Trade fair branded a party for fat cats
A trade fair in the south of France attended by four delegates from Bath and North East Somerset Council has been branded as a council fat cats party by a Sunday newspaper.
According to B&NES, its representatives attend the event in Cannes to gain access to more than 20,000 people with interests in commercial development and investment.
But while the council said it had been a success, a report on the front page of the Sunday Express claimed that an army of publicly funded fat cats had spent days wining and dining property tycoons at MiPIM 2012.
B&NES was among 41 councils and other publicly funded bodies from the UK at the event.
The report, under the headline "Tycoons, hookers and our council fat cats party in Cannes", said that while there was no suggestion that any British delegates were involved, high-class prostitutes were seen talking to other representatives.
According to the paper's Whitehall editor Ted Jeory, in one hour's observation of the B&NES stand two people stopped – to collect free mints.
The entry ticket to the Palais des Festivals conference centre was £1,400 a head.
A spokesman for the council said: "The stand at MIPIM – at which hundreds of people visited the four seminars the council hosted and one-to-one meetings that we held with more than 100 people from the development industry and funders to that industry – were extremely successful. The council estimates the cost of sending (and returning) the officials was less than £500."
Before delegates left for Cannes the council said they hoped to establish new links which would open up possibilities for the development of sites along the River Avon in Bath, as well in Keynsham and the Somer Valley. It saw it as a way forward with plans to secure 9,300 new jobs and 11,500 new homes in the next 15 years.
The council also said that it would be working with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to promote the west as a whole.
Source: This is Somerset