Last December the ten local authorities which own the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) flogged off a proportion of their stake to Australian finance speculators, Industry Funds Management, which reduced Salford City Council's share, from 5% to 3.3% (for background details see previous Salford Star article – click here).
As a result of that deal, MAG has announced a doubling of dividends and a one off bonus that totals £1.55million for Salford City Council. Now public sector trade union, Salford City UNISON, is calling for the windfall to be used to stop cuts to some of the most vulnerable people in Salford.
Today, Salford UNISON has written to Mayor Ian Stewart stating that it "believes that the £1.55m should be put to good use in protecting services and jobs for the people of the city – starting with those areas where campaigns already oppose certain cuts."
UNISON wants the cash to be used to stop cuts to services at The Grange respite centre for children with disabilities (see details here), and to maintain care for Salford residents with `Moderate' care needs which the Council is proposing to abolish.
The letter concludes that "an announcement from you as our Mayor, saying that Salford City Council will put back every penny of this money into services for the people of our city would be a welcome announcement for all Salfordians".
The onus is now on Ian Stewart to respond and promise that he won't use the money to build another bridge…
Here's the full letter
Re: Manchester Airport Group Announcement of Windfall for Local Authorities
It was fantastic to read that the ten Greater Manchester Councils will soon receive a share of the £48m windfall declared by Manchester Airport Group this week. The announcement is a real testimony to what public ownership can deliver for the public purse.
I understand that Salford City Council is one of nine Councils that collectively own a 29% share in the Airport Group (with the tenth, Manchester owning a larger share than others) and as such we in Salford are expecting our local authority to receive roughly £1.55m following this announcement.
As a publicly-owned entity the Airport has long been supported by Salford residents – along with others of course from across Greater Manchester. As such, we hope to see those residents benefit from this return on their long-standing investment.
Salford UNISON believes that the £1.55m should be put to good use in protecting services and jobs for the people of the city – starting with those areas where campaigns already oppose certain cuts.
We believe a great first step would be for the Council to announce that it will pledge a small amount of that money to allow respite care to continue for children and young people at The Grange in Eccles. As you know this is an issue that the parents and carers of disabled children have been campaigning on and we believe it would be fantastic news for them if the Council were to guarantee on-going respite care at The Grange for their loved ones.
Please could we further suggest that some of the money is used to maintain care for Salford residents with "Moderate" care needs. As you know, the Council is currently considering withdrawing support for people with moderate care needs and cites reduced resources as the principal reason for doing so. Salford Council has long had a positive reputation for how it has provided care for vulnerable people and we should not lose our status as the only Council in Greater Manchester to provide such support easily. This year's Council budget tells us that the Council will save £300,000 if the proposals to withdraw that care go through. The unexpected announcement if this £1.55m should mean that we no longer have to do that; which would again be fantastic news for the most vulnerable in our city.
These are just two suggestions that we hope you will consider.
Overall, I want to say on behalf of our members that an announcement from you as our Mayor, saying that Salford City Council will put back every penny of this money into services for the people of our city would be a welcome announcement for all Salfordians.
We hope you can consider our suggestions and we would welcome the opportunity to be part of the discussion on where this money can be put to best use.
Steven North Salford City UNISON