Olympic ceremonies to cost extra £41m

THE GOVERNMENT has come under fire after pledging to spend an additional £41m on doubling the budget for the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies.

Such costs would normally be met by organising committee Locog, but sports minister Hugh Robertson said he would add to their funds with public cash. “We decided to go in at the higher figure for the benefit of the country,” he said.

The cash will come from within the £9.2bn public funding package, of which more than £500m remains unused, and Robertson said improved ceremonies would help boost the business and tourism legacy.

But Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Taxpayers might enjoy watching the opening party but they won’t want the hangover of another £40m on the bill.”