In Brief

BBC move has 'negligible' impact on Manchester

Relocation created less than a third of promised 15,000 jobs, says Centre for Cities

Relocating parts of the BBC out of London has generated only "negligible" economic benefits for the Greater Manchester region, according to a report produced by the Centre for Cities think-tank.

It claims that less than a third of the promised 15,000 jobs have been created at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays. Most of these are made up of staff moving from London.

A quarter of the 4,600 new roles are accounted for by "creative firms from other parts of the region moving, with jobs in the media falling in other parts of Greater Manchester", says the Manchester Evening News

As for jobs in other sectors like retail and hospitality, the Centre for Cities says a mere 340 roles were created in bars, restaurants and hotels – and that the number working in retail outlets in the area has fallen.

The BBC says the report suggests the "economic benefits of moving public sector jobs out of London should not be overestimated".

Paul Swinney, the principal economist for the group, says that while the move has been "positive for Greater Manchester in other ways", it has done "little" to create jobs or businesses.

He adds: "The lesson for cities bidding to be the new home of Channel 4 is that if they are successful, they should not expect to see a major boost to their economies beyond the jobs that the relocation would directly bring." 

Local leaders immediately hit back at the claims.

Sean Anstee, leader of Trafford council and the region's head of employment and skills, points out that 55,000 people are now employed in "creative and digital" sectors in the region and that they are worth £3.1bn a year.

That's double the value generated back in 2010 before the BBC move began, says Anstee, adding: "This is a British success story, and the BBC's move here has been a central part of that." 

Salford council leader Paul Dennett says MediaCityUK is "much more than the BBC", pointing out that the 1,600 start-ups formed in the area over the past year rank it in the top five new business hotspots nationally. 

The BBC press office said it was "surprised" by the report "as all other independent assessments of the BBC's move to Salford have recognised the considerable benefit of the move, not just to the immediate MediaCityUK area, but to the wider economy of Greater Manchester and the North West".

It said the corporation had been "crucial to the development of MediaCityUK, bringing thousands of jobs, millions of pounds of investment and supporting the wider creative industries".

Mike Blackburn, chairman of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership went further. "Quite frankly a report that says the BBC has not had a positive impact on Greater Manchester is ridiculous," he said.

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