Britain claims $15 bn boost from Olympics

July 19, 2013
Fireworks at the Olympic Stadium mark the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, on September 9, 2012/AFP
Fireworks at the Olympic Stadium mark the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, on September 9, 2012/AFP

, LONDON, July 19 – The British government claimed on Friday that last year’s Olympic Games in London gave the economy a massive boost, even while acknowledging that some of the investment might have happened anyway.

An official report said the Games had brought £9.9 billion (11.5 billion euros, $15 billion) to the British economy, more than the £8.92 billion cost of staging the event.

But analysts questioned some of the projects included in the study, including a £1 billion planned shopping centre in Croydon, south London miles from the Olympic site.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the report was compiled by asking the companies making investments whether they would have spent their money without the Games.

“The answer we’ve had with a lot of the high profile investment like the Malaysians in Battersea Power Station is that a lot of the key negotiations and support came out of the events that we organised around the Olympics,” he told BBC radio.

“Would this have happened anyway? Some of these activities clearly would, but the Olympics were a key catalyst in making those investment decisions real.”

Cable said he had personally been sceptical about the Games before Britain won the bid, warning that it would be “a big cost and there would be no benefit”.

But he said ministers had put in “an enormous amount of effort” to attract investment around the Olympics.

The Olympics and Paralympics last summer were viewed as a huge success in Britain, passing off without any major problems, netting the hosts 29 gold medals and even coming in slightly under budget.

But the government has always stressed the importance of the economic and sporting legacy, and the report claims progress on at least the first of these is going well.

The £9.9 billion boost to the economy comes from businesses securing new contracts, additional sales and new foreign investment in the last year, the government said.

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