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Victoria Park fireworks display: Tower Hamlets councillors agree not to ask Hackney Council to pay

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 March 2020

Fireworks in Victoria Park. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Fireworks in Victoria Park. Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

Hackney will not be asked to contribute to the £222,000 cost of the annual fireworks display in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets Council has said.

As the town hall set its budget, opposition councillors argued that it was "grossly unfair" Hackney did not contribute to event, which is held on the edge of the two boroughs.

It is one of the largest free bonfire night celebrations in London, with more than 80,000 attending last year.

Conservative councillor Peter Golds said: "More than half the people who are in Victoria Park [on Bonfire Night] are from Hackney. We should talk about getting Hackney Council to contribute."

"Bonfire night is held on the border of Hackney but currently Tower Hamlets pay for all of these costs," a budget amendment read.

"This is iniquitous, that Hackney residents attend but do not contribute. We propose that this year Hackney pay the full cost for a change and that in future years we share the costs equally of this event. If they think this event is valuable, we are sure they will agree."

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The amendment was rejected by the council.

In 2018 the display, infrastructure and security cost £265,000, according to a Freedom of Information request. Some £42,500 of this was earned through trader payments and sponsorship.

In 2016 mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said he was "angry" the event was "not under adequate financial control".

At the time he said he was annoyed that the 2015 display cost £180,000, with £60,000 raised in sponsorship.

He told a full council meeting: "The good news is that 75,000 people attended it and had a joyous time. The bad news is that the event was not under adequate financial control and I commit myself to the council to make sure that we either don't hold it or we have proper controls this time if we hold."

The council protected funds for the bonfire night display in this year's budget.

A council spokesman said: "We do not propose to ask Hackney Council to pay towards the cost of our annual fireworks display in Victoria Park, which we own and manage."

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