The jobs issue? What kind of jobs would a football stadium bring to the local area? Certainly not staff jobs relating to training and the organisation of the football club; these roles are already filled. The jobs that a football stadium would bring are low-paid, unskilled and casual/part-time. Most often these are minimum wage, zero-hours contracts and are operated by the likes of G4S and Capita to provide services to the stadium. There is relatively little demand for this type of work in the area of Kingswells and Westhill; this area needs roles for our skilled, qualified workers who are looking for roles in the energy sector and developing new businesses; particularly in these difficult times when 1 in 6 jobs in the sector is threatened. And the academic research backs up this statement. Dr. Larissa E. Davies, writing in her paper “Sport and the Local Economy: The Effects of Stadia Development on the Commercial Property Market” states “…while stadia provide jobs to the local community, the scale and quality of these is often uncertain and they are frequently low skill, low paid, casual or part time (Rosentraub, 1997; Jones, 2002)”. Baade (1996) found no statistically significant effects of stadiums and arenas on employment. The conclusion of Coates and Humphreys (2003) is particularly damning:
“…our results shed new light on the reason that professional sports reduce the level of income in cities. The negative effect of sports on earnings of employees of restaurants and bars, and on employment in Retail and Services supports the idea that sports reduce real per capita income in cities through both substitution in private spending and through the creation of new jobs which pay less than the average prevailing wage.”So, it won’t bring the jobs that are needed or the positive benefit to the community that those supporting it promise.
Economic Benefit? What benefit?And before any plans are published, we can correctly state that the economic impact assessment, that will no doubt support the planning application, will over-inflate any possible economic benefit – this is a common pattern with these planning applications – as indicated in several research articles (Crompton, 1995; Noll and Zimbalist, 1997; Jones, 2002). In Jones, 2002, he states: “…research [has] questioned the extent to which growth rates are affected at all”. Coates and Humphreys (2003) measured the impact on many different sectors of the economy finding a small positive effect in only one sector: amusement and recreation. Zimbalist and Noll (1997) find that sports teams and facilities are not a source of local economic growth and employment. Again, Dr Larissa E. Davies states:
“Moreover, others conclude that in reality sports stadia deliver little in economic terms (Baade and Dye, 1990; Baade, 1995, 1996; Humphreys, 2001; Rosentraub, 1997) and are not in fact the economic development engines they claim to be (Chaplin, 2002).”A stadium will not bring growth to the area. This is a fact. The development of a stadium at Kingsford may fill the pockets of the developers involved but will certainly strip local authorities, city and shire, of significant resources – resources which they will need to deploy to support the development. This is particularly worrying at a time when local authorities need to save tens of millions from their budgets. Consider the impact this will have; diverting funds from schools, social care and other essential services.