Babies charged £100 for 2012 tickets

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The Independent Online

It was the promise of the legacy, it is commonly agreed, that won the Games for London, that and David Beckham. But babies will not be welcome at the Summer Olympics, to the undisguised fury of ticket-holding parents.

Organisers of the 2012 Games have confirmed that every child, including young babies carried by parents, will require their own ticket, even those who hadn't been conceived when the tickets were purchased.

One of many angry parents on the influential website Mumsnet described it as the "biggest rip-off in the history of London".

Around a third of the Olympics sessions had special "pay your age" prices for those under 16, but for those events that didn't parents with newly born children find themselves in the position of having to buy new, and in some cases, full-price tickets costing more than £100 for their child.

The Winter Olympics in Vancouver admitted babies under two years of age for free. Lord's Cricket Ground has the same policy for its cricket matches, yet when it hosts the Olympic archery competition babies will need their own tickets.

A press spokesman conceded that some venues are more baby friendly than others, but that a consistent line had to be found across all venues.

One "fuming" pregnant woman wrote: "I'm shocked by the conversation I just had with the London 2012 ticketing people.

"My husband and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the horse jumping in August. Our baby is due 2 June, so was inquiring about what I need to do about tickets for the new baby.

"They said everyone needs a ticket – fine. Children's tickets are £1 – fine. But there are no children's tickets for the horse jumping so I have to pay £95 to have a three-month-old in a sling!!!"

A London 2012 spokesperson said, "We want families and young people to come and enjoy the Games, which is why we created pay your age tickets at a third of sessions. Of course we understand that some new mums may want to take their babies to events they have tickets to and we will look at what we can do when the remaining tickets go on sale in April."

Yesterday, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, admitted that he is "sticking his neck out" in doubling the budget for London 2012's opening and closing ceremonies to more than £80m.

An increase of £41m above the £40m already budgeted for the shows was announced last month.

Mr Hunt told the Culture, Media and Sport Commons Committee: "I am sticking my neck out in a big way for this opening ceremony.

"We are as a Government saying that we are not going with the conventional wisdom that at times of austerity you should reign back on absolutely everything because we think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.