Chesterfield council 'spent over £2k on actor to dress as Paddington Bear for Christmas lights switch-on'

Chesterfield Borough Council has had to make some tough decisions this year because of budget cuts.
Chesterfield Borough Council has had to make some tough decisions this year because of budget cuts.

Chesterfield Borough Council reportedly spent £2,195 for an actor to dress up as Paddington Bear during November’s Christmas lights switch-on event in the town.

The figure was obtained by The Sun via a Freedom of Information request.

Chloe Westley, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Councils need to budget hard and keep costs down."

A spokesperson for the Labour-led authority said there was nothing more to add to The Sun's story.

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Readers' reaction

Commenting on this story on our Facebook page, Janis Palethorpe said: "They fritter money away like there’s no tomorrow and then have the cheek to raise council tax."

Adam Ward said: "I'm all for spreading cheer and all that but £2k seems a bit steep!"

Sharon Wall said: "Plenty of people would have done that for minimum wage or even free."

Karl Austin said: "Another fine example of councils being completely detached from reality and paying realistic prices for things..."

However, some people defended the council.

Robert Callaghan said: "How many extra people came into town spending money on that day because Paddington was there?

"It probably boosted local businesses so you could say it was money spent wisely."

Kevin Walker added: "I took my kids into town to see Paddington and he made several appearances throughout the day, not just switching on the lights.

"Town was very busy and the increased parking revenue would easily have covered the costs.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the day.

"Well done, Chesterfield Borough Council."

At the start of last year, the authority said it needed to make £200,000 in savings during 2018-19.

The council added it had faced a reduction of almost £6million - or 60 per cent - in the amount of funding received from the Government since 2010.

By 2020, this funding will cease altogether.