Rugby Borough Council still hasn’t revealed how the £1.1 million spent on the World Cup has benefited the town and its businesses.
The birthplace of the game celebrated the 2015 Rugby World Cup in September with a Fanzone, bunting, new signs and some town centre improvements, including free WiFi.
But the council still doesn’t have the figures to show whether it was a success and is waiting for an independent organisation to compile a report.
Pete McLaren, spokesperson for Rugby’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), is sceptical of the benefits, saying: “We were very concerned about the council spending council tax payers’ money in this way in a time of austerity. We were not opposed to Rugby celebrating the World Cup, but we argued it should be financed by the Rugby Football Union and the Government.” TUSC submitted a Freedom of Information request to ask the council how much extra income was generated for Rugby businesses and for the council as a direct result of the World Cup. The council’s reply stated it did not currently hold the information.
Borough councillor Heather Timms, portfolio holder for the economy, told the Advertiser: “We are very clear that the Rugby World Cup had many benefits to Rugby’s residents and businesses, as well as to visitors.
“Many benefits, such as the international exposure, the new public art, town centre WiFi, education programme, street improvements and coach park, will continue long after the tournament ended.
“Feedback locally, as well as from England 2015 and from World Rugby, has been overwhelmingly positive. We are also clear that it is right and proper to report on both our spending and on the economic impact of that spending. We are contributing data to a national study being compiled by an independent organisation, which we will publish when it is available.”