The title is hardly news. But watching BBC London news last night just reminded me how much the 2012 Olympics will cost, and how hypocritical its goals are. The occasion, ironically enough, was a press release, disguised as a news story. The story (summary here) celebrated the setting up in poorer countries of sports clubs which are designed to help children stay out of trouble. I heartily approve of this. Any spending of taxpayers’ money on sport should be targeted at the worst off in society, in order to provide them with basic equipment and pitches.
Yet the Olympics is doing the opposite of this. Estimates for its net cost (after ticket sales, land sales, private investment, etc.) are currently running at between Â£7-16 billion pounds. Little of that money will actually go to those who benefit most from sport (ordinary people), but rather elite athletes, officials and hangers-on. And why should these people receive taxpayers’ and lottery money? They do a job, which many of them get well rewarded for. Let the Olympics pay for itself.
The facilities will not benefit the majority of people, and instead the money should either be given back to its rightful owners, or spent on making sure that more swimming pools aren’t closed down, nor playing fields sold off.
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Filed in: Economy