One year before the start of the 2012 London Olympics a survey of British businesses showed two thirds of them expect little benefit to their companies from the games, but about the same number believe there will be a positive impact on the UK economy.
Billions are being spent to build sports facilities and the site will also host Europe’s largest urban shopping centre.
The organisation overseeing construction of Olympic venues has given out 1,500 building contracts worth a total of 6.8 billion euros.
Credit card company Visa has estimated that over a seven week period there will be 850 million euros of extra consumer spending from the games.
But those whose businesses have been displaced by construction connected with the event are not happy. Glen Bevan sells DVDs from a market stall. The expansion of Stratford railway and underground train station to cope with Olympic visitors means his market had moved.
Bevan said: “It’s proved a nightmare for us. Seventeen years I’ve been here. It’s gut-wrenching to have to move up there 150 yards, for the sake of what – four or five weeks of games?”
The main venues for the Olympic and Paralympic Games are in Newham, east London which is one of Britain’s most economically deprived areas; the organisers stress it will benefit for decades to come.