City government

Speech by Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston on British Home Legacy Day, Commonwealth Games 2022

Thanks. I am absolutely delighted to be here today at UK House to join you all on Legacy Day to reflect, not only on what have been truly fantastic Games, but on the range of future opportunities they present for the region and the rest of the country.

We’ve seen an incredible 10 days of sporting, cultural and commercial events, and it’s amazing to see the West Midlands on the global stage, something that will hopefully continue for a long time to come.

First, I wanted to thank everyone involved in organizing this amazing event and working so hard to ensure it leaves a lasting legacy. Hosting the Games and harnessing the myriad benefits they can bring to the region and the UK has been a true partnership.

It is only through collective effort that the Games have been as successful as they are. I thank each and every one of you who got involved in the event and the opportunities it created. And a special thank you to Andy for the vital role he personally played in securing this fantastic event.

And let me say that this collective effort has resulted in what has truly been an incredible Games.

The fastest Games ever delivered, four and a half instead of the standard seven.

An ambition to be the most sustainable Games to date, and first to strive to be carbon neutral.

The most inclusive Games ever, with the largest ever Parasport program and, for the first time, more women’s than men’s medal-winning events.

But, beyond the event itself, I also want to reflect on the wide range of legacy opportunities that have been created and will continue to be created long after the Closing Ceremony is over.

As government, we have been resolutely focused on ensuring that Birmingham 2022 leaves a lasting legacy for the host city and region, and for the whole of the UK.

£778 million of public funds have been invested in staging the Games themselves. This £778m core, as well as providing an incredible legacy itself, has unlocked a further £85m of additional funding from a wide range of organisations.

The legacy of the Games is very broad, with the vision of “Games for All” embedded from the outset.

The Games helped communities access its opportunities and benefits, with equality, diversity and inclusion embedded in everything the partners did.

There has been significant new infrastructure with a new Aquatics Center in Sandwell and the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium which local communities will be able to benefit from long after the Games are over. Additionally, the regeneration of Perry Barr has created 1,400 new homes.

In addition, the Legacy for the Games program provided:

A £10million Jobs and Skills Academy that ensures local residents have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Games.

Over £35 million invested by Sport England to deliver a legacy of physical activity and wellbeing, helping those who are less active to engage in sport and physical activity.

A youth and school engagement programme, ensuring that we engage children and young people across the country in the history and excitement of the Games and the Commonwealth.

A free 6-month cultural program in the West Midlands, supported by a £12 million investment from Arts Council England, the Heritage Fund and Spirit of 2012, plus other partners.

Ambitious sustainability commitments, including, as I mentioned before, the ambition to be the most sustainable Games to date and the “first carbon neutral Games”.

And on top of that, £350m of sourcing opportunities, the majority of which have been secured right here by West Midlands businesses.

And of course the £24 million investment that we, together with the Combined Authority, have made in the business and tourism programme.

Here at UK House, over the past 11 days, we have seen the power of this investment, bringing together business leaders from around the world, showcasing the West Midlands as a place to live, work, visit and trade .

This program is a key element in harnessing the positive profile generated by the Games to enhance the global reputation of Birmingham, the West Midlands and the UK as a leading destination for tourism, trade and investment.

In partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, the West Midlands Growth Company, the Department for International Trade and Visit Britain, as well as sponsors among our audience today, we have seen it provide incredible opportunities.

The opportunity to connect with Commonwealth nations and territories and other key global markets.

The opportunity to restore a resilient and sustainable tourism sector in the West Midlands and, more broadly, to contribute to the recovery of British tourism in the wake of Covid-19.

And the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the West Midlands and the UK are innovative, dynamic and investor-friendly.

But this is far from the end for the Business and Tourism program, in fact it is only the beginning. Building on the profile and momentum of these fantastic two weeks, we have rightly set ourselves high ambitions. By 2027, we aim to:

  • Generate over £700m of investment, including over £370m in the West Midlands

  • Attract 39,000 new visitors, including 12,000 in the West Midlands

  • Create 1,000 new jobs, including up to 600 based in the West Midlands

The drive and commitment of the Mayor and his colleagues from the Combined Authority, the West Midlands Growth Company, the Department for International Trade and Visit Britain have been crucial to the success of the programme. I thank them for all they have contributed over many months and years.

In many ways, the Business and Tourism programme, as a partnership between national, regional and local authorities and with the private sector, represents decentralization in action. Working together, as more than the sum of our parts, to achieve extraordinary things and improve our places.

And on behalf of the government, I look forward to working with the West Midlands as we explore opportunities to build on the success of the Games.

The Games were a fantastic experience and we achieved so much.

But as I’ve always said, it’s about more than the event itself. It is about capitalizing on the momentum of the Games to unlock the lasting benefits they can bring to the West Midlands region and its communities, and to the UK as a whole.

I look forward to seeing the fruits of our collective efforts materialize in the months and years to come. Thanks.