So at last – Birmingham has been chosen to be Commonwealth Games host in 2022. There has been some grumbling about the costs, but we are promised none of the costs will come from money for Council services. The overall cost will be £800 million – of which central government will contribute £600 million. Local Enterprise Partnerships, the West Midlands Combined Authority, and other sponsors will put in most of the rest – leaving a gap which it is suggested might be filled by a hotel/tourism tax – sounds ingenious and appropriate.
Calculations say that Birmingham hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games would be worth £1.1 BILLION to the UK economy, with half invested in the West Midlands.
It will support an average 4,526 jobs in Birmingham each year until 2022 as well as see training opportunities in areas like construction, engineering, sport and tourism.
Council Labour leader Ian Ward said: “We have to be bold and visionary (and grasp) this once in a lifetime opportunity. Future generations will not think well of us if we lose confidence at this stage. This is our time.” The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation had described Birmingham as ‘THE Commonwealth city, because people have come from all 71 Commonwealth countries to live in Birmingham.’.
Key benefits of the Games:
£1.1 billion gross economic benefit for UK (net benefit £766m) of which £526 million will be seen here in West Midlands;
• Average 4,526 jobs a year until 2022, 950 after;
• 1,000 home athletes village as part of wider 3,000 council home development at Perry Barr;
• 12,500 volunteers required with opportunities for training and qualification;
• Alexander Stadium upgraded to 40,000 seats for Games , and 20,000 permanently after with aim of becoming national home of athletics;
• A major business expo to take place before Games at the NEC to attract investors to the region
• Urban Street festival, fan parks and other cultural activities;
• International standard aquatics centre in Sandwell;
• Transport upgrades including Sprint rapid buses on Hagley Road, Walsall Road, A45 and City Centre to Sutton Coldfield routes.
And, of course, massive encouragement and inspiration to our young people – but also to sports enthusiasts of all ages.