The Treasury has stepped in at the 11th hour to commit millions of pounds to support the Tour de France in Yorkshire, despite ongoing criticism of the region’s plans from UK sports officials.
Yorkshire MPs were claiming a major victory yesterday after it was revealed the Government has set aside up to £10 million to help stage the event’s ‘Grand Depart’ in the region next year.
On Monday night national sports quango UK Sport sensationally rejected organisers’ initial bid for public funding, raising concerns about their failure to set out how the event’s second stages in Cambridge and London would be staged, and about a lack of detail over how the money would actually be spent.
UK Sport officials were due to meet yesterday to confirm that decision, and are understood to have produced a highly critical assessment of the bid put forward by tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire.
But documents seen by the Yorkshire Evening Post confirm the Treasury has told the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that £10m will anyway be set aside from its reserve funds to help pay for the event.
That decision followed face-to-face talks between the Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg and Chancellor George Osborne.
The £10m deal was confirmed by Culture Secretary Maria Miller last night at a meeting with a delegation of Yorkshire’s backbench Conservative MPs.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “Welcome to Yorkshire welcomes the news the UK Government will provide £10 million. With this support, we can now deliver the grandest of Grand Départs.”
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith, who led the delegation, said: “This fantastic news comes after months of hard work at Westminster and across Yorkshire from MPs.
“The investment will support Yorkshire in making sure we capitalise on the opportunities that come from having the world’s largest annual sporting event in our county.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson rejected the region’s initial funding bid on Monday. A letter to Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan attacked the way Welcome to Yorkshire is seeking to use the event to market Yorkshire on the global stage.