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Promoters respond to celebration spending

TWO of the biggest festivals promoters in ­Edinburgh are to go before a funding committee next week over a budget-busting flagship event.

Underbelly and Unique Events have asked to send a delegation to Edinburgh City Council chambers to respond to a report that reveals they spent at least £1.3 million on the Christmas and Hogmanay Festivals last year.

The council said the promoters have reacted by moving to make the events more family friendly this winter.

It follows the "privatisation" of the winter festivals last year when the team of Underbelly and Unique won a three-year contract for the Christmas and Hogmanay events for £1.3m a year, which meant they took on all the risk in any overspend. Under the deal the council receives a share in profits.

However, the report to go before the corporate policy committee next week reveals there were no profits.

The winter celebrations have regularly run at a loss and the appointment of the joint double operation was made in a bid to reshape the celebrations which are world-famous and are said to boost the economy by tens of millions of pounds.

Steve Cardownie, the council's festivals and events champion, said: "We have since reviewed all aspects of performance and I am pleased that they have taken on board our feedback and lessons have been learned.

"We welcome their plans to make the programme more family friendly and to extend and improve ticket offers for local residents.

"I am confident that both Underbelly and Unique will build on this success in years to come, ensuring that Edinburgh remains the world's leading festival city."

Unique and Underbelly said yesterday their revamped programme had been well received by visitors and residents.

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