Manchester

Manchester council row over Alicia Keys concert funding

Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys has sold over 35 million albums worldwide

A one-off concert starring Alicia Keys that cost Manchester City Council about £425,000 to stage is to be investigated by a spending watchdog.

The council's Liberal Democrats group called for the action after the free event held at Manchester Cathedral.

The Labour-run council said it helped to organise the concert to showcase the city's global profile.

Keys, a 14-time Grammy award-winning artist, performed on 24 September for the MTV Crashes series.

A spokesperson for the council said the issue would be discussed by the council's finance scrutiny committee.

'Absolutely preposterous'

A detailed report will also be published.

Simon Wheale, a Lib Dem councillor, called it a "ludicrous amount of money" for the council to be spending.

The concert was shown on an outdoor screen at Cathedral Gardens for members of the public who were not allocated tickets.

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said he had never heard of a concert partly-funded by the public on such a "grand scale".

"The idea that a city council involves itself in what should quite frankly be a commercial venture seems absolutely preposterous to me.

"I think it's quite shocking, particularly at a time when money is so tight and councils have to look at every single penny they spend really carefully, I just don't think you can justify this."

Speaking after the concert, Alicia Keys called the cathedral a "spectacular" place to play and called Manchester a "city of music".

She said: "It's such a different experience to perform live in a place of worship, the architecture is so beautiful, it was incredible."

The artist has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.

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