Greater Manchester Combined Authority is calling on the Government to allow it to put forward a bid for Tameside to host the World Expo in 2025, at a cost of more than £1bn.
Potential host countries have until 31 October to put themselves forward. Following the referendum vote to leave the EU, GMCA said that hosting the expo would demonstrate that the UK is open for business, and that a Northern venue would create an opportunity the rebalance the nation’s economy.
The World Expo lasts for six months and takes place every five years, and according to the GMCA is larger in size, scale and duration than any other global sporting and cultural event, including the Olympics and football World Cup.
GMCA claims that hosting the expo would offer UK trade and investment a boost comparable to the 2012 London Olympics, attracting up to 28 million visitors as well as exhibitors and would-be investors from around the world.
While the cost of hosting the event would reach in excess of £1bn, GMCA stressed that previous World Expos have broken even through gate receipts, and the delivery could also be funded through “significant private sector contribution”.
A 250-acre site at Ashton Moss, owned by Muse Developments, has been identified by the combined authority as an appropriate location for an Expo City, which would host the event and then deliver a legacy of jobs, housing and investment.
Sir Richard Leese, GMCA lead member for economic strategy, said: “The concept underlying the Northern Powerhouse, enabling the North to realise its potential and support the nation as a whole, is as much our strategy as the Government’s and it’s important that they continue to show commitment to it. It has become an important identity internationally, crucial to our long term trade, growth and investment and World Expo 2025 could help the UK to build on this momentum.”
Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: “This bid has already been seen by Treasury who recognise its value but were not at the time of the last budget in a position to back it. If our new Prime Minister Theresa May is serious about continuing with the Northern Powerhouse it’s big ideas like 2025 Expo that the Government has to give its support to. This is a once in a generation opportunity to rebalance our economy and promote the Northern Powerhouse as a global brand. The Government saw fit to spend £9bn on bringing the Olympics to London. This seems to be a better investment.”