Olympic work 'offers economic gold'

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The Independent Online

More than 800 companies have won £3.5bn of work in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics, new figures reveal today.

London 2012 organisers believe the Olympic project could offer "economic gold" as Britain edges towards recession.

Over 68 per cent of the work awarded to 801 companies so far has gone to small and medium-sized businesses, 98 per cent are UK-based and 46 per cent are based outside London, according to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is charged with developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Games.

ODA chairman John Armitt said: "London 2012 offers businesses of all sizes major opportunities in the current economic climate.

"These figures show that businesses from all over the UK are already winning 'economic gold', with millions of pounds-worth of London 2012 work. These benefits are directly a result of hosting the Games."

Lord Coe, chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), said: "As of next year, Locog is poised to release hundreds of opportunities for the best UK companies of all sizes to compete for work to supply our Games-time goods and services, so there is all to play for.

"The 2012 Games is already proving a golden opportunity to ensure growth in the UK economy and leave a legacy of fitter British businesses with the expertise of supplying the largest sporting event on earth."

Of the work awarded so far, 12 per cent has gone to companies in the east London Olympic Park host boroughs while 98 per cent has been to UK-based companies.

The ODA figures show that 42,671 companies have registered an interest in a contract that is part of the Olympic supply chain, including 29,517 small companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: "These figures are yet more proof that London 2012 is a golden opportunity at a time of economic need.

"The Games will generate some £6bn-worth of contracts open to UK business large and small, not to mention an estimated £2 billion dividend to the tourist industry.

"But this is not all - constructing and hosting the world's biggest sporting event will inevitably increase the expertise, efficiency and competitiveness of British business, leaving a legacy which will benefit the UK economy for decades to come."