Around about 7 years ago, London’s bid for the 2012 Olympics claimed that the overall cost would be close to £2.4Bn. 7 years on, we are told that this figure could spiral to a massive cost of £24Bn. When this was announced, the question on most peoples’ minds was, ‘How on Earth could the original estimate have been so far from this potential figure?’ Furious members of the public have angrily labelled the Olympics as a ‘waste of the taxpayers’ money’, especially when considering how few people have managed to obtain tickets. It certainly seems true that the cost of the London 2012 Olympics are not going to be what was promised to the public 7 years ago. We have either been fed lies about the total cost, or the government and everybody else working on this project has made a gross misjudgement, which judging by the margin of error, seems very unlikely.
So, how exactly has the total figure reached this estimated figure? In 2007, the cost of the Olympic public sector funding package was estimated to have risen to £9.3Bn, a figure expected to increase again as the summer nears. £1.3Bn of this figure will be spent on protecting the games from terrorist threats, around about half of the figure estimated for the overall cost in 2005. But perhaps the biggest waste of the taxpayers’ money was the £335,000 spent on Richard Harris’s Olympic sculpture in Dorset, which frankly looks like a cluster of giant mushrooms. It has been widely suggested that the cost of purchasing the land necessary for the games to go ahead was one of the main reasons that this figure spiralled out of control. Nobody knows exactly how much this will cost with estimates ranging from about £3Bn to as little as around about £500 million.
Included in this overall figure however, is the £6Bn spent on upgrading the transport systems around London, which is quite unfair considering that London’s public transport was long overdue a large investment. Not including the cost of upgrading public transport, a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport stated that the overall figure would not exceed £9.3Bn, still a ridiculous four times higher than originally estimated. However, contrary to this opinion, the London 2012 chairman himself Lord Sebastian Coe said that it was ‘blindingly obvious’ that the overall cost would exceed £9.3Bn. With the Chairman of the games and a spokesperson for a company playing a big role in the coordination of the games contradicting each other, it seems that nobody has any idea how far the costs of the Olympics have spiralled and continue to spiral out of control.
With a terrible logo, bizarre mascots and costs having gone through the roof, the London 2012 Olympics are not looking promising. With around about 6 months to go, people can only wildly guess at what the total cost of the Olympics will come to. 7 years on, many people are now looking back, ticketless and angry, wondering why they ever celebrated the right to host the Olympics in the first place. If even the chairman of the 2012 games is clueless as to how much the games are going to cost the taxpayer, then the nation could be severely financially damaged if costs continue to spiral. The original estimate of £2.4Bn seems unrealistic and it is amazing that this was not pointed out at the time. With Lord Coe admitting to ‘financial concerns’ over the Olympics, then all the taxpayers can do now is pray. Pray that the costs of the games do not continue to rise and that the country is not financially damaged by the 2012 Olympics.