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Spending plan revealed for Perth’s Christmas party

X-Factor winner James Arthur performs in Perth.
X-Factor winner James Arthur performs in Perth.

Details have emerged of how Perth and Kinross Council paid for its lavish Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.

Consultants are finalising a study of how much the annual street party, which brought tens of thousands of people into the city centre, benefited the local economy.

Their report is due to go before councillors in the coming weeks.

However, newly released documents show that the local authority spent more than £100,000 on entertainment at the November 17 extravaganza.

Former X Factor star James Arthur and chart-topper Pixie Lott were the biggest names on the bill. Catchphrase presenter Stephen Mulhern compered the event.

Unlike previous years – when crowds went wild for the likes of Billy Ocean and Slade – there was no retro act.

It has emerged the council struck a deal for £41,700 with Blackpool-based booking agency Big Foot Events for the main stage talent.

The company boasts hundreds of well-known acts on its roster including East 17 and Boney M, who have both played Perth in recent years.

A further £40,070 was spent on street entertainment, an ice rink and ice sculptors.

Nearly £10,000 was paid to Edinburgh-based 21cc Fireworks Ltd for a pyrotechnics display to bring the night to a close.

Councillors had earlier agreed to support the event with around £40,000 of cash from the authority’s Common Good Fund.

The full amount spent on the party is expected to be declared in the coming weeks. The £132,000 total revealed so far does not include the performance fee for Pixie Lott, it is understood.

The 2017 lights switch-on, headlined by Alesha Dixon, cost £188,000 in total.

An economic assessment was due to go before councillors next week, but has been delayed.

It is expected to show the event, part of the city’s Winter Festival, once again generated more than £1 million for the economy.

A council spokeswoman said: “Anyone who attended the Christmas Lights festival  on Saturday, November 17,  and Perthshire Feast on Sunday 18 November, saw for themselves how busy the city was over the weekend.

“As ever, the combination of entertainment to suit all ages, a unique shopping experience, and a fantastic location proved an irresistible draw to crowds from near and far.”

She added: “The contracts awarded through Public Contracts Scotland represent element of the costs for the events, but do not represent the full cost.

“As with events in previous years we are committed to reporting back fully on the money invested by the council in this and the other events in the Winter Festival programme, in the context of the economic benefits it brings to the area.

“The economic impact assessment is in the process of being undertaken with a view to reporting back to a meeting of the environment and infrastructure committee in the near future.”

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