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Perth and Kinross Matters: Festive hangover worth it for Perth

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After the party comes the hangover.

The sobering revelation that Perth’s Christmas lights switch on celebrations cost £216,000 caused a sharp intake of breath in some quarters with inevitable calls for reining in of the event’s budget.

While the massed party-goers seemed to enjoy the day-long activities and attractions, the critics focussed on whether it was value for money.

An estimated 112,000 people were drawn into the city – the largest gathering ever seen in Perth – pumping around £1.6 million into the local economy, surely a success on every level?

Well, not for everyone as while hotels, restaurants and pubs did a roaring trade, no one wanted to be encumbered with bags of purchases so some retailers enjoyed few benefits.

The fact that the amount spent on the party had risen by 25% from the previous year also raised some eyebrows.

Personally I think it churlish to criticise the huge effort, and money spent, that went into making the event the city’s biggest day of the year.

It was only a few years ago that a crowd running into dozens gathered round the Christmas tree to see that year’s panto dame switch on the lights.

While it might be nice to somehow get all city centre retailers into the party mood (and get the revellers spending in the shops) it is after all more a chance to eat, drink and be merry.

If anything could be shaved off the cost of the party perhaps an area to examine might be the nearly £100,000 of the budget which was spent on the entertainers.

While people of a certain vintage enjoyed a wallow in nostalgia with 1970s favourites Slade and the Abba tribute band, might there not be an argument for using that money to attract one, really big name and make it a party to remember?

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