Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/372/6100

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 November 2004

Comment

London's Olympic Games bid: Who foots the bill?

YOU CAN'T move anywhere in London without seeing an advert backing the Olympic bid. With representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to visit London next February and the final decision to be taken the following July, there will be plenty more advertising to follow.

Chris Newby, Hackney

Whilst this isn't the most important issue facing workers in Britain, it is an issue that demands attention. Although public backing for the bid has fallen it still stands at 69% support in London and 76% in Britain as a whole. For many Londoners, particularly in the four boroughs most directly affected, a successful bid could be seen as the only way of securing much needed improvements such as transport, more housing and jobs.

In the plans, organisers talk about converting 3,600 athletes' apartments into "affordable" housing (although starting at 80,000 this is still too expensive for many first-time buyers) and converting the Olympic polyclinic into a "lifelong learning centre" incorporating nursery, primary and secondary schools (although who will be running them and at what cost?). The transport plans also involve dramatically improving the rail and tube network in London.

East London is in desperate need of regeneration with unemployment on some Hackney estates at 35%. Newham has the highest level of coronary disease, TB, diabetes and mental illness in the country. But it's also important to see what other effects a successful bid could have.

The bid alone costs 20 million. It includes plans to concrete part of Hackney marshes (a huge local sports area) as well as knocking down 450 houses and flats.

Even if the games were to make a small loss on the scale of Sydney, considered to be the "most successful games ever", every London council tax payer would have to make a one-off payment of 187 to cover this. This doesn't include a council tax increase to help cover the original cost of the games at 2.37 billion.

The Athens Olympics has now cost nearly 8 billion, double the original budget. The cost overrun has pushed Greece's budget deficit above the eurozone growth and stability pact limit for the second successive year. The right-wing New Democracy government is now cutting public spending and holding down wages in response.

Many of the 35 new venues built remain empty. The main stadium alone is costing 100,000 to maintain each year.

Labour hypocrisy

It is hypocrisy for Labour to talk about regeneration when they have continued to attack sports and leisure facilities. Under Tory and Labour governments 6,000 playing fields have been sold off in the last 20 years.

In the last ten years 50 recreational sports facilities have been closed and councils are facing a 500 million repair bill for the remaining facilities. Is it any wonder that the number of children judged overweight has increased seven times in 30 years to 30%?

The IOC is riddled with corruption. It's also an organisation that puts big business interests first. In Seoul, Atlanta and Sydney, thousands of poorer families were evicted from their homes to make way for the Olympics. In the drive to complete all the building work necessary for the Athens games 40 building workers died.

Even with all these negative aspects there will be a lot of expectation and excitement about the Olympics coming to London. I don't think we should oppose the bid outright but should demand that there is real consultation with local people in the areas most affected.

All transport improvements should be funded by central government and not by increased fares as Mayor Livingstone intends. All workers connected with the games should be paid at least a minimum of 8 an hour with no worker being forced to work more than 35 hours a week. Proper health and safety standards must be enforced.

All housing built for the games must be turned over to publicly owned, genuinely affordable, housing.

All sporting facilities and access to the games should be made available to local people with free entry for some groups e.g. school students.

We should demand a programme of transport improvements, council house building and sports facilities that are accessible to all who want to use them regardless of whether London wins the bid or not. This should be paid for by extra funding from central government.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 November 2004:

The ever mounting cost of war

Bush's nuclear weapons hypocrisy

Western hypocrisy on Afghanistan

Ukraine presidential elections provoke protests


Socialist Party workplace news

Support the Jaguar workers' fight

DWP: We need more staff not less

Liverpool council workers ballot for action


Socialist Party campaigns

ISR / Socialist Students conference: Fighting to change the world

Queen's speech: New Labour's terror card

Tommy Sheridan resigns as SSP convenor

Domestic Violence: Law changes but gaps remain

Olympics: Who foots the bill?

Reggae and gay rights


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 November 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Olympic Games:

triangleBarcelona 1936: the people's Olympics

triangleFilm review: Eddie the Eagle

triangleThe shame of sexism in sport

triangleYFJ protests against big business takeover of Cardiff

triangleOlympic victory for London bus workers

London:

triangle250,000-strong human tide sweeps London against visit of bigoted billionaire Donald Trump

triangleIssue 1000 drive shows sales potential

triangleTories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

triangleNSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

Transport:

triangleNorthern Rail strike reaches 21 days of action to save guards

triangleTransport for London to lose central grant: bus workers must prep for action

triangleWelsh Labour reprivatises rail lines: reverse Tory sell-offs!

Housing:

triangleTories pledge three-year private tenancies: fight for rent caps and council homes

triangleGrenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

Olympics:

triangleInvest in grassroots sports needs

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/7/18

Swansea

Victory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

16/7/18

Far-right

Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to defeat the far-right

13/7/18

Socialist Students

School students protest and walk out against Trump

11/7/18

National Shop Stewards Network

NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

11/7/18

Donald Trump

Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism

11/7/18

The Socialist

Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential

11/7/18

Fighting Fund

Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

11/7/18

NHS

Yes to NHS - No to PFI!

11/7/18

Leeds

NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now

11/7/18

Domestic violence

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

11/7/18

Unite

Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction

11/7/18

Tyneside

Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers

11/7/18

Huddersfield

Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

11/7/18

Hackney

Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work

11/7/18

PCS

Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999