New Tory incumbent tells BBC he has held talks with his department to discuss budget for 2012 event
Newly installed Olympic minister Jeremy Hunt has warned cuts of about £60m could be made to the scheme's funding as the government comes to grips with reducing with the country’s budget deficit.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight programme Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, said he had held talks with civil servants in his department to discuss budget cuts.
He said: “Olympic money is not protected, none of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s budgets are protected, and we’re looking at all of them and saying, ‘can we save this money without affecting our core services?’ ”
Last month, parliament’s Public Accounts Committee warned that the Olympic project was facing a “worryingly tight” financial position. It said that while construction work was “on track”, unforeseen problems were putting pressure on contingency funds.
The MPs said the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had £1.27bn left from its original £2.75bn contingency fund, but that much of that was already set aside.
The Public Accounts Committee found that taking into account the amount of contingency funding already set aside to cover predicted risks, the ODA was left with just £194m "headroom".
The committee added that a further £160m of contingency money could be needed to cover previously unplanned work to secure and maintain the Olympic Park in east London between the end of construction and when the official handover takes place.
The ODA has warned 2010 will be a tough year. The Conservative led coalition government is committed to reducing Britain’s massive budget deficit though cuts in spending rather than increased taxation.