London 2012 Olympics 'will be under budget'

 

The Government will confirm today that the £500 million contingency budget for the Olympic Games remains unspent, MPs have been told.

Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said that, with 150 days to go, he expected confirmation the sporting spectacular would come in under budget.

The Government has had to rebuff concerns in recent months that the £9.3 billion budget could be overspent after the costs of security and ceremonies soared.

Six of the eight venues on the Olympic Park have plans in place for their future, while 16 expressions of interest have been lodged with the team working on future uses for the Olympic Stadium.

Mr Robertson told MPs last night: "We are on track, on time and just under budget to deliver a great games...

"With 150 days to go, we will be in a position to reveal that of the original budget, £500 million remains an unused contingency."

MPs had earlier debated the Olympics budget, with many looking forward to London 2012 getting under way in July.

Chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale said: "This is going to be an occasion which is probably going to achieve the greatest global television audience almost ever recorded.

"They will all be looking at London and that is a huge opportunity for us and therefore I do think it right that we should put on a pretty good show.

"The select committee has inevitably concentrated on the areas where there have been concerns, we have identified where we think there could be problems, hopefully in a way that has allowed them to be tackled.

"I pay particular tribute to the Olympic Delivery Authority, which I think has done a fantastic job in building such remarkable facilities on time and we hope within budget, and also Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) whose main job is still ahead but nevertheless has done a huge amount of very impressive work and I look forward even more to a fantastic games."

Tory MP Louise Mensch (Corby), a member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said she thought the Olympics would be an "unmitigated triumph".

She said the £41 million increase in the budgets of the opening and closing ceremonies were "cheap at the price, while it has already been decided how six out of eight Olympic venues will be used after the Games before they have even taken place".

PA

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