Manchester City Council

Good Luck Glasgow

In only five days time, Glasgow will find out whether it's won the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

On behalf of everyone involved in the delivery and the legacy of Manchester's outstanding 2002 Commonwealth Games, I've written to their council leader Steven Purcell wishing them luck.

If they win the crucial vote at the Commonwealth Games Federation on Friday, then they can look forward to seven years of hard work, two weeks of sport and fingernail-biting, and a lifetime's legacy of regeneration - if they get it right.

In Manchester, we learned very quickly that hosting this event is not easy and to take nothing for granted.

Manchester started on the road to the Games in 1994 as part of a 20-year programme to improve the east of the city, where the one-time powerhouse of this great industrial city had spiralled into decline. During the 60s and 70s, more than 35,000 jobs had disappeared, factories closed, and people especially skilled workers had gone, leaving the field empty for growing deprivation and all the social ills that brings.

Thanks to the Games, the building of Sportcity and the strength of our public and private sector partnerships, New East Manchester is slowly becoming once again a thriving city suburb with the seeds of private sector investment, rising skills in local people and improving education standards for children.

The Games showed the world that Manchester is a modern, dynamic city that loves to party, and since 2002 we've hosted a range of successful international events which have attracted millions of pounds of visitors' money, all supporting jobs and investment in the local economy.

But the job is far from over. We still rank as the third most deprived local authority in England and Wales on the national index of multiple deprivation. The parliamentary constituency (Manchester Central) where the games were principally based has the highest levels of child poverty in the country. We need more investment and we need many more jobs to replace those that have been lost. Not just any jobs but jobs that, with suitable training, are accessible to a local labour force and that fuel aspiration in communities that are no longer life-threatened but remain in intensive care.

So good luck to Glasgow, we wish you well. It is worth it, and we will help in any way we can.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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