Council slams Treasury decision not to bid for 2025 World Expo

Greater Manchester’s £1bn plan to host the 2025 World Expo in Tameside has been foiled after the government decided not to progress with a bid for the event.

In September, the Greater Manchester combined authority said that it was planning a World Expo bid centred on Tameside being the location of the six-month festival. The authority earmarked a 250-acre site at Ashton Moss, owned by Muse Developments, as the best location for an ‘Expo City’, claiming that there would be no cost to taxpayers, as ticket receipts from the expected 28 million visitors, together with a “significant private sector contribution” would cover the costs.

Yesterday the Treasury announced that while it had “carefully considered Greater Manchester’s proposals”, the UK would not be bidding for the expo, as “we do not believe hosting the World Expo offers good value for money”.

Tameside Council leader, Kieran Quinn, slammed the decision saying: “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.”

Quinn claimed that a successful bid would have created a lasting legacy for the local area. “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,” Quinn said.

Quinn also promised to challenge the government’s decision not to proceed with a bid for 2025 World Expo. “Despite the government’s decision not to support any UK bid, I’m not prepared to leave it there,” he said. 

“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,” Quinn claimed.

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This seems like an odd decision given the emphasis on post-Brexit trade, Northern Powerhouse development and the fact that the last 2015 World Expo in Milan seemed to be a success