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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Manchester: A Commonwealth winner?
The 2002 Commonwealth Games Stadium in Manchester
The Games have received 288.5m public money
As the Commonwealth Games get underway in Manchester, BBc news Online looks at how the city will benefit - or lose out - financially.

An estimated 600m of public and private money has been spent on regenerating Manchester ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Rundown areas close to the city's sporting venues have seen a number of major physical improvements.

Independent consultants commissioned by Manchester City Council estimate that every year from now on an extra 300,000 visitors will spend an extra 12m in the region.

Even without this boost to tourism, the Commonwealth Games Federation estimates 5,000 new permanent jobs will be created.


There may be long-term gains for some areas of Manchester, but if the Games lose money the whole city will have to foot the bill
Ben Gould

While the use of up to 15,000 volunteers will create a skills base and give many an opportunity to move into full-time employment.

But many Manchester residents still fear they will be left a legacy of debt.

Ben Gould, who has just bought a house in Chorlton, told BBC News Online: "There may be long-term gains for some areas of Manchester - but if the Games lose money, the whole city will have to foot the bill."

The federation admits no modern Games where operating costs have had to be met by private finance has made a profit.

The last to be held in Britain - at Edinburgh in 1986 - reportedly lost 4m.

And the next Games - in Auckland, New Zealand - lost twice as much.


We try to encourage governments and not host cities to underwrite the games
Commonwealth Games Federation

The most recent games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, also made a loss.

But these were underwritten by the Malaysian Government, which paid for the construction of all facilities, as well as operating expenses.

The underwriter of this year's event is the city council.

A federation spokesman told The Guardian newspaper that before Manchester entered the bidding process to host the Games it had been warned not to expect a profit.

"We expect there to be a deficit with the Commonwealth Games and that is why we try to encourage governments and not host cities to underwrite the games," he told the newspaper.


We have been given more grant funding to stage the kind of Games that is more likely to generate an economic return
Manchester City Council

"We have to look at the wider impact, in terms of regeneration of an area and the creation of excellent sports facilities."

The Manchester Games have already received 288.5m of public money - 83m from the council, 165m from the National Lottery via Sport England and 40.5m from the government.

But more government cash could be needed to pay creditors if the city is to keep its promise not to increase Council Tax or cut services.

The council is not too worried though.

A spokesman told BBC News Online more tickets had already been sold - and in a shorter period - than for any other Games.

"The original budget was for a much smaller games, but we have been given more grant funding to stage the kind of Games that is more likely to generate an economic return," the spokesman concluded.


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25 Jul 02 | England
24 Jul 02 | England
23 Jul 02 | England
29 Apr 02 | England
24 Nov 99 | UK News
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