So it is not surprising that, in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, a number of people expressed fears that the games might cost the British taxpayer more than they were worth and leave little lasting benefit.
I don't in any way wish to criticise those who expressed those concerns in advance as it is precisely because people were alert to those dangers that more effort was made, under both Labour and Conservative & Lib/Dem coalition governments, to ensure that the games left a positive legacy.
But now that we see the results, we can celebrate the fact that London 2012 was not only one of the most successful set of Olympic and Paralympic games in living memory: there is evidence that they have left a positive legacy of increased confidence which continues into 2013.
This week the prime minister welcomed a survey of British businesses published by BT which shows that many companies are experiencing an ongoing boost to revenues thanks to the legacy of the games.
According to the survey, UK organisations reporting a growth in business say the Games boosted revenue by some 14 per cent – while those who expect that to carry over into 2013 also predict an 11 per cent increase.
Welcoming the BT report, David Cameron said:
“British businesses were vital to the success of London 2012 - now they are capitalising on the Games and doing more business with more countries, and are confident the economic legacy will continue in 2013 and beyond.”
Despite the wider economic gloom, four out of five UK organisations feel they will continue to benefit from London 2012 this year.They also expect an even longer lasting economic legacy, with 58 per cent believing they’ll still feel benefits in 2015 and nearly a third hoping the legacy will last at least five years.
The BT study, which surveyed 600 large private and public sector organisations, is one of the largest barometers of business experience and targets as a direct result of London 2012.BT chief executive Ian Livingston said BT has learned a huge amount from delivering the most connected Games ever and is now sharing that experience with customers across the globe.
He added: “Modern communications technology brought the Games to life and it can play a key role in helping businesses as well.
“It’s clear from our survey that British businesses did benefit, but they need to capitalise on the momentum if they want to see a lasting legacy."
The survey is the first to compare how organisations across the UK fared against those in previous host nations.