What tangible benefits came from council's trip to the South of France?
Date published: 20 March 2018
MIPIM in Cannes
Having read the article about council executives and two senior councillors attending a four day event in the South of France, a reader sent a letter which explained that the former Leader of the Council attended last year and "would be most interested to hear from the Council what tangible benefits to the borough came from his visit".
We asked the Council and Steve Rumbelow, the Council Chief Executive, responded with a detailed reply, he said: “The council has a vision for creating more jobs and opportunities for its residents and businesses, which means we have to take opportunities to let investors and developers know what is available here now and what is going to be available in the future.
"For far too long Rochdale has lagged behind many other local authority areas; regionally but especially nationally.
"Manchester has one of the bigger city region presences at the event with a number of other local authorities working together to bring investment to Greater Manchester.
"In the past year the council has helped to create hundreds of jobs, attracted millions of pounds of private investment into the borough, filled hundreds of thousands of square feet of employment floor space and generated millions in additional income that is helping to protect other council services.
"None of that happens by standing on the sidelines hoping that something drifts our way by chance.”
We asked if he would be more specific about the "tangible benefits", to be told he would not be "adding to the previous statement".
A number of major organisations pulled out of attending this year. The Guardian reported Coutts, the RBS-owned bank which has served the Queen and every member of the royal family since George IV, pulled out and barred all staff from attending. HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch also withdrew their delegations from the conference.
The Telegraph reported Hermes Real Estate, one of the largest real estate managers in the UK, managing £7.8bn of property, pulled out at a late hour after 'concerns about the prevailing climate'.
Whilst many councils paid for their delegates to attend out of taxpayers money, Rochdale Council said the £20,000 cost of the trip was paid for by sponsors.
However, Southampton Council said it did not consider it "appropriate to accept sponsorship from developers or private companies that we are in discussions with".
It is not known who the generous sponsors of Rochdale Council were because when asked the Council did not supply the names, and has yet to answer a Freeedom of Information request that was subsequently submitted.
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