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Views of the week - 4 August 2011

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

Capital values

Editorial, The Economist

London’s bid for the games promised that “the most enduring legacy” would be the regeneration of its rundown eastern districts. But how valuable will the legacy really be?

When London was awarded the games six years ago, much of what is now the Olympic Park was a dirty, unsightly scar. It is still not pretty, but moonscape is becoming landscape. But durable economic effects, as opposed to physical ones, are so far hard to spot.

Newham, the borough which overlaps most with the Olympic Park, has London’s lowest employment rate, stubbornly around a dozen percentage points below the average. According to the ODA, 25% of workers on the park live in the “host boroughs” (Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest around the site, and Greenwich, across the Thames); but no one knows how many of them have moved in only for as long as the work lasts.

In Hackney, by contrast, more people are both working and staying. Its employment rate, once even lower than Newham’s, is now above the London average. Jules Pipe, Hackney’s mayor, says this has “nothing whatsoever to do with the Olympics.” Cheapish property and ample bandwidth attracted people and digital start-ups; improvement in schools, he says, has encouraged families to remain. A huge pre-games music festival in Hackney next year could make it trendier still.

The games, the park and Stratford City may yet give Newham the lift its image and economy need. But it will be a long haul.


Pick of the Blogs

Economic benefits for London 2012 Olympics questioned

Nick Whitton, Estates Gazette

Every pound spent on development for the London 2012 Olympics is worth 75p in long term investment for east London.

The figures are contained in an interesting article in the FT. While pointing out the many positives for the area, in essence the article is about ministers playing down the economic benefit of the Olympics.

It was interesting to see then against this backdrop that house prices around the Olympic Park have risen by 11.9% since London was awarded the Games in July 2005.

Figures from said the rise in prices in east London outstrips the UK average of 7.2% growth over the same period. In total, £30.8bn has been added to the value of residential properties located in close proximity to Olympic sites in the UK since the announcement, with £6.4bn in added-value to house prices in east London alone.

That sounds like economic benefit to me…

Full blog available on



jamesmullinger: Anyone who thinks this fine city under Boris can handle the London Olympics should head to Oxford Circus tube at about 5.50pm this evening.

SimonFParker: Righteous piece on the Olympics by Simon Jenkins tonight - a huge waste of money on what increasingly looks like a giant VIP junket?

AnushkaAsthana: Good to hear Tessa Jowell being so positive about the Olympics despite Labour being no longer in government

annaturley: If the government didn’t have the boost from Labour’s Olympics we’d be in even more trouble

ianvisits: Should have turned this into a reality TV show - we’d recover the Olympics costs through text messaging

Queen_UK: No, Mr Clegg, one will not be requiring use of your Downing Street paddling pool and sandpit for the London Olympics. Or your trampoline.  

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