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U.K. Lawmakers Attack Lack of Transparency on Olympic Spending

The U.K. government has frustrated attempts to examine taxpayer funding for the London Olympic Games, a cross-party panel of lawmakers said today.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport “would win no medals for transparency,” Public Accounts Committee Chairwoman Margaret Hodge said as the panel published a report that also questions the credibility of claims about the sporting legacy of the games.

“Legitimate monitoring of implementation has been an unnecessarily frustrating process, characterized by a resistance to giving us clear and consistent information and a readiness to depart from proper ways of conducting public business,” Hodge, an opposition Labour Party lawmaker, said in an e-mailed statement.

“The department has no intention of producing a single auditable account for the games, drawing together both the costs within the public-sector funding package of 9.3 billion pounds ($14.5 billion) and those outside,” she added. “Such an analysis must be produced.”

An over-arching audit could include the 766 million-pound cost of buying the land on which the Olympic Park is built, 57 million pounds for the government’s Olympic executive and money spent on transport infrastructure that might have been used for other transport projects if it wasn’t for the games, the report said.

The promotion of participation in sport, which formed part of the London Olympic bid in 2005, has also only encouraged an additional 109,000 people to get involved in return for 450 million pounds spent, which “represents poor value for money,” the report said.

‘Chaos’

“As the world’s eyes turn to London, we wish every success to all the many organizations involved in making the games happen,” Hodge said. “But the chaos which has emerged over the security contract was predictable and undermines confidence in those responsible for managing the games.”

Lawmakers on the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee said this week they have no confidence in the ability of G4S Plc (GFS) after the security company failed to supply the staff it promised to protect games venues and accommodation, forcing the government to deploy thousands more soldiers and police.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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