Mayor: Games effect has been patchy

Ministers insist that businesses can make the Olympics work for them, amid claims that the 2012 Games have turned London into a "ghost town".

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that businesses which have marketed themselves effectively around the Games were seeing a "big boost" in trade, while sports minister Hugh Robertson said companies have had "ample time to plan" for the impact of the Olympics.

Their comments came as Transport for London abandoned recorded warnings from Mayor Boris Johnson about expected congestion, which have been blamed by some businesses for scaring people away from the city centre.

Mr Johnson admitted the Olympics have had a "patchy" effect on London businesses, but said some areas of the capital were doing "really well".

The mayor insisted businesses which had engaged with the Games were prospering: "What's happening is people are having a great time and those who are looking to engage with the Games are doing great business."

But figures from Experian suggested that footfall was down 9.6% in east London stores and 4.53% in the West End compared to last year on Monday and Tuesday this week.

And the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said cab drivers had been hit hard, with business down by around 20%-40%.

Speaking after chairing a daily ministerial Olympics meeting in Whitehall, Mr Hunt said that it was important to get the Olympic effect on business "in perspective".

"We are getting record numbers of people coming to London and overall the picture in the East End of London is very encouraging," he said.

The Westfield shopping centre near the Olympic Park in Stratford was getting 40,000 more shoppers a day than expected, while there were "the same numbers of people coming into the West End as this time last year", said Mr Hunt.