Maghull fireworks extravaganza latest victim of Tory-Lib Dem sla

Maurice Byrne

Maghull's annual fireworks extravaganza is the latest victim of the Tory-Lib Dem government's slash and burn economic policy.

The bonfire night celebration which is enjoyed by families from throughout East Sefton has gone up in smoke as Sefton Council has been forced by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to make savings well in excess of £20m this year alone.

Sefton Council this week contacted Maghull Town Council to inform them that the borough would not be able to meet the costs.

The cost for the bonfire bonanza in 2009 was £8,000. The cost is expected to well exceed that this year.

Labour's Maghull Town Council leader, Cllr Maurice Byrne, said the news was a bitter blow to the whole of the district.

Cllr Byrne said: "Maghull's bonfire and fireworks display is a huge event each and every year. It brings together the whole community, young and old, and it has done for many years.

"It is one of the biggest annual events in Maghull and it raises lots of cash for charity.

"But now Sefton Council is being forced to cut funding because of the Tory-Lib Dem cuts, the event will not be able to take place. which really is a crying shame for the whole community."

Cllr Byrne said he would "love" Maghull Town Council to foot the bill to stage the display, but the £8,000-£10,000 cost makes the event very costly.

Cllr Byrne said: "As soon as Sefton Council told us they were not going to pay the cost this year, I spoke to my colleagues on the town council to see if anything could be done to save it.

"We are currently in the stages of a full financial review of all of the town council's expenditure which has built up under the previous Liberal Democrat administration and at this stage we are asking some very serious questions.

"Questions such as how the Liberal Democrat-run Maghull Town Council run up £650,000 worth of debt, just part of which is for the new roof on the town hall?

"Unfortunately, it is hard to justify sending Maghull Town Council deeper into debt by paying out upto £10,000 more for the bonfire and firework event.

"It really is a dilemma for the new administration on Maghull Town Council. While we dearly want to ensure the bonfire event is held, we don't want to add to the burden of debt which the previous Liberal Democrat administration left us with.

"Do we spend £8,000-£10,000 of Maghull council tax payers' money on one event? Given the pressures being put on the council by the Tory-Lib Dem government, would this be a sensible use of council tax payer's money?

"We are currently urgently looking to find sponsorship and local business support to try and save the popular event, but unless we can quickly find financial backing, then I'm afraid Maghull's bonfire and fireworks evening is the latest victim of this Tory-Lib Dem government."

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