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The true cost of the London Olympics

ePolitix.com - Lottery funds 'to bail out' Olympics

The chairman of the Big Lottery Fund has voiced his fears that his organisation's budget could be plundered by the Treasury to meet the mounting costs of the London Olympics.

Sir Clive Booth said on Wednesday that "dark forces in Whitehall" want to find the extra £900m from existing funding for community projects.

He said this would have a "chronic and damaging effect" on the fund's aim to help those in most need, including disabled children, homeless young people and users of community sports facilities and village halls.

Sir Clive added that he believes ministers see the fund as a "soft target" to be used to cover the overspend with minimal political impact.

He said: "I don't know how anybody could live with themselves, let alone Gordon Brown, if they were taking money off projects such as that to close an Olympic funding gap.

"It would be criminal. We have already seen our budget top-sliced and we have already accepted that should go to the Olympics as our contribution.

"But I don't really see why all the wonderful good-cause projects should have to subsidise the Olympics beyond what we have already done."

Last November the culture secretary Tessa Jowell said that she had "never ruled out" the option of digging further into the lottery's coffers.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said any financial loss suffered by voluntary and community groups would be offset by the benefits of the Olympics.

He was right about "minimal political impact" - none of the nationals seem to have picked up on this. And to suggest the joys of watching over-paid drugged-up "athletes" crapping on the streets of London is going to make up for some small local facility to help disabled kids is beyond contempt.

Comments

Bring back Guy Fawkes and a few others, so that we can take out Whitehall too. Despicable selfishness.

I am part of a trust which is trying to renovate a Victorian Mechanics Institute. The National Lottery has been less than helpful, so if ever more money is to be poured into the 2012 Olympics, I've got even less chance of turning an important historical building into a community asset. I can't for the life of me see how there is going to be a trickle down advantage from an event in East London to a hall in Huddersfield.

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