Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nu Labour shafts London...as ever

London's pride, Tessa Jowell, had long given private assurances that VAT would be waived on building the Olympic facilities. A spokesman for the Treasury has now said that it "almost definitely would have to be paid". The Treasury says EU rules dating back to 1973 leave little room for exemptions. Tessa apparently didn’t know about any such rules. The cost of £250m or more may now be picked up by the London council taxpayer or met by a further raid on the National Lottery. Blair has intervened to say that taxpayers in London should not have to fund any Olympic overspend. But then few would believe a word he says about anything. So this means they are, indeed, aiming to raid the lottery. The 2012 "budget" also does not include anything for Security, apart from actual guards at the stadia themsleves. The UK Government and taxpayer is going to have to spend at least over a billion on extra anti-terrorist security.

In any case, the long-oppressed London taxpayer gets shafted...the costs on yet another NuLabour vanity project are spiralling out of control. Livingstone has already announced that once the Olympic facilities are up Londoners will have to support them through higher taxes for a long time to come. This will be like the Dome, only on a vaster scale. Remember the Manchester Commonwealth Games? They were not "on budget" - the taxpayer had to bail them out to the tune of over 100 million. The Wembley stadium was due to cost 250 million, and is now going to cost over 800 million. The Nu Labour Project has one fatal flaw at its heart: a lack of interest in joined-up planning (but an obsession with glitzy PR)and a penchant for over-spend (its in their ideological DNA). Mind-we are the ones who stand to benefit...


Colin said...

Everything is getting better and larger nowadays compared to the ancient world. The formula for power of the apoliticians in ancient Rome was "panem et circences".

Now, panem, i.e. bread, is hardly sufficient anymore. Bread has blossomed into welfare benefits. And what about circences (games)? They have transformed into Olympic Games.

Politicians in ancient Rome bought votes by giving gifts to their voters, i.e. by sponsoring "panem et circences". The politicians in Rome didn't have the money for financing their gifts. They financed their gifts by robbery of the second-class citizens in the Roman Empire.

Today's politicians don't have the money either for financing the welfare state and Olympic Games. How do they obtain the money for their gifts?

Istanbultory's posting explains the contemporary version of a very ancient formula.

"The more things change.. the more things stay the same", isn't it.

Bel said...

I'm being very cynical here. I fully expect Gordon Brown to waive the VAT. I think there's a leadership election coming up soon.

istanbultory said...

As you noted in your own blog, this is another instance of NuLabour failing to think long-term on the planning and financing of a major initiative. The cost of staging the events is now estimated to be at least £5 billion, compared with an original draft building costs of £2.3 billion. You may be right. Commandante Gordo may desire to play the heroic role of bailing out the olympics- But how can he evade the binding nature of EU VAT and state aid law?

Voyager said...

With the price of London houses a Special Levy of say 1% Market Value should defray the cost of the Dome...........sorry I mean Olympic Black Hole

We serfs in the tundra wastes of this island look at London with its vast hedge fund experience and know that a speculative unhedged risk of building an Olympic White Elephant is just the kind of challenge the City needs instead of the easy money PFI deals on hospitals and schools

It should be fun - and a Govt that forgets VAT is one that should accompany me to the filling station, then again I suppose London is so short of FCAs that noone could draw up a proper project costing

Amateurism flourishes - no doubt this will be another Diana Fountain moment