The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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London bid hits political inertia

London: A London bid for the 2012 Olympics appeared increasingly unlikely Wednesday after lawmakers and government officials questioned whether it was worth spending billions of dollars on the Games.

On the second day of Parliamentary hearings into a proposed bid, lawmakers expressed concern over the projected £ 4.5 billion ($7.2 billion) cost of hosting the Olympics.

Treasury chief Gordon Brown said London taxpayers may need to foot any Olympic bill. “We must get it right in terms of costs,” Brown said. “I do not think people would want the health service to lose money or education to lose money.”

A November report said the Games would cost £ 1.8 billion ($2.88 billion), but Jowell said the figure could be £ 4.5 billion. The government would need to provide half the money to underwrite the Games. A memo from Jowell’s culture, media and sport department expressed concern that an Olympics could cause long-term debts like the 1976 Games in Montreal.

“Making the case for the Olympics is the easy bit, but it comes with very heavy costs,” Jowell said.

Jowell will meet International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge Friday in Lausanne. New York City and Moscow have already entered the race. Cities in Germany and Spain also plan to submit bids, while Paris and Rio de Janeiro are among other candidates. Deadline for submission is July 15, the winner will be chosen in 2005.

London mayor Ken Livingstone criticised the government. “If the government doesn’t have the guts… then I think you’re saying to the world, the fourth largest economy on the planet can’t organise an Olympic event,” hesaid. “And when you’ve seenother countries much smaller than us doing brilliantly well, that would be a damning indictment of a lack of will and competence at government level.”


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