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Byline: Paul Routledge

WHAT did I tell you? London 2012 is going broke. Olympics minister Tessa Jowell admits that pounds 500million of private sector money has disappeared because of the credit crunch.

Not that she told MPs in public, in Parliament, of course. She made the admission at a private dinner of sports leaders.

That means Olympics bosses have gone through half of their pounds 1billion contingency fund for emergencies - four years before a single starting pistol is fired.

"We will go back to the banks when borrowing terms are more favourable," trills Ms Jowell. Oh yeah? And who is going to give her a mortgage on an event already in deep financial doo-doo?

With spending out of control, 1,200 Olympic Village apartments have been axed. So has the proposed fencing centre, and the pounds 400m media centre looks doomed.

Everyone in the country is tightening belts, and it's high time this budget of pounds 9.3BILLION for a fortnight's running, jumping and sailing came under serious scrutiny.

Simon Jenkins, a wise commentator, has proposed an "austerity Olympics" to meet the mood - and the needs - of the nation. Hear! Hear!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2008
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