Number 2 in a series in which the Bristol Blogger publishes information regarding the city’s World Cup bid for the Bristolian public at large that is vastly superior and far more accurate than the information highly paid ‘expert’ Bristol City Council officers are prepared to supply to our elected councillors …
The document above titled ‘2018 World Cup Guarantees’ and dated 23 October 2009 sets out central government commitments to host city applicants – including Bristol – for the 2018 World Cup.
What’s interesting about this letter is that it undermines claims emanating from both senior officers at the Council House and from Lib Dem cabinet members that they were forced to delay their decision about hosting the World Cup until the last minute because they were waiting for government guarantees.
This delay, until the very last minute, has created considerable controversy because the cabinet (possibly believing and acting on advice from officers) – in league with the Chief Exec and the Head of Legal Services – are claiming they have had to suspend part of the council’s constitution, relating to the call-in process, because the decision is now ‘urgent’ and there’s simply not time to hold the decision up any longer without losing the opportunity to bid.
The document proves that Bristol City Council could have taken the bid to cabinet for approval any time after 23 October as both Sheffield and Liverpool have done. Instead Bristol’s bid has been delayed a full month to 24 November leading to this alleged need to suspend the constitution.
Leaving the bid this late also means that the paperwork (running to 66 pages) finally published yesterday is unlikely to be as well scrutinised as a decision with such a huge financial impact should.
The crucial part of the letter, in terms of potential financial impact to the city is this:
At the meeting, the issue of costs was raised. I would like to reiterate that the cost to central government of government guarantees will be considerable. The Treasury have made clear that the costs of the tournament will lie where they fall and we will not be in a position to provide funding to any of the cities in the event of a successful bid. We will, as discussed, look at the potential for lottery funding or supplementary local business rates, as well as exploring other options. However, at this early stage, we are unable to give any commitments of additional funding.