2012 Olympic fraud

From the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

And the fraud Gold Medal goes to…

The 2012 Olympics have plenty of legitimate troubles (budget overruns, design problems, accountability vacuum etc) without criminal ones, too. However, today’s press reports suggest that it may not just have been incompetence that has been costing the taxpayer so much money in the run up to 2012.

It seems that a “routine audit” ordered by Boris Johnson of the full Olympic operation has found that the Olympic Legacy Directorate, which is in charge of buying up the land for the Games, has got a £100 million black hole in its books.

As far as it is possible to tell from what has so far been released, the OLD should have money in the bank ready to pay the remaining companies who have not yet been compensated for their land. But a good chunk of the cash simply isn’t there.

This is very worrying- as well as the potential loss itself, the need to compensate these companies remains and that could require money to be diverted from other budgets, many of which are already at breaking point or well over their limits.

As an aside, it is one of the oddities of quango nomenclature that the Legacy Directorate is actually a purely pre-2012 department and will be wound up in October of this year, rather than sticking around to oversee the post-2012 legacy after which it is named. Instead, it will hand over its budget to a separate legacy company which will be run at arms’ length. This finding shows the importance of transparency, scrutiny and full, regular auditing. The Legacy company will be even less open to all those things than the OLD was – and look what’s happened there.

Email Tessa Jowell and ask her what happened to the £100 million: jowellt@parliament.uk 

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