Great sporting event, shame about the payback.
The research arm of Citi (not an institution renowned for holding anti-capitalist views) has just completed its assessment of what the 2012 Olympics contributed to the UK economy. I get the feeling that the Ministry of Culture, Media & Sport won’t be trumpeting this one. You might also catch sight of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Frunt-Bottomley brushing off media questions with “water under the bridge” or “early days yet” – or both – when asked about the Citi research output.
In a nutshell, the Report illustrates with the use of several convincing graphs, that the Olympics was great news for British athletes, but economically pointless….and probably, in the end, likely to be consigned to history as a cost centre. In simple terms, the event cost 0.7% of GDP, and produced an economic boost of 0.2%. While there was a positive effect on local employment levels, post-event figures suggest very strongly that these weren’t permanent….and even ignoring that reality, the employment uplift vs non-Olympic boroughs was, um, 0.3%.
Well, I never did
Citi also confirms Jeremy Rhymeeng-Slange’s status as an incorrigible liar by stating categorically that retail sales in London fell. It also rubbishes BoJo’s oft-stated expectation before the Games that more tourists would be attracted to the capital: in fact, they were put off coming, but then as the Report stresses, this has happened with every Olympic host nation since 1964. That London might buck the trend was just another blithely offered bit of codswallop put out by New Labour, Locog, Lord Coe and other assorted spinners during the run-up years….when the UK was running up one helluva bill.
But perhaps more important than any other finding is this one: ‘about the only positive impact from the Olympics is the one arising from publicly-funded construction, aka a building mini-boom.’
The key words above are ‘publicly-funded’. Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and the Omnivore Corporation of Dingweed, Delaware came, got their logos in almost every shot, and left. Given the average multinational’s ability to pay next to no tax, this isn’t going to impact much on Treasury income: they’ll just have to continue relying on RBS frauds to keep their pecker up.
In short – as all thinking people always knew – the taxpayer wound up funding another example of Blairite onanism.
Now of course, we still await the results of all those massive trade deals negotiated behind Chinese Walls by Baron Green of HSBC Colombia. Any progress here at all?
Well, we do know that British clients of HSBC’s Swiss private banking subsidiary evaded some £200m over the last year, so that’s not bad: although it puts even more pressure on the luckless hotel-grabber Stephen Hester at RBS.
However, the enormous fillip for Britain’s economic future growth has already produced…a press release from the Ministry of business, innovation and skills. Yes, five weeks ago the BIS released this:
‘Trade Minister Lord Green and Olympics Legacy Ambassador Seb Coe today vowed to build on the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games by working with industry to promote British skills, products and services around the world.
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair and recently appointed Olympics Legacy Ambassador to the Prime Minister said:
“The extraordinary success of the London 2012 Games has shown the best of Britain to the world and now our focus turns to securing a lasting legacy. We have already witnessed the incredible regeneration of east London, with world class facilities and a new urban park created.
“We now need to ensure that organisations up and down the country use the positive impact generated by the Games to reach out to new markets and grow their businesses. The British Business Embassy at Lancaster House has brought together business leaders from the UK and all over the world in a showcase of Britain’s industrial strengths and successes.
“We had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to demonstrate British business excellence to the world, and we are making the most of this opportunity.”
Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, said:
“The Games have provided a golden opportunity to enhance our status as a leading business partner and destination for investment.
“The British Business Embassy has hosted 4,000 business people from large and small firms alike. The connections they have made will deliver real economic dividends.
“We are now working hard, alongside firms around the country to follow up the contacts, networks, announcements and momentum created by the Games.”’
The monitoring equipment here at Slogger’s Roost declared this release High in bollocks, but Low in cheque-signatures. Undeterred, from a left field out of nothingness, the BIS states:
‘Overall, hosting the Olympics is forecast to deliver around £13bn in economic benefit to the UK in the coming months and years.
This includes £1bn of extra sales for businesses taking part in the British Business Embassy programme, £4 billion of high value overseas opportunities for UK firms in markets including Brazil, Russia and China, £6bn of inward investment, and a £2.3bn boost to tourism.’
And that, ladies and gentlemen, really is the most awful load of old cock.
Forecast by whom – Lord Coe? A £2.3bn boost to tourism? British Business Embassy programme? Leave it out, squire. You can hold as many forums as you like chaps, until we start making something interesting aimed at the right target – with the right design and function values – none of this will bear fruit. And the week before last, a government spokesperson confirmed off the record to me that the 2012 bunfight “is very unlikely to pay for itself before 2020”.
But spookily, the ‘forecast’of a £13bn boost is uncannily close to….the £13bn the event is now likely, all up, to have cost us. And if nothing else, that budget has seen a spectacular growth since 2006 of 315%. So you see, it’s not all bad news.