The cost of major venues at London's 2012 Olympic Games has risen dramatically over the past six months and the main stadium will be double its original burden on the taxpayer, the Government admitted yesterday.
In its annual report on the 2012 budget, the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, said the Olympic stadium may eventually cost £547m – £22m more than thought in September and up from an original estimate of £282m in 2004. "Emerging pressures" on the construction of the site mean the cost of building all the venues in the Olympic Park is forecast to rise by £196m. But organisers believe that potential savings mean that only an extra £3m needs to be found – negligible within the overall contingency budget of £2bn.
The overall cost has remained at £9.3bn and ministers say they are confident of delivering the Games on time and on budget. The likeliest threat to the overall budget may arise from security for what will be the biggest policing operation in British history.
Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, said: "This shows that we are on course to remain on budget despite the current economic downturn. It [the budget] will not be exceeded.
"While forecasts have risen on some venues, these increases have been offset by savings in infrastructure and around the venues and work to clean up the park."
Ms Jowell also announced the creation of a Legacy Company, administered in conjunction with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to oversee long-term benefits of the Games for the capital.