Plan to spend £100k on Maggie Thatcher statue event “staggeringly insensitive”

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Plans to spend £100,000 on a ceremony for the unveiling of a huge statue of Margaret Thatcher have been branded “staggeringly insensitive”.

The 10ft 6in bronze of the Iron Lady will stand 26ft high on a plinth on St Peter’s Hill, looming over her hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Councillors are now being asked to “underwrite” £100,000 for the unveiling next year.

But Charmaine Morgan, a Labour councilor, condemned the plan for a “big party with potentially a public cost”.

Ms Morgan said: “I think it is staggeringly insensitive of the council to potentially commit such a large sum of public money to this project at such a difficult time.

“We were assured at the planning stage that no public money would be used on this .”

There are fears vandals will target the £300,000 statue, and Ms Morgan said: “There is also the additional issue of who will pay for CCTV cameras to protect it.”

The unveiling of the statue, by sculptor Douglas Jennings, was postponed until 2021 by Covid-19.

The statue was funded by The Public Memorials Appeal.

South Kesteven District Council hope to raise cash for the ceremony from businesses and the public, but will seek to underwrite £100,000.

Conservative councillor Ray Wootten said: “The unveiling of this statue will put Grantham on the world stage.”

Mrs Thatcher, who was born in Grantham, died in 2013 at the age of 87.