and that Logo...and achieving the heritage...
and so on....



Thank goodness they had the sense eventually to put John Armitt in charge of delivering the Olympic Games venues at Stratford
but they can't expect him to sort out the whole of London Transport as well.

We will be ready on time.

NOVEMBER 25th 2006
The decision to bid for the Olympic Games was based on the following logic.

The cost worked out for the bid was based on the information assembled at the time with a margin of error added on top. However, now that the bid has been won there is no reason why, if costs rise due to market forces, that the operation should be abandoned unless the cost-benefit assessment becomes negative. This is extremely unlikely even if the cost should treble. The cost rises that have now been identified do not affect the cost-benefit unless, for example, the rise in the cost of steel is such that a replacement material for steel can and should be used, and this cost includes redesign and acquisition of replacement materials and builders. The VAT is another question altogether.

There is a Keynesian element to all such projects that are conceived as a way to kick-start developments that will be of long term benefit by tapping into short term dynamics.The only concern is, therefore, to ensure that these increased costs are shared and borne by those in the UK population who can afford them. Even though the underprivileged and poorest will benefit, the investment must be made on their behalf and not at their cost. It is therefore inappropriate that international treaties should prevent the government from assisting financially if costs rise. It is appropriate that a green tax (such as on aviation fuel) should be used rather than lottery money which unfortunately comes from those least able to afford it. The Olympic movement generates a lot of air travel, so that makes it even more appropriate.

FEBRUARY 23 2007
It is now clear that a great many difficulties applicable to the site to be developed, as well as costs of materials now in world demand, will mean that the cost of these games are going to be exceptionally high. This does not mean they should be abandoned, but it does mean that a high standard must be set for the quality of work and its long term viability.

London Olympics could cost £9bn
By Mihir Bose
BBC sports editor

The cost of the 2012 London Olympics could rise to nearly four times the figure set out in the city's bid for the Games, the BBC has learned.

The Treasury and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are discussing a price of £9bn - up from the £2.35bn set out in London's bid document.

The government believes construction alone could cost £3.3bn, with an extra £2bn allocated as a contingency fund.

Regeneration costs of £1.8bn and a £1bn VAT bill have also been added.

Security costs have also risen to at least £900m.

In the wake of heavy criticism of the government's handling of the games, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell admitted to parliament in November that the cost of the Games would rise by £900m - 40% - to £3.3bn.

But critics have continued to express wide-ranging concerns about planning, over everything from transport to the burden on the tax payer and effect on the National Lottery's funding of good causes in order to meet costs.

Decontamination work

The Treasury's insistence on how the budget is drawn up is thought to have considerably added to the costs of the games.

It is understood it now insisting a 60% contingency should be to be added to the construction cost.

But this figure has been resisted both by the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and also the DCMS.

Both of them would like a much lower contingency, a view that appears to have support from CLM, the Delivery Partners.

A variety of other factors are also at play.

These include rise in commodity prices, adjustments to transport figures to reflect 2012 prices and a revised estimate for inflation on construction costs.

The land in the east end of London chosen for the site also needs decontamination and major remedial work before it can be fit for the games.

The Treasury has also decided that the Olympic Development Authority will have to pay VAT.

While VAT is in effect paid to the Treasury, the cash initially still has to be found before it is reclaimed.

MARCH 15th 2006      
In spite of all this confusion, the cost of the Olympic park has only risen from 2.4 to 3.1 billion.
The 'budget' is for a great deal more other, necessary improvements which in most other EU countries would have been done decades ago.

Olympics budget rises to £9.3bn

Ms Jowell says the games will bring huge benefits
Jowell statement
The budget for the 2012 London Olympics has risen to £9.35bn, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told MPs.

The revised budget is nearly four times the £2.4bn estimate when London's bid succeeded less than two years ago.

Construction costs are now estimated at £5.3bn, there is a £2.7bn "contingency fund", plus an £840m tax bill and £600m more to cover heightened security.

The Tories said she had lost control of costs and attacked her decision to take a further £675m from lottery funds.

£3.1bn: Site construction
£1.7bn: Regeneration and infrastructure
£2.7bn: Programme contingency
£840m: ODA tax bill
£600m: Extra security
£390m: Non-ODA provision

The £5.3bn budget for the Olympic Delivery Authority was made up of £3.1bn to build the Olympic Park and venues, £1.7bn for regeneration and infrastructure and a £500m contingency allowance.

She said the contingency fund of £2.7bn which would only be drawn upon in "very tight conditions".

Another £600m had been allocated for "wider security" outside the site, and £390m for other costs including the Paralympics and community sports coaches.

'Huge financial gain'

The government's contribution has risen to £6m, she said - the rest will be met from London's council tax payers and the National Lottery.

Ms Jowell responded to criticism of taking more from lottery good causes by saying the Lottery would benefit from profit sharing based on rises in land values in the Olympic park area.

The budget for which the government is responsible has nearly trebled since the Olympic Bill left Parliament under a year ago
Hugh Robertson
Conservative spokesman

"London 2012 will bring huge financial gain to the whole country ... and it is only fair that the Lottery good causes should share in any such windfall," she told MPs.

"I am determined to ensure that this temporary diversion from the existing good causes to the Olympic good cause is done with the least possible disruption."

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has also pledged to contribute an extra £300m, she said - but the money would not be funded from London's council tax, nor higher transport fares.


Winning the Olympics had brought an extra £7bn of private sector investment to one of the most deprived areas in Europe, Ms Jowell said.

"The announcement today means it's full steam ahead for 2012," she added.

But for the Conservatives, the shadow Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said: "If you add together all the separate parts, the budget for which the government is responsible has nearly trebled since the Olympic Bill left Parliament under a year ago.

Properly managed, the 2012 Games will bring huge and lasting benefits to all parts of the country
Don Foster MP

"In raiding the Lottery for a further £675m to make up the shortfall the government will penalise precisely the clubs and small organisations, up and down the country, that were supposed to benefit from the Olympics."

For the Lib Dems, Don Foster MP said: "Properly managed, the 2012 Games will bring huge and lasting benefits to all parts of the country.

"But sadly today's statement and the chaos that has surrounded the last 12 months and more, calls into question the government's ability to provide that proper management."

He said the plans to take more money from the National Lottery equated to a cut of £1m to every constituency in the country.

JUNE 7th 2007


Olympic Logo

The Olympic Logo above looks more or less attractive depending on what colour it is and on what is. Before criticising it, try to design one yourself!

I can quite understand that it would not appeal to a lot of people. I have not liked other work produced by Wolff Ollins. However I can see how they got to this design and the only mystery is why it cost £400,000. On second thoughts perhaps not. In order to override all objections with compelling authority the logo has to come from an established company which can fight off Ken Livingston and others. On the other hand the epileptic problem is something they really should have known about. On second thoughts perhaps they did. Maybe that £400,000 pays for more marketing knowledge than we give credit for. After all, the logo does not have to flash....

JULY 10th 2007
London Olympics 'need iron hand'
The London Olympics project must be managed with an "iron hand" if it is to meet its deadline, MPs have warned.

Concerns that "strong arrangements" for keeping track of progress, and limiting risk are not yet in place, were voiced by the public accounts committee.

MPs said the Games' cost had at first been underestimated and private sector funding "seriously overestimated".

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said preparations were "on track" and she would keep an "iron grip" on finances.

The committee said progress had been made "on a number of areas" particularly on the crucial project to relocate power lines underground on the Olympic Park site.

And the Olympic Delivery Authority had appointed a "delivery partner" to make sure the Games came in on time and on budget, it noted.

Immovable deadline

But it said "strong progress and risk management arrangements are essential, but are not yet in place".

The report pointed out a "plethora of bodies" were involved and said the Department of Culture, Media and Sport needed an agreed plan "of what needs to be decided, when and by whom".

And it warned that the "immovable deadline" of 27 July 2012, left organisers vulnerable - as they may end up having to pay contractors more, or accepting lower standards, to get the job finished.

It is worrying...that strong arrangements for monitoring progress and managing risk are so far not in place
Edward Leigh
Committee chairman

It recommended "incentive arrangements" with contractors to deliver quickly, to cost and to the right quality.

The report also criticised the omission of tax, contingency fund and security from the original estimates for the budget - which stood at £2.4bn in 2005 but is now put at £9.35bn. A further report is expected from the National Audit Office on the budget.

The government had been "far too optimistic" about private sector funding, says the committee's Tory chairman Edward Leigh.

2012 legacy

The committee also criticised a "lack of clarity" about how five venues will be used after the Games, saying plans should be finalised.

Mr Leigh said: "If the London Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be the great success we all want them to be, then the risks to delivery will have to be managed with an iron hand.

"The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is ultimately responsible for coordinating the array of bodies involved. It is worrying, therefore, that strong arrangements for monitoring progress and managing risk are so far not in place. "

For the Lib Dems, Don Foster said: "This report highlights a number of serious problems, such as the failure by the government to get its figures right to start with.

He added: "It is a major concern that proper monitoring and risk management are still not in place."

Preparations 'on track'

But Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said "much progress" had been made since the committee's inquiry, including a re-appraisal of costs and an outside expert appointed to head up the Olympic Executive with "decades of experience in controlling costs".

In June the chairman of the International Olympic Committee praised the 2012 preparations as "on time and on track" and said they would prove to be a model for future host cities.

Ms Jowell added: "I will continue to keep an iron grip on the budget and will not hesitate to intervene to keep costs down."

She added organisers had put in place "the most rigorous procedures" and asked the National Audit Office to help monitor costs.

Is time running out for Olympic legacy?
By June Woolerton
BBC News

In areas of east London destined to benefit from the legacy of the 2012 Olympic games there are concerns that time is running out for the regeneration plans to be finalised if they are to yield the hoped-for benefits.

When London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games the organisers promised the event wouldn't just bring the greatest sporting show on earth to the capital.

They also pledged it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regenerate one of the poorest parts of the city - the East End.

The five London boroughs hosting the Games want, and need, help. In Tower Hamlets, for instance, unemployment is double the national average. There is also a lot of pressure on housing.

Young people 'fearful'

In Hackney, some youth workers have expressed increasing worries about violence on the streets.

Paul Unsworth from Frampton Road Baptist Church Youth Club says many teenagers just do not feel safe any more.

"Young people in this area feel very threatened if they move outside of their own area and out of their own estate because there's different gangs that are around in different areas."

We need to see those final little details like the type of housing, the kind of green space, the type of leisure facilities
Dr Iain McRury
The government has put aside £1.7bn for regeneration in the East End. New jobs, new homes, better transport and better sporting facilities are among the promises. But some experts are warning there is not enough detail in the plans.

For instance, the plans allow for the creation of 9,000 new homes. Of these, 50% are to be at affordable prices. But it has still not been decided where these homes are going or how many in which boroughs.

And that could mean the chance to change the area is ultimately lost, according to Dr Iain McRury who wrote a report on regeneration for the London Assembly.

"There's a crucial window of opportunity in the next six months to a year when those final parts of the plan upon which good legacy depends will be decided and delivered upon.

"We need to see those final little details like the type of housing, the kind of green space, the type of leisure facilities."

Plans 'generic'

Alison Nimmo, the director of regeneration for the Olympic Delivery Authority, says the Games organisers are trying to take on board what local people want.

"We've worked very hard out on the street in east London talking to people, particularly young people, about what their priorities are and we've had a tremendous response and that's really been embedded in a lot of our plans."

But the consultation process is complicated by the sheer number of people, organisations and authorities affected by the Olympics development. And many feel the plans are still quite generic.

Some groups even say that, rather than benefiting from the Games, they are actually losing out.

Johnny Walker from the Hackney and Leyton Sunday League says his teams will lose about 11 of their pitches on Hackney Marshes as car parks are built for the Games.

He is worried that poorer facilities will create more problems for an amateur sport which is already struggling.

"I think it's affecting us at a very bad time when grassroots football is under a lot of pressure and it's not surviving very well. There's lots of football leagues going to the wall, especially Sunday morning leagues and I'm worried we'll be put in danger."

There are still five years to go until the Games, and organisers stress that the East End will benefit from 30 years-worth of regeneration between now and 2012.

But Dr Iain McRury says time is running out if the East End is going to change for the better.

"The people of east London have learned not to get their hopes up too high because sometimes big projects deliver, sometimes they don't and we're hoping that the Olympics doesn't fail because if it does fail it will be failing the people of east London."

5live Report: Olympic Promises is broadcast in two parts at 1030 and 1130 GMT on Sunday 18 November within the Rachel Burden programme or via podcast from the Five Live Report website.

2012 Olympics budget 'on track'
Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has said a "thorough assessment of all potential risks" has backed the £9.325bn budget for the games she outlined in March.

In a written statement to MPs Ms Jowell said "months of careful scrutiny have confirmed" the budget - four times the original estimate - would be enough.

She said: "The project has high levels of public support and is on track."

The statement came as the BBC learned a report to ministers said there was a 20% chance the budget would rise again.

Now we look ahead to what will be a dramatic 2008, with the first building work starting on the Olympic Park site
Tessa Jowell
Olympics minister

2003: Consultants Arup put total cost of building and staging the Games at £1.796bn
2003: Tessa Jowell launches bid in May telling MPs it will cost £2.375bn - including a 50% contingency
2005: Bid succeeds in July with "prudent" estimate of preparing for games of £2.4bn
2006: Tessa Jowell says Olympic Park costs up to £3.3bn
2007: Olympic Park budget now at £5.3bn - including regeneration and infrastructure
2007: Total budget, including contingency, security and tax, reaches £9.35bn

Project Cost (£m)
Powerlines 282
Utilities 255
Enabling works 364
Structures, bridges, highways 830
Contribution to Prescott Lock upgrade 5
Other infrastructure 206
Sub-total 1,942
Stadium 496
Other Olympic Park venues 574
Non-Olympic Park venues 101
Sub-total 1,171
Stratford regional station 119
Contribution to DLR upgrade 86
Thorntons Field relocation 47
Contribution to North London line upgrade 110
Other capital projects 178
Other operating expenditure 357
Sub-total 897
Logistics for site construction 337
Section 106 and master planning 127
Insurance 50
Security for park construction 354
Sub-total 868
IBC/MPC, Olympic Village 492
Programme delivery 647
Corporation Tax and net interest 73
Sub-total 1,212
Total 6,090
Remaining contingency 2,009
Max funding available 8,099
Source: DCMS

JANUARY 16 2008
Some adjustments here. The actual budget being 4 times the sum mentioned to win the bid, this is hardly surprising. In fairness it must be realised that most of the 300% extra expenditure is stuff not included in the bid, nor required in order to have won it. It is development associated with the bid that is considered wothwhile and possible to do as a result of the Olympic development in the area. In other words, do it now - using the Olympic project dynamics, or forget it.

MPs back Olympic funds transfer
MPs have voted to take almost £1.1bn from the National Lottery to pay for the 2012 London Olympics.

They approved the measure by a majority of 348 after Culture Secretary James Purnell promised no more money would be transferred afterwards.

In a Commons debate, he also announced the Treasury would change the tax regime for the Games, potentially bringing in £400m for good causes.

The Tories said there must be "no more raids" on Lottery-funded projects.

'No black hole'

Mr Purnell said the £9.3bn budget for the Games - nearly four times the estimate that helped win the bid in 2005 - was "robust". He dismissed claims of a £1.1bn "black hole".

The government won the Commons vote by 357 to nine.

The £1.085bn Lottery cash comprises an original allocation of £410m and an extra £675m.

It will be transferred from the Lottery to the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund in 15 instalments from February 2009 to August 2012.

Challenged over the effect of using cash intended for the arts, sports and charities, Mr Purnell told MPs: "I can confirm today that there will be no further diversion from the Lottery good causes to fund the Olympics."

He also insisted the Olympic budget was not dependent on land sales, stating: "There is no black hole in the Olympic budget."

Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "These concessions are important but they do not undo the main damage of this afternoon's measure, which is that it is an extraordinary way to fund a £9.3bn Olympics budget - to cut budgets for grassroots sport, the very budgets that could provide the sporting legacy which was the big promise of 2012."

JANUARY 31st 2008
Olympic pool costs set to triple
The London 2012 Olympics aquatics centre is likely to cost nearly three times as much as the £75m originally estimated, BBC London has learned.

A scaled-down version of the original wave-shaped building, which will be the gateway to the Olympic park in east London, could cost £215m.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell sent the architect "back to the drawing board" in 2006 because of spiralling costs.

The venue is now due for completion in 2011, two years later than planned.

Two years late and massively over budget and of course a far cry from the original design
Bob Neill
London Assembly member

The wave-shaped roof will now be 14,000 square feet, which is just over a third of the original 35,000 square feet.

Bob Neill, the Conservative Party's London Assembly Olympics spokesman said the original bid of £75m was "woefully inadequate".

He said: "You can't have much confidence in a system where something is sent back to save costs and ends up tripling it.

"Two years late and massively over budget and of course a far cry from the original design.

"It's a terrible shame for all those who would have used it to train, all those Londoners who were looking forward to swimming there and of course a big disappointment for all of us who are going to pay for it."

Cost agreed

Olympic chiefs said the cost of the venue has been agreed with the government and would not impact the overall £9.3bn budget for London 2012.

However, the final cost of the building would not be released until negotiations with the builders are complete, they said.

Two of the three companies in the running to build the 20,000-seat arena withdrew from the tendering process in November.

After Eiffel and Hochtief decided against making a bid, Balfour Beatty was the only contender.

APRIL 30th 2008
In spite of the headline, things could be worse. A lorra people are working hard.

MPs criticise rising 2012 costs

Organisers of the London 2012 Olympics have been accused by MPs of being "willing to spend money like water", as costs for the sports event soar.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee says the budget, which has rocketed from £3.4bn to £9.3bn, has damaged confidence in the Games' management.

The project for an aquatics centre came under fire after the costs rose from an estimated £73m in 2004 to £303m.

But the government insists it has rigid cost control measures in place.

The committee, whose members are MPs from all parties, commended the progress made by the London Organising Committee (Locog).

'Low bid'?

However, the government's funding and planning of the event came in for heavy criticism.

The MPs expressed "doubts" over whether the organisers would be able to recoup the full £1.8bn they were banking on from the sale of land and property after the event was over.

The history of the aquatics centre shows a risible approach to cost control and that the Games organisers seem to be willing spend money like water
Culture, Media and Sport Committee

The priority must now be to keep a lid on the costs and ensure the final bill comes in "comfortably below" the £9.3bn mark, they said.

"Although it is not surprising that early assessments under-estimated the final costs, such a radical revision of cost estimates has been damaging to confidence in the management of the overall programme," they said.

"It has also exposed the government and Games organisers to the charge that the initial bid was kept artificially low in order to win public support."

The committee said that while the aquatics centre "might be spectacular and eye-catching", it also appeared "to be over-designed and will be an expensive way of providing the facilities for water sports needed during and after the Games".

"In our opinion, the history of the aquatics centre shows a risible approach to cost control and that the Games organisers seem to be willing spend money like water."

We are working tirelessly to plan, prepare and deliver the best Games ever - and to maximise benefits across the country up to 2012 and beyond
Department for Culture, Media and Sport

With more than £3bn built into the overall Games budget to cover contingency costs, any request by the organisers for additional funds would be "a major failure of cost control".

"The priority now should be to keep costs down: the mark of success in financial management of the Games will be to have kept expenditure to a level comfortably below the £9.3bn ceiling," the MPs' said.

John Whittingdale, the committee's Tory chairman, said the National Lottery causes, which lost out as a result of cash being diverted to the Olympics, should have first call on any unspent contingency money.

"We expect that the Games should be delivered comfortably within budget, given that there is a 60% contingency built in," he said.

The MPs expressed concern over the decision to site shooting events at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, against the wishes of the sport.


They also felt "disheartened" that ministers had so far failed to provide a nationwide strategy to use the Olympics to promote participation in sport.

The MPs said it may prove "very difficult" to raise £100m from the private sector for elite sport, as the government had required.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it was "pleased" the committee had found much to commend in what has been achieved so far.

But it claimed the committee had "double-counted £500m of contingency funds", adding that "there is no suggestion of the £9.3bn being exceeded".

"We are working tirelessly to plan, prepare and deliver the best Games ever - and to maximise benefits across the country up to 2012 and beyond, which will be spelled out in a detailed Legacy Action Plan," he said.

"The funding package announced in March 2007 remains unchanged and robust and we have rigid cost control measures in place, monitoring progress at every stage of the project."

The spokesman said the overall cost of the venues "has not significantly altered", with the National Audit Office concluding that the budget "represented a significant step forward in putting the Games on a sound financial footing".

Shadow Olympics minister Hugh Robertson added: "The tragedy of all this is that every penny spent financing cost overruns, means less money spent on extending the sports opportunities available to young people."

MAY 23rd 2008
The one area where there will be the greatest challenge is transport, and traffic management. London is so vulnerable to the smallest traffic blockage either above or underground that in my view it would best if many regualr Londoners went away for the duration and left the place to the visitors, those directly catering to their touristic and sporting needs, and the organisers. That way any untoward occurrences can be overcome.

IOC pleased with London progress

The International Olympic Committee's monitoring team has heaped praise on the progress London is making for the 2012 Games.

The team, who completed a three-day visit to the capital on Thursday, awarded near-perfect marks to London.

IOC co-ordination commission chairman Denis Oswald said he'd give London '9.75 out of 10.'

Oswald added: "From what we have seen, we are very confident we will have excellent facilities for the Games."

London 2012 organisers marked the end of the visit by announcing construction has officially started on the Olympic Stadium, three months ahead of schedule.

Funding has been one area of concern for the 2012 Games as has the fact that work on the Olympic Village is due to start next month without a contract with the constructors.

But Oswald says that there are no areas that the IOC should be massively concerned with.

"I have difficulty in finding any area where we have concerns but if we had to mention something which will be challenging it is traffic and transport," he said.

"There will be additional people coming in to watch the Games and going from one place to another will be a challenge but we know LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) has made plans already and with the quality of people on board we are confident this will be resolved in a satisfactory manner."

The IOC visited venues including Wembley Stadium on Tuesday and went on to meet the main London 2012 project leaders.

These include London 2012 chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan and ODA chairman John Armitt.

The Commission was also able to meet this week with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, leader of the opposition David Cameron, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell and the newly elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

"The cross party support for the Games and the backing from the highest levels of Government in Great Britain is extremely reassuring," said Oswald

"This strong basis of support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be crucial to London 2012 achieving its objectives."

We take great encouragement from the Commission's comments
Lord Sebestian Coe

Jowell herself welcomed the IOC report of London's progress.

"I am delighted that the IOC co-ordination commission has recognised the strong progress we have made in our preparations for the 2012 Games," she said.

"The fact that we marked the start of work early on the stadium is a tremendous achievement and is a real indication of our progress.

"We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that London hosts Olympic and Paralympic Games we can all be proud of."

Lord Coe added: "We take great encouragement from the Commission's comments and the obvious confidence they have in the job we have done so far - they, after all, are the experts."

AUGUST 11 2008          From

London 'has lessons to learn' from Beijing Games

Monday 11th August 2008 at 12:12 AM

The government is working to fill all seats at London's 2012 Games, Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has said.

Jowell, who is in Beijing for the 2008 Games, told the BBC that London had "lots of lessons to learn".

Officially, the Beijing Games are officially sold out, but there were empty seats at some early events.

Jowell added that she was working with the organising committee there, to help ensure London did not experience the same problem.

"Clearly our aim is to make sure seats are filled," she said.

If they were not filled "by people who have paid the full price", they should be filled by schoolchildren she said.

"But there are rules that the International Olympic Committee set about ticket pricing," Jowell added.

"We have got to look at how we apply those rules in practice to minimise the serried rows of empty seats."

The minister also said that London's stadium would probably be scaled down after 2012 Games.

"The Bird's Nest stadium is probably the last iconic Olympics stadium," she said.

"Why? Because its capacity is a bit over 85,000 - in the UK we have an 85,000 seater stadium - more than - and it's our national stadium, Wembley.

"We don't need another 85,000 seater stadium. You can't, on the one hand, bemoan the fact that we are not going to have an iconic stadium like the Bird's Nest and at the same time go on about white elephants being left behind after the Olympics are over.

"Our focus is making sure that every single Olympic building has a very clear legacy purpose and if there isn't legacy need then we will build temporary venues and take them down at the end."

NOVEMBER 13th 2008
What Tessa Jowell said was: "If we were in the credit crunch then, would we have bid for the Olympic Games? Probably not." At no time did she imply that this would have been the right decision, just that it might have been difficult to explain to the public who do not understand economics or finance. As for the reasons for the increase in the Olympic budget, that has been explained in the diary above. It is a very good thing we are holding the Olympics and a very good thing that the budget has been increased provided it is well spent.

APRIL 26th 2009
London 2012 'on time and budget'

Preparations for the 2012 London Games are on time and on budget, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said.

IOC inspectors, who finished a three-day visit to London on Thursday, said the preparations were "impressive" and unaffected by the recession.

But chairman Denis Oswald said attention to ticket allocation would avoid empty seats at venues.

The delegation checked the "big five" Olympic venues.

These are the Aquatics Centre, Olympic Village, Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome and the IBC/MPC, a mixture of permanent and temporary buildings - based in Stratford, east London.

Mr Oswald told a news conference in London: "We can confirm that London 2012 is on the right track.

"We know the world is going through a difficult time but Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) had a very strong commercial policy from the beginning and have been able to secure a high amount of sponsorship before the crisis came and have reached £0.5bn."

He said inspectors were "deeply impressed" by the progress made in the construction, and said that the stadium, the Olympic Village and the swimming pool were also impressive.

He also said it was important that the Games' ticketing policy was given attention so that it did not suffer the same mistake as Beijing did regarding empty seats.

Locog has raised nearly £500m from the private sector towards its £2bn budget to stage the Games.

Mr Oswald said it was "important" that the Government had put money into the Olympic Village from the contingency fund so that construction work was not delayed.

Paul Deighton, Locog chief executive, said there were no concerns about the use of the contingency and that only a "small proportion" of it had been used.

He said: "It would be extraordinary if the contingency funds were not used. It is precisely the purpose that the Chancellor put it in place."

Mr Oswald said he might now give London marks that are "very close to 10" for its preparations.

OCTOBER 2nd 2009
Two items of interest today:

1. The problems that could arise with traffic in London and the current ideas on how to get round them during the Olympics are now beiong taken seriously. Neither the Chinese or the Greek solution can be applied in London, the problems are unique to London.

2. The next Olympic Games after London are to be in Rio de Janeiro. It is the best choice if we are to continue with the pattern of previous decades. I guess the idea I supported way back of keeping them in Athens is a non-starter.

It was never likely that Chicago could win with Rio in the frame. Obama must have known that, so he was right to turn up (would have been blamed otherwise) and the presentation by Chicago was low-level (rightly) and can carry the can for failure. Obama had the good sense not to push it by doing a 'Blair' and spending days chatting up the IOC.

So, all in all, no surprises today.

MAY 28th 2010

Anticipated costs for the 2012 Olympic build and infrastructure have risen but the project remains on time and budget, a report has said.

Figures reveal that expected final costs have gone up by £5m, a report by the Olympic Delivery Authority said.

FEBRUARY 15th 2011

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to be ready on time and within budget, say the government and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

The total budget remains £9.298bn and the anticipated final cost is £7.301bn.

FEBRUARY 18th 2011                           THE UNCERTAINTIES

The final taxpayers' bill for London 2012 is "inherently uncertain", a spending watchdog has said.

The National Audit Office's report said while the responsibility for important costs including Olympic venue security had been resolved, the contingency fund was down from £2,747m to £974m.

It also said timings were tight for the handover of the aquatics centre in July and the athletes' village next January.

All other Olympics projects were likely to be completed on time, it added.

APRIL 25th 2011

London 2012 Olympics team publishes first green report

Ticket sales hit the roof

JUNE 7th 2011

More than half of people who applied for London 2012 Olympic Games tickets did not receive any in the ballot, BBC London has learnt.

About 1.8m people applied for the 6.6m public tickets available. About 55% of applicants missed out.

There is a second ballot for the million who were unsuccessful but no tickets remain for the opening and closing ceremonies or athletics finals.

London 2012 said those who missed out will have priority in the next ballot.

BBC London's Olympics correspondent Adrian Warner said the big events had sold out but added that cheaper events like BMX and archery had also all gone

JULY 4th 2011
Ticket sales have been complicated in some cases due to the very ambition of the project and the need to use cutting edge processes, but on the whole it is impressive.

JULY 30th 2011
All indications are that John Armitt has going to succeed in bringing the Olympic Village and stadiums to completion on time and on budget. This is not due to accident or luck and not by skimping on the projects, but knowing what can be done and how it can be done, and by whom.

OCTOBER 6th 2011

London is now ready to host the Olympic Games, a panel of inspectors has been told.

On their penultimate check-up before next July's tournament, Boris Johnson told the panel both the venues and Olympic Park are complete.

The mayor of London also claimed the city's transport system - the focus of much concern ahead of the Games - is being transformed.

This visit runs until Friday and will take in all of the major venues

NOVEMBER 11th 2011
In parallell with the Olympic Games, another East London development of great importance is moving forward under its own steam, with many players.

Though Government attention and support is not always popular

DECEMBER 7th 2011

The 2012 Olympic Games could overshoot its £9.3bn budget unless "rigorous action" is taken to curb costs, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.

The National Audit Office said a doubling in estimated security costs meant there was a "real risk" more taxpayer funding would be needed.

On Monday the government said an extra £271m was needed for security guards.

JANUARY 9th 2012
A collection of opinions on the significance and importance of the games, the hopes and fears of a variety of people in the UK and elsewhere.




The diaries below remain for reference


NOVEMBER 20th 2004
The UK 2012 bid as presented by Seb Coe is inspiring and should be supported by everyone. It is more ambitious than I imagined, but also better structured. It will be money well spent. It deserves to win. My only reservation is on the transport side. This needs to be completed, and to do that on time we shall end up throwing more money at it than planned, even if the crossrail link is not fully completed for the games. But the result will still be economically viable for the foreseeable future.

JULY 6th 2005
Well, there it is. The bid was well conceived and well presented. Perhaps above all it convinced the Olympic Committee that London deserved the games because it NEEDED them most and would pull out all the stops. London has so much to gain and so much that needs to be done. Paris would have been a safer bet, but Olympics is all about challenge. The Games will transform London. They would not have transformed Paris, which already has fine sporting facilities and the best urban transport system in the world.

Now let us see if our industry and our local and national government can live up to the efforts of our sportsmen and women, and our PM who played a vital part, and come up with the goods on time, without submerging it all in a morass of corrupion, greed and confrontational political garbage.

There remains one serious paradox: a lot of the talk from those praising the success of the bid has been the effect on tourism. But tourism is at the heart of part of our main global problem, which is our unquenchable desire to travel rather than enjoy our local surroundings. People work like hell to make money with one aim, it seems: to be elsewhere or even just on a journey. Tourism is certainly a good thing, but each individual on this planet should partake of it in extreme moderation if it is not going to produce a response from Nature to preserve life by drastic pruning of life. I hope the huge investment in our public transport that the Games will accelerate will lead to more efficient and less polluting travel in the years to follow, but we have simply got to learn how to work and enjoy ourselves without endless powered locomotion.

OLYMIC 2004 Diary

AUGUST 31 2004      Athens retrospective
These were important games. Important because they were back in Greece; important because of the number of countries now taking part at the opening of the era of globalisation; important because the Olympic Committee had faced the drug problem squarely and decided to enforce its rules firmly and fairly. Important because these times of terrorism and international discord need, more than ever, a context other than politics in which to assemble, other than holidaymaking for people to meet, other than business in which to compete; and with due respect to its practitioners, other than just football.

They were hosted with competence, grace and artistry. The fears that all would not be ready in time were largely based, it appears, on the fact that it would have taken London (for example) longer to complete in the last few months what was achieved in Athens. No doubt health and safety regulations enter the calculations here, and no doubt a fair amount of money had to be thrown at the work towards the end. But the result cannot be denied, the organisation was excellent and the security sufficient and unobtrusive - not that these games would have been a meaningful target for any anyone with a comprehensible agenda. The incomprehensible is always possible of course, as occurred in the final men's marathon.

The British team did well, with some unexpectedly good performances. What amazes is the intolerance of a part of the British public to anything other than winning. It is a mathematical inevitability that however well participants perform, most will not win as only three people in the entire word can get a medal for any one challenge, only one a gold. Unless people are ready to take part and not win, there are no games. We have got quite enough medals to be going on with this year. I look forward to some countries beating us next time in the sports we have led in. Why not?

It will be more difficult to organise such games in London than Athens because of the multitude of other activities, business and travellers that overwhelm the capital and are difficult to suspend, as some of them will have to be if congestion is not to be a problem; but it can be done if we win the competition. The important thing is that the games should be held and be a success, wherever they be.

The UK Government has defended the case for bidding for the Olympics, despite the horrific cost now revealed by the Greek government and the fact that the magnificent facilities built in Athens and environs will now go largely unused. I am personally convinced that London could, by better advanced planning and an earlier start, by using existing facilities such as Wembley and the Millennium Dome, avoid the wasted expense and benefit greatly from any new sports facility, not to mention transport improvements associated with the games. We actually need all these things, the sooner the better, and the games would be the most cost effective context in which to build them.  The best alternative plan would be to cease the bidding process altogether and have the Olympic Games in Athens most years, unless a country makes a special case and an offer that is accepted by the IOC.