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Posted by: John Brace | 29th August 2014

Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?

Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?

                                                                  

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Previously I reported on this blog about the Chief Executive’s email to councillors inviting them to the recent Open Golf tournament. It was a slow news day then and I really didn’t think there would be the interest in it there was.

Since then, a number of people have made various Freedom of Information requests as there was scepticism from some people that the stated reasons given by Wirral Council’s press office applied to everyone that Wirral Council invited. In case you missed it here’s a transcript of what was said back then and Cllr Walter “I must say I enjoyed lavish hospitality” Smith’s take on it.

A partial list of those invited by Wirral Council has been released, however they’re holding some names back because of commercial negotiations.

The original response from Wirral Council stated was the purpose of inviting these organisations was “to attend key business days, which are aiming to attract significant inward investment into the area.”

Firstly, I am puzzled as to why Wirral Council have invited the local press (no Leonora and I weren’t invited so we happily report on this without any conflict of interest) as the local press could’ve applied for press passes for the tournament from the Open Golf’s organisers. The press in the list are the Daily Mirror (for three days), Sky, Liverpool Echo, Wirral Globe, Radio Merseyside and an entry just mysteriously put down as “press”. Why pay for tickets for these organisations when the conference organisers could’ve quite easily given them tickets instead as they were press?

Wirral Council also invited the Bishop of Birkenhead, High Sheriff of Merseyside, Esther McVey MP and guest and Jacqueline Foster MEP and guest.

Yes, a Labour Council using public money to invite Esther McVey to the golf (who let’s face it can afford to pay for her own ticket) isn’t likely to go down well with the unions, who were outside the very same tournament conducting a high profile protest calling for Esther McVey to be sacked (accompanied with a seven foot inflatable rat).

Other names on the list are Weightmans Lawyers and Grant Thornton. Weightmans Lawyers are a form of solicitors that Wirral Council spent £198,043.55 with in the last financial year, Grant Thornton are Wirral Council’s auditors and are paid large sums of money by Wirral Council too.

Neither of those two seem likely to suddenly decide to create hundreds of jobs on the Wirral and they already do nicely enough out of the taxpayer to afford their own tickets to the golf!

Sainsburys was also invited along to the golf too. Yes Sainsburys do employ people on the Wirral, but I’ve heard nothing about a flurry of new stores being opened providing new jobs, have you?

Nearby councils such as Knowsley, Chester West and Chester as well as the Department for Communities and Local Government were also invited. So were Lord and Lady Hunt of Wirral and the Isle of Man Government.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some names on the list DONG Energy (involved in offshore wind farms), General Motors (UK & Ireland) and organisations such as these, Wirral Council are obviously trying to persuade to make inward investment on the Wirral to create jobs. Employment is needed on the Wirral and I’m sure not many would criticise Wirral Council for making genuine attempts to increase local employment.

However there are also a bunch of organisations on the list that it is difficult to ascertain why they were there such as “Future of the North Conference” (that puzzles me perhaps as much as it puzzles you) and “Mere Brook House” (a B&B on the Wirral).

At this time, when Wirral Council is planning on shedding about five hundred staff, there’s a meeting coming up to discuss the possible closure of Lyndale School and Wirral Council spent at least £754,783.18 on its own councillors this is money spent on hospitality for many individuals and organisations that could have easily afforded to pay for themselves. This is at the same time that Wirral Council is dragging the poor through the Magistrates Court for unpaid council tax, when people are evicted because they can’t afford the bedroom tax*/spare room subsidy* (*delete as applicable depending on political preference) and is this really what the public expect of a Labour administration who proudly state on their election leaflets they are socialists?

Or would “champagne socialist” be the way that those more critical of Wirral Council’s political class would describe it? In case you missed it here’s the link to the list of councillors and organisations/people that went to the golf. And doesn’t it just sum it all up when the “open and transparent” Council state “Some organisations have not been included on these lists due to ongoing commercial negotiations between Wirral Council and the organisations in question”. Oh really! So that implies Wirral Council are giving out gifts and expecting something in return!?

As usual your comments on this are much appreciated. Below is the list of 108 people/organisations that Wirral Council invited (if you want to see the list of councillors just follow the link above). Some I’ve never heard of so if you have any further information on who or what they are, please leave a comment.

Bibby Marine Ltd
British Chamber of Commerce
British Slovenian Chamber
Caldy Golf Club
Contact Group
Contemdum
CPL Training
Daily Mirror
DTZ
Helms Briscoe
Hermes
International Festival of Business
Sun Valley
IPW
KMGC Golf Consultancy  
KPMG
Liverpool Chamber
Mere Brook House
Mersey Rural Leader
Merseyside Convention Bureau
Neptune Developments
Osiris Projects
Oxygen 8
PNH Consultancy
Regen Europe.
River Rich Media LLP
Sainsburys
Saudi British Joint Business Council
Sky
Solar Consulting Australia
Sovex
Stonegate Pub Company
Thwaites
UK Regeneration
Weightmans Laywers
Wirral Food Drink Partnership
World Corporate Games
All Our Bars
Beeline Ltd
Cammell Laird
Clear Edge Filtration Ltd.
Coca Cola UK
CPL Training
Daily Mirror
DONG Energy
Future of The North Conference
Grant Thornton
Havas Lynx
IoM Government
Keel Toys
Land & Marine
Insider
Osiris Projects
Rakuten
River Island
TecnoForm Associates‎ Ltd
Thorley Taverns
Wainwright and Gibson
Weightmans Lawyers
Aberdeen Asset Management
Bentley Motors
Briggs Automotive Company
Contact Company
Daily Mirror
DC Consulting
General Motors UK & Ireland
Havas Lynx
Hotel Bookings.com
IDH
JLR
Liverpool Echo
Marketing Liverpool
McLaren
Music Magpie
Oxygen 8
Pageant of Power
Palmer and Harvey
Press
Programme Direct UTV
Rakuten
Sainsburys
Shannon Airport
Toyota
Trimtech
Unipart
Wirral Chamber
Bentley Motors
Bishop of Birkenhead
Consul General of China
Dept for Communities
General Motors UK & Ireland
High Sheriff of Merseyside
Lord and Lady Hunt of Wirral
Knowsley Council
Cheshire West & Chester Council
LEP
Liverpool Echo
Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside
Mayoress of Wirral
McLaren
Jacqueline Foster MEP and guest
Merseytravel
Esther McVey MP and guest
Radio Merseyside
St Helens Council
Wirral Globe
Wirral Met College

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Responses

  1. John I am sure you do to get my blood boiling well you have yet again I am afraid. God only knows how much this has cost Wirral ratepayers its as if the open the till draw spend, spend, spend make then make 500 plus people redundant & could not give a flying#### as to the ratepayers.
    The sooner they are keepers of the public purse & not squander our repeat our money on jollies the better
    You are quite right using the term champagne socialists because that is what they are feeding a the council trough at our expense & the sooner something is done about it the better but this I fear may be wishful thinking.

    • Sorry yes, the next time I write I’ll think, “What would this do to Mr. Hardaker’s blood pressure?” 🙂 In answer to your question about cost of the Open Golf tickets, there have been answers provided to FOI requests, but whether this amount was for councillors, others or both I’m have to go back and check but one of the amounts given was in the £17k area.

      When I was writing it I thought “champagne socialists” might be being a little overly critical, the next article I was writing was about Lyndale which may explain the tone I used.

      I’ve got plenty more invoices I could publish that would probably make your blood boil, but yes, all spending is under scrutiny and there will soon be another consultation on officer’s options for budget cuts.

  2. I thank you john for your due diligence as without people like your good self they would get away with murder or worse like the Rochdale debacle where again there appears to be a huge cover up. I have long since lost my faith in councillors, officers who cover each others backs & lie &cover their many faults.

    • Well, thanks for your comment.

      Despite a few “bad apples” most that want to become politicians or work in public service try and act in the public interest.

      Sadly too often many politicians have in the past opted for a cover up rather than having the public learn what has happened. As to faults, well everyone has them including myself!

      The press can only do so much…

  3. ” Due Diligence ” Goods Words

    • Stephen keep reading john’s blogs it well keep you informed as to what’s going on in the clown hall also follow Wirral leaks & what do they know with paul cardin you will be enlightened cheers john hardaker.

      • Thanks for the recommendation.

    • It shouldn’t really be for me to point these matters out though, but yes it was a nice compliment of the other John on this comment thread.

  4. Thanks for the tip jonathan.

    • You can get an email each time something new is published here (as with other blogs) if you wish.


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