Leeds West Indian Carnival brings £2.7m boost to city

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THIS year’s Leeds West Indian Carnival generated a £2.7m boost for the city.

And despite the rain, around 80,000 people turned up for the annual August Bank Holiday Monday event, now in its 47th year.

A report by Leeds City Council’s suggests that, with better weather, the figure of £2.7m could have been even higher, at about £5m, as more than 100,000 plus crowd had been originally expected.

Simon Brereton, head of economic policy and sector development at Leeds City Council who helped compile the economic study, says it shows how important the Carnival is for the city as a whole.

He said: “People can take quite a lot of their year’s money on that day so it makes a real difference to the community.”

He said about £1.5m was spent by people from outside the city.

He added: “That boost to the local economy is important. People can take quite a lot of their year’s money on the day,”

Arthur France, founder of the Leeds Carnival and organiser of the first one held in August 1967, said: “The Council’s report on spectator spend at Carnival is hugely important. It backs up what we have known for nearly 50 years – that Carnival has changed the face of Leeds, as a spectacle, as the face of a truly diverse city and by generating money for the local economy.

“We hope to build on the study’s results in the future and examine how much money is also generated to make carnival happen.”

The carnival does receive funding from Leeds City Council but relies on an army of volunteers to keep it running so successfully.

The local authority surveyed revellers to measure the economic impact of the event for the first time in the summer.