Company vows city will keep Christmas lights despite Liverpool Council cuts

Liverpool BID Company has vowed to continue to ensure the Christmas spirit remains.

Liverpool will still have Christmas lights even if the city council has to pull the plug.

It was revealed last week that the cash-strapped city council is considering dramatically stripping back its festive plans as it looks to plug an eye-watering £73m budget gap. This could include an £80,000 saving through not providing Christmas lights throughout the city centre.

That would form part of a wider £100,000 scaling back of funds through a slimmed down Christmas programme. However, that doesn’t spell the end for festive decorations in the city as the Liverpool BID Company has vowed to continue to ensure the Christmas spirit remains.

In a statement, the company, which looks after the Business Improvement District in the city centre, said: “For the past five years, the Liverpool BID Company has contributed over £745,000 to the city centre’s Christmas decorations and activities during the festive period. Since 2017, the Liverpool BID Company has been the main contributor, funded by BID Levy Payers and contributing over two-thirds of Liverpool’s overall Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, trees, and installations, having installed over 695 features in 2022 alone.

“The BID also organises a number of festive events such as the city centre Advent Calendar Countdown, Elfie Selfie, and Christmas workshops along with multiple campaigns to encourage visitors to the city centre. The Liverpool BID Company will continue to deck the streets of Liverpool not only next year, but for years to come.”

Should Liverpool Council remove its Christmas offering, a report detailing the proposed service reductions said the BID company would “maintain a great Christmas offer for the city.” The council said for each proposal that will result in a change to service or policy an initial equalities screening has been undertaken considering at an early stage the potential impact proposed changes may have on different groups.

Further discretionary cuts could be made in the council’s neighbourhood department, with potentially around half a million earmarked through a review of the city’s leisure centres and moving to a new operator as well as the city’s cruise liner terminal. Grass cutting may also be stripped back “where opportunities exist to reduce the level of overall maintenance as part of a wider strategy in response to the climate emergency and the growing movement to promote ecological recovery and biodiversity through reducing formal maintenance in areas of parks and green spaces.”

Funding to the cultural arts investment programme is also earmarked for reduction while fees and charges across the city are proposed to rise 3% year on year. Parking income could raise more than £2m for Liverpool this year, while increased matchday parking enforcement will “provide improved resident experience whilst generating revenue,” according to the local authority.