By Duncan Mackay

London 2012_clock_guarded_by_policeMarch 9 - Concerns have been raised over the security costs for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which could push the cost of the event over budget, a Parliamentary Committee has warned in a report published today. 

The Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) report have also once again raised worries over the Olympic Stadium becoming a white elephant.

The Games and legacy projects are expected to cost about £11 billion ($17 billion/€13 billion), the report said.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said: "The venues and infrastructure of the London Olympic Games are on track to be delivered on time and within budget.

"The Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) management of the building programme has been exemplary.

"However, the £9.3 billion ($14.6 billion/€11.3 billion) public sector funding package is close to being used up and we are concerned about whether the running of the Games will be held within budget.

"Taking into account costs outside the package, the full cost to the public of the Games and legacy projects is already heading for around £11 billion ($17 billion/€13 billion)."

Hodge claimed the Committee was "particularly concerned" about the significant increases in the security bill.

"LOCOG (the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) now needs more than twice the number of security guards it originally estimated and the costs have roughly doubled," she said.

"It is staggering that the original estimates were so wrong."

The report claims London 2012 has been forced to renegotiate its contract with secruity providers G4S for venue security from a "weak negotiating position".

Hodge added: "There is a big question mark over whether it secured a good deal for the taxpayer."

The original estimate for the number of security guards in and around the venues was 10,000 - a "finger in the air estimate", according to the PAC report.

The Government announced in December that figure had more than doubled to 23,700.

Security costs from the Olympics budget have risen from £282 million (£444 million/€338 million) to £553 million ($870 million/€662 million).

The report said: "LOCOG itself now has almost no contingency left to meet further costs, even though it has done well in its revenue generation."

London 2012_Olympic_Stadium_at_twilgiht_March_6_2012
On legacy, the PAC report raises concerns over sports participation targets and the Olympic Stadium after a deal for West Ham United Football Club to take it over was scrapped.

"We were promised a strong Olympic legacy but the Government has chosen not to adopt the target of one million more people participating in sport by 2013 and plans for the Stadium have fallen through," said Hodge.

"It must not become a white elephant.

"The Government is dispersing responsibility for delivering the legacy and we need clarity about who is accountable."

The report claims that with only 109,000 new people regularly participating in sport against the original one million target - which the new Government chose not to adopt - the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had got "poor value for money" for the £450 million spent through national governing bodies.

"It is unclear what the sporting participation legacy of the Games is intended to be," says the report.

The DCMS rejected the figure of £11 billion ($17 billion/€13 billion) of public money being spent on the Games and defended the legacy aims.

"With 140 days to go until the Olympic Games, we are on time and under budget, with over £500 million worth of uncommitted contingency remaining," said a DCMS spokesman.

"We are in a strong position and, while we can't be complacent, are confident that we can deliver the Games under budget.

"As we told the PAC in December we do not recognise the figure of £11 billion ($17 billion/€13 billion).

"We have always been transparent about what is included in the £9.3 billion ($14.6 billion/€11.3 billion).

"The cost of purchasing the Olympic Park land will ultimately come back to the public purse through the resale of the land after the Games and was therefore not included.

"Funding for the legacy programmes, that the PAC refer to, comes from existing business-as-usual budgets and we have been clear about this.

"These are for projects designed to capitalise on hosting London 2012 but are not an additional Olympic cost."

To read the full report click here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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