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2012 Olympic Games (Budget)

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

3. What is her most recent estimate of the budget for the 2012 Olympic Games. [Official Report, 2 June 2008, Vol. 476, c. 8MC.] (204432)

In March 2007, I announced a funding package of £9.325 billion for the Olympic games. That has not changed, and I confirmed to the House earlier this year that the budget for the Olympic Delivery Authority remained the same, with £2 billion of contingency funds untouched. In January this year, we published the scope of what would be delivered from the funding package.

The Public Accounts Committee reported recently that there were foreseeable costs that had been omitted from the original Olympic budget. That is, of course, the same budget that Ken Livingstone agreed had been a con trick. What confidence can we have in the current figures that the Minister has just given the House? Will there be an element of independent scrutiny, so that we can all be assured that the budget has been properly handled?

First, there is independent scrutiny, quite apart from regular scrutiny by this House. I invited the National Audit Office to provide continuing advice on value for money, and in due course a proper reply to the Public Accounts Committee will be provided. The increase in security, for instance, in the wake of the 7/7 attacks in London could not in fairness be regarded as a foreseeable cost. VAT and contingency are the other two costs, but the fact is that the budget is now on a secure footing, as is testified by the NAO.

Can the Minister say what proportion of the budget is earmarked for Northern Ireland? [Official Report, 2 June 2008, Vol. 476, c. 8MC.]

The budget is not apportioned regionally, but the opportunities for hosting training camps and volunteers, and particularly the opportunity to take up the some 750,000 contracts that will be let during the development of the Olympic park and the preparations for the Olympics, mean that, as is the case with Wales and Scotland, Northern Ireland businesses should benefit. The CompeteFor network is designed to ensure that they do so.