Brighton: Labour and Tories vote against Green plan to axe £25,000 Pride grant

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Labour and Tory councillors in Brighton and Hove have voted against a planned cut to the city’s Pride festival.

The ruling Green Party had said the current £25,000 council grant was no longer required.

Speaking before the vote, Paul Kemp, of Brighton and Hove Pride, told The Latest: “Pride will be thrilled if this funding is agreed to support the LGBT community parade and sustainability of Pride.

“The community parade is one of the highlight of the cities calendar that the whole community engages in.

“We look forward to an even better community parade this year, celebrating our freedom to live.”

Although last night 30 councillors to 20 voted to maintain the grant, the amendment will have to be re-tabled after the council failed to agree on its overall budget.

Labour Group Leader Warren Morgan said: “Labour backs Pride and believes that a small investment of £25,000 is well worth it to secure the parade for 2014, a parade which is enjoyed by thousands each year and which generates huge amounts of business for the city’s shops and restaurants that provide thousands of jobs for local people.”

Conservative Group Leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “Brighton and Hove’s Pride is an internationally renowned event which, last year, was attended by 160,000 people and contributes an estimated £13.5 million to the local economy – in other words, money in the pocket for our local businesses and traders.

“It also generates significant sums of money for local LGBT and HIV good causes – over £43,000 last year.

“We are, therefore, delighted to be able to put forward a budget amendment to continue to give £25,000 to the Pride festival to ensure that the much-loved community parade can go ahead.”

PinkNews has approached the Green Party for comment.

The chair of the council’s economic development and culture committee, Green Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, in previous years a former Pride volunteer, said in October 2013: “We are massive supporters of Pride and are particularly pleased that the ticketed format for the event is delivering a healthy surplus and allowing LGBT charities to benefit from grants administered by the Rainbow fund.

“Indeed, in the face of the continuing squeeze on funds from central government to local authorities such as Brighton & Hove, it is essential that major events such as Pride become sustainable. Pride CIC has demonstrated that it has a financially sustainable model, which we applaud.”