Royal visit was money well spent
Thursday, March 8, 2012, will live long in the memory of many thousands of people in Leicestershire – it was, without doubt, the highlight of a memorable year for the city. It was the day the Queen kicked off her Diamond Jubilee tour with a visit to the city.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cambridge, she toured the city, De Montfort University and enjoyed a lunch hosted by Leicester Cathedral.
Tens of thousands of people from the city, county and further afield came into Leicester to enjoy the day and help the Queen mark the start of her year of celebrations.
One organisation has now questioned the cost of hosting that visit.
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Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement by an elected head of state, submitted a Freedom of Information request demanding to know how much the visit cost to host.
It has now been revealed that De Montfort University spent £100,000, although £10,000 of that figure was covered by sponsorship.
Leicester City Council spent £85,000 with the money going on road closures, security barriers and staffing for crowd safety.
Republic argues that, at a time of austerity and with public-funded bodies cutting jobs, the money should not have been spent.
Instead, the money should have gone on saving some of the jobs being lost.
It is a view not shared by the city's mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and the university, and we have to agree.
Sir Peter felt it was "great value for money" and the visit would have helped boost the city's image.
The university pointed out: "The royal visit will generate many more thousands of pounds in income for the university from students coming to DMU as a result of the great profile."
It is estimated that the media coverage of the royal visit to Leicester was seen by more than 779 million people worldwide.
It will be impossible to quantify, but it is a reasonable assumption the royal visit will help to bring in much more than the £185,000 the event cost to host.
It was, frankly, money well spent.