Council defends £50k budget for torch party

The city councillor responsible for sport in Lincoln has defended a decision to set aside £50,000 for the Olympic torch party next year.

Replying to a question from Councillor Alister Williams, a Conservative member for Castle Ward, at Full Council on June 28, Councillor Donald Nannestad, Labour’s Portfolio Holder for Recreational Services and Health, said:

“The £50,000 is a contingency budget set aside for the evening celebration event. We hope that the actual amount that we need to spend will be significantly less than that.

“I have to say that when the agreement was made to host this torch event, there was no budget put aside at all.

“There has to be some budget. This is a figure that we hope we won’t come anywhere near […] but we do have to have a figure in the budget.”

Cllr Williams had asked how the council’s executive arrived at that amount and what it will be spent on.

He went on to ask how the City Council can ensure that there is “value for money for the taxpayers of Lincoln […] in light of the fact that the Value for Money Committee has been scrapped by the new administration”.

Cllr Nannestad insisted that the committee hadn’t been scrapped, just renamed as the Performance Scrutiny Committee.

He added: “There’s no question that what we do will be value for money.”

Specific details about the Olympic Torch party are shrouded in secrecy by the City Council. The speculation, however, is that it will be held at Yarborough Sports Centre.

This possible location has received criticism, given Lincoln’s wealth of impressive locations, like the cathedral and castle.

In an interview with The Lincolnite in May, Ric Metcalfe, the City Council Leader, said that the council has signed a confidentiality agreement with Olympic organisers and so it will not be able to confirm anything until given the all clear by them.