With the first anniversary of the London 2012 Olympics upon us, its legacy is under the spotlight again. An independent report has claimed that London mayor Boris Johnson has failed to deliver on long-term Olympic jobs for the capital.
While the Games is said to have boosted the country’s economy by £9.9bn, business secretary Vince Cable admits this figure is a ‘marketing exercise’ which may or may not stand up to being examined by anyone with a better grasp of accounting and economics than the government. Which could turn out to be quite a lot of people.
It’s also not transformed London’s unemployment figures quite as much as originally promised. Of the £20m promised for training and support for the long-term unemployed, just £8m has been spent, while fewer than half of the 6,500 long-term unemployed have got the jobs the mayor pledged for them. The 2012 Employment Legacy Project was cancelled at the start of 2013.
It’s not the first time concerns have been raised over the long-term jobs legacy from the Olympics — last year delays and cancellations dogged City Hall projects.
Boris Johnson can’t exactly be held single-handedly responsible for the current economic climate which has impacted jobs across the country — perhaps the Olympics legacy projects didn’t quite take this into account for their employment targets as much as they should have. But it does seem rather remiss to fail to spend £12m earmarked for helping the long-term unemployed back into work. Yesterday, it was reported that long-term unemployment in London is at its highest since 1996.
The mayor’s Olympic adviser Neale Coleman implied that perhaps City Hall had been a tad over-ambitious, saying:
“We can do this better in future. But in terms of the employment and skills generated during the games themselves, we deserve credit.”
Frequent followers of City Hall news may remember that a failure to spend £111m allocated from the Growing Places Fund led to London being excluded from grants under the Regional Growth Fund, much to Boris’s displeasure. In a time of government cuts across the board, it’s a mystery to us why money allocated for long-term growth and employment wouldn’t be spent.
Photo by Paul Shears in the Londonist Flickr pool.