London Olympics 2012 boosted UK economy by £10billion, ministers claim

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  • Report boasts of £9.9bn trade boost from Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Every trade deal done since August has been linked to London 2012
  • Business Secretary Vince Cable admits claiming credit for some jobs and investment which would have happened regardless
  • Small businesses say they did not see boom for areas outside London

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 08:41 GMT, 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 13:39 GMT, 19 July 2013

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The British economy got a £9.9billion boost from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the government claimed today.

A glossy 70-page brochure suggested that the trade boom was conveniently slightly more than the bill for staging London 2012.

But ministers admitted that they were crediting the Olympics with some jobs, building and investment that would have happened anyway, including a new shopping centre being built in Croydon.

Boom: As the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony approaches, the government claims the London 2012 Games brought a £9.9billion boost to the UK economy

Boom: As the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony approaches, the government claims the London 2012 Games brought a £9.9billion boost to the UK economy

Benefits: Sporting stars, including Jessica Ennis who won gold in the heptathlon, kickstarted an economic gold rush, according to ministers

Benefits: Sporting stars, including Jessica Ennis who won gold in the heptathlon, kickstarted an economic gold rush, according to ministers

Ahead of the first anniversary of the spectacular opening ceremony of London 2012, the government is still trying to justify staging the world’s biggest sporting festival.

The report boasts of £5.9billion of additional sales from Olympic-related activity such as the British Business Embassy, £2.5billion of additional inward investment into the UK since the Games and £1.5bn of Olympic-related contracts overseas.

But Business Secretary Vince Cable today admitted that much of the investment would have been made even if the Olympics had not been staged in London.

He said: ‘Would this have happened anyway? Some of these activities clearly would, but the Olympics were a key catalyst in making those investment decisions real.’

He also admitted the claims would not stand up to the rigour of an ‘academic journal’.

Mr Cable added: ‘I was one of the people who was very sceptical about the whole thing. I think I spoke against the Olympic Games when we put our bid in originally, because I thought it would be a big cost and there would be no benefit.

‘What happened around the Olympics was an enormous amount of effort put in by my department and other ministers to try to attract big inward investment here, to try to support British businesses to get business on the back of it. It was done in a very sustained systematic way and it continues.

‘This is a positive over and above the “party”, and I think it is very real.’

Contracts: The report suggests that since the Olympic Park closed last summer British companies have gone on to win contracts for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio

Contracts: The report suggests that since the Olympic Park closed last summer British companies have gone on to win contracts for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio

Rebuilding: Construction workers have been on site since the closing ceremony preparing the venues to be reopened to the public

Rebuilding: Construction workers have been on site since the closing ceremony preparing the venues to be reopened to the public

Small businesses accused the government of failing to live up to promises to ensure every part of the country benefited from the Games.

Almost all of the economic boost was felt in London and the South East, it was claimed.

Government body UK Trade and Investment has set a target to deliver £11billion of economic benefit from the London 2012 Games by July 2016.

However today’s report - Inspired by 2012: The legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – claims to have already have realised £9.9billion.

Claiming credit: Business Secretary Vince Cable admitted some of the investment would have happened anyway while London Mayor Boris Johnson claimed a new shopping centre in Croydon could be attributed to the Olympics

While many of the figures are vague, the report does conclude that £120million of contracts have already been won by UK companies for the Brazil 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

More than 60 contracts have also been secured by UK companies for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 Russia World Cup.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘This £9.9 billion boost to the UK economy is a reminder to the world that, if you want the best, if you want professionalism, if you want jobs done on time and on budget then you should think British.

‘With companies across the country we are harnessing the Olympic momentum and delivering the lasting business legacy of the Games that will help make Britain a winner in the global race.’

Doing deals: David Cameron used the Games to meet business and political leaders in London, including Russian President Vladimir Putin at a judo event

Doing deals: David Cameron used the Games to meet business and political leaders in London, including Russian President Vladimir Putin at a judo event

Boris Johnson claimed investment in the Royal Albert Docks, Battersea Power Station and a Westfiled shopping centre in Croydon were all the result of the Games.

The London Mayor said: ‘We proved the Olympo-sceptics in error when they declared that London couldn’t lay on a world class Games.

‘We are now set to defy the doom-mongers when it comes to securing a permanent legacy. London is succeeding where virtually no other host city has, on track to secure a solid gold payback on the taxpayers’ outlay and a rosy future for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

‘Since last summer, the capital has seen a surge in overseas investment totalling billions from Croydon to Battersea to the Royal Albert Docks as well as seeing an extraordinary transformation of East London.

‘This is delivering tens of thousands of jobs not only in London but spurring growth across the UK and helping the country sprint ahead in the global race for business.’

However Mike Cherry, national policy chairman of  the Federation of Small Businesses, questioned  whether the Olympic effect was felt  outside London.

Mr Cherry told the BBC: ‘Out in the regions, we found that the effect of the Olympics and Paralympics, and the contracts we were expecting, really didn't materialise as much as I suspect many people were hoping for.

‘A lot of work went into it at the very beginning, when it was all announced. But although some businesses certainly got some really good contracts, for the vast majority it just didn't happen.’

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