MPs warn Olympic budget is “worryingly tight”

1 April 2010

A Commons committee has warned that the budget for the Olympic Park is “worryingly tight”, Building reported.

The Public Accounts Committee said that the schedule was on track but that the contingency fund was under pressure, with only £197m of the fund unreserved. Of that, £160m could be swallowed up securing and maintaining the park in the lead up to the Games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority had an original contingency fund of £2.75bn but only £1.27bn has not already been spent, with the bulk of that figure already set aside for identified expenditure.

Edward Leigh MP, the committee chair, said: “What’s worrying is that the financial position is tight. Of the sum left within the Olympic budget for contingencies most is currently earmarked for known risks. But unforeseen problems continue to emerge to place fresh demands on the contingency.”

The ODA responded that the construction programme is still forecast to be delivered within budget. But the agency added 2010 will be the toughest year for unforeseen problems, as the workforce peaks to 9000 and work accelerates.

In a separate story, Construction News reported that the Government has approved a funding deal for a specialist academy in the Olympic Village, to form the educational legacy of the Games.

During the Olympic Games, the school will be used as an operations centre, dealing with team management, communications and village operations.

The 1,800-pupil Chobham Academy, for 3-19 year olds, is sponsored by property company Chelsfield and has started on site under Bam Construction.

The £35m school, which will serve families moving into new homes in the Olympic Village site in Stratford, east London, will open in 2013.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: “Standing in the grounds of the Olympic Park site, the Chobham Academy will build on the inspirational power of London 2012.

“The top quality sports facilities offered by the school will give hundreds of children and people in the local community the chance to play sport and develop their sporting skills, creating a true legacy from the Games.”

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