Soaring costs set to soar some more

How many times have we been told that the cost of the Olympics will not rise, only for another few billion to be added to estimated costs? As regular readers will know, if you want a financial estimated, do not ever asked a government department to do it for you as they will be wildly out. The latest reports from the National Audit Office suggest that they have got it wrong yet again. We're already at £9.3bn (steadily rising from £3.3bn to start with). Now it seems the Olympic budget contains “significant areas of uncertainty” which could drive up the costs even more. The FT reports that the government are worried by this because "Mr Brown does not want the government’s reputation for competence damaged by any further cost overruns."

This leaves me with the question - how has his reputation not been damaged already - so many of the government's major projects have significantly over run in costs to the tune of £11bn a year! It does not help that Jowell, the Minister for the Olympics, is no longer reporting in to the department responsible for delivering the Olympics (DCMS). How can they properly manage budgets if the Minister is not in the same department as all her staff? We're already three times over budget - any bets on it rising to four times?



Artfully phrased by the FT. Notice that they did not suggest that the government's reputation for competence is strong. The word "further" is perhaps misplaced, but many people will not distinguish subconsciously between "damaged by any further cost overruns" and "further damaged by any cost overruns".

I think it is only in London and a few Labour strongholds that many people still believe that Gordon and his pals are competent managers of our economy. Most people can feel, in the balance of their costs-of-living and disposable income, that something has got dreadfully out-of-kilter.

The saving grace for Gordon is that Dave and Giddy are not more effective at making this case, nor more credible as an alternative. (To be fair to George, sometimes he lands a haymaker, but why can't he do it consistently?) Pathetic tribalism, less than 50% turn-out, and humiliating failure for "David Cameron's Conservatives" in yesterday's by-elections tells its own story.