Olympic 2012 Legacy Under Serious Threat from Council Cuts

December 20, 2010

mayor of Newham borough, Sir Robin Wales has stated that the cuts to council services announced by the Government could jeopardise the London 2012 Olympic legacy after labelling the settlement as “savage, wreckless and callous”.

Every council in England will have to reduce spending from April with Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and Newham – three of the five Olympic boroughs – taking the maximum cut of 8.9% along with 33 others.

Sir Robin Wales stated: “These are savage cuts being implemented by the coalition government. We are having to plan huge reductions in expenditure over the next few years.’

“The Government themselves have admitted that their cuts will be directed mainly against poorer people which means that Newham is being hit more fiercely than better off areas of the country.

“London’s Olympic bid book said the most enduring legacy of the Games must be the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there.

“For centuries London’s East End has been one of the poorest areas in Europe. The Games have provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the lives of residents and nothing should be spared in ensuring that a lasting legacy is achieved.”

It is believed that unprotected services such as play parks, leisure centres and swimming pools most at risk from the inevitable cuts made clear surrounding the funding settlements.

“We are doing everything we can to protect our residents and the services they need and value. We want the Olympics to inspire people and raise their ambitions to be healthier and more prosperous,” he added.

“Newham has been working hard to expand participation in sport and activity through investment in our sports facilities and our promise to continue offering free swims to young people. We are providing the largest programme of free sport and activity in London. We will do our utmost to defend these pioneering initiatives and support hard working low income families.

“Inevitably, however, as we are having to make massive cuts our ability to do that will be limited. The government is already taking the axe to our school sports funding. We fear the coalition’s cuts may have jeopardised the Olympic legacy. I’m shocked at the extent of their callousness. They don’t care about the people.”