U.K. Parliament Approves Lottery Funding for 2012
Westminster Grants Lotto Payout
The 646-seat Parliament approved the payout by a comfortable majority of 348 votes. (ATR/M.Bisson)
The British government has promised that no more funding will be diverted from the National Lottery to finance the 2012 Olympics.
Culture, media and sport secretary James Purnell made the pledge Tuesday as MPs voted to transfer $2.2 billion from the lottery to help pay for the Games.
“I can confirm today that there will be no further diversions from the lottery to good causes to fund the Olympics,” he said.
The legislation was first laid before Parliament last autumn. It includes the $820 million of lottery money cited in the original Olympic bid and the $1.35 billion required to help fund the government's $19 billion budget published in March 2007.
The Conservatives and arts groups have criticized the government for siphoning funding from arts projects and grassroots sport to foot the Olympic bill.
As a concession for its approval, Purnell said he would allow the Conservatives to scrutinize the budget on a quarterly basis, including cash-flow figures.
Purnell also denied that the downturn in the London property market will see the Olympic project facing a $2 billion black hole.
Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell has predicted that $3.6 billion would be recouped from the sale of land and property from the Olympic Park site to repay the National Lottery.
According to reports, the London Development Agency, the body which acquired the land for the Olympic Park in Stratford, now expects to raise only $1.6 billion due to falling land and property values.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said there was “absolutely no black hole in the 2012 finances”.
“The £800 million [$1.6 billion] quoted is the most cautious of a range of LDA projections of how much might be raised by land sales in the Olympic Park, based on 6 percent per annum growth,” he said.
“This is significantly less than the average rate of increase over the last 20 years – a period that has included both economic highs and lows. Experience suggests it is entirely realistic to believe that our target of repaying the lottery will be achieved.”
PM to Visit Beijing
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to discuss Olympic matters during his visit to China later this week, his first to the country since succeeding Tony Blair last summer.
The Beijing Fuwa mascots checked out 2012 Olympic preparations in a visit last year. (Getty Images)
It is not confirmed whether he will meet with Beijing Games officials, but Olympics issues are likely to come under discussion when he holds talks with Chinese government leaders. Brown will arrive in Beijing Jan. 18, staying in China until Jan. 20.
In the run-up to this summer's Games, London is hosting a series of 'China in London' celebrations.
It launches on Feb. 6 with the lighting of Chinese lanterns at Oxford Circus and continues with Chinese New Year celebrations in central London for Year of the Rat. Events will also take place at many different cultural institutions in the coming months.
The celebrations continue until the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay comes to London on Apr. 6 en route to China.
Army Base for British Team
Aldershot Army base in Hampshire is named as the official training camp for the British Olympic team in the build-up to the 2012 Games.
Security was said to be one of the key factors in Aldershot beating out the University of Bath and Loughborough University for the contract.
Other factors included its easy access to the Olympic Village in Stratford, the availability of training venues and accommodation.
The Army's Centre of Sporting Excellence already has many of the facilities in place for the 750-strong British team who will use it, including a 400-metre running track, two indoor sports arenas, and a new Olympic-sized pool.
The British Olympic Association has strong connections with the army base. BOA chief executive Simon Clegg served as a major at Aldershot and 2004 double-Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes was a physical trainer in the adjutant general's corps.
Business ‘Dating Agency’ for London 2012
London 2012 organizers launched a business network on Jan. 16 – with a so-called dating agency website – to help companies across the U.K. compete for thousands of contracts to help deliver the Games.
The Olympic Delivery Authority and LOCOG expect to allocate more than $12 billion of work as part of an estimated 75,000 future business opportunities covering direct contractors and their supply chains over the coming years.
The ‘London 2012 Business Network’ has three components: essential information on upcoming opportunities and how to supply London 2012; business events; and the new ‘CompeteFor’ service, a business ‘dating agency’ that will match companies to thousands of opportunities supplying London 2012 contractors.
The ODA and LOCOG will advertise their direct contract opportunities online through CompeteFor and direct London 2012 contractors appointed will be encouraged to advertise their supply chain opportunities through the system.
ODA chairman John Armitt said the body has already let contracts worth over $2 billion, most won by small and medium sized companies with around half based outside of London.
“The vast majority of business opportunities remain to be let and this year represents a huge opportunity for UK businesses,” he said.
For more information on the CompeteFor system, visit www.london2012.com/business
Steel Contract for Olympic Stadium
UK steel fabrication company Watson Steel Structures is reported to have won the contract to provide the structural steel framework for the new 80,000-seat 2012 Olympic Stadium.
The company plans to work with a number of its existing suppliers to deliver the Olympic Stadium contract.
Construction work is scheduled to start on the $1billion project in the spring. It will be the centerpiece of the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.
First Glimpse of Terminal 5
Heathrow Airport's new $8.4 billion Terminal 5 was unveiled to media Tuesday. The opening of Terminal 5 in the spring is a boost to London's transport plans for the Olympics.
The new Terminal 5 is designed to handle up to 35 million passengers per year. (Heathrow)
British airports operator BAA has taken seven years to build the terminal, which will only serve BA customers. It handles its first flight Mar. 27.
The terminal includes a quarter-mile-long main building at the west end of Heathrow for domestic and short-haul flights as well as two buildings whose primary function is long-haul services. The buildings will be connected by an underground shuttle.
It features the latest technologies including X-ray machines that do not require travelers to remove their shoes and belts. Unmanned check-in kiosks will be capable of validating a passports or scanning visas.
Ahead of the 2012 Olympics, work will be completed to replace Terminal 2 with a new one called Heathrow East.
Marketing Director Role
LOCOG is seeking a marketing director to spearhead its Olympic marketing and brand initiatives.
Among other responsibilities, the marketing director will be charged with developing the brand strategy, managing the approvals process for use of the 2012 logo and maximizing commercial opportunities.
With reporting from
Mark Bisson in London
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