How will Olympics impact northern businesses?

As the countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games gets underway, the spotlight is inevitably on the nation’s capital.

Downtown Liverpool in Business Chairman, Frank McKenna says, “When it was first announced that London had won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, many people across the country felt it would have little positive impact on those outside of the capital – and with just a month left to go until the Games start I am still to be convinced otherwise.”

“The London PR machine has spent huge sums of money trying to convince us all of the economic benefits that will be created by the Games through infrastructure improvements, inward investment and increased tourism across the regions, yet almost all of the Olympic events are being staged within London.”

“Are small business owners in the North West going to feel the benefits in their profit and turnover? I can’t see it myself.”

Olympic organisers say that after the Games, four arenas, three 50m swimming pools and the water polo pools will each be disassembled and rebuilt in other parts of the UK to benefit the regions. All of the sports equipment used will also be donated to UK sports clubs and charities across the UK.

But the DLIB Chairman believes this level of commitment to other regions outside of London and the South East is simply not enough. “This may be a great boost to youth participation in sports, but it is hardly the heavyweight economic boost we were all promised.

“In a period that has already seen a lot of London-centric activity around the Jubilee celebrations, and despite government promises to re-balance the economy, businesses in our region are struggling to overcome the North-South divide.

“Health inequalities, house prices, and the fact that jobs in the north are being lost at four times the rate of the rest of the country are all indicators of disparity – and I fail to see how the Olympics can make a difference to this ever widening gap.”

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