Christmas lights set to be axed

Christmas lights may be scrapped as part of council budget cuts.

Wakefield council have had to make £90,000 worth of savings on lights this year and will discuss alternative options next Tuesday at its cabinet meeting.

A report proposes that this year’s festive lights will focus on the main retail areas of Wakefield city centre, Castleford, Pontefract, Normanton, Ossett, Horbury, Hemsworth, Featherstone and Knottingley.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “Due to increasing financial pressures and further cuts in Government funding, we have no choice but to review Christmas lights.

“We are looking at a range of options, including a £25,000 fund for community organisations to help them to provide Christmas decorations.

“Unfortunately, the days of the Council alone being able to provide lights across the whole district are long gone if we are to provide essential services which people depend on.”

She said the council had no option but to find a way of saving £90,000 on its Christmas lights budget this year and the choices facing councillors were challenging.

The report recommends giving £25,000 to 25 community organisations, parish or town councils, as a contribution towards the cost of putting up Christmas trees in other locations.

She added: “We know that Christmas lights are important both as a way of communities celebrating the festive season and a way of encouraging people to come here to shop and boost our visitor numbers.

“We hope we can work with community organisations to make the whole district as welcoming as we can this Christmas, while still keeping within our increasingly tight budgets.”