Brighton and Hove City Council have ear marked the annual grant of £25,000 to Brighton Pride to be cut after the 2013 event. The Green administration who are having to make cuts of 20 million pounds to balance the books say tabled cuts will see no children’s centre’s close, all branch libraries remain open and they claim those needing help with council tax payments will continue to receive it.
Under plans for 2013, the new Pride organisers had earmarked the council’s £25,000 annual grant exclusively to develop the Pride Parade creating a new ‘Community Pride’ organisation within the main Community Interest Company to be administered exclusively by local LGBT/HIV voluntary sector organisations.
The withdrawal of the Council grant will put future parades at risk.
Councillor Jason Kitcat, leader of the council, said:
“In its current form, we’re not sure Pride needs it.”
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of Economic Development and Culture Committee and a former Trustee of Pride in Brighton & Hove , said:
“We are making provision to help Pride as in previous years. Not all the money set aside last year was required, but we still have the same amount set aside in a reserve in case it is needed, particularly to support the organisers of the street party. As ever the council will be continuing to work with Pride and will be devoting many hours of dedicated officer time during the planning and delivery stage of the event, as well as waiving parking bay suspension fees along the parade route. The city council looks forward to working with the organisers to help deliver a safe and enjoyable Pride that builds on the success of 2012.”
Geoffrey Theobald, Leader of the Conservative group disagreed with the administration and said:
“We would not support a removal of the Council grant for Pride. It is an example of where a relatively small amount of Council funding brings huge benefits to the City in terms of tourists that visit for the parade weekend. We would rather see the Council look at making savings by increasing efficiencies within the Council or by scrapping some of the more bizarre and costly green policies.”
James Ledward, editor of Gscene, said:
“Any decision to remove the grant to Pride illustrates a lack of understanding from the administration as to how Pride supports LGBT community development 365 days a year and in the context of what the council pays to external community development consultants, £25,000 is in real terms peanuts.”
“Under Pride’s new plans, the removal of this grant will put future Pride Parades in jeopardy.
“This grant should be ring fenced and used exclusively to help the voluntary sector develop the parade into a major tourist attraction, rather than allowing the funding to be diverted by stealth each year into the street party which has become a ‘Drink Fest’ rather than a ‘Community Fest’.
“It’s so disappointing that this funding stream survived savage budget cuts under both a Labour and Conservative administration yet is being considered for axing by the Greens.”
“Only in Brighton & Hove could the city’s largest public event and tourist attraction, which generates a fortune to businesses from all communities over the Pride weekend be punished in this thoughtless way by the political elite.”
Labour declined to comment on the issue.