Olympics: Most Britons say Games worth the cost - Poll

LONDON - Most Britons believe the London Olympics have delivered good value for money, according to a poll published Saturday, as the hosts revel in Britain's best performance at the Games for more than a century.

Some 55 per cent of the British population think the Games are "well worth" the £9 billion (S$17.7 billion) pricetag, cheering the nation up as it battles recession, according to the Guardian/ICM poll.

In contrast, only 35 per cent of the 2,021 people asked said the Olympics - which have cost more than four times the original estimate - were a costly distraction from economic problems.

Britain escaped a deep downturn in late 2009 but fell back into recession at the end of 2011. Latest official data showed GDP slumped 0.7 per cent between April and June from the first three months of this year.

On Wednesday, the Bank of England slashed its forecast for growth to close to zero per cent, blaming the eurozone crisis.

But despite the steep cost of the Olympics at a time of austerity, the poll suggests that hosting the event has brought a strong "feelgood factor" to Britain.

A strong showing by Team GB, who have surpassed their Beijing medal haul and are likely to finish third in the medal table, has boosted public enthusiasm, which was lukewarm before the Games.

Support is strong across Britain, with 68 per cent of respondents in Wales and 61 per cent in the southeast saying they offer value for money, compared to 57 per cent in London itself.

The one exception is Scotland, where opinion is evenly split between 42 per cent supporting the Games and 42 per cent dismissing them as a waste of money.

The youngest Britons are the most enthusiastic, the poll found, with at least 60 per cent of the under-35s backing the Games.

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