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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Council reveals £131,000 cost of English Defence League protest in Leicester

The city council's bill for last month's controversial English Defence League demonstration stands at £131,000, it has been revealed.

The majority of the cash was spent on operations to minimise disruption to the city, with a bill of £94,000 split between boarding up businesses, extra street cleaning after the event and the legal costs of attempting to ban the march.

Close to £40,000 was spent on "community activities" such as the We Are One Leicester concert, which included a performance from singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg.

The police bill is likely to be about £1 million.

Sheila Lock, chief executive of Leicester City Council, said: "Protecting the city and its traders, and keeping young people safe from the potential for trouble, was a priority. I think we successfully did that.

"However, the fact that we bear the costs for dealing with something we didn't want or ask for still concerns us greatly. "That's why we continue to press for a meeting with the Home Office."

Mohammed Dawood, the council cabinet's community cohesion boss, said: "The costs incurred by the council are still being finalised and some further payments are expected to be made, but these are not expected to be significant.

"The current cost to the council in relation to the EDL demonstration itself is £94,000. "Further expenditure of approximately £18,000 was incurred providing positive activities for young people and information around the city before, during and after the event. The We Are One Leicester celebration event cost £19,000 to stage."

Ron and Katherine Focks, who run Niche, in Carts Lane, off High Street, opened until 3pm on the day of the rally, October 9. Mr Focks said: "The organisation that went into keeping violence to a minimum was very impressive. It was a sad day for the city but it was handled very well."

This is Leicestershire