Taxpayers to pay for trip to ‘drinking festival’

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A team of city council representatives is set to attend a conference in the French Riviera, despite it being branded “the UK’s biggest and most elaborate drinking festival”.

City leader Jenny Dawe and four officials from the council’s economic development department are to travel to the south of France for the Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier (MIPIM) property trade fair, which is taking place in Cannes over four days in March.

Sending the delegation to the event will cost around £5500 to the Edinburgh taxpayer.

Many UK councils have been shunning the event because of the pressure on public finances, while Scottish Enterprise, which has previously led the Scottish delegation, has said that its budget situation means it is not “top priority”.

But councillors are to be asked to approve the plans to send a delegation.

And city leader Jenny Dawe insisted that the costs could pale into insignificance compared to the value of investment that the city could secure from attending.

Councillor Andrew Burns, leader of the Labour group on the city council, said: “I think it is important for the council to be represented at these events but in recent years they have done everything possible to find alternative funding.”