Premium Olympics tickets could be bought for Tower Hamlets councillors with public money
Tower Hamlets council is considering taking tickets for premium events at the next year’s Olympics, including the men’s 100 metre final, paid for out of the public purse.
The council, along with the 32 other London boroughs, has been offered 100 tickets to the London 2012 Games, including 16 tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies at �995 per seat.
Dee Doocey, a Liberal Democrat London Assembly member, said the Games “should not be tainted by politicians with their snots in the trough” yesterday.
She said: ““It would be simply shameful for any London council leader or councillor to take up these ridiculously expensive tickets paid for by the taxpayer.
“Not only is this is an incredible waste of public money but every seat taken up by a politician is one less seat for the public.”
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Mayor Lutfur Rahman and fellow councillors could snap up eight tickets for the men’s 100m athletics finals and pairs of tickets for top-draw events like the cycling track finals and men’s basketball final.
They could spend �50,000 of public money on the privilege.
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A spokesman said today that the council is “considering its position with regards to the allocation of these tickets for London 2012.
“However at this stage, no decision has been made.”
People in Tower Hamlets can buy tickets from Tuesday but are likely to have to take their chances in public ballots to get to the star events.
Redbridge council set an example on Monday by turning down its allocation and has reportedly since been followed by Bromley council.
A report published yesterday by the Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee, which Ms Doocey is the deputy chair of, called on public authorities to “show restraint when bidding for tickets.”
Another recommendation was that London Mayor Boris Johnson, entitled to 2000 tickets, publish a public register of which tickets have been purchased and who they have gone to.
The report praised the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games for making 6,450 tickets available to carers of disabled people, for adopting a “pay your age” scheme which provides discounted tickets for under-16s and for selling �16 tickets for over-60s.
Ticket touts hoping to make a profit from the Games face higher fines if caught following an announcement by the Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday.
The penalty was raised from �5,000 to �20,000.