Lancashire

Blackpool businesses 'could fund illuminations'

Blackpool Illuminations
Image caption Blackpool Council currently funds the illuminations at an annual cost of £2m

Blackpool Illuminations could be funded by local businesses under options being considered by councillors.

Pressure on budgets has led Blackpool Council to investigate new ways to protect services including the illuminations, the Grundy Art Gallery and other marketing and events.

One option could be raising money through a levy on businesses, the Blackpool Gazette reported.

The council currently funds the illuminations at an annual cost of £2m.

However, a council report has recommended setting up a new arms-length company called Newco, which would fund the town's cultural services.

The report said one way of funding the company could be the establishment of a "town-wide business improvement district" (BID).

Blackpool's current BID covers the town centre and raises money from a precept of 1% of business rates, which is spent on promotion, environmental measures and town centre events.

'Great attraction'

The report suggests the BID could be extended to cover the whole town as a vehicle to fund more services, including the illuminations.

Alan Cavill, the council's director of place, said discussions were continuing and nothing would be decided before a "full consultation".

He said the council was committed to protecting the illuminations, which help "extend the tourist season" and bring money into the town.

But he said the authority needed to "explore all potential options for funding" in the future.

"With local budget finance going in the direction it is going, what we can't do is invest what we would like to invest in the illuminations," Mr Cavill said.

"That's not to say we are going to switch them off. We are exploring a number of options.

"The issue is, if we want to continue to have the illuminations as a great attraction, we need to think about how to change things moving forward."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites