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Friday, 15 June 2012

London 2012 not "under budget"

The BBC tells me that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has trumpeted the "fantastic news" that the London Olympics has come in under its £9.3 billion budget, with £476 million in contingency funding left in the pot. Whoopee! An event that was originally going to cost a mere £2.5 billion (cheap at the price!) is now going to cost less than £9 billion. Waiter, champagne! Even in 2003 - back in the boom times, when government thought it could pay for everything - even then, when public money was being thrown around like confetti, it was already being suggested that £2.5 billion was a vast amount to consider spending on the Olympics (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2394304/Olympic-bid-would-cost-2.5bn-in-subsidies.html). I wish the Olympics well and I appreciate people's excitement about it, but let's not congratulate ourselves on the fact that a £2.5 billion budget has come in at under £9 billion. That is not a cause for congratulation. And people wonder why the general public is cynical about public spending, politics and politicians!

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