Local Commonwealth Games levy

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 2:28 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Labour, Birmingham, Hodge Hill 2:28 pm, 11th June 2020

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right, and that is the second big point I want to make. This is a partnership. I am grateful for the investment that the Government have made, which will not just help unlock the greatest festival of Commonwealth sport that we have ever seen but bring 5,000 new homes to the constituency of my hon. Friend Mr Mahmood, who I know is watching us. That gain, however, would not be happening without the leadership of Ian Ward and the team at Birmingham City Council. Together, the city council is putting in about £184 million. It had the political courage to step up to the mark when Durban pulled out. Given the halving of Birmingham’s budget in the last 10 years, that was a brave act, a courageous act and a wise act. We will be grateful for that political decision for decades to come.

My right hon. Friend puts his finger on something critical. In the debate we just had on new clause 2, the Minister did not betray much sense of how the world had changed. I hope he will reflect on that remark and what he has heard this afternoon. If the Bank of England is correct—you never know. it might be—we will see unemployment in our region rise by 192,000 next year, to 320,000. That will put unemployment in our region at the highest level we have seen since 1987. The fiscal maths tells us that we need a capital kick-start of about £3.5 billion to deal with unemployment of that significance. As I said in earlier debates, our cultural institutions are crying out to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for help. The DCMS must look at the realities of what is going on in the sector and work with the Chancellor to do whatever is necessary to de-risk our bridge from where we are now to the beginning of the city of culture next year.

The prize is significant. I agree with the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield that this Bill is an optimistic moment. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us, but it has to lift a generation out of unemployment, out of poverty, out of hunger, and out of hopelessness. We have to make sure that, when the eyes of the world —of 1.5 billion people—are on us in 2022, we dazzle them not simply with an extraordinary spectacle of sport, but with an extraordinary society that, together, we have built.