Look, If Paris Won\’t Take It

How about Athens? Or Sydney?

Designs for the London 2012 Olympic aquatic centre broke its original budget of £73m more than three years before games organisers admitted that the true cost had tripled to £242m.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) admitted last night that proposals for the venue were over budget as far back as January 2005, shortly after Sebastian Coe and Tessa Jowell submitted London\’s bid to the International Olympic Committee with a promise it would cost just £73m at 2004 prices, rising to £117.5m by 2012.

Last month the ODA admitted the costs had soared to £242m, with an additional £61m required for a footbridge that will form part of the building\’s roof.

The admission that the government was aware of the cost pressures on the flagship building before London was selected to host the 2012 games came after the Guardian learned that the original selection panel choosing a design for the pool complex knew in 2004 that the submitted schemes, including Zaha Hadid\’s winning proposal, would break the budget.

They knew and they lied.

The discovery that costs on the aquatic centre have been rising is likely to add weight to accusations that the original bid-book budget for the games was set artificially low in order to receive political and public support. Last month the chairman of the influential public accounts committee, Edward Leigh, accused Jowell, the Olympics minister, of misleading parliament and the public over the original budget, a charge she denies.

Deny it all you like dearie, that does seem to be what happened, doesn\’t it?

2 thoughts on “Look, If Paris Won\’t Take It”

  1. “How is it even possible to spend that much money on digging a hole and turning a tap on?”

    Easy – the same way it’s possible to spend £5 for a small bottle of water from your hotel mini-bar and the Pentagon can pay $1,000+ for a toaster: you just make sure you aren’t paying the bill and, in the case of the Olympics, hire designers and other people who pick figures out of the air because they sound nice.

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