The Government has decided not to progress with a bid for the 2025 World Expo, scuppering Greater Manchester’s £1bn plan to host the event in Tameside.
In September, Greater Manchester Combined Authority said that it was forming a bid around Tameside being the location of the six-month festival, and earmarked a 250-acre site at Ashton Moss, owned by Muse Developments, as the best location for an ‘Expo City’. GMCA maintained that there would be no cost to taxpayers, thanks to gate receipts from the expected 28 million visitors, alongside “significant private sector contribution”.
However, yesterday the Treasury announced that, while it had “carefully considered Greater Manchester’s proposals”, the UK would not be putting in a bid for the expo, as “we do not believe hosting the World Expo offers good value for money”.
In response, executive leader of Tameside Council, Cllr Kieran Quinn, said: “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I think the Government’s decision not to support our Greater Manchester bid for Expo 2025, is both short-sighted and a missed opportunity.
“This decision raises serious questions about the Government’s stated commitment to international trade post-Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse and re-balancing the UK economy. Actions speak louder than words, and sadly this decision tells us all we need to know.
“The lasting legacy of new infrastructure and housing, to name just two, would make Expo the greatest engine of economic growth we could wish for – and an opportunity to promote Greater Manchester and the UK internationally in the post-Brexit era where new trade links will be essential. For the Government to walk away from this opportunity is staggering.
“Despite the Government’s decision not to support any UK bid I’m not prepared to leave it there. I and colleagues from across Greater Manchester will challenge this and in the New Year would like to meet with the Chancellor to show him that this decision is a mistake. In Greater Manchester we have a proven track record of delivering major projects and can make a success of Expo 2025. That success will cement Manchester’s place as a city that competes across the globe and is world renowned for innovation and ideas.”