Manchester Council squanders £425,000 putting on a pop concert

October 11, 2012 10:49 AM

Last month, a most unusual pop concert took place in Manchester, headlined by Grammy Award winner, Alicia Keys. For a start, the gig – MTV Crashes Manchester – took place in the city’s cathedral. But more worryingly, it was entirely funded by taxpayers.

That’s right, despite enjoying the branding of the international music channel MTV, the entire event cost taxpayers through the good offices of Manchester City Council an eye-watering £425,000 (and, believe it or not, some of that came via a European Union budget).

And the council didn’t even sell a single ticket for the concert: all 1,000 places were given away for free. According to the Manchester Evening News, the Council defends the spending on the basis that the event would “showcase Manchester around the world”.

On that basis, can Manchester United now look forward to a big taxpayer subsidy from the council in return for all they do for showcasing the city around the globe? Of course not.

The Manchester Liberal Democrats are absolutely right to be challenging this spending of nearly half a million pounds. Apart from questioning why MTV weren’t paying for the event, it is beyond doubt that private sponsors would have been queuing up to support the event, which people would in turn have paid good money to attend.

When councils are having to make difficult decisions about how to use scarce resources and make savings, Manchester City Council needs to be reassessing its priorities as a matter of urgency if it thinks this spending is justifiable. The BBC is now reporting that the spending is to be investigated by the council's finance scrutiny committee. I look forward to reading its report.Last month, a most unusual pop concert took place in Manchester, headlined by Grammy Award winner, Alicia Keys. For a start, the gig – MTV Crashes Manchester – took place in the city’s cathedral. But more worryingly, it was entirely funded by taxpayers.

That’s right, despite enjoying the branding of the international music channel MTV, the entire event cost taxpayers through the good offices of Manchester City Council an eye-watering £425,000 (and, believe it or not, some of that came via a European Union budget).

And the council didn’t even sell a single ticket for the concert: all 1,000 places were given away for free. According to the Manchester Evening News, the Council defends the spending on the basis that the event would “showcase Manchester around the world”.

On that basis, can Manchester United now look forward to a big taxpayer subsidy from the council in return for all they do for showcasing the city around the globe? Of course not.

The Manchester Liberal Democrats are absolutely right to be challenging this spending of nearly half a million pounds. Apart from questioning why MTV weren’t paying for the event, it is beyond doubt that private sponsors would have been queuing up to support the event, which people would in turn have paid good money to attend.

When councils are having to make difficult decisions about how to use scarce resources and make savings, Manchester City Council needs to be reassessing its priorities as a matter of urgency if it thinks this spending is justifiable. The BBC is now reporting that the spending is to be investigated by the council's finance scrutiny committee. I look forward to reading its report.

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