Following yesterday’s re-blog of a Huffington Post article entitled ‘Olympic Food Market’ Leaves Leyton Traders £25,000 In Debt After Blunders” I posed the following public question:
I received a very detailed response from John Gelmini which I am re-blogging below:
Of course they won’t, the true costs are at least £20 billion gbp and on the most optimistic estimates by David Cameron who will be out of office before 2014 barring a miracle, the legacy is by his estimate, going to be £13 billion GBP, a shortfall of at least £7 billion gbp.
The reality is Lord Lloyd Webber closed three of his theatres prior to the Olympics and 200,000 people fewer came to London, so theatre bookings are down, shop takings are down, 50% of London black cab drivers remain on holiday, restauranteurs are gnashing their teeth, visitors to attractions are down and department store takings are down.
To summarize, the Olympics was overhyped and has cannibalised the money that would otherwise have come into London and left insufficient change. This is, on top of the Jubilee, which the Governor of the Bank of England has admitted, has damaged productivity.
I can attest personally to visitor numbers in Cambridge, Cheltenham and Edinburgh where I have been recently and where vast numbers of Mandarin speaking Chinese are out in full-force, running up large shopping bills, punting, eating, drinking and enjoying themselves along with smaller numbers of Germans, French, Spanish and other nationalities.
The same numbers of these and other tourists are not in London, as evidenced by what my associates who live and work there there tell me, and from what is evident from television footage of an empty Oxford Street and the £125 million gbp advertising campaign by retailers to woo back shoppers, and tourists to London.
Is the UK ready to go back to work?
Because, the holiday and travel industry is now expecting a huge boom in foreign travel, starting now and continuing right into September.
That and the Para-Olympics, which fewer people will watch is going to damage UK productivity, and our ability to pay our way as a nation for a further month but our latter day Neros, Cameron, Osborne and the Westminster political class do nothing and even pretend, as Bois Johnson did yesterday, in the Telegraph that it had all been worth it and that the doomsayers (“I won’t mention them but they know who they are”), would be proved wrong when the Olympic legacy like some gigantic chicken lay lots of golden eggs.
We will see whether the Olympics was anything other than a one-off, whether the sports clubs fill up, whether new generations of Olympians will emerge, whether our obese woman exercise themselves thin and whether our gold medal achievement translates into “Gold Medal” economic performance and prosperity.
Personally, I am reserving judgement but I am also not holding my breath or basing my plans on anything other than things which I can control or benefit from.