There will be no fireworks display in Luton this year due to council budget cuts, it was confirmed yesterday.
The annual fireworks spectacular is usually held in Popes Meadow in Old Bedford Road and tends to attract thousands of people.
In previous years the fireworks have cost the council about £30,000 and admission to the event has been free, but this year there is no money for the show.
A council spokesperson said: “These are very difficult financial times and we must make tough decisions to achieve a balanced budget and protect key services for local people.”
The spokesperson said they have to protect essential frontline services as they try to save £49million over the next three years due to government cuts.
The Bonfire Night event is not the only annual tradition the council is struggling to pay for this year.
Unable to afford Christmas lights and decorations, the council is asking for businesses to sponsor them instead.
As previously reported in the Herald & Post, Luton-based budget airline easyJet has agreed to provide sponsorship for the lights in partnership with the Love Luton campaign, but so far, with 65 days to go until the big switch-on, no one has been confirmed as a sponsor of the two giant Christmas trees.
A Luton council spokesperson said: “We have had some interest and are currently in discussion with an organisation.”
The Town Hall issued a last call for Christmas tree sponsors to step forward on Thursday, saying the large trees must be ordered by the end of September.
The tradition of illuminating the town centre dates back more than 20 years, with festive lights erected in George Street, between the Town Hall and Park Street, and switched on at the popular annual ‘Lighting Up Luton’ celebration which this year will take place on Saturday December 7.
This year some of the lights will be orange, a colour synonymous with easyJet, to reflect the company’s involvement.
A council spokeswoman said: “It’s great to see the many business sponsors lined up to support the lights, celebrities and lantern parade for this year’s Christmas lights switch-on event, which is usually attended by around 20,000 people throughout the day by the local community, commuters and visitors.
“Discussions are under way for sponsorship of an ice rink too. So it would be great if just one more sponsor would step forward to save the two huge Christmas trees which traditionally appear outside the Town Hall.
“Hopefully, St George’s Square will also be the home once again to a local Christmas market offering traditional fare and gifts.”
Any businesses with enquiries or interests can contact the Luton Borough Council Sponsorship and Advertising Team on 01582 547325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for extra information relating to sponsorship details.