National Audit Office report reveals potential for 'further calls' on fund

The 2012 Olympics could be forced to raid its contingency fund to help subsidise “financial pressures and risks that are likely to occur right up to the Games”, a report by the National Audit Office has revealed.

The government spending watchdog said venues and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were on track to be delivered on time and within the £9.3m budget.

But it added that there was “potential for further calls on the contingency fund”.

The report also raised concerns over finding a tenant for the media centre in legacy. It said its position away from the main public transport hub at Stratford was a “potential challenge to achieving the legacy aim of employment creation”.

The NAO said the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), which is intending to be self financing, was currently ahead of schedule in securing income. But it added that the government, as the ultimate guarantor, has always been financially exposed should LOCOG's costs exceed its income.

The Government Olympic Executive is working closely with LOCOG to agree by October 2010 a balanced budget with a funded contingency.

Commenting on the report, Amyas Morse, head of the NAO said: "The Olympic Delivery Authority has done well to keep its programme on track, and it is increasingly likely that the venues and infrastructure are going to be delivered on time and budget. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go, with less contingency funding available to meet unforeseen cost pressures.

"Plans for the delivery of the Games themselves need to be fleshed out, in particular making sure that LOCOG is on track at least to break even. In addition, securing long-term use of facilities such as the Media Centre and the Main Stadium should remain priority to get the best out of the Games both for the taxpayer and local people."