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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Bolton taxpayers’ £91,000 bill for rallies (UK)

Taxpayers face a bill of £91,000 for the protest rallies in Bolton last Saturday.

Town Hall bosses last night revealed the final cost to the town of preparing for and clearing up after the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism rallies.
The figure — which is almost double what they thought it would cost—comes on top of the £300,000 in taxpayers’ money needed to police the demonstrations.
And, as reported in The Bolton News, economists believe the protest could have cost the business community as much as £3 million.
The council used the money to put up metal barriers around the Town Hall square to contain protesters.

Every child in the borough also received a letter urging them to avoid the town on the day of the protests.

There was then the huge cleanup operation following the rallies.
Bolton Council chief executive Sean Harriss said: “The preparation for the EDL and UAF demonstrations involved significant and extensive planning by the council.

“On the day, we were responsible for a variety of areas including the provision of the barriers, road closures and providing positive activities for young people.
“All the costs surrounding the demonstrations are being met from the council’s contingency budget, which has already been set aside for such events.”
Before the event, Town Hall chiefs estimated the cost to the taxpayer would be somewhere between £30,000 and £50,000.
About 150 council staff were on duty in a variety of roles, including stewarding, manning emergency control rooms, liaising with the community and street cleaning.
The authority spent £3,500 on the clear-up operation, with 52 staff spending more than four hours cleaning the streets of the town centre and ensuring it was business as usual on Sunday.
Police chiefs put 1,300 officers and staff on to the streets of Bolton for the event, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Large numbers of police, including mounted officers and dog handlers, were needed to maintain order.

But the greatest cost came to businesses in Bolton which lost an estimated £3 million, as shoppers stayed at home.
Many stores rolled the shutters down for the day or boarded up their windows, as more than 3,500 protesters descended on Victoria Square.
Businesses that did remain open said they lost about 80 to 90 per cent of their takings.

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