Taxpayers shouldn't fork out a single penny for G4S fiasco

July 17, 2012 4:26 PM

With the total bill for hosting the Olympics spiralling out of control and way beyond initial estimates, taxpayers might well fear being on the hook for more bills for the high-profile G4S security blunder.

The firm had been entrusted with providing security for the Games in a contract worth around £284 million, including hiring and training 10,000 guards. But the organisation’s failure to meet the very basic requirement – hiring the actual personnel – has forced the Government to draft in extra troops and police to fill the 3,500 gap. With only 10 days to go now until the opening ceremony, Nick Buckles, the security firm’s Chief Executive, has been hauled in front of MPs to explain the fiasco. 

Appearing in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee earlier today, Mr Buckles admitted his regret at having signed the contract and pledged to foot the bill for accommodation and the other costs of providing those personnel to plug the gaps. It’s now up to MPs to ensure that he honours this commitment better than he honoured the initial contract.

It’s absolutely right that G4S will incur these additional costs, said to run to around £50 million, but they also have to guarantee any other indirect costs too. For example, any compensation for lost annual leave or cancelled holidays should all be met by the security firm. It’s vital that taxpayers are not forced to fork out a single penny for the firm’s shambolic failures.With the total bill for hosting the Olympics spiralling out of control and way beyond initial estimates, taxpayers might well fear being on the hook for more bills for the high-profile G4S security blunder.

The firm had been entrusted with providing security for the Games in a contract worth around £284 million, including hiring and training 10,000 guards. But the organisation’s failure to meet the very basic requirement – hiring the actual personnel – has forced the Government to draft in extra troops and police to fill the 3,500 gap. With only 10 days to go now until the opening ceremony, Nick Buckles, the security firm’s Chief Executive, has been hauled in front of MPs to explain the fiasco. 

Appearing in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee earlier today, Mr Buckles admitted his regret at having signed the contract and pledged to foot the bill for accommodation and the other costs of providing those personnel to plug the gaps. It’s now up to MPs to ensure that he honours this commitment better than he honoured the initial contract.

It’s absolutely right that G4S will incur these additional costs, said to run to around £50 million, but they also have to guarantee any other indirect costs too. For example, any compensation for lost annual leave or cancelled holidays should all be met by the security firm. It’s vital that taxpayers are not forced to fork out a single penny for the firm’s shambolic failures.

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