By Tom Degun in London

October 21 - John Armitt, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), was today forced to defend his salary and bonuses at a time other public workers were having to take pay-cuts or having to agree to pay freezes.

The ODA's annual accounts in July revealed Higgins was awarded a £200,000 pound this year on top of his £384,000 pound salary.

They also showed he had voluntarily deferred half his bonus until no later than December 2012 subject to the Games being delivered on time and within budget.

Armitt is on a £250,000 package for a three-day week plus evening work.

Members of the London Assembly at City Hall asked whether all the bonus would be deferred.

Armitt said: "I do not think we should put any pressure on him [Higgins] whatsoever to actually defer what he has earned.

"I'm not expecting sympathy from someone who’s getting £20,000 a year for someone who is getting £250,000 a year.

"We are in a market economy for people relating to skills they have and I am sorry I am not going to consider reducing the chief executive's salary or package or to reduce mine.

"My salary package reflects the job I'm doing and the jobs I have done in the past."

Armitt claimed that preparations for the Games remained on schedule.

He said: "At present, were are on time, on budget and on schedule and are very happy about that.

"We will not be able to push these Games back if we fall behind schedule so we are pleased things are going well.

"However, just because things are going well now, there is no guarantee that things are certain to go well in 2012 so we must continue to look forwards with the job."

Higgins said: "The two biggest risks we face are time and money.

"These Games must be delivered on time and if you start to fall behind, it starts to cost a lot more money to fix the problem which is why it is essential to remain on schedule."

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, and Paul Deighton, the chief executive, also appeared before the Assembly to update them on preparations.

Deighton reaffirmed that London 2012 intends to ensure that the tickets to events are affordable for everyone.

He said: "We have not yet determined the prices of tickets but there is a general principle that there will be a proportion of tickets that are accessible or affordable."

Coe said: "We want to fill our stadiums in the summer of 2012 with sports fans and make it as easy as possible for families to travel to the Games.

"Our deal with Thomas Cook [the new 23rd sponsor of the London 2012 Games announced yesterday] will do just that - offering ticket and accommodation packages.

"Thomas Cook is the perfect partner for us and will help us deliver our promise to make sure as many people as possible can see the action in 2012, no matter where they live."

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