Birmingham has been selected to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, the biggest sporting event to be awarded to an English city since the London Olympics in 2012. The West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, described the announcement as a “fantastic Christmas present” for the region but it will not come cheap with the projected overall cost of the Games running to £750m, with the government covering around £560m of that figure and the local council £190m.
Not everyone contributing is as delighted with the news. One leading economist suggested the cash-strapped Birmingham council would be better served spending its money on educational schemes and incremental improvements to the transport network while others bemoaned refuse collection services in the area after a three-month strike over the summer.
The Games will have huge economic benefits for the region. We expect it to create 22,000 more jobs over four years. It will also reset the profile and image of Birmingham. We are a modern, cosmopolitan city, the youngest in Europe and we’re very diverse and we want to show that off. Birmingham began the bidding process in September 2016 with its sights set on hosting the 2026 edition but Durban, South Africa, which was originally chosen to host in 2022, was stripped of the event in March this year after failing to meet a series of financial deadlines.