Birmingham Council spent £52,000 on failed Channel 4 bid - revealed

Birmingham Council spent £52,000 on failed Channel 4 bid – revealed

Birmingham City Council spent £52,000 on the failed Channel 4 bid, the leader has confirmed.

Cllr Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) responded to his now infamous interview with the BBC last week where he could not state how much the authority had contributed to the bid – which ultimately saw Leeds triumph as the chosen city for the media giant’s new headquarters.

Addressing the council chamber during full council earlier today (Tuesday), he clarified that the authority spent £52,000 towards the region’s total £282,000 drive.

Cllr Ward described the interview as ‘an unusual experience’ comparing it to an ‘out-take’ before congratulating Leeds as well as Bristol and Glasgow where Channel 4 is to establish creative hubs.

He added: “These are large sums of money. In entering any bidding process you have to spend money and there is a risk that money will not always provide a return.

“We won the bid to host the Commonwealth Games but in this instance we were not successful bid.

“I think back 18 months when we were bidding for the Games, Coventry was bidding for the City of Culture and we were also bidding for Channel 4.

“At the time people did not believe we would win all three of them and that is what’s happened.

“But I will say that two out of three ain’t bad.”




Who is to blame?

However Cllr Gary Sambrook (Cons, Kingstanding) criticised the leader for trying to blame the unsuccessful campaign on Tory West Midlands Mayor Andy Street who spearheaded the process.

He said: “It is an overriding characteristic of this administration that they always manage to find someone else to blame.”

Cllr Ward added: “Let’s be clear, when you set out on things and you put yourself forward to be leader, you have to, at the end of the process, stand up and explain, and be accountable for the success and failure.

“Had we not been successful in the Commonwealth Games bid, no doubt I would have to stand here while questions are fired at me.

“I have made my position clear. The mayor put himself at the head of the bid and if questions are to be asked he should be the one to answer them.

“Channel 4 offered a debrief, the mayor should explain to the people of West Midlands what went wrong and why in the end we didn’t win.”

It is understood that Mr Street is to provide feedback to all those involved in the bid and the region’s creative community later this week.

He had described Channel 4’s decision as a ‘huge disappointment’.

How was the money spent?

The bid was funded in three phases.

A total of £100,000 was spent initially in April in response to Channel 4’s brochure, which was split equally between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP).

In June a further £62,000 was spent on a formal pitch, split five ways between WMCA, GBSLEP, CWLEP, Birmingham City Council (BCC) and Coventry City Council (CCC)

Then in August another £120,000 was spent on a formal bid as part of the advanced negotiations, divided equally between WMCA, GBSLEP and BCC.

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