Archive | October, 2017

An Olympic-sized black hole

17 Oct

The London Stadium

Tomorrow (Wednesday 18 October) the Budget Monitoring Sub-Committee of the London Assembly will question the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and GLA representatives on the long-term financial sustainability of the London Stadium.

They will ask if it Is fundamentally un-profitable and try to find out what has happened to Sadiq Khan’s investigation into the Stadium.

The discussion will include the Stadium itself, the cultural and education district, affordable housing and overall financial sustainability.

The meeting starts at 2.30pm in The Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1) and is open to the public and media. It will also be streamed live via webcast and YouTube.

Papers for the meeting are available online.

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Man overboard

11 Oct

Council CEO Kim Bromley-Derry has been re-arranging the executive deckchairs at Newham Dockside:

A few weeks back I announced my new executive leadership arrangements which took effect immediately. The executive team includes myself supported by Nick Bracken, Grainne Siggins and Deborah Hindson. 

The executive leadership is supported by a wider team of current and new Directors. This new Strategic Leadership Team provides us with the skills and experience necessary to drive through our transformation agenda, the principles of our new operating model and deliver the savings required of us this year and in the years ahead. Details of the full leadership arrangements are attached. I would like to offer my congratulations to Jane Sherwood in her new role as Interim Director of Regeneration and Planning to replace Deirdra Armsby who has joined Westminster City Council. 

I have every confidence in our Strategic Leadership Team to continue delivering the services that matter most to our residents and achieving the political outcomes and priorities of our Mayor Sir Robin Wales and Members. The strategic leadership team will meet on a regular basis.

One notable absentee from the ‘Executive Leadership Team’ is Douglas Trainer. Mr Trainer previously combined the role of Assistant Chief Executive (Strategic Services) with being the Labour group’s part-time PR flak.

Now he appears on the organisation chart with the reduced title of Director of Customer and Strategic Services, reporting to former plod Nick Bracken, the COO. How odd.

What has the poor fellow done to deserve demotion?

Less than zero

9 Oct

Not paying a penny

West Ham United has yet to hand over a penny in business rates for its London Stadium home, according to a report in London freesheet City AM.

Some 16 months after settling into what was called Olympic Stadium, the body responsible for setting UK business rates is yet to decide whether the Premier League club must pay anything, the Press Association first reported.

Earlier this year it was revealed that West Ham only had to pay rates on retail and office space it lets, rather than the entire stadium. This left landlord E20 Stadium to foot the remainder of annual £2.3m business rate bill. (emphasis added)

West Ham’s annual rent for the stadium is £2.5 million a year (halved if the club is relegated from the Premier League).

Newham loaned £40 million to the stadium partnership to help meet the cost of turning it into a football ground. The hope was that future profits would repay the loan and more. That loan has since been ‘impaired’ and the council’s finance director estimates its current value as zero. It will almost certainly never be repaid.

Adding insult to injury, a multi-millionaire owned football club, playing in the world’s richest league, is having its business rates paid by taxpayers too.

UPDATE

One of the supposed benefits of Newham ‘investing’ in the stadium was the prospect of jobs for local residents. ‘Up to 75%’ of new jobs created would go to local people, they mayor claimed.

A recent FOI response shows what a dismal failure this has been (percentages added):

The total number of jobs created at the stadium currently is 1,531 jobs. The number of Newham residents employed on full time contracts is 15 out of 70 jobs (21.4%) and the number of Newham residents employed on casual contracts is 469 out of 1,461 jobs (32.1%).

15 full-time jobs and 469 casual jobs. For £40 million.