Salford council in BBC Philharmonic 'payment holiday'

The BBC Philharmonic
Image caption The BBC Philharmonic has been working with Salford City Council for four years

Salford City Council says it is taking a "payment holiday" from its sponsorship of the BBC Philharmonic.

The Labour-led council, which has an eight-year deal worth £20m, will delay its 2011 payment to the corporation.

Council leader John Merry said it had taken the decision, which the BBC fully accepted, because it was in "a very serious financial situation".

The £3m owed will now be paid at the end of the deal, using income generated from the BBC move to MediaCityUK.

Mr Merry said that the Philharmonic's agreement to accept the delay was an example of them being "a good neighbour and understanding the difficulties we are in".

"It's a tribute to the Philharmonic and the BBC that they are willing to do this," he said.

Mr Merry said there was no danger of the council needing to repeat the break in payment in 2012 for two main reasons.

"First, we will have longer to plan the savings that we are making next year.

Image caption The BBC Philharmonic has been central to the Proms In The Park shows in Buile Hill Park

"Second, this [orchestra deal] is being funded from the money that we get from the BBC, not so much from the business side, but from the accommodation that is being built on the site.

"Obviously, if MediaCityUK wasn't being built, we couldn't fund the orchestra."

A BBC spokesperson said the council's support had been "invaluable" to the Philharmonic and that the orchestra understood the "challenging year" it was facing.

Salford City Council signed a sponsorship deal with the orchestra in 2007.

It has seen musicians working with schools, community groups and at the Buile Hill-based Proms In The Park to build links with Salford.

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