Public purse picks up Olympic pieces

Following reports that Olympic planners have been forced to seek further public sector support to bail out the athletes’ village after a collapse in interest from private investors, SNP Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP, has demanded  assurances that further funds will not be diverted from good causes in Scotland to prop up the London Olympics.

The European Investment Bank has approved a request for a £225m loan toward the construction – but it is understood that the scheme may yet require another £400m in direct government support. The loan is yet to be accepted by the government and is likely to carry higher interest rates than borrowing via the Treasury.

Commenting, Mr Wishart, who has previously warned that lottery funding for Scottish good causes must not be "ransacked" to meet the spiralling cost of the London Olympics, said:                                   

“The anticipated private sector financing of the athletes’ village has clearly fallen through, and it looks like the public purse will have to pick up the pieces again.

“We must have concrete assurances that good causes and funds for other projects across the country will not be raided again. “Labour have a track record of underestimating and overspending and, just as they lost control of spending on the Millennium Dome, it looks like the cost of the London Olympics are spiralling out of control.

“Tessa Jowell said the UK Government would never have embarked on the Olympic bid had they know the economic crisis was around the corner, and now we know why.

“While taxpayers’ money is being poured into the athletes’ village, communities across the rest of the country are paying the price.

"Of course the Olympic Games are great news for London, but as households across Scotland and the rest of the UK struggle through the recession, it is unacceptable that we should again be bailing out the Olympic budget.  

“It seems Labour has no problem finding money to fund the Olympics, but cannot release the £1bn of Scottish resources which hare being withheld by the Treasury – money which should be used to ease the pressure of the economic downturn.” 

Note:

Further background on the situation can be found at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/10/london-2012-funding-public-private

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