ON A LIFE SUPPORT MACHINE
Latest financial figures obtained under Freedom of Information reveal that this year Salford City Council's Life in Salford magazine is losing money.
Council figures show that for the three issues of Life, from January to March 2010, print and delivery costs have risen, while external advertising has fallen, leaving the magazine in a loss making position.
Disclosed expenditure for the three issues of Life show print and delivery costs at £44,355. External income from advertising in the magazine was just £4,150. However the Council stuffs the magazine with its own adverts which it classes as income, and this amounted to £20,505. There is also a direct Council subsidy of £4,583 per issue, which adds up to another £13,749 `income'.
However, even taking the Council's income and expenditure figures into account, the magazine has begun to make a loss. The expenditure is £44,355 and `income' is £38,394, making a loss of £5961, or almost £6000.
The Council says that there are `no direct staff costs' for Life magazine, but the Salford Star revealed last year that an internal report to councillors showed staff costs at £1,870 per issue, which would add a further £5610 to the costs, making the deficit £11,571 for just three issues. Over a full year (12 issues) this would make the loss £46,284.
When Salford Star interviewed Salford Council Leader, John Merry, as Life was going monthly in 2008, he assured us that there would be a saving to the Salford taxpayers of £30,000 a year… "Now I would have thought that people would welcome the fact that we're saving the taxpayer money here" he said, adding that "at the end of the day if it doesn't work out and we're not getting the advertising in, and it is proving to be costly we'll cut the frequency again."
Meanwhile, the Salford Star's attempts to get funding from Salford Council's so-called `devolved budget' to community committees, rumbles on with the latest letter arriving from the Council saying that our non profit making, social enterprise, third sector community magazine had been refused funding from the Ordsall and Langworthy community committee because it is a `commercial venture'! (see here and here for other excuses).
The Salford Star has written to Salford Council asking for a formal appeal against the decisions but is still waiting for a reply…
* Update 1pm 17th June - we have now been informed that the appeal to Cabinet will take place next Tuesday 22nd June.