One of the fastest-growing petitions in recent weeks has been this effort to stop millions of pounds in government funds being handed over to Tottenham Hotspur FC.
You can view it here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/14605
Spurs recently announced annual revenue of £163.5m, a significant chunk of which they spend paying their squad of millionaire footballers.
Yet having launched a strong campaign to take over the (tax-funded) Olympic stadium in Stratford, the club is now set to receive a large taxpayer “incentive” to build themselves a new stadium in Tottenham.
The riots, which began in Tottenham, are being used as a justification for the funding, which apparently involves “regenerating” the area.
Regardless of the flaws in believing that areas are reformed by chucking a load of cash at them from elsewhere (they aren’t), one must ask if this is the best way of improving the outlook for young people in the neighbourhood.
Is throwing money at the nearest football club, which actually wanted to leave the area, the best way of helping local people?
And if any regeneration is good for impoverished areas, why doesn’t the government fund all private developments in poor neighbourhoods? What about Tesco? They bring jobs to poor areas when the open new stores. What about Lidl and Morrisons? Who decides on the alleged social benefits of each new scheme?
And why weren’t other football clubs subsidised for bringing jobs to their areas when they build new stadia? Down the road, Arsenal invested hundreds of millions on a new stadium and had to build masses of affordable flats and help fund a new recycling centre and put money aside for public transport improvements.
Why did they have to pay the state millions on top of their own costs, when Spurs are set to be subsidised?
Why aren’t the government looking to subsidise new grounds for Chelsea and QPR? Shouldn’t they be “incentivised” to “regenerate” other poor areas in London?
The decision to fund Spurs smacks of the usual corporate cronyism that sadly still pervades the political system. Nearly any development can be dressed up as worthy of “support” by self-interested vote-hungry politicians and manipulated by equally ravenous businessmen.
Sign the petition to stop your taxes going towards Tottenham Hotspur FC.