Olympics bunting cash for Hackney ‘could be better spent’

A cash gift of �50,000 to decorate the streets of Hackney with official flags and bunting for the 2012 Olympics has been slammed as a waste of money which could be better spent on offering training opportunities to residents.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is shelling out �50,000 for each of the 33 London boroughs - that’s �1.6 million- to decorate their high streets, squares and public spaces in the official colours and branding of London 2012.

The mayor’s office said the cash will enable them “to spread the ‘look and feel’ of London 2012 across the capital.”

But Glyn Harries of Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services said: “Given that Hackney does not appear to be accruing the benefits of the Olympics in terms of training this does not appear to be the best way to spend �50,000 in Hackney.”

Hackney council will submit its own proposals for how key areas such as Mare Street, Kingsland Road or Gillette Square might look showing how they would like to use 2012 Olympic designs.

A final “Look Book”, a catalogue of finished designs and all materials the boroughs will be able to purchase, will be released this summer.

Hackney council will have to consult with GLA and LOCOG by the end of July and confirm their plans by the end of September. The GLA and LOCOG will then approve borough plans by the end of November and all orders from the Look Book must be received by the end of the year.

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London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This fund will help us put on the best show and showcase ourselves to the world - wherever we are.”

Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: “We share the Mayor’s excitement and vision for one look, ensuring every resident and visitor is able feel part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”