2012: UK's biggest ever investment drive starts today

Could generate £1bn of UK deals.

More than 4,000 business leaders and politicians are gathering in London for an Olympics investment conference that the government says could generate £1bn of UK deals.

Lancaster House in central London is to be repositioned as the British Business Embassy during the Games, and play host to a series of events to promote British business to global leaders. There will be 17 held in total including a special business summit for China.

UK Trade and Investment, the government’s department for boosting trade overseas, has identified potentially £4bn of “high value opportunities” for UK firms to work on overseas, plus up to £6bn from direct investment in UK projects from international companies.

UKTI says inward investment by overseas firms created 52,741 new jobs in the year to the end of March, an increase of 26 per cent increase from the previous year.

In total, the government hopes the Olympics and legacy projects will add £13bn to the UK economy over the next ten years.

Economists, however, are not all in agreement that the Games will prove a boost to UK business. Richard Jackman, professor of economics as LSE told economia, "It’s possible to measure financial elements of the Games – the costs, the immediate income and spin-off revenue from restaurants or hotel spend. It becomes less straightforward when measuring the impact afterwards – the change in the character of an area, the sites that London inherits as a result. To what extent their impact is new or a result of displacement is less clear.

"There may be a gross benefit in terms of new facilities, but this was probably not the most efficient way of achieving it."

Raymond Sauer, economics professor at Clemson University, agreed. He said, "Investment in the Olympics is first and foremost an investment in sport. That’s the spirit of the Games. To see it devolve into an excuse or a vehicle for economic development would be unfortunate.

"Claims that it’ll do much for the economy are overstated." 

The government is relying on the Games to give the UK economy a much-needed boost after official figures yesterday showed that the UK GDP shrank for the third consecutive quarter, by 0.7 per cent to the end of June.

This story first appeared in economia.

Olympic Stadium. Photograph, Getty Images

This is a news story from economia.

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Nineties boyband 5ive pull out of pro-Brexit concert, after learning it was “political”

“As a band, Five have no political allegiances.”

I woke up today with this feeling that better things are coming my way. One of those better things was Leave.EU’s BPop Live, the bizarre pro-Brexit concert at the NEC arena in Birmingham. With a line-up including Nineties stars 5ive, Alesha Dixon and East 17, as well as speeches from Nigel Farage, Dr Liam Fox and Kate Hoey, it was sure to be deliciously awkward fun.

But those halcyon days were over as soon as they began. Reports are now circling that the two original members of 5ive who had signed up to the gig, Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson, have cancelled their appearance after realising that this was, in fact, a political concert.

A spokesperson told the Mirror:

When Rich and Scott agreed to play the event they understood that it was a pop concert funded by one of the Brexit organisations and not a political rally.

Ah, one of those non-political Brexit-funded concerts, then.

As it has come to light that this is more a political rally with entertainment included they have both decided to cancel their involvement. They would like to make it clear that as a band Five have no political allegiances or opinions for either side.

5ive have no political allegiance. They are lone wolves, making their way in this world with nothing but a thirst for vigilante justice. 5ive are the resident president, the 5th element. They know no allegiances. (Also, it’s 5ive with a 5, I will have it no other way.)

Their allegiance is first and foremost to their fans.

Ok, I’m tearing up now. I pledge allegiance to the band

A divide between two members of the Nineties’ best-loved boybands is terrifying to imagine. They must have felt like they should have been screaming, trying to get through to their friends. Sometimes, it feels that life has no meaning, but, if I know 5ive, things will be alright in the end. For truly, who else can get on up, when they’re down?

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.