London 2012 to provide long-lasting economic benefits

While 12 months have passed since the London 2012 Olympic Games entertained the world, the economic benefits are set to be felt in the host country for many years to come.

In July, the British government announced that the UK economy has already seen a GBP 9.9 billion trade and investment boost from hosting the Games, just one year into a four-year programme of activities and events aimed at capitalising on London’s Olympic success.

In the lead-up to London 2012, Games-related projects helped generate thousands of jobs in Great Britain during the worst global recession in more than 60 years, and economists are predicting that the economic benefits of hosting the Games will continue, with an Oxford Economics study estimating that the Games will have generated GBP 16.5 billion for the British economy by 2017, when factoring in pre-Games construction and other early Games-related economic activity.

An independent report projects that the total benefit to the UK from hosting London 2012 could reach up to GBP 41 billion by 2020, underlining the positive impact the Games have had on new business contracts, additional sales and foreign investment.

“London 2012 was a once in a generation opportunity to showcase everything that makes Britain great in order to generate long-term economic benefits”, said London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe during a visit to Madrid in March. “The winning, planning, delivery and legacy of the Olympic Games called upon all the qualities that make the UK stand out in the global economy. Based on the expertise that they developed in London, British companies are now winning contracts to help other nations deliver their Olympic Games.”

One of the main areas of the economy that benefited from the Games was the construction industry, with a report commissioned by the UK government revealing that construction projects for London 2012 had given the UK economy a £7.3 billion boost.

The Games also had a positive impact on unemployment levels, with independent experts reporting that Games preparations were a major factor behind a 1.2 per cent reduction in London's unemployment rate in early 2012.

In total, more than 46,000 people worked on the Olympic Park and Olympic Village – 10 per cent of whom were previously unemployed – while, at the peak of the Games, around 39 per cent of people directly employed by LOGOG were unemployed prior to their involvement in the Games, with schemes put in place to improve the professional skills of the unemployed and their employment prospects after the Games.

Estimates now suggest that the 2012 Games are expected to create 17,900 additional jobs per year between 2012 and 2015, with 70,000 workless Londoners already helped into Games-related employment, creating a labour market legacy.

The large number of tourists who flocked to London for the 2012 Olympic Games also helped lift the British economy, with figures released by the Office of National Statistics showing that the 590,000 people who visited the city for the Games, or attended a ticketed event, spent an average of GBP 1,290 during their visit, compared with GBP 650 by other visitors.

With so many economic benefits already reported, London Mayor Boris Johnson has hailed the impact of hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.

“Since last summer, the capital has seen a surge in overseas investment totalling billions from Croydon to Battersea to the Royal Albert Docks as well as seeing an extraordinary transformation of East London,” he said. “This is delivering tens of thousands of jobs not only in London but spurring growth across the UK and helping the country sprint ahead in the global race for business.”

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