Statement from PAC Chair on NAO report on Preparations for the 2012 Olympics

06 December 2011

NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE: Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Progress report December 2011


A statement from The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:

The nation is looking forward to the Olympics and Paralympic games, and there is an absolute imperative for proper planning to ensure a great experience for both athletes and spectators. Progress has been solid, but there are significant risks that must be addressed if the Games are going to continue on track and be a success.

Security costs are now double what were originally planned. Getting the security staff required is such a significant challenge that the military may be called upon to play a role. It is deeply worrying that at this late stage plans for venue security are not further advanced.

Transport plans are also behind schedule, leaving businesses, workers and travellers to the Games uncertain as to how they will be affected. Consultation on traffic issues has been pushed back until March 2012. This leaves planning until the very last moment and cannot be delayed further if transport chaos is to be avoided.

Around £9,300 million of public funding has been set aside for the Olympics, but what is left in the budget for contingency is wafer thin, at only £36 million. For a project of this size with unknown risks and eight months remaining that is a tiny amount of money. LOGOC is likely to use all of its contingency funding and would also have to call on further Government support if there are further cost increases.

It is pleasing that the Olympic Park Legacy Company is largely on track to deliver its objectives, but there are problem venues, not least the Olympic Stadium. Evaluating the Olympic legacy fully will take years, but the decisions made now will determine if the taxpayer receives value for money.

The report is available to read on the National Audit Office website.  

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