Boris Johnson defends London Olympic Ceremonies Spend

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has defended the news that an extra £41 million will be splashed out on the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Johnson said the investment in the high-profile ceremonies would “deliver untold benefits” for the UK and also told the BBC that the total expenditure of £81 million was still a “small sum of money” in comparison with China, who he claimed “blew half our defence budget on fireworks” for the ceremonies before and after the Beijing Games in 2008. “This is something that people in London, you and I in our generation, we're never going to see again, we're never going to have an occasion when London is at the centre of the world in that particular way,” Johnson said.

“The multiplier effect of investing in something that celebrates London and the UK around the world is untold by all the PR people, the advertising people...the economic analysis, this will deliver untold benefits for the UK.” Johnson added: “We are not going to be spending anything like what they did in Beijing, but given that this thing is only going to happen once in 50, 60 years I think we should do it well.”

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson announced earlier this month that the ceremonies would cost more than twice their original £40 million price tag. Organisers have insisted the funds will be provided from the previously stated budget of £9.3 billion.