Most of the public think the London Olympics will not be worth the taxpayers' money being spent on them, according to a survey for i.
The ComRes poll found that 51 per cent of people disagree with the statement that the Games will be worth the £9.3bn cost to the public purse, while only 40 per cent agree and 9 per cent replied "don't know".
Young people are much more relaxed about the cost of the event than all other age groups. Some 58 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds believe the Games will be worth it, while among 35- to 44-year-olds the figure is only 32 per cent.
Opinions appear to divide according to social class. More people in the top AB group (49 per cent) think the cost is worth it than do not (42 per cent). But the opposite is the case among other social classes, raising the prospect that the Olympics could be seen as a "rich person's event".
Scots are the most sceptical about the bill for taxpayers: by a margin of 2-1, they do not believe the Games are worth it. More surprisingly, Londoners do not seem convinced: 51 per cent of people in the South-east region, including the capital, think the event will not be worth the public money being spent, while 40 per cent say it will be.
The findings suggest the bill for taxpayers could become a headache for the Government. Yesterday, David Cameron dismissed suggestions that the money would be better spent on social projects for young people aimed at preventing a repeat of last summer's riots.
He insisted that the cost of the Olympics could be justified because they could inspire Britain's young people and "have the power to change people's lives". He added: "Every government has to be very careful with public money. We have been with this budget. I am proud of the fact that we are coming in on time and on budget."
The Prime Minister met inspectors from the International Olympic Committee on their final inspection visit before the Games.
Promising "the greatest show on earth", Mr Cameron, pictured, said: "The Olympics will revitalise local sport in Britain for generations to come." On the use of Olympic venues after the Games, he added: "I think it is time to tear up any notion of the Olympics leaving behind white elephants."
ComRes interviewed 1,000 adults by telephone between 23 and 26 March. The full tables can be seen at comres.co.uk.
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