Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 16:49 UK

London 2012 Olympics not protected from budget cuts

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Olympics 'not protected' in cuts

The London 2012 Olympic Games will not be protected from budget cuts under the new government, according to the new Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt told the BBC's Newsnight: "Olympic money is not protected.

"None of the Department for Culture Media and Sport's budgets are protected."

Labour's former Olympic's minister Tessa Jowell said the government should be "very careful" about destabilising the Olympic budget.

Mr Hunt said if the required cuts were spread evenly between all government departments, his would have to find £66m of savings.

Greater costs

He added: "We are looking at all of them [Department for Culture Media and Sport budgets] and saying, can we save this money without affecting core services?"

But Ms Jowell said: ''The Tories should be very careful about destabilising the Olympic budget.

"The Olympic budget has a substantial contingency, which has enabled the project so far to be delivered on budget and on time.

"Reducing the available contingency could well lead to short term savings, but greater costs in the long term.''

Boris Johnson: "In a budget of 9.325bn there is going to be room for manoeuvre"

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Londoners would not have to pay more as a result of these savings.

He told the BBC: "That would be a mistake - I am very, very confident that won't happen.

"We have already made considerable savings.

"We had a big discussion about how to move venues around so we didn't build a ludicrous new badminton superdome and we sent it to Wembley Arena where there is already a perfectly fantastic venue.

"And more importantly, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has done an amazing job bringing this in on time and on budget, and we think there will be substantial savings by the time the project is complete.

Mr Johnson added: "Time is money and if you can do things early you can save money.

"In a budget of £9.325bn there is going to be room for manoeuvre."

Asked if he would like to see a continued role for Tessa Jowell, he said she had done a "great deal off good" for the Olympic project and it would be a "great shame if her talents and energies were not exploited".

The ODA would not comment.



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