Wednesday, 1 January 2014

How Long Does It Take To Make £2 Million Disappear?

This is not the chirpiest of New Year's Day posts and for that I apologise in advance, but I am livid (and on my soapbox) about the combined amount of money spent on fireworks seeing in the New Year.

I have not yet been able to find the cost of the London 2013 New Year's Eve firework display but suspect that, since it included peach snow and scratch and sniff bands (WTF!) that it cost more than the £276,000 of the previous year. That's more than a quarter of a million pounds burned in ten minutes. Factoring in the cost of things like extra policing the City of London will have spent around £2 million on the celebrations. Multiply that by the number of cities around the world who put on massive firework displays and that's a staggering amount of money gone up in smoke.

Now, I'm not saying that fireworks aren't nice. I love a bit of a bonfire night display but, having seen the Sydney NYE fireworks from a superb vantage spot on Sydney Harbour my lingering memory is the smell of sulphur and the irritating dust.

My challenge for governments for New Year's Eve 2014 is to put their fireworks budget into something which will make a real difference, a gesture their residents can feel proud of. For example, The Trussell Trust spend around £28 for a foodbox which will feed a family for three days. The money spent on London's fireworks alone could pay for nearly 10,000 such parcels. To me making it better in a significant way for thousands of people, rather than merely proving a few hours entertainment, is a far more worth way of commemorating the start of a new year. Am I alone in my belief?

So, the answer to how long does it take to make £2 million disappear is up to you, City of London, and your fellow governments. Will you make it pretty, or will you make a difference?