Games budget could suffer again

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The Independent Online

The Olympic budget is not "immune" to further cuts, according to the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, although it will retain "a measure of protection" in the face of the government's attempts to drastically reduce public spending.

Last month, following the change of government, the Olympic Delivery Authority had its budget reduced by £27m – Locog, the organising committee, is unaffected as all its funds come from sponsorship and ticket sales – and there may be more to follow. The overall budget for the Games is £9.3bn.

"I cannot say categorically that there will be no adjustments," Robertson said. "No one can say that the state of the nation's finances are not dire, and sport and the Olympics Games are not immune from that. But when we look at the Olympic budget we will make an argument that reflects its importance to the nation and make sure that we deliver a successful games that Britain can be proud of, on time and under budget.

"Every single area of government expenditure will be looked at, and we have to deliver. But the 2012 Olympics have a measure of protection in that they are an event with a clear deadline. People accept the games are here, we can't hand them back, and that they are vital for the country."

But Robertson also announced – before flying out economy class to watch England's opening game at the World Cup – a funding boost for British sport with its share of lottery funds increasing by £50m a year by 2012, and underlined the government's backing for the 2018 World Cup bid.