UK economy

London Olympics brought in HK$117b for Britain

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 July, 2013, 3:16am

The British government claimed yesterday that last year's Olympic Games in London gave the economy a massive boost, even while acknowledging that some of the investment might have happened anyway.

An official report said the Games brought £9.9 billion (HK$117 billion) to the British economy, more than the £8.92 billion cost of staging the event.

But analysts questioned some of the projects included in the study, including a £1 billion planned shopping centre in Croydon, south London - miles from the Olympic site.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the report was compiled by asking the companies making investments whether they would have spent their money without the Games.

"The answer we've had with a lot of the high-profile investment - like the Malaysians in Battersea Power Station - is that a lot of the key negotiations and support came out of the events that we organised around the Olympics," he said.

"Would this have happened anyway? Some of these activities clearly would, but the Olympics were a key catalyst in making those investment decisions real."

Cable said he had personally been sceptical about the Games before Britain won the bid, warning that it would be "a big cost and there would be no benefit" to the nation.

The Olympics and Paralympics last summer were viewed as a huge success in Britain, passing off without any major problems, netting the hosts 29 gold medals and even coming in slightly under budget.

The £9.9 billion boost to the economy came from businesses securing new contracts, additional sales and new foreign investment in the past year, the government said.

As well as the shopping centre, this includes the £1.2 billion regeneration of London's Royal Albert Docks by a Chinese developer, and the redevelopment of the landmark Battersea Power Station on the River Thames by a Malaysian consortium.