MANCHESTER'S Christmas Markets have now been called off after months of speculation.

The markets are a huge festive attraction not just regionally and nationally – attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the city.

It was hoped that a scaled down version could be held with three single-row markets at Piccadilly Gardens, Deansgate and Cathedral Gardens

But Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester's Christmas spokesman, told Manchester Evening News that even a smaller version of the popular event – which offers a big economic boost to the city in the winter – did not meet public health approval and that the council "could never take any risks" with people's wellbeing.

Cllr Karney said: "We've cancelled everything. It's not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won't take place.

"It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.

"Wall-to-wall markets was never part of our planning on it, we're not that daft.

"The health of all of us, we could never take any risks with that.

"It's going to be a very unusual Christmas in Manchester but what we're going to do is put up additional lighting through the city centre and more static lighting attractions.

"I don't want Manchester to have a North Korean Christmas.

"Adults know what's at stake in terms of health but I think kids will be bewildered about what's happening this Christmas - I'd like to point out that Father Christmas isn't poorly and all the kids in the city can expect him to visit us.

"We're going to brighten up Manchester with the lights."

Manchester's Christmas lights switch-on event, New Year's Eve fireworks and Bonfire Night celebrations have all also been called off.