The Olympic Stadium "must not become a white elephant", say MPs

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MPs have raised concerns the London 2012 Olympics may go over budget and said it was "staggering" initial estimates about security costs were so wrong.

The Public Accounts Committee's report also warned the stadium must not become a white elephant.

The government insists it is confident the event will come in under budget.

The Games and legacy projects are expected to cost about £11bn, the report said.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said: "The venues and infrastructure of the London Olympic Games are on track to be delivered on time and within budget.

The minister for sport Hugh Robertson denied any overspend

"The Olympic Delivery Authority's management of the building programme has been exemplary.

"However, the £9.3bn public sector funding package is close to being used up and we are concerned about whether the running of the Games will be held within budget.

"Taking into account costs outside the package, the full cost to the public of the Games and legacy projects is already heading for around £11bn."

'Weak negotiating position'

Mrs Hodge said the committee was "particularly concerned" about the significant increases in the security bill.

"Locog (the London organising committee) now needs more than twice the number of security guards it originally estimated and the costs have roughly doubled.

"It is staggering that the original estimates were so wrong."

Margaret Hodge, MP: 'There are question marks over whether the taxpayer is getting value for money'

The report states Locog has been forced to renegotiate its contract with G4S for venue security from a "weak negotiating position".

Mrs Hodge added: "There is a big question mark over whether it secured a good deal for the taxpayer."

Locog's original estimate for the number of security guards in and around the venues was 10,000 - a "finger in the air estimate", according to the PAC report.

The government announced in December that figure had more than doubled to 23,700.

Security costs from the Olympics budget have risen from £282m to £553m.

The report said: "Locog itself now has almost no contingency left to meet further costs, even though it has done well in its revenue generation."

On legacy, the PAC report raises concerns over sports participation targets and the stadium after a deal for West Ham United Football Club to take it over was scrapped.

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Most people will look at all this and find it meaningless to quibble over which department is spending what on the Olympics”

End Quote David Bond BBC Sports Editor

Mrs Hodge added: "We were promised a strong Olympic legacy but the government has chosen not to adopt the target of one million more people participating in sport by 2013 and plans for the stadium have fallen through.

"It must not become a white elephant.

Legacy 'unclear'

"The government is dispersing responsibility for delivering the legacy and we need clarity about who is accountable."

The report states that with only 109,000 new people regularly participating in sport against the original one million target - which the new government chose not to adopt - the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had got "poor value for money" for the £450m spent through national governing bodies.

"It is unclear what the sporting participation legacy of the Games is intended to be," says the report.

The DCMS rejected the figure of £11bn of public money being spent on the Games and defended the legacy aims.

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

A DCMS spokesman said: "With 140 days to go until the Olympic Games, we are on time and under budget, with over £500m worth of uncommitted contingency remaining.

"We are in a strong position and, while we can't be complacent, are confident that we can deliver the Games under budget.

"As we told the PAC in December we do not recognise the figure of £11bn. We have always been transparent about what is included in the £9.3bn.

"The cost of purchasing the Olympic Park land will ultimately come back to the public purse through the resale of the land after the Games and was therefore not included.

"Funding for the legacy programmes, that the PAC refer to, comes from existing business-as-usual budgets and we have been clear about this. These are for projects designed to capitalise on hosting London 2012 but are not an additional Olympic cost."

The DCMS said the legacy included regenerating part of east London and tenants had been secured for six out of eight venues on the Olympic Park.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    Hands up everyone who is suprised that the Olympics is going to cost more than planed!

    Come on there must be someone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    #18 banskank

    You are complaining about people complaining - any sense of irony felt?
    And your inference that anyone who holds a contrary opinion to your own needs to “get a life” is a bit of a 14 year old playground level argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.


    "I suspect the "Olympic Legacy" will fade from the limelight/not happen as time passes and no one will give a damn."

    Did you see that report on the Olympic legacy after the highly succesful Sydney Olympics of 2000? Games ended 1st October, legacy forgotten by 2nd October.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Tell the British Athletes who fought for adequate funding, that in some cases still did not recieve any, that they are " whinging, boring self centred people"

    Yes, I'd tell them that. What they do is SPORT - it's meant to be for fun, as a hobby. Go out and get real jobs and play games in the evenings and at weekends. Why on earth should the taxpayer subsidise you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    This is just the same as the ticket fiasco, Lord Coe could not even confirm the amount of tickets available for the general public.
    Who pays for this over spend we do the general public. what a sham.
    I am sure the athletes at both the Olympics and paraolympics would love to have a small percentage of this money to pay for their training instead of having to sell themselves on the internet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    You'd almost think these kinds of topics (Olympics, EU, the Royals) , all notorious pet hates, are made available just before the weekend to give the moaners and whingers something to do Sat/Sun. They can vent all their anger accumulated during the week over "non-news" topics and topics they "are not allowed to debate". Seems to work fine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    I hope it goes well. But sadly it is certain that transport will be a nightmare, inevitable that the unions will take the opportunity to hold us to ransom, and highly likely that there will at least one major security alert. A sad indictment on the UK today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    So £9.3bn gets spent. It goes to firms who employ workers who spend it. They create work for others. Money circulates, the faster it circulates the stronger becomes the economy. At least on the Olympics we get visitors who spend lots of money too as well as a wonderful sports spectacle. There are many worse projects to have spent money on than this one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    The Olympics should have not been sought here. Instead, money should have gone to developing fitness in the wider population by building cycle routes and other means of getting access to fitness for all.

    For those compelled to compete thereafter should go to a place thereafter where someone has plonked a permanent Olympic venue in one place, just as one experiences with Wimbledon each year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Was it not the Greeks who invented the olympics? It's a shame they can't trademark it and hold the games in perpetuity.

    They spent millions in 2004 on infrastruture for the olympics they hosted, yet have no funds to maintain that investment their politicians borrowed.

    Stop all over-priced bids fraud. Return the Olympics to Greece next time to regenerate their economy and return their pride.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.


    Totally agree. England/UK, ceases to exist North of Watford.


    Tell the British Athletes who fought for adequate funding, that in some cases still did not recieve any, that they are " whinging, boring self centred people"

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    But what a lot of fun it will be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    It is unprecedented in modern times that fully 6 months before the event, we are already practically ready to hold a major event like the olympics right now. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into this and all we get is whingeing and whining from those know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    @85 - I don't know where you've got your stats from but NO modern Olympics has ever made a profit....

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    'There is not a single MP of whatever party who can manage a booze up if it were held in a brewery, it is silly money to them, they are like kids in a candy shop none of them have any concept of finances and the more powerful they become the more they corrupt the system'

    Accountability then ? A fantasy maybe but only then will we get some responsibility from the governing classes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Bradford 94. Good call - keep our people in their normal jobs and make them do the cover instead of cutting costs; make massive pay outs of redundancy etc then go and spend whats left on employing for the Olympics the same workforce ???? ~About time our MP's stopped wasting our hard earned cash. Hey you could even make getting jobseekers paid out if hours are worked on olympic ventures!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I really don't understand why it should go over budget. If it looks as if the project is running out of money, then cut things! That's what people in industry and commerce do, as do private individuals. So if there's not enough money to pay for security, have less of it... it's only guarding against a hypothetical risk anyway, so if necessary adjust the risk estimate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    I don't think they went over budget but then I always double government estimates

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    The olympic budget reminds me of train announcements:
    The 08:32 is currently delayed by 45 minutes
    The 08:32 has now been rescheduled to the 09:30
    We are pleased to announce that the 09:30 is running 10 minutes early

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Are theses the same politicians that were covering themselves in glory when the bid was won?


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