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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The price of staging the Olympics

More coverage of the impact that the London Olympics are having on Wales this morning with confirmation from Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell that £65 million is being diverted from lottery money that would otherwise be spent in Wales to pay for the event.

Equally as worrying is that Ms. Jowell told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee that only four contracts for the 2012 Olympic Games have been awarded to Welsh firms and that these contracts are worth less than £100,000 in total.

It is difficult not to get the impression that money is being creamed off from Wales, Scotland and the English regions to pay for this event without any prospect of any return on that investment. All of the events are taking place in the South East of England, the vast majority of the contracts are being awarded there and there is a huge investment taking place in the regeneration of a big chunk of London with no Barnett consequential to the devolved administrations.

Should Wales, one of the poorest parts of the UK, be subsidising the capital in this way? Can this extravaganza be justified on its present terms? I think not. I have no problem with the Olympics coming to London nor with the investment in that City but those who are getting the benefits of that event should be paying, not the rest of us.
She could not tell a lie. When asked directly by Radio Wales whether she believed Wales was getting a good deal out of the Olympics, Tessa Jowell evaded the question.

Neath Port Talbot is losing thousands of pounds in lottery funding for sport & other aid for young people. The possibility of contracts for a few Welsh firms is not going to make up for that.
No, we shouldn't have to pay for it. But we will. It's the main reason why I was adamantly opposed to the Olympics coming here in the first place. However, it's a bit late to cry over that now.

Aberystwyth and Gloucester are both suffering as well Mr. Little, speaking as somebody who used to have to try and raise money for musical projects. All the funding from the lottery mysteriously disappeared three and a half years ago.

In an ideal world we should be guaranteed that no money from the lottery will be spent in London for 7 years after 2012 to make up to the other regions what they've lost. It would seem fair, but sadly it's not going to happen because it would be political suicide for any government.
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