Christmas lights saved by local campaign

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Nativity scene Christmas lights. Pic © Rjcastillo Wikimedia Commons

Nativity scene Christmas lights. Pic © Rjcastillo Wikimedia Commons

A campaign has ensured Prescot’s Christmas lights will go ahead this year, despite Knowsley Council cutting funding.

Knowsley Council announced their decision in 2012, but it was only this year that the cuts affected Prescot town’s Christmas decorations.

However, the lights will still shine in Prescot after a campaign run by the residents secured a tree and fundraising for the annual spectacle.

A council spokesperson told JMU Journalism: “Faced with significant budget cuts, Knowsley Council took the decision not to continue with town centre Christmas light displays during its budget setting in 2012.

“The three-year contract in place at the time was not renewed when it expired in 2014.We welcome the efforts of local businesses and residents to bring festive decorations to their local town centres and have been actively supporting them to do this.

“However, the council must focus its funding on services of greatest need.”

Angered people took to Facebook discussion groups for Huyton and Prescot residents to voice their opinion.

Christine Potter wrote: “So, no Christmas lights going up this year, looks like Christmas has been cancelled for us.”

Ken Frederick wrote: “With the former chief executive on a £192k-a-year salary and six-figure pay-off, it’s no wonder funds are running low. How many other people’s salaries, jobs and lights could that have saved?”

Others defended the council’s cuts, saying that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Mandy Mac commented on the Facebook group: “They can’t justify paying for decorations if staff are losing jobs and having pay frozen for two years due to cuts.”

Donations from Prescot’s town council, local traders, shopping centre owners Group Geraud and Ash Electrical and Fire Services were given to fund Prescot’s Christmas lights for the next three years.

The lights will now be switched on along Eccleston Street, on November 28th. The grand switch-on will be accompanied by donkey rides, a Father Christmas, music and stalls for the residents of Prescot.

About Beth Hughes, JMU Journalism