MTV Awards bill soars

FRESH anger over the staging of the MTV Europe Music Awards in Leith erupted yesterday after it emerged that the cost to taxpayers has soared to £230,000.

Opposition councillors are furious after discovering 75,000 worth of "hidden costs" will have to be paid for by the local authority.

Officials are being told to find the unbudgeted cash from their existing budgets to pay for extra clean-ups and policing, traffic management, staffing costs and public safety measures such as crush barriers.

An economic impact study due to be published early next year is expected to show that the event generated about 4 million for the economy of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Despite claims by tourism leaders that the long-term benefits of the event will be felt for up to ten years, critics are sceptical about the value for money for taxpayers in the city. The council has already paid out 125,000 to help cover the costs of creating the event arena at the Western Harbour.

The grant was match-funded by the Scottish Executive, while Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian paid 500,000. Another 30,000 was committed by the council in advance to help pay for flags and banners around the city.

Ian Berry, the Tory group secretary, said: "This is a big hit for the council to take and I don’t think the average taxpayer will be too impressed by it."

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