'Hugely important' Morecambe festival funding faces £33k cut in 2020/21

Vintage by the Sea festival in Morecambe
Vintage by the Sea festival in Morecambe

Proposals to cut funding for festivals in Morecambe by more than £30,000 will go before the town council at a meeting tonight, February 6.

The Morecambe Bay Independents Group, which controls Morecambe Town Council, is proposing to spend £20,000 on funding festivals in the town in 2020/21, compared to £53,000 in 2019/20.

Morecambe Carnival

Morecambe Carnival

Morecambe Town Council's draft budget, which will go before councillors at a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall at 7pm on February 6, shows major investments into its environmental committee, including £92,000 in "ward grants", dog signs on the promenade (£8,000), litter and recycling bins, including possible "talking bins" (£10,000), and street cleansing and equipment (£6,000).

A sum of £25,000 has also been allocated for environmental enforcement.

A new committee would decide on new criteria for awarding grants to festivals, which last year included Barefest and Christmas on the Crescent (£2,000), Catch the Wind 2019 (£4,000), Make my Day 2019 (£3,250), Morecambe 1940’s Revival 2019 (£4,000), Morecambe Carnival 2019 (£7,000), Morecambe Pride 2019 £(7,000), Morecambe Vintage Bus Day 2019 (£1,500), Nice n Sleazy 2019 (£2,750), Promenade Concert Orchestra – 4 concerts in 2019/20 (£1,100), Vintage by the Sea 2019 (£15,900), West End Festival 2019 (£2,500), and West End Lantern Festival 2019 (£2,000).

A recent survey of 87 Morecambe residents revealed that the majority of people thought that funding for festivals was the most important use of the town council's budget.

Nice N Sleazy Festival

Nice N Sleazy Festival

Brendan Hughes, director of Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID), said: "You can't underestimate the economic impact that festivals and events have on Morecambe.

"We know that there is a direct benefit to Morecambe's economy from festivals and a study by Lancaster University students last year for Morecambe BID concluded that festivals and events are hugely important to local retailers and businesses.

"It's an interesting decision especially when Eden is on the horizon and we need to keep the impetus going".

The 26 councillors are set to vote on the budget at the meeting tonight, February 6.

The West End Lantern Festival.

The West End Lantern Festival.

The council is also proposing to increase its council tax precept by five per cent, which would be the first time it has done this.

It would work out at around an extra £1 per year per household.