BORIS JOHNSON has promised Londoners won’t face a tax hike to pay for the increased costs of the 2012 Olympics.
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“I want to make it clear that Londoners will not pay a penny more in council tax to pay for the games no matter what the circumstances,” said London’s Mayor in response to revelations that the cost of the main stadium had ballooned from UKP290 million to UKP525 million.
The new Mayor is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Ken Livingstone, who struck a deal with central government on the funding of the games that meant council tax would not go up to make good any leap in building costs.
Johnson aims to take things further by keeping a closer watch on Olympics spending. “It is clear that on costs and funding we need to have greater transparency and openness,” he said.
To that end, Johnson has handed an overseer role to businessman David Ross, who helped produce a new report on the cost of the stadium.
Ross believes “significant additional public sector funding is likely to be required to deliver the project,” but that extra cash is likely to come from either the National Lottery or general government spending, rather than be tagged on to Londoners council tax.