Council Tax Fears as City's G8 Bill Soars to [Pounds Sterling]2.7m

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART NICOLSON

TAXPAYERS in Edinburgh are facing a massive bill as a result of the city's role in the staging of the G8 summit.

Although the total cost to the nation of the event will not be known before the end of year, figures show the capital's outlay has hit [pounds sterling]2.7million.

And council bosses fear the Scottish Executive could be asking the city's council tax payers to come up with at least [pounds sterling]1million of that.

First Minister Jack McConnell promised in the run-up to the summit of world leaders in July that the Executive would pick up all reasonable costs borne by councils.

But he also warned there would be no 'blank cheques' - and that has alarmed Edinburgh's leaders.

Although the summit was held at Gleneagles in Perthshire, the capital played a key part in related events, hosting the Make Poverty History march, and the Live8 concert at Murrayfield stadium, as well as providing a campsite for protesters from around the world.

With the policing costs still to be added to the city's final G8 bill, council bosses fear a rerun of the Holyrood parliament's official opening last year.

Then police costs were met by the Executive, but Edinburgh City Council was left to pay a [pounds sterling]123,000 bill.

A council source said: 'A lot was asked of the council from the parliament and Buckingham Palace in terms of security and ensuring the event was very ceremonial.

'Everything that was asked of the council was delivered, yet it didn't receive a penny.

'To make matters worse, the police received full compensation for the extra costs the force incurred.' Another council insider said Mr McConnell's relationship with Labour council leader Donald Anderson was 'on the line' over the issue. …