Impact of Tour to break the £100m barrier

THE ECONOMIC impact of Yorkshire’s highly successful hosting of this year’s Tour de France’s is expected to surpass the estimated £100m benefit, according to PwC.

Arif Ahmad, senior officer partner at PwC in Leeds. Picture: Daniel Oxtoby
Arif Ahmad, senior officer partner at PwC in Leeds. Picture: Daniel Oxtoby

Arif Ahmad, PwC’s senior partner in Leeds, said: “The Grand Depart will have done this region immeasurable good in terms of confidence.

“There will be an inevitable boost to tourism and the economy. When you put it all together it will be a real positive for the region.

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“We have seen a number of people showing a real passion for cycling, something that didn’t necessarily mean a lot to people before the Tour de France.”

He added that Yorkshire’s enthusiasm surpassed all expectations.

“The estimate before was a boost of £100m, but I think it will be well over £100m as it’s been such a great success,” said Mr Ahmad.

He was speaking as the deadline for the Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards was extended until the end of this week.

The ​Big Four accountancy firm is sponsoring the best company in the £10m to £50m turnover category.

Mr Ahmad said the enthusiasm generated by the Tour de France is likely to benefit companies in this category, which make up a vital part of Yorkshire’s thriving business community.

PwC believes that the region has put the economic downturn firmly behind it.

“Business confidence for the last 15 months has been on the up-tick,” said Mr Ahmad.

“We’ve seen lots of signs of this from investment in plant and machinery to firms taking on apprentices.”

He added that the recent flurry of stock market flotations shows that the business community is thriving.

PwC recently worked on two Wakefield-based IPOs, value fashion chain Bonmarche and greeting cards retailer Card Factory.

The firm is working on two other Yorkshire floats that will launch later this year.

Talking about the most important issues that face companies in the £10m to £50m turnover category, Mr Ahmad said: “We constantly hear that the staff pool available to these companies isn’t big enough. There are not enough people with the requisite skills.

“Companies were reluctant to invest in training for understandable reasons, but now they don’t have the right core of people with the right skills.”

He called on firms to work with colleges and universities and to embark on apprenticeship programmes to reverse this trend.

Mr Ahmad said PwC is delighted to demonstrate its commitment to the middle market by sponsoring the £10m to £50m category.

“Locally, many of our clients are in the small to medium-sized sector, the entrepreneurs and private companies market is a key focus for us,” said Mr Ahmad.

He said the PwC team is looking forward to meeting many mid-sized companies this year as part of the selection process.

“That’s where the Excellence in Business Awards is really good. They look across the board at businesses, looking for great management teams, great products or service and customer focus. Recognising regional excellence is vital, allowing the very best companies in the region to showcase their skills and commitment to it.”

PwC said it is in the fortunate position to have worked with some excellent companies in the region, having advised many small to medium-sized businesses in Yorkshire since it opened here in 1928.

“The majority of our clients are middle market firms with turnovers between £10m to £50m,” said Mr Ahmad. “The common perception of PwC is we only work with the big companies, but the £10m to £50m category is our sweet spot. It’s where the majority of our business comes from.”