Olympics budget not protected

Money for the Olympics is not protected, the new Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (COMS) Secretary has warned.

Jeremy Hunt stressed that ensuring the London 2012 Games are a success is a priority.

He described the £9.3billion Olympic project as "a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase the country to the world in what will, quite literally, be the greatest show on Earth".

But he pointed out a £66million cut my have to be found from his department as part of an attempt to find £64 billion of savings across government.

He told BBC Newsnight: "Olympic money is not protected. None of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's budgets are protected and we are looking at all of them and saying can we make savings without affecting our core services."

He estimates if the cuts were done evenly across all departments then COMS would face a £66million cut.

He has already raised the issue with his civil servants.

"It was one of the first things that I did to ask how we can best find those savings without affecting the frontline services we are responsible for," he said.

"It is something that all government departments have to take responsibility for."

With two years to the start of the Games, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe described the Olympic project as in "good shape".

He predicted the change of government would have no impact on preparations saying of the new ministers: "None of them are unfamiliar characters to us."

Mr Hunt, the Conservative MP for South West Surrey, has shadowed the Culture Department for the last two years.

Of his appointment, he said: "It is a wonderful moment for me personally, having followed this portfolio for the last two and a half years.

"Our sectors - particularly creative industries, culture and tourism - are vital elements in the UK's economic recovery.