A Dundee councillor says people who “struggle to survive” would lose out if cash is spent on a Hogmanay event.
Coldside member Anne Rendall responded in the Tele to a letter from Chris Elder, local taxi branch secretary for trade union Unite, calling for councillors to find money for a Hogmanay event in Dundee.
Cllr Rendall wrote: “I worked in the council’s then economic development department, now city development, in the year 2000 and we had a Hogmanay event in City Square which about 8,000 people attended.
“We had applied for and were successful in receiving funds from the UK Government to run the event, along with other cities, to celebrate the Millennium.
“On the evening of the event, it snowed and some bands that had been booked to play did not turn up or appeared somewhat the worse for wear, as did a fair proportion of the audience.
“We had planning meetings with all of the emergency services for about 18 months prior to the event, but the things you cannot plan for are weather and human behaviour.
“That was 18 years ago and long before the 2008 recession.
“With respect, and notwithstanding the fact that I am a proud Dundonian, Dundee is a small city and running a very large event for one night would take a lot more money than most people would realise and divert it away from statutory duties that we must carry out as a council.”
Chris Elder had written in his letter on Tuesday: “Once again we had no Hogmanay celebrations in Dundee.
“It was another opportunity to bring some cheer and income to the city.
“Something surely has to change? All you hear is that there is no money to put on a celebration for Hogmanay but the council spends money on other things.
“It would benefit the public and the pubs, restaurants, takeaways, clubs and taxis, and put us on the map regarding places to visit.
“Instead of putting obstacles in the way, my plea to councillors is: have a good look at something for next year and don’t be so negative.
“Look at the bigger picture.”
But Cllr Rendall hit back in her letter that was published in Friday’s Tele.
She added: “Would Mr Elder rather we ran an event for the few who want to come and party than the many in this city who struggle to survive every day here?
“Times have changed and in years past I also remember heading for City Square where people were content with a lone piper bringing in the new year before heading off to first foot friends and neighbours.
“Now there is far more choice about how to bring in the new year – at home, in pubs and clubs or heading off to far corners of the world.
“At the moment, I think we need to concentrate on using our budget as wisely as possible – and be optimistic that things will get better as we see each new year approaching.”