Wakefield’s Cabinet has ruled out giving Welcome to Yorkshire additional funding and has agreed instead to pump the money directly into the district’s tourism and hospitality industries.
In July, Welcome to Yorkshire requested a £1.45 million funding contribution from local authorities across Yorkshire. Wakefield Council was asked to provide over £78k financed by surplus funds from the 2019/20 North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool.
The Cabinet’s decision means that this money will now be ring fenced to support the district’s tourism and hospitality businesses.
The Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Denise Jeffery said: “We very much value the role that Welcome to Yorkshire plays and will continue to support with our annual £12k membership fee, but my Cabinet and I have acknowledged today that we are in a very different place as a result of the pandemic. Our priority must be and will always be our residents, communities and businesses.
“The Council is facing an estimated financial gap of almost £17m due to the Covid-19 pandemic with continuing uncertainty beyond March 2021. This means that every penny we spend needs to deliver the best value for money and have a direct impact on this district.
“We know our tourism and hospitality sector have been dealt a significant blow by the pandemic and these industries look likely to continue to struggle over the coming months, especially if the number of Covid-19 cases keep rising and we have the threat of local lockdown hanging over us.
“Through our Recovery Board we are trying to drive forward the district’s economic recovery by identifying local interventions and looking to see where we can add the most value and have the greatest impact. We now propose to ring fence the £78k funding to inject a much needed boost direct to our tourism and hospitality industries, via the Recovery Board.”
Wakefield Council’s key decision makers agreed that a further report be brought to Cabinet for consideration in November outlining the proposals for the ring fenced funding.