Four North London councils decline offer of Olympic tickets, as they go on sale to public

CAMDEN and Haringey Councils have turned down the chance to snap up 2012 Olympic tickets, citing the financial crisis as the reason they won’t be buying the 100 on offer to each of them.

And on the day tickets went on sale for the first time, both Barnet and Westminster Councils said they would decline the offer.

On Tuesday some 6.6 million tickets for the Games went on sale to the public, 500 days before the event is due to start. They will be available for UK and EU citizens to buy for the next six weeks, until April 26, and range in value from �20 to �2,012.

London’s 33 councils had been invited to buy 100 tickets each and then distribute them as they saw fit.

Some councils have already said they will take up their allocation and donate the tickets to people and organisations who have made a significant contribution to their areas.

Camden’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport, Cllr Tulip Siddiq, said: “Camden Council will not be purchasing the 100 tickets. Taking into consideration the council’s current financial situation and the cuts to local government budgets, our main priority is to protect services for Camden’s most vulnerable. Instead I will be encouraging all of Camden’s schools to sign up to the Get Set Network to ensure Camden’s young people get an opportunity to go to the Games.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We will not be buying any 2012 tickets offered through this promotion. In the current financial climate, we don’t consider it an appropriate use of limited resources.”

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Barnet Council has also ruled out using taxpayers’ money to buy the tickets, but is looking into whether the private sector could provide financial support to pay for the tickets and whether the council could then distribute the tickets to residents or community groups.

Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet member for Customer Access and Partnerships, said: “Barnet taxpayers are already contributing to the cost of the London 2012 Games and I can’t imagine they would be keen on a few councillors attending some events. If we could find a way to provide these tickets to Barnet residents without any further cost to the taxpayer we would be interested.”

After the tickets went on sale on Tuesday, LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe, said: “This starts the journey for those who have been dreaming of getting hold of an Olympic ticket since the day we won the bid in 2005 – these really are the greatest tickets on earth.

“I urge everyone to take a look at what sports are available on what days and make their choice. If any sessions are oversubscribed we will run a ballot, which we think is the fairest way of allocating tickets.”

UK and EU residents can apply via at any time during the 42-day application period. It is not a first come, first served system and organisers say there is no advantage to applying earlier in the process.

A further 125,000 tickets will be available for school children in London to watch the games for free.