Unite, the largest trade union in the UK is reported to have spent circa £100 million on developing a hotel originally budgeted to cost £7 million.
The news broke yesterday evening on Sky News amidst growing questions around how contracts were awarded, and how the cost escalated by more than 1,400%.
As the costs were paid from members funds, a growing number of Unite members as well as Labour MP’s are now asking how the initial budget rocketed to such heights.
The main contract was awarded to a company owned by Paul Flanagan who is a friend of the Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey.
In 2019 the same Paul Flanagan was arrested as part of Operation Aloft, the 15-month investigation looking into agreements between property developers and Liverpool council. In December 2020, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson was also arrested as part of Operation Aloft.
A health and safety contract at the Unite hotel development was awarded to SSC, a company owned by David Anderson, the son of former Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, also arrested as part of Operation Aloft.
Neither the Unite Union or Len McCluskey are in any way linked to or part of the Operation Aloft investigation, or any other police investigations.
The £100 million hotel project in Birmingham was originally intended to save the union on hotel rooms and conference bills, as a new conference centre was added to the original project specification. It will also provide some new offices for Unite.
With so many capable hotel management businesses in the UK with a proven track record in the delivery of such projects, on time and on cost, it is amazing how a project could have gone so incredibly wrong.
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Hospitality & Catering News: Unite Union’s hotel development cost climbs from £7 to £98 million, 1,400% over budget. – 7 April 2021 – Unite Union’s hotel development cost climbs from £7 to £98 million, 1,400% over budget.