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Sporting Events: Northern Powerhouse

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 1 November 2018

10. Whether he has made an assessment of the potential economic and social effect of major sporting events being hosted in the northern powerhouse area. (907404)

Hosting major sporting events brings significant economic and societal benefits. There will be a number of exciting events hosted in the northern powerhouse area in the coming years. You will not want me to list them all, Mr Speaker, but I might mention the world road cycling championships in Yorkshire and the rugby league world cup, both of which I know will be of interest to the hon. Lady. UK Sport estimates that these events will generate more than £225 million of direct economic impact for local host communities.

With three years to go until the 2021 rugby league world cup, will the Minister welcome the significant economic benefit that the tournament will deliver to the north of England and recognise the legacy programme that has been put together, which will have a lasting impact on communities across the north?

I will certainly do that. I know that the hon. Lady will welcome the up to £15 million of Exchequer funding that will go to support event delivery, but she is right to say that legacy is important, too.

Will my right hon. and learned Friend tell the House what support and guidance are available to sports venue operators who are seeking to bid to host these prestigious events?

We believe it is important to attract some of these major events, and the Government work hard with those who are interested in attracting them to offer guidance. We will certainly make sure that anyone in particular whom my hon. Friend has in mind receives that advice.

As thought is now being given to planning for a potential bid for the 2030 World cup, I hope we all really get behind that. Will the Secretary of State assure us that we will look at not only the sporting impact of that but its economic and regeneration impact, particularly across the northern powerhouse? We might look at the Olympic legacy park in my constituency as an example of how to follow through on a major event.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman: the Olympic legacy is a very good example of what can be achieved. He will recognise that the initial decision to be taken is one for the Football Association. It must decide whether it wishes to bid, but if it does, he has my assurance that the Government will be fully behind it.

Should Premier League clubs in the northern powerhouse area and elsewhere not pay a lot more for their policing costs?

Of course they already do, through tax and through other measures where they do assist, but we will continue to talk to the Premier League about ways in which they can help. We have talked already today about their support for grassroots football and I am sure there are other ways in which they can assist, too.