Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Belfast City Council won't hold new year's eve event

Belfast City Hall
The council has said it cannot justify spending money on a concert

Belfast City Council will not be staging new year's eve celebrations on Thursday night.

The council has blamed the decision on the current economic climate.

Free concerts have been held in the city in previous years, but the council said it could not justify spending the money this year.

DUP Councillor William Humphrey said the event would have cost £250,000 and the council had a responsibility to the ratepayers in the city.

"We have to be prudent with our money, we have to deliver value for money and a quarter of million pounds on a party that last year attracted less than 5,000 people is not the sort of money we need to spend at this time," he said.

"We would love to have a party in the city centre tonight, but we just can't afford it."

However, PUP assembly member Dawn Purvis said the decision was "hugely disappointing".

"There are lots of home-grown talent and up and coming bands who would have given their eye-teeth to play at a new year's eve bash tonight," she said.

"I think not to provide something free of charge for the ratepayers of Belfast really doesn't bode well for the type of shared city that we're trying to promote across the country."

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