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Dartford leader backs £1,160 of Portas Pilot money spent on Peppa Pig

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:30 15 February 2013

Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite has defended the £1,160 of Portas Pilot money spent on hiring a Peppa Pig costume.

The high price of the fancy dress costume used to launch the town’s Sunday trading scheme was criticised by a retail expert in a national newspaper.

But Mr Kite said Peppa Pig was worth every penny, arguing: “It’s pretty ludicrous and very mean spirited to describe this as spending on a Peppa Pig costume. Peppa Pig was used as the character is hugely popular with young children and draws in families. It was a successful way to launch Sunday trading in the town and our six-month Sunday market pilot which have increased the turnover of local businesses.

“The price also included two people to wear the costume and escort the wearer and licensed images to use in publicity for the event.”

Dartford was one of 12 towns selected to be Portas Pilots last year to turn around business into the high street.

In May 2012 the council received a cash boost of £79,500, of which just £17,241 has been spent so far - 24 per cent of which has gone on appearances by children’s TV characters including Fireman Sam and Mike the Knight.

Across the country, just 12 per cent of the £1.2m awarded by Mary Portas has been spent by the 12 Portas Pilots.

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