06/12/2011

Olympic Games To Overshoot Budget

The 2012 Games will exceed its £9.3bn budget without "rigorous action" to cut costs, an Olympics spending watchdog has said.

According to the National Audit Office (NOA) on Tuesday, the likely cost of venue security for the taxpayer has nearly doubled in the last year, to £553 million after one of the committees overseeing security guards more than doubled its estimate for stewards.

The London Organising Committee (LOCOG) said it had estimated it would need 10,000 security guards but now requires some 23,700, and forcing a "significant recruitment challenge".

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: "The programme to deliver the venues and infrastructure for the 2012 Games remains on course, so it looks as if value for money will be achieved in this area.

"However, not everything is rosy. The Government is confident that there is money available to meet known risks, but, in my view, the likelihood that the Games can still be funded within the existing £9.3 billion public sector funding package is so finely balanced that there is a real risk more money will be needed."

According to the report, transport planning has also faced delays and, until completed, the NAO says local authorities, businesses and individuals will remain uninformed about the full impact of the Games on London's transport networks.

Meanwhile, fourteen of the 26 construction projects for the Games have been completed, handed over and the remaining projects are on course.

The Olympic Delivery Authority has also either completed, or is on course to complete, its transport infrastructure projects, such as increasing capacity on the Docklands Light Railway, the NAO said.

The report said: "Overall, for operational planning, good progress is being made across almost all of the principal areas of work. However, detailed work by the delivery bodies has identified significant challenges, particularly in the cost of venue security and some elements of transport planning."

(DW)

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