Common-Riding grants are called into question

HAWICK Provost Ron Smith believes there is no need to tamper with the funding formula for the region’s festivals.

The Hawick and Hermitage councillor spoke following concerns from other towns over the current council-administered system, which distributes £82,000 per year based on the size of the community’s population and whether it has a horse cavalcade.

Currently Hawick Common-Riding receives a grant of £9,300 from Scottish Borders Council.

A report to SBC revealed Hawick CR’s year-end balance is the largest of all the events, standing at over £180,000 ahead of the Hornshole quincentenary celebrations in 2014.

Councillor Smith said: “It is clear to all that there is an objective method of calculating the allocation of grants, and I am reluctant to see this pattern tweaked.

“Each town or smaller community could probably make a case for special treatment, and this might well need to be individually negotiated each year. Such uncertainty is no help to anyone.”

Complaints had been received from Melrose and Lauder.

The report showed 14 out of 29 events in the Borders had cash reserves lower than one year’s typical income. Of that 14, seven had a bank balance that fell below 50 per cent of its annual revenue.