1. ITV Report

Greater Manchester calls for the UK to bid to host World Expo 2025

Manchester skyline as seen from Alderley Edge Photo: PA

Potential host countries have until 31 October to put themselves forward, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority is encouraging the government to seize the opportunity for a global shop window to demonstrate that the UK is open for business and committed to international trade following the referendum vote to leave the European Union. It is more essential than ever that the nation's economy is rebalanced with all regions supported to reach their full potential, increasing their productivity and boosting the national income.

Manchester skyline Credit: PA

The World Expo, which now takes place every five years, is now larger in size, scale and duration – lasting six months – than any other global sporting and cultural event, including the Olympics and football World Cup.

It would offer UK trade and investment a boost at least comparable to the 2012 London Olympics, attracting up to 28 million visitors as well as exhibitors and would-be investors from around the world. While the cost of hosting such an event is significant, in excess of £1 billion, it should be noted that previous World Expos have at least broken even through gate receipts and significant private sector contributions could be explored.

There is also potential to unlock much greater legacy benefits. The large site required, at least 100 hectares, could become a hub for new economic growth with a legacy of jobs, housing and investment in an ‘Expo City.’

Ashton Moss in Tameside has been identified as a suitable option in Greater Manchester to host the global event.

The concept underlying the Northern Powerhouse, enabling the North to realise its potential and support the nation as a whole, is as much our strategy as the government's and it's important that they continue to show commitment to it. It has become an important identity internationally, crucial to our long term trade, growth and investment and World Expo 2025 could help the UK to build on this momentum.

It is ambitious. But as the London Olympics, and the Manchester Commonwealth Games before them showed, tremendous economic and social benefits can flow from bold and concerted backing for a big idea.

– Sir Richard Leese, GMCA lead member for economic strategy