Events exempt from gala charge

Special events like the Prestwick Air Show and the Holy Fair are to be exempt from recent councli charges for community events.

The news was revealed as South Ayrshire councillor Alec Oattes replied to questions from local groups in Carrick who are protesting against the new charges which could see some groups paying up to £1400 to stage community galas.

Responding to questions from David Girvan, one of the members of the Girvan Attractions group in Girvan, councillor Oattes said: “So far as I am aware it would appear that events which are excluded from charges are the Holy Fair, The Air Show, perhaps subsidised by £100,000 or more, but this has still to be finalised as these are classed as “Special Events”.

“I am not sure what the position is about the Ayr Flower Show. It is not clear to me what the distinction is between Rural Galas and other Community Events which would appear to be classed as “Special Events” and how the different criteria would apply, as it is not specifically clear in the Budget proposals that were passed.

“The Budget passed were the proposals brought forward by the ruling Conservative and Labour Members, Cllr McDowall will no doubt say that the opposition failed to bring forward any alternative Budget which is true, but even if we had it would never have been accepted by the the Ruling Administration.

“With regard to the last point, I am at a loss to understand why the ruling administration would penalise small Village and Rural Gala Committees in this way,with no real understanding of the consequences, especially as the Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr. John McDowall represents a Rural Ward namely Girvan and South Carrick.

“I totally accept that all budget decisions are very difficult in the current economic climate pertaining throughout Scotland and the UK. and many priorities have to be addressed, but at the end of the day, the £15,000 saving, is a very small part of the Council’s overall spend, while leaving £14.556 Million in uncommitted reserves, putting at risk all the Gala Days in South Ayrshire that are such an important part of fundraising for many local Groups and Charities.

“I hope you will accept, that I have tried to answer your questions in an open an honest way.”

In a letter to councillors David Girvan said: “ Girvan Attractions has been joining the villages of Girvan and South Carrick to fight SAC cuts Could you please clear up if there is any truth in that there are some events been excluded from being charged?

“If this is true could you please answer these questions: If so what events? If so what criteria would an event have to match to be excluded from the charge?

“All councillors voted for these charges, Why would you vote for the events in your area that you represent to be charged but other events out with your area not to be charged?

r See letters