Charging for Christmas lights sparks outrage
Christmas: Council floats idea of billing communities for electricity
Councillors have unanimously voiced their opposition to proposals to charge communities for the electricity used to power Christmas lights. Aberdeenshire Council is looking at making groups pay for the power they use from next year as it looks to save around £11,000.
Councillors have unanimously voiced their opposition to proposals to charge communities for the electricity used to power Christmas lights.
Aberdeenshire Council is looking at making groups pay for the power they use from next year as it looks to save around £11,000.
Community groups buy, maintain and erect the displays and cover their costs through fundraising.
Members of the Banff and Buchan area committee have come out unanimously against the plan.
Councillor Charles Buchan warned the local authority risked damaging its reputation if they pushed ahead with the controversial policy.
He said: “I am really worried about the reputational damage to the council from these groups of volunteers that the community depend on.
“It would just decimate, or even worse, the whole idea of Christmas lights, which we need to make our towns attractive looking.”
Mr Buchan was speaking at a meeting of the Banff and Buchan area committee in Fraserburgh yesterday.
Councillor Mark Findlater argued that the potential financial savings did not add up.
He added: “It is a drop in the ocean and, as far as I am concerned, we should be supporting our local groups.
“I am sorry, but I would not like to see any of our communities not having festive lights.”
Councillor Brian Topping said it was an “insult” to those who work to decorate their communities during the festive season.
He said: “It’s only 40 days to go until Christmas and pantomime season is almost upon us and the leading role this year is Aberdeenshire Council starring as Scrooge.
“I am very surprised, if not astonished, that the current administration actually allowed this report to see the light of day.
“As for the council wanting to charge for electricity to operate Christmas lights in our communities, to me it is an absolute insult to the kind-hearted, hard-working volunteers who freely give up their valuable time year after year.”
Aberdeenshire Council claimed the possible policy was intended to create a consistent approach and allow them to control future costs associated with lighting displays.
The local authority will discuss the idea next year.
“The leading role this year is Aberdeenshire Council starring as Scrooge”
PULL THE PLUG: Councillors Ross Cassie, Charles Buchan, Glen Reynolds and Brian Topping are united against any charge for electricity used by Christmas lights