Funding the Fireworks

Cambridge’s annual fireworks display will be taking place on Midsummer Common in  a couple of days. Let’s hope the weather improves. How much does it cost the City Council to put the display on? Councils are now required to publish information about payments to suppliers over £500, and commendably Cambridge City Council also includes details of payments below this amount. So it’s fairly straightforward to dig out the figures for last year’s fireworks display:

£9,450 went to pay for the actual fireworks, slightly exceeded by the £9,634.80 spent on hiring sound equipment. £6,220 went on hiring a traffic management system, and £4,036.10 on security services – these were provided by three different security firms, BDI Securities, Show & Event Security and Spartan Rescue Ltd. You have to wonder why three different firms were involved. There was also £1,400 for catering – it would be interesting to know more about this, too. Portable toilets cost £1,585. St John Ambulance received £1,000 (not paid until the following April), Cambridgeshire Police got £481.85, and £598 went to Student Community Action for stewarding.

The total amount spent was £38,181.85. The city council did manage to collect £22,000 in sponsorship, plus whatever they collected from the crowd on the night.

There’s a huge amount of information in the Payments to Suppliers data, which will help to make all sorts of Council activities more transparent. This can only be a good thing – and I’m sure there are many more interesting tidbits lurking in the files.

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