A new report investigating ways to achieve long-term economic growth in Liverpool and the surrounding Merseyside region has flagged plans for a new International Expo in the city.
The independent report, “Rebalancing Britain: Policy or Slogan?” is aimed at analysing the Liverpool City Region’s economic strength today and opportunities for growth in the next 10-20 years. The report was penned by Lord Heseltine and former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy and based on consultation with the Local Enterprise Partnership in Merseyside and the Liverpool City Council as well as regional businesses and community groups.
Among the duo’s key recommendations is the launch of a new Liverpool International Expo to generate interest and investment not just in the city itself, but also across the Atlantic Gateway and wider north of England. The proposed Expo will be linked to a trading theme and draw on the Atlantic Gateway’s trading and investment links with the BRIC economics. The Atlantic Gateway is a framework for collaboration between Liverpool and Manchester and extends across both cities plus Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
The proposed Expo is described by the report as the first World Expo in the UK since the Festival of Britain in 1951.
“International evidence, for example from Barcelona, is that such exhibitions have a powerful catalysing effect in raising internationalprofile as a business and investment location, although it is important to scale them appropriately to ensure that legacy is good value for money,” Heseltine and Leahy’s report stated.
“Such an event could become a powerful milestone in the Government’s cities, growth and rebalancing agendas.”
Chief executive of the city’s economic development company Liverpool Vision Max Steinberg said it will work with partners over coming months to develop the International Expo, which will “help to showcase excellence, innovation and dynamism across the region”.
The report claimed Liverpool has a variety of existing sites large enough to host an Expo. It also called for the Government to endorse in principle the International Expo and provide appropriate sufficient national funding for its launch.
“Although it is too early to know costs, they would be a tiny fraction of those invested in the London 2012 Olympics and Liverpool would be justified in expecting national funding toward the cost with which it could then raise private sector support,” the report claimed.
“Against stiff competition, Liverpool has been selected to host the prestigious Kauffman Global Entrepreneurship Foundation Conference in March 2012, expecting more than 500 delegates and 50 ministers from around the world. This would form a perfect opportunity to announce details for a Liverpool Expo and to create a new way of investment and positive coverage for the city region.”
Liverpool was due to host the first Liverpool Boat Show in February but the event was cancelled due to the economic climate.
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