The cost of marshalling and managing the Leeds launch and Yorkshire legs of the 2014 Tour de France has been underestimated by more than £2m, a damning new report has revealed.
The contract for “event production” for stages one and two of the Yorkshire Grand Départ – which includes traffic management, stewards, toilets, barriers, medical support and signage on day one from Leeds to Harrogate and day two from York to Sheffield – is worth almost £4.5m.
However that is £2.3m more than was originally budgeted for, and has left the event’s organisers – among them Leeds City Council – scrambling to plug the shortfall just 107 days before the international cycling race kicks off in the city on July 5.
A report seen by the Yorkshire Evening Post insists the prices being paid are “competitive” – but admits parties involved simply “did not understand the scope of the event”.
The revelations have led to a complete re-evaluation of costs, and a new action plan to ensure the event goes ahead within budget.
The critical report admitted that: “The original estimate did not take account of the requirement to transport resources around Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Rochdale and due to the distances involved and the rural locations involved, the rates for resources [have] significantly increased.”
The UK leg of Le Tour has a total budget of £27m, which is managed by the specially created firm TDF Hub 2014 Ltd and is made up of contributions from the Government, the Sport UK quango and 11 partner councils.
The £11m total contribution from those councils is being managed and underwritten by Leeds City Council, which is overseeing the Yorkshire legs on behalf of all the authorities and is contributing £3.6m itself.
A spokesman for the TDF Hub Ltd said: “It is important to stress that we are some weeks off before the final cost is determined. We are working hard with local authorities to bring the costs down whilst ensuring a safe and secure event.”
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “As with any project on the scale of the Tour de France, it is entirely normal to experience changes in budget requirements.
“We anticipate that with continuing prudent financial management...an event to remember will be delivered within the original budget.”