Paul Dennett Salford City Mayor Responding to Sun article.
“Thanks to everyone who has contacted me regarding this article, I'm sorry it has taken me until this weekend to issue a social media response to this, but as you may imagine emergency COVID-19 responses have taken up a lot of my time this past week! On the 11th May The SUN published the attached article discussing Salford's deprivation in connection with COVID-19 infection rates. Whilst there are some legitimate points regarding the relationship between COVID-19 and poverty, deprivation and de-industrialisation and COVID-19, the picture it paints of our City is certainly not one which I recognise and something I wanted to respond to. The article talks of "poverty, unemployment, low life expectancy and horrific crime" - as well as rows of streets "riddled with boarded up shops". It talks of residents selfishly ignoring lockdown rules, and endangering themselves and others. Using selectively chosen photographs, and focusing extensively on 'Mocha Parade', it creates an image of a City full of misery and without hope. But that is not the Salford I know and it is certainly not the Salford I’ve witnessed since the COVID-19 pandemic broke within the UK. The Salford I know saw an overwhelming community response to the coronavirus pandemic, which continues in earnest to this day - with thousands hearing the City's call for volunteers and donations through the 'Spirit of Salford Network' and residents, neighbours and communities doing what they do naturally in our City and looking out for each other. In the Salford I know, lockdown for vulnerable residents has been made so much easier as neighbours and friends have pitched in to help out and keep and eye on things. The Salford I know is 60% beautiful green space - full of wildlife, birds and some of the most amazing parks in the country which residents have made good (and for the most part, safe) use of throughout the crisis. The Salford I know is full of caring, community-spirited residents who would bend over backwards to help a friend and neighbour. And outside of the lockdown - Salford is far from the hopeless dive which The SUN presented us as. Our city has seen huge economic growth over the past 10 years. There are now more people employed at MediaCityUK than there were when the docks closed! Thousands of new businesses have been setting up in our City over the past 5 years creating jobs and opportunities - and our economic analysis before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the UK showed an expected further 40,000 new jobs to be created in Salford by the year 2040. The Salford I know has birthed so much creative talent it's hard to remember them all. From Ewan Maccoll to Shelagh Delaney, from Albert Finney to Joy Division. Salford is a City on the move, growing fast but not forgetting those who are struggling. Of course there are problems and challenges, you’ll find the same in many cities around the world - but the people of this Salford are salt of the earth. Funny, wise, tough and compassionate – this is the Spirit of Salford! This is an incredible City - full of incredible people. And it is the privilege of my life to serve as City Mayor. Anyway, that's my rant over. But I wanted to set the record straight!” Paul Dennett https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11564430/salford-worst-coronavirus-hit-city-uk-deprived-families-crime/