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Thursday 3rd
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Steve Sweeney

LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan ordered an inquiry into the finances of the Olympic Stadium yesterday as the chairman of the Commons sports committee branded the spiralling cost to the taxpayer as “astronomical.”

Mr Khan said that he was “deeply concerned” as conversion costs increased by £51 million — bringing the total bill for the taxpayer-funded stadium to £752m.

A spokesperson for the mayor said the finances of the beleaguered stadium had been “left in a total and utter mess” by Boris Johnson.

Committee chair Damian Green MP accused former mayor Mr Johnson of wanting Premier League football brought to the stadium at “almost any cost.”

Labour Assembly Member Andrew Dismore criticised the “staggering burden” placed on taxpayers, accusing Mr Johnson of “taking his eye off the ball and failing to scrutinise or appreciate the detail” of the deal.

Mr Dismore said that “Londoners will rightly want to know how they ended up bearing the costs of the former mayor’s disastrous negotiations.”

The cost of retractable seating is said to have risen to £8m from an original estimate of £300,000.

The Olympic Stadium Coalition, a group of supporters’ trusts and fans’ groups from 14 clubs across the country, welcomed the move.

A statement said “This is a breakthrough in our long campaign to highlight the intolerable burden on taxpayers of the rebuilding of the Olympic Stadium. We have never objected to the idea of West Ham playing at the stadium. The question is simply one of how much the club should pay and how much the taxpayer should be expected to fund.”