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'Big 6' Olympics events cost taxpayers in Waltham Forest £1.65m
THE borough's 'Big 6' to celebrate the Olympic Games cost taxpayers £1.65million, it has been revealed.
The series of events included a 'Winter Wonderland' in December 2011, a New Year's fireworks display, a sports weekend, two concerts and a film festival.
The council said the events were to mark Waltham Forest's status as a host borough and were also a 'thank you' to residents for putting up with disruption during the Olympics.
But the plans came under criticism due to the extent of the spending in a time of cuts, along with the lack of events in Chingford.
The council told the Guardian in November 2011 that the Big 6 would cost somewhere between £800,000 and £1.5million, with the contractors – a subsidiary of the Co-op firm based in Manchester - given a 10 per cent fee on top.
Now figures obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) shows all of the £1.5million budget was used and £150,000 paid to the contractors.
The figures also reveal that the cost of the events was not paid for directly from "one-off revenue" generated by Games as previously claimed by the authority.
The temporary campsite at Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow was one such source the council said would help towards the costs of the Big 6.
But according to the FOI response, the £1.5million was actually "set aside" by the council during the financial years 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12.
The authority held back a total of £3million, with the remaining cash spent on extras such as its Bonfire Night firework display, which was free for residents to attend this November unlike in previous years.
The council is yet to reveal how much money it made back from Olympics-related revenue, but figures obtained by the Guardian prior to the Games suggested it expected to make around £2million.
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