Livingstone should retract misleading Olympics statement

Ken Livingstone should retract his accusation, made in the Morning Star newspaper, that London Assembly Conservatives have been “relentlessly scaremongering” about the potential costs to London taxpayers of a London Olympics. The Conservatives warmly support the London 2012 bid. However, given the experiences in Athens and Sydney where cost over runs topped 100%, they feel the government and the Mayor’s approach of simply denying a cost over run could occur, is disingenuous.

London Assembly Conservative Olympic spokesman Angie Bray said; “Ken Livingstone should retract this accusation immediately. It is at best misleading, at worst downright dishonest.

“I firmly support the Olympics. However, the government and the Mayor should be telling Londoners all the facts. Instead, they simply deny a cost over run could happen in London. Given the Athens and Sydney experience this is absurdly naive.”

Last month the Tories published figures showing that if a London games experienced cost over runs of the same level as Sydney and Athens then Londoners could be paying £20 a year for the Games, not for 10 years as the Mayor has said, but for 43 years. All national Good Causes Lottery spending could also be frozen for 17 months.

“All along the government and the Mayor have pursued this milk-and-honey approach, while choosing to avoid the awkward facts about the cost over runs of past Games. They also conveniently fail to mention that in the event of extra costs, the government will not pay a penny. Instead London taxpayers and the National Lottery will share the burden.

“No doubt Mr. Livingstone will trawl out figures from his recent survey saying 63% of Londoners support the bid. This figure just proves my point–that Londoners are supporting a bid because the Mayor only asks if they are willing to pay upfront costs, while failing to ask if they would still support a Games if they had to pay for cost over runs.”

“Mr. Livingstone’s should spend his time telling Londoners the whole truth, rather than making dishonest accusations.”


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