THE future of the local vintage fire parade and festival is under threat - as funding from the council dries up.

The celebration, organised by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Heritage Trust, is the latest casualty after the Tele revealed last week that the Gardenfest competition and Port Glasgow Bulb Show had both been axed due to cutbacks.

Local authority bosses have removed financial backing for all three in a bid to help make £7 million of savings over the next two years while protecting frontline services.

Last year the parade moved to the East India Harbour from its usual place in Cathcart Square

Provost Martin Brennan, who led it, said: "It is a great shame that funding has to be cut for things like the parade and the bulb show.

"These are things that make up the civic scenery in Inverclyde.

"People look forward to events like these.

"It is very sad but the reality is councils are facing stark choices.

"Our budgets have been cut for nine years in a row and they are going to be reduced even further in the next two years.

"It is a simple choice - do we cut events like the parades or do we cut care workers going in to the elderly?

"Do we have drug and alcohol services?

"It is really as bad as that.

"It is not about being a killjoy."

The Provost hopes the organisers Scottish Fire and Rescue Heritage Trust, who also run the national fire museum in Greenock, find funding from elsewhere to keep the summer event going.

He added: "I would be delighted if they could find funding from somewhere else, I am really hopeful this can happen."

The heritage trust, which is very active in the area, organised a fundraising concert in the Beacon earlier this year.

An Inverclyde Council spokesman said: "The council has worked in close partnership with the museum team to create and help deliver the fire engine rally for a number of years.

"The recent budget saving means that we will no longer be able to directly fund or provide staffing support to the planning of the event.

"If the rally event is able to continue without our direct financial support that would be great news.

"We continue to work closely with the team at the museum to help encourage more visitors to come and enjoy the unique and fascinating visitor attraction in the heart of Greenock.

"That includes continuing to make sure that the museum team have space available at events we continue to deliver.

"The recent hugely successful Gourock Highland Games is one example where we set aside space for the museum to promote the heritage of the fire and rescue services in Scotland and to showcase the fantastic job they do of preserving that history."