Action Replay

Flat Out

Back in July we commented on the build-up to next year’s London Olympics, in particular the new giant shopping mall that lies between Stratford station and the Olympic Park.

But that’s not the only way in which capitalist companies hope to make a profit from the Games. For instance, spectators will only be allowed to take in with them drinks in small containers, as a way of encouraging them to buy refreshments inside the venues – at inflated prices, no doubt.

Property developers, too, have seen a chance to make a killing in what has always been one of the poorest areas of London. New blocks of flats are being built in anticipation of an ‘Olympic legacy’ that will attract young professionals who can afford prices such as £350,000 for a two-bedroom flat. Not many of those who live in the area at the moment will be buying at prices like these, even as their local shops and houses are demolished or converted.

While the Games are on there will be an enormous demand for accommodation, especially in the surrounding area. So, many homeowners are planning to move out for a month or so and rent their homes to others for the duration at several thousand pounds a week. And “an increasing number of landlords are asking for clauses to be written into their rental contracts allowing them to kick out their tenants for a convenient ‘holiday let’ during the Games” (Guardian 8 October). Who said the housing industry existed to meet human need?

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