The Olympic Rip-Off continues…

Brian’s mucker Alan Trench reports on the latest Olympic Rip-off
1) Funds for the London Olympics were raised through diverting Lottery Funding

“In the Welsh Affairs Committee Eighth Report of Session 2008–09, the Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Minister for the Olympics, recognised that funding of the Olympic Games would lead to a total of £65 million of Lottery funding being diverted away from Wales in order to fund the Games. However, the report also highlighted that a common feature of lottery grant applications is matched funding, hence the figure of £65 million of funding to be diverted away from Welsh projects did not take into account the leverage value of the money. The Welsh Government Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones AM, is noted as saying that this could result to a loss to Wales as high as £100 million.”
2) Now the three devolved administrations are united in opposition to the way the Treasury have refused to Barnettise the East End regeneration elements of the Olympic spend
“This argument was originally taken up with the Treasury more than three years ago.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Government started a formal dispute procedure,
supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
All the facts were laid out and discussed in detail. The devolved administrations
agreed that there was a strong case for distributing a fair share of Olympics
spending on regeneration and transport to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Treasury disagreed, arguing that because the Olympics were a UK-level event
and all of the £7.5 billion of spending was essential to providing the Games, there
could be no formula share of spending for the other countries .
Our estimate is that, by the time the Games conclude in 2012, accepting the original
estimate of £1.7 billion for transport and regeneration costs, Scotland would be due
at least £165m in “consequentials”; Wales more than £100m; and Northern Ireland
around £65m. If actual spending turns out to be £2.7 billion as currently predicted,
the consequentials should be proportionately higher. These are significant sums in
our countries, although small in comparison to the overall Games budget.
The UK Government and the devolved administrations have followed the new
dispute resolution arrangements, agreed by the former UK Government and adhered
to by the coalition Government, with meetings at both official and Ministerial level.
We have agreed that the original decision about whether the Barnett formula applied
to elements of the Olympics spending was not handled well in the 2007 Spending
Review, and the UK Government has agreed to change and clarify the rules to help
avoid similar disputes arising in future. The UK Government has also agreed that
any new spending, beyond the Games budget, that is necessary to deliver the
Games legacy for London will attract consequentials. But despite this there has
been no movement on the central issue of the sums we believe should come to the
three countries from transport and regeneration spending on the Olympics, including
both spending so far and spending from now until the Games conclude in 2012.
This means that an issue on which 3 of the countries in the UK are agreed can make
no progress because of the view taken by HM Treasury. The Treasury are therefore
effectively acting as the decision-taker in the process, despite the fact that they are
one of the parties to the dispute. This is only one of several examples where the
Treasury has reached decisions on spending issues with important implications for
the devolved administrations without our agreement, and with significant perceived
unfairness as a result.”
That’s the second joint, hard hitting, statement in a fortnight. Good.