Star date: 9th September 2010  

A Salford Star Exclusive


The latest unemployment figures suggest that MediaCityUK is having almost no impact on jobs in Salford, despite claims by Salford Council that "approx 1500 residents have worked on the MediaCity development".

Unemployment rates in the wards nearest to the MediaCityUK development are some of the worst in Greater Manchester, with Langworthy (8.8%) and Broughton (8.7%) showing double the average rate of Job Seeker's Allowance claimants.

Over the last year, while every other area of Greater Manchester showed an increase in JobCentre Plus notified vacancies, Salford's fell by 31%. There are now almost five people chasing every JobCentre Plus vacancy…

Full story here…

The latest statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions show that over the last year the MediaCityUK project has made little if any impact on Salford's unemployment figures.

Hundreds of million of pounds of public money is being poured into the privately owned Peel Holdings development which will be home to the BBC and the University of Salford. Building work has been going on at the site for around two years and Salford Council Leader, John Merry, has provided a breakdown of the 1,521 jobs obtained by Salford residents - Skilled workers 855; Labour 420; Management/supervisory 195; Administration 16; Other 35…

…But latest unemployment figures released by the Commission for the New Economy, of which John Merry is a Board Member, suggest that the jobs have not gone to those most in need. Indeed, the figures suggest that the majority of those who have worked on MediaCityUK were either already in jobs or that the jobs have been extremely short term. There is no other way that we can explain how Salford has managed to be one of the worst performing areas for employment in Greater Manchester.

Analysts would expect 1500 jobs coming into the city to make Salford's unemployment figures buck the Greater Manchester trend. But on every `Unemployment Monitor' on New Economy's website, it appears to be the other way around (click here for full reports).

From July 2009 to July 2010 the number of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants across Greater Manchester fell by 6.3%. Salford's fell by a mere 0.1%, making it the second worst performing area after Manchester. Salford currently has two wards out of the top ten in Greater Manchester for the highest rate of JSA claimants – Langworthy with 8.8% (up 2% over the year) and Broughton with 8.7% (up 5.5% over the year), double the Greater Manchester average.

The Job Seekers Allowance is just one measure of unemployment rates, and on the New Economy website it also monitors total unemployment benefit claims which it states is "a more accurate measure of unemployment". It reports on quarterly figures and its latest statistics are for the period to November 2009, when building work on MediaCityUK was at its peak.

In these months, Salford had the second highest claimant rate in Greater Manchester with 22.8% and the second highest ward rate in Langworthy, at a shocking 42.4%. Salford was also the only area in Greater Manchester to experience a rise in quarterly claimant rates. Cadishead was the worst ward in Greater Manchester with claimant numbers rising almost 20% between November 2008 and November 2009.

Over that year, the New Economy website states, "the greatest increases in the number of JSA claimants were seen in Rochdale (59.8%) and Salford (58.1%), significantly higher than the rise across Great Britain (48.2%). Cadishead in Salford experienced the largest annual rise in JSA claimant numbers (125.0%). The top ten wards by largest annual increase included three other Salford wards – Worsley and Boothstown, Eccles and Irlam".

Meanwhile, between July 2009 and July 2010, Salford was the only area in Greater Manchester to show a fall in JobCentre Plus (JCP) notified vacancies. In July this year there were 22 jobs for every 100 claimants, almost 5 people chasing one job. In Langworthy, these JCP notified vacancies fell by 65% during the year November 2008 to November 2009 with just 0.02 jobs for every claimant.

During the same period, every single ward in Salford experienced a rise in unemployment claimants. Yet a few hundred MediaCityUK jobs in some of the areas  surrounding the site, like Broughton, Langworthy, Pendleton or Ordsall would have reversed the figures significantly. The fact that they haven't suggests that a large proportion of the 1,521 Salford residents who have worked on MediaCityUK were either already being employed by the companies working on site or that the nature of the work was very short term.

That employment rates in Salford are doing so badly in comparison with other Greater Manchester areas over the period that MediaCityUK has been constructed, we believe, shows that the project is having virtually no impact on unemployment and hence, poverty rates, in the city. Figures produced by Salford Council show that 60% of the city's children are currently living in poverty (click here for more details).

"I think it is important to explain to you that almost since the moment the deal between Peel and the BBC was signed, council officers, staff at the Urban Regeneration Company and North West Development Agency have worked in partnership to develop and deliver a programme that takes advantage of every opportunity that MediaCity UK offers to develop the local economy, the digital and media sector in this region and the life chances of local residents" said John Merry in a statement earlier this year "That is to say we are in no way relying on trickle down benefits and we are taking very pro active and deliberate steps to make sure the economic and social benefits are secured.

"In relation to construction opportunities" he explained "we have been clear that it was very important to capture all opportunities available for local people and firms, albeit in the teeth of a global recession when many people were falling out of jobs in construction in the region. We have enjoyed a remarkably strong relationship with Bovis Lend Lease the main contractor on the site, who have a passion for securing local benefits from their investment which they manage rigorously through their sub contractor chain. We have gone as far as creating a joint team, based at the MediaCity UK site offices where Bovis project managers have worked side by side with staff from our local skills and work providers to identify opportunities and work with sub contractors to match people with opportunities.

"A key aspect of the local labour story on site is the massive success we have achieved in ensuring Salford contractors were well equipped to compete for contracts achieved through a range of measures including meet the buyer events and direct support work from Bovis to ensure they met requirements" he added "In the end, Salford firms on site means Salford people on site and the £95m awarded to Salford firms speaks for itself about the success of this work. This dwarfs the level of investment the City Council has put in to MediaCity, and I believe, even at this very early stage, fully justifies the position this council has taken in seeking to secure such a prestigious development for Salford."

For further details of Salford Council's involvement with MediaCityUK click here

Photo by Steven Speed shows ex Labour minister Peter Mandelson on his visit to MediaCityUK before the General Election. Photographed with him are Hazel Blears, John Merry, John Whittaker (Peel Holdings), Bryan Gray (Peel Media), Robert Hough (NWDA) plus three apprentices who had got jobs on the site. When we interviewed them, only one lived in Salford. Further details on the Mandelson visit here



Nachtschlepper wrote
at 11:13:33 AM on Friday, September 10, 2010
Ohh of course, if you are out of work it's your own fault. First you want to shoot the messenger & then you blame people for being out of work in the middle of the biggest financial crash since 1929. You sound like Norman Tebbit's nasty, younger brother.
Mike Skeffington wrote
at 8:52:59 AM on Friday, September 10, 2010
In response to SalfordMonkey. It seems to me that you misunderstand the purpose and intention of the Salford Star magazine. It merely voices the opinions and concerns of ordinary Salford people who would not otherwise get the opportunity to do so. It also informs them of what the council and others are doing to their city in an unbiased way. If you have read any past issues of the Salford Star in print or on line, you would see immediately that the magazine promotes many positive aspects of Salford and it's people. As to the council and Mediacity, well that's another issue. The Salford Star does an excellent job of investigative journalism, informing the public in matters which affect them personally. It also exposes, quite rightfully, any wrongdoings and failures of people with power and influence of which there are very many. The problem with Mediacity is that in the view of very many native Salfordians the hype about the great benefits coming to 'real Salford people' hasn't convinced them. The massive promotion campaign by the council and others emphasised Mediacity's proximity to Manchester, or even worse, sometimes in Manchester. The reluctance of BBC staff to come to Salford didn't help either. The benefits to the BBC and other investors in this project must far outweigh cost, but whether or not the promised benefits come to 'real Salford people' is far from certain.
Steve wrote
at 8:51:38 AM on Friday, September 10, 2010
John's remark about cars with Eastern European number plates in contractor's car parks at MediaCity is an unfortunate indication of the potential prejudice that the Star is in danger of encouraging with its line of Salford jobs for Salford people. Salford is not a self-contained, self-sustaining isolated world of its own. Salford people will get jobs in Salford if, amongst other things, they have the right sort of qualifications and apply for the jobs that are available. They will also get jobs across the borders in Manchester and Trafford. What would be the Star's reaction if a mythical Trafford Herald had a campaign for jobs for Trafford people in the Trafford Centre?
john wrote
at 5:12:17 PM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
no real impact on salfords unemployment . i wonder if this as anything to do with the large amount of eastern european car number plates regularly parked in the contractors car park ?
debbie wrote
at 5:11:56 PM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Errrr Mr Salford Ape, guess what i worked at the Trafford Centre for 5yrs, and the biggest majority of staff did come from Trafford and South Manchester so facts right please
SalfordMonkey wrote
at 1:45:40 PM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Er..."The latest unemployment figures suggest that MediaCityUK is having almost no impact on jobs in Salford." I'd say that's pretty specific. And what do you expect? It isn't open yet. And, even when it is, who says it's going to have a massive impact on the unemployment rate in Salford? Once the place opens there are going to be hundreds of jobs available in many different fields - technical, management, production, service, maintenance. If there truly is no effect on the Salford unemployment rate then I'd suggest it's because the unemployed of Salford haven't applied to work there (Peel, Group 4 and the BBC have been actively recruiting for months now, which has been covered in the press and on their respective jobs pages). Once the retail units are open, and the BBC is in place, and the other offices are occupied, THEN you can look at the unemployment figures and start to make a comparison. What you're doing at the moment is like looking at an unopened section of motorway and saying "look - it's had no effect on the existing traffic flow whatsoever". Incidentally, there has been a massive cash injection from the local Council not because MediaCityUK was somehow going to keep all its jobs for the people of Salford, but because its presence in the city brings with it a raft of other benefits - taxes, promotion, regeneration. Yes, unemployment SHOULD benefit, but for something the size of MediaCityUK you should be looking wider than just the immediate area. This place was built for the benefit of the North, not for the benefit of Salford. If you expect otherwise, then you're only fooling yourself.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 10:46:53 AM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Please read the article before you comment. Where does it say anything about MediaCity being solely for the benefit of Salfordians? All it points out is that Salford's unemployment rate is not follwing national & local trends. If we are being told the truth (oh my aching sides) then unemployment in Salford should be much lower. Furthermore, a huge amount of public money has been invested by the Council. Now I don't know about you Mr Monkey, but if I invest money I'd want something in return.
SalfordMonkey wrote
at 6:28:39 AM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Another Salford Star article putting a downer on MediaCityUK eh? What a surprise. You do know that it's not being built solely for the benefit of Salford don't you? I mean, it is going to employ people from all areas of the North (and - contrary to misguided popular opinion, it isn't going to be full of people moving up from London). It would be really nice to read an article in the S.S. that puts an optimistic spin on MediaCityUK. It might be *in* Salford, but that doesn't mean that Salford gets the lion's share of the benefit. How many people who work at the Trafford Centre live in Trafford?
Carrie Fergus wrote
at 5:07:28 AM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Good luck Catherine in your search.
Catherine Platt wrote
at 4:09:44 AM on Thursday, September 09, 2010
I am seeking employment in the catering department and would welcome any information that would assist me. I hold a Food safety and Hygiene Level 2 (Catering) certificate. I am available for interview at any time. I can provide a CV and references if required. Thank you for reading my enquiry. Kind regards Catherine
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