UK Politics

London 2012 Olympic legacy 'needs leadership'

London Bridge and the Olympic rings
Image caption The London 2012 Games are widely regarded as having been a success

The government's spending watchdog has called for "strong leadership" by the Cabinet Office to ensure the legacy of the London 2012 Games is not wasted.

The National Audit Office (NAO) says focus must not be lost as many different organisations are involved in post-Olympic projects.

The Cabinet Office is leading the running of the legacy.

The NAO's Amyas Morse said strong leadership would "ensure the longer-term benefits are delivered."

He added: "Few could have envisaged how successful the London 2012 Games would turn out to be.

"The construction programme was completed on time and within budget, 11 million tickets were sold and our athletes excelled.

"Crucially, the Games passed off without major transport disruption or security incident."

Speaking about the post-Games projects, he added: "There has been progress in setting up arrangements to strengthen co-ordination and oversight of delivery of the planned legacy of the Games.

"The Cabinet Office will now have to exercise strong leadership to ensure the longer-term benefits are delivered."

Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge called for "a tight grip on every last bit of expenditure" in the post-Games era.

She said: "The momentum that the Games generated must now be harnessed by government to deliver the promised legacy.

"The government needs to capitalise on the events of the summer to inspire wider participation in sport, regenerate east London and trigger economic growth.

"The Cabinet Office must provide firm leadership and oversight of the many organisations charged with these important tasks."

And she went on to say that project management and contracting skills "gained by officials must now be deployed elsewhere in the civil service where these skills have often been found wanting in the past".

Olympic costs

The cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority's programme to build the venues and infrastructure is expected to be around £6.7 billion, compared with the £8.1 billion originally available.

Final costs will not be known precisely until 2014 but ministers are "confident" the project will come in under budget. The future of the £429m Olympic Stadium is being finalised.

And it is still uncertain whether the Games will come in £377m under budget, as estimated, against its £9.3 billion public sector funding package.

Venue security costs amounted to £514m, which included the cost of the G4S security contract as well physical security infrastructure.

G4S failed to supply the agreed number of security guards, and extra troops and police were deployed to fill the shortfall. The figure could change pending the outcome of contractual negotiations between Locog and G4S

'Lasting legacy'

London Mayor Boris Johnson hailed the "overwhelming success" of the 2012 Games.

He said: "The doomsters and Olymposceptics have been confounded yet again.

"This report puts into black and white the scale of the achievement in organising such a successful festival of sport, and pays tribute to the many different players who helped make the Games the greatest show on earth.

"I'm determined to build on this momentum to create a lasting legacy which benefits Londoners for generations and provides a blueprint for future host cities to follow."

And sports minister Hugh Robertson said Britain can look back with pride "on an outstanding Olympics and a groundbreaking Paralympics, which showed Britain at its best".

He said: "The National Audit Office report quite rightly highlights the successes of London 2012 and we are now focused on delivering a genuine and lasting legacy."

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