Preston Guild 2032: Warning of public outcry if next city guild is done on the cheap

Hard-up council bosses have been warned against planning a "cut price" Preston Guild for 2032.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:03 pm

Lib-Dem leader Coun John Potter insists the city will not tolerate the 20-year extravaganza being "done on the cheap".

Coun Potter will tell next week's council meeting that it is now time - even a decade ahead - to start saving up for the premier event on Preston's calendar.

The last Guild, in 2012, cost more than £5m to stage. And by the time 2032 comes along the bill could reach almost double that.

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Preston Guild 2012: Proms in the Park starring Katherine Jenkins and Jose Carreras.

"To have the same quality of Guild we will need to spend much more than we did 10 years ago," he said.

"It cost £5.4m to put 2012 on. Think how much that would cost us this year and how much prices will continue to go up over the next 10 years.

"We are maybe looking at £8m to £10m to get a similar event as last time and we are currently nowhere near getting that sort of money put aside for it."

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Crowds line the streets for the 2012 Churches Procession.

Coun Potter will introduce a notice of motion to the council next Thursday calling on the authority to start putting cash aside, even in these hard times.

Prior to the 2012 Guild an extra one per cent was added to council tax bills to help pay for the 10-day celebrations. But after the event that levy continued to aid the council's struggling finances.

Now the Lib-Dem boss feels it is time that one per cent should be set aside in a special Guild savings account to help towards 2023.

"If that one per cent had been set aside for the 2032 Guild from 2013/14 it would have added an extra £1.08m to the Guild 2032 reserve by today," he will say.

All the fun of the 2012 Churches Procession.

"If we start to add the one per cent from 2023/24 budget onward it would add approximately £1.5m to the Guild 2032 reserve."

Preston Council already has a £1m reserve fund to go towards the 2032 bash. But Coun Potter thinks that even if outside funding is forthcoming in 10 years time, there will still be a shortfall.

And the lack of money could mean scaling the event back and make it a budget celebration.

"The people of Preston have continued paying the one per cent that was originally intended for the 2012 Guild," he said.

Ace costumes from the 2012 Trades Procession.

"To give the council credit, they have already put away £1m towards 2032. But if we want something similar to the great event we had 10 years ago we are going to have to start raising money now.

"No way will Preston accept a cut-price Guild. It is a seminal piece of Preston's history, these are the events that the people of Preston remember for the rest of their days.

"We mustn't do it on the cheap - we can't have a watered down version. There will be an outcry.

"It was said recently there have already been arguments in cabinet about what we should be doing about the Guild. So I am merely asking what we are doing.

"At some point we are going to have to start figuring out how we are going to fund it.

"To me it will mean raising something like a million a year, so the sooner we start looking at this the better."