'Big 6' Olympics events cost taxpayers in Waltham Forest £1.65m

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cover Drive performing at the Party on the Pitch at Leyton Orient Cover Drive performing at the Party on the Pitch at Leyton Orient

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.

Comments (21)

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5:15pm Thu 27 Dec 12

NorthcoterE17 says...

Ruddy waste of money. Shame on you LBWF.
Ruddy waste of money. Shame on you LBWF. NorthcoterE17

5:58pm Thu 27 Dec 12

mdj says...

So, in addition to wasting this money, the council lied through its teeth about the means of payment.
There clearly are still people lurking in the local government culture who genuinely believe that something is 'free' if they are not charged directly for it - the 'other peoples' money' syndrome.
How soon will we learn that the campsites did not deliver a 'profit' - at least to the company' profit-sharing' with the Council - so that these beanos were in fact paid for out of reserves while libraries were being closed?
But never mind: money was put into the pockets of the Coop, whose bank, in turn, is all that stands between the Labour Party and insolvency. Repeat this trick in boroughs all over the country, and Labour's next general election campaign is paid for up-front by the council tax-payer!
So, in addition to wasting this money, the council lied through its teeth about the means of payment. There clearly are still people lurking in the local government culture who genuinely believe that something is 'free' if they are not charged directly for it - the 'other peoples' money' syndrome. How soon will we learn that the campsites did not deliver a 'profit' - at least to the company' profit-sharing' with the Council - so that these beanos were in fact paid for out of reserves while libraries were being closed? But never mind: money was put into the pockets of the Coop, whose bank, in turn, is all that stands between the Labour Party and insolvency. Repeat this trick in boroughs all over the country, and Labour's next general election campaign is paid for up-front by the council tax-payer! mdj

6:26pm Thu 27 Dec 12

NT says...

It might well pay someone to use the Freedom of Information Act and ask for the details of how this contract was procured - especially evidence of tendering and the evaluation of bids - plus of course a copy of the contract that ensued.
It might well pay someone to use the Freedom of Information Act and ask for the details of how this contract was procured - especially evidence of tendering and the evaluation of bids - plus of course a copy of the contract that ensued. NT

6:50pm Thu 27 Dec 12

SXH says...

I was under the impression many things that were going on in the borough were being funded with Olympics money? and NOT tax payers money,why was this all not revealed before

strange how at the time of these events they were all FREE, did the community have a say in where their money was being spent. .
I was under the impression many things that were going on in the borough were being funded with Olympics money? and NOT tax payers money,why was this all not revealed before strange how at the time of these events they were all FREE, did the community have a say in where their money was being spent. . SXH

8:58pm Thu 27 Dec 12

stickmanny says...

it sounds like none of you actually went to any of the Big 6?

Do you know how many people went to these events and had a grand time of it?

Have you calculated how much they cost you personally?

Scrooges.
it sounds like none of you actually went to any of the Big 6? Do you know how many people went to these events and had a grand time of it? Have you calculated how much they cost you personally? Scrooges. stickmanny

9:18pm Thu 27 Dec 12

Cornbeefur says...

All coming out now as predicted.
All coming out now as predicted. Cornbeefur

10:19pm Thu 27 Dec 12

SXH says...

This is part of an email many of us received from the Leader.

The Big 6 are coming!
Hello
It’s an exciting time in Waltham Forest as the London 2012 Games are fast approaching and a once-in-a-lifetime event that I want to help our residents celebrate in style.

I am delighted to announce to you that the Council will be bringing you six amazing free events to celebrate the Olympic year and our status as a host borough!
Cllr Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council


Now it is revealed it cost taxpayers in Waltham Forest £1.65m
This is part of an email many of us received from the Leader. The Big 6 are coming! Hello It’s an exciting time in Waltham Forest as the London 2012 Games are fast approaching and a once-in-a-lifetime event that I want to help our residents celebrate in style. I am delighted to announce to you that the Council will be bringing you six amazing free events to celebrate the Olympic year and our status as a host borough! Cllr Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council Now it is revealed it cost taxpayers in Waltham Forest £1.65m SXH

12:23am Fri 28 Dec 12

chingford lad says...

Why is it I sense the stink I observed the year the labour controlled council raised the rates 64% whenever I read abuse of our hard earned monies by the same mentality of labour?
Why is it I sense the stink I observed the year the labour controlled council raised the rates 64% whenever I read abuse of our hard earned monies by the same mentality of labour? chingford lad

12:35am Fri 28 Dec 12

mdj says...

SXH: They speak a different language from earthlings: if they didn't pay for it personally, it's free. If we paid for it, that's free as well.
I somehow suspect that if Cllr Robbins had his allowances taken away, that would be a different kind of money - the real kind.

'Have you calculated how much they cost you personally?'
Yes, stickmanny, indeed I have: enough to run two branch libraries in Harrow Green and Chingford for three years.

As the article says, these funds were set aside in advance, while budgets were being slashed.
At one point I suspected that the Olympic hustlers had misled the Council into believing that they would pay for these events; but no, LBWF always knew that they would be cutting services to provide them.

If I bought you a pint you hadn't asked for, then you found I'd picked your pocket to pay for it, would it make you a Scrooge if you complained, stickmanny?
SXH: They speak a different language from earthlings: if they didn't pay for it personally, it's free. If we paid for it, that's free as well. I somehow suspect that if Cllr Robbins had his allowances taken away, that would be a different kind of money - the real kind. 'Have you calculated how much they cost you personally?' Yes, stickmanny, indeed I have: enough to run two branch libraries in Harrow Green and Chingford for three years. As the article says, these funds were set aside in advance, while budgets were being slashed. At one point I suspected that the Olympic hustlers had misled the Council into believing that they would pay for these events; but no, LBWF always knew that they would be cutting services to provide them. If I bought you a pint you hadn't asked for, then you found I'd picked your pocket to pay for it, would it make you a Scrooge if you complained, stickmanny? mdj

8:22am Fri 28 Dec 12

UKIP-local says...

Nice bung to the friends at the coop - should help fund a few more candidates.
Nice bung to the friends at the coop - should help fund a few more candidates. UKIP-local

11:27am Fri 28 Dec 12

Sam Hain says...

On these occasions people vote with their feet, and they did in droves for all the Big6 events, as I expect they will also for the 'free' fireworks on New Year's Eve too. A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents and if these events helped further raise spirits in Jubilee and Olympic year, amidst all the economic gloom and depression, then it was money well spent in my opinion (my maths isn't that good but I work it out as about 7 quid per head of borough population - if no other income is forthcoming). Those ancient Romans knew a thing or two -
panem et circenses works every time!
On these occasions people vote with their feet, and they did in droves for all the Big6 events, as I expect they will also for the 'free' fireworks on New Year's Eve too. A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents and if these events helped further raise spirits in Jubilee and Olympic year, amidst all the economic gloom and depression, then it was money well spent in my opinion (my maths isn't that good but I work it out as about 7 quid per head of borough population - if no other income is forthcoming). Those ancient Romans knew a thing or two - panem et circenses works every time! Sam Hain

11:46am Fri 28 Dec 12

SXH says...

mdj SXH: They speak a different language from earthlings, yes us earthlings must learn that language :)
i agree on the libraries we lost that were needed for local communities.

Sam Hain yes New years fireworks our free again after the event on the 2nd but it seems us earthlings are paying for it again.

Olympics money spent for CPZ then, then they tried to push CPZ on all of WF residents pay again, now TFL are stepping in to support them by raising car park charge's pushing commuters back in to side streets making residents life's hell, for WF to enforce CPZ on us all, bang what a good start to 2013 !!! (nothing is free in this borough)
mdj SXH: They speak a different language from earthlings, yes us earthlings must learn that language :) i agree on the libraries we lost that were needed for local communities. Sam Hain yes New years fireworks our free again after the event on the 2nd but it seems us earthlings are paying for it again. Olympics money spent for CPZ then, then they tried to push CPZ on all of WF residents pay again, now TFL are stepping in to support them by raising car park charge's pushing commuters back in to side streets making residents life's hell, for WF to enforce CPZ on us all, bang what a good start to 2013 !!! (nothing is free in this borough) SXH

1:24pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Sam Hain says...

It's axiomatic, SHX, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Directly or indirectly we all pay for everything - unless you're a banker, of course, in which case we pay for you too!
It's axiomatic, SHX, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Directly or indirectly we all pay for everything - unless you're a banker, of course, in which case we pay for you too! Sam Hain

3:20pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Brisbane says...

So WFC's "thank you" to residents was actually paid for by those very same residents, who had absolutely no choice as to whether they were happy to pay or not.
With "friends" like the Labour party, who needs enemies?
So WFC's "thank you" to residents was actually paid for by those very same residents, who had absolutely no choice as to whether they were happy to pay or not. With "friends" like the Labour party, who needs enemies? Brisbane

4:12pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Nairn says...

Sam Hain wrote:
On these occasions people vote with their feet, and they did in droves for all the Big6 events, as I expect they will also for the 'free' fireworks on New Year's Eve too. A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents and if these events helped further raise spirits in Jubilee and Olympic year, amidst all the economic gloom and depression, then it was money well spent in my opinion (my maths isn't that good but I work it out as about 7 quid per head of borough population - if no other income is forthcoming). Those ancient Romans knew a thing or two -
panem et circenses works every time!
Some people went to these events that's true. However a greater number of people were forced to suffer in their own homes by the noise and disruption many of these events caused.

So these people paid for environmental noise and disruption which they had no say about in the first place and were unable to do anything once the fait accomplis had been presented to them.

Didn't lift my spirits, nor those of many of my neighbours.
[quote][p][bold]Sam Hain[/bold] wrote: On these occasions people vote with their feet, and they did in droves for all the Big6 events, as I expect they will also for the 'free' fireworks on New Year's Eve too. A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents and if these events helped further raise spirits in Jubilee and Olympic year, amidst all the economic gloom and depression, then it was money well spent in my opinion (my maths isn't that good but I work it out as about 7 quid per head of borough population - if no other income is forthcoming). Those ancient Romans knew a thing or two - panem et circenses works every time![/p][/quote]Some people went to these events that's true. However a greater number of people were forced to suffer in their own homes by the noise and disruption many of these events caused. So these people paid for environmental noise and disruption which they had no say about in the first place and were unable to do anything once the fait accomplis had been presented to them. Didn't lift my spirits, nor those of many of my neighbours. Nairn

4:46pm Sat 29 Dec 12

mdj says...

'A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents...'

Well, a Council certainly has a legal duty to run an efficient library service: we have lost three libraries in four years, which this money could have kept open. The borough's libraries manager has no qualifications for the role, and sent thousands of valuable books to the incinerator.More closures are on the horizon.
If Sam and Stickmanny, assuming they aren't the same person, would like to explain how this represents good value for money, do please say.
'A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents...' Well, a Council certainly has a legal duty to run an efficient library service: we have lost three libraries in four years, which this money could have kept open. The borough's libraries manager has no qualifications for the role, and sent thousands of valuable books to the incinerator.More closures are on the horizon. If Sam and Stickmanny, assuming they aren't the same person, would like to explain how this represents good value for money, do please say. mdj

8:51pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Don't Give Up says...

According to Issue 57, of the Waltham Forest News dated 9 January 2012, under the heading "The Big 6 Waltham Forest It's happening here", in column 3 it states "all of which are being paid for by one-off funding opportunities generated by the 2012 Games."
For the residents to be now told the council have been setting aside money over a period of years to pay for these events whilst closing libraries, toilets and care homes is nothing short of scandalous.
Surely any money generated as a result of the Olympics should be regarded as a lasting legacy and spent with the future in mind rather than 6 one-off events that will soon be forgotten, or, as in some cases, go up in smoke.
I would also like to point out that the figure spent on the 6 events is very similar to the S106 money L&Q are paying towards the refurbishment of the Pool & Track site as a result of them being given the go ahead to build on the Walthamstow Dog Track. You have to wonder why any money generated out of the Olympics was not set aside for that rather than the Big 6. But then again, maybe someone thought by paying the Pool & Track money it would give them a much better chance of obtaining planning permission from the council!
In any event, may I ask the councillors from all parties to air their views and say what they intend to do about it.
According to Issue 57, of the Waltham Forest News dated 9 January 2012, under the heading "The Big 6 Waltham Forest It's happening here", in column 3 it states "all of which are being paid for by one-off funding opportunities generated by the 2012 Games." For the residents to be now told the council have been setting aside money over a period of years to pay for these events whilst closing libraries, toilets and care homes is nothing short of scandalous. Surely any money generated as a result of the Olympics should be regarded as a lasting legacy and spent with the future in mind rather than 6 one-off events that will soon be forgotten, or, as in some cases, go up in smoke. I would also like to point out that the figure spent on the 6 events is very similar to the S106 money L&Q are paying towards the refurbishment of the Pool & Track site as a result of them being given the go ahead to build on the Walthamstow Dog Track. You have to wonder why any money generated out of the Olympics was not set aside for that rather than the Big 6. But then again, maybe someone thought by paying the Pool & Track money it would give them a much better chance of obtaining planning permission from the council! In any event, may I ask the councillors from all parties to air their views and say what they intend to do about it. Don't Give Up

9:50pm Sat 29 Dec 12

SXH says...

Don't Give Up wrote:
According to Issue 57, of the Waltham Forest News dated 9 January 2012, under the heading "The Big 6 Waltham Forest It's happening here", in column 3 it states "all of which are being paid for by one-off funding opportunities generated by the 2012 Games." For the residents to be now told the council have been setting aside money over a period of years to pay for these events whilst closing libraries, toilets and care homes is nothing short of scandalous. Surely any money generated as a result of the Olympics should be regarded as a lasting legacy and spent with the future in mind rather than 6 one-off events that will soon be forgotten, or, as in some cases, go up in smoke. I would also like to point out that the figure spent on the 6 events is very similar to the S106 money L&Q are paying towards the refurbishment of the Pool & Track site as a result of them being given the go ahead to build on the Walthamstow Dog Track. You have to wonder why any money generated out of the Olympics was not set aside for that rather than the Big 6. But then again, maybe someone thought by paying the Pool & Track money it would give them a much better chance of obtaining planning permission from the council! In any event, may I ask the councillors from all parties to air their views and say what they intend to do about it.
yes i have always been informed that the money came out of Olympics Money, now we have to think where did all Olympics money go to, if residents have paid for this.
[quote][p][bold]Don't Give Up[/bold] wrote: According to Issue 57, of the Waltham Forest News dated 9 January 2012, under the heading "The Big 6 Waltham Forest It's happening here", in column 3 it states "all of which are being paid for by one-off funding opportunities generated by the 2012 Games." For the residents to be now told the council have been setting aside money over a period of years to pay for these events whilst closing libraries, toilets and care homes is nothing short of scandalous. Surely any money generated as a result of the Olympics should be regarded as a lasting legacy and spent with the future in mind rather than 6 one-off events that will soon be forgotten, or, as in some cases, go up in smoke. I would also like to point out that the figure spent on the 6 events is very similar to the S106 money L&Q are paying towards the refurbishment of the Pool & Track site as a result of them being given the go ahead to build on the Walthamstow Dog Track. You have to wonder why any money generated out of the Olympics was not set aside for that rather than the Big 6. But then again, maybe someone thought by paying the Pool & Track money it would give them a much better chance of obtaining planning permission from the council! In any event, may I ask the councillors from all parties to air their views and say what they intend to do about it.[/p][/quote]yes i have always been informed that the money came out of Olympics Money, now we have to think where did all Olympics money go to, if residents have paid for this. SXH

12:53pm Sun 30 Dec 12

Sam Hain says...

mdj wrote:
'A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents...'

Well, a Council certainly has a legal duty to run an efficient library service: we have lost three libraries in four years, which this money could have kept open. The borough's libraries manager has no qualifications for the role, and sent thousands of valuable books to the incinerator.More closures are on the horizon.
If Sam and Stickmanny, assuming they aren't the same person, would like to explain how this represents good value for money, do please say.
The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 placed the public library service provided by local authorities in England and Wales under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, so one hopes that any alterations to a local service are scrutinised at that level if complaints arise, mdj. The '64 Act also included provision for regulating and improving that service and as to the provision and maintenance of museums and art galleries by local authorities, so it makes perfect sense that these services locally come under the same senior officer who may not have specific expertise in every area but will have suitably qualified officers working under her who do. The Act places a duty on local authorities to run a free library service but it doesn't stipultae how many branches an authority should provide. Presumably an authority could argue that one central library was sufficient to provide such a service to its residents. And why do you assume that posters who express an opinion contrary to your own must be one person masquerading as several? You don't have a monopoly on the truth you know!
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'A council's primary legal obligation is to the wellbeing of its residents...' Well, a Council certainly has a legal duty to run an efficient library service: we have lost three libraries in four years, which this money could have kept open. The borough's libraries manager has no qualifications for the role, and sent thousands of valuable books to the incinerator.More closures are on the horizon. If Sam and Stickmanny, assuming they aren't the same person, would like to explain how this represents good value for money, do please say.[/p][/quote]The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 placed the public library service provided by local authorities in England and Wales under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, so one hopes that any alterations to a local service are scrutinised at that level if complaints arise, mdj. The '64 Act also included provision for regulating and improving that service and as to the provision and maintenance of museums and art galleries by local authorities, so it makes perfect sense that these services locally come under the same senior officer who may not have specific expertise in every area but will have suitably qualified officers working under her who do. The Act places a duty on local authorities to run a free library service but it doesn't stipultae how many branches an authority should provide. Presumably an authority could argue that one central library was sufficient to provide such a service to its residents. And why do you assume that posters who express an opinion contrary to your own must be one person masquerading as several? You don't have a monopoly on the truth you know! Sam Hain

3:06pm Sun 30 Dec 12

stickmanny says...

WFBC was an olympic borough, a one time only thing.

I've no problem with them having celebrated with community events free at the point of entry.
WFBC was an olympic borough, a one time only thing. I've no problem with them having celebrated with community events free at the point of entry. stickmanny

6:03pm Tue 1 Jan 13

SXH says...

The Leader announced at the Highams Park Display at the time to all who attended that it was paid for out of Olympics Money, but now we hear different.
The Leader announced at the Highams Park Display at the time to all who attended that it was paid for out of Olympics Money, but now we hear different. SXH

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