Tag Archives: West Ham United

Value for money?

24 May

By Iain Aitch

Is £4m per job good value for our money, Sir Robin?

The recent raids by HMRC at the London Stadium (Olympic Stadium in old money) may have had some Newham residents worrying about their £40m investment in West Ham’s new ground. The council tax-payer’s hard earned cash is due to be paid back over the next 40 years, but you may well wonder what we are getting for our investment, bar a few free tickets for Mayor Sir Robin Wales and his cabinet. 

With this in mind, I set about composing a Freedom of Information request, basing my questions on the promises made by the council. They were not forthcoming on the number of free tickets handed out, promising the information on the 100,000 promised would be made public at the end of the football season (which has already passed). 

But what was most interesting was the promise around jobs. The council promised up to 75% of jobs at the stadium would go to local residents. The reality is, ahem, somewhat different and wholly disappointing. The actual number is 20%. And full time jobs? Just 10 (ten). I make that 0.8% of total jobs at London Stadium. 

That makes £4m of investment per job. Of 1,207 jobs in total, this 10 is in addition to 253 Newham-ites on casual contracts. A pathetic return and, if chatter amongst old hands is anything to go by, this number may be reduced radically next season. 

You can see the FOI and stats for yourself here (HTML) or here (PDF).

Iain Aitch is an author and journalist who lives in Newham. He has written for the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and Financial Times.

West Ham tickets – who’s getting them?

11 Oct

From the ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ website:

More than half the free tickets for West Ham United home matches distributed by Newham Council have gone to their own employees, it has been claimed.

From a total of 5,970 tickets handed out thus far by the Council as part of their arrangement with West Ham, just 2,728 reached members of the local community – with the remaining 3,242 being allocated to employees of Newham Council, according to a KUMB source.

The 3,242 tickets snapped up by Newham employees were used for the Europa League qualifiers against Domzale (1,433 tickets) and Astra Giurgiu (1,010) plus the recent EFL Cup tie with Accrington Stanley (799) – resulting in 55 per cent of the available tickets intended for local residents going to unnamed Council workers.

“Newham previously stated that ‘the tickets are used to reward residents for being active and resilient members of the community’,” said the source. 

“Lead councillors for each of our community neighbourhoods will have a role in managing these rewards, and settling the criteria for distributing tickets to their residents who are making a contribution to their community. 

“Why is it, that in each of the three games referred to, there were more tickets given to Newham Council staff than went to those ‘active and resilient members of the community’?”

Those ‘free’ tickets are among the supposed benefits of the £40 million ‘loan’ the council made to help cover the enormous cost of making the stadium ready for multi-millionaire-owned West Ham United.

Can anyone at the council explain this?

Poodle

2 Jun

2014 06 02 08 45 00

I got back from holiday last night to find this waiting on my doormat. I gather a number of my neighbours have also received copies.

I’ve no idea who’s behind this, or the similar one that appeared just before the election, but they have quite an imagination!

A good year

4 Jan

Ironic lectern caption for a woman who has just been handed a new stadium for free

2013 was a very good year – for Karren Brady.

In March the business she runs, West Ham United FC, was handed prime tenancy of a £600 million public asset in exchange for a peppercorn rent and some vague promises about community engagement.

At the same time, Newham council confirmed that it will contribute £40 million to the cost of converting the stadium for the Hammers’ use – ensuring that Ms Brady and her multi-millionaire employers will bear the merest fraction of the expense of relocating their business to swanky new premises.

In September she received a standing ovation at the Tory party conference when she made a speech introducing chancellor George Osborne,

And to top it all off in December she was awarded a CBE for her “for services to entrepreneurship and women in business.”

Usually, people who rely on public money to get by are branded ‘scroungers’ by the Tories; but when it’s handed out to business people they get standing ovations and medals for ‘entrepreneurship’.

A question of priorities

15 Oct

This year’s exam paper for prospective Labour party candidates in Newham has come light. Here is one of the questions:

You have a choice about where to spend council taxpayers’ money. Do you:

  1. Invest £40 million in the already publicly-owned Olympic stadium so that the multi-millionaire owners of West Ham United can move their football club, which competes in the world’s richest league, into swanky new premises; or
  2. Spend £41,000 to support an innovative hostel for single mothers that provides tailored help as well as shelter to homeless young women in the borough?

Candidates who answered (1), congratulations! You clearly understand the Mayor’s priorities. Your prize is a place on the ballot in next year’s elections and a tidy £10,800 a year in allowances.

If you answered (2), please leave your party membership card at the door on your way out. Newham Labour is no place for the likes of you.