Tourism projects could miss out on growth funding

Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.
Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.

Indications that tourism and cultural projects will no longer be eligible for cash from a fund designed to boost jobs and growth have been slammed by a Labour councillor.

It is understood that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has advised that regional growth funding allocated via the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and others elsehwere in the country, should not go towards tourism and cultural projects as these do not bring enough economic potential compared to other schemes.

Labour politicians in Northumberland including the county council’s business chairman and member for Druridge Bay, Scott Dickinson, are calling for an ‘urgent rethink’ by the Government.

They have have also called on Hexham’s Conservative MP Guy Opperman and Berwick’s Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith to ‘join the effort to make sure tourism is recognised as vitally important to economic growth in the county’.

Coun Dickinson said: “It’s being said that the Conservative-led coalition don’t understand the north and this is just another example of how they just don’t get us.

“To say that tourism isn’t an economic priority and to starve our world heritage sites shows how out of touch they really are.

“Tourism contributes more than £700million annually to our economy and employs thousands directly and indirectly.

“People in Northumberland who make their living from tourism will feel that this is a slap in the face as they struggle against the backdrop of an economy that works for the few not the many.”