THE importance of Welcome to Yorkshire winning back trust following Sir Gary Verity’s resignation is made even more urgent by a new Parliamentary report on the policy challenges facing UK coastal communities.
For, even though the work of the region’s tourism agency is crucial to the future fortunes of this county’s resorts, its effectiveness will remain compromised until official inquiries into Sir Gary’s expenses and conduct have been completed and the governance of the organisation overhauled.
And this necessity – taxpayers should expect the highest standards of probity from organisations in receipt of public funds – could have repercussions for towns like Scarborough, Bridlington and Whitby. If visitor numbers drop, the economic and social challenges risk becoming more pronounced.
This is made clear by a House of Lords report which confirms what this newspaper has long suspected – seaside communities are in urgent need of renewal. As it concluded: “What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband.”
Given that the same can also be said about the rural economy, the Government needs to act on such reports for once – and it can begin this sea-change by giving Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, the new Farming Minister, full responsibility for this agenda. For, without clearly-defined leadership, resorts will struggle to broaden their economic horizons beyond tourism.