Taxpayers will plough £165million into Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games to fund the athletes’ village, James Brokenshire announced today
Taxpayers will plough £165million into Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games to fund the athletes’ village, James Brokenshire announced today.
The Communities Secretary revealed the extra spending in his main speech to the Tory conference in the city.
Birmingham City Council had been due to foot the bill for the village which will be converted into more than 5,000 homes after the games.
But ministers are stepping in amid acute pressure on the council’s budget and warnings from opposition councillors it could go bust.
Mr Brokenshire also used his speech to announce the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman to protect people buying new properties by making sure they are up to scratch.
Mr Brokenshire said: ‘In 2022 Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games.
‘It will provide the platform for this great city to shine on a global stage. The chance to drive economic potential. The chance to create a sense of pride – not just in this city but our country as a whole.
‘That’s why I’m proud today to announce the Government funding for the construction of the Athletes Village.
‘We will invest £165 million to help support the delivery of 5,100 new homes, but just as importantly create a long lasting legacy for Birmingham and from the Commonwealth Games.’
Millions of pounds are needed to upgrade the Birmingham’s Alexander stadium to 50,000 seats for the Commonwealth Games in 2022
Last month, a damning report into the state of Birmingham City Council’s budget warned it had used £116million from its reserves in the past two years.
More than £80million is needed for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the council due to fund an athletes’ village, swimming pool and public transport upgrades.
Birmingham City Council insisted today it was not currently considering a ban on new spending, as has been forced on Northamptonshire County Council twice in the past year amid a spiraling financial crisis.
But councillors have warned the city faces ‘total and absolute disaster’ without finding a way to overhaul its finances – with the opposition warning the city could be ‘insolvent’ as soon as next year.
A watchdog to monitor standards of new homes will also be created, Mr Brokenshire said in his speech today (pictured)
Mr Brokenshire also used his speech to express how he wants ‘generation rent’ to become ‘generation own’ under Tory housing reforms, as he confirmed he will push forward plans to allow property-owners to build upwards more easily.
Councils will be able to sell off land at cheaper than market value rates to allow new homes to be built.
A watchdog to monitor standards of new homes will also be created, Mr Brokenshire said.
He told members: ‘That’s why I can announce today the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman.
‘This new watchdog will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.
‘And give confidence that when you get the keys to a new home you get the quality build you expect and the finish you’ve paid for.’