Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Olympics Skewer

Is this what you want?

We taxpayers are well and truly skewered. We were never consulted, yet we've been landed with a bill that BOM has always put at £20bn all-in.

But there is at least some compensation in the shape of watching our politicos squirming and wriggling on the Giant Olympics Cost Skewer.

As we know, their first proper 2012 budgeting exercise (setting aside their initial fag packet) has come up with a reported £9bn just for building the basic facilities and for security. Which is a wild 4x the opening £2.375bn number.

Now, of course, someone has to announce it. And that someone is finance expert Tess.

Guess what. She just can't face it.

Instead, she wants to announce a lower figure. Say £5bn, to exclude security and that contingency margin (NB for people not fully versed in the ways of public projects, "contingency" means the money will definitely be spent).

So she's delaying in the hope that something will turn up. Quite what is unclear, lest it be her certain sacking when Gordo takes over (you can actually watch her being eaten by him here).

The problem with that of course is that it means risking career, and, more importantly, wallet-threatening delay in the actual construction work. And unlike the Wembley fiasco, the 2012 Olympics really does have one of those most unpleasant drop-dead dates.

All "an Olympics source" will say is "So far, I don't think anything has been slowed down but if this goes on into the next financial year, it will start to become problematic."

Hmm. Compressed timetable plus drop-dead date equals an even bigger money pit.

Which may be fine for hopeless Jowell et al- by 2012 they'll be no more than a bitter memory. But it leaves us taxpayers even further along the skewer, well past the mushrooms and peppers.

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