Christmas decs spending splurge

City council doesn’t drink, send cards, does blow £50k on Chrissy lights

‘Tis the season to be jolly miserable about the money wasted by the council on Christmas.

The trouble is that some of the accusations of festive excess fire off so randomly they miss the target by miles. This time last year a Freedom of Information requester demanded to know how much money was spent on city Christmas parties. They wanted a breakdown, particularly on alcohol. In fact, when it comes to it, they wanted to know how much the city council spent on alcohol generally over the past three years.

Zero on all counts was the answer.

Yes, but what about Christmas cards? Another FOI requester wanted to know just how much city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was racking up in official Christmas cards to residents, council staff, voluntary groups, teachers, charities and members of the council. Sorry, he’s a lot more tight-fisted than that, came the response. The mayor doesn’t send Christmas cards to any of those people.

So as a service to miserablists and Scrooges across the city, here’s the shocking news about this year’s Christmas spending. In the summer the council dipped into its capital funds and blew £50,000, yes that’s fifty grand, on doing up the Christmas lights.

Not content with just getting last year’s lights out of the loft like any frugal householder, they’ve refurbished “the Gallowtree Gate frames with garland and illuminated festoon”. Whatever that means.

What’s more, they’ve replaced some of the feeder pillars, supply cables and socket points. And got rid of the tattered criss-cross garlanded festoon at the top end of Church Gate, replacing with a decoration that says, wait for it, Merry Christmas.

Water has been getting in and causing lighting failures. So that’s been fixed. They’ve also replaced aging supports, lampholders and brittle cable.

All in all, it’s a wasteful attempt to make the lights safer and the decorations look better and last longer. It’s as if all that matters is bringing people into the city so they can have a good time and spend money. Bah!

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