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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 11:41 GMT
Capital party 'for years to come'
Hogmanay in Edinburgh
About 100,000 people attend Edinburgh's famous street party
Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations will go ahead for "the foreseeable future" despite money not being earmarked for the party, a council leader has said.

Edinburgh City Council deputy leader Steve Cardownie said there was sufficient money in the general fund to cover next year's Winter Festivals.

He spoke out after Labour said the event may need to be scaled down or even scrapped after a funding shake-up.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay four-day celebrations cost about 1m.

We have received sufficient assurances from the Scottish Government that the funds will be available to ensure Edinburgh's Winter Festivals continue
Steve Cardownie
Edinburgh City Council deputy leader

The capital received 23m over the last three years from the Cities Growth Fund, which was set up by the last Labour/Lib Dem administration.

But the new Scottish Government said the money would go to the council's general fund.

Labour culture spokesman Malcolm Chisholm claimed this left question marks over the Hogmanay party's future.

"The Cities Growth Fund has been a huge driver of success not just in Edinburgh but across the entire country," he said.

"Hogmanay celebrations in Glasgow and Aberdeen could also be under threat.

"Funding from the Cities Growth Fund has supported vital cultural, transport and public projects. This makes a huge contribution to Scotland's economic growth."

Competing priorities

Glasgow has also secured 76.5m from the fund since 2003, Mr Chisholm added, with a quarter of the money spent on schemes outside the city boundary.

"Councils are being forced to choose between their many competing priorities for funding and events like Edinburgh's Hogmanay Party," he added.

Earlier this year, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) confirmed it would end its backing of the event after this year's festivities.

The bank has been the main sponsor for six years, providing annual funding of about 300,000.

'Iconic event'

But Mr Cardownie said the Labour statement was designed to convey a "negative message" at a time of celebration.

The SNP councillor said: "This council administration will not be deflected from ensuring that our Winter Festivals go from strength to strength.

"We have made it clear all along that they will continue into the foreseeable future - to suggest otherwise is playing politics with an important and iconic event for Scotland.

"We have received sufficient assurances from the Scottish Government that the funds will be available to ensure Edinburgh's Winter Festivals continue to offer world renowned celebrations that make a valuable contribution to the economy and reputation of Scotland."

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