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The Aftermath 2012 - Four Years on, a Legacy of MINUS 4,000 Jobs

The London Olympics has been the subject of some wildly optimistic job creation predictions, most notably Gordon Brown's claim of 50,000 jobs, which even the London Development Agency (LDA) warned should be 'treated with caution'.

In a recent Freedom of Information response to a question:

how many jobs are now predicted to be created in the Park as a whole, including at Here East, Olympicopolis and further jobs in the administration, security, maintenance, services, etc, in the Park?

the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) said

As a whole the Park is expected to create approximately 7,400 in non-construction sectors.

Since April 2012, when the LLDC came into existence, 770 non-construction jobs were created consisting of 452 in Park operations and venues and 318 in other associated and varied roles. Additionally, 222 are currently employed at Here East

This makes a total of 992 people who have been working in these kinds of jobs in the Park since the formation of the LLDC, meaning that after almost four years less than 1,000 permanent non-construction jobs have been created following the London Olympics.

It has to be remembered 4964 jobs were removed from the area of the Park to make way for the Olympics meaning almost four years on the present jobs legacy is about MINUS 4,000 jobs, a loss of around 4,000 jobs to date in the Park.

[In fact the number of jobs in the Olympic Park has long been disputed. The figure of 4964 was supplied by the LDA in a Freedom of Information response. However, this figure is likely to have been based on compensation claims. The LDA refused to pay compensation to companies whose leases were expiring and also disputed with companies who had short leases. There were all kinds of activities being carried on in this area, some of an informal nature, which would not have been counted. Some of these operators would simply have upped sticks when the LDA turned up. In articles around the time, as for example in the Independent in October 2005, businesses claimed there were 11,000 jobs in the area. This was before the area being compulsorily purchased was reduced so this figure would have declined. However, it is noteworthy that at that time the LDA was claiming the total was around 5,000. Given that the figure they supplied in their FoI response, which postdated that revision of the cpo area, was also around 5,000 their earlier statement was plainly an underestimate, so the reliability of the LDA's figures is in question. The actual figure of jobs displaced by the Olympics may never be known but it is pretty certain it would have exceeded 5,000]

Those 4964 jobs were removed from the Olympic Park and the land compulsorily purchased at reduced price under the pretence that the land had no value. The LLDC now describes this same area of land in completely different terms on its web page for the Sweetwater Neighbourhood in the section 'Before the Games':

industrial development continued from the 1950s onwards with confectionary, fur trade, engineering and fruit businesses, as well as timber yards and warehouses continued to make the area a real hive of activity and industrial innovation.

In the longer term the LLDC is presently predicting a net gain of under 2,500 jobs in the Aftermath of the Olympics.

This figure of 7,400 is a decline on the 10,000 jobs, which the LDA was predicting back in 2009 at a time before the inclusion of the Olympicopolis project and which is supposed to bring in around 3,000 jobs.

In 2015 Here East claimed it would create 5,300 jobs onsite. It would seem, on the basis of the LLDC's figures, that this target will not be reached.

At the time of the Compulsory Purchase Inquiry in 2006 the LDA was predicting 'a net gain of over 6,000 permanent jobs' (Statement of Case 7.3), taking into account the jobs that had been removed, meaning it expected more than 11,000 jobs to be created in the Park.

These original expectations on the part of the LDA were hardly earth shattering, so the LLDC's much lower prediction is extremely disappointing. This less than stellar performance in job creation has to be compared with the expectations of the much more compact Stratford City site next door, which the Olympics has repeatedly and falsely tried to purloin as an Olympics project and which is slated to produce 33,000 jobs, with Westfield already creating 10,000 jobs, 2,000 more than originally expected.

How right Pindar was:

'And many a darkly-woven lie
With men will easy credence gain;
While truth, calm truth, may speak in vain'

(Translations Of Pindar: The First Olympic Ode)

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