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Unfestive fight shows lack of Xmas spirit in Linz

A row has broken out in Linz over who should pay for this year's Christmas decorations.

The social Democrats, Conservatives and the freedom party have all agreed that the city will fund the €307,000 needed for putting up and then taking down this year's Christmas decorations.

But the Green party head in the Linz city council, Gerda Lenger, says that the businesses should also take over a share of some of the cost.

She said: "We in the Green party are of the opinion that it should be here in Linz the same as it is in other cities, and that the shops should take over some of the share of paying for the Christmas decorations."

But the council's economics head Susanne Wegscheider from the conservative People's party (ÖVP) said she did not agree: "The Christmas lights will be paid for in total by the city of Linz because many firms don't seem to have as much money as the opposition thinks and welcome it when they are given support like this from the council."

City mayor Franz Dobusch from the social Democrats (SPÖ) also said that he did not expect the situation to change in the future and that the city would continue to pay.

He said: "The more that is purchased in shops here means the more we can claim in VAT and the more jobs that we can safeguard. Looking at it purely from an economic point of view is not enough and you need to see how all these things are connected. I don't think when you put it all together that paying for the Christmas lights works out at costing us anything."

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