'Predictable chaos': MPs savage Locog and G4S ahead of London 2012

London 2012: Predictable chaos?
London 2012: redictable chaos?P
Ian Dunt By

The government's preparation for the Olympics was brutally attacked today, as a new set of problems threatened to throw the event into chaos.

Just hours after news emerged of a Home Office strike which could take place during the Games, the Home Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) were subject to a blistering attack for their handling of the Olympics.

"The chaos which has emerged over the security contract was predictable and undermines confidence in those responsible for managing the Games," said Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee.

"No credible explanation has been given for an astonishing 12-fold hike in management costs, from £10 million to £125 million, and G4S still has not been able to deliver.

"The Home Office needs to get a grip on Locog [the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] and G4S urgently."

Hodge went on to attack the government's opaque and secretive approach to the entire Olympic project, just days before the opening ceremony.

"The Department would win no medals for transparency. We still don't know just how many security guards will actually be delivered or whether G4S will face any penalty," she added.

"We are not happy with how the DCMS has engaged with this committee. Legitimate monitoring of implementation has been an unnecessarily frustrating process, characterised by a resistance to giving us clear and consistent information and a readiness to depart from proper ways of conducting public business.

"We have faced considerable difficulty in pinning down just how much the Games is costing the taxpayer and how much risk there is."

The outburst came as G4S continued to claim its management fee, despite failing to provide sufficient security for the games and relying on army and police support.

Home secretary Theresa May and chief executive Nick Buckles, who was humiliated in front of the home affairs committee earlier this week, will face MPs again in September.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "But given that G4S management failed to deliver, and troops and police officers are cancelling leave to sort things out, it would be completely unacceptable to pay G4S a £57 million management fee.

"The government has been too hands off about this contract, they need to step in now to make sure proper penalties are enforced."

The opening ceremony of the Games takes place next Friday, but G4S is unable to predict how many of its security personnel will be present for the various events.


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