UK’s Olympic win could leave London tourism a major loser

The official agency behind promoting tourism for London has admitted that the 2012 Olympic Games could lead to a lull in visitors to the capital next year, which may have a damaging impact on the UK’s stuttering economic recovery.

London & Partners has acknowledged there “could be a problem” with people not wanting to come to London over fears, such as over-crowded transport, a lack of, or high prices for, hotel rooms, and the capital resembling a building site, from 1 January until the Olympics end on 27 August.

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Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos

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The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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The Olympic Games – A Gift, or A Curse?

Rohantha Athukorala serves the United Nations (UNOPS) as the Head of National Portfolio Development for Sri Lanka & Maldives based in Sri Lanka, and writes in The Island about the commitments a country should consider before taking on a global event such as The Olympics.

Since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games in …, man has come to believe that hosting the Games is one of the greatest privileges a country could have bestowed upon them.

With the Olympics, comes the promise of thousands of new jobs and business opportunities, the development of world-class sport facilities, and a chance to raise a countries profile-but when discussing this great opportunity, many seem to forget to mention the financial risk that comes hand in hand.

Back in 2004, Greece spent $12.5 billion on the games which subsequently led to 2% points being shaved off the GDP, with some even referring to this deficit as the trigger for the financial crisis in Europe. Now for the 2012 Olympics, the UK is investing $14.3 Billion despite it’s fiscal deficit of 12%, and despite industry think tanks stating that hosting the event is unlikely to have any substantial financial impact.

If the Olympics is to remain a coveted event, Rohantha Athukorala argues that a revolutionary approach is needed in order to minimise costs and maximise gains. The solution that we propose is to hold the Olympic Games 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, ad infinitum, in it’s original 776 BC home, Greece.

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