Chancellor banks on football fever delivering a boost to the economy 


Chancellor banks on football fever delivering a 1966-style boost to the UK economy


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Football-induced euphoria could translate into an economic bounce, Rishi Sunak said.

The ‘enormous amount of joy’ prompted by England’s success in reaching the final of Euro 2020 should help boost consumer confidence and even cause output to rise, the Chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s today programme.

The performance of Gareth Southgate’s men in the semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday has already given companies such as ITV, betting business Entain, and takeaway firms including Deliveroo a helping hand.

Economic goals: Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) believes that the England football team's success should help boost consumer confidence and even cause output to rise

Economic goals: Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) believes that the England football team’s success should help boost consumer confidence and even cause output to rise

Entain, which owns Ladbrokes and Coral, said the Euros were shaping up to be its biggest ever sports betting event – and it estimated punts on Sunday’s final would total £17.5million.

ITV pulled in 27.6m viewers during England’s 2-1 extra-time win on Wednesday, making it the most-watched football match ever shown on one channel. 

And Deliveroo upgraded its guidance for the year, after noting a rapid growth in the number of orders being placed.

Sunak is hoping an England win in the final could give the UK a leg-up as it claws its way back from last year’s historic slump. 

Sporting events such as the London 2012 Olympics (where Jessica Ennis-Hill, pictured, was one of the stars) and England’s World Cup win in 1966 have boosted the economy

Sporting events such as the London 2012 Olympics (where Jessica Ennis-Hill, pictured, was one of the stars) and England’s World Cup win in 1966 have boosted the economy

Sporting events such as the London 2012 Olympics (where Jessica Ennis-Hill, pictured, was one of the stars) and England’s World Cup win in 1966 have boosted the economy

Asked whether he thought there was likely to be an economic lift from the football, Sunak said: ‘I think there is.

‘The team have brought an enormous amount of joy to the country after a very difficult year. It’s been fantastic to see what they’re doing.’ 

He explained that the feel-good factor of winning a major sporting tournament could drive consumers to spend more.

Sporting events such as the London 2012 Olympics and England’s World Cup win in 1966 have boosted the economy.

Output, or gross domestic product (GDP), climbed by 1.4 per cent in 2012 and 2.2 per cent the next year. And in 1966, GDP edged up by 1.5 per cent.

But some experts were more cautious. Independent economist Julian Jessop tweeted: ‘I’d love to say winning the Euros will boost the UK economy – or at least the English bits – but it wouldn’t change any of the fundamentals. 

And clearly [it would be] trumped by everything else going on, especially the lifting of Covid restrictions.’



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