Council chiefs have approved cuts to York's tourism organisation - saying it can work commercially rather than rely on public funding.

However, an opposition councillor said the move could "damage a key sector of the local economy".

At the Labour-run council’s executive meeting on Thursday, March 14, cuts to Make It York’s contract worth £50,000 over two years were given the go-ahead.

Council leader Cllr Claire Douglas said this was so Make It York could make steps to fund itself, rather than with money from the public purse. 

“They were set up in order to be a commercial side of the council,” she said.

“They’re almost ready, but not quite, to stand on their own two feet.

“We’re moving together and I think that’s a really positive thing.

“It’s not a matter of withdrawing money, it’s about creating that truly commercial aspect of council work which is becoming more and more important.

“And having run a business myself, I would not be happy if I were having to rely upon income from another that is not assured. 

“I’d rather be standing on my own two feet.” 


Make It York runs events such as the Christmas Market and Pride.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, said: “The lack of engagement of this executive is short sighted and the proposed changes in this contract do have the potential to damage a key sector of the local economy.

“The future success of York’s economy is intrinsically linked to the success of our tourism industry and great efforts have been made in recent years to boost wages in that area, to encourage more start ups and to make tourism more sustainable. 

“I think cutting support in this way does risk undermining all that work at the worst possible time as the cost of living, energy prices and staff shortages are hitting businesses particularly hard.”

The current Make It York service contract up until September 22, 2024, costs the council £112k per year, but proposals approved at the annual budget meeting in February agreed a reduction of £25k per year until 2026. 

It is anticipated that Make It York will achieve this through efficiencies or raising additional income.