Council chiefs under fire over plans for Provost’s banquet

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CITY council chiefs were under fire today over a decision to stage a lavish Lord Provost’s Banquet just weeks before the local government elections.

Up to 900 guests are expected at the £1440-per-table event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on March 20, which will be attended by Princess Anne, it was reported today.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti is being lined up to perform at the banquet, which will mark the end of George Grubb’s five-year term as First Citizen.

The council confirmed chief executive Sue Bruce and senior officials would be taking a table of ten at the event, but paying for the £144 tickets out of their own pocket.

Labour group leader Andrew Burns said: “We were completely unaware this was being planned. We do have concerns, both about the potential costs to the council of this event and the timing of it so close to the elections.”

Mr Grubb said: “The banquet is a civic occasion bringing together leaders from numerous sectors in Scotland’s capital city to raise awareness of and generate support for worthwhile charitable causes.”