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Though the management company that oversees the developments booked 10.1 million pounds of rental income in 2021 (just over $12 million), the researchers found that because its ultimate owner is a holding company based in Jersey, it paid only 4,000 pounds in corporation taxes.
“Our assessment of the Manchester Life development is that Manchester City Council ‘sold the family silver too cheap,’” the researchers concluded.
That is particularly damaging, they said, in light of the “reputational risks” for lawmakers in a British city becoming sufficiently entwined with a group backed by the elite of an autocratic state, one described by Amnesty International as one of the “most brutal police states in the Middle East.” In recent years, countries like Russia, China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all been accused of using money and influence, in sports in particular, as a way to “wash” their reputations. But investments in property and other ventures, and the people that enable them, also have drawn scrutiny.
“Longer-term, it raises questions about what values, and whose values, the city represents,” the researchers wrote of the land deals approved by the Manchester council, adding: “This is important because Manchester is heralded as an urban regeneration model that other authorities should follow, but if that model is built upon attracting developers in the short term by selling access to its assets at a discount, then that may not be a sound and sustainable model for others.”
Report Questions Links Between Manchester, the City, and Manchester City – iNow
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