The local councils that spent the most money on the King’s Coronation
Local councils across the UK are set to spend more than £3.8 million of their own money on coronation events with research suggesting that some spent tens of thousands of pounds on events over the bank holiday weekend.
The findings from openDemocracy come amid the cost-of-living crisis, which has seen councils warned that they will need to find an extra £2.4bn this year to cover energy price rises and inflationary cost pressures.
The biggest spender on events to mark the coronation of King Charles III this weekend was Ealing Council, which spent over £180,000 on events including a live screening, performances and fireworks.
It comes after the council said in December it would have to make at least £2million of savings from its budget for public health, adult social care, and leisure centres after facing a deficit of £5million.
Barking and Dagenham Council in east London spent £155,000 over the weekend, despite being the fifth most deprived local authority in the UK.
Dominic Twomey, the deputy leader of Labour-run Barking and Dagenham Council admitted in March that the borough’s finances were at breaking point.
“We’ve already delivered more than £175m in savings since 2010 and there’s a further £5.689m planned this year – we’re reaching the point where there’s nothing left to cut,” he said.
Meanwhile, Newham Council spent over £168,000, while Richmond Upon Thames spent £150,000 and Sheffield Council spent £101,00.
Some of the UK’s most deprived councils also spent thousands on celebrations. Birmingham City Council spent over £76,000, and Liverpool City Council spent a thousand pounds less.
OpenDemocracy also found that Conservative-led Bromley Council spent £50,000 on coronation celebrations – taken from the borough’s community fund for grants to charities.
Labour opposition leader Simon Jeal told openDemocracy while he does not oppose the spending on coronation events, “it’s odd the Conservatives don’t fund celebrations for any other sorts of events.”
He said the Conservatives rejected a plan by Labour councillors in February to create a £5,000 fund for residents to run community events for occasions including Eid, Remembrance Sunday, Black History Month, Pride month, Chanukah and Chinese New Year.
Meanwhile, Southampton City Council, which is facing bankruptcy next year, is planning to spend £5,000 on coronation signs for lamp posts, despite plans to switch street lights off for three hours every night to save on electricity bills.
The coronation is set to cost tax payers between £50million and £150million, according to unofficial estimates.
However, the total amount of public funds spent on the coronation remains unknown, but some predictions suggest Operation Golden Orb – the crowning of Charles III and the Queen Consort – could cost the nation between £50-100m.
The late Elizabeth II’s coronation cost £912,000 in 1953 – £20.5m in today’s money – while Charles’s grandfather George VI was crowned at a cost of £454,000 in 1937 – worth £24.8m in 2023 and the most expensive coronation of the last 300 years.
All councils mentioned have been contacted for comment.