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Olympics construction boosts UK economy

The construction of the Olympic village and venues generated an extra £7.3bn for the UK economy, a report for the government has estimated.

The study, led by accountants Grant Thornton, found the £6.5bn spent by the Olympic Delivery Authority had also created an extra 158,600 jobs years – or 158,600 jobs for a year – between 2007 and the first three months of 2012.

Construction gained the most jobs from the ODA’s spend of the economic sectors measured with over 45,000 jobs years between 2007 and the first quarter of 2012, according to the report for the department for media, culture and sport.

However this figure does not take into account other construction jobs that would have existed had the Olympics not taken place.

More than half of the ODA’s contracts across the economy – 54 per cent – went to companies in London and a significant share to firms in the South-east.

The report said the CompeteFor programme, which was intended to help small firms from around the country get Olympic contracts, had “limited influence on the regional distribution of ODA contracts” although firms based in the West Midlands had been particularly successful in picking up work through the system.

London and the South-east made more from the ODA’s spending between 2007 and the start of 2012 than the rest of the UK combined.

London’s economy saw an extra £2.8bn value added followed by the South-east with £1.05bn while the East of England gained £950m. The rest of the UK made a combined total of £2.48bn from the ODA’s investment.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: “The legacy from the London 2012 Games gives us an opportunity to regenerate East London, maximise opportunities to drive economic growth and encourage a generation to choose sport.

“London 2012 has raised the bar for future host cities and I am encouraged that this report shows we are on track to deliver a meaningful legacy.”

The fifth and final evaluation report in the series will assess the impact of activities during and immediately after the Games as well as more accurate assumptions about the amount of work companies could not do because they were busy with Olympic contracts. It is due to be published by summer 2013.

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