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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 17:07 UK

Cuts will not damage 2012 Olympics vows sports minister

Hugh Robertson
Robertson at the Aquatics Centre (r) at the Olympic Park in Stratford

New sports minister Hugh Robertson says the revised London Olympic budget will not adversely affect the 2012 Games.

As part of wider public spending cuts, the government wants a £27m saving from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) - the body building the Games' venues.

But Robertson told BBC Radio 5 live: "The government's top priority is to deliver the London 2012 Games on time and to budget.

"So, we will not do anything at all with the budget that imperils that."

The previous Labour government had said £9.325bn in funding for the Games in east London was ring-fenced.

However, the newly formed Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition announced on Monday that the 2012 Olympics would shoulder £27m of the overall £6.2bn public spending cuts - a first step to tackle the country's record national budget deficit.

The ODA has made £600m pounds of savings since 2007, and now has £8.1bn to complete the Olympic sites, with the latest anticipated final cost estimated at around £7.3bn - a rise of approximately £5m over the previous quarter but still well within the target.

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However, cost increases are forecast for the Olympic Village and Stratford City projects and further spending cuts are expected later in the year, leaving little room for manoeuvre.

Robertson insists, though, that corner-cutting is not on the government's agenda.

"We signed up to a number of key delivery commitments in Singapore in 2005 [when London was awarded the Games] - I was out there, actually, as the opposition spokesman at the time as part of the bid," he said.

"And we have to deliver on those commitments in 2012. So, it's not like other government projects where you can sort of alter the scope halfway through."

The Home Office, meanwhile, has announced a review of the security operation for the Games, and Robertson was adamant safety would not be compromised.

"That's as much a procedural as a budget thing," he said. "Nothing will be done in budgetary terms that imperils the delivery of a safe and secure Olympic Games."

The security review will be carried out by former chairman of the government's joint intelligence committee - which oversees the work of MI5 and MI6 - Dame Pauline Neville-Jones.

No date has been set for when her findings will be published.



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see also
Olympics 2012 venue guide
03 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Concern over Olympic Park promise
25 May 10 |  London
2012 Olympic budget cut by 27m
24 May 10 |  London
Badminton star backs Wembley move
05 Feb 10 |  Badminton
Wembley Arena to host 2012 events
26 May 10 |  Olympics
Minister backs Wembley for 2012
13 Oct 09 |  London
BOA opposed to 2012 boxing switch
16 Sep 09 |  Olympics
London told to choose 2012 venues
07 Oct 09 |  Olympics
Wembley Arena wins 2012 backing
24 Sep 09 |  Olympics
Badminton opposed to 2012 switch
18 Sep 09 |  Badminton


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