A major trade union today voted to withdraw their funding from this year's Rise festival after the Mayor's team removed the anti-racist theme.
Delegates at the Unison National conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing their yearly contribution of £25,000 after being told about the change last week.
UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:
“As long as the anti-racist message is removed from the Rise festival, Unison will have no part in funding it. London is a city of 270 nationalities. It is a city where different cultures should flourish, and racism should have no place. Sadly, on the streets of our capital many people face inequality, abuse and even violence on account of their race. The Rise festival was a chance to bring the community together in the fight against the far right."
Yesterday it emerged that Boris Johnson did not even know that the anti-racist message had been removed until the BBC told him about it on Tuesday. However, while Boris had been kept completely in the dark, unions were informed of the change as early as last week.
Unison claim that they were sent a statement by the mayor's team last week saying that it 'would no longer be appropriate to have overtly political campaigning groups involved' in the festival.
Who pays and What for?
The news that Unison have decided to withdraw their funding, will cast further doubts over how this festival will be paid for. With no union funding, and with no political motivation for artists to perform for reduced fees, this year's festival will inevitably be much more expensive to put on.
And with no political funding or purpose, many Londoners will question just why they should be funding this festival at all.