Row over Olly Murs' switch-on fee
Published 12/11/2010 | 11:16
Olly Murs' Christmas lights switch-on has caused controversy after it emerged the X Factor runner-up was being paid £15,000.
The Please Don't Let Me Go singer will headline tomorrow's event in Paisley, where the council recently announced plans it was cutting 500 jobs.
Olly will perform on stage before being joined by Renfrewshire Provost Celia Lawson to officially switch on the town's lights.
Renfrewshire Council is having to make cuts of £24 million and is axing hundreds of jobs. The council said the £15,000 fee was to cover travel, security and the time the star will be in Paisley.
Renfrewshire Council leader Derek Mackay, who represents the SNP, said: "Paisley Christmas lights switch-on is part of a wide-ranging and increasingly successful programme to regenerate Paisley town centre. One of the keys to doing that is attracting more people to the town.
"Last year's Christmas lights switch-on attracted around 25,000 people to Paisley town centre. That is a major boost for business and the profile of the town.
"The main draw for people to come to the event is having big-name performers there on the day."
However, Labour councillor Jim Sharkey, who represents Paisley town centre, said: "I'm absolutely outraged. I don't think he is going to contribute anything and that's not the only extravagance.
"There is also a tower for launching fireworks which costs almost the same as Olly Murs and between the two of them that's two classroom assistants we can't have because they have spent the money in this way.
"There are plenty of people in Paisley who would have done a better job than Olly Murs. We have an embarrassment of riches as far as talent is concerned."