Tag Archives: G4S

That Olympic Legacy: Sunday Trading

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I’ve posted before about the Olympic promise: “To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.” An early sign of how the Olympics will change Britain, came with George Osborne’s announcement last week that Sunday trading laws will be relaxed for eight weeks over the summer.

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 (as heavily amended) prohibits Sunday opening for more than 6 hours altogether between 10am and 6pm. While at one stage, the legislation limited the powers of businesses to make workers work on Sundays; in practice all that is left is a restriction on big businesses’ ability to force small businesses out of the market. “We’ve got the whole world coming to London – and the rest of the country – for the Olympics,” Osborne was quoted as saying. “It would be a great shame – particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday – if the country had a closed for business sign on it.” But if people are watching the Olympics, they’ll be at the games, not in Tesco.

This isn’t aboutmaking life easier for tourists, or shoppers generally. There is no bolder vision than to recreate Britain afterwards as a place where businesses can trade without taxes or responsibilities.

That Olympic Legacy: G4S

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In the Olympic bid, five promises were made regarding the long-term benefits of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games:

1. To make the UK a world-leading sporting nation
2. To transform the heart of East London
3. To inspire a generation of young people
4. To make the Olympic Park a blueprint for sustainable living
5. To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.

One business indeed set to do very well from the Olympics is G4S (previously Group 4), probably still best known in the UK for its cornering 20 years ago of the market in transporting prisoners between court and detention. 

G4S will generate £284 million in turnover from the Olympics. According to the company website: “As the Official Security Services Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games we will be working alongside the police, local authorities, venue and London Organising Committee Olympic Games (LOCOG) volunteer workforce to provide a range of security solutions including:

•           Search and screening 

•           Perimeter protection 

•           Mobile and river patrol protection 

•           CCTV monitoring 

•           Command & control”

 The company as a whole reports trading as follows:

Annual turnover £7 billion

Annual profit £300 million

Highest paid director’s salary: £1,656,000

Increase over last 5 years: 22.12%

Among the non-executive directors Lord Condon (previously Metropolitan Police Commissioner) alone trousers £125,000k p/a as a non-exec director – i.e. for presumably less than a full day’s work a week. 

Condon has not been the only prominent person on G4S’s payroll. The company has a track record of offering jobs to washed-up former politicians: John Reid from New Labour and Norman Fowler, in a previous generation.

No doubt they have considered offering Seb Coe a similar sinecure post-Olympics.