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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 December, 2003, 09:27 GMT
Bid to stop public paying Olympic bill
Olympic Games in London
London is bidding to host the 2012 Games
A Scottish Nationalist MP has said he has delayed government moves to make taxpayers across the UK pay for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Pete Wishart said Westminster ministers wanted to cover the cost if London won the fight to host the Games and the bill then exceeded the 2.375bn budget.

The MP for North Tayside said he "strongly opposed" the plan contained in a minute tabled by earlier this month by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell.

He submitted parliamentary questions opposing the move which prevented the measure taking effect and paved the way for a House of Commons debate in the New Year.

Mr Wishart said: "I have no problem with London hosting the Olympic Games in 2012, indeed I would support it.

The principle is very simple - if London wants the Olympics, London should take financial responsibility
Pete Wishart MP
"But I am strongly opposed to the UK taxpayer underwriting the entire cost, regardless of what that that cost may finally be - and particularly when there is a very real danger of the London bid soaking up Lottery funding from Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

"We already have the example of the 1bn Millennium Dome - where Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England were expected to pay the price.

"However, when the old Scottish Office decided on the ridiculous Holyrood Project, Scotland is expected to pick up the tab, despite the fact that the decisions were taken under the authority of the Cabinet in London."

Mr Wishart said that when Sydney landed the 2000 Olympics, the government of New South Wales underwrote the Games and not the Australian government.

He added: "The principle is very simple - if London wants the Olympics, London should take financial responsibility, particularly now that it has its own city government."




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