Firm 'won't jeopardise' Olympic legacy to repay debts
Responding to the claims of MPs in a post-Games review, the London Legacy Development Corporation said it will not jeopardise the "long-term legacy" of the Olympic Park by rushing to repay its debts.
We have to look at the longer term impact and to balance that with our obligations not just to the Lottery but also to the Greater London Authority in terms of receipts going back.
While there is a drive to maximise receipts and get the taxpayers' money back, no one would want us to act as some kind of rapacious developer at the risk of jeopardising the long-term legacy of the Park.
It is a balance and we have to work that through over the coming months.
– LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone
Also responding to the Public Accounts Committee's review, the Culture department said there are "many lessons learned" from London 2012 which the Government was "sharing for future projects".
The Government is committed to delivering a tangible, lasting legacy from the Games and work is well under way on this.
We have been crystal clear that the lottery has an entitlement to receive £675 million from land sales from the Olympic Park, that is bound by a legal agreement between the Government and Mayor of London. We will respond to the PAC report in full in due course.
Olympic ticket allocation 'should have been challenged'
The embarrassing sight of empty seats at London 2012 and the availability of tickets for the general public was another concern raised by MPs in their post-Games review.The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was "a shame that so few tickets for popular events were available to the UK public".
Only 51% of tickets for the men's 100 metres final were available to the British public, and less than half of tickets for the track cycling, MPs said.
"International sports bodies and media organisations wield a lot of power and it cannot be easy for individual event organisers to push back at their demands," the PAC said.
"But," it added, "Learning from the experience of the London Games, the Government, possibly alongside other governments and event organisers, should challenge demands for large numbers of accredited seats."
A post-Games review from MPs has raised doubts that £2bn worth of London 2012 funding from the National Lottery will be repaid.
The donation ensured the Lottery would be reimbursed from future returns from developments at the Olympic Park, which was developed using the public funds it boosted.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was "not clear" that the Lottery's interest is being "adequately promoted and protected" by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which is in charge of securing the economic future of the Park.
The MPs suggest the Government should develop "a mechanism" to ensure the LLDC's decisions are transparent and prioritise the interests of the Lottery.
They said current projections suggest the first repayment to the Lottery will not be until the mid-2020s.
A group of MPs have issued a warning to the public and private sector to protect the legacy of London 2012, from maintaining the volunteering spirit to ensuring that a £2bn Lottery donation is repaid.
The Public Accounts Committee said lessons can still be learned from the Games despite the country's "undoubted triumph" in hosting the Olympics and Paralympics.
The MPs said too few tickets were made available to the public for the box office Olympic events and described the pre-Games G4S security fiasco as a "sorry episode" and "notable blemish" on Britain's hosting duties.
The National Audit Office (NAO) will examine the situation after MPs said pay-offs for senior BBC figures had been "excessively generous".
The investigation was sparked after George Entwistle, the former director general, stood down over the Jimmy Savile scandal with a £450,000 pay-off.
Today an NAO spokesman said the decision to look at BBC severance packages was taken in the light of Mr Entwistle's departure.
A spokesman for the BBC Trust said: "The chairman previously suggested that it would be useful for the NAO to look not just at the package George Entwistle received, but at severance pay in the BBC more widely.
"We have received their schedule of work for 2013 and we are pleased to see that they will take this approach in a planned review for next year."
Patten: BBC advised it was not possible to reclaim pay-off
BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said the BBC had been advised it was not possible to try and get back the almost half a million pound pay-off warded to departing director-general George Entwistle. He told UK editor Lucy Manning yesterday:
"We have taken legal advice, and we would have needed I think, to be able to demonstrate that the report would have enabled us to do a summary dismissal, when he was working at the BBC, and the legal advice was we couldn't do that"
BBC Trust turned down audit over Entwistle package
The Public Accounts Committee says the Comptroller and Auditor General offered to carry out an immediate examination of the package awarded to George Entwistle, but the BBC Trust turned the offer down. That meant Parliament was unable to hold the Trust to account for its use of public money.