NORTH Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has said she is not alone in having funding concerns about next year’s Tour de France after calling for the event’s organisers to help pay for policing costs.
But Julia Mulligan vowed she was fully behind the sporting showcase, the opening stages of which will be held in Yorkshire next July.
She praised the team behind it, despite saying North Yorkshire Police, which will be responsible for more than half the route, had been left in a “very difficult position”
over budgets. A letter from Mrs Mulligan to Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said she was disappointed its bid to host Le Grand Depart – whose route will include York – had apparently not budgeted for “realistic policing costs”.
She said: “It has now fallen to us to pick up that cost.
“The initial lack of clarity from yourselves when bidding for this event has left us in a very difficult position as the public sector is under enormous pressure at the moment, with North Yorkshire being no different.”
Mrs Mulligan’s letter also said the budget for policing costs in Yorkshire’s original bid document was inadequate compared to the actual expected bill.
But in a subsequent statement she said: “I want to be clear that I fully support the Tour and thank Gary Verity for doing a brilliant job in bringing it to North Yorkshire.
“Myself and others do feel there is a funding issue to be resolved, and I look forward to those discussions.”
Sir Rodney Walker, who chairs the Grand Depart’s organising committee, TDF 2014 Ltd, said policing costs still needed to be addressed.
Leeds City Council, which is responsible for the Yorkshire event’s budgets, said discussions with police forces along the route were continuing.
Coun Linsay Cunningham-Cross, City of York Council’s cabinet member for crime and stronger communities, said: “Public safety is of paramount importance when the Tour de France comes to the region, so this issue needs to be resolved well in advance of next summer.
“I’m confident the Grand Depart organising committee and the relevant police forces will get an agreement in place which ensures the public and those involved in the race can enjoy it in a safe and secure way.”
Meanwhile, Hugh Robertson, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, told the House of Commons yesterday that security costs for the Tour de France were Yorkshire's responsibility and not the Government's after it provided £10 million towards the event.
Responding to a question by Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney over security and policing costs, Mr Robertson said: "When we drew up the budget that Sir Rodney Walker now oversees, it was clear the local security costs were to be met from the £11 million which will be raised by Yorkshire.
"If there is controversy about this matter now - I do not know if there is in Yorkshire - it is pretty extraordinary to have bid for an event without working out how the security is to be paid for."