By Duncan Mackay

January 27 - The cost of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is out of control because inflation and pensions have been left out of its budget, MPs in Scotland have been told today.

Holyrood's Public Audit Committee was told that the event's £374 million core budget is likely to be exceeded.

Scottish Government official Liz Hunter, director of equalities, social inclusion and sport, said the true cost will not be known until the year before the Games but that £2.5 million of pension payments for the Games’ 900 workers are likely to require the use of an £80 million contingency fund.

Last November the organisers admitted that the cost of the Games had risen to £454 million and had asked the Scottish Government for more money from the contingency fund.

Officials blamed blamed the increase on rising broadcasting and legislative costs.

But Hunter claimed that the final cost of the Games unlikely to exceed the total amount of money available, including the contingency, of £454 million.

She said: "Even with inflation the £374 million will be more than enough right up to the very end of the process.

"By that point it will be clear how much of the contingency will be required."

Derek Brownlee, Scottish Conservatives finance spokesman, however, claimed the Games were "just another example of a project that is out of control".

James Kelly, Labour MSP for Glasgow Rutherglen, added that it is "staggering" that inflation costs were not factored into the budget.

Ian Reid, finance manager for Glasgow 2014, said pension costs needed to be met because of a recent change in the law.

Previously there had been no mandatory requirement to do so.

John Scott, the chief executive of Glasgow 2014, also revealed that the money they expected to rise through ticket sales for the Games had been "revised down".

That follows fears that the sale of broadcasting rights will fall millions of pounds short of what was estimated and extra costs will be needed to support the transmission of high-definition television (HDTV).
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