Yorkshire MPs ask Government for Tour de France cash

Sports minister says any money would come from UK Sport and decision out of government's hands

by Simon_MacMichael   December 19, 2012  

Sutton Bank (picture credit Welcome to Yorkshire)

Yorkshire MPs are calling on the government to help fund the region’s hosting of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014. However, sports minister Hugh Robertson says Westminster cannot authorise money for it, which instead would be provided via UK Sport, the agency that yesterday provided £347 million to fund elite sport through to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Prior to Yorkshire being awarded the Grand Départ last week, UK Sport had backed a Scottish-led bid that would also have seen stages in England and Wales as the race headed south to the Channel Ports, with those proposals also having the support of British Cycling.

Yesterday, Yorkshire MPs united in Westminster Hall to congratulate the bid’s organisers on their success, and to appeal to the Government to stump up money towards hosting it, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Among them was Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg & Goole, who joked: “Being Yorkshire folk, we are a bit tight with our own money - so we would like some from the Government.”

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, pointed out that when London hosted the Grand Départ five years ago, it was able to do so with the help of funds provided by then Mayor Ken Livingstone.

“It is estimated that the Tour brought £90 million to the capital and the South East,” said Mr Adams.

“It has been suggested that Yorkshire could benefit to the tune of over £100 million, and perhaps much more with the Government’s backing.”

Using an analogy from another sport closely associated with Yorkshire, Mr Adams went on: “I was disappointed to receive a straight bat from the Government when I raised the prospect of supporting Yorkshire’s bid in the House before the summer,” he said.

“I was a little more disappointed that UK Sport did not appear to want to engage with the bid - not even with a supportive letter.”

With a dig at UK Sport’s backing of the Scottish bid, he added: “It looks like UK Sport backed the wrong horse.”

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley insisted that the government putting money towards Yorkshire hosting the race made economic sense.

“When we talk about investing money, the issue is the kind of return we will get.

“The event will be excellent value for money. For each pound put in, the multiples that we can get back for the local economy and tourism will be amazing.”

Despite the MPs’ appeals, Mr Robertson insisted that since the Government was not involved in how money raised via the National Lottery was distributed through UK Sport, it was unable to intervene.

“As it is lottery money, it does not lie within the Government’s remit to allocate it directly,” he explained.

“We can tell, and have told, UK Sport to increase the amount of money available [for major events]... but it does not lie in this or any other Government’s remit to then allocate that money to specific projects.”

Admitting that Yorkshire’s plans to host the race – two stages will take place in the region, with a third starting further south and finishing in London – Mr Robertson said that the important thing now it had been successful was for everyone to get behind it.

“I genuinely say this... I congratulate Yorkshire wholeheartedly on pulling off the bid,” said Mr Robertson.

“To me it does not matter whether people wish to engage with the Government when making bids; what matters is who wins at the end. I absolutely, 100 per cent congratulate Yorkshire on a stunning triumph.

“I may not have helped Yorkshire very much - I think my sole contribution was nearly standing on a Yorkshire terrier on the Champs-Elysées in July - but it was clear then, and in the way the bid was conducted, that Yorkshire was on to something that others possibly had not picked up.

“I wholeheartedly congratulate Yorkshire on that achievement.

“I will absolutely ensure that UK Sport engages proactively with the bid team. Now the bid is won, it is time for everybody to come together.”

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I wonder if the answer would have been different if it all the stages were down in London.

A potential £100 million return on an investment doesn't seem that bad a punt to me.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [264 posts]
19th December 2012 - 11:42

like this
Like (3)

bit of a typo in there to be corrected methinks

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [322 posts]
19th December 2012 - 11:53

like this
Like (4)

I find a few things distasteful about this, firstly, MPs getting a jolly over to the Champs Elysees, secondly Yorkshire winning the bid and then going looking for funding and also the MP in question going to source funding and not knowing what money comes from where. Surely he should know this well in advance unless they only just started thinking about funding a few days ago?

Or is this more a case of the MP wanting to get his name in the papers and showing off a bit?

posted by farrell [1326 posts]
19th December 2012 - 13:45

like this
Like (6)

Surely the funding issue should have been resolved, at least in principle? Imagine having to say, "Sorry, can't afford it!"

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
19th December 2012 - 17:36

like this
Like (4)

I hope my Yorkshire MP, Philip Davies wasn't there. He just sent me an email accusing me of trying to bully him into signing the EDM679 on cycling. Told me his priorities were increasing road capacity and in common with his constituents would like to see more responsible cyclists. No mention of more responsible drivers, one of whom killed a cyclist at the end of my road a few weeks ago.

posted by nickdt [5 posts]
19th December 2012 - 21:21

like this
Like (3)

nickdt wrote:
I hope my Yorkshire MP, Philip Davies wasn't there. He just sent me an email accusing me of trying to bully him into signing the EDM679 on cycling. Told me his priorities were increasing road capacity and in common with his constituents would like to see more responsible cyclists. No mention of more responsible drivers, one of whom killed a cyclist at the end of my road a few weeks ago.

You should post the email on the forum. If you don't know how to, get in touch and I'll give you a hand....

I now dislike the Yorkshire bid winning even more, because at least the Scottish bid had the backing and funding in place....I think they should had it over to Edinburgh Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8699 posts]
19th December 2012 - 21:51

like this
Like (5)

Doesn't ASO ask the bidders if they have the funding?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
19th December 2012 - 22:07

like this
Like (7)

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Doesn't ASO ask the bidders if they have the funding?

Yes, you're not going to get the Grand Depart unless you have guarantees of funding the staging of it (and ASO's slice of course).

The MPs' point is that some of that money should come from central government and/or UK Sport.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7935 posts]
19th December 2012 - 22:24

like this
Like (5)

If we can put our differences behind us and help make the Tour de F'Yorkshire a success surely it will increase chances of a return within a few years, perhaps to Edinburgh ?

posted by markrjl [14 posts]
20th December 2012 - 12:37

like this
Like (5)

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Doesn't ASO ask the bidders if they have the funding?

Yes, you're not going to get the Grand Depart unless you have guarantees of funding the staging of it (and ASO's slice of course).

The MPs' point is that some of that money should come from central government and/or UK Sport.

May I ask why? If the Tour is such a big money spinner, why do they need a subsidy?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
20th December 2012 - 18:30

like this
Like (4)