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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 13:07 GMT
Call to cut Jubilee party charges
A street party
Thousands celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee
The government has urged local councils to forgo some of the charges for holding street parties to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Sports minister Richard Caborn wants councils to consider waiving some of the charges for road closures and public liability insurance.

The move comes amid claims high costs are deterring people from organising street parties.

"I am hoping the local authorities will be able to help with those types of costs," Mr Caborn said.

The Jubilee should have been the centrepiece of a national promotion of Britain as a tourist destination, particularly in North America

Tim Yeo
Shadow culture secretary

But he played down suggestions the event was set to be a flop, with little of the enthusiasm that marked the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

"We are now well on course for an extremely good Jubilee," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The minister disputed claims that Lord Levene of Portsoken - the former Lord Mayor of London chosen by the government to co-ordinate the celebrations - had left the role last year in protest at the shambolic state of preparations.

'Bogged down'

"He didn't walk away. I think Lord Levene resigned from the job in the sense that he didn't believe that the fund raising part of it was the major area of it," Mr Caborn said.

But shadow culture secretary Tim Yeo said Lord Levene had made clear to him his unhappiness at the preparations.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn
Mr Caborn hopes local councils will help with costs
"I am afraid it is true that Lord Levene did resign in despair. He certainly said he had had a very frustrating time in his period," he told Today.

Mr Yeo warned the whole event was now in danger of becoming bogged down in costly bureaucracy.

The government was in danger of squandering a valuable opportunity to promote Britain, he said.

"What we have at the moment is evidence that this is being entangled in red tape.

"The tourist trade, which is one of our most important industries, is in terrible, dire straits.

"The Jubilee should have been the centrepiece of a national promotion of Britain as a tourist destination, particularly in North America.

"The government has completely failed to do that."

Mr Yeo's comments come a day after Lord Sterling, chairman of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, insisted plans were well on track.

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