Liberal Democrats are calling for Birmingham’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games to be ‘imaginatively” crowd-funded to help shrug off the legacy of previous failed bids.
Councillor Jon Hunt, group leader on the City Council, has been joined by WMCA Mayoral Candidate, Beverley Nielsen, in urging councillors to recognise the huge public enthusiasm to take part in events.
Councillor Hunt said: “Times have changed since the City Council was able to blow millions on failed bids for the Olympic Games and other ventures. While the council’s coffers are to all intents empty, there is huge public enthusiasm to take part in events."
He was speaking after meeting council deputy leader Ian Ward (together with Cllr Robert Alden, Conservative leader) to discuss the proposals, and is calling for a discussion at the next City Council meeting on November 1. He will call for imaginative crowd-funding to be used to support any bidding. "Crowd-funding can be more than just using the internet for fund-raising. For the Games, for instance it might be possible to sell or auction options on tickets if the games were to come to the West Midlands.”
Beverley Nielsen said: “I agree with Cllr Hunt that to make this successful, the city needs to overcome the legacy of past failed bids and also deal with justifiable public concern about the impact of budget cuts especially on areas such as social services and libraries. Successful crowd-funding will demonstrate public and business backing for this venture and bring us into the 21st century."
Cllr Hunt added: “After meeting Cllr Ward I am reasonably satisfied he is taking a cautious approach to this in terms of the use of public funds. Birmingham has a proud history of supporting athletics but now those who want the Games to come here must rally round fast. It has emerged there is limited time as the most important decision will be in spring next year when one city is chosen to represent England in the bidding for 2026.
“If Birmingham is to make a successful bid, it will need to spend money on a good feasibility study. There needs to be a bid committee in place rapidly to start raising money.”