08 November, 2006

The Olympics: pity the poor taxpayer.

One of the great Olympic traditions is the host government going over budget. It looks as if the British government is going to set new standards of profligacy. Without so much as a spade in the ground, after an initial estimate of £2.375bn, the expected cost has now risen to in excess of £5bn.

The American engineer in charge of the project, Jack Lumley, has already already quit because of political interference. Tessa Jowell, the hapless minister responsible, forgot to take tax into account in her department's budget calculations, so that could be another £1bn or so on the bill. None of this has stopped Jowell vetoing a proposal to reduce costs by turning the post-games Olympic Stadium into a soccer ground.

The Daily Telegraph's Mihir Bose, who has previously detailed the Dome and Wembley fiascos, is following the story in detail. He has a report and podcast here.

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