Political spat over funding Remembrance Sunday in Bath - cancelling it could save over £20,000

By John Wimperis - Local Democracy Reporter

25th Jan 2023 | Local News

A poppy in the Midsomer Norton display 2021
A poppy in the Midsomer Norton display 2021

There will be "no change" to Bath's Remembrance Sunday events, Bath and North East Somerset Council has insisted.

A political spat erupted between Bath Conservatives and the Liberal Democrat-run council after Bath's remembrance services were included on a list of savings that could be made to the council's budget.

Bath's Conservative Association quickly took to Twitter to brand the move as insulting to current and former service members. But Liberal Democrats on the council have insisted Remembrance Sunday events will still go ahead.

Council cabinet member for resources Richard Samuel said: "There will be no change to remembrance events at all. The only thing that will change is the body that funds them."

Running the annual Remembrance Sunday parade will now be taken on by Bath's charter trustees, a group which includes the Mayor and deals with the city's ceremonial duties. 

The list of savings, published in advance of the council's corporate scrutiny panel's meeting to scrutinise the budget on Monday 23, stated that £27,000 could be saved if the council events office stopped running events such as Remembrance Sunday and Summer Sunday, which it runs on behalf of the Mayor's office and Royal British Legion.

Councillor Samuel added: "In Bath, it has been funded by the council so effectively people in North East Somerset have been paying for Bath's [event], but now it will be paid by the charter trustees."

Bath Conservatives continued to criticise the move, posting on Twitter: "[Bath and North East Somerset Council] is washing its hands of supporting it: the cost and organisation will now be passed entirely to the Mayor of Bath and his team of two."

A spokesperson from the Liberal Democrat group insisted: "We can absolutely assure everyone there is no cut to the Remembrance Sunday budget. We are bringing it in line in Bath and other areas in [Bath and North East Somerset] so the charter trustees in Bath are meeting to agree taking it on [January 24] for funding it in the way that Keynsham town council does for their celebrations."

The spokesperson added: "It's offensive in the extreme for the Conservatives to use our veterans as a political football."

The council's final budget will be agreed by Bath and North East Somerset Council's cabinet on February 9. It will go to full council for approval on February 21.

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