The London 2012 Games gave a massive boost to the economy – but have failed to deliver a sporting legacy, a new report says.
The UK economy has received a massive trade and investment boost from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to a new report.
It says additional export sales have brought in £5.9bn, while £1.5bn has come from firms winning new contracts and £2.5bn from new foreign investment.
The latter includes the redevelopment of London’s Battersea Power Station by a Malaysian consortium and projects involving the Chinese technology company Huawei.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This £9.9bn boost to the UK economy is a reminder to the world that, if you want the best, if you want professionalism, if you want jobs done on time and on budget then you should think British.
“With companies across the country we are harnessing the Olympic momentum and delivering the lasting business legacy of the Games that will help make Britain a winner in the global race.
“But that’s not where the good news ends. The Games are also delivering a strong social legacy.
The success of UK athletes has not had a dramatic effect on participation
“Last summer, Games Makers changed the way Britain views volunteering. Since then, thousands of people have been inspired to get involved with their local sports clubs.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable has rejected claims the £9.9bn figure is exaggerated.
“It has been independently audited and not been plucked out of the air,” he told Sky News.
He also rejected suggestions a lot of the investment would have happened anyway, saying: “The people who’ve done the analysis have adopted a method of working that tries to screen that out.”
Research carried out for the Government suggests that over the long term the total benefit could reach up to £41bn by 2020.
But a poll conducted exclusively for Sky News suggests a lasting legacy for sport and volunteering is proving harder to achieve.
The poll found that while more than half of respondents believe the Games delivered on their promise to “inspire a generation”, the vast majority were unmoved to take up a new sport or commit to volunteering.
Asked if London 2012 had inspired them to take up a new sport or recreation activity, 88% said it had not.
Among existing participants there was also very little impact, with 80% of those asked saying the Olympics had not prompted them to do more sport.
Among volunteers there was a similar picture, with 89% of respondents saying they had not increased the amount of time they gave as a result of the Olympic example.
Just 6% said they had done more and 3% said they had done less.
While the results challenge the notion that the Olympics could transform behaviour, they do offer some comfort to organisers of what was otherwise a hugely successful Olympics.
Among 16 to 18-year-olds, responses were more positive, with 20% saying they had tried a new sport, 31% saying they had done more sport and 21% saying they had spent more time volunteering.
The poll also revealed mixed attitudes to the Games one year on.
Asked if the Olympics were value for the near £9bn spent on staging them, 41% of people said they were good or very good value for money, while 30% felt they were not worth the investment.
As to whether Britain should stage the Games again the poll revealed a split, with 40% in favour and the same percentage opposed to repeating the 2012 experiment.
Despite these findings, key figures in the Olympic project insist that the Games are delivering on the legacy promises.
Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organising committee and now the Prime Minister’s legacy ambassador, told Sky News: “I think in large part we have inspired.
“Look at waiting lists in sports clubs, they are both optimistic and challenging, but I think there are more people playing sport, and a good chunk of them are young people.”
Lord Coe said his experience was that the appetite was particularly keen in schools.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year, particularly with my legacy work in schools, in primary schools, secondary schools and even in colleges.
“And there’s no doubt at all that PE teachers – and certainly teachers – that did not get sport up until the Games recognise that there is a very powerful momentum and that young people want more sport and so do their parents.”