London Games were "value for money" - watchdog

LONDON Wed Dec 5, 2012 12:12am GMT

Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games September 9, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games September 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

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LONDON (Reuters) - Public funding of nine billion pounds for the London Olympics was money well spent after a successful Games, the National Audit Office (NAO) said in a report on Wednesday.

The NAO found fault with an initial underestimate of how much public money was needed and the failure of private contractor G4S to supply enough security guards which meant British troops had to be drafted in just before the Olympics.

However, its report was generally positive about a Games that the government hopes will help attract additional investment and tourists to Britain.

"By any reasonable measure the Games were a success and the big picture is that they have delivered value for money," said the NAO, an independent body which scrutinises public spending on behalf of parliament.

"LOCOG (London Organisers) sold 11 million tickets and our athletes excelled," it added.

"Crucially, the Games passed off without major transport disruption or security incident. The scale of the construction programme and the fact that it was completed on time and within budget is impressive."

Deciding on a tenant for the Olympic Stadium, the centrepiece of the Olympic Park in east London, has been a slow process and has threatened to remove some of the goodwill generated by the Games.

A solution could finally be found on Wednesday when the board of the London Legacy Development Corporation examines final bids from four parties, including Premier League football club West Ham United.

West Ham are viewed as the most likely candidate but agreement has been elusive on how to divide up the costs of adapting the stadium for football use.

(Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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