THE organisers of the Commonwealth Games could be forced to dip into an emergency Scottish Government fund after draining their own £46 million back-up cash supply.
The contingency fund for next month’s Games – supposed to be used only if “absolutely necessary” – has now been exhausted and instead a further cash injection of more than £800,000 from a fund ringfenced by the government will need to be spent if further costs have to be met to fit out the Games venues.
The official cost of the Games is said to stand at £563m.
However, it is believed that spend on transport, logistics and the preparation of the venues had cost more than expected, forcing organisers to dip into the government’s £23.8m Special Reserve fund, which is for use only in “exceptional circumstances” and requires First Minister Alex Salmond’s approval.
The existing “contingency” funding of £45.8m has already gone. The cost of the Games has rocketed by 50 per cent from estimates when the city won its bid in 2007.
“Glasgow 2014’s budgeting processes recognise that costs can change as operational plans mature and develop,” said a spokesman for Glasgow 2014, adding that the Special Reserve fund was included in the £563m headline cost of the event.
“With just weeks to go until the Games, we are entering the final stages of preparations and the majority of contracts are in place, aiding budget certainty.”
He added: “Throughout the delivery of the Games, we have continued to ensure contingency funds appropriate to the scale of the project have been assigned.
“We also continue to make every effort to ensure best value in delivering an outstanding Games experience for athletes and spectators and remain confident that the Games will be delivered within budget.”
Conservative Sports spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “There is ongoing concern about the lack of transparency over spending on the Games and most especially as to why there is now use of the Special Reserve fund. The public has a right to know.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Glasgow 2014 is in the final stages of delivery and as with any major project, contingency funding was put in place as part of the overall budget,” she said. “At this time £809,555 from the Special Reserve of £23.8m has been notionally committed to meet costs associated with venue fit, should they materialise.
“Games partners are confident remaining funds are sufficient to accommodate further planned expenditure and any remaining issues or risks which emerge.”
Earlier this year, Games organisers admitted that “additional investments” had meant the bill for the opening and closing ceremonies alone had risen by half – from £14m to £21m.