THE entertainment company that runs Liverpool's Summer Pops festival faces losing the event, three months after an inquiry was launched into why it cost taxpayers more than £1.3m.
A report signed by city leader Warren Bradley recommends the council should run an open tender competition to find an operator after the summer 2006 series, the Daily Post can reveal.
The Summer Pops has brought huge international names to Liverpool, including Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon, which has added significant prestige to the city, particularly in the run up to Capital of Culture in
2008. But an inquiry was launched in September, in the wake of concerns that the event cost council taxpayers more than £1.3m in the last four years, under current operators CMP.
Questions were raised by a select committee about the relationship between CMP head Chas Cole, and Phil Halsall, the council's executive director for resources, after it emerged the Pops lost £350,000 at the Kings Dock last year alone but there has been no evidence of impropriety.
The culture and tourism select committee is due to present its findings on a detailed list of questions about the running of the Pops, on Monday, January 9.
Now a separate report, due to be considered by Liverpool's executive board next Friday, recommends the city should continue with CMP for 2006 only, given "time constraints".
Already approved by Cllr Bradley, it also stresses that negotiations should identify areas where costs can be reduced and income increased for this year's concerts.
Crucially, it recommends the contract to manage the event in 2007 and beyond should be tendered out. It also controversially reveals officers are still budgeting to underwrite a potential loss of up to £500,000 in future years.
The Summer Pops is considered one of the high points of Liverpool's cultural calendar and attracts an annual 100,000 people to the riverside Big Top, which has a modest capacity of 4,500.
Last night Cllr Bradley, who also holds the portfolio for leisure and tourism, said he had requested a tender, along with other executive board members.