Think-tank poses Olympic question

An economic think-tank has voiced concerns as to whether rundown parts of London will reap the full benefits of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) published a report this week outlining the issues that must be tackled if the regeneration benefits promised by the London 2012 Olympics are to be achieved.

The report considers whether east London will reap the full benefits in "physical, economic, social and environmental terms". It also asks whether the Olympic procurement strategy will result in major contracts for local businesses and access to jobs and skills training for local people.

Report author Matthew Jackson called on organisers to ensure that the regeneration and its outcomes are monitored and disclosed. He added that the Olympics' legacy should be set out clearly for local communities.

The report also asks for assurances that funding for the area will not be diverted from deprived communities elsewhere. A CLES spokeswoman said: "This report is not about criticising anybody or any current activity.

It is about ensuring that the maximum regeneration benefits of the Olympics are delivered."

More than 12,000 jobs are expected to be created in the run-up to the games. It is hoped that the event ittself will attract further investment to the area, which suffers from an unemployment rate of more than 30 per cent in some of its wards.

A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said: "We are working closely with our stakeholders to ensure that training and procurement opportunities for local people and businesses are maximised.

"This month we are starting an intensive community engagement programme in the Olympic Park boroughs where local people will have the chance to meet with senior London 2012 staff to find out more about the opportunities ahead. We want to ensure that the benefits of 2012 are felt for many years to come."

London 2012: The Story So Far is available from CLES (tel) 0161 236 7036.


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