Olympics’ Tower Hamlets deal slated by London Assembly budget chair

THE deal wrapped up between Olympics organising boss Lord Coe and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to ‘bring benefits to London’s deprived East End’ instead of the 2012 Marathon event has been attacked tonight by the London Assembly’s budget chairman as a “people’s betrayal.”

John Biggs (pictured), who represents East London at City Hall, accused Seb Coe’s committee of making small concessions because of Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s threat of legal action.

The mayor started High Court proceedings in November when Lord Coe announced the Marathon was being switched to the West End. But he dropped the move yesterday, after signing an accord which offers a 72-hour head-start for those on the dole in Tower Hamlets to 1,000 possible vacancies.

“The fact remains that removing the Marathon is a fundamental betrayal of the objective of holding the Games in East London,” said Biggs.

“Of course I welcome any small concessions the Mayor may have secured.

“But this does not alter the fact that residents feel betrayed that Tower Hamlets, as a ‘host’ borough, is not hosting any events.”

He was scathing about the prospects of employment in the deal.

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“An offer of a ‘sneak preview’ of ‘up to 1,000 jobs’ is not the same as 1,000 jobs,” he added. “We need to understand whether they are permanent or just a few weeks’ work during the Games—welcome as that is.

“The Olympics committee have shown themselves to be disinterested in the East End.

“Making a few concessions because of the legal threat doesn’t alter this.”

Mr Biggs is calling for reassurance that the East End is “tooling up” for those job opportunities with skills training, particularly for those on the dole.