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Major events threatened as Wolverhampton City Council makes major cuts

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Some of the West Midlands' best known outdoor events are under threat as cash-strapped Wolverhampton City Council makes further cuts.

All outdoor events in Wolverhampton- including Wolvestock, the City Show and the annual bonfires- will be reviewed and the number reduced.

Events could also be scaled down.

Critics today said it would be a huge blow to the city and would deter people from visiting.

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But council chiefs insisted they would try to save as many events as possible and said all would be looked at closely.

The cuts to services were revealed after bosses told workers they must now cut the workforce by 2,000 – a third of all staff.

See also: Wolverhampton City Council staff devastated as cuts laid bare

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The local authority is looking to reduce its outdoor events programme to 'one or two combined community/business events a year that will attract sponsorship', proposals have revealed.

This means some of the more expensive events would either not continue or be 'significantly scaled down', a report reveals.

It adds: "Many of the existing events that would not be continued, e,g City Show, bonfires, Christmas lights switch ons, Diwali, Vaisakhi, St Goerge's day and Wolvestock , are well loved events within the community."

The move would save £20,000 in 2015 to 2016.

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But Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett, Liberal Democrat representative for the Spring Vale ward, said big events such as Wolvestock had to be done properly or not at all.

He said: "There has been a lot of talk and work lately on a review of peoples' first impressions of the city.

"One of the things that was raised in that was events that are held here. It seems the council is destroying any good first impressions people might have of the city."

He also raised health and safety concerns.

Wolverhampton City Council currently promotes three fireworks displays- two on bonfire night and one at Diwali.

These attract between 20 and 25,000 people.

Councillor Gwinnett said he feared if these were axed it would encourage more people to stage their own firework displays or unofficial ones, leading to more injuries.

Wolverhampton leisure chief Elias Mattu said no decisions had yet been made about which events could be reduced or scaled down.

"We are still looking at all the events as a whole package,"he said.

"It is not definite yet but there will be some savings that have to be made. We are trying to keep as many events as possible."

He added: "Savings do have to be made. We are in dire straits and have had to make some of the most difficult decisions ever. But we are not going to just pick things out of a hat and we will not be rushing into any decisions. But I think it would not be fair if we didn't look at all of the city's events."

Country music festival Wolvestock has already introduced a £6 charge for entry.

Should public events be protected from the cuts? Have your say in the comments section.

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