Issued by Scottish Government
Scotland is ready to seize the long-term economic benefits of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, with global business opportunities opened up through Scotland’s increased international profile, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.
The First Minister said the level of exposure for Scottish businesses – large and small – brought about by working on two of the world’s largest sporting events would bring economic benefits for the next generation, and not just a short-term boost in terms of tournament contracts and temporary jobs.
Speaking at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce annual dinner in Glasgow, Mr Salmond said that the increased exposure and contacts with global business partners would add to benefits from tourism, training and skills to create a golden economic legacy for Scotland alongside the generational sporting benefits of the tournaments.
The First Minister announced that the Scottish Government and Scottish Chambers of Commerce would seize this opportunity by convening a summit for local chambers from across the country to ensure that businesses in all parts of Scotland can build on the £1.8 billion in exports already made to Commonwealth countries each year.
The First Minister said:
“Next year, we’re hoping to celebrate even more sporting success. In the space of two months, Scotland will host the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games - two of the biggest sporting events on the planet. Preparations for both are well under way. For the Commonwealth Games, for example, all the venues are open, the athlete’s village is nearly ready, and more than 90 per cent of tickets have been sold.
“However this evening, I want to focus on the economic legacy of the events being staged in 2014. I’m going to talk in particular about the long term opportunities for tourism, for trade, and for training and skills. But first, it’s worth summarising the direct and immediate benefits of the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games for businesses in Scotland.
“So far, £300 million of contracts have been awarded for the Commonwealth Games. More than 80 per cent of that value has gone to firms based in Scotland – that’s more than £250 million of contracts, going to more than 400 companies across 23 different local authority areas.
“The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has estimated that spending on the games will support approximately 30,000 jobs. The construction of the games venues and the athletes’ village has supported a further thousand jobs for each of the last six years.
“Next year’s Ryder Cup is likely to support employment for a further 5,000 people. The last time the Ryder Cup was held on these islands – in Wales in 2010 - direct expenditure for the week of the tournament was more than £80 million.
“These direct benefits in themselves will provide a significant boost to jobs and to business confidence - at a time when economic recovery is still at a relatively early stage.”
The First Minister continued:
“However the message I want to get across this evening is that 2014 should be an opportunity for the next generation, not the next twelve months. The eyes of the world will be on Scotland next year to a greater extent than they have been in decades.
“I’ve been quite struck by some of the comments from individual companies who have successfully tendered for contracts for the Commonwealth Games. Balmoral Tanks from Aberdeen, who supply the water storage systems for the aquatics centre and the velodrome, said that the contract ‘continues to cement our reputation (for delivering) in some of the highest profile developments in the world’. Barr and Wray from Glasgow said that ‘the impact of saying you’ve been involved in events such as Glasgow 2014 cannot be overestimated’.
“The very simple point that they’re making is that success in a high profile project is good for business. That’s true for individual companies, but we need to ensure that it’s a great thing for Scotland as a whole.
“Earlier today, Shona Robison announced from Sri Lanka that a major business conference - organised jointly by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the UK Government - will take place in Glasgow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games. The conference will link international companies with Scottish businesses to create new opportunities for trade.
“I can announce today an additional step which the Scottish Government is taking, which recognises the global reach of Chambers of Commerce. We will convene a summit later this year with the Chambers of Commerce, to make sure that local chambers - in every part of Scotland - can establish links with Chambers in Commonwealth countries around the world.
And the First Minister concluded:
“Scotland already exports £1.8 billion to Commonwealth countries each year. That’s significant, but it’s less than 10 per cent of our total exports. We want to increase that figure. 2014 gives us the perfect opportunity to do so, across all economic sectors, in all parts of the country.
“The physical legacy of 2014 will be hugely significant – the regeneration of the east end of Glasgow; magnificent sports facilities, and future entertainment venues; major transport improvements in the west of Scotland; community sports hubs around the country.
“But the human legacy will be every bit as important. We want to see more people taking up physical exercise; volunteers and trainees gaining new opportunities and skills as they help to deliver world class events; tens of thousands of jobs being supported.
“If all of us work together to maximise the business benefits of 2014, we can also maximise those social benefits. We can use next year to improve the prosperity and wellbeing of the whole country.”