The cost of the London 2012 Games has come in at £377million under budget, according to Government figures released on Tuesday. The overall cost of the Games is forecast at £8,921billion from a budget of £9,298bn. With some contracts still to be wound up after the end of the Games, ministers are describing the underspend as a ‘prudent’ estimate.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson described the feat of managing the complex programme within budget as ‘a tremendous success’.
He said: ‘The work of the construction and delivery teams, from the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) and Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), has set a very high standard and I have no doubt that London 2012 has set a new benchmark for the management of Olympic and Paralympic Games in future.’
Talks are also still ongoing between the London 2012 organisers and G4S to get the security firm to pay back money for the fiasco over its failure to provide enough security guards for the Games.
Robertson said: ‘There are projected savings of at least £377m so the predictions that I made this summer that we could bring this project in at under £9bn has almost certainly been met.
‘The £377m figure is conservative because there are lumps of contingency that are still attached to the outstanding work. The central expectation has to be in line with the rest of the project that not all of that will be needed.
‘Locog (the London 2012 organisers) also have to conclude, and we have to sign off, the negotiations with G4S over the size of the amount of money that will be paid back to the public purse – so if you were to add to that £377m, anything that will not be used but is held against outstanding work and anything that might come back from G4S, it is entirely reasonable to expect that figure to rise.’
Some £103 million of contingency is being held to cover the remaining risks in the programme. These include the retrofit of the Olympic Village to get it ready for use when it reopens after the Games.
There are also around 2,000 contracts with the ODA, the Olympic builders and London 2012 which still have to be closed out.
In addition, £480m of uncommitted contingency still remains within the budget.
The ODA’s construction and transport programme has come in at £6.714bn, according to the estimates. This is a drop of £47m on the previous estimated figure.
The savings made by the ODA are now at £1.032bn. Overall savings have been made through ‘really tough project management’ by London 2012, ODA and the Government, according to Robertson.
Lord Coe, meanwhile, made a direct pitch to coalition ministers today for help shoring up the UK’s Olympic legacy.
The peer, who is expected to be confirmed as the new chairman of the British Olympic Association next month, attended Cabinet at No 10 to make sure ministers are ‘engaged in the way they need to be’.
Prime Minister David Cameron made the former Tory MP a ‘legacy ambassador’ to boost UK sport in the wake of the successful Olympic and Paralympics.
Education Secretary Michael Gove told the peer the London 2012 bounce has already led to an increase in the number of students applying to be PE teachers.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said it was ‘always part of the planning’ that the Games would be used to improve participation in sport and change attitudes to disability.
He said: ‘Lord Coe said the legacy challenge was, in many ways, the biggest challenge of the Games project. He said he was delighted the Government had picked up this issue so quickly. A lot has already happened but we need to continue to work at it to make sure there is an effective legacy.
‘It was an opportunity for him to hear the thoughts of the Cabinet.
‘Clearly, this is an issue that cuts across many departments and already lots of departments are working on aspects. One issue is participation in sport.’
Lord Coe will report progress to the Prime Minister four times a year.