Between January and May this year, Salford Council paid £102,672 to Peel Holdings, owners of MediaCityUK, in fees and rents. The Council has repeatedly declined to answer Salford Star questions about what the payments were actually for.
Peel received £2,800 for `professional fees'; £96,512 for `service tenancies' and £3,360 for `rents' and `hire of facilities'. When Salford Star questioned the Council last year over £1,500 of public money spent on rent in June at MediaCityUK, we were told that the amounts were for offices and that "the payments have now stopped" (see here).
As part of Salford Council's cuts programme it has been trying to save money by closing its publicly owned buildings and squashing staff into the Civic Centre. These rent, hire and service tenancy payments to a private company totalling almost £100,000 will come as an embarrassment to the cash-strapped Council.
Meanwhile, the payments are sure to anger service users, carers and trade unionists campaigning against £80,000 cuts to Mental Health Services in the city (see here).
Tonight, Wednesday 3rd October, the campaigners will be lobbying the surgery of Councillor Peter Connor, Assistant Mayor with responsibility for Adult Services (see here). Maybe he could explain the huge payments to the richest company in the North West, owned by tax exile John Whittaker, the 29th richest man in the UK.