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Hackney Council's Olympic decision branded hypocritical

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 April 2011 | UPDATED: 15:03 08 April 2011

The completed Olympic stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held

The completed Olympic stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held

Archant

Hackney Council's plans to spend around £27,000 on 200 tickets for young people to see the Olympics have been branded "hypocritical" at a time when it is slashing youth services.

Hackney Council’s plans to spend around £27,000 on 200 tickets for young people to see the Olympics have been branded “hypocritical” at a time when it is slashing youth services.

While at least 10 of London’s 33 councils rejected an offer from LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) to purchase 100 tickets for next year’s Olympic Games - fearing a backlash from taxpayers - Hackney Council now plans purchase twice as many for the borough’s “sporting high achievers.”

The council has confirmed it will buy sought after seats for the opening and closing ceremonies.

London organiser of campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs and Hoxton resident, Suzanne Beishon, branded the decision “crazy.”

“It’s typical for them to talk about opportunities for young people locally, while they are attacking youth services - it’s a hypocritical position,” she said.

“While they are slashing so many services, cutting 91 youth worker posts and only guaranteeing the safety of five youth clubs, it’s absolutely crazy to throw so much money at one event.”

The tickets will go to young people who live or go to school in Hackney and have excelled in their chosen sport or field of expertise.

The council has asked for 140 tickets for athletics, ceremonies, football, basketball, diving, gymnastics, boxing and cycling, and also hopes to secure another 60 tickets for canoe/kayak, tennis, weightlifting, BMX, swimming, basketball and judo.

A council spokeswoman said: “This will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to ensure that our young athletes see the Games - we have always planned to do this.

“We feel that investing in this way in our younger aspiring athletes will have a positive impact on motivation, will help raise aspirations and will encourage involvement in the Games throughout the borough, not just among those who will receive the tickets.”

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