Inside Lines: Government 'not pulling their weight' to win 2012

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The Independent Online

On the eve of London's delivery of the crucial final bid document to the International Olympic Committee, the Government are accused of "not pulling their weight" in the campaign to win the 2012 Games.

On the eve of London's delivery of the crucial final bid document to the International Olympic Committee, the Government are accused of "not pulling their weight" in the campaign to win the 2012 Games.

Lord Moynihan, the shadow sports minister, makes the indictment following a meeting he and the Lib Dem sports spokesman, Don Foster, had with the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, during which she declined to give a Government commitment to provide a tax concession in a proposed new Lottery that would help cut the cost of the Games to Londoners.

"We came away disappointed," said Moynihan. "I got the impression that the Government are more interested in competing for the Olympics than actually winning the bid. Compared with the huge investment the French government are making to the Paris bid, ours are doing nothing. The London 2012 team are doing a great job, but I do not think the Government are pulling their weight as they should. They will not help to underwrite any overspend, and it is ridiculous that they will not agree to to this tax break. The great irony is that Ken Livingstone and I are on the same side over this."

London's mayor says he supports the Tory policy of making £340m available from the Olympic Lottery Game which, as it stands, would see the Government taking 12p in tax from every £1 bet, making some £3 billion for the Treasury.

However, ex-Olympian Moynihan is putting his own weight behind the efforts of his buddy Seb Coe. During a visit to Cuba with his Independent Review team this week, he will be pressing London's claims with Cuban Olympic officials.

London places accent firmly on youth

The presence of Amir Khan and his kid brother Haroon with the London bid document on a Lord Mayor's Show float yesterday, and its handing over to the IOC tomorrow by a 14-year-old black schoolgirl, is symbolic. It indicates London's desire to give the impression that the Olympic bid reflects the aspirations of London's youth and Britain's ethnic diversity. The official courier is Amber Charles, a junior international basketball player and athlete from Newham. She will be accompanied by her PE teacher mother. London, who plan an intensive international promotional campaign, have already upset rivals Paris. The French sports paper L'Equipe last week accused them of breaching etiquette by the early release of plans in the embargoed document, which London denies.

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