London 2012: Olympics 'likely to be under budget'

Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson
Image caption Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson gave assurances the ticketing process would be transparent

Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson has said he is increasingly confident the 2012 Games will come in under budget.

New figures show the £527m contingency budget remains intact with 150 days to go until the start of the Olympics.

The current budget of £9.3bn is almost four times the estimated cost of staging the Games at the time of the bid in 2005.

Mr Robertson also pledged full transparency over the ticketing process, once all the numbers were in.

There have been calls for the government to put pressure on Games organisers Locog to release details of of how many tickets and at which prices have been sold amid growing frustration among people who have been unable to secure over-subscribed tickets.

'Absolutely transparent'

He said: "We have made it absolutely clear to them that as soon as the ticketing operation is complete they will be expected to produce a full and transparent breakdown."

Given the "vast and complicated" nature of the ticketing system he said: "I think it is reasonable they should complete the operation successfully and bring it home to land before they make those results public.

"I have no remit as a government minister over the money they raise privately through sponsorship and the like. All I can do is apply the rules that are set out to any public money which is my responsibility to the UK taxpayer.

"We have made that chunk of money absolutely transparent as everything else has been in this process," he said.

The government's February 2012 Olympic Quarterly Economic Report showed the overall funding package for the Olympic and Paralympic Games remained at £9.298bn with £527m of uncommitted contingency available, £1m down on the previous quarter.

Mr Robertson said: "With 150 days to go to the Games, we remain on time and within budget.

"This puts us in a strong position and gives me increasing confidence that we can deliver the Games under budget."

The original £2.4bn budget increased to £9.325bn in 2007 and was then cut slightly to £9.298bn by the new government in May 2010.

The latest government report also revealed the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) construction programme was 96% complete.

Dennis Hone, ODA chief executive, said: "Once again we can report that the expected final cost of the venues and infrastructure for London 2012 is down, with costs squeezed again, bringing savings now within sight of the £1bn mark.

"We remain on the Olympic Park to complete the parklands, roads and spectator access.

"We will complete our role by working with transport operators to get spectators to venues and keep people moving, licensing and enforcing the rules for trading and advertising, concluding contracts and transforming Games-time apartments in the Olympic Village into homes for families after the athletes are gone."

In December the National Audit Office warned it was likely the £9.3bn budget would be exceeded.

The warning came after the government decided to double the budget for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies to more than £80m and announced an extra £271m was required to boost security in and around the Olympic venues.

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