Liberal Democrat councillors have expressed shock at Labour’s plan to completely wipe away council support for faith based festivals including Christmas, Diwali, Eid and Chanukah. This is on top of the controversial proposal to axe support for the popular Navratri festival. Labour even plans to axe the annual festive lights which are appreciated and enjoyed by residents of all faiths and cultures.
Most of these events and activities are run by volunteers with grant support from the council because they are wanted and valued by the community. Labour has abandoned its previous support for this wide range of events. Now Labour plans to support only secular events organised directly by council staff. These events include a council-run fireworks night and a single day ‘Brent Celebrates’ event costing over £70,000.
Cllr Paul Lorber, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Brent Council, said:
“It is sensible to review and streamline the council’s festivals and events budget to ensure council taxpayers’ money is used efficiently.
“Unfortunately Labour has once again messed up its consultation and come up with perverse results. Labour’s decision to abandon Brent’s heritage of successful festivals organised by and for the community in order to protect those events run directly by the council shows the control freak mentality of the current Labour leadership at its worst. The decision to abandon the festive lights completely is simply Scrooge-like.
“There is scope to save money whilst protecting Navratri, Christmas, Eid, St Patrick’s Day, festive lights and community-run events. I am calling on the Labour leadership to bring forward alternative proposals.”
Labour’s plans are due to be discussed at Brent Council’s Executive meeting on Monday 13 June.