London 2012: Organizers Say Summer Olympics, Paralympics 'on Time and Under Budget'
LONDON – The British government said Wednesday that preparations for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the Paralympic Games are on track and even trumpeted the fact that it is running "under budget."
Figures from the government’s last quarterly economic report before the Games, which kick off at the end of July, showed though that the overall funding package for the Games remains at £9.3 billion ($14.4 billlion), with £476 million ($738.5 million) of "uncommitted contingency" still available.
The final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s construction and transport program is projected to hit £6.76 billion ($10.5 billion) – a decrease of £16 million ($24.8 million) from the previous quarter. Savings made by the ODA up to May 31 this year have exceeded the billion dollar mark, reaching $1.55 billion, organizers said.
Culture Olympics Media and Sport minister Jeremy Hunt said: "With only 44 days to go before the Olympics it is fantastic news that there is still £476 million of contingency funds left. Britain has proved that not only can we put on a great show for the world to watch like we did with the Jubilee but that we can also deliver big construction projects on time and on budget.”
Hunt himself is facing a vote in the British parliament Wednesday over whether or not he should resign and whether or not he broke the ministerial code over his interactions with representatives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. during the regulatory review process of the conglomerate's bid to acquire full control of pay TV firm BSkyB.
Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said: “With a matter of weeks to go until London 2012, we are in a strong place. The transformation of the previously contaminated land into the Olympic Park on time and under budget is a great success story."
Funding made available to Games organizer LOCOG has increased by £29 million ($45 million) in the quarter, partly due to additional infrastructure works.
Additional funding of £19 million ($29.5 million) has also been made available "to improve crowd management and public information in central London and the ‘last mile’ – the distance between transport hubs and Games venues," the government said.
The change to the ODA’s anticipated final cost is due to several factors, including a reduction of £14 million ($21.7 million) in the assessed program contingency required to meet remaining risks and a reduction of £8 million ($12.4 million) in program delivery costs due to savings achieved on some costs and a potential reduction in IT costs.
The Olympic Delivery Authority’s program is now 98 percent complete, but it will not reach 100 percent until after the Games when its work will include the transformation of apartments in the Olympic Village into thousands of new homes, removing partitions and fitting kitchens, organizers said.