Boris Johnson admits market conditions are adding pressure to delivery in his evidence to select committee
London mayor Boris Johnson has insisted that the government will not be called upon for more funding for the £9.3bn Olympic construction programme despite admitting that there are cost issues with three of the biggest venues.
Giving evidence to a select committee hearing today, Johnson acknowledged the difficulties that market conditions were placing on the Olympic delivery. He said: “The cost pressures now are the village, the media centre and the stadium. Obviously these are the biggest difficulties.”
However, he categorically denied that the government would be asked to stump up more than the £9.3bn budget and contingency already earmarked. He said: “We are looking at some changes, some economies we might be able to make. There are ongoing discussions about the venues and how we might bear down on expenditure.”
Johnson confirmed that alterations were being made to the media centre, being delivered by Carillion and Igloo, amid concerns over £160m of private finance initially earmarked for the venue, the budget for which was revealed in the session to be £380m. The public sector’s contribution for the venue was originally put at £220m.
He said: “We have not reached the limit of our scope for modifications on the media centre.”
The cost pressures now are the village, the media centre and the stadium. Obviously these are the biggest difficulties
However, Johnson pledged that the design of the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium will not be altered despite admitting the ODA was no closer to finding a legacy user for the scheme, which has now begun construction.
He said: “We’re not going to change the structure. You don’t monkey around with the specifications, because that drives the builders mad.”
Johnson said despite the funding issues he was “keen to spend as little as possible and very keen to delay expenditure of contingency as long as possible.”
Meanwhile Neale Coleman, adviser to the mayor on the Olympics, said that a preferred option for the legacy masterplan for the Olympic site would be unveiled around the end of this year.