BBC move to Salford has made 'negligible' impact on Greater Manchester, study finds

'City leaders should not overestimate the economic benefits of moving public sector jobs from London to other parts of the country,' said Paul Swinney, principal economist of Centre for Cities

Alan Jones
Thursday 10 August 2017 14:59 BST
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Many of the new jobs created by the BBC's new MediaCityUK came from displacement of businesses from other parts of Greater Manchester rather than new firms, said the report
Many of the new jobs created by the BBC's new MediaCityUK came from displacement of businesses from other parts of Greater Manchester rather than new firms, said the report (Reuters)

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The economic benefits of moving public sector jobs out of London to other parts of the UK should not be overestimated, according to a study of the BBC’s relocation to Salford.

The corporation’s move led to an employment boom in Salford’s MediaCityUK, with 4,600 new jobs between 2011 and 2016, research by the Centre for Cities think tank found.

But many of the jobs came from displacement of businesses from other parts of Greater Manchester rather than new firms, said the report, adding that the impact of the BBC‘s relocation on the region was “negligible”.

Paul Swinney, principal economist of Centre for Cities, said: “The impact of the BBC’s relocation shows that the Government and city leaders should not overestimate the economic benefits of moving public sector jobs from London to other parts of the country.

“While the BBC’s move has been positive for Greater Manchester in other ways, it has done little to create new jobs across the city region, or to encourage new businesses to set up in the area.

“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.

“More broadly, cities need to weigh up the costs of efforts to attract public bodies and jobs, as these resources might be better used to address skills gaps or improve transport infrastructure instead.”

In a statement to The Independent, a BBC spokesperson said the corporation was "surprised" by the findings of the report.

"The BBC was crucial to the development of MediaCityUK, bringing thousands of jobs, millions of pounds of investment and supporting the wider creative industries," the spokesperson said.

"As well as delivering economic benefits, the goal of our relocation was to better serve northern audiences, support the development of a world-class creative sector in the North, and bring financial benefits to the BBC. By all measures, including economic impact, we are succeeding."

PA

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