Lib Dems to raise VisitBritain funding cuts in Lords

28 October 2008 by
Lib Dems to raise VisitBritain funding cuts in Lords

The Liberal Democrats have renewed calls for the Government to reverse controversial cuts to UK tourism body VisitBritain as recession looms.

VisitBritain, which had its budget slashed last year, has had to lay off 40% of its London-based staff with similar cuts overseas as a result of the move.

It was the fourth time in five years that the organisation has been restructured and was roundly condemned by the UK's tourism bodies this summer.

Liberal Democrat media and sports spokesman Lord Clement-Jones will today raise the issue of VisitBritain funding in the House of Lords.

Clement-Jones will describe the decision to cut funding as extraordinary at a time when in-bound tourism to the UK is falling and the economy is heading into recession, before adding:

"Will the Government at last acknowledge that the budget for VisitBritian's activities must be increased if this vital sector of the economy and the small businesses within it are to survive and prosper?"

The Government is currently undertaking a tourism framework review.

•Speaking last week at a Tourism Society dinner, former London mayor Ken Livingstone called for more funding for London tourism arguing that the spending of £1.5m to attract the Tour de France to London has delivered a return of around £100m in tourism spend.

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By Chris Druce

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