Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil is questioning the Scottish Executive’s stated position that the 2012 London Olympics will benefit Scotland in light of a recent report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the economic impact of these games.
On various occasions the Scottish Executive, through Patricia Ferguson, the Sports Minister has given assurances to MSPs including Mr Neil that the Scottish Executive supported London’s bid as there were benefits for Scotland to London hosting the 2012 Olympics.
For example on 18th July 2005 in response to a written question (ref. S2W-17566) that Mr Neil lodged, Ms Ferguson intimated that “the London Games will have potential benefits for Scotland in terms of business, tourism, cultural and educational opportunities”. However the evidence from the PricewaterhouseCoopers report indicates that whilst the London economy can expect to accrue £5.9billion by virtue of the games, the rest of the UK economy can expect to lose £2.8billion.
This seems to give lie to the argument that the £70million-£75million of lottery money that Scotland can expect to lose in the Westminster Government’s funding package for 2012 can be redeemed by benefits to the Scottish economy.
Mr Neil is now demanding to know what the Executive’s position is in light of these revelations. He also is concerned that MSPs have been misled by the answers given by Ms Ferguson.
Mr Neil said:
“The PricewaterhouseCoopers report is clear evidence that those who have questioned the Scottish Executive’s logic in supporting London’s 2012 bid, including allocating Scottish taxpayer’s money towards it, were right all along.”
“I have consistently questioned Patricia Ferguson and the Scottish Executive’s complacent attitude that Scotland will somehow benefit from the 2012 Olympics, and now the Scottish people have the right to expect answers to the questions I and others have put on this matter.”
“I have lodged another question to the Scottish Executive in light of this revelation, asking for the Scottish Executive to justify their position. I look forward to seeing their attempts to do so.”