Council’s £200 on Margaret Thatcher death security

The Festival Square big screen was turned off for Margaret Thatcher's funeral but security guards were still sent to the scene. Picture: Getty
The Festival Square big screen was turned off for Margaret Thatcher's funeral but security guards were still sent to the scene. Picture: Getty
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Edinburgh City council paid £200 for four security guards at Festival Square in case of trouble during Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, but no one even turned up because the giant screen had already been switched off.

While the bill to lay Margaret Thatcher to rest last April is known to have topped £1.2 million, few will have realised it even had financial implications 400 miles away in Edinburgh.

Documents reveal today a slightly more modest sum – £200 – was spent in the Capital on providing security for the event.

It was included in a list of events which made up the £100,000 bill for stewards at public events in the city over the past three years.

It transpires four security guards were sent to Festival Square on the morning the former prime minister was laid to rest – but having already decided to switch off the big screen to avoid provoking trouble no-one turned up.

Today’s figures also reveal the city council coughed up £30,000 in one day when it provided 223 stewards to police crowds as 2500 troops marched through the city on Armed Forces Day in 2011. And the council was slapped with a £440 bill for Zara Phillips’ wedding at Canongate Kirk, where 6000 wellwishers gathered. In total, the authority spent £99,267 on security at 19 events between 2011 and last year.

City festivals and events champion Councillor Steve Cardownie said the city was trying to apply for a special allowance, like the one offered to Westminster Council, to help with the cost of staging events.

“Given that Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, you are going to get demonstrations and events. Obviously, it’s just one of those things when you live in a capital city where the seat of the Scottish Government is – would you rather live anywhere else? It’s a good thing that people want to come here for all sorts of reasons, but unfortunately that comes at a cost.”

Details released under Freedom of Information revealed a £10,900 bill to send security staff to vantage points across the city during last year’s Festival fireworks.

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win also proved a costly affair, with £1193 spent as fans flocked to watch the action in Festival Square.

PAYING THE PRICE

National Armed Forces Day (2011): £28,958

Olympic big screen events (2012): £14,411

Olympic Torch Relay and Castle Concert (2012): £11,178

Festival Fireworks (2013): £10,900

Festival Fireworks (2012): £10,376

Festival Fireworks (2011): £10,338

Paralympic Flame Festival (2012): £5382