The Great Debate UK

Government must deliver on Olympic legacy promise


robertson1- Hugh Robertson is the opposition Conservatives’ Olympics spokesman. The views expressed are his own. -

With three years to go, it is remarkable that London 2012 is going so well.

London’s Olympics were launched with a massive government miscalculation that resulted in the budget having to be increased threefold, were based on a plan that required us to build two Terminal 5s in half the time and have had to contend with the worst economic recession in living memory.

Despite this, the construction process remains on time and nearly on budget, the organising committee have raised more than £500 million in sponsorship and our athletes have given London 2012 a considerable boost by winning a record haul of medals in Beijing.

However, among all the plaudits, it is sensible to sound a note of caution.

The construction process is only just over one third complete and much remains to be done to a tight and immoveable deadline. Many of the major operational challenges for The organising committee lie ahead such as balancing the budget, finalising the venues, ticketing and the content of the opening and closing ceremonies. Finally, it is a considerable challenge to get our athletes to replicate, or exceed, their performance in Beijing.

from Commentaries:

Water down the tube in London heatwave


waterLondon's transport bosses are telling travellers on the tube system to beat the heat by carrying a bottle of water with them when they venture underground.

But how many of us are refilling our bottles with tap water rather than pouring money down the tube -- not to mention the cost of recycling the plastic bottles -- by buying a new bottle of water each day?

Some thoughts on a global reserve currency


- Bob McDowall is a research director working in TowerGroup’s European headquarters in London. His research addresses the principle challenges and opportunities affecting the European banking, securities, and investment management markets. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The UK Treasury Select Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing ramifications of the global banking crisis. High on the agenda was the need for a global reserve currency. A global reserve currency is certainly required to replace the U.S. dollar. No currency can permanently maintain both a domestic and international role in a globally connected industry.

UK property: a pig that won’t fly


james-saft1- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The pig that is British property is furiously flapping its wings, but despite signs of a recovery in prices and activity, rest assured there will be no take-off.

The country, which witnessed a property bubble that made the U.S. seem sober and sensible in comparison, has seen prices fall by about 20 percent but still faces a tough recession, rising unemployment and serious short and long term questions about the price of financing.

British Land’s prime play


REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

Sir John Ritblat, founder of British Land, was a believer in “buy and hold.” Fortunately for shareholders, Stephen Hester, brought in as chief executive ahead of Ritblat’s retirement in 2006, took a more active view of asset management.

Independent buys a month’s reprieve


REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Tony O’Reilly has managed to retire from the company he built before the edifice crumbles, but it has been a close run thing.

Commerzbank acts fast to bury Kleinwort


alex-smith– Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Dresdner Bank spent 15 years tinkering with the investment banking operations of Kleinwort Benson, the UK merchant bank it bought in 1995.

AIM’s Nomads really wondering now


alex-smith– Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) – London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) prides itself on being “the most successful growth market in the world”. But the cost of listing more than 2,500 companies since 1995 may be about to catch up with it.

from The Great Debate:

New rules won’t end London’s golden lure


-- Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

alex-smithNew regulations may be cooked up to curb the excesses of its bankers but London will always attract those who believe its streets are paved with gold.

Some predict that the financial crisis spells the end for London as a major global financial centre, arguing it has thrived on lax regulation and a quasi-tax haven status and that the regulatory backlash which inevitably follows such a catastrophic economic debacle will suffocate the innovation and the financial incentives which have driven the growth of services in the British capital.