Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs Warn against Rushing into a Bid for 2012 Olympics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs Warn against Rushing into a Bid for 2012 Olympics

Article excerpt

Byline: JO REVILL

THE Government must take a clear, hard look at whether they should make a bid for London to host the 2012 Olympic Games, an influential committee of MPs said today.

The committee insist that the Government carry out an independent analysis of the Games' long-term social benefits and costs to the taxpayer.

The prestigious event could bring enormous sporting benefits to Britain and provide an opportunity for regenerating poorer parts of the capital by improving its transport and facilities.

But the gains cannot be taken for granted and a proper rationale must be given for going ahead with a bid, a report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said today.

"It would be wrong for the British Olympic Association, the Government and other agencies involved to decide in haste whether or not to bid for the Olympics in 2012 and then to repent at leisure," it warned.

The report states that any assessment "must be clearly focused on a specific analysis on the rationale for London and the UK, and not simply rely on telling good news stories from previous Olympic Games."

One concern is that by earmarking sites for sporting events, it would deny deprived communities of using the land for housing and business developments.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor for London, has already given his commitment to bring an Olympic Games to east London, although a draft feasibility study by the British Olympic Association which is now on ministers' desks gives full consideration to both west London and east London options.

A London event would not be held on a single site, but the committee points out the importance of identifying potential sites at an early stage.

They want to see the Government announce where the bid would be concentrated "well in advance of a decision to bid". They also highlight concern that the capital at present is badly unprepared to make a bid because of the lack of large facilities.

"The near-scandalous absence of international competition-standard swimming facilities in the United Kingdom's capital is one example of how far short London currently falls. …

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