Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Council Xmas 'should be Christian'

Eric Pickles has called on councils to celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas

Council chiefs have been urged by the Government to celebrate the "Christian basis" of Christmas.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that "politically correct Grinches" should not be allowed to obscure the fact that it is a festival to mark the birth of Christ.

He called for the likes of the Winterval festival of the 1990s - which combined secular and inter-faith religious elements - to be consigned to the "dustbin of history".

"We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ.

"The war on Christmas is over, and likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history."

He said that despite the current economic difficulties, it was not in councils' interests to "play Scrooge" by cutting down on the Christmas festivities.

"It is councils' financial interests to draw in shoppers to their town centres at Christmas given the benefits of packed car parks to councils' coffers," he said.

"Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes, and councils should not hesitate in supporting them."

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