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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Bid rhetoric repositions Glasgow
By Alex Robertson
Glasgow and West reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games bid team promotes a "modern, ambitious Scotland ... a sporting future, healthier nation ... an economic legacy."

National Indoor Sports Arena

Convinced by the strength of Glasgow's case, they are spending 5m from the public purse promoting the city across the Commonwealth.

Stadia would be upgraded, new venues and an athlete's village built and deprived areas regenerated, they say.

They claim tourism would increase by 4%, the economy in Glasgow would be boosted by 30m and 1,000 jobs would be created.

It would cost 288m to stage the Games.

Add to this more than 1bn of infrastructure projects already under way, irrespective of the Commonwealth Games, which aid Glasgow's case.

These include the M74 extension, Glasgow Airport Rail Link and a new National Indoor Sports Arena.

Only Nigeria, which aims to be the first African country to host the games, stands in Glasgow's way.

In November, it will be up to the Commonwealth Games Federation to identify reality in rhetoric.

'Extraordinary legacy'

Derek Casey, Glasgow 2014's globetrotting bid director, is charged with persuading 36 of 71 Commonwealth Games associations to back Scotland.

Derek Casey
Derek Casey has visited more than 50 countries to sell Glasgow's bid

He told the BBC Scotland news website the 288m price tag was an "affordable sum" that could be "contained" thus avoiding the spiralling costs witnessed elsewhere in Barcelona, London and Manchester.

The cost of the London Olympics has increased more than threefold.

"We are in good shape in budget terms," Mr Casey said.

"We've gone through this with a fine toothcomb, it's been an extraordinarily thorough piece of work."

Mr Casey said the Commonwealth Games would see Glasgow reposition itself within 30 years.

"The investment will have some immediate economic impact," he said. "But just watch Glasgow in 10, 20, 30 years.

"I think that major repositioning will be one of the extraordinary legacies of the Games coming to Glasgow."

High hopes

Earlier in the competition, Glasgow faced competition from Halifax, Canada.

But the province of Nova Scotia withdrew their support due to concerns over a projected $1.7bn budget.

Economics Professor Michael Bradfield, of Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, was the co-author of a report into the Canadian bid, which also examined the experience of other Olympic and Commonwealth cities.

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He told the BBC Scotland news website the lessons learned in Canada and elsewhere were universal.

"I don't think that it'd surprise most people in the street that what you get is initial estimates of costs and benefits that tend to be wrong," he said.

"Costs are underestimated and benefits are overestimated, so cities go in expecting much more than they actually get.

"People go into this with very high hopes and come out often severely disappointed - not in the event itself - but in the long-term costs relative to what they get in terms of usable facilities."

Glasgow believes it can avoid over-runs experienced elsewhere because 70% of the infrastructure is already in place.

Other projects, such as the National Indoor Sports Arena will be completed irrespective of the Games.

Glasgow City Council has agreed to provide 20% of the 288m needed to stage the Games - representing at least 58m.

The Scottish Executive would fund the remaining 80%.

'Raised profile'

The local authority said it plans to raise 7m a year through the sale of surplus land and property already identified and "other revenue".

Council leader Steven Purcell ruled out a rise in council tax to fund the Games.

We have to deliver these games within budget and on time
Lesley Sawers
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

"We will want to manage this very carefully," he added.

"While we may have to revisit everything we want to do it's important we continue to do that - we have the confidence, we have a track record of well-managed budgets delivered in terms of projects on time and within cost."

He added: "Winning the Games would lift the city's profile to an unprecedented international levels as well as bringing economic benefits to Glasgow and Scotland."

Lesley Sawers, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, added: "We have to deliver these Games within budget and on time.

"We are learning from experiences in Manchester, Melbourne and Delhi and cities who have staged Olympic Games, good and bad."

And Ms Sawers is determined jobs will stay in Glasgow.

She said: "We've got time to make sure we get our young people skilled and trained - there will be huge demand in construction, retail, leisure and tourism.

"We've got to make sure we keep those jobs in Glasgow."

The Glasgow 2014 bid team will submit its bid officially on 9 May.

On Thursday, BBC Scotland news website hears community views from Glasgow's east end on the 2014 bid.

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