Andrew Boff opposes �40m Olympic Stadium loan for West Ham move

Hackney politician Andrew Boff has called on the government not to lend West Ham United Football Club �40million in public money to move to the Olympic Stadium.

The Olympic spokesman for the London Assembly’s Conservatives, who is also a former Hackney councillor and mayoral candidate, has written to the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne asking him to refuse Newham Council’s request for the loan.

The east London council agreed last night (January 20) to seek funding from HM Treasury for West Ham’s bid to take over the stadium after 2012.

Mr Boff said: “I’ve written to George Osborne because I do not believe the future of the Olympic Stadium should be underwritten by the tax payer in any way.

“The Newham vote agrees to seek a �40m loan of public money at a subsidised rate to enable this deal to go ahead. My view is that if the West Ham deal needs a multi-million pound publically-funded bung then they don’t have a business case and that the Chancellor should reject Newham’s overtures.

“Why support this bid when there is an alternative that requires not a single penny from the tax payer? My contention is that support should be given to the bid that is of least burden to the public purse. Clearly that is not the West Ham bid.”

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier backed West Ham’s bid yesterday, arguing that it would bring long-term benefits to local communities.

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Both West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur want to create a 60,000 seat stadium on the site after the Games.

West Ham’s proposals, backed by Newham Council, include removing the top tier of the stadium and changing the roof.

Tottenham Hotspur’s bid has sparked protest as the club hopes to remove the Olympic running track and athletics facilities to make way for a new �250m football ground. It wants to instead invest �20m in London’s current athletics stadium in Crystal Palace, south London.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company will be making a decision about the legacy of the Olympic Stadium on Friday (January 28).