Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bid to Clip Wings of Airshow

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bid to Clip Wings of Airshow

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS BINDING Local democracy reporter chris.binding@trinitymirror.com @CHRISBINDINGLDR

PROPOSALS to slash funding for the Sunderland Airshow and host it every two years have been snubbed by council bosses.

At Wednesday's budget meeting, Sunderland City Council's Conservative group unveiled a raft of alternative budget proposals for 2019/20 to save PS2.02million.

This included holding the Airshow on alternate years, reducing allowances for councillors and increasing income from dog fouling and littering fines.

Tory leader on the council, Coun Robert Oliver, said the proposals aimed to cut Labour's proposed 3.99% council tax rise in half and "return the money to the people".

He also stressed the airshow plans would "delete" funding for the event, rather than the event itself, and called for more efforts to attract sponsorship.

"We're all in favour of airshows, whether they occur once a year, once every two years, or even twice a year," he said. "The point is, yes prime these events and get them going but years and years later, decades later, that should have moved on and should be paying for itself through sponsorship or through the revenue offer.

"It's about time that happened, it's about time that we did more to get more sponsorship in so that these are not a drain on the council tax."

Conservative budget proposals aimed to draw PS507,000 from the 2019/20 budget for the event and were backed by the Liberal Democrat and Others group on the council.

Group leader, Coun Niall Hodson, said: "We do recognise in principle, this is an attempt to address council spending and shift a saving to the residents of the city."

However, Labour bosses opposed the proposals, defending the airshow and its importance for Sunderland residents.

Cabinet Secretary, Coun Paul Stewart, said: "The airshow puts Sunderland not just on the map nationally but internationally and brings millions of pounds from visitors to our shops, pubs and hotels in the city. …

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