There’s a lot of talk of legacy surrounding the 2012 Olympic Games. An effort has been made to argue for how investment in the Olympics will have a long term benefit for both London and the rest of Britain’s economy and infrastructure. So far, however, much of this development has been located in London and the South East, from the redevelopment of the Lower Lea Valley in East London for the Games, through to spending on transport and new facilities. Despite the potential for national unity and the development of a sporting and business infrastructure, a clear divide has emerged between Southern and Northern spending, while others have questioned whether the Olympics will produce long term benefits for the rest of Britain.

5 – Economic Issues

While the Olympic organisers and the Government are hoping that the Olympics will boost Britain’s flagging economy and cut the national deficit, recent reports indicate that consumer spending will not significantly rise, and that the small rise in foreign visitors will only provide a brief spike to figures that will decline again in 2013. Past examples of Olympic hosts like Greece also demonstrate the dangers of overspending and a lack of legacy for projects, with Athens 2004 contributing to Greece’s current economic crises.

4 – The North/South Issue

There has been some resentment about how money is being allocated, or reallocated, in other parts of the UK for the Olympics. Scottish businesses are particularly concerned about the lack of real boost to Scotland of the Olympics, with Scotland set to receive 0.04% of revenues from the Games. More significantly, lottery funding and other charity funds that
would normally have gone to local events and community sports are being siphoned off for the Games, without necessarily helping local areas.

3 – Tourism

The Olympic organisers hope that the Games will stimulate tourism across the UK, rather than just in London. As well as hosting events outside of London, £1 billion of PR and marketing has been spent to encourage tourists to visit other parts of the country. The Government are also encouraging Britons to stay at home for the summer, rather than going abroad for their holidays. Trips to UK cities and areas like the Lake District could help to bring more money into the economy, at the same time as enjoying the Olympics from home.

2 – Infrastructure

The Olympics has involved a massive amount of contracts being issued to companies for building and services. Much of this activity has been focused on making London ready for the games, while drawing in sponsorship money to cover costs. However, the division of spending on transport and new facilities has been somewhat divided compared to the £2 billion being spent in London. By contrast, £75 million is being spent in Yorkshire, and £38 million in Wales. While the Olympics are creating an infrastructure for sports and business, most of the money is consequently highly focused.

1 – National Unity

On the level of how the Olympics want to be viewed by the public, an emphasis has been placed on national unity and the legacy of the games. These links to heritage and getting different parts of the UK involved in the Games has included both the countrywide Torch Relay, as well as the use of venues outside of London for certain events and training camps. Notable examples of these events include football in the North of England, and sailing off the South Coast. There is also an argument that Olympic money will be placed into developing new sports facilities and youth sport opportunities in deprived areas.

What do you think the Olympics will do for Great Britain? Let us know in the comments!