London Olympics likely to be under budget

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The British government has revealed that the London Olympics in July will cost less than budgeted.

The government's February 2012 Olympic Quarterly Economic Report published on Tuesday showed that the overall funding for the event remains at 9.298 billion pounds (about $14.8 billion), with 527 million pounds of uncommitted contingency available which is likely to be unused.

At the end of last year, the government raised concerns about the budget when it increased spending on security and on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.

The original budget for the opening ceremony of the Games, 41 million pounds (about $64 million) was almost doubled shortly before last Christmas to 80 million pounds (about $125 million).

The budget for Games security was almost doubled as recently as last December, rising from 282 million pounds (about $443 million) to 553 million pounds, with the British armed forces heavily involved in providing specialist expertise and in supplementing manpower for security at Olympic venues.

"With 150 days to go to the Games, we remain on time and within budget with more than 500 million pounds (about $793 million) of uncommitted contingency remaining. This puts us in a strong position and gives me increasing confidence that we can deliver the Games under budget," the minister for sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The construction program of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), whose job is to build the Olympic venues for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), is 96 per cent complete.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, said:"Once again we can report that the expected final cost of the venues and infrastructure for London 2012 is down, with costs squeezed again, bringing savings now within sight of the 1 billion pounds mark."

Hone said that the ODA remain on the Olympic Park, in the Stratford district of London, to complete the parklands, roads and spectator access.

He added:"We will complete our role by working with transport operators to get spectators to venues and keep people moving, licensing and enforcing the rules for trading and advertising, concluding contracts and transforming Games-time apartments in the Olympic Village into homes for families after the athletes are gone."

The expected final cost of the ODA construction, infrastructure and transport program is 6.777 billion pounds (about $ 10.6 billion).

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