British taxpayers look set to face a shortfall of more than £1bn when they get money back from the sale of land used for the 2012 London Olympics.
And City Hall's finance chief has dismissed as 'wishful thinking' claims by embattled London Mayor, Ken Livingstone that the cash will cover the £2bn his London Development Authority is pitching into the Games.
Brian Coleman, chairman of the Greater London Assembly Budget Committee, said: "Based on the 'prudent' estimates given to us today, lottery good causes might only receive a repayment of just £151m of the extra £675m they are being forced to contribute to the Games. Ministers and the Mayor have suggested Olympic land sales will raise £2bn - this sounds like imprudent financial planning or plain old wishful thinking."
He added that: "The Assembly has asked to see the consultants' report on the expected receipts from land sales but this has been refused on the grounds that it could prejudice commercial interests. Without such detailed information, we are not in a position to ensure taxpayers' interests are not being prejudiced."
The controversy has added to the Mayor's woes. He is already mired in controversy over his alleged cronyism and corruption which is being discussed at an emergency meeting of the assembly last night (see resolution, pictured).
A Greater London Assembly budget meeting has heard that taxpayers and lottery good causes will have to wait two decades to appreciate the full benefit from the sale of the land bought for the London 2012 Olympics.
London Development Agency Chief Finance Officer, Andrew Travers, told the Budget Committee that it would take until 2031 to sell off land acquired for the Games. Mr Travers said "prudent estimates based on a report by international property consultants Frank Knight assume the sales will raise £838m."
The spiralling cost of the Olympics, which is backed by Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell has reached £9.325bn, for which Londoner's seem to be fitting the most of the bill through higher taxes and increased travel costs.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has already put its first planning application for the Aquatics Centre which will be based in the Stratford area of east London. The work on the Olympic site has already created many job opportunities and looks set to rejuvenate the East London vicinity.
The money raised from Olympic land sales will be used to refund the LDA's land acquisition costs and repay the additional £675m lottery contribution to Games funding.