Shipley MP, Philip Davies has signed an Early Day Motion (Like a parliamentary petition for MPs) supporting Welcome to Yorkshire and their achievements in bringing extra tourism to Britain.
Nothing wrong with that you might say, and I certainly agree with the sentiment of the proposal. But a part of me couldn’t help but feel it was a tad hypocritical of Davies given that it’s funded by the soon to be defunct Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, which Philip has campaigned vociferously against since getting elected.
Now you could argue that supporting Welcome to Yorkshire and opposing Yorkshire Forward are not mutually exclusive, and I think you’d have a point, but if the money for Yorkshire Forward was redistributed to Councils how would we go about funding Welcome to Yorkshire?
Let’s say the £10 million funding provided by Yorkshire Forward is split equally among Councils across all of Yorkshire, who are then asked to all chip in to fund Welcome to Yorkshire.
How would that work? If you’re a Council with lower than average tourism, let’s say, Hull, should you have to put in as much as an area that relies on tourism, such as Scarborough?
Spending cuts further complicate the situation. Council’s are being asked to make huge spending cuts, front-loaded to try help the Coalition get re-elected in 2015, so is it realistic to expect every Council across Yorkshire to chip in to fund an external body?
However brilliant the work of Welcome to Yorkshire, it would be hard to quantify the precise economic benefits to a district like Bradford.
It’s basically impossible to expect that 100% of Councils would decide to chip in, meaning the abolition of Yorkshire Forward will likely mean a drop in funding for Welcome to Yorkshire, which would reduce it’s capacity to do the excellent work Philip Davies is praising in the Early Day Motion.