Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?
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
International Festival of Business
KMGC Golf Consultancy
Mere Brook House
Mersey Rural Leader
Merseyside Convention Bureau
River Rich Media LLP
Saudi British Joint Business Council
Solar Consulting Australia
Stonegate Pub Company
Wirral Food Drink Partnership
World Corporate Games
All Our Bars
Clear Edge Filtration Ltd.
Coca Cola UK
Future of The North Conference
Land & Marine
TecnoForm Associates Ltd
Wainwright and Gibson
Aberdeen Asset Management
Briggs Automotive Company
General Motors UK & Ireland
Pageant of Power
Palmer and Harvey
Programme Direct UTV
Bishop of Birkenhead
Consul General of China
Dept for Communities
General Motors UK & Ireland
High Sheriff of Merseyside
Lord and Lady Hunt of Wirral
Cheshire West & Chester Council
Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside
Mayoress of Wirral
Jacqueline Foster MEP and guest
Esther McVey MP and guest
St Helens Council
Wirral Met College
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