Council Plan to Slash Tourism Budget by a Third

Cllr Ian Bevan, Councillor for Ramsbottom on Bury Council has criticised proposals going before Bury Council’s Cabinet at their meeting on Wednesday 10 October 2012 to slash the Tourism budget by one third.

The proposed cuts to the tourism budget will involve the loss of 3 ½ full time equivalent posts from the Tourist Information Centre and the Town Centre Team from a total of 5 members of staff.

Here in the north of the Borough, the fantastic work undertaken by local traders and Ramsbottom Business Group to promote the town and bring in the tourist trade is clearly under threat from these proposals.

The Town Centre Team provide much needed support and assistance when planning events – helping with promotion and all the red tape such as licensing issues, road closures etc.   Most of the activities in Ramsbottom town centre are organised and promoted in some way by Bury Council’s Town Centre team – including the annual Chocolate Festival, Farmers Markets, Christmas Markets. For example the Chocolate Festival brought in excess of 27,000 visitors to Ramsbottom in just one weekend.

To remove this support would put overwhelming additional pressure on local traders – who are already working hard in their own businesses in these difficult economic times.   Now is not the time to cut this type of service.  Instead, Bury Council should be encouraging greater tourism into Ramsbottom to help promote the town and its businesses.

When consulting on Bury Council’s Plan for Change – the residents of this Borough said that their second priority was “a strong local economy”.    This support service is vital in ensuring a strong local economy, not only in Ramsbottom, but across the Borough.

I would urge the leading Labour Group on Bury Council to rethink these proposals – and put forward sensible alternatives that support our local businesses”.