(P116) Press Release London Mayor's Office - 15 May 2003  

2012 Olympic Games - London goes for gold

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London today welcomed the government's announcement that it is giving its backing to a London bid for the 2012 Games.

The Mayor said:

'This is wonderful news, not just for the East End, or even for London  - it's great news for the country as a whole. 

'The next few years could see the transformation of sport and tourism in this country, not to mention the transformation of the East End of London.

'London stands an excellent chance of winning the Games, and I am pleased to have been able to play my part in making the ground ready.  As Mayor I was able to put the new Wembley stadium back on track, and with construction work on Wembley now well underway, things are looking up for sport in this city. 

'London has all the physical credentials to host the Games, but its most important asset is its people.  With over 300 languages spoken in our schools, we are the place where the world comes together.  Every competing nation in the 2012 Games will come to London and find a group of supporters here as fervent as the fans at home.

'An overwhelming majority of Londoners back the bid.  If we are to succeed in bringing the Games to Britain it is vital that we build on this consensus, bringing together the disparate interests of business, the voluntary sector and community groups.  The new alliances and bonds that will form over the next two years and beyond could well turn out to be the Games' most precious legacy.'

Michael Ward, Chief Executive of the Mayor's economic arm, the London Development Agency, said: 

'A successful Olympics bid will transform a neglected and run down part of east London and kickstart the regeneration of the wider Thames Gateway, creating thousands of new jobs in the process"

'To win the Olympics in London, we will need new rail and road transport links.  The LDA is already hard at work on these plans, to help convince the International Olympic Committee that London is the best choice.'

The LDA will undertake the land assembly and remediation programme needed for the successful delivery of the Games. The agency has already begun buying land in the Lower Lea Valley with the purchase of the Hackney Stadium site. It is also in the process of appointing a team of experts to masterplan the Lower Lea Valley, which includes the proposed venue for a London Olympic Games in 2012.

There will be no additions to the Council Tax unless and until London is awarded the Games. The maximum addition to the council tax precept to fund the Olympics would cost the average London household £20 a year or thirty eight pence a week.  Payments would start from the financial year 2006-7.

A summary of the agreed financial package for the Olympics is available upon request.

For further information contact Catherine Mattison in the Mayor's press office on 020 7983 4020/ 07957 340 795

or Vince Burke/ Emma Lynch at the London Development Agency press office on 0207 954 4682 / 0207 954 4752 or 07976 081041.

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15/5/03 Last updated 15/5/03