Brexit boost: Commonwealth Games to show Britain as ‘confident trading country’

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Britain left the EU last year before the Brexit transition period finally came to an end on New Year’s Eve. Since escaping the bloc’s shackles, Britain has carved out its own future on the world stage, signing a string of trade deals with global powers. In recent weeks and months London has also taken on Brussels over the trade situation in Northern Ireland and the EU’s plots to hamper British trade with the country.

Andy Street said that Brexit Britain will receive a further boost as it hosts next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Tory heavyweight, who was re-elected as Mayor of the West Midlands in May, was discussing how his region and the whole of Britain will benefit from hosting the Games.

He told Express.co.uk: “The big point here is really simple, there is a festival of sport happening but actually the messages behind it are much deeper.

“They are about togetherness and that community peace, they are about global Britain as a confident trading country.

“They are about recovery from the pandemic and the first time we welcome the world, they are obviously about the common bonds and political history.

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“So, there is so much behind what is going to be celebrated here next summer and it is going to be huge honour to welcome the world here.”

Birmingham 2022, which takes place from July 28 to August 08, will see hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West Midlands.

Some 72 nations will compete in the sporting spectacular across more than 280 medal events.

Organisers have kept a close eye on this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed from last year because of COVID-19.

Mr Street, a former John Lewis managing director, said the Games – which unlike Tokyo will welcome fans – could spark new business opportunities in Britain.

He compared the potential boost for Birmingham and Britain to the regeneration that took place in Manchester after the city hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

The Mayor said: “It is good for the whole of the UK if the West Midlands gets a lift through the Commonwealth Games just as Greater Manchester got a huge lift through the 2002 Games.

“They’ve been able to use it as a catalyst almost for their redevelopment, we’re looking to do the same and that is good for the UK as a whole if we pull that off.

“There is all the infrastructure that will be left between the athletics stadium, the transport infrastructure that will come.

“There is also a business promotion programme, which is based around West Midlands business, but frankly the UK will benefit from that as well.

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“That is literally worldwide promotion of West Midlands businesses and then of course there is all of the skills development and the jobs that will come from it as well.

“So, people will get new skills that they can use forever after and then of course there is the tourist benefit.

“We are going to have about one million people coming and that is great in the short-term for hotels, restaurants and cafes.

“That gives a lift to the region’s profile internationally and I am sure that more tourists will come on the back of that.

“It’s part of the story, it can’t be enough on its own, but if it comes at the same time as HS2, as lots of businesses investing in clean technology here, as our universities being excellent, all of those things come together.”

HS2 is the Government’s new high speed rail network to improve transport links across the UK.

The West Midlands is central to the plans with the network set to run through the new station for Birmingham airport and the new HS2 Birmingham terminus at Curzon Street.

Journey times to and from Birmingham will be slashed, including routes via Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and London.
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