Birmingham could be the first UK city to introduce a hotel tax to help pay for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The charges are common in Spain, Italy and other tourist hotspots – but have never previously been tried in Britain.
With negotiations over Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games bid set to drag on for at least another week, and finance a key sticking point, it is now being considered as a way of breaking the deadlock.
The Birmingham Mail understands that the Government is willing to give the green light to a tourist charge to secure the Games for Britain.
It comes as the Birmingham bid team remains optimistic of securing the city’s first major multi-sport event. The Commonwealth Games Federation’s executive board met on the Gold Coast in Australia yesterday and announced it was still not ready to appoint a host city.
It is nervous after its initial host city Durban in South Africa had to be removed because the finances did not add up, and wants to ensure the host city can organise the event in the short four-year time frame.
As it stands, despite interest from three other countries – Australia, Canada and Malaysia – Birmingham remains the only city to submit a full bid.
CGF President Louise Martin said: “It is essential that we have fully examined all aspects of the cities’ bid submissions and expressions of interest, and that we are fully satisfied that the ultimate host for 2022 is capable of staging a Games that fully delivers for Commonwealth athletes and host communities.
“The CGF is close to making a decision to select the host city of the 2022 Games. We thank all nations who have participated in the process.”
She said the appointment should be made by the end of the year.
Birmingham City Council is co-ordinating the bid locally and its Labour cabinet will meet on Friday to consider changes to the bid following the negotiations.
The council has consistently said it will not be diverting money from its revenue budget, which funds day-to-day services, on hosting the Games. It is understood that the region’s three Local Enterprise Partnerships and West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as private investors, have supplied much of the local finance.
A hotel tax could make up the shortfall. In 2012 the then council leader Sir Albert Bore suggested a hotel tax , of say £1 or £2 per room per night to pay for tourist information, promotion and marketing as council budgets began to be cut.
Games bid chairman and council leader Ian Ward said: “Birmingham, the Government and Commonwealth Games England are continuing to have productive discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation as we enter the final stages of what has been a collaborative and positive process within a challenging timeframe.
“It’s a hugely significant decision and we welcome the robustness of the process. All our efforts have been focused on demonstrating that Birmingham would make the ideal host for the 2022 Games. We look forward to a decision from the CGF in the near future."