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SALFORD COUNCIL £10 MILLION SECRET MEDIACITYUK FUND
 

Star date: 11th July 2011 

A Salford Star Exclusive

SALFORD COUNCIL'S `SECRET' £2 MILLION A YEAR FOR MEDIACITYUK

Salford City Council has a £10million fund put away purely for spending at MediaCityUK on unspecified projects over the next five years.

There is hardly any mention in Salford Council documents of the so-called Media Enterprise Zone Fund but under the Freedom of Information Act the Salford Star has discovered that the Fund has a budget of £2million a year for five years, beginning this year.

This is on top of other Salford Council funding for MediaCityUK, including millions of pounds already spent on the BBC orchestra and events welcoming the BBC to MediaCityUK.

Full story here…


While Salford City Council struggles to make £40million of cuts this financial year, the Salford Star can reveal the existence of a £10million Media Enterprise Zone Fund, spread over the next five years, purely to be spent on unspecified projects at MediaCityUK.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Salford Council admitted the existence of the Media Enterprise Zone Fund, or MEZ, and stated that the "MEZ budget is £2m per annum for five years beginning this year".

After further questioning about what the Fund was actually for, Salford Council's press office told us that it had been set up "to support the long-term development of MediaCityUK".

This, the Council stated, included "support business (particularly start-ups, small and medium size business's) development and growth at MediaCityUK" and to "provide funding support for the future development and use of the public environment and public transport".

We asked how the Fund would help support businesses at MediaCityUK – are there any grants available? Is there any help towards rent costs at the Peel Holdings owned site? Er, no…

We were told that there was no "grant offering". The Fund is about developing the Council's £4.2million Media Enterprise Centre at Media City and creating "a supportive environment for companies" with things like "screening rooms" and "equipment". Neither are there any grants to subsidise established companies at Media City to take Salford people into employment.

The second function of the £2million a year Media Enterprise Zone Fund is to "provide funding support for the future development and use of the public environment and public transport", which is incredibly unspecific and could mean anything.

Salford Council's official budget spending on MediaCityUK this financial year shows a total of only £694,230 (Employees - £227,575: Premises - £8,146: Transport - £1,799: Supplies and services - £456,710).

The £10million MEZ Fund comes on top of £520,000 Salford Council spending on three events at Salford Quays for the Manchester International Festival and to "celebrate the BBC's arrival in Salford and the opportunities they and MediaCityUK will bring to the city" (see here)…

…It also comes on top of millions of pounds already spent on the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Council's eight year £20million sponsorship (see here).

…It also comes on top of a three year (2008-11) NWDA `MediaCityUK PSP Programme' budget of almost £1.5million which included £732,500 for "research and consultancy", £260,000 for a "Virtual Programme Team" and £320,000 on "Marketing and Communications".

…And it also comes on top of previous spending of £650 a day on the MediaCityUK `deprived areas' consultant, Chris Marsh (see here)

There is also lots more public spending at MediaCityUK still to be revealed…

As Salford's carers and homeless hostels have their budgets cut Salford people may well question the ethics of such vast amounts of public money being sunk into just one area of the city…

* Any business seeking help as part of the MEZ Fund can e-mail becky.edwards@salford.gov.uk

Photo by Jemma Cooper
 

Nachtsclepper wrote
at 15:54:34 on 08 August 2011
Roger, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for somebody at the funhouse trying to justify their actions on this particular website. The head clown usually twitters on on another site & the rest of the mob are still having lessons in how to tie their own shoelaces.
 
Roger Ruskinspeare wrote
at 07:24:20 on 08 August 2011
Salford council's secret fund should be exposed for what it is . We taxpayers , through council tax extortion , are paying for a slush fund to maintain cosy business relationships , whilst the needy in this dead city are starved of funds . This shameless , arrogant , self-serving council must answer for this .
 
James wrote
at 07:24:05 on 08 August 2011
Brilliant picture. Shame about the article
 
john wrote
at 10:19:36 on 05 August 2011
direct message to mr john merry . the langworthy regeneration is not finished it is 15 years since the first C.P.O . all the regen money as gone you say there is no funding yet you can lay your hands it seems on unlimited funds if it as anything to do with the bbc or the quays area WHEN IS LANGWORTHY REGEN GOING TO BE FINISHED it is a mess and there is still houses to be demolished 15 years on . come on mr merry when are you going to finish what you started
 
D.Savage wrote
at 07:14:33 on 19 July 2011
Another week of secret meetings at the funhouse .How much of OUR money are the clowns tossing away this week ?
 
Steven North wrote
at 07:37:22 on 13 July 2011
As Secretary of the largest union for Salford Council staff I've already raised this with Mr. Merry. We've got members facing an uncertain future and threats hanging over the services they provide, and then this comes to light. I can only thank Salford Star for finding this out for us. Questions definitely need answering.... Steve
 
Zandra Benesh wrote
at 18:17:55 on 12 July 2011
Wow Great news for Salford .Clarkson ain't coming to Mediacity .So that's Clarky and them two newsreaders .wOw .That means three jobs for Salford .But take mops and buckets to the interview , just in case .
 
Garry Garrilla wrote
at 09:24:28 on 12 July 2011
I'm sure the house owners of Chorlton-cum-Hardy will be most grateful for this largesse.
 
Zachary David wrote
at 07:35:51 on 12 July 2011
The financial illiteracy and lack of business acumen of this inept council is once again exposed . Thanks to the Star .
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:35:36 on 12 July 2011
Do we know what committee this went too or was it another part two (behind closed doors) What have the leaders from the opposition parties said about this. I can't understand why or how this council are allowed to take gambles like this with OUR money and at a time like this. Regarding the 20 million for the BBC Orchestra there is on going funding after the 20 million has been paid, so it is a never ending pot of OUR money going towards the orchestra. Do we know what the total so far of OUR money has gone or has/is being committed to media city or any spin off from it???? Where within the accounts of the council is this money showing.Could it be part of their commercially sensitive pots, where if you ask a question,they give you this load of crap and hope you will go away. When I asked a couple of years ago about the loans to Salford Reds that was their get out.Turned out the Reds got over a MILLION in loans that never shown up on the audited accounts of the council as a loan,but as the commercially sensitive crap.
 
UoS wrote
at 22:05:07 on 11 July 2011
It would seem to me that the Council have been hamstrung by a total failure to prioritise their outgoings. I understand all the arguments in favour of MediaCityUK being in Salford - I am in favour of its being here. But to an outsider it looks as though Salford City Council are diverting tens of millions of pounds away from social services toward a project of the elites. Even if MediaCityUK is a runaway success, the benefits will benefit an absolute minority of Salford citizens - most of whom, I expect, would have been able to stand on their own two feet anyway. For me it is astonishing to see a Labour council spending money for the few rather than the many.
 
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