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London 2012 Olympics: 200 Days To Go As Cameron Announces Games' Legacy (PICTURES) (VIDEO)

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Only 200 days to go as Olympic legacy is announced
Only 200 days to go as Olympic legacy is announced

The London 2012 Olympic countdown has begun with the 9 January marking 200 days till the games begin.

Preparations are flying full steam ahead for London 2012, with chairman of London 2012 organising committee (Locog) Lord Sebastian Coe remarking that there were “seven months of hard pounding ahead.”

Despite his energetic forecast, 95% of the Olympic's buildings said to be complete.

Coe spoke to ministers at the site in Stratford, east London as David Cameron made a bold statement about the 2012 Olympics by choosing to hold his first cabinet meeting in the Olympic park.

MPs headed east on board a high-speed Olympic Javelin shuttle train from St Pancras station in central London to discuss progress of the Olympics site.

Infrastructure including Internet technology for London 2012 is still being developed and there are 100 more studios to be built. The room where media transmissions are to be broadcast live was described as a "shell."

However Lord Coe, chairman of Olympics delivery team Locog, applauded the work that had been done, saying the park is in “great shape” and spoke enthusiastically about the building’s continuing progress.

Contracts for the long term running of the London 2012 parks have been drawn up with six of the eight main venues having secured a legacy after the Olympic games

Cameron noted the lasting commitment to the Olympic park.

"Not only are they already up and running, but they already have a future, and we can be very proud of that."

Responsibility for maintaining the Olympic Park for the next 10 years has been handed to Balfour Beatty as part of a £50m deal.

The arrangement is expected to create 254 jobs for local people paid at London living wage rate. It is hoped that 86 apprentices will also be employed.

Greenwich Leisure Limited will be looking after the Aquatics Centre and the handball arena. It is estimated 800,000 people will use the facilities each year.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt praised the contracts on the BBC Breakfast show, saying that many had feared London would be left with “white elephants” after the international event.

“To have got to the situation where six of the eight major facilities now have a proper legacy use is a big milestone and we want to get the other two sorted as well.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson also praised the progress of the site's long term future.

"We can now start the run in to a fantastic year of celebration with huge pride and optimism that London will stage a great Games delivering lasting sustainable benefits long after the athletes have departed."

However praise for the progress of London 2012 Olympics was overshadowed by news that police managed to smuggle a bomb onto the site during a security test last year. There are ongoing worries about the security of the site, but a spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said it was working with the Met to improve security.

Additionally the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) waded into the debate surrounding the benefits of London 2012, suggesting is sceptical of the added value of Olympic games. In a survey of almost 1,700 small firms, only 7% believed the Games will benefit them, with one in four saying they will have a negative impact.

FSB chairman John Walker said: "It is worrying that 200 days before the Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to begin, small businesses think it will not benefit their business.

"This is even more worrying considering the London 2012 Games was sold on the basis of its legacy. We all know times are tough, but 2012 is a year of big events that small firms should be able to benefit from.

"The government and Olympic Authorities must help show small businesses how they can reap the rewards from one of the biggest sporting and tourism events the country has seen for years."

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