London 2012 stadium revealed

It’s impressive all right – the Olympic stadium in Stratford is going to be an 80,000-seat triumph, by the looks of the plans revealed today.

Work on the structure starts soon, three months ahead of schedule, which has to be a first, doesn’t it? Okay, the price tag has gone up a tad – from £280 million to £496 million. That’s a lot, no? Actually, it’s just over three-quarters more expensive than they said it would be. Now, we’re not going to whine on about how much the Olympics is costing, yada, yada, yada…

However, when you look at why it’s costing more, it’s difficult not to raise an eyebrow or two (or seven, if the Olympic finance committee is counting). The reasons are:

• VAT (an embarrassing oversight but still, only 17.5 % eh?)
• inflation (again, should have been factored in but currently at around 2.5%)
• legacy costs (beg pardon?)
• earthworks (eh?)

Between them legacy costs – gawd knows what they are – and earthworks seem to account for over 50% of the price hike. How did that conversation with Lord Coe go, we wonder?

Seb: “You’re only telling me now that we have to move some earth to build the stadium?”
Builder: “Yes, Seb”.
Seb: “This is going to cost money, right?”
Builder: “’Fraid so, Seb.”
Seb: “A lot?”
Builder: “Around £140 million – call it £139 million for cash.”
Seb: “Done.”
Builder: “You said it.”

Have we been done, or is it all worth it?

(Image: from midiman's flickr stream)

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