Voice Online :: Who is making all the money from carnival?

In Prime Time News on September 6, 2010 at 12:46 am

Who is making all the money from carnival?

MONEY-SPINNER: Notting Hill Carnival brings in millions of pounds each year

CARNIVAL BRINGS in 93 million (GBP) a year. Those are the official figures. It funds a lot of households who rely on the takings from their little curried chicken and curried goat stalls as ‘supplementary benefit’ to see them through to next summer. At a time of unprecedented austerity, Britain needs the carnival, which I suspect is why last week the police were engaged in dawn raids at the homes of suspected gang members planning on turning the Carnival streets into a Gaza ‘strip’. The Chancellor and Prime Minister are not going to allow anything to get in the way of that much cash.

But who is really making all the money? So lucrative is the carnival that this year they were pointing tourists in its direction all the way from Heathrow Airport, because the airlines make money from the increased traffic carnival brings. Not to mention the other transport services (imagine how much extra revenue London’s underground and bus services make with an estimated two million carnival passengers a day over two days).

Then there are the local shops and other businesses within a square mile of the carnival. They’re laughing all the way to their bank manager come Tuesday after carnival.

But ask carnival lead director Chris Boothman (who deserves a knighthood for his services to carnival) how much these services and businesses contribute to the carnival, and the answer is “Zilch!”

So they expect carnival participants to work for nothing? They expect us to pay to have costumes made and be part of a mas band, and traipse up and down the highways and byways of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park all day for absolutely nada. Year after year after year!

No wonder we get little respect in this country. No wonder the Chancellor and the Bank of England and all the other people who depend on us to work our nuts off for this country rub their hands with glee every carnival.

It’s time to make the carnival pay. If the local businesses of west London don’t want to contribute to the carnival, then it’s time to move it elsewhere. As I say to Chris Boothman every year, bring the carnival to Tottenham; we could do with the business down here, and we would pay for the privilege.

Now is the time to use carnival’s power to make some demands. It holds all the cards. Olympic organisers and the Government are depending on us to put on the biggest and best carnival in 2012 for the world to see. Carnival organisers, carnivalists and revellers – black and white – should start considering boycotting carnival next year until Lord Coe and the Coalition see that carnival means business and needs to be funded accordingly.


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