Potential host countries have until October 31 to put themselves forward to host the six-month showcase of technology, manufacturing, and culture from across the world and Greater Manchester Combined Authority is putting pressure on the government to throw the UK’s name into the hat.
It says 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 is too big to miss.
GMCA is also lobbying for Greater Manchester to host the event, having identified Ashton Moss in Tameside as a suitable site of enough size, which it says could become a hub for new economic growth with a legacy of jobs, housing and investment in an ‘Expo City’.
The 110-ha site is less than 10km from Manchester city centre and within 15km of Manchester Airport.
Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: “This bid has already been seen by Treasury who recognise its value but were not at the time of the last budget in a position to back it.
“If our new Prime Minister Theresa May is serious about continuing with the Northern Powerhouse it’s big ideas like 2025 Expo that the Government has to give its support to.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to rebalance our economy and promote the Northern Powerhouse as a global brand.
“The Government saw fit to spend £9bn on bringing the Olympics to London. This seems to be a better investment.”
The World Expo, which takes place every five years and runs for six months, is larger in size, scale and duration than any other global sporting and cultural event, including the Olympics and football World Cup.
GMCA says 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.
But the cost of hosting such an event is significant, in excess of £1bn. GMCA says, however, that previous World Expos have at least broken even through gate receipts and significant private sector contributions could be explored.
Sir Richard Leese, GMCA lead member for economic strategy, said: “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.”
Representatives of 145 countries attended World Expo 2015 in Milan, which had 54 national pavilions.
Liverpool was the only UK city to have a presence at the previous 2010 World Expo, held in Shanghai. The next event in 2020 will be held in Dubai.