BOLTON Council is set to receive a bumper windfall of more than £1.5 million from its shares in Manchester Airport.

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is part-owned by the council along with the nine other Greater Manchester authorities has announced its interim financial figures for the six-month period between the start of April and the end of September.

MAG has reported a 6.6 per cent rise in pre-tax profits, from £202 million to £216 million.

This has led to a £47 million boost for the company’s shareholders, which includes the Greater Manchester councils.

Manchester is set to receive £16.6 million of that total — with Bolton and the other eight outlying borough councils taking home a £1.516,129.03 million injection.

That figure is up on last year’s £1.2 million interim windfall and will provide a timely boost to the town hall coffers ahead of February’s budget meeting.

Chiefs will also expect to receive a bigger bumper payment in the summer when the annual profits are announced.

Bolton Council’s policy is to invest £1 million of the dividend into the revenue budget — to pay for the everyday running costs of the council and that has already been factored in to this year’s budget plan.

However, it leaves just more than half a million pounds which can be spent on capital projects in the borough.

The news has been welcomed by Council leader Cliff Morris, who said: “The interim payment of just more than £1.5 million, which is brilliant news.

“If I had listened to some of my colleagues in opposition then we would have sold off our airport shares, but it is providing money for the people of Bolton.

“Manchester Airport is going from strength to strength and that is good news for Bolton.

“We always put £1 million straight into our revenue budget each year — but this year there is an extra half a million which can be used for capital spending.

“it is very good to have something in the bank for the future, there will always be something we need to spend it on in Bolton.

“Of course this is just the interim payment, so we will be expecting more next year.

He added: “It has always been our policy to retain this investment and we have had a great return over the years and with Manchester Airport continually improving it looks like that will continue.

“This has been a really good investment for our town.”