Tuesday 27 November 2012

Costa fortune - part two

Must just briefly revisit an earlier post (see Costa fortune) about the Council's decision to give £20,000 to the new Odeon cinema in Llanelli towards the 3D sound system. I said that I hadn't seen it on any agendas or minutes, well, after some extensive digging, I have now found it.

As I have said before, the agendas for Executive Board Member Decision meetings are not currently published until a week or so after the event, along with the minutes.

Meryl Gravell is the Executive Board Member for 'Regeneration' and at this particular meeting back in September it was decided to give 'O.C. Ltd' £20,000 to '..help create sustainable employment opportunities within the county', can't quite see how it fits the remit but there you go. The decision was 'exempt' from the press and public (although no one was aware the meeting was taking place anyway) so as not to reveal business interests. Sometimes this is perfectly understandable, but what about this case? The reason for the exemption was;

'...the public interest in transparency and accountability is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining confidentiality, as disclosure of this information would be likely to damage the applicant at this stage.'

Odeon Cinemas Ltd, or 'O.C Ltd', has a current net worth of £191,481,000. The Council, on the other hand, has to make savings of at least £16m over the next three years and is, apparently, strapped for cash. Would disclosure of information have damaged the Odeon? I think not. It might have made the council a little uncomfortable though as I am sure there are many local businesses in Llanelli in far greater need of a helping hand than the Odeon.

Surely it wasn't just to have the council named on the little plaque was it?


nospin said...

I genuinely believe it was NOT for the little plaque with their name.

However I bet there was a nice brunch of some sort after.

complimentary tickets for exec council members? or is that being a cynic.

Anna Mosity said...

I am sure Private Eye will love this one, but how does the WAG local Government Minister feel about it?

Unfortunately I bet all he would ask is "what did you get for brunch?".

Cneifiwr said...

Odeon cinemas are owned by Terra Firma Capital Partners, a large private equity group. For 2011 Odeon reported a 12% rise in turnover to £725m and a 12% rise in profits to £103m.

Without the council chipping in, it is hard to see how they could have afforded the sound system, isn't it?