On watching BBC North West Tonight, it is apparent that the city of London is more empty that one would imagine. The term ‘ghost town’ automatically springs to mind. Before the Olympics began earlier this summer, there were high expectations that the 2012 Olympics would help to boost the slowly suffering economy of our country. Now as the games have progressed all remaining hopes have been dashed.
According to the owners of hotels, bars and restaurants they are seeing a financial fall in their businesses as are top tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds, which have seen a drop of 30% in the last 2 weeks. The West End once a booming business in London ( Musical Theatre being very much a big part of our culture) has seen a decrease in ticket sales of 10% with many seats being left empty in the auditoriums, particularly during matinée performances.
LONDON’S OLYMPICS HAVE BEEN ‘OVER-BUDGETED’
According to Time Magazine (Olympics.time.com) no other mega sporting event is as financially draining or risky as hosting the Olympics. Ever since 1960 every game has over-run its set budget.
This year London’s Olympics are right on track (pardon the pun) to become the most over-budgeted games since 1996! The costliest EVER denting the low funds of our country with expenses currently standing at £14.8 billion pounds. The summer games were expected to cost around £8.4 billion compared with £4.2 billion when London made their bid for the games. Beijing’s 2008 Olympics were 4 % over-budget, while costs in Athens four years earlier were exceeded by 60 % .
The UK government decided to triple it’s first budget to £9.3 billion after they failed in getting companies to help to fund the main building site. The security budget doubled to £553 million last year as terrorist threats were inevitable.
Meanwhile, an Olympic insider yesterday from The Daily Mail admitted that many seats at Olympic venues were being left empty because some VIPs ‘barely leave the hotel’. Thousands of extra tickets went on sale to the public after organisers began reclaiming seats in accredited areas that remained unused.
SOME MP’s HAVE SHOWED CONCERN
The security cost has been astronomical, and according to The London News back in March, MP’s raised concerns that London’s olympics might go over budget.
MP Margaret Hodge ,chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said: “The venues and infrastructure of the London Olympic Games are on track to be delivered on time and within budget. The Olympic Delivery Authority’s management of the building programme has been exemplary. However, the £9.3bn public sector funding package is close to being used up and we are concerned about whether the running of the Games will be held within budget.Taking into account costs outside the package, the full cost to the public of the Games and legacy projects is already heading for around £11bn.” (www.bbc.co.uk)
The government believe that after the games, the money spent purchasing the Olympic Park land will come back to the ‘public purse’ through the reselling of the land in which the Olympic stadium was built.
Boris Johnson admitted that the effect of the Olympics has been ‘patchy’ but then stated that some areas of the city are doing ‘really well’ The mayor insisted that any businesses which had engaged with the games were prospering: “What’s happening is people are having a great time and those who are looking to engage with the games are doing great business.”
What are your thoughts ? Do you believe that we should be concerned?