Old Bexley & Sidcup MP Derek Conway clashed with Prime Minister Blair at Question Time in the House of Commons when the MP challenged the escalating costs of the London Olympic Games and the surcharge for Bexley Council Tax payers.
Mr Conway said “Is the Prime Minister aware of the deep concern that is felt in the boroughs of London about yesterday’s announcement by the Culture Secretary on the Olympic levy? Does he understand that the hard-pressed council tax payers of boroughs such as Bexley already have to contend with the drunken-sailor spending attitude of Mayor Livingstone, and that now they will also have to contend with the untrammelled pressure that will come from the Olympic levy? Will the Prime Minister look again at putting a cap on what that levy should be for London?”
Mr Blair replied “We have already outlined our proposals for funding the Olympics, but I must say to the hon. Gentleman that I believe that winning the Olympics was fantastic for Britain—not only for London, but for the whole country. I think that this country will benefit enormously from hosting the Olympics in 2012”.
Mr Conway commented afterwards “Clearly the PM did not answer my question and given the already soaring over-costs, the burden on London taxpayers will be unbearable. Pensioners and people on fixed incomes across London and in Bexley are facing huge increases, for a national status symbol that should be funded by the Nation as a whole, not just our area.”
When the Olympic Bill went through Parliament in the last Session, local MPs Derek Conway and David Evennett voted to cap London’s contribution, but Labour used its majority in the Commons to allow no limit on the scale of the change.
Mr Conway added “Many former Olympic Games host cities are still paying for them decades later – this is Blair and Brown’s legacy for Bexley’s for the next generation of taxpayers as well as this.”