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Action Replay: Inheritance Tactics

We were assured that it was also about what happened after the frantic few weeks of competition: “As well as the physical legacy of the London 2012 Games … new initiatives and programmes are creating sustainable social, economic and sporting legacies at home in the UK and around the world” (http://www.london2012.com/). But there are many reasons for thinking that the Olympics and Paralympics won’t quite be the success the organisers had in mind.

For a start, the Games themselves are unlikely to do more than break even, which makes earlier spats about how to share out the profits look beside the point.

Shops did not do well, either. Sales overall fell during the Games period according to the British Retail Consortium especially in central London where transport and other problems led many people to stay away. Free parking was introduced in the West End for a couple of weekends to try to reverse these trends. Hornby lost £1m on their Olympic-branded toys, after “retailers lost confidence in many categories of London 2012 merchandise”, as the company put it.

Even hotels, theatres and restaurants fared badly as people stayed away from London, fearing overcrowding and inflated prices. Tourism in other parts of Britain suffered too, as tour groups that might have visited London and, say, the Lake District, preferred not to come to Britain at all.

As for the sporting legacy, the vast sums spent on top athletes were not matched by similar largesse for facilities aimed at ‘the public’. Almost two-thirds of adults don’t take part in sport even once a week, and current austerity cuts are reducing sporting facilities even more. George Osborne was booed at the Paralympics as the government sets out to replace the Disability Living Allowance with even stingier payments.

With London mayor Boris Johnson having put himself in charge of future developments at the Olympic Park, no doubt what happens there will be a combination of making a profit and providing a chance for yet more self-publicity.