THE FEED THE RICH AWARD
THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT AND ITS HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY
There's lots of things for which this Tory Government could have won a coveted Salford Star Mary Burns Award – poverty, hunger, homelessness, local government cuts...sex pests, computer porn lying...the list is endless...
However, the judges have focused on one particularly insidious piece of hypocrisy affecting our very own city. The Government's Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), used to hand financial help out to companies building affordable housing – why else would a company receive public money, if not doing something for the greater good? Then along came the Tories and all that changed...
In October, the HCA proudly announced that it was providing a 'funding facility' of £34.7million to Fairbriar Developments (Salford) Ltd, fifty per cent owned by investors from China and Singapore, for its Middlewood Locks development.
Middlewood Locks - being marketed as in 'Manchester' - is the huge 24.5 acre development of 2,215 flats, townhouses and commercial units at the back of the Islington estate and off Oldfield Road, centred around the Manchester, Bolton, Bury Canal which already had £4million of public money sunk into it (click here).
The company also avoided over £6million in planning fees and Section 106 payments on the grounds of 'viability' ie its profits wouldn't be big enough if it had to cough up (click here and click here and click here).
FairBriar International is a joint venture company of Scarborough International Properties (50%), Metro Holdings of Singapore (25%) and Hualing Group of China (25%). The Hualing Group - based in that bastion of democracy, Xinjiang, where you can't get petrol unless you agree to have a state tracking device in your car – controls everything, from banks to construction companies, hotels to jewel trading and livestock slaughtering.
Hualing isn't short of a yuan or two...and neither is Metro Holdings, with $1.4billion in assets. Meanwhile, Scarborough itself is no financial slouch, with real estate interests all over the world, plus even a fifty per cent stake in Sheffield United FC.
This lot, you might think, hardly need a leg up from either Salford City Council (with its planning fee 'gift') or the UK Government (with its £34million subsidies).
Of the HCA 'funding facility', £25.5million is for 'residential development finance' for 546 properties, while £9.2million will 'help fund infrastructure and enabling works across the development'.
"We are very appreciative of the HCA's support" laughs...sorry...says Simon Marshall, joint chief executive of Scarborough International Properties "which will enable us to accelerate the delivery of much-needed homes for local people..."
Local people? A two bed apartment at Middlewood Locks costs up to £260,000 and a three bed up to £350,000, completely unaffordable for local people, even with Help To Buy shovelling more public cash into the scheme to help developer sales.
So, ladies and gentlemen, trip over some more homeless people, spew on the Salford Silk Road and scratch your global conglomerates for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award...
The Conservative Government and its Homes and Communities Agency!!!
If Theresa May would like to make an acceptance speech please use the comments box below
Winners of 2017 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
Feed The Rich Award (part 1) – Fred Done – click here
Disappearing Salford Award – Villafont – click here
Dick Turpin Award For Services to Bridge Hold Ups – Peel Holdings – click here
Carly Simon Award For Vanity – Councillor Derek Antrobus – click here
Corbynista Council of the Year Award - Salford City Council and Mayor Paul Dennett - click here
Grenfell Tower Urgency Award – Salford City Council – click here
Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government – Salford City Council – click here
Shameful and Unacceptable Practices Award – Greater Manchester Police – click here
Self Destruction Award – Salford UKIP – click here
Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize – Salford City Council – click here