Debt and taxes will be main London 2012 legacy, say public - with charities losing out

Debt and taxes will be main London 2012 legacy, say public - with charities losing out

  • Public think big business most likely off-track ‘winner’ at 2012 Games, but say it should be sports organisations, schools and charities
  • Whilst 92% can’t name a single charity associated with the Olympics, only 56% are unable to likewise name a company - Lloyds TSB coming top
  • Public feel sports and youth causes most deserve any Olympic charity dividend, with religion least deserving
  • “Public appetite for greater off-track ‘Olympic Spirit’ - for less big business, more big heart and charitable soul”, says nfpSynergy’s Saxton

With less than a year to go, ‘government debt’ or ‘increased taxes’ are still seen by the British public as the most likely (39%) legacy of the London 2012 Games, according to data out today. 

This negative outcome (see slide 4) is considered more likely to have a lasting impact on Britain than either ‘increased tourism’ (36%) or ‘regeneration of London boroughs’ (36%). Whilst a quarter (25%) of people cite ‘use of stadiums and transport infrastructure’, this is well-nigh matched by 23% saying ‘empty or unused sports facilities’. And whilst other undoubted positives include ‘more people being involved in sport’ (24%) and ‘boost to Britain’s international reputation’ (23%), only 4% foresee a key legacy as being either ‘more people volunteering’ or ‘more money and higher profile for charities’.

The survey, by leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy, also asked the representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain who they thought the off-track winners and losers should – and, in reality, most likely would – be, following the Olympics in the capital next summer.

Whilst public adjudge (see slide 5) big business the least worthy (6%) Olympics beneficiary - with national sports organizations (60%), schools (59%) and national charities (46%) deemed the most worthy – the public also think (see slide 6) big business is, in fact, the most likely (39%) beneficiary, with charities amongst those least likely (19% local London-based charities; 12% national charities; 7% international charities) to reap any financial or reputational benefit.

Moreover, in line with this, whilst (see slide 7) 92% of the public cannot name (unprompted) a single charity they associate with the 2012 Olympics, only 56% (see slide 8) are unable to likewise name a company - with Lloyds TSB coming top (16%), then McDonalds (12%), then Coca Cola (8%).

The public consider (see slide 9) sports (41%) and child/youth (30%) causes most deserving of any Olympic charitable windfall, with religious causes being least (less than 1%) deserving.

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, comments:

“Under a year away, and despite the mounting hype, the British public still sees government debt and associated taxes as the most likely major legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games – ahead of such potential admitted boons as tourism and regeneration. People are evenly split as to whether the newly-built stadia and infrastructure will end up used or, instead, become the proverbial white elephants.

Whilst few would deny that the main point of any Olympics must surely be sporting excellence and fair play, or that staging such a massive event requires substantial corporate sponsorship, our latest findings also strongly suggest a significant public appetite for a greater off-track ‘Olympic Spirit’ – for less of the big business and more of the big heart and charitable soul.”



MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy ( is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.