Cabinet marks 200 days to go to the Games, with special meeting at London's Olympic Park.
Today the Prime Minister hosts the first Cabinet meeting of the year at the Olympic Park, reflecting the huge importance the government places on making the most of the Games and its legacy for Britain.
Ministers will then travel to visit businesses, sports facilities, schools and organisations all around the UK to see first hand how the Games will benefit the whole country.
With 200 days to go until the start of Olympics, the Prime Minister wants the Cabinet to focus on making 2012 the best Games ever and securing the maximum benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The meeting comes on the day that three more Olympic venues have their future ownership confirmed, creating hundreds of future jobs and opportunities at the Park.
Securing the future of the Aquatics Centre and Multi-Use Arena (Handball Arena), AccelorMittal Orbit and the management of the Park estate creates more than 250 jobs and provides much-needed training and opportunities for small businesses.
This means that, thanks to the work of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, even at this stage, 6 out of 8 permanent Olympic venues have secured a great future and we are well on track to ensuring a brilliant legacy for all of the sites before the Games even start - a first for any Olympic city in history.
The Prime Minister said:
As we kick off 2012, the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect time for the Cabinet to come together and ensure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the most of this unique opportunity to showcase all the great things the UK has to offer to the rest of the world.
As Ministers visit Olympic venues, businesses, schools and organisations associated with 2012 right across the UK, I want the message to go out loud and clear, from tourism to business, sport to investment, we are determined to maximise the benefits of 2012 for the whole country.
Today, as we mark 200 days to go, and six out of the eight Olympic venues having already secured their future, we are well on track to delivering a lasting legacy for the whole of Britain.
The operator of the magnificent 115 metre high AccelorMittal Orbit expects to attract up to a million visitors a year, as part of its contract for facilities and estate management across the Park, including maintenance of the park and visitor facilities.
Meanwhile, the local operator of the Aquatics Centre anticipates 800,000 users a year. It is set to become a major community facility for use by local people after the Games and accessible to all, with average prices the same as other local pool facilities.
It will also be London and the south east’s world-class swimming facility for use in international competition and for training by athletes. The Handball Arena will be a flexible multi-use facility and become the capital’s 3rd largest arena with the capacity to host concerts, shows, exhibitions, sports events and other events. It is expected to welcome up to 500,000 visitors a year.
Together, the contracts will create 254 jobs with new apprenticeship opportunities every year and the companies have committed to pay the London Living Wage as a minimum and to fill the majority of those jobs from local communities.
They have also committed to focus on local small and medium-sized businesses to provide the goods and services necessary to fulfil their contracts.