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In July and August this year Stratford, East London, will become a temporary tax haven. Millions of pounds will be channelled through foreign subsidiary companies operating in the area before it leaves these shores for the pockets of shareholders and CEOs the world over.
How is this possible in a country like the UK you might ask? The sad fact is that enacting tax avoidance legislation has now become a criteria for hosting international competitions such as the Olympics. Big name athletes such as Usain Bolt (along with the organisers) have applied pressure to potential host nations to ensure that winnings (and profits) are not taxed.
The Olympic Games are a huge endeavour against a fixed deadline and under the eyes of the world. The Government's preparations and management of the £9.3 billion Public Sector Funding Package are led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Department works with a wide range of bodies including the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is responsible for the construction of new venues and infrastructure required for the Games, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), which is responsible for staging the Games.
The Olympic Delivery Authority's programme is on track and within budget. The Delivery Authority's management of its building programme has been exemplary. However, due mainly to significant increases in the cost of venue security, the likelihood of staying within the overall £9.3 billion Public Sector Funding Package is very finely balanced once the Department's own best estimates of the most likely costs are taken into account. The Funding Package of £9.3 billion allocated to the Olympics does not cover the totality of the costs to the public purse of delivering the Games and their legacy, which are already heading for around £11 billion.