Irvine councillors have pledged to protect the future of Marymass after an NAC bid to charge for maintenance threatened funding.

Carter veteran Andy Tremble and SNP group leader Marie Burns said the issue needed sorted urgently - after the Times unearthed a council proposal which could have taken just under £30,000 from the festival's funding.

Marymass organiser of more than 20 years Andy Tremble said that any cuts of more than 50 per cent to its budget would spell the end for the festival.

Since then Irvine's four Labour councillors have promised no Labour budget will threaten the future of Marymass – after an NAC officer proposal to charge the Irvine Common Good Fund for maintenance.

With Marymass the main beneficiary of the Common Good Fund this would have taken £28,995 from the festival.

Earlier Andy Tremble said: “We’re hoping we can get it resolved - and the sooner the better.

"We’ve started building Marymass 2018 – we need to know as early as possible if they are going to be cuts.

“If the budget was to be cut by 50 per cent no one would want to get involved in the festival’s committee.

He added: “I’m confident it’s not going to come to that.”

Cllr Marie Burns, said: “The idea that it would be cancelled is extremely alarming. Marymass is one of the longest running community festivals in the country and a real connection to Irvine’s past.

“This now needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

“The Marymass Committee operates independently of the council but I would be happy to assist the committee in any way I can, as I’m sure would all Irvine councillors." 

Irvine Labour Councillors Ian Clarkson, Robert Foster, Louise McPhater and John Easdale have since pledged no budget from the councils Labour administration will risk funds to Marymass.

In a statement they said: “We want to make it absolutely clear that no Labour budget will include proposals that will threaten the future of Marymass.

“Council officers brought a proposal to the Labour cabinet some months ago to charge the Common Good Funds in Irvine and Largs for maintaining Common Good land. It is a longstanding practice that the Common Good is charged for services like this.

“We were told that it had just been discovered that the Common Good had not been getting charged for this service and therefore officers were proposing to start doing so from next year.

“The Labour group had that report pulled from the Cabinet agenda and sent it to the Locality Partnerships for engagement. 

“The report will not come back to Cabinet. It was never a Labour proposal nor something that we supported.

"Any change on Common Good charging will need to come as a budget proposal and we are making it clear that the officers proposal will not be included in any Labour budget.

"We hope cross party consensus on that will allay any concerns about the availability of Common Good funding to support Marymass.”