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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK
Olympics 'will benefit entire UK'
The government has insisted that a London bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics will benefit the entire United Kingdom.

Culture Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell said the views of a cross-section of British society had been sought before the decision to go ahead with a bid was made.

And she claimed that staging the Games in London would produce a string of spin-off benefits for the rest of Britain.

"Before we announced the decision we commissioned some research to test people's attitudes to a bid for the Olympics," said Jowell.

"What was very striking was that throughout the country the level of support was pretty consistent, with some of the strongest being in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

"People are saying to us: 'We want to get in behind this bid.'

"The three parties responsible have to deliver Games that would benefit the UK.

I believe we've got a one in three chance of winning this - we're one of the strongest possible bidders
London mayor Ken Livingstone

"The Olympics need training camps and preparation facilities. We intend that facilities around the UK are used for those preparations."

British Olympic Association chairman Craig Reedie said London was the only British city that could realistically expect to make a successful bid.

"Having been involved in three unsuccessful bids, the BOA decided London is the only city which is big enough and has the resources to stage the Olympic Games," he said.

"Sydney was just big enough and it's got four million people. London could do it."

London mayor Ken Livingstone insisted that the bid had a very strong chance of success.

Livingstone believes London's main competition from a list which includes New York and Toronto will come from European rivals Paris and Madrid.

"I believe we've got a one in three chance of winning this. We are one of the strongest possible bidders," he said.

"This is an Olympic city par excellence. The whole world is collected here in this one town and Olympic officials are aware of that.

"Not only will the Olympics bring to an end the contest of which is the best city on the planet, it gives London its best opportunity for 100 years.

A London bid would be a significant opportunity for Paralympic sports to gain the stability they deserve
Phil Lane
British Paralympic Association
"The benefits will be tremendous, the financial deal is in place and we're very close to securing who will lead the bid."

Livingstone insisted that Londoners would reap the benefits of bidding for the Games, even though it would mean a rise in their council tax.

"Londoners will contribute 38p a week on a typical Band D home," he said.

"For every pound Londoners can expect to put in, they will get three pounds of investment. Job and transport improvements are going to follow from this."

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) also welcomed the news which means that London will also bid to stage the 2012 Paralympics.

"It is tremendous news for the whole of British sport but, in particular, for disability sport," said BPA chief executive Phil Lane.

"A London bid would also be a significant opportunity for Paralympic sports to gain the stability they deserve.

"The Games would leave a legacy of accessible transport and facilities not just for disabled sportsmen and women but for people with a disability in general."






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