Liberal Democrats have raised concerns that ticket prices for this year’s Illuminating York Festival have significantly increased despite the 2012 event being branded a “disappointment”.
The Labour run City of York Council introduced charging for the – previously free – event last year. There were complaints about the £5 admission charge while Vic Reeves’ ‘Wonderland’ production received a backlash of negative comments and poor reviews.
However, the admission charges and £26,000 contribution from council funds meant the event made a £16,000 ‘profit’ which Labour promised would be “invested in next year’s event”.
Many hoped that this promise would see a return to the previous free admissions policy.
However, this year’s event, which will runs from October 30th – November 2nd, sees admission charges for the overall festival for adults increase from £5 to £6 and for under 16s from £1 to £5, with under 5’s still going free.
This means that a family of four, with two school-age children, would see their ticket costs rise by a whopping 83%.
The increase has been described as contrary to the Labour Leaders statements about the need to control the cost of living
Councillor Nigel Ayre, Liberal Democrat lead on Leisure, Culture and Tourism, commented:
“Labour first introduced charging last year to fund a celebrity-led production that was considered a let-down by the public. Despite making a healthy profit at the taxpayers’ expense and promising they would re-invest it in this year’s show, Labour have now increased prices further.
“Local residents already fund the event trough their council tax and this is why there was no admission charge under the Liberal Democrat administration. Labour should return to this previously successful model and actually start giving taxpayers’ something back. This latest move follows the increase in charge for the York Card and the ongoing daily fleecing of residents and visitors for crossing Lendal Bridge.
“Increasing charges for 6-16 year-old children to the whole festival by 400% from £1 to £5 is a significant extra cost for many families, especially in the current financial climate”.
Responding to criticism of the event last year Cllr Sonja Crisp, Labour Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, promised: <a href=”http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/10135217.Illuminating_York_festival_cost_York_taxpayers___26_000/”>“Officers secured significant Arts Council funding, which joined the council’s investment, and profit will be invested in next year’s event”.