MOST people will be only mildly surprised to learn that the bill for public expenditure on London's 2012 Olympics is now thought likely to be twice or even three times the figure first mentioned. After the experience of the Millennium Dome no one any longer expects estimates for events of this kind to be accurate. Fortunately millennia celebrations come round only once in, well, a millennium and the Olympics not all that more frequently. London's bid estimate for 2012 was 2.4 billion pounds but that sum did not include various costs which now are coming to light. One major item which perhaps could not have been accurately anticipated is security; although a figure of 190 million pounds was shown for policing directly related the Games, no provision was made for security necessary to keep the whole capital and all its extra visitors safe. This task came into clear focus on the day after the bid was won when the London bombings took place last July. Where will the extra money come from? Official eyes are said to be focussed on the Lottery which is already committed to providing 1.5 billion pounds. Ministers are said to be keen to divert all lottery payouts to the Olympics, except those to the arts. However already protests are being heard from Lottery players who are happy to contribute to “good causes” as they buy their tickets but do not necessarily consider the Olympic Games to be in that category.


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