Cash-strapped council 'makes no apology' for spending £50k of public cash to celebrate coronation

Bromley was named among the councils that spent thousands of pounds on King Charles II's coronation over the long weekend, despite making budget cuts elsewhere

King Charles III and Queen Camilla wearing their crowns, on the balcony of Buckinham Palace watch the flypast in honour of their Coronation at Westminster Abbey Westminster London May 6th 2023
Bromley council spent £50,000 celebrating the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla (AP)

A cash-strapped Greater London council has defended spending tens of thousands of pounds of public money on celebrations for King Charles's coronation.

A number of councils, including some of the most deprived in the country, that had previously cut resources for public services or raised taxes, put taxpayer cash behind the weekend-long events – despite polls showing most Brits were not interested in the ceremony.

Bromley Council, which spent £50,000, was criticised by Labour opposition leader, Simon Jeal, who said it was "odd the Conservatives don’t fund celebrations for any other sorts of events”.

Cllr Colin Smith, leader of Bromley Council told Yahoo News UK in response: "If Bromley Labour Party wish to be the grinches who tried to sully the coronation in Bromley more shame on them.

“I am very clear that a significant majority of Bromley residents want to see and enjoy taking part in one-off pageants of history like the coronation and make no apology whatsoever for spending a relatively small, hopefully only ever once in a generation, sum to help them mark such a special day.”

Read more: Council facing bankruptcy 'spent £50K on coronation celebrations'

In December, the council said it was planning to sell off buildings including the Community House Bromley, which plays host to charity groups in the area, to make ends meet.

It also claimed to have funded the coronation celebrations from its community fund, which is traditionally used to give grants to charities.

London, UK, 6th May 2023, The Coronation of King Charles III takes place at Westminster Abbey., Andrew Lalchan Photography/Alamy Live News
Crowds celebrate the coronation of King Charles. (Alamy Live News)

In December, Smith, said: “This council is scheduled to go bankrupt in four to five years’ time unless we make hard decisions, and hard decisions involve selling buildings when we don’t necessarily want to… It involves making very very tough financial choices," LondonNewsOnline reported.

Those choices included failing to back warm banks for those in need during the winter and, according to the local Labour Party, refusing to provide financial support for local food banks.

Labour opposition leader Jeal told Yahoo News UK: "Bromley Labour aren’t asking the council leader to apologise for committing £50,000 to the coronation celebrations.

"What he should be apologising for is, despite our requests, refusing to put a penny towards supporting food banks and other bromley community groups during a cost of living crisis and at the same time cutting council tax support- putting a further burden on thousands of Bromley households."

In April, a poll for YouGov showed most British people were not interested in the King’s coronation with 35% saying they “do not care very much”, and 29% saying they “do not care at all”.

Some 24% of people said they care “a fair amount”, while only 9% said they care “a great deal”.