Games hotel prices 'extortionate'

Tessa JowellThe Government must tackle the "scandal of extortionate price rises" in London hotels during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a Labour MP has said.

Shadow minister for London and the Olympics Tessa Jowell claimed prices across London were averaging an increase of 315%, as she called for action "on behalf of those already struggling families across the UK who want to be able to afford to come to London and enjoy the Olympic and Paralympic Games".Speaking during Commons Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport questions, Ms Jowell cited the case of a woman from Exeter who, she said, was having to pay £1,000 a night for a room with a hoist to be able to take her disabled daughter to the Paralympics, a room for which at Easter she was paying £375 - a 167% increase in price.

She said: "There is a big problem here and while I welcome the Government's £4 million to encourage domestic tourism and yield the potential £2.5 billion Olympic tourism premium, do you agree with me that the Government should act to address this scandal of extortionate price rises in London hotels during the Olympic and Paralympic Games?"

Minister for Tourism and Heritage John Penrose maintained the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) had "just released" additional rooms to ease the restriction in supply.

He said: "I would completely agree with her that it is vitally important that we have properly accessible both attractions and accommodation and indeed there's been a great deal of work done to make sure that the importance of the legal obligations - but also the commercial opportunities of making accommodation available to people with disabilities - is well understood and the opportunity is grasped."

He added: "I would however say to her that it has always been the case that prices alter during the course of the season, that is entirely natural.

"What has happened in the case of London most recently is that the Locog block booking, which she'll be aware of since it was part of the original Olympics deal, meant that there was a restriction in supply. That has now been eased as a result of the recent release of additional rooms which Locog has just released."

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