Liberal Democrat councillors have accused Labour council leader Cllr. Hazel Simmons of a “smoke & mirrors con trick” over the nearly £400,000 loss on the July weekend Love Luton Festival.
Cllr Simmons announced on Monday evening she was to ask Council owned London Luton Airport to pay a special dividend of £400,000 to the Council to cover the losses on the Festival but Liberal Democrat councillors say that the money would be coming to the Council anyway and that cuts will still have to be made to cover the losses.
The airport is owned by the Council and makes payments every year direct to the Council and to support Council owned sports & recreation centres and libraries. Payments amount to more than £20M a year.
“Pretending to use airport dividend to cover the festival loss is a smoke & mirrors con trick,” says Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr David Franks. “The £400,000 would be coming to the Council anyway, it is not new money and if it were not for the financial disaster of the Love Luton Festival it would have been used to support vital Council services. They can’t spend it twice, so they are still going to have to chop £400,000 from somewhere in the budget.”
“First they tried to convince people the loss was covered by insurance. Now we know that’s not the case they have come up with the airport dividend wheeze. Labour Councillors should stop trying to dodge the issue, admit they made a monumental blunder and accept full responsibility for it.”