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Caution despite Olympic progress

The Olympic project could yet be stung by costly financial pressures despite preparations to stage the London 2012 Games remaining on track, the National Audit Office (NAO) said today.

Plans so far are on time and set to be within the £9.325bn budget but the Government spending watchdog progress report warns “previous experience shows that financial pressures and risks are likely to occur right up to the Games”.

This could see further demands on the contingency fund.

Last year £621M of contingency funding was withdrawn when construction of the Olympic Village and the media centre became entirely publicly funded after plans for private financing collapsed in the economic downturn. This was clearly a value for money decision, the NAO said.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, noted: “With just under two-and-a-half years to go, there are plenty more hurdles which the delivery team are yet to jump.

“But with less contingency funding available, the room for manoeuvre has been reduced.

“The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) must also work with Government to ensure Locog at least breaks even to prevent the taxpayer having to pick up yet another bill.”

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