02 February, 2007

NAO Report on Olympic budget.

The National Audit Office, the UK government's spending watchdog has published a report on risk assessment and management for the Olympic Games preparations: Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Risk assessment and management. The full report can be downloaded from here. Amongst the usual bureaucratic jargon, the gist of the report is that the government's failure to agree a final budget for the games is a recipe for disaster.

The cost of the games will be shared between London council tax payers, the National Lottery and general taxation. As the BBC points out, the NAO report says that the first two in that list are already at the limit of what they reasonably afford. In fact, London's contribution has been capped at an average of 38p per week and the Daily Telegraph highlights the danger if the £1.5 billion Lottery contribution has to be increased: it will be at the expense of other projects, including school sport.

The NAO's main gripe is that the government is refusing the set its final contribution to the overall budget. It is not hard to see the Treasury as the main problem. The escalating costs and the inevitable tax rises to pay for them is a problem that Chancellor - and Prime Minister in waiting - Gordon Brown would prefer to leave to his successor.

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