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Bill for Olympics security breaks the £1bn mark

The cost of securing next year's Olympic venues and the cost of the opening and closing ceremonies were revealed to have doubled yesterday, as the British government was warned that the final cost of the London Games may exceed the £9.3bn (€10.86bn) budget.

A report by the National Audit Office cautioned that "there is real risk" more money will be needed to fund the Games. On the same day, the budget for venue security increased by £271m (€316m) on the back of a dramatic revision in the required number of security personnel. An original estimate of 10,000 guards has proved woefully inadequate.

Instead, 23,700 will be required to secure more than 100 venues. That takes the cost of venue security to £553m (€645.7m) -- up from last year's estimate of £282m (€329m) -- and brings the total cost of security, including £475m (€555m) for 'policing and wider security', to over £1bn (€1.16bn).

The report says the Olympics remain on course, but there is little room to manoeuvre. Amyas Morse, the auditor general, said: "Not everything is rosy. The government is confident that there is money available to meet known risks, but the likelihood that the Games can still be funded within the existing funding package is so finely balanced that there is a real risk more money will be needed."

Hugh Robertson, the Olympics minister, said the increased security was in part due to the "fluent security situation".

It was also revealed yesterday that the UK government will hand over £41m (€47.8m) to go towards opening ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent