City firms ‘refuse to fund Jubilee pageant’ leaving event short of £10.5 million needed
By Rebecca English
PUBLISHED: 23:30, 2 May 2012 | UPDATED: 23:30, 2 May 2012
City fat cats are refusing to help fund next month’s river pageant in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the event’s organiser has claimed.
Former government minister Lord Salisbury has hit out at those who have declined to donate, including some of the biggest and richest businesses in the country.
It leaves organisers perilously short of the £10.5million needed to stage the procession, which is set to be the showpiece of the Jubilee weekend celebrations.
A spokesman for the event, on Sunday, June 3, last night declined to name names and stressed it would still go ahead. But the Mail understands that British Airways and leading investment bank JP Morgan were among those approached.
Lord Salisbury said that while money had poured in from foreign firms and a small number of wealthy individual donors in the UK, the response from some British companies had been shameful.
‘We will get there – eventually – but the lack of generosity from British firms has given me a huge amount of unnecessary work and made the task [of fund-raising] an uphill struggle.’
Asked whether those in the City of London were among those unwilling to give, Lord Salisbury said: ‘Oh yes, absolutely, very distinguished people indeed.
‘There are huge companies hosting large parties watching a free show we’re providing who have not made any contribution at all. Unless they start showing some generosity, I’ll start naming them.’
The event has been billed as ‘the greatest show the Thames has ever seen’, with 1,000 boats and 20,000 participants taking to the water, including the Queen and every senior Royal.
Lord Salisbury has stressed that the pageant will be funded entirely by private donations, as the Queen was particularly insistent that no public money should be used, nor did she want any full-scale public appeal for funds.
Last night a spokesman for British Airways did not deny the claim that it has refused to contribute.
But sources at JP Morgan revealed talks were taking place and the bank would be likely to commit to a sizeable donation by the end of the week.