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Downturn Worry over Olympic Bid
    2008-11-14 11:10:41     China Daily/Agencies

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, pictured in September 2008, has admitted Britain would not have chosen to host the 2012 Games in London if it had known about the economic downturn, according to a newspaper report Thursday. [Photo: China Daily/Agencies]

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has admitted Britain would not have chosen to host the 2012 Games in London if it had know about the economic downturn, according to a newspaper report Thursday.

"Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost certainly not," Jowell told leisure industry bosses at a dinner Monday, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The Bank of England warned Wednesday that the economy was probably already in recession as a global financial crisis takes its toll, although economists will have to wait until early next year for confirmation.

The slowdown is squeezing private contractors involved in the Games and the government has already cut some costs to ensure the project comes in on budget. But ministers insist Olympic spending will help the economy.
Jowell played down her comments in a statement, saying: "I have often observed that we bid for 2012 in one economic climate and are now in another.

"Had the scale of the downturn been anticipated, I am sure there would have been a view from some that this would not be the time to commit significant public expenditure to a project like the Olympics.

"But as I made clear in my speech, the reality is very different. This is precisely the time for this investment to be made. It has the potential to be economic gold at a time of economic need."

 
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