RESIDENTS have slammed a "Scrooge" council after it cancelled all its Christmas lights this year just to save £75,000.
Medway Council in Kent announced the "sad and difficult decision" after identifying a potential overspend of £17million this financial year.
Council leader Vince Maple said he had "no choice but to make these tough decisions".
A financial report in September warned that the Kent authority faces potential bankruptcy and budget shortfalls of almost £40million within two years.
The council, which went from Conservative to Labour in this year's May general election, received a furious backlash from locals.
It announced the news on X, formerly Twitter, saying: "Unfortunately we have had to make the difficult decision to not have Christmas lights across Medway or hold switch-on events this year.
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"With the ongoing financial situation we need to make tough decisions & this will save £75,000."
Residents took aim at the council's "poor financial management" and said its decision would "cancel Christmas" for many children.
One said: "If you didn't waste your money putting in pointless cycle lanes and footpaths that isn't necessary then maybe you'll have the money for some Christmas lights and wouldn’t be in this mess!"
Another commented: "How much of that £75k is for paying over priced contractors to put them up?
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"Rather than cancelling Christmas for the many kids who only see the magic outside of their home, how about finding a way to reduce the price or asking local businesses to donate their equipment to help."
Mr Maple said: "We are making these incredibly difficult decisions to reduce the potential overspend and to ensure we can continue to provide essential services that we are required to provide by law.
"I am pleased local ward councillors are still able to fund a Christmas tree in each town."
"We will continue to work closely with our town centre businesses to explore further ways to support them this Christmas."
Medway Council said the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival, along with a Christmas market in Rochester Castle Gardens over three weekends, would still go ahead.
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