No Christmas lights in communities across North Lanarkshire this month

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Communities across North Lanarkshire will have to self-fund their own Christmas decorations this year

Communities in towns across North Lanarkshire have been told they must fund their own Christmas Trees and festive light displays this Winter as North Lanarkshire Council states there is no funding in place.

Festive light displays were a casualty of the budget set in 2019 in response to drastically reduced funds and financial pressures from both Westminster and the Scottish Government. Despite being left out of the budget, festive light displays were in place across the eight town centres in 2021 and 2022 thanks to one-off funding from RecoverNL

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The decision to get rid of the Christmas lights was opposed by the Conservatives but backed by SNP and Labour councillors. SNP depute group leader Councillor Jordan Linden commented back in November 2020: “I understand the immense strength of feeling and the emotive nature of this issue of the Christmas lights and trees in our community throughout the festive period.

“The council’s budget in February and the difficult decisions we had to take, against the backdrop of years of devastating budget cuts and Tory austerity, were taken before the global pandemic took hold.

“Councillors could never have foreseen the situation we would face and the devastating impact it has had on our communities in months gone by."

There is no funding in place for Christmas lights for the festive season 2024 across North Lanarkshire Council.There is no funding in place for Christmas lights for the festive season 2024 across North Lanarkshire Council.
There is no funding in place for Christmas lights for the festive season 2024 across North Lanarkshire Council. | Contributed

Community Councils still have the option to fundraise for their own trees and festive lights - and will be assisted by North Lanarkshire Council in the procedure of putting the lights up and getting the tree in place, but not in funding.

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Communities like Craigneuk in Wishaw have raised the funds themselves for the Christmas lights and tree through a series of fundraisers, while just up the road on the main street of Wishaw is unlit and unadorned.

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said:"As part of budget savings in 2019, the council decided not to provide Christmas trees and festive lighting. However, to support communities during and after the Covid pandemic, the council provided temporary funding through RecoverNL to have lighting in our eight town centres in 2021 and 2022.

"As this funding has come to an end, festive lighting will not be provided. Our contractor can help communities to install lighting if it is self-funded."

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