2018 can still boost UK GDP

PRIME minister David Cameron’s 110 per cent he said he was putting into the UK’s dream of hosting the 2018 World Cup may not have been enough, but the economy can still benefit – if our team can stay in the tournament long enough, an expert said yesterday.

Howard Archer, chief economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight, said while hosting the World Cup could have added 0.2 to 0.3 per cent to GDP in 2018 – a similar level to his forecast for the 2012 Olympics – the UK could still feel the benefit from games played in Russia.

Consumer spending should still lift the economy by billions as people buy televisions and T-shirts, he said.

“We saw it in the second quarter this year – the economy grew 1.2 per cent with a definite spike in consumer spending influenced by the World Cup,” he said.

The England bid’s reliance on existing infrastructure would have meant less new construction spend, which would also have reduced the overall economic impact. “There would not have been much new building because we’ve already got the stadia there,” Archer said.

The defining factor would be the England team’s performance, he said.

“The better England does, the bigger the economic boost tends to be, because the the more matches England play and the longer they last, the more people buy.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which advised the England bid, estimated that hosting the Cup could have added at least £3.2bn to the UK economy in 2018. “Hosting the World Cup would have been great news for the UK economy,” chairman and senior partner Ian Powell said.