Charities demand £425m Olympic cash is returned

Web olympic stadium, london, 14 june 2011 cropped

​Money borrowed from the Big Lottery Fund for the 2012 Olympics is yet to be repaid

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10th August 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Charity campaigners have made a fresh demand for the £425m the UK Government raided from the Big Lottery Fund to pay for the 2012 Olympics.

As the Rio Games got underway this week, campaigners said the cash was “borrowed” in 2007 in order to make up for a massive shortfall in funding for the London Olympics and should have been "paid back" when assets such as the stadium (pictured) and aquatic centre were sold off.

However, four years on, and after the Olympic Stadium lease already controversially sold to West Ham United Football Club for £2.5m per year, the money is still not coming back, with ministers saying refunds may take until 2030.

Now the Directory of Social Change (DSC) has written to Prime Minister Theresa May, London mayor Sadiq Khan and the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Karen Bradley, urging them to speed up the process saying charities need the cash now.

In reality, £425m is such a small amount of money and it would have such a huge, positive impact for Britain’s communities

The DSC says 10,000 charities have missed out on cash as a result of the 2007 deal. It has also started a campaign calling on people to write or tweet to their MP and do anything they can to highlight the urgency of a repayment.

Ciaran Price, policy officer at the Directory of Social Change (DSC) which set up the Big Lottery Refund campaign on behalf of 3,800 charities and individuals, said the a repayment could help the third sector offset some of the uncertainty surrounding UK’s departure from the EU.

“Now, in a period of unprecedented uncertainty in the wake of the EU referendum result, the money is needed more than ever,” Price said.

“Charities are struggling to cope. The decision to give away the Olympic football stadium to West Ham United for the next century, for the private benefit of its wealthy club owners, casts serious doubt over the government’s sincerity.

“In reality, £425m is such a small amount of money and it would have such a huge, positive impact for Britain’s communities, which will improve the lives of absolutely every person in the country. The government cannot deny the sector this money any longer.”

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