Scots lose out in Olympics contracts


By Rory Reynolds

FIRMS in Scotland have been awarded just 17 contracts to work on the London Olympics – despite bidding for 2,806.

Scottish companies’ share of the contracts to deliver the 2012 games currently amounts to just 2 per cent of the total budget.

Another 35 companies have been awarded subcontracts, but the total amount for Scottish firms amounts to just £100million of a total £5billion.

Business leaders and politicians have criticised the uneven distribution of contracts to firms north of the border.

“Let down”

London-based contractors have won more than a third of the entire work needed to deliver the Olympics in two years time.

The Scottish government has said that they want the £150million that the Olympic Games is costing Scotland back for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Olympic minister Tessa Jowell previously said that firms across the UK would benefit from the games.

However, Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and Perthshire North, said: “That’s not happened. It’s just not materialised.

“Contracts are going to London and the south east and Scottish companies have the right to feel let down.

“Scotland has about 9 per cent of the population and should be securing that share [of contracts].”

“Commercial opportunities”

A spokesman for Alex Salmond said: “It’s clear that the Olympic Delivery Authority and the UK government could do more to ensure that contracts are marketed fairly across the UK.”

Scottish business leaders have warned that a lack of experience in building programmes could affect Scottish firms for the 2014 games in Glasgow.

David Lonsdale, assistant director of CBI Scotland, said that Scots firms could gain valuable experience at the London Olympics for Glasgow 2014.

He said: “If you win business for the Olympics you’re going to have the track record, knowledge and experience to win contracts north of the border.

“We would certainly encourage more Scots firm to wake up to the sizeable commercial opportunities that the games provide.”

Still time

Graham Bell, at the Edinburgh Centre of Commerce, said: “Is there a feeling the process has been biased to the south and London among Scottish firms? Yes there is.

“If the Olympic Delivery Authority is serious about divvying up very large expensive contract I’m certain more could be done.”

A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said that geography is not a factor in awarding contracts to Scots firms.

He said: “Scottish companies have already won contracts totalling tens of millions of pounds.

“There are still millions of pounds worth of business opportunities between now and 2012.”

A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise said that 47 Scottish firm have secured contracts so far, a success rate equivalent to that of the East Midlands.

She said: “There are still many companies in Scotland which either haven’t registered or fully completed their profile, and subsequently are missing out.”