Six years after the BBC move to MediaCityUK, Salford people are still waiting for the '15,000 jobs' originally promised in the hype surrounding the move. In 2008 the Salford Star dissected the official statistics from which this figure was born and found it was absolute garbage...
The report that the Star gained access to from the Central Salford URC merely stated that, if all the space at Media City was filled, it would "eventually house 15,000 jobs". Not 'create' 15,000 jobs, but 'house' 15,000 jobs. And that only 3,250 net additional jobs would be created in Salford as a result of the whole of Media City being built – and it's still only half built.*
As everyone in Salford knows, few Salford people have been employed so far at Media City. Even Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, referring to the BBC, pointed out in his mayoral election leaflet that "In the first round of new jobs, only 26 Salfordians were employed there".
And late last year, as Peel Holdings was getting planning permission for its £1billion expansion of the place, Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, told the BBC that there was still "a tale of two cities" within Salford...
"I have always argued about the fact that the majority of jobs at Media City do not go to people from, or who live in Salford" she explained "From the outset this was because many of the media jobs were filled by those relocating from London. However, now, many of the jobs are still being filled by people across the UK rather than homegrown talent."**
Today, a new briefing by the independent think tank, Centre For Cities, backs up this view. While the study specifically focuses on the wider economic and media impact of moving the BBC to Salford, its statistics are telling the same story...that the vast majority of jobs at Media City have merely been 'displaced' from elsewhere, largely from Greater Manchester.
"….of all the businesses in MediaCityUK in 2016 that were not there in 2011,
those in industries in or related to the BBC accounted for around 5,400 jobs" the report states "Of these jobs: 2,000 were from the BBC's national operations; 1,505 were in new branches of existing businesses based elsewhere; 1,040 were in businesses that moved from elsewhere, mainly from elsewhere in Greater Manchester..."
And to underline the point further, re-emphasises "Rather than being 'new' jobs, many of those created in MediaCityUK were simply relocated from elsewhere".***
The study shows that while there have been 340 jobs created in the hotel and hospitality sector, there's also been a loss of 350 jobs in retail. And adds that "While there has clearly been an impact of the BBC move within MediaCityUK, there is little evidence of this stretching much beyond the immediate site..."
In fact, the impact of Media City doesn't even stretch across the road into Ordsall, apart from unaffordable house prices and huge new unaffordable apartment blocks (see here). The working class area of Ordsall is still classed within the 3-7% most deprived areas in the country, while swathes of Langworthy remain within the 1% most deprived areas in England.
To read the full Centre For Cities Briefing – click here
*For the full breakdown see Salford Star print issue 8 – click here for electronic version or click here for shorter article
**See previous Salford Star article – Salford MP Slates Tale of Two Cities - click here
***The original Central Salford URC report reckoned that 7,000 of the 15,000 jobs that would be 'created' via Media City would be spread out over the North West – clearly this has not happened, with firms merely moving into the Quays draining other areas of opportunities (see the Salford Star article in issue 8)