Liverpool leaders fear rail strikes will hit Eurovision

Liverpool business and cultural leaders urge Government and rail unions to settle dispute as two separate strikes threaten to disrupt the city’s Eurovision extravaganza. Tony McDonough reports

Lime Street station
Rail strikes by Aslef and the RMT will hit Liverpool during Eurovision. Picture by Tony McDonough


Business and cultural leaders in Liverpool are urging the Government and rail unions to get around the table as strikes threaten to disrupt the Eurovision Song Contest celebrations.

Train drivers’ union Aslef will stage a national walkout on Friday, May 12, the day before Eurovision takes place at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. Rail workers represented by the RMT will then walk out on Saturday, May 13, the day of the contest.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to flock to Liverpool in there days before Eurovision, spending tens of millions of pounds. It is an event on a part with LIverpool’s Capital of Culture year in 2008 and the visit of the Giants.

In a joint statement issued on Friday, leaders at Liverpool BID Company, Liverpool’s theatres and major hotels said Eurovision was a shot in the arm for the city region visitor economy that has still not recovered fully from COVID.

It said: “The investment in Eurovision is designed to keep Liverpool’s economy strong –  to support our hospitality and leisure industries, all of which are facing one of their toughest years.

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“Major events support all industries and sectors, not just one. We’ve worked incredibly hard to try to get the city’s economy back to where it was before the pandemic hit.

“Liverpool’s visitor economy across the Liverpool city region is valued at £3.58bn, with Liverpool city at £2.5bn, LCR’s overall number of visitors is 42.15m.

“That’s 38,000 jobs in tourism, still not back at 2019 levels where it was 55,703. It’s one of our biggest industries and biggest employers.


Liverpool is expecting more than 100,000 visitors for Eurovision. Picture from Liverpool City Council


“Liverpool is hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine and it would be disappointing if UK politics impacted on the ability of our city to be able to show solidarity to a country that is seeing its very culture targeted.

“We would urge UK ministers and rail companies to get around the table with their unions as quickly as possible to reduce the impact this will have – on business, on tourism, on people.

“Eurovision isn’t just two days, it’s two weeks of cultural and community activity that will see thousands of people from the city and far beyond enjoy free events.”

Signatories to the statement included: 

  • Bill Addy, chief executive Liverpool BID Company
  • Jennina O’Neill, chair of Retail & Leisure BID and centre manager at Metquarter
  • Mark Da Vanzo, chief executive, Everyman & Playhouse
  • Michael Eakin, chief executive, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
  • Gillian Miller, chief executive, Royal Court Theatre Liverpool
  • Diane Belidng, theatre director, Liverpool Empire Theatre
  • Marcus Magee, chair Accommodation BID, co-chair Liverpool Hospitality and general manager Hilton Hotel Liverpool
  • Steven Hesketh, vice-chair Accommodation BID, deputy chair Liverpool Hospitality, Savvy Hotels

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