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Security firm's Olympic windfall
The firm at the centre of the Olympic security row saw its contract to manage civilian staff increase by more than £50 million over the past two years, it has been reported.
With just two weeks to go until the opening ceremony, the Government has drafted in an extra 3,500 military personnel to protect London 2012 venues after private company G4S admitted it might not be able to provide enough guards.
Confidential papers obtained by the Daily Telegraph indicated that the fee charged by G4S for "programme management" rose dramatically as the number of staff required grew.
G4S was initially contracted by Games organiser Locog in 2010 to provide 2,000 security staff for £86 million, but that figure has since risen to 10,400 personnel in a contract now worth £284 million. The Daily Mail reported that the people employed will include A-level students.
The documents seen by the Telegraph suggested that the firm's management fee rose over that time from £7.3 million to £60 million. Almost £34 million of the increase was for the G4S "programme management office" overseeing the security operation, compared to an increase of just £2.8 million in the firm's recruitment spending. There was no immediate response from G4S to a request for comment on the figures.
With more than £100 million wiped off the firm's market value and accusations that the company has let the country down, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs that ministers were only told on Wednesday that G4S was having difficulties delivering the numbers of staff required.
But Mrs May denied it was a "shambles" and insisted there was "no question of Olympic security being compromised". Asked whether there would be any financial penalties for G4S on its £284 million contract, Mrs May said the firm's deal was with Locog, but she understood that penalty clauses were included.
Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops." He summoned G4S chief executive Nick Buckles and its chairman Alf Duch-Pedersen to appear before the committee next Tuesday to explain the problems.
G4S, the largest employer on the London Stock Exchange with more than 650,000 staff worldwide, admitted it was experiencing "some issues in relation to workforce supply and scheduling" and had accepted that the Government was turning to the military for extra help. "This has been an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment, training and deployment exercise which has been carried out to a tight timescale," a spokeswoman said.
Policing and criminal justice minister Nick Herbert defended the Government's security arrangements. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We took action as soon as the problem became clear. I'm not sure what those who are suggesting that there might have been another course of action are really saying."