Charities Angry At Failure To Repay More Than £400M Lost To London Olympics Budget
More than £400M of lottery money "diverted from good causes to pay for the Olympics is unlikely to be repaid for decades, if at all, charities fear," according to Jamie Doward of the London GUARDIAN. In '07 the Labour government diverted £425M from the Big Lottery Fund, which helps small community groups and charities across the U.K., to "pay for infrastructure on the Olympic Park." A pledge "was given that the charities would have the cash returned." But a memorandum of understanding revealed that a series of agreements "has been drawn up to decide who gets first claim on cash from Olympic asset sales -- and that charities are not at the front of the queue." A body representing the good causes that have lost out has branded this a "scandal" and is "questioning why none of the political parties is pressing for the money to be returned urgently." The first, £233M, goes to the GLA, to be retained by the Olympic Park legacy committee. The lion's share of the second tranche, some £900M, will be held by the culture secretary "pending repayment to lottery distributors." The DSC estimates that "this means charities will have to wait until the 2030s to be repaid" (GUARDIAN, 11/23).