Labour-run Blackpool Council is to spend £14 million for the construction of a four star hotel. They hope to get the money back eventually if it makes a profit.
I wonder what the Labour leader Ed Milband makes of it. In his tribute to Margaret Thatcher he said:
“She was right to understand the sense of aspiration felt by people across the country, and she was right to recognise that our economy needed to change. She said in 1982:
“How absurd it will seem in a few years’ time that the state ran Pickfords removals and the Gleneagles Hotel.”
“She was right.”
I suppose Blackpool Council won’t actually run their hotel themselves. Some committee of councillors will sit down and approve a deal with a commercial hotel operator.
The council’s idea is that having this four star hotel will attract swanky executives to hold conferences – and that once a conference is taking place in the town the more modest hotels would also benefit as the frugal businessmen slum it in three star hotels.
Claire Smith, president of the hoteliers’ organisation StayBlackpool, feels the decision is mistaken.
“The conference accommodation offer has never been criticised, it always was the conference facilities that they were going on about.
“Had it been a five-star hotel, that would add to Blackpool and we would have been in favour of it.”
Not that I would favour the state opening five star hotels either. This is an area best left to the market. If the councillors in Blackpool are so confident a good profit is to be made out of a new hotel let them invest their own money.
If the council want to help, they should keep the streets clean. If they really have a spare £14 million to throw around they should cut Business Rates – that would help restaurants and hotels in Blackpool to compete with the rest of the country.