SOME £300 million in public money has now been committed to the conversion of the London Olympic stadium into new uses. That means stripping out various facilities and reducing the quality of Olympic provision.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is scheduled to reopen in July 2013, with other changed stadia due in 2014. The Qatari royal family, having taken control of the athletes’ village, plans to rent out nearly 3,000 homes.
The London Legacy Development Corporation estimate at least £1.1 billion income from elaborate building plans pencilled in over the next 20 years as the site is in-filled with housing.
Lloyds Bank estimates that £13.5 billion income was generated from the construction and services provided by the Olympics. The truth is public money funded the Olympics, poured in a torrent into private construction and multinational companies’ pockets. That wasn’t income generation – it was publicly funded profit for parasites.
In an even more cynical move the London Mayor’s office is funding the conversion of the main stadium for future football use, whether West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur or lowly Leyton Orient wins control. £200 million is being given to these private companies – in Tottenham’s case a tax-exile-owned, tax-haven-registered foreign company.
There are severe doubts that the 5,000 jobs promised from the conversion of the Olympic press centre into the equivalent of Newham’s Silicon Valley will materialise. In fact, job creation figures only in the small print, dwarfed by housing and associated rents, and bank and mortgage company returns.
What remains of the site will be part of the capitalist vision of London as a centre of sporting circuses and entertainment for the “elite” from across the world. The multi-nationals and the state have learnt the lesson of previous bankrupt Olympic sites – Greece, Spain, Australia, etc – and intend exploiting London to the hilt for decades to come. The campaign to send the Olympics back to a permanent site in Greece needs to be reignited, and Londoners need to reclaim London. ■