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Scottish newspaper brands World Championships a "ridiculous decision" and a "vanity project"

The comments come after Scotland's culture secretary blamed inflation and extra costs for the bill for hosting the UCI Cycling World Championships coming in at £8 million over budget...

The Scotsman newspaper has published a piece criticising the "ridiculous decision" to host the UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, a project which it was yesterday revealed came in £8 million over its £60 million budget.

In a 'Scotsman Comment' article representing its editorial stance, the newspaper labelled the hosting of the event a "vanity project", highlighting other services and budgets that have been slashed and suggesting that now "Scottish taxpayers will have to foot the bill" for it being over budget.

That was news yesterday announced by Scotland's culture secretary Angus Robertson who told the culture committee a combination of "increased costs, including inflation" meant the final costs are believed to have exceeded the £8 million mark.

The SNP-run Scottish Government had previously capped its financial backing for the event at £30 million, but admitted earlier this year that had crept up to nearly £36 million, Glasgow City Council contributing around £16 million also.

Royal Mile, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Men's Elite Road Race, Edinburgh to Glasgow, Scotland (Alex Broadway/

[Alex Broadway/]

Speaking yesterday, Robertson said: "This year we saw funding from the Scottish Government and partners across the country to help deliver the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, which helped promote the health and wellbeing benefits of cycling, and drive wider economic and social benefits across Scotland.

"But due to increased costs, including inflation, the total funding provided by the government and partners is in the process of being finalised. Final costs will be confirmed in due course, but are in the order of £8 million.

"Government funding for the event prior to its completion was delivered through our major events budget. But since the conclusion of the event, any additional funding that may be required will be managed centrally."

> OPINION: How was it having the Cycling World Championships in my home town?

Unhappy with the announcement, The Scotsman highlighted how £6.6 million had been cut from Creative Scotland's budget in recent times, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries. Robertson is also reportedly considering cutting the arts sector funding by a further £4 million.

The newspaper's editorial stance continued: "The message that the Scottish Government appears to be sending is that it believes a one-off cycling event is more important than the health of our ailing arts and culture sector. That a vanity project which put Scotland on the global stage for a brief time somehow beats ensuring that a vital part of our economy, which helps to define what being Scottish actually means, will thrive and not shrink.

"In good times, spending millions on a cycling event might have been acceptable. But amid a sustained period of economic problems that have been hitting the arts world hard – from the 2008 financial crash and the years of austerity that followed to the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis – it was a ridiculous decision."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said they had "an obligation to balance the budget and prioritise funding to deliver the best value for every taxpayer in Scotland".

Fans at the team presentations, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Men's Elite Road Race, Edinburgh to Glasgow, Scotland (Pauline Ballet/

[Pauline Ballet/]

"As a result of rising costs and pressure on budgets across government, made more challenging as a result of UK inflation, we are continuing to work with partners to ensure all public investment is used to deliver the maximum benefit for communities and organisations across Scotland," the spokesperson said.

The Scotsman's outlook does not reflect the whole of the Scottish media landscape however, The Herald in June reporting the event would bring in an estimated revenue of £67 million for Glasgow, with the city promoted as a tourist destination, as well as extra business for the hospitality sector.

Stirling's council, where the time trial events were hosted, estimated the city had welcomed an additional 75,000 people, compared to the same days a week earlier, bringing "lasting economic and social benefits".

Speaking to riders, fans and locals on the ground at the event too the reception was much more positive, one resident telling that you only have to look at the number of people visiting, spending money in the town to see the benefits, "especially after Covid, lockdowns, Brexit".

> "It felt like the Tour de France": Have Scotland's World Championships been a success? We ask the riders, fans, and locals

"In three days they can all go back to their boring lives," the local supermarket worker said of those complaining about the event's visit.

2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Glasgow (Alex Whitehead/

[Alex Whitehead/]

Meanwhile, one Scot, Jennifer, who randomly stumbled upon the races while spending a day in Glasgow with her granddaughters told us she "thinks it's great for Glasgow."

"It's good for the economy, to bring people in to see the city and what it can produce," she said.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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kingleo | 9 months ago
1 like

It's a comment by one person who writes for a newspaper. The same is true for other anti-cycling articles in other newspapers.

dubwise | 9 months ago

The Scotsman, like almost everything in Scotland, is not Scottish owned.

The MSM in Scotland love nothing more than putting the boot into Scotland at every available opportunity.

That is 300+ years of this great union for you.

Dnnnnnn replied to dubwise | 9 months ago
1 like

Is a newspaper saying the Scottish Government should have funded one thing instead of another "putting the boot into Scotland"? I'm sure lots of Scots would have rather the money had been spent on other things (probably other than arts and culture) too.

IanGlasgow replied to Dnnnnnn | 9 months ago

Most newspapers have a political agenda. The Scotsman is just another right-wing newspaper owned by millionaires. They hate the SNP, the notion of independence, and - to a large extent - devolution and the existence of the Holyrood Parliament.
If the Scottish Government had refused to fund The Worlds The Scotsman would be asking why they're wasting money on cycle lanes, or maybe even the arts.

I don't have strong feelings either way about independence, but I don't pay any attention to The Scotsman and I certainly wouldn't pay to read it.

mctrials23 | 9 months ago

I think we can all agree that unless I like something then it shouldn't happen and if it inconveniences me in any way then I don't even know where to start. The world should definitely revolve around the most miserable members of society. 

Rendel Harris | 9 months ago

This looks like a combination of sour grapes and whataboutery (admittedly to a Sassenach outsider). The Scotsman should quite rightly be attacking the government for the cuts to the arts budget, but why complain about them in comparison to funding for a sporting event that has brought greater revenue to the area than the outlay, even with the overrun? Unless the Scottish government is unlike any other government I've ever known there will be far more egregious examples of outright waste rather than investment with a good return that could be blamed for the absence of funds for the arts.

Anecdotally, I personally knew nothing about Glasgow apart from a vague impression that it was a bit grim and slightly dangerous before the championships, having been glued to them I was absolutely knocked out by the beauty of both the city and the surrounding countryside and I'm hoping to make a visit in the not-too-distant future. I'm sure that reaction was mirrored by many cycling fans worldwide and the event will continue to reap benefits for the city and the country as a whole in terms of increased visitor numbers for many years to come.

Paul J replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago

I'm not too sure if I'd call Glasgow beautiful....  3 Parts of the centre are nice, but there's also a lot of dilapidation, and... less nice bits.

The country side is amazing though. You have such a variety within 30 minutes cycling. From the rolling lanes of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire if you go south or south east, to the hills and fells if you go north. You can go from the bustle of the centre to being on (what feels like) a remote little country lane very little time.

I miss the Scottish countryside, have to say.  3

WiznaeMe replied to Paul J | 9 months ago

All cities have industrial areas, commercial areas and less affluent parts.  Glasgow has excellent nightlife, shopping, architecture and leisure facilities and is a friendly welcoming community to visitors.

There's a wee bit of Edinburgh/Glasgow animosity and the Scotsman is an Edinburgh-centric newspaper which seldom carries positive images of the west coast. 

The world championships were a huge success for Scotland and will attract increased tourist traffic for a number of years to come.

Cocovelo replied to Paul J | 9 months ago

Mate I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you. I studied in Glasgow for 8 years and it is a beautiful place. It's very similar to Liverpool in that it was once a hugely wealthy city and many of the buildings in and around the city centre, west end and south side attest to that.

I would strongly encourage anyone to visit Glasgow. Honestly it's a fantastic place - historic and modern. Great bars, restaurants, museums, university buildings, parks, shops. You name it, Glasgow has it.

Jetmans Dad replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago

Glasgow is no more or less grim and no more or less beautiful than most UK cities I have visited. We have friends who live in Gourock and it is always a pleasure to spend some time in Glasgow when we are up that way (and in Stirling which is closer to where we usually stay). 

The city is huge, but in less than an hour you can head over the Erskine Bridge and arrive on the banks (the bonny, bonny banks, no less) of Loch Lomond. 

For just one example. 

Rendel Harris replied to Jetmans Dad | 9 months ago

Jetmans Dad wrote:

The city is huge, but in less than an hour you can head over the Erskine Bridge and arrive on the banks (the bonny, bonny banks, no less) of Loch Lomond.

The women's senior and the men's U23 races started from the Loch, and indeed very bonny it looked.

Dnnnnnn replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago

Rendel Harris wrote:

a bit grim and slightly dangerous

Also many people's perception of Sarf Laandan!

As a long-term resident Glasgow (and SL) resident, I can recommend it as a place to visit (and live, apart from the dreich weather). Like many other UK cities, it's a mixed bag but much of the Victorian centre, West End and much of the south side is good. The bay-windowed sandstone tenements are much more impressive than the rows of terraces many English inner cities and lend a slightly continential scale and air.

The natives are notably friendly, although sometimes incomprehensible to outsiders. And the cultural and food offerings are very good - obviously smaller but more accessible than London.

As others note, there is great cycling countryside around too - and a good suburban rail network helps with getting out of the city. The Cowal Peninsula is glorious, and has the added bonus of being accessed via short ferry rides. Check out the Five Ferries ride for something few cities can offer on their doorsteps. The proper Highlands are easily accessible to the north.

Backladder replied to Dnnnnnn | 9 months ago

Dnnnnnn wrote:

 Check out the Five Ferries ride for something few cities can offer on their doorsteps. The proper Highlands are easily accessible to the north.

Just make sure the ferries are actually working as it's a long detour otherwise!

Glov Zaroff replied to Dnnnnnn | 9 months ago
1 like

Dnnnnnn wrote:

apart from the dreich weather

I'm not directing this at yourself - but people who complain about the weather in Scotland (which really isn’t that bad) have never visited Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden or Denmark. 

As for cycling – forget the West side – the East side of the country is where the best roads are located (and there are fewer cars). Fife, Angus, Perth and Kinross and up to Aberdeenshire. It's cycling heaven!

Dnnnnnn replied to Glov Zaroff | 9 months ago
1 like

Glov Zaroff wrote:

the East side of the country is where the best roads are located (and there are fewer cars). Fife, Angus, Perth and Kinross and up to Aberdeenshire. It's cycling heaven!

We can agree on that - there are far more near-empty backroads, usually in better condition. Not such spectacular countryside - but still bonny and much less dreich :-p

chrisonabike replied to Dnnnnnn | 9 months ago

Even in the South - there's the Lammermuirs etc. and despite the central belt being full of people it's still less so than much of England!  You don't need to stray far south or North for some more open country.

TheBillder replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago

Bring your big sprockets or small chain rings for the Lammermuirs. And check the wind direction!

chrisonabike replied to TheBillder | 9 months ago

... and stop at the cafe (eg. Gifford) AFTER, not before...

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