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Time to charge for Youth Beatz says councillor

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Time to charge for Youth Beatz says councillor

YOUTH Beatz is set to continue as Scotland’s biggest free music festival - but with moves towards a ten per cent funding cut and calls to introduce charges.

Councillors this week decided to continue supporting the Dumfries event for youngsters, which this year featured X Factor’s James Arthur as its headliner and cost the council £54,000.
Councillor Graeme Bell opposed the funding move, and said: “I wasn’t going to agree in principle to ring-fencing Youth Beatz for 2017 – I believe it should be funded by the Scottish Government.
“And I asked for further reports to come back to Nithsdale Area Committee on introducing charging.
“As I’ve always said in the past, I think a small charge for a successful event like this should be introduced.”
The North West Dumfries councillor added: “I also said that, at the end of the day, this council’s got some serious budget cuts to make across the region of Dumfries and Galloway, and for such a successful event a small charge would be the way forward.”
Councillor Bell says he has ‘real concerns’ about the area committee’s discretionary grant growing ‘smaller and smaller’ in the next couple of years.
And he said: “As many other organisations and bodies come forward to Nithsdale for grants for various projects and events, these people could be denied this because Youth Beatz is taking up a vast majority of this grant.”
Councillor Bell and fellow Independent Group councillor Jack Groom voted against the amendment, while SNP councillor Andrew Wood abstained.
However, the area committee agreed in principle to reduce funding by ten per cent, or £5400.
But, Councillor Bell argues a small charge would see the summer event held in the Dock Park pay for itself.
With 12,000 free tickets handed out this year, calculating what would be required to cover the council’s contribution in 2018, Councillor Bell said: “This would work out about £4.05 an attendee.”
However, other backing this year came from Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Woman Partnership, The Scottish Government, Cashback for Communities, Young Start, Business Gateway and Youth Link Scotland.

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