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SALFORD COUNCIL REFUSES TO REVEAL WHO PAID FOR CITY MAYOR TRIP TO SOUTH OF FRANCE
 

Star date: 19th June 2018

COUNCIL BLOCKS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST ON 4,000 MIPIM TRIP

Salford City Council has refused to answer a Salford Star Freedom of Information request on which private company paid the 4,022 costs for City Mayor Paul Dennett and two staff to go to the South of France for the MIPIM property event.

The Council states that "the commercial interests of the Council outweigh that of the public interest in disclosure". The Salford Star is to appeal the decision.

Full details here...


Back in March, Salford City Paul Dennett and two Council officers - Chief Executive Jim Taylor and Head of Development, Shelagh McNerney went off to the MIPIM property orgy in Cannes, to launch the Crescent Masterplan.

At the time, residents and community groups were furious that the Masterplan had been launched without any consultation whatsoever, while a trip to the South of France mingling with millionaires like Tom Bloxham and Gary Neville was insensitive to say the least as poverty continues to grow in the city (see previous Salford Star article click here).

The Salford Star immediately put in a Freedom of Information request to find the costs of the trip. A reply was received stating that the total cost was 4,022.42 (Transport 1,987.66; Hotels 1,943.69 and Expenses 91.07) and that "All costs in attending have been covered through private sector contributions".

The Star put in a further Freedom of Information request asking which 'private sector' companies paid those costs. Yesterday the Council responded by blocking that request, insisting that "the commercial interests of the Council outweigh that of the public interest in disclosure, as release of this information would undermine the Council's trading position" and "would prejudice the Council's commercial interests...

"Having considered if release of this information would prejudice the Council's commercial interests, we are of the view that in this case it would, given that the authority are competing in a commercial capacity" the Council sniffed.

"We have considered the public interest in disclosure, that being the accountability and transparency of decisions made and the spending of public money" it added "However, we feel in this case that the commercial interests of the Council outweigh that of the public interest in disclosure, as release of this information would undermine the Council's trading position. We believe that the Council has a right to compete in the commercial arena without compromise to its position in the same way as private commercial companies."

The Salford Star believes that the release of such information is very much in the public interest. If the 'private sector contributions' are from developers that are being given favourable planning conditions in the city then these details need to be exposed. The Salford Star is appealing the decision.

Meanwhile, Salford City Council insists that it is a 'Transparent and effective organisation'...

Update: 21st June: Salford Council spent 5,750 on PR for MIPIM - click here


See previous Salford Star article on the Crescent Masterplan launch: Soul Not For Sale click here

See also previous Salford Star article: Salford Council Declares Transparency Despite Everything Being Secret click here

Bob the regular wrote
at 06:14:08 on 25 June 2018
A good journalist should be like a good barrister , and should only ask questions that they already know the answer to. I have a strong feeling that the editor knows the answer to this one, but being the upstanding journal this is ,he will wait until the appeal is heard and the council have to tell him. The greater height the shit falls from when it lands on their heads,the better the effect will be. This will be a good one.

Salford Star wrote
at 20:24:50 on 24 June 2018
See Rossi's comment below...No you weren't censored - your comment just got lost in the tsunami of spam we're getting since we removed the code you have to add. No-one gets censored on the Star unless its the obvious libel, racism etc - or completely off topic

Philip Giuseppe Rossi, The Broadwalk ... wrote
at 20:18:19 on 24 June 2018
Have I been banned, Steve? Has old Philo Rossi been censored for having an opinion? If the answer's yes, then so be it. No body reads the Star anyway. It's small potatos. What saddens me just a little, is your lack of democratic spirit. It's pathetic. You come over as a rebel without a cause who is fuelled purely by an irrational hatred of Salford Labour and its democratically elected Mayor. No wonder they won't speak with you. You need to get rid of the chip on your shoulder and grow up. This is the real world that we're living in, not some fantasy Marxist utopia that you probably subscribe to.

Stewart Eon wrote
at 14:26:29 on 23 June 2018
Honest and above board ? When have the Swinetown Mafia ever done anything Honest and above board ?

Felsey wrote
at 07:04:39 on 22 June 2018
Well done in getting someone to foot the bill. But do not be shy. Tell us who, print the letter of funding agreement, show us the report back to the sponsors. There is no problem with Salford Council going public on the facts because the sponsorship was not for the individuals it was surly for our publicly owned council staff whoever is in the post. Be open and enjoy letting us thank the Salford Council sponsors for giving a helping hand.

wrote
at 07:03:28 on 22 June 2018
If it was all honest and above board, then you would think that they would be happy to tell you who paid for the trip.However, they haven't. There seems to be a built in contempt for Salfordians by the council and the stalling tactic of making nearly everything have to go through a complaints panel or other body to get information is very disturbing. No doubt Rossi will be defending them again and also telling us it was Dennett in a Harry Kane mask who scored the winning goal the other night ;-)

Salford lad wrote
at 07:02:22 on 22 June 2018
Rossi whilst Dennet may be working his arse off he needs to try harder as clearly he as his predecessors continue to fail this City and keep their snouts in the trough!

Philip Giuseppe Rossi, The Broadwalk ... wrote
at 08:38:16 on 21 June 2018
Retired Socialist, I'm getting bored now, reading your sniping comments about Mayor Paul. Can't you change the record? It is just the same old thing all of the time. You seem obsessed with Mayor Paul. To my mind this is very unhealthy. If you believe that you could do a better job, then stand for Mayor next time around. I suspect that you'll get less votes than O'Neil's 130 in Swinton South.

Retired Socialist wrote
at 17:34:40 on 20 June 2018
What we are looking at bob is one more champagne socialist talks the talk but basically puts two fingers up to the rest of us. There all the same seen In may then spends the rest of the time screwing the arse out of the system. Relaying on His love Child Mr Rossi for support.

Bob the regular wrote
at 15:48:27 on 20 June 2018
What were doing here is hanging a man for alledgedly traveling by taxi after repeatedly telling his subjects to travel by public transport, without him giving his side of the story. what we should do is listen to his side of the story,find him guilty,then hang him. Whatever way you look at it,the fastest,greenest and cheapest way for Dennett to get to the airport is by train. By the way 660 each airfare looks a bit like buiness class to me .

Disgusted Dave wrote
at 08:34:20 on 20 June 2018
So why do local authorities like Salford have "commercial interests", i thought they were there to provide services to local people who fund them though council tax, it sickens me to see Salford's Labour Cllrs shout about the Tories when they often behave worse than them. Shame, Shame, Shame on you Salford council.

Dave wrote
at 08:33:37 on 20 June 2018
Flights a bit dear,but if they had 3 rooms for 4 nights thats about 180 a night per room. In Cannes that buys you just about the local boarding house. South of France is a big rip off. Thing is though, what were our three musketeers doing while they were there, were they running a salford stand at the exibition, showing delegates the attractions of our wonderful city? If so who paid for that? exibition stands are very expensive.

Philip Giuseppe Rossi, The Broadwalk ... wrote
at 08:32:37 on 20 June 2018
Salford Lad, just be quiet, okay. Four grand for a Council junket is not a lot of money. Paul works his arse off for this City. Yet you, Salford Lad seem to begrudge Paul travelling by taxi. OOOOoooooooohhhhh the expense ... he went by taxi .... how outrageous. He should have gone by bus, or pushbike; or just walked. Grow up, and stop begrudging the Mayor of this City a few minor perks. Grow Up!

Salford lad wrote
at 14:02:58 on 19 June 2018
I would be interested to know what the 91 pound expenses were. I bet the6 got taxis instead of public transport. No doubt the 200k per year City Director creepy JimTaylor had a part in making the decision not to disclose the commercial interest. I suspec5 either Peel or Neville were the possible backers.

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