Revealed: Full cost of Leeds’s Christmas lights

TWINKLING: The Christmas lights in Leeds city centre. PIC: Tony Johnson
TWINKLING: The Christmas lights in Leeds city centre. PIC: Tony Johnson
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TOWN HALL bosses provided light displays for areas outside the city and used external sponsorship to ensure festive lights and decorations were full of Christmas cheer this year.

Leeds Council spent £573,441 on its Christmas lights and decorations – the highest figure in Yorkshire – this year.

The sum represented a six per cent reduction from 2016, when it spent £609,076. The light switch-on in Victoria Gardens on November 9 cost £76,134. But internal and external income brought in £261,502, making the total Council spend to £411,837.

A Leeds Council spokesman said it used a variety of methods to bring down the cost, including boosting external income by providing external light displays in areas outside Leeds.

“With continued pressures on council budgets, we are always looking at ways to reduce our overall costs, whilst ensuring that we can provide to residents and visitors to Leeds, Christmas lights that are both attractive and pleasant,” he said.

“A key way in which we are achieving these aims is by attracting a significant amount of both internal and external income. This includes providing external light displays in areas outside Leeds.

“Since 2007/2008 this type of contribution to the overall cost of our Christmas lights expenditure has risen from £82,000 to a figure over £200,000, which is extremely positive.”

Wakefield Council spent £182,828 on lights and decorations, a slight decrease from the £184,925 spent in 2016, but was given £20,000 towards new LED lights for Castleford by local company Really Useful Products. Last year, Haribo invested £40,000 in new lights in Pontefract, where it is based.

Wakefield Council spokesman Andy Wallhead said: “We’re very pleased to have forged partnerships with local businesses in Castleford and Pontefract in the last two years and they have helped to support new Christmas lights in both towns. The new decorations have received great feedback from residents, visitors and business people.”

The Leeds Rhinos pushed the big red button in the city during the switch-on in November.

Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow switched on the lights in front of thousands at Victoria Gardens. Fresh from October’s Super League Grand Final win, players and coaching staff were joined on stage by club mascot Ronnie the Rhino and their Super League trophy.