The Legislative Council has approved a budget for the Asian Games predicting a $945 million loss for taxpayers - although officials later pledged to minimise spending if the right to host the Games is secured. Political parties, including the Democrats, voted 41-4 in principle to back the 2006 Games, despite the lack of a guarantee over the spending ceiling. Speaking after the vote at the Legco Finance Committee, Home Affairs Secretary David Lan Hong-tsung said setting a cap without first securing the Games was impractical. 'Any suggestion of working out an upper limit at this point in time is not possible because there are many factors which need to be taken into account. And those are the factors which cannot be determined at this point in time,' he said. He cited the share of broadcasting fees with the Olympic Council of Asia [OCA] as one of the factors. 'OCA will not negotiate with us until and unless you are successful in the bidding.' Deputy Secretary for Treasury Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said there would be stringent cost control if the Games were secured. She said lawmakers would then be presented with a detailed business plan and the Government's spending ceiling. Citing the hosting of the 1997 World Bank Conference - for which the Government limited spending from the approved $485 million to actual spending of $380 million - Mrs Lam hoped members could trust the administration over its cost-control commitment. Andrew Cheng Kar-foo of the Democratic Party said it voted for the funding in light of Mrs Lam's pledge. Opposing the funding, The Frontier was adamant that crucial budgetary details, including broadcasting revenues, were missing. 'The public should be given a longer time to discuss the upper limit. We should not vote for it today,' said Cyd Ho Sau-lan of The Frontier. Independent legislator Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, also vice-chairman of the Asian Games Bid Committee, said clear majority support would help win the bid. 'The message is clear. Not only the Government but also Legco is in full support. This will help our work,' said Mr Fok. He will accompany Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang - who heads the bid committee - on a trip to Brazil to lobby for support from the Olympic Council of Asia later this month. 'The next step is marathon lobbying in the run-up to November [when a final decision on the host city will be made by the OCA],' said Mr Fok. Consultants estimate spending of $1.92 billion to host the Asian Games and the Far East and South Pacific Games for disabled athletes. A loss of $945 million is forecast after considering revenue earners such as sponsorship, ticketing and merchandising.